Four seasons quilt

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Cute sheep beanie

The  baa-ble hat was the free pattern for Shetland Wool Week 2015. it's is so cute and the Shetland colours make it. You could use other colours, though You can get the free pattern here. If you are interested in the 2017 Sheep Wool Week beanie then you can find the pattern on the Shetland Wool Week site

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Crochet Christmas Characters

These Christmas characters are so cute. It might be a bit late to do them now for Christmas. depends what other things you need to do! These would make lovely gifts and super cute decorations. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

African flower crochet motif

african flower motif

 I used the African flower crochet motif to make two practice medallions in Christmas colours for the chicken challenge in our spinning group. We have to make a chicken door stop. It's just for fun. I have spun all the colours and then had to decide how I was going to make my chicken. I have decided to crochet it and then I thought using the African flowers ,which are often used for blankets an soccer balls, would be a good idea. I worked on two motifs and haven't decided yet whether I'll use both. I like the 5 colour one on the left. If I use both I'll have to put an extra round on the small one. There are written instructions for the soccer ball on crochetbug. CraftPassion also has written instructions so you can make a blanket or bag. It's a versatile motif. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tunisian Crochet

This Tunisian crochet video by Bella Coco crochet is very easy to follow. Tunisian crochet creates fabric and so it is very versatile for hats, blankets, jackets and scarves. It does not take long to master and then you can try the two colour work. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Crochet Christmas Tree

This is a really lovely Christmas Tree to crochet. The instructions are clear and well thought out. It looks a bit different from other crochet Christmas trees. It just looks really effective. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Knitted dishcloth

I have made a trialled my knitted dishcloth and all I can say is it has surpassed expectation. I didn't have to use my little pot scrubber that I usually have to use with my shop bought dish cleaner. It is heavier and so it cleans and scrubs easily. It is not for heavy duty scrubbing. I had some decent dishes to try it out on. It gets inside jars and cleans them easily. It brings up saucepans and my stove top. I sound like a walking advert but I am going to make more and use them. I can throw them in the wash. This one is an acrylic yarn and cotton knitted together. I am making another one which is not so thick. I am wondering if it will do as well. If , after it's worn out it doesn't break down in my compost bin, I shall be using it to stop soil erosion. Some of my soil just gets too dry and dusty so this will help hold the soil at the end if its dishwashing life.

 I used 7mm needles and 32 stitches and started with 4 knit , four purl along the row. That's for four rows and then you reverse it for four rows. My picture has done well on Instagram and I am getting a lot of encouragement for my decision to try out a knitted dishcloth. Way to go!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Knit a flat round circle

I made a bag with my homespun wool but when I started it I realised I didn't know how to knit a circle for the bottom. I could have knitted a square bag but I thought the sparkle fibre and the other colours would suit a round bag. I crocheted a round for the bottom and it looks nice.It also suits the style of the bag.  I then just picked up the stitches onto a round needle so I could do the fair isle pattern for the sides of the bag. I really enjoyed making it but now I have decided it's time to learn how to knit a flat , round circle! My bag is made of sparkle fibre, wool, cotton and alpaca fleece. I crocheted chains of double fibre for the bag strings and added some beads I had for decoration. The sparkle fibre was mixed with Finn and Corriedale but the other wool is ram's wool because it is very strong and suits bags. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Knitted dishcloths

I have decided I'll give these knitted dish cloths a go. I haven't been very comfortable with the idea but I have researched and worked out you can soak and wash them and so, in the end, they are more hygienic than anything else you use. You need cotton or a cotton blend so that they are absorbent but that also makes them easy care and easy wash and they wouldn't be adding to the washing load. I have also worked too they would be a good way to practise new patterns before you try your main project with that pattern! There are some good free patterns on allfreeknitting. Favecrafts discusses the best yarns to use. Frugalandthriving looks at the benefits of knitted dishcloths from a personal and environmental point of view. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Easy knitted fingerless gloves

Joan Laws explains everything about fingerless gloves. She explains it all carefully and, as she goes along, she gives you insight into how you can change the pattern for your own needs. The free pattern is here on Craftsy. Once you have mastered them you can change yarns, colours and texture. You can knit patterns and Fair Isle. You can cable them. Fingerless gloves are important when you need to keep your hands warm but you want access to your peripheral dexterity. Fingerless gloves with parts of the fingers can slow you down or make you clumsy. These don't. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Knitted panel jacket

