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Thursday, 31 August 2017

Kumihimo Returns

Hi Everyone
I'm introducing a new little Making Project today. I need a name but for now I'm just calling it - 'the flat/beaded K bracelet' - not very 'snappy' ! However, I'm confident, as I work a name will come to me.
My simple flat braided bracelet will use pre threaded beads on a Kumihimo disc. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know all about previous experiments with Kumihimo. You can read back for more if interested.
This time, I have some very pretty smallish glass beads in lots of bright colours, very pretty. I'm going to combine the beads with navy embroidery thread, held in double strands. I've practiced using the embroidery thread held double a few times and the resulting braid is a great option for a bracelet. I'm not completely sure about my clap yet but am thinking of making a slightly chunky sterling silver fastening from scratch ? I'll wait and see how the proportions work out before committing myself. I will ensure I can add jump rings into the ends of the design, this will give me a few different options when the time comes.
Here's a quick look at my bracelets basic ingredients :


I'm still technically on holiday ! - so my day will be very relaxed. I may finish my braid today but maybe not ? I'll record my progress as I go, the Sun is shining - maybe I could sit out and enjoy it while I braid.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Hoop Art

Hi Everyone
I've a new little project to share today. It's a pack of three tiny embroidery hoops (2.5cm across) which turn into jewellery. I need to find a design, some backing fabric plus threads and I can make either a necklace or mini broach. I'm thinking one necklace and two broaches at the moment ? - that may change !
Here's a quick peak at the kit :

The kit contains 3 wooden hoops with the backing pieces, chains for the necklaces and mini broach findings.This is a very small embroidery job and will be a joy to make. I want to spend today looking for inspiration for the embroidery bits. I think! I will shortlist 5 ideas, then will sleep on it before making my final decisions. I haven't decided on colours yet - I can feel another shortlist coming on !
I like the idea of a necklace but also think the broach idea will be great for a denim jacket and a second pin for one of my yarn project bags. I'm already thinking about other little wooden shapes which could also have the embroidery treatment and turn into necklaces or pins/broaches.

I'll report my progress in a few days.
Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Handmade Wardrobe

Hi Everyone
Following on from my blog episode yesterday (read back for details), I'm launching 'phase 1' of my Handmade Wardrobe Initiative ! Not sure I should be making this general knowledge - yet ? However, I'm quite keen to get going with the idea, so why not ? I don't have a timescale for my plan or indeed a plan beyond the initial 'make' but I am thinking about a plan. Before I start backtracking (the whole idea is rather scary), here is a look at my first project :


I'm starting with a very safe bet, it's a pyjama set (far right image), very few people will see me wearing this stuff ! 

I've been looking for something like this for a few weeks and the pattern presented itself (on sale too) a few days ago. The fabric is a beautiful cotton in very pretty colours. I like a pair of pyjamas for lounging around the house and desperately need to replace my current range. Hopefully, this pattern will work well and I can make a few more sets, perhaps varying the pattern as I go.

My plan is to cut out the fabric one day and sew the next. I may need more time for finishing but the pattern is very simple so I'm hoping this make will be a quick one. I like perfection with my sewing so will take my time. I have a need for the inside to be as good as the outside ! - a throwback from my childhood - my Grandmother was a professional and insisted on high standards of finishing.

I love the idea of sewing but it's quite some time since I made a garment. I've made all kinds of stuff in the past : wedding dresses, coats and jackets etc so I am confident sewer but it's been quite a while since I made anything to wear for myself. However, I'm quite excited about starting. I'll share my progress as I go, I'm not sure when I will start, exactly ? but it will be before the end of the week.

Thanks for calling in today.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Handmade Stuff

Hi Everyone
Today, I want to share my thoughts on the latest Pompom Quarterly magazine (the 22nd issue !). I love this magazine and look forward to each new issue with much excitement. Take a look at their web site for more on PomPom here.


This issue does not disappoint. It's full of lovely Autumnal knits and references to a hand made wardrobe, something which appeals to me, enormously.  

There is a lovely feature on Merchant & Mills, my favourite all time fabric shop. I love everything they do and they do lots of wonderful things (related to sewing). One day I will visit their shop in Rye (quite a way from me) but until then I'm happy to browse the online shop and drool over the beautiful patterns and fabric and notions etc. An online visit to their shop is highly recommended take a look - here. Each time I visit the online Merchant & Mills, I make plans to start my handmade wardrobe. - one day ! I do have one of their patterns and some fabric and will make a dress soon. The handmade wardrobe is probably quite some time away !

