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Monday, 31 July 2017

Weekend Knitting

Hi Everyone
I've had some extra time knitting this weekend - I usually struggle to fit lots of knitting into my weekends. There is always lots going on and my usual hope is for a bit of knitting at the end of each day. However, this weekend, I managed a little more and have finished knitting my FairyHill Shawl by Helen Stewart. 


I've gone for the small size (I could have medium or large)  with the intention to wear as a scarf rather than a shawl. I've used my own handspun and hand dyed/painted yarn with a little help from some WHISTLEBARE, Yeavering Bell yarn in the Rockpools' Edge. I ran out of my own stuff and found the Yeavering Bell while at my weekly Knit Group based at FineFettleFibres. I was slightly disappointed about running out of my own yarn but on reflection the addition of the Yeavering Bell is perfect. Lovely yarn to knit with and such a great colour match.

The main colours of the yarn are a vibrant range of pink shades and splashes of light moss greens and the addition of the Yeavering Bell is lovely. I had initially thought about extra yarn in the bright pink but having added the delicate Rockpools' Edge colour way, I think the shawl is just right.

I need to block the shawl and am hoping the lace elements will work magic to the finished fabric. I've enjoyed knitting this project and am inspired to develop another skein of yarn for a new 'one skein knit' - pattern yet to be decided. My next range of colour ideas could be mustard and navy ? or teal and red or possibly both !

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Friday Yarn News

Hi Everyone
I've a tiny bit of news re my weekly yarn update this week. I have blocked a few garments this week, the Bousta Beanie and my Nuuk (still drying out ) and BIG news - I've sewn in the many, many ends of the  Adrift cardigan (look back earlier this week for photos). The Adrift will get blocked today and then there's only my Erika Knight vest to finish. I think, that's it for unfinished items in my bags ? I'll need to check but it's a huge move on regardless.

Ive also had great enthusiasm for my Hanabira. After using the half double crochet stitch instead of the single and making my flower boarder, I'm living the project again. I'm almost finished the body, then there's the sleeves and button bands/collar band.


Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Bracelet Obsession

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm back to making bracelets ! I've had the idea for a while - leather bracelets, some with charm and some using the leather to frame woven beads. 


I've almost completed the woven sample - just need to sew in the ends. I've also prepared the elements of the leather charm bracelet. This little project will not take too long to complete. I'm hoping to develop the idea in to a workshop for next term.

My other plan for the day is to finish weaving in the ends on another one of my knitting projects - it's been waiting for so long I can't remember when I finished the knit. I'm hoping to get it blocked too. I'll share the finished item tomorrow - I'm really looking forward to wearing this one - call in tomorrow  if you are curious.

In addition, I finally managed to block the Nuuk last night - I'll have some photos to share soon. The finishing off week is going well !!

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Bousta Beanie

Hi Everyone
A very quick post today, to celebrate the finishing of the Bousta Beanie #1. I've woven in the ends and added the pompom. I love the inside almost as much as the outside.


I almost followed the pattern ! - instead of making the last round of pattern in the navy colour, I decided I wanted the top part to have another round of pink. I think it's looks as if it's meant 'to be'.

 I really enjoyed making this hat and will acquire a few more balls of wool at the end of the week to make another. I will aim to use some of the blue coloured yarn (2 different) which I have left over and add greens. I think all our little family (4) will eventually get one, lots of opportunities to keep adding to the colours. I'm hoping I can just keep adding different colours as I go.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Pom Poms

Hi Everyone
If you are a regular reader you will know about my Bousta Beanie knit - read back here for more on the knit. At this point, I need to make the PomPom and sew in the ends/block. 
So today, I'm hoping I can sew in the ends and block as well as complete the Pom Pom. I'm using a new Pom Pom maker tool - a Christmas gift (still waiting to be used). I've made Pom Poms for years with a couple of pieces of cardboard but hopefully the new tool will be a pleasure to use.