This was an interesting jacket to knit for several reasons. It is the first garment I have made for myself with my own homespun wool. I had odd balls of wool I had spun and they were all nice and I wanted to use them for something for myself. The panel jacket was the very thing. It's the Butterfly Stitch Jacket from a Better Homes and Garden magazine pull out . I didn't use the butterfly stitch. It worked well because I could coordinate the odd balls of wool I had into the panels. I used 8mm needles. The patterns suggests 10mm and 12mm but they were too big to get the right tension. The jacket is mainly merino wool with some ram's wool and alpaca fleece. I put a ribbed band on the bottom because I didn't like  the way it looked without it. With thicker wool it might have looked all right. I used a round needle to do the bottom of the jacket and around the edges at the front. I knitted the front edges in one piece because I used a round needle. The pattern suggests knitting it in two halves. People could not believe how quickly I knitted this up. I did. It was very quick! It has two oblong pieces and then 3 more of less triangular pieces. One piece goes in the back and the other two at the sides. It really is an interesting pattern and great for thicker wool. I really like it and it's very cosy to wear...even though it was 31 degrees Celsius in Adelaide on the day I finished it!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Scotch tension or double drive

I have an Ashford wheel with Scotch tension and once you get used to it you can really use that Scotch tension to adjust how the fibre is going onto the spool. If you are learning to spin it means you can give yourself time to draft. if yo are wanting to make fine wool you can adjust he tension so you can do that. You can make the wheel do what you want. I also have a double drive wheel. The man in the video is right. It pulls the fibre in fast and with a stronger pull which you night need for heavier fibre but you cannot control it well.

 I have worked out a way to convert my double drive wheel so it can run with Scotch tension as well. it wasn't easy as there is no cross bar of wood under the spool as there are in most double drives. This way I can have more control over that wheel. A double drive can over spin the fibre and the yarn starts to twist back onto itself. You can work with that and fix it as you go, but why not just have the Scotch tension where you can adjust the pull? Finer wool you really need that with. I made some sparkle yarn on the double drive and that worked well. Double drives are really good at plying. To me, all wheel should have both options and if I were to have only one wheel, I'd opt for Scotch tension. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

How to use a zipper foot

I know. I get lazy too but I have put this video on here to remind me why I need to use my zipper foot more often. I sometimes just get in the mood where I thinks it's too hard to install the zipper foot. It's not. You just have to do it because it means sewing in a zipper will be a lot easier and that's why they made zipper foots (feet?!) for sewing machines. The video takes you through everything so if you are unsure you will be able to proceed confidently!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Knitted baby jacket

I used the Garter Stitch baby jacket pattern to make this and am more than happy with the results. It is warm, soft and cuddly. I bought the toggles in Spotlight. It is homespun wool and it was good to have enough wool I had spun myself to make a garment. It is made from light and dark ram's wool, white merino wool and light and dark alpaca wool. I had to spin some extra dark alpaca which is a lovely chocolate colour and dark ram's wool for the hood. I love the look of this jacket. Knitting it in once piece, except for the hood which is knitted on last was an interesting challenge. You have to make sure you get the left side attached the right way round and then knit the last sleeve the right side especially if you are doing stripes! 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Wet felting

Vanda F. Sousa has a series of videos on wet felting so you can learn all the basic techniques. She explains everything carefully and well.  Felting is a skills set and has to be learned methodically. Both Vanda F. Sousa makes that point  very clearly. You have to start somewhere, you have to get going and you have to have an idea of the basics before you try anything too tricky. Any first attempts are not failures. They are First Attempts In Learning These videos encourage and support you in a very positive way when you want to learn wet felting. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Simple sock

This is another straight forward sock pattern where the socks are knitted on two needles. The advantage of this video is that it gives you a link to a site so you can work out how many stitches to cast on for socks of a particular size. The world really is getting helpful these days. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Garter stitch baby jacket

I wanted to make a baby jacket with my homespun wool. It's well under way now and I have been out to buy the toggles for it and am looking forward to seeing it finished. The Family Circle knitting book , Lovable Baby Knitting and Crochet , had a similar jacket to this called Jessica but this pattern is better for babies because it has a hood so the jacket really will keep them warm in winter and there is no chance of losing a beanie! I had a bit of trouble setting up the left front because of the way I think. I really would have appreciated a picture of the pattern with the stitches and measurements as they give in some patterns. This pattern is a free download from Yarnspirations

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Knit socks on straight needles

I was watching someone knit socks on two needles. Yes, you can! You do not need round needles and dpns. Her sock was looking really good. she said she got the idea from a book Knit your Socks on Straight by Alice Curtis. now everyone can knit socks! The video takes a while but takes you through the whole process of knitting socks on straight needles. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Health benefits of yarn arts and crafts