Getting back to Pompom, I have read the magazine from cover to cover and have wish plans (in my head) to knit ALL of the knits in this issues. The only pattern which made me think it wasn't for me is a long cardigan with a check-like pattern on the front, however, on further consideration, I've decided I would actually like a cropped version.

So, I'm hoping to work my way through the patterns - a cardigan, two cowls, the potential cropped cardigan (adapted from the long cardigan previously mentioned), a pair of mits, a cropped jumper, a scarf, another jumper (the one on the cover) and a pair of gauntlet gloves. There is no timeline or even a yarn plan yet but I will have a great time deciding on colours and yarns. My current yarn stash is enormous and I will definitely have some yarns for a starting point. 

My approach to making (everything - including knitting) : is all about taking time to consider all aspects of design as well as the actual making process. I don't like rushing things, I like detail and perfection. I don't always get perfection but I do strive for it. Anything which does not reach the standard has to go !! As I improve my knitting skills I find so much more pleasure in the process as well as celebrating the completed item. I find huge pleasure in wearing my knitted garments - if they feel right and look acceptable. 

I must start looking in my stash for potential yarns, I'll start a list when I can pair up yarn and patterns and see where there are gaps. I'll keep a record of my progress on Fridays in my Fibre Update blog episode. Sounds like a great plan, I wonder if I will need to buy for yarn !

Thanks for calling in today.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Fibre Friday

Hi Everyone
My last fibre update summarised the progress I'd made on all the 'live' fibre projects currently underway (look back for details). As I've been away for a week there not a whole lot to report. 
I have completed the Spotty Socks and have started another project - the Amelia Ruffle Scarf. I've not added any work to the Hanabira - the crochet cardigan. I'm hoping to pick up the Hanabira and give the project some time this week. I need to undo some of an arm and will get that sorted. 
My big spinning project (the Mans sweater)  has also had a tiny bit of time but nothing significant, again - I need to give my sweater spinning some time this week.
Here's a quick look at the Spotty Socks and Amelia Ruffle Scarf 


I loved knitting the socks - I'll definitely make another pair. I'd quite like another pair in mustard spots and navy. The shawl is going well, I like the ruffle element and am going well. I may even complete this week ! (maybe).

As I've mentioned, I need to give some time to my spinning. I really enjoy spinning and the sweater quantity of yarn is quite a task but I'm still enjoying the process. I'm planning to spend an hour everyday next week so should make some significant progress. 
Another big project for me is to review and organise all my fibre stash. I'm at the point where I don't know what I've got and sometimes I think I have some yarn or fibre  and I'm not sure because I can't find it ! I've got to the critical point now and I need a completely new storage system. I'm going to give some time thinking it through and by next week I should have made my decision on how, practically, I can make it happen.

So, not too many finished projects but I feel I'm 'clearer' about the direction I'm heading with my fibre projects.

Thanks for calling today. Have a great weekend.

Under Construction

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm hoping to complete a few silver  rings. It's a while since I spent a whole day at my workbench and I'm planning on just that ! I started a new design just before going on our little holiday, so will finish that. This is a prototype design for a PolyGem ring. I've prepared the silver for soldering as well as producing a silver ball which will get a PolyGem (a polymer clay shape) embedded into the silver. I'm hoping this ring design will be a great everyday ring, as such the PolyGem feature will be quite small. I want to be able to wear it while working with practical tasks.


Hopefully, I will find enough time to make a few different variations on my design. I love to wear stacked rings and will be using a range of different sized sliver wire to create some varied combinations. I like the idea of combining a PolyGem ring with a number of plain versions. I'm not sure what I will produce, watch this space for the results sometime next week.

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Bracelet (to be)

How Everyone
Another day and I'm still in holiday mode so I'm planning a very lazy day. Pity about the weather, it's a bit dull and slightly damp - a sunny, warm day would have enhanced my plans ! However, I'm undeterred!
Today, I'd like to start a new make - a new bracelet for myself. I ordered a beautiful string of small glass beads a while ago and they have been sitting on a table just in my view (from my regular knitting space). So, today is the day I want to design a bracelet for the beads. 