I've already watched a YouTube video on how to use the Pom Pom maker and am skilled up and prepared.

I've debated long and hard about which colour to make my Pom Pom and have finally decided on the pink. I'm not really a pink person - although, I do like the very bright fuchsia pink of this yarn.

I'll share my finished item in a few days.
Wish me luck.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Hanabira - lives on !

Hi Everyone
It's the start of our long Summer Holiday today. How wonderful ! Sadly, I'm suffering with a heavy 'head cold' and am feeling rather unwell, so not much happening today. However, over the weekend, I've made huge progress with the long suffering Hanabira crochet project - read back on Fridays for lots more on the Hanabira. 
Only a few days ago, the Hanabira was very close to being ripped out completely. I had almost finished the plain crochet section of the body (as discussed last Friday) and was looking forward  to starting the wide flower band. I new it would take me some time to work out the flower pattern and so it did ! but eventually I 'got it'. I really enjoyed making the band and feel like the whole project is back on track. The quality of the crochet is not brilliant but I've decided to go with it for the moment.
I had been very bored with the long section of single crochet, mentioned in  last Friday's blog. My plan had been to try out a few new samples to consider a different stitch. After a few sample, I decided to use a smaller hook (4.5mm) and a half double crochet stitch rather than a single. This minor adjustment has made a huge difference in progress and there's not a great deal of difference in the look of the fabric.
The flower section as mentioned, caused much confusion. I eventually managed the making of the crochet flowers quite well but trying to decipher the pattern took some time. The end result is very satisfying. I wasn't sure about which colours to use as a contrast to the pistachio green of the body at first but almost without thought, blue came to the rescue. My usual default for most occasions.


Hopefully, I can enjoy making the remaining section of the Hanabira. I'll keep you posted. My plans for the project are very positive and I'm hoping to spend a few days working on it.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Friday Knitting Update

Hi Everyone
It's Friday and another weekly knitting update. I've finished the knitting part of my latest project, the Bousta Beanie (more on this here ). I need to make a Pom Pom, weave the ends in and block. This has been a very quick knit. I've loved making the Beanie and am already choosing colours for the next one.

My other update for today is the Hanabira. The Hanabira is my crochet cardigan project.- you can read back each Friday for more on the Hanabira. I'm 'up and down' with this project. I'm happy to say, 'crochet' is a challenge for me. I decided (some months ago) to use the Hanabira to improve and develop my crochet skills and generally this has happened. However, I'm not totally convinced about my efforts. It's a rather tedious project at the moment. Lots of rows of single crochet on quite a small hook. Each week, I seem to make very little progress. 

I'm at the point where most of the plain crochet on the body has been done and there is a wide flower stitch band coming up. You can see the pattern here.  I'm seriously considering a change of plan. I'm going to develop a number of test pieces which incorporate the flower band using different sized hooks. I'm begining to think my tension is not quite as it should be ! I will delay any ripping out for now but somehow, I think that's what I need to do

Looking back over the time I've been working on the Hanabira, without doubt, I've made huge progress. I feel confident with the crochet pattern (understanding it) and am able to 'read' my work. The whole idea of this project was to improve my crochet skills so I've succeeded in that.

Hopefully, next Friday, I will have a definite plan for the Hanabira and a Pom Pom on the Beanie.

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Knitting Project Round Up

Hi Everyone
I'm hoping to work through some of my unfinished knitting projects over the next week. I have a number of garments which simply need the ends sewing  in or a very small element of the pattern to complete. The garments in question can be seen in my little photo story :


I have highlighted four projects which are in various states of 'almost complete'. Mostly, they need the ends sewing in and blocking. The knitted top (bottom right) needs the neck edge re doing. I did knit the edge but wasn't happy with it - so unpicked the neck. All the other projects, as mentioned, simply need the ends sewing in and blocking. I should be able to complete these projects very quickly. I'm not sure why I've left them in a pile - waiting ? All the garments are successful knits and I've tried them on several times, all fit and will be lovely to wear !