Image: BBL Pecha Kucha

Textile arts and crafts contribute to your mental and physical wellbeing and the research is starting to come out on this. Spinning maintains your peripheral dexterity , mobility and strength in your hands because you are drafting and managing fibre all the time. If you are spinning on a manual wheel it is keeping your ankles flexible and the circulation to your feet in order. Yarn arts and crafts keep tendons supple and your brain working. They are very much brain based learning and ensure you participate in life long learning. Kathryn Vercillo has written a well researched  article about the 10 most important benefits of yarncrafting.  The importance of textile arts and crafts to people's health and wellbeing cannot be denied.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wet felting for beginners

I was learning how to do wet felting on Monday. As with anything worth knowing , it takes time, patience and skill. The skills are learned as you go along. Gypsy Felting explains a way of doing wet felting which is straight forward and easy to follow. I particularly appreciated the cultural and historical information she gave as she takes you through a method of wet felting. We were doing it slightly differently. The slipper I was making didn't work but I turned the felt into a purse which I really love. This video has given me some clues as to where I went wrong. Since I took the photo I have added another felt flower on the back of my purse. . Not a bit of that failed slipper was wasted. That pleased me enormously because it was a lot of hard work and I really like the look of the fabric I had made. 

Felted coin purse

Rainbow baby beanie

rainbow beanie

I knitted this in the same way as the lemon baby beanie. Instead of putting a pom pom on it I decided to use my flower loom and add couple of flowers. I really like the look and think it looks so sweet. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sheeple madcat

I was excited to be able to make a madcat with my own homespun wool. It was great to make and a good celebration of what I have achieved with spinning. His face is light ram's wool plied with cotton. The body has  mainly light and dark ram's wool, light and dark alpaca and then there are some coloured bits of merino. I put a platypus mad from Australian wood in his paw and then a plastic fishbone ornament. he is very much an Australian, outdoor cat who loves the fresh air and sunshine. I haven't made a madcat in a while so to come  back to them with my own wool was a lovely, creative journey. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Knitted adult bootie slippers

Valérie Vincent explains very clearly and carefully how to make these adult bootie slippers. She is using double wool strands but you could use a chunky yarn. We all have our beanies. Now we need to get on to the foot warmers! Instructions on her blog are in French and English.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Crocheted red poppy

I put up a post before about how we have been asked to provide knitted and crochet poppies for Remembrance Day.

I have made three crocheted poppies. They don't take long and they look really pretty. I am eally happy with the result. You can find a small poppy pattern on the Lincraft site. A display would benefit from different sized poppies.

I made my poppy in this way:

Red, black and green wool.
3.5 crochet hook

Make one chain in red
Chain 3
10 treble crochet into the loop and slip stitch round together at the end.

3 chain
4double treble (yarn twice over hook) into where the 3 chain started
Into the next stitch 5 double treble
Into the next stitch one treble and then 4 double treble
Into the next stitch 5 double treble

Alternate those patterns until the last stitch which should be 5 double treble. Slip stitch together and fasten off.

With green (I used Paton's souffle because it has a bit of mohair)
Make one loop.
3 chain
10 treble crochet into the loop and slip stitch round together at the end.
Fasten off and leave enough yarn to sew the green centre onto the poppy .

With black :

Join to green and make 2 chain
2 double crochet into next stitch
One double crochet into next stitch
2 double crochet into next stitich
One double crochet into next stitch

Keep that up until last stitich and then slip stitch round together.
Fasten off with enough yard to sew onto popply

Sew the green around the edge onto the poppy.
Sew the black around the edge onto the poppy

Weave in the loose ends

Thursday, August 31, 2017

How to unshrink a pullover

Emma Pygmalion is a bit disappointed with her results but she didn't get the method wrong. I use hair conditioner and sodium bicarbonate powder because I live in Adelaide and the water is very hard. Not all jumpers/ sweaters/ pullovers are going to stretch as well as you want. You can but try. Epsom salts is something else you can try and you can also add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Know your local water. 

Hair conditioner relaxes the fibres . I use about half a cup in a bucket of water. I use 2 tablespoons of bicarb. The water is 50C and I let the jumper soak for a good few hours. The conditioner and bicarb need to go to work. You will know if you have a chance . While the jumper is soaking , test it to see if you can stretch the wool. Don't pull hard. Pull gently. If the wool is stretching just leave it and try again. When you can get a nice , gentle pull it out of the bucket and squeeze excess water back into the bucket . You can do a second jumper now if you want to. Put into a plastic bowl to take outside. 

