Monday, January 22, 2018

A Few Finishes

I finished weaving the M&W fabric (M&W is the threading pattern of the warp on the loom) -


This was a project to see how the crochet cotton I was given would weave up (to determine a good Ends Per Inch - EPI - the spacing of the warp thread on the loom), and what kind of fabric it would make, also to try out dyeing warp and weft threads. It was a good experiment, and I learned a lot! If you are interested in more information see my Ravelry project page for more of the weaving details.


I put the long piece of fabric on the buffet in the dining room. I was told by my children that it looks like a stained rag, but I think the colours are interesting -

close up of the dyed warp threads

When I was weaving I tried out a stretcher system on my loom (to keep the warp from drawing in too much during weaving). I had seen a fancy set up similar to this for about $80 (Leclerc Clip Temple System),


but I used $4 tarp clamps from Princess Auto, some string and a couple of old glass door knobs as weights (now that I know that it works I will add some eye screws to the loom, and figure out some better weights). I was amazed with how much it helped with the weaving.


I also crocheted a little thing out of a small amount of cotton I had dyed a few years ago. I wanted to see how the variegated thread would crochet up (since I plan on dyeing more of the gift cotton), I was also trying out some different patterns.


This past week I dyed some yarn (this is a Merino wool and cashmere blend from KnitPicks). This is for my sister.

This next finish is a little quilted mat - 10"x12" (the Thimbles are just over 1" tall).


I keep little cut Thimbles next to my sewing machine to use as 'leaders and enders' when I am sewing, then all of a sudden I have enough to make something with them (they are also a great way to use up the smallest scraps of fabric). This mat used beige fabric leftover from a GO! cutter project for something different.


This last finish of the week was a joint effort between my oldest son and I. He had wanted to learn stained glass so we made this together (the idea is from Pinterest - feathers are so popular these days). I just demonstrated each step, and he did great. We finished it off with some real feathers, a strip of moose hide and beads for decoration.

I am still working on a piece of embroidery, knitting the Tealeaf sweater, sewing,


and I have also been combing some wool for spinning. I am amazed how lovely it comes out with a couple of passes of the combs.

All the best!♥︎

Monday, January 15, 2018

Crochet Scissor Case

This week I made a little scissor case.


I was pleased to follow a crochet chart for this. It did take a couple of time to figure out the rows, luckily it is just small - the chart was different from the well explained Craftsy class pattern.


It was also the first time that I have crocheted around fabric - this is felt so it was easy to poke holes into.


The weaving that I started last week is progressing nicely, I've woven over 1m so far. It is nice to have something on the loom that I go just go work on when I have 5 minutes.

One of the Craftsy classes that I watched recently was 'Fabric Play: Sewing Mojo Minis' with Suzy Williams which inspired me to start the follow project -


So far I pieced a stylized log cabin block, painted fabric, added free motion embroidery with the sewing machine, and hand embroidery. I'll keep adding hand embroidery and embellishments.


Another Craftsy class I watched was 'Quick & Delicious Meals using a Vitamix Blender' with Nicki Sizemore, and I made a jar of  peanut butter!

All the best!♥︎

Monday, January 8, 2018

Cotton Dyeing

Last week I was given about 10 pounds of #10 crochet cotton, so I thought it would be fun to experiment weaving with it.


I dyed about one pound of it - it has been a few years since I have dyed cotton (I dye wool quite often and it is much easier), I had forgotten how long it takes - the cotton has to sit in the dye for 24 hours (wool only takes a couple of hours from start to finish).

The dyed warp and skeins plus the original cotton.
I have never had much luck dyeing cotton - the colour always seems to shift. I am happy with the colours. I dyed a some warp for weaving and a couple of skeins that I might use for the weft when weaving.


Above are the warps (4 metres long) - the two on the left are spot dyed, and the third I just washed with the other yarn so they would all be the same colour. I have only seen photos of spot dyeing the warp and it looked lovely, I am hoping that mine won't look like a rag used to clean up a spill (if you don't see this project again you'll know that it wasn't successful).


Putting the warp on the loom is a long process - I have over 500 ends to thread through the reed and the heddles. I am trying out a new-to-me weaving pattern too - a 'M&W' draft.


I finished a knitting project this week - a Rainbow Leftie.


The pattern is 'Leftie' by Martina Behm. I used Merino wool that I had dyed and then spun (a skein of grey and skein of a rainbow gradient). More details on my Ravely page.


I also finished spinning a skein of yarn - this one is a BFL wool and nylon blend for socks, that I had dyed.


The Tealeaf Sweater is coming along nicely - I am working on the lace at the bottom of the sweater (it is a lovely, easy stitch pattern).

All the best!

Monday, January 1, 2018

The New Year!

Happy New Year!

I don't make resolutions for a new year, but I do like to make 'crafting' plans - usually involving trying something new, a year long project etc. 
For 2018 the plan is to diversify my crafts. 
Lately I have heard of people calling themselves - a quilter with a capital Q, or a knitter with a capital K. I can't say that I am obsessed with one particular creative outlet, I enjoy everything that I do. So for this new year I want to try a larger variety of crafts - lots of old, but hopefully some new ones too.

This plan did start at the end of 2017 when we remodelled our storage room and I now have an area for stained glass (the boxes of glass had been packed since our last move 10 years ago!)

My first piece of stained glass in 10 years - idea from Pinterest
I used to make a lot of stained glass, it was really nice to try it again, and this is what motivated me to expand my crafting experience.

At the same time Craftsy introduced a membership plan. I have been a Craftsy fan for a long time, so signed up for the year with the thought to try as many things as I can.