I think, at this stage, I'm going for a braided navy design which 'weaves in' the beads. The bracelet will probably have a sterling silver clasp which I will design and make specifically for the piece. I'm not rushing this make - this will be a very selfish, slow production thing. I want to enjoy the whole process. I get most pleasure from drawing out, in detail, my designs and don't usually have enough time to do this. There are no deadlines and it's all about going slow - a deliberate consideration of every detail.
I'll share my developments as they emerge.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Happy Days

Hi Everyone
It's Day 2 back at home (from our little family holiday) and I'm actually feeling quite relaxed. Ive been washing and tidying- post holiday since arriving home and there's still quite a bit of work to do, however, I've started a new knit and somehow that seems more important ! - achieving this mindset is rather satisfying ! The new knit is the Amelia Ruffle Scart by Alison Moreton.


I've had the idea of the project in my head for a few weeks and did wonder what to knit next, after my Spotty Socks (look back yesterday for a look). Each time I thought about what my next  knit would be, the Amelia scarf immediately came into my mind.
I like the simplicity of the look but the quirky ruffle edge also appeals to me. I'm using baa ram ewe Dovestone in the Wesley Bib colour way, the pattern uses the baa ram ewe Titus yarn which is a finer weight but I'm happy with how the fabric is developing so far. I've only just started but it's going well. The rows just 'fly' by.
The ruffle part of the design has an interesting crochet technique attached to it which I'm looking forward to trying. The main part of the scarf uses a series of short rows so the scarf is knitted sideways. This sideways knit means there is a reasonable amount of stitches on the needles at anyone time. Some of my recent knits have required hundreds of stitches per round and it's quite a daunting task after a while. The shorter rows are very encouraging.
I'm looking forward to a knitting session later today and will share my progress on the Friday Fibre update.

Thanks for calling in today. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

The Grand Return

Hi Everyone
We are back from the 'not so Grand Tour'. Lots of things going on in our world has rather limited the 'Grand Tour' experience for this year !! We settled for a short Glamping experience quite close to home. The whole week turned out very well. Our weather was great and we enjoyed a combination of walking, reading, eating and snooping in Antique/junk ships as well as knitting. Generally, I feel quite relaxed and inspired !

I also managed to finish my Spotty Socks (started before our break) and just have a few ends to sew in. Here's a quick look :

The finished socks are very pretty, I love the spots. I also like the heel stitch pattern, this very simple knit 1, slip 1 pattern results in quite a solid heel section which feels very nice when worn. I adapted the pattern with a picot cast on and enlarged the instep width, I often have problem getting socks to fit because of the instep being too narrow. Other than that, I followed the pattern and love the result.

I did swop between DPNs and circular needles for the first sock but decided the DPNs suited the job for the second sock. I will block the socks later and they should be ready to wear. I've enjoyed knitting these socks and will forever associate them with sitting outside in the sunshine enjoying beautiful views of the North Northumberland hills.

Thanks for calling in today.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Friday Fibre Update

Hi Everyone
My fibre update today is a summary rather than an update as such. I've been sharing progress on the current projects most of the week so - no real surprises !


The Hanabira is moving on at a very leisurely pace. I'm still not sure about the whole project. The sleeve is a new addition but my idea of introducing a new stitch pattern has not been successful, so that needs to come out. I wanted to try on the cardigan for size and amazingly the whole thing is good from a fit point of view. My major issues - the front edge, it's very uneven and the stitch pattern for the whole garment, is not consistent. However, I'm soldiering on and will probably complete the pattern and then 'rip out' and start again. I'm using the project as a training exercises and hoping I will have learned enough to make a good version. I'm very happy with my flower boarder and the shape of the cardigan, so that a bonus.

Next is the new Spotty Sock project, this is going well. I've changed to a circular needle and made much better progress. I think the rib section on DPNs was a good move but for me but the FairIsle was begining to get messy. I think, the lack of skill on my part was creating a loose stitch construction. I find it impossible to hold my yarn in both hands and as a result the floats amongst the four seperate DPNs was causing slack stitches. The circular needle has allowed me to create a consistent pattern tension and results in a neat fabric. I'm onto the last spot rows for the sock leg and then it's the heel. I do enjoy FairIsle knitting, I can see more coming along soon.

Next, is my current spinning project. This is a big, big project. I'm spinning for a jumper (Man size) so lots more to go, I've only just started. The fibre is a mix of Corriedale and Blue Faced Leicester which I'm developing as I go. I blend a batch of rolags, spin, ply and move on. I'm measuring my yardage as I go and will complete the spin before knitting but I've chosen a pattern, so I know how much I will need. 
With handspun there is always the chance that gauge will be different so I'm going to prepare for that and will spin more. By gauge, I mean both thr handspun weight as well as my knitting gauge (I'm a very tight knitter). The sweater pattern is suggesting 12x128m skeins, which sounds overwhelming! However, I'm aiming to just keep going and I'll get there. So far, I'm 66m in ! but I've just started. My 66m was done over one session, I don't remember how long it took but I often loose myself in time while spinning so I'm not phased by the plan. The yarn from this spin is so lovely and the spinning is such a joy. I've already decided not to get obsessive about measuring, I'm hoping to use my Friday round up to keep checking yardage, so once a week I will count up. My time is quite limited so I'm already mentally prepared for the long haul.