Hang on a thick coat hanger and I take it outside in the shade. I start pulling the jumper where I want to stretch it. Pull long the seams before you stretch anything else. On a cardigan have it buttoned up. Pull to get the width and length you want but do it a bit at a time with a firm stretch. 

Some jumpers will stay felted but fit better and it's not a bad look. Others will look less felted and then there will be the ones you need to turn into bags or mittens. I have more success than not. Patience. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Using a flower loom

When I made the loomed red beanie I loomed a flower to decorate it. It finished the beanie off and made it look really nice. That flower was made just using the inner pegs or the flower would have swamped the baby beanie. A flower loom can be handy to make decorations for the things you make and if you layer the colours you will get some interesting effects. This video explains it all very clearly. You can crochet through the loops of the flowers to make an edge which can then turn all the flowers into a cushion cover, jacket, blanket or something else you want to make. You can different sorts of flower looms. This is the one I prefer but often it is a case of what you get used to. I prefer this one because I can use the two sizes of pegs together or separately. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Poké Ball baby beanie

This Poké Ball baby beanie was fun to make. I loomed 8 rounds of white for the edge, then a further 5 rounds of white. Then there are 5 rounds of black and 5 rounds of red. I  put the beanie on dpns. I knitted two together for the next round, then one row and then I cast off. I stitched the top of the hat and wove in the loose ends of threads. The circle was made on a 3.5 crochet hook. Make one chain. Chain 3, treble crochet 14 times into the first loop. Next round is two chain and then double crochet twice into each stitch. Third round is in black. Two chain and then one double crochet into each stitch. I back stitched it onto the hat with back and secured the centre with a few stitches in white. It's acrylic and so machine washable and I used two strands together of 8 ply for each of the colours. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Red loom baby beanie

I really enjoyed getting my round loom out and making this baby beanie. It was fun but there were things to learn. I used the Loom Beanie video to help me. It is 12cm wide and 12.5 cm top to bottom with a 12 cm diameter. There is stretch in it. It would fit a new born or a prem who is growing bigger. 

I did 8 rounds before I made the border. I then did 15 rows. I did not sew the stitches. I put 8 stitches on 3 dpns then knitted two together all the way round. I knitted one row and another row of knit two together then I cast off. 

To finish it I got out my flower loom and made a lovely flower decoration. So this beanie is totally loomed and I am really happy with it. I used two strands of double knit acrylic. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Neck scarf

I gave the pattern for this neck scarf on my other blog post .  These neck scarves are a good project for when you just want something to do which doesn't require too much concentration. They can be worn forwards or backwards and could be made into a much bigger version if you wanted that. It's important to get soft wool/yarn and a mohair mix with acrylic works really well. This is a different version. I used Paton's souffle in teal and then a light , ice blue with a sheen which had some mohair in it . The scarf comes out with a silvery sheen. 

The bottom picture gives a better version of the colours . 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Loom beanie

I bought a pack of these looms last year and they have just sat there because I became so busy making other things. Last night I found this video, got out my smallest loom and am now happily making a baby beanie. It is easy, enjoyable, short term quick reward and I am liking how it all looks. I chose this pattern because it puts a nice edge on the beanie. I am grateful to people who share their skills on the internet. 

My first mistake was to get he tension too tight so I couldn't lift the stitches over. I righted that tension quite quickly. I also found the metal hook is very good for shifting the stitches down because there is a groove in the pegs. I am not sure I like the idea of just sewing the last stitches to finish the hat. I may well finish it on DPNs for a more secure finish - for me! 

I am looking forward to making good use of my looms now that I have broken the silence with them. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Crocheted and knitted poppies

There has been a call to action in Australia to make poppies for Remembrance Day. We have been asked in our spinners group to make contributions to this and so I am looking for patterns. The video shows a beautiful poppy which could make a lovely decoration for anything, hat, band, scarf, bag. I am then going to give some links to some free patterns you can download to make knitted ones. I'll try the crochet one and one of the knitted ones. For Remembrance Day making them has meaning. To use them as decorations to things you have made will lift the look of your home made articles. 