Alongside the finishing job, I really need to re design how I store my yarn and wool. I think, I've got to the point where this will need to happen. I'm not looking forward to the job. I'm not happy with my current storage options and I seem to constantly re organise stuff without finding a good solution. However, the time has come for a drastic approach. My approach needs to be a complete reorganisation of ALL my making stash. This is a big, big job ! I'm taking the 'one day at a time' technique. I think, I'm avoiding tackling the job because I can't see the ideal end result, at the moment. But, I'm convinced I just need to start and the solution will become apparent. Wish me luck.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Micro Macrame Round Up

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing three of the latest Micro Macrame makes today. The last of the three (see right image on photo) has been almost successful ! I'm not totally convinced about the outer threading material - wax cotton. I am going to remake the bracelet with leather cord (arriving next week) and think the leather will allow for a more rigid edge, which will keep the shape of the bracelet intact. The wax cotton allows for lots of movement within the beads and although the bracelet sits on the wrist reasonably well, I think, the look of the bracelet can be improved with a leather cord.

I like the idea of wearing a few of these bracelets at the same time - a little 'Bo Ho' ! 


My next bracelet (we're not finished yet with this project) will use some polymer clay beads - to be developed for the job. I'm wondering about colours ? - so will check out my wardrobe for some ideas. My guess will be blue-ish, most of my life is blue !

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

New Knit on my needles

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm sharing a new knit on my needles - the Bousta Beanie by Gudrun Johnston. I started the knit at a lovely knitting workshop on Saturday organised by Fine Fettle Fibres (my regular Knit Group). Built into the event was a wonderful breakfast at the Running Fox (a very popular local eatery). Such a great start to the day.
The Bousta Beanie is a slouchy style Beanie hat  using three different colours of Shetland yarn and knitted in a Fair Isle pattern. Our workshop introduced lots of tips about simple Fair Isle techniques and we knitted and chattered for the next few hours. I had such a lovely time and met some delightful new people. Generally, a marvelous treat to the weekend. 

Here is a quick view of my progress as well as a look at the finished hat as per the pattern :

I've completed just over a third of the body of the hat. I've enjoyed the knit so far - the different colour pattern does seem to encourage the 'I'll do just another row' mentality. I like the repetitive rhythm of the colours and I feel I will be making more Bousta Beanies in different colours.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Designing for Sewing

Hi Everyone
A few weeks ago, I took part in a great Shibori dying workshop - look back here for more details of the session. The results of the workshop (the dyed fabric bits) have been sitting, waiting for me to decide what to do with them. 
Finally, I've decided ! - I'm going to sew the individual pieces of fabric together and make a top to wear. I've developed a very rough sketch with my initial design idea and will make a pattern this week.
I'm hoping I can piece the smallish pieces of fabric together to form an interesting length of fabric - large enough to realise my pattern. I'm not absolutely  sure if I have enough Shibori fabric for the job, if I'm short - I will just add some other fabric. I'm sure the project will happen.
Here's a quick look at the design :


I'd like a longish length top with high cut shoulders, slightly flared and button back closure. I think, the different dyed fabric sections could make an interesting feature for the top. This week, I hope to complete the pattern and start piecing the fabric together.

I'll share my progress, I as move through the various elements of the project.

Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Even More BoHo Experiments

Hi Everyone
As mentioned on Wednesady, my job yesterday was to complete my second colour way (blue) in the BoHo bracelet samples. Success, I managed to complete my sample and start another ! 
The 'other' is a different construction technique but it's firmly in the  BoHo Collection. I like to give each sample a name but have failed to name any of the three samples so far. They are stuck with 1#,2#,3#. I'm working on it, hopefully in a few days I will have some theme going.
Here is a quick view of #2 - the blue version :

The colours are predominantly blue/Teal but have a slight red colour going on in the larger beads. I've used a bead for the closure rather than a button, as used in the 1# version. I also  used the simple braided closure as per the 1# bracelet.
In addition to this blue sample, I started another bracelet. This time it's a different construction approach. I'm using a variety of different beads and weaving them around a couple of wax cotton threads. Again, this bracelet is blue - my favourite colour. Here's a quick look at my initial experiment :


As it's Friday, I should be reporting on the progress of the Hanabira crochet cardigan. I've only added a few rows this week and there's so little difference in how it looks, so I'm not including a photo. I'm hoping I can  finish the majority of the upper body section next week. The next big thing is a large flower pattern which adds quite a wide section to the body and should move on the cardigan, condiserably. Check out the finished design of the Hanabira here. This project has always been a long term thing but I feel I'd like to move it along a little quicker next week. Wish me luck !

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

BoHO Bracelet

Hi Everyone
I made minor progress yesterday with my Makes ! I'm not sure why ? However, I'm hoping to catch up today. My plan was to remake the BoHO Bracelet from Tuesday as well as a second sample in another colour. My first bracelet needed remaking because the bead tension within the braid was poor as well as uneven spacing. I only managed to produce the sample from the original idea :

The bracelet is a very simple beaded, Square Knot design with a button and a braided loop.

I was especially keen to find a good way of finishing the loop for the button fastening. I've made similar bracelets before and been disappointed with the finishing knots. This time, I'm pleased with the result. The knotted element of the loop is part of the BoHo 'thing' - but I do like a neat and tidy finish. This bracelet is a tiny bit long for my wrist - I can wear it, no problem but a slightly shorter version would be perfect. 
My second bracelet sample colour will be blue, of course ! I haven't chosen the beads yet - I'll get to that later. I think, I'd like to go for different sized beads as well as shades of blue. Hopefully, I'll have something to share tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

More Bracelet Plans

Hi Everyone
I managed to make another bracelet with my Macrame Board last night, I'd had a reasonably full day with the last Making Workshop for 2016/17 but squeezed in this little idea for another workshop. The last Making Workshop series has concentrated on Kumihimo techniques and proved very successful for all the Makers. Everyone has been excited and inspired to make beautiful bracelets and my next idea is to build on this enthusiasm. Look back over the blog for images and detail on the Kumihimo project. Here are a few images to show some of the work.


Moving on, my next project will aim to combine Kumihimo and Macrami techniques. I've developed a simple beaded, square knot bracelet and I'd like to combine the design with an element of flat Kumihimo (see bottom right).

I also want to use a simple button fastening with a Macrami weave loop (similar to the Wrap bracelet in the top image). In my Macrame sample, I've used a natural flax cord - when the Kumihimo element is introduced I'm going to replace the flax with a finer cord but in the same colour to give an impression of the flax. I want to highlight the cord pattern in the Kumihimo section and will keep the beads to the Macrame section. I may add one or two link/bridge findings to seperate each 'weave' technique. Perhaps, the bracelet will develop into a wrap style piece ? I'll keep working on these ideas and share my findings along the way.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

FairyHill Shawl

Hi Everyone
I've started a new knit - this time it's a shawl, the FairyHill Shawl by Helen Stewart. I love Helens knitting patterns. The detailed information provided  ie 'total stitches' and '% complete' is great for me. I like to know how many stitches I should have at any time. I'm easily distracted and often find myself a bit lost in a pattern, Helens method of stating how many stitches should be on the needle at any time is reassuring and boosts confidence in myself.
I talked about the yarn I'm using for the shawl a little while ago (read back here ) - dyed especially for this shawl. The pattern is straightforward and has a lovely lace section on the edge as well as some lace pattern across the body of the shawl.

All is going well but I'm a little disappointed about the weight of my yarn. I did think I'd dyed up a fingering weight and it's much more like a 'light' double knit. There have been moments when I thought about starting again, dying up a new skein in similar colours and leaving the current skein for another project - it's still not totally decided ! However, I've chosen to knit the small version of the pattern and I will probably wear it more like a scarf, so the thicker version maybe OK. 