This is the first project from a Craftsy class - a sampler cowl from 'See It, Crochet It: Reading Diagrams' by Charles Voth. I know how to crochet and made a lot of things when I was young, but I just made things up as I went along. Finally I learned the names of the stitches, new stitches and how to follow a pattern. Now I remember why I enjoyed crochet so much as a child. This cowl is made out of leftover silk and merino, fingering weight handspun.


This is a new project that I started today - the 'Tealeaf Sweater Knit-Along' by Bristol Ivy, another Craftsy class.

I just wanted to show something else new that I tried recently -


Soft and Stable batting to make a bucket bag. This stuff is fabulous.


The bag is lightweight and sturdy.


It is a perfect project bag.


I also tried some cross stitch again. This is a pattern by Veronique Enginger.

Another plan for the new year is to blog more regularly - I'll see how that goes!

All the best!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fibre Fun!

The start of July marked the start of Tour de Fleece - on online spin-along that happens every year during Tour de France. This was my fourth year participating and the time of the year when I get most of my yarn spun.


The before picture of my cleaned and oiled wheel, plus the fibre all ready to start.


This is the finished result - 18 skeins (plus a couple of little leftover skeins), 1.5kg (3.3lbs) of fibre spun, over 3km (over 3,000yds) of yarn! I did 2 sweater spins this year, as well as some sock yarn, and lace weight yarn for a cowl, plus a few extra skeins.

I usually don't start any knitting during the spin-along, but I did finish knitting a couple of projects, both with hand spun yarn -

The first is the Ribwarmer Vest by Elizabeth Zimmermann. This is the second project I have knit with this yarn - I didn't wear the other piece and liked the yarn too much to let is go to waste. This should be more practical. Like all Elizabeth Zimmermann's patterns this was really interesting to knit.


The second is a pair of socks. I find spinning for socks the most challenging, but this pair came out really nice. They were knit toe-up, two-at-a-time on a long circular needle, I tried out a different toe, and a regular flap and gusset heel.

Before the Tour de Fleece started I tried out some needle felting for the first time.


This sleeping mouse was made after watching a great YouTube tutorial - Needle Felted Sleepy Mice by Sara Renzulli. Everything was so well explained, and the mouse was easy to make (the only change I made was that I added some front paws). I nestled the mouse in a mug (a pottery one that I made a long time ago) with some little leftover balls of hand spun yarn.


Since the first one was so much fun, I made another mouse on a wire frame so that it could stand. I knitted this one a little scarf using hand spun yarn.


They are so cute, and fun to make, I know I will be making more


After the Tour de Fleece it is always exciting to get back to knitting. I started a Close to You shawl by Justyna Lorkowska (a free pattern on Ravelry), using a skein of cashmere and silk yarn, that I had blended, spun and then dyed earlier in the year. I love garter stitch scarves - they are reversible, and so squishy, and this yarn is incredibly soft. The pattern is very simple and easy to memorize.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!♥︎

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Celebrating Canada's 150th Birthday!

In honour of Canada's 150th Birthday this year I designed a mug rug pattern to share.


The finished piece is about 9"x14". It uses appliqué and piecing techniques.

I think what really makes this mug rug is the Delectable Mountain quilt blocks used on the sides - they are similar to Maple Leaves on their own.

I used Bali/batik fabric in red and an off-white print (white would be great, but as it is a mug rug I knew stains would happen and this fabric already looked like coffee stains). I am sure two fat quarters would be enough - I just used scraps I had at home.

The piece starts with the Delectable Mountain quilt blocks -


You will need four each in red and white fabric - 4+1/4" squares.

Make Half Square Triangles with a red and white square (this is where lay the two squares right sides together, draw a diagonal line on the back of the light square and stitch 1/4" on both sides of the line. Cut on the line and press the seam to the dark - If you need more detailed instructions here is a link to my tutorial for Easy Half Square Triangles). You will make 8 blocks.


Trim the Half Square Triangle blocks to 3+3/4".


Place 2 squares right sides together, with opposite colours together,


the seams kind of 'lock' together.


Cut the block into three pieces 1+1/4" wide-



This creates 6 pieces that are opposite colours.


Do this will all the blocks (there are 24 pieces, 12 for each border).


The strips are laid out as in the above photo and sewn together to form the two borders.


Sew the two borders to a 8" x 9+1/2" square of white fabric (the 9+1/2" should be the width of the finished borders, I cut the fabric out 10" and trimmed it after adding the borders). The fabric is now ready for the appliqué!



I don't have a PDF, but you can just save the above image and paste it in app/program that you use to create documents - enlarge the image to fit a regular piece of paper (there is a 1" guide on the image). (There are also online 'Image to PDF' convertors that you can use - save the image and upload it to the site you choose - search 'Image to PDF). (If you really can't create your own pattern email me and I can send it as a PDF - the link for my email in in my profile, linked on the side bar).



I used my favourite Invisible Machine Appliqué for the appliqué - here is a link to one of my tutorials and another one. Any appliqué method would work. For the '0' I opted to add the centre as a separate piece using the white background fabric on top of the red just to make it easier to get the freezer paper pieces ready. You can see that the appliqué pieces overlap onto the borders.


When using the Invisible Machine Appliqué technique with freezer paper remember to press all the points down first.


I layered the the finished piece on to two layers of batting (the bottom one cotton and the top wool) because I find that two layers of batting work well for mug rugs (absorbs heat and spilled mugs).
A mug rug should be heavily quilted to make it lay flat, and so that mugs aren't tippy on it, but I did decide to leave the red parts of the appliqué un-quilted so they would puff  up a bit (I think I will be thankful that I used fabric that already looked stained!).
I free motion quilted in the ditch around all the appliqué and the red of the border, quilted parallel straight lines in the red border, and sort of radiating lines from the centre in the white.


Enjoy!

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.♥︎