Knitted poppy  patterns 

Free Ravelry poppy pattern

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Knit a patchwork square

Love the music on this! This video guides you through an interesting little patchwork square you can make . It would be a good way to use up odd bits of wool. You can vary it by doing two rows of one colour and two rows of another. Depending on the colours you can get some really amazing effects with something as simple as this. It makes you look good! As with anything else, you need that little bit of practice to get the square looking its best. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Crochet your own buttons

Buttons can be functional and decorative. I have seen some lovely hand made buttons on Instagram so I am going to blog about how to make buttons. I like these ones because they include upcycling plastic. I like to do my bit for the environment too. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pink rose rainbow booties

I made these booties from the easy baby booties pattern on size 10 needles and one white variegated bay yarn and one pink bay yarn. I double crocheted  around the booties on the fourth garter stitch row from the cast on row so that the booties would have a proper sole. When I decreased for the top of the booties I did 6 rows of stocking stitch and then cast off. That gives a nice roll at the top. I crocheted two single chains for the ties and then sewed on some pink ribbon roses. So cute. They are 9cm long and 5cm wide. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Navajo plying

I am now spinning thinly enough that I shall be able to try Navajo plying. The spinners in the group I go to are all very positive about Navajo plying and how it can really add a good look to the yarn you have spun. It is handy because you don't need to spin two lots of yarn so you can ply two together. Until now that is what I have been doing and practising. I have control of my Ashford and my double drive wheels now and have had a chance to learn how to control how I am drafting and spinning. Now I think I can move myself forward a bit and learn Navajo plying. Sarah Anderson's video is so easy to follow. I know now that I shall just have to put the time and effort in. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Knitted headband

I loved my blue headband so much I made the green one. The blue one is a wool mix and so warmer . It stretches out on your head when you put it on and it certainly keeps your ears warm! The green one is acrylic yarn  and so lighter and not quite so warm. It's 8 ply equivalent and 6mm needles but you could try thicker wool or some of the textured yarns. 

It is double rib.

Cast on 22 stitches

Knit 2, purl 2 until the end of the row
Purl 2 , knit 2 until the end of the row

Carry on like that for 46 rows of rib.

On the blue one I did a small cable in the middle of two of the knit ridges...so , patterning 4 stitches behind.

On the green one I cabled 8 stitches behind. Keep the rib pattern going. You need 4 stitches on wither side of the cabling. 

You could do a cable pattern the whole headband if you wanted to or you could leave it plain. 

Rib another 46 rows and then cast off. Stitch the ends together and weave the yarn ends in.

The headband uses less than a ball of  wool and so is a good way to use leftover yarn. 

Fix a broken zipper

I have just used this trick on two cushion covers whee the slider kept getting stick and then would come off on one side. So annoying, to say the least. This does often happen to jeans too, where the zip gets stuck and then you end up with it on just one side. Good to have such an easy fix. I finely sewed the cut I had made with a very thin sewing needle. Works like a charm! 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Homespun wool cowl

I have made two versions of this cowl. One with my homespun wool and one with two strands of acrylic 8 ply. They look different but they are both nice. I invented the pattern for my homespun wool and would have used about 200g of it. I am learning to spin so I have to make things which suit the wool I have spun at the time. The cowl is designed to be wrapped double and it sits nicely around your neck. 

The pattern is in blocks of 24 stitches so you can make it as big or a small as you want. It uses 10mm round needles and is knitted in the round. The blue one I knitted as a mobius strip. 

1 panel 24 stitches
2 panels 48 stitches
3 panels 72 stitches
4 panels 96 stitches
5 panels 110 stitches
6 panels 134 stitches

Mark the beginning with a stitch marker. Cast on the number of stitches you want to. 

Knit 4; purl 4; knit 8; purl four; knit 4
Do that for four rows across the number of panels you have chosen
Knit 4; purl 4 , cable the next 8; purl 4 ; knit four. On the next panel knit across the 8. Alternate the cable panel and the straight panel across the row.
Knit 4 rows like the first four

Purl 2 or 4 rows according to your choice

Repeat the panel
Repeat the purl rows.
Cast off. 

Neck scarf

I started this neck scarf on straight 6mm needles and when it grew to big shifted it to 6mm  round needles. It needs to be soft yarn/wool mix of 8ply. With the blue which has a lovely pearlescent sheen I used two balls together. Both of my yarns are a mohair , synthetic mix but you could use alpaca or acrylic. It needs to be soft. 

Cast on one stitch and knit.
Cast on 4 stitches.
Knit two, pass one over.
Knit one . Pass one over.
Knit to the end of the row and turn. 
Cast on 4 stitches.
Knit two and pass one over.
Knit one and pass one over.
Knit to the end of the row.