The pattern calls for beads to be knitted into the pattern and I've started to add the beads (see bottom right). I like the effect, the colour is subtle as it blends into the knitting and somehow the beads give an elegant feel to the piece.
The pattern tells me I'm just over 15% complete so if I'm going to stop I need to do so before I reach 20%. I'll let you know what happens - tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Wrap Bracelet

Hi Everyone
I've finished my Wrap Bracelet - Macrame style (read back last week for more details). I've not worn the bracelet yet but having tried it on for the photo, it feels great. I'm going to wear it all day today and will check out the 'everyday' suitability. Often, prototype 'makes' have issues ! I was a little concerned about the length of the wrap element of the design. If the length is either too short or long, the bracelet is unwearable. However, so far (only 10 mins in) all seems well.


The beads are a great size for balancing the weight of the bracelet. Half the beads are glass like so give a little sparkle which is attractive. I love the colour of the bracelet and the beads, it's a few variations of a light Teal. A button is used as a bracelet closure. It's  a lovely silver square, shank button with an intricate 'filigree' pattern.
Generally, I love this simple design and feel it's been quite a success. I can see lots of options to develop the design and am keen to test out more ideas later this week. I'd like to try out different sized beads as well as varied thread colours. I'll share my results as they develop.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Macrame Experiments

Hi Everyone
As I mentioned yesterday, I have a new favourite crafting idea - Macrame Braiding (read back yesterday for more on this). My Macrame board arrived and I'm already halfway to my first finished bracelet. It's quite a satisfying process, particularly including beads into the braids.


The board is a great help in holding and organising the braid, I'm very happy I acquired the tool. I've managed to find some great little beads to make up my bracelet which will be a wrap style piece. The closure will be made with a button and a braided loop. Hopefully I can find time to finish my bracelet today. I've already decided on my next design using different sized beads. Generally, Macrame is a great success with me !

It's Friday, so I'm also updating on the Hanabira crochet cardigan, read back each Friday for more on this project. It seems to be taking forever but I try and complete a couple of rows each day - I've not quite managed that every day this week but I've made some progress. However, I'm struggling to see any progress in this weeks photo :


I'm still up and down about whether the project is a success or not ? I'm hoping the final garment will be wearable ? The jury is still out ! I'm still quite enjoying the process of making the cardigan, although every now and then I think the quality is not quite good enough. I'm also a little anxious that the size will be wrong ? I'm absolutely committed to completing this project - not sure when I'll get there ? but I will definitely get there !

Thanks for calling in today. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Macrame Inspiration

H Everyone
I've yet another inspired idea today. This has followed my Kumihimo work (see the last week or so for more on Kumihimo). My new idea is Macrame braiding. I was inspired by looking at a few kits from the bead shop, Spoilt Rotten Beads. They have some great videos as well as kits for developing Macrame bracelets. Take a look at their website here for a tutorial and details of their kits. 
I was especially taken with a braid combining beads using the Macrame technique - I'm already selecting beads from stash to combine into a design of my own. I've ordered a Macrame Board which I'm hoping will arrive today. I could, of course, use a clip board to develop Square Knots and 'weave in' beads - I've done this many times. However, I like the idea of the little board and feel it would be a more satisfying tool to use.