That's it for my Fibre round up. There are are a few finishing jobs 'on the go' but I've not touched them all week, so they don't count for today.

Thanks for calling in today. Next week, we are off for our Grand Tour, so posts will be either difficult or non existent. I always have great intentions of keeping the blog going and am disappointed by lack of phone signal. So, my plan this time is to collect a range of images and do a summary when we get back. It's all a bit of a surprise this year - to me as well as everyone else ! Not sure exactly what's happening - all very exciting !

Hope to be back in a week or so. Until then, have a great weekend.
Bye for now.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Spotty Socks

Hi Everyone 
I spent some time yesterday developing a new knitting project - a pair of Spotty Socks. Before deciding on my cast on,  I tried many different techniques - new and old to me. My final decision was a Picot Cast On. I wanted a very loose top and think the Picot gives the socks a pretty 'look'.  I'm using Sock Yeah yarn in two colours - Benitoit and Peridot. The yarn is just leftovers from other socks, I'm hoping I have enough to complete my socks ? My usual approach is to use a circular needle but this time I've gone for the DPNs.

All is going well, so far. I've developed the cuff in a single rib and started the spot pattern. It's looking good and I'm enjoying the very simple FairIsle which produces the spots. The sock is a very simple pattern and Im adapting as I go. I'll go into more detail when I'm finished re the pattern.
Here's a quick peak at my progress.


I have another repeat of theses two spots patterns and then it's the heel ! I've made great progress. I do enjoy the FairIsle thing.

I'm hoping to keep going with the socks alongside my 'finishing' knitting projects. I'm on track to finish sewing in the ends of another cardigan today. 
It's Friday's fibre update tomorrow, so I'll round up my fibre related projects from this week, call in again for my summary.

Thanks for visiting today.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

More Spinning Tales

Hi Everyone
Another spinning story today. I've been preparing this project for quite some time and have only just completed my first batch of yarn. This is a BFL/ Corriedale blended yarn. I'm blending so I'm hoping to have a consistent mix of fibres across the spin ! It's a very satisfying thing to do and my knitted sample is inspiring me to keep going with this very long job.
I'm spinning a sweater quantity of fibre with some variation in yarn blend. I'm hoping to have a lighter and darker range of colours for the final yarn. I don't need to change the blend very much to get my colour range, so need to keep checking my samples. The blend is approximately 60% BFL to 40% Corriedale (dark grey) and I'm slightly increasing the Corriedale for the rib elements of the sweater. Way back in May, I posted this photo of my knitted sample


This lovely sample is keeping me going. It feels wonderful and I'm certain it's going to be a great sweater. This time it's not for me !!

Here's my first batch of 66m :


Only 1400m to go ! I'll report back each Friday re my progress alongside the Hanabira crochet project, so call in to check progress. This is a long term project and there no deadlines and I'm not daunted so 'all is well'.

Thanks for calling in today.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Spinning Treats

Hi Everyone
A great little package arrived yesterday - my monthly subscription to the Time Travellers Club. This is something organised by Hilltop Cloud a fibre company based in the hills of Mid-Wales. There are lots of beautiful fibres in their shop and a number of different subscription clubs as well as other things about fibre - take a look. I love all their things and could easily buy the entire shop ! Look here for more information.

My July subscription arrived along with the usual (always interesting) story behind the inspiration for the monthly fibre. This month the inspiration is all about Saffron. The fibre has been dyed with lots of shades of orange, pinks and purple - it's stunning. 


I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my fibre ? I think it needs to be part of something special. I love the colour combinations. I have just over 100 gms. and a fingering weight yarn is suggested (in my head) as I look at the fibre. I'd like to keep the intensity of the colours so may go for a shawl ? If I go for a fingering weight yarn, I should have enough for a small shawl.
The fibre is 17% Linen, 17% Merino and 66% BFL. I'll make a small sample and see how it wants to spin. My general approach to new fibre is to 'feel' how the fibre wants to be spun rather than having a definite plan at the begining. I'll share my sample, when it's ready.

Thanks for calling in today.