That's it. That is the pattern and you can knit this to be as big or as small as you wish in garter stitch. You can use one colour or more. You can wear it as a neck scarf, a draped scarf or a neckerchief. You can make it into a shawl. The four stitches and passing the stitches over make the picot at the edge. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Make a bunny pom pom

I don't actually need to make the pom pom. I found a fairly big pom pom when I was looking for something else and was wondering what I could do with it. I was thinking it would make a good head for something. Now I know!! I have a pom pom maker which has made my pom pom making life so much easier so I am thinking I could make some animal heads and knit, crochet or sew some simple bodies and they would make cute baby toys. It is always nice to be able to reuse things, to make something personal and to have fun at the same time. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Home spun wool scarf

I still have some homespun wool which is quite chunky and textured. I am only at the stage now with my spinning that I can produce thinner, more consistent wool. The chunky wool is beautifully soft and squishy. I used my plied light and dark ram's wool to make this scarf which matches a beanie I had made last year from bought spun wool . The scarf will become a Christmas present. I love the natural colours and feel of it and it is a beautifully warm scarf which the new owner will appreciate.I used 20 stitches and the large 12mm needles which made it a quick knit in single rib. I had to alternate the older skeins with the newer skeins because each time I spin I am getting thinner wool which is part of my learning curve but means I have to be creative in how I use the wool I have spun.

When you are learning a new textile skill you have to be inventive so that you do not put yourself off from persevering with the learning curve. Everyone who has seen this scarf loves it and the colour. I am glad about that and look forward to using the new wool I have spun which is featured in this post too. To the left is dark ram's wool plied with merino wool and to the right is light ram's wool plied with crochet cotton.  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Zipper Pouch

These are great to make to use up scraps of fabric, piece a nice patchwork design or to create a custom sized bag for a project. They have so many uses once you know how to make them and they are not hard. You can add a looped handle at one end so you can carry it. You can embroider and embellish them so they can end up being easily attainable creative projects. I'll remind you I put up a post as to how to easily  put a zip into a crocheted project here

Monday, July 17, 2017

Knitted head band

Knitted headbands and urban turbans provide a bit of extra warmth on a cold day and some nice style. They are also a good way to practise a pattern you want to try or cable stitches. They are not committing you to something big and , in the end, you will produce something which would make a lovely present for someone as well as advancing your skills or using up those odd balls of wool/yarn. There are some nice patterns here on loveknitting.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Measuring yarn yardage

A lot of people want to know the length of the yarn as much as the weight. With length you can be more accurate in how much yarn you will need to finish a project or determine whether you have enough yard to make that extra square or finish your weaving project.  It sounds like a chore but it is not hard if the wool is skeined. If it is a ball then is is not so easy. If you are making your own yarn then you need the weight and length so you can work out how much you will need to spin to create your project. Many patterns now come with both weight and yardage for yarn . You can buy electronic measuring devices to calculate yardage as you make the project.That will help if you want to duplicate the project with balls of yarn. There is some help here and in the video as to how to master calculating yardage. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hand spun wool beanie

I am still learning how to spin but each week I am getting better. This wool I made form alpaca fleece, alpaca fluff, merino wool roves and some light and dark ram's wool fleece. it represents quite an achievement for me. I found the alpaca fleece quite hard to spin so it was a matter of patience and care.I actually used the pattern for the baby beanie . I cast on 66 stitches and used 7mm needles. It knitted up very quickly and used about 200g of my home spun wool - 150 of the alpaca mix and 50 g of the ramswool . I am really pleased with it. It is soft and cosy!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pink rainbow booties

I loved making these. I used a rainbow baby yarn which was predominantly white along with a soft pink baby yarn. Number 10 needles and stocking stitch. I crocheted the trim around the top and the laces are just a long crochet chain. I had some little ribbon roses and they have just made these booties look so cute. They are not hard and I followed the easy baby booties pattern on the Ocean Booties post. I only knitted 6 rows before casting off so I could put he crochet trim around the top. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Knitted Bobble Stitch

I learned bobble stitch when I was of primary school age. One of my aunties taught me when she had come to visit on holidays. You can knit bobbles in just for effect or you can make patterns with them to create a three dimensional look to your knitting. I love the effect in the video with the medley wool. The bobbles lift it into a class act. They are not hard and a bit of practice will make you able to knit bobbles very quickly. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Knitted bag