I especially love the blue version (above) which is a long,wrap style bracelet. I don't have beads like the ones in the image so my version(s) will look  different but I will aim for the colour combinations.
I'm hoping I can come up with a few different designs of my own, once I've practiced with the Board and the inspiration ideas above. I'd like to develop a few necklaces too - watch this space.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Knit Programme

Hi Everyone
Knitting has taken a bit of a back seat for a few weeks now ! I've been very busy with new Making projects and sample development - read back for more on this. However, it's time to get my knitting back on track. I'm still working away on a couple of cardigans, one knit, one crochet. My knitted cardigan is quite close to finishing but the crochet version will take many more weeks ! I'm enjoying both projects but I've been wondering what to do next, for a couple of days ? 
I've lots of new publications, POM POM as well as the latest Laine for inspiration but I keep coming back to my FairyHill Shawl by Helen Stewart. I've had this organised for some time and it's all ready to go, in a project bag - just waiting. I loved dying this yarn myself and am quite excited to see how it will knit up. So, I think it's going to be the FairyHill Shawl.


While I'm occupied with the cardigans and this shawl, I'll keep thinking about the next knits. I also need another idea for a pair of socks. This will top up my yarn programme. One large knit (more than one skein) -  the Mielle Cardigan by Andi Satterlund; one crochet project - the Hanabira by Eline Alcocer ; one pair of socks - to be decided (although, I do have an idea) and the FairyHill shawl - a one skein project. 
I have, until recently, been a monogamous knitter but I do find I love to have a range of knits going on. The variety seems to make knitting more of a relaxing thing for me. If I only have one project, it seems to consume me and I feel the need to be constantly knitting in a race to finish. Somehow, the multi knitting project approach allows me to dabble into each project or stick with one in any one session. However, it's quite easy to get carried away and end up with too many projects, for me, the balance seems to be a maximum of four (as described above).
I'm hoping to cast on the FairyHill shawl today and I'll share how it's going later in the week.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Still Obsessed

Hi Everyone
I'm totally obsessed with Kumihimo ! I thought I'd 'done' Kumihimo for now. However, not so ! I've only scratched the surface (obviously) but I did feel the basics had been covered for an introduction to Kumihimo. The problem is, I keep having new ideas - I've decided, this is a good thing and I'm  going with it !
Here is a quick look at my latest experiments :

The bracelet I'm calling #8 (for now) is made using simple embroidery floss, two strands held together with silver beads threaded onto one of the strands and braided in the usual way. It's very pretty and a surprisingly easy technique. I can see lots of new possibilities for this approach. The double 8 strand embroidery thread produces a solid cord of 5mm or so. I'd like to develop a new braid using lots of different shades of blue thread and adding small seed beads in a similar range of blues, covering the whole braid.

My second new braid is my first experiment with 'flat' braiding. Flat braids are produced by using a different weaving pattern. I used embroidery thread again, in a single 8 strand braid. The resulting braid is very small but quite pretty. I used three different colours, orange, yellow and lime green. I'm thinking about adding lots of charms to this braid. I will make some simple bead charms and also incorporate a few silver charms along the length of the braid.

My next move is to develop the idea inspired from the silver #8 bracelet and the charms for the flat braid. I'll look forward to sharing my results when I have something. I'm hoping to do a big photo shoot with all my Kumihimo work to date later this week, although - I'm not ruling out more experiments.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 3 July 2017

More Kumihimo Ideas

Hi Everyone
I'm still not quite finished with Kumihimo experiments. Ive spent some time developing another couple of ideas for workshop samples over the last few days.


The blue bracelet (top) has four different types of thread combined to form the braid. The resulting braid is varied in colour and texture. The main idea here was to provide an opportunity to include different sized beads into the bracelet. Smaller beads have smaller holes so the thread weight is key to including a specific sized bead. I've also added a cute bee charm to the blue bracelet and chunky findings. I love the blue/green colours of the beads and will look forward to wearing this bracelet myself. Blue, is my favourite colour.

The second bracelet with Antique Bronze findings has turned out well too. I've given the bracelet 'clusters' of beads along the length with a glimpse of orange in the clusters. The findings are simple on shape, forming a flattened end. The whole effect of the bracelet is very pretty.

I need to add findings to the previous braids in my Kumihimo Collection (read back last week for more details) and I can begin to launch my workshop kits with confidence.

Thanks for calling in today.