The first yarn I spun when learning to spin was ram's wool. There was light and dark and I plied some of the light together and then some of the light and dark. It was what they call textured! Looked a bit too much like sheep still. I was wondering what to do with it and finally decided to make a bag. There wasn't enough for a blanket and it would have made a lovely warm, soft blanket. As I was knitting the bag I was thinking it would make a nice jacket which would be very warm. It's cuddly and soft. I used round 5.5 needles to make the bag. I had plied some light ram's wool with some commercial red 12 ply but that hadn't worked very well. It works on the bag , though, and the red gives it all a colour lift. The purple is Bing Tuscan from Lincraft. I had bought a couple of balls because I loved the colour and texture. I have crocheted over some soft fibre filled lengths of material for the handle and then machine stitched that in place. I embroidered with wool over the ends with some of the left over purple wool. None of my first efforts spinning have gone to waste and I am delighted with my new bag. I lined it with coffee coloured cotton and plaited tie strings for the top . The front of the bag was sewn down the middle so I have laced some home spun wool as a decoration after I stitched it at the front. The first two rows were purple commercial wool to make it easier to sew up when the time came and it makes a nice finish on the bottom of the bag. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Make a hank of yarn

When you are an expert you can do this really quickly and so someone trying to learn this cannot pick up the stages of how you twist a skein of yarn into a hank. I couldn't . I was watching everyone deftly turn their hand spun wool into hanks and even when they were doing ti in a way they thought was slowly, I just couldn't do it. It makes you feel stupid. It is always easy when you know how so the video shows you in small steps how to get a skein  of wool to be a hank . 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Cable stitch

Knitting this classic cable pattern isn't hard and it just needs a bit of patience. With cable you have to keep an eye on the number of rows before you do the twisting in the pattern and you need to use a cable needle which suits you. At a pinch you can use a big safety pin or stitch holder if you are worried you might drop the stitches. Some cable needles have a dip in the middle so the stitches are else likely to slip off. You could knit strips of cable like  the one in the video and use it to edge jackets or bags or sew the strips together and make a nice blanket. The main thing is to practice the cabling before you embark on something like a pullover or jumper. You need to be confident. There is a bit of a stitch problem if you read the comments under the video. It is not a problem.  Cast on 16 stitches. It's purl 5 knit 6 purl 5. You could purl 6 on each side and then make the cable 8. The middle panel has to be divisible by two. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Hand spun wool

I cannot yet spin the fine wool the other women are spinning at the group I belong to. I am only about a month into it and have achieved a lot. I have repaired my Ashford wheel and have a spare spool for that now and I have borrowed a double drive wheel so I can learn about those spinning wheels. The original wool I spun still had a lot of sheep in it so I decided to make a bag which is coming along. 
As I am knitting it I have been thinking this thick, textured home spun wool would be great for blankets or even jackets. I like how it knits up. I have mixed it with some Bing Tuscan from Lincraft and then some red 12 ply I had. The rest is my wool. I have been plying the light and dark rams wool and I really like the effect of that. I shall need some for my bag and then I plan to make myself a beanie. I have made beanies for everyone else. It's about time I had a beanie.
When I have spun it I soak the wool in a bucket of warm water, two skeins at a time, in my home made shampoo. I rinse it thoroughly and  hang it up to get out most of the water and then I dry it in the sunshine outside. Bit of a challenge in winter but it has worked so far. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dr.Who Quilt

The Dr. Who quilt is finished and I am happy with it. It has been an interesting and amazing journey for me. I had to stabilise the T Shirt images onto cotton. I did that by sewing around the edges and then putting a pattern around the outside of the image. I had never made fan blocks before but I really love how they look. They too had to be stabilised onto cotton fabric. I created the other block from my block book templates and enjoyed making those and putting it all together was an interesting challenge. I had to make strips of blocks for fillers. It was all new learning. What made it easier and less tedious was setting up a DVD player in my sewing area so I could watch and listen to music DVDs as I planned and sewed. That was a good move. The quilt is backed my a mid blue jacquard print and it looks and feels so nice. The sewing machine played up a bit with the fancy stitches at one stage and that was something I just had to hold my patience with and work through. it is good to see the T Shirts upcycled and in a new setting. I know the new owner of this quilt is more than happy with it. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fingerless gloves

I made the colourful fingerless gloves by using a glove pattern and missing the bits for the fingers! I wanted some where I could put my fingers through  the  finger holes because  I wanted my fingers to be free. I can type, sew, knit and it works. I had bought a cheap grey pair which are actually very nice. They are good for when I am out . I crocheted around the tops of the fingers to tidy them up a bit. You cannot create with cold hands. Fingerless gloves and mittens are easy and quick to make and keep your hands warm and mobile!  I can actually feed the material through my sewing machine better when I am quilting if I am wearing my fingerless gloves. I crocheted two rows of double crochet around the hand part, In the first row I joined both sides every six stitches. The thumb just needed one row of double crochet. There are so many nice patterns around. There is no need to have cold hands!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Preparing fleece for spinning

When I bought fleece recently I bought one bag of fleece which was prepared and dyed and the other two are fleece straight from the ram. I am already  in love with ram's wool for spinning. It is winter in Australia so any thought of prewashing the fleece before I spin is not something I can easily accomplish  but I could do that in our summer without problems. It's good to  know how to do it properly. I'd be using castile soap. What I have done is spin a spool of wool which I have combed a bit at a time so I can pay attention to it and then have hand washed the spun wool after I have plied it. The skeins have dried outside on a winter's day without too much trouble. Were it raining I could lay them on a towel in front of the fire . There must be a way of dealing with fleece washing before spinning in winter time. I haven't found it yet. I don't want to risk felting my beautiful wool by accident. I have stored my wool in old pillow cases because it needs to breathe. Plastic bags are better for transport and storage in shops but you need to get the fleece into containers where the wool has a chance to breathe. I am lucky the fleeces I bought are pretty clean. They are just lovely and the sheep farmer in Lucindale needs to be thanked. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Plying Handspun Yarn

Plying is necessary to strengthen the wool you have spun. If you can spin you can ply. I found it easier to learn  than spinning and plied the first wool I had ever spun.  I need more practice because my plying is a bit loose. I don't mind because anything I am making is a big step forward and anything I learn can be improved. I can spin thinner yarn now and can do that consistently which I couldn't before. Washing in cold water first with some wool wash or pure soap is a good idea and then you can run it through warm water. Not hot. You then get as much water out of it as you can before you dry it. Going to be a bit of a challenge  in the cold weather! Plying means you can ply your handspun wool with any other wool. You can create different weights and textures so if you are looking to make original wool then plying is a good skill to have. You don't have to have to ply your own spun wool. It  gives you options and choices. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Peacock feather motif

The peacock feather motif is one that you can master quite quickly and then get on with your bags, blankets or baby pods. You can change the colours to make it brighter and more startling or keep the colours subtle and darker. BeesDIY has some good patterns and ideas to get you going once you are confident making the peacock feather motifs. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Knitted toy

Beeble is a knitted toy I made up with a little help from the internet. I just looked at lots of images of knitted toys and then got to work. It was made on size 10 needles with acrylic 8 ply wool. The legs are 12 stitches and the arms are 10 stitches. I knitted the body on dpns and had 60 stitches and then decreased each end in every other row at the neck for the last 6 rows. The neck was gathered a bit when I sewed on the head. The head is upcycled windcheater material and the face and scarf are upcycled T Shirt material. The feet are from the waistband of the windcheater.  The ears were 10 stitches on 5.5 needles and then decreasing every other row to a point. I folded them in half but they are very soft and movable. I embroidered a woollen bee on his side and I am more than happy with how he turned out. His eyes are treble crochet circles in white with one row of slip stitch black at the end. I embroidered the pupils and then the bit between the glasses. It was a good adventure and I love him. He'll go to his new home at the weekend and am confident he will be happy there. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Spinning yarn

Straight from the horse's mouth! My wheel certainly looks like this Ashford wheel. I got it second hand a long time ago but I am not certain it is a genuine Ashford since there was no plate on it. I don't have the brake tensioner as he has. I had to put in another row of hooks as mine only had one set. I couldn't get the bobbin off easily so I had to repair one of those uprights which holds the bobbin in place. I had to put a spring on the fishing wire bit. I didn't have one and one lady, on Monday, put a rubber band on for me and that certainly helped. The wheel has been polished and oiled and what a difference. It now runs smoothly like the one in this video. Even experienced spinners could not keep my wheel going. Now it just goes! Now that I have done all the maintenance I am going to get that foot rhythm right  so I don't spin too quickly. I also have to practice the finger pinching thing because I tend to hold onto the yarn and not let it go so it can go onto the bobbin. This video has allowed me to understand why the finger pinching is so important. I went to the Spinners and Weavers Guild yesterday and got 3 bags of wool so I can do all my practising. I have two decent wheels to try and I feel happy I can get seriously started. It's all practice. Down the track I shall laugh at this stage of my learning. I have leaned a lot in less than a week so more than happy with my progress. I am grateful so may spinners have put videos on YouTube. They all have a slightly different focus so each bit of knowledge helps me conquer this skill.