Friday, 8 November 2013

Needle felting, it's rather good!

Don't get RSI, I wouldn't recommend it.  It will either mean you've been repetitively doing something uncomfortable like sitting at a rubbish desk at work (done!) or you just don't stop when you're in pain when knitting (done!)

I sound like a whinge bag, yes I do, but I've not really been able to do anything on my needles or hooks for a few weeks and I am restless!  There are so many projects I'm itching to start, like Christmas presents and new baby presents but I'm continuing to be good and I've not attempted it at all, not until I know I'm 100%.  So please, all you crafters out there take it from me!  If you're in any pain your hands are telling you to stop!

It's not been all doom and gloom though.  I'm not one to sit about idly and unfortunately I'm not a big reader although I've started on the Disc World series (better late than never) so instead I've started to make other things, do a bit more sewing (new skirt coming soon!) and I've rediscovered needle felting!  This has also come at a rather opportune moment as it's quite therapeutic when you imagine that the felt roving is your conveyancers head*.

*I am not usually like this!

My first project was a little toadstool.  The stem is too thin so it won't stand upright, it might have to become a broach or something.

Felted toadstool

Then I got festive and made some puds!

Felted christmas puds



Felted christmas puds

The berry balls are a bit tricky to do but once rounded they look fab and I want to make bigger ones and string them together to make a garland or something

Felted christmas puds

I also made a slightly odd looking christmas tree but it's quite quirky so I'm sure it will find its place when the decorations come out.

Felted christmas trees

Needle felting does come with its hazards though I'll warn you.  The needles are barbed.  You think it hurts when you stab yourself with a normal needle?  That's nothing!  It's really fun though and the results can be pretty quick unless you want to get fancy and so some beautiful projects like Betz White who's blog I found by complete chance and I now love :-)

x x x x

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Cables & hearts

Brrrrrrrrrrr it's cold!!!  We made it to November without putting the heating on but we've had to admit defeat and it's in now.  I don't know if it just feels colder because we've been away for the weekend but I think it's safe to say that Winter has arrived...

We spent the last couple of days over in Sheffield with my family, which I always love.  My uncle lives in a big, old victorian house.  It isn't perfect and you have to be careful which floorboards you walk on because some of them are loose but I love it!  J and I procured a very nice mirror from an antique shop (I doubt the mirror really is antique) but we even haggled and got a fiver off so I'm dead pleased!   It's wrapped up at the moment so I can't show you it, but it will have it's reveal in our new home...!

I've not been upto much knitting or crocheting recently because I've got the finger and hand aches again, only this time my arms hurt a bit too.  It happened earlier in the year after trying to get a few projects finished for people so I'm hoping it's just a bit of RSI and nothing serious.  I'm really itching to get my needles out and finish my owl and start making presents but I need to accept that this just isn't happening.

Cables

I've been making a list of projects that I've started, finished and haven't written about and this is one of them.  I made a cushion for my mums birthday so I couldn't share until she'd received it.  It was knitted up on size 6 needles, probably a lot smaller than I could have gone for but being Cygnet Seriously Chunky it was quite fast to work up.

IMG_0187

I wanted to find an alternating cable pattern but I couldn't find anything (or didn't know how to search!) so after a bit of trial and error I made it up.

Cast on multiple of 5 + 1 (I did 31)

Row 1  ~ *k1, p4* repeat to end k1 (ws)
Row 2 ~ *p1, k4* repeat to end p1 (rs)
Row 3 ~ *k1, p4* repeat to end k1 (ws)
Row 4 ~ *p1, k4, p1, cb4* repeat to end p1 (rs)
Row 5 ~ *k1, p4* repeat to end k1 (ws)
Row 6 ~ *p1, k4* repeat to end p1 (rs)
Row 7 ~ *k1, p4* repeat to end k1 (ws)
Row 8 ~ *p1,cf4, p1, k4* repeat to end p1 (rs)

k = knit
p = purl
cf = cable front
cb = cable back

I didn't take very good photos while we were down at my mum and dads so these will have to do I'm afraid!

IMG_0190

Look how well it matches!  I wish in hindsight that I'd sewn it up with a flap and maybe knitted a few extra rows...  The wooden buttons look nice though.  The inner is a small square Ikea cushion, I have bought far too many of these in the past, three live in our house, two with a friend and I think I've given my mum at least three.  I need to stop making her (anyone) cushions really.

IMG_0188

I had completely forgotten all about this project too!  I don't think I even mentioned it once, probably again because it was a mother's day present so I didn't want my mum seeing it here!!  I remember enjoying this a lot and it's full on my own home grown lavender.  The heart and smell has survived, sadly the lavender plant has not!  It lives on my mums bedside now, along with a variety of other random things I've made / gifted her.

IMG_0196 (1)

Does it really have to be Monday Morning again tomorrow?  I could definitely do with another day off, or two!  Chow for now 

x x x x

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Button Bracelets Tutorial

I'm not sure how many people want to make one of these but I think they're great, and with Christmas coming up I thought it might be a good present to make for kids and big kids like me :-)  I'm going to make another in red and green.

Rubbish Revamped

First things first then, you need some stuff.  Hopefully you have most of it in your crafty stash!  If not then what better excuse to go shopping, but as the idea of this is to recycle why not see if you've got anything around the house.  Old clothes you can cut the buttons off?

Button Braceletts

1 :: Buttons
2 :: Elastic thread
I bought mine from the Rubbish Revamped ladies because I suspected I wouldn't get out to buy any, but you can get probably it in any decent craft shop or on the tinternet
:: Scissors
:: Something to hold the end of the elastic.  I'm using little wooden pegs (because they're cute) but paperclips would be just fine

Start by cutting your elastic thread, I used about 25/30 cm because your thread needs to weave in an out of the buttons and you need to tie it off, so it's probably more than you'd think.  Secure the end with your peg/clip.

Button Bracelets

Now for the real fun...  Start choosing your buttons!!

Button Bracelets

I already made a medium sized bracelet so I'm going to pick out the smallest ones but you can choose whatever you want.  Alternating sizes look pretty cool.

Button Bracelets

Most buttons have four holes so you want to thread diagonally across these, like the dark green button on the end.  Make sure you thread from the back as well, unless (as I found) some buttons are actually prettier on the back, then thread those from the front instead.

Button Bracelets

Another tip, if you want your buttons to alternate in colour like this, you need to thread two of the same colour at a a time; red, red, greengreen.  If you thread redgreen, redgreen you'll get all your red on one side and all your green on the other, but this is equally as lovely.

Button Bracelets

My favourite thing is picking out interesting buttons.  I love this   You can also layer two buttons together like this for a centre piece (makes a great ring too).

Button Bracelets

When you're done snip both ends until they're the same length.  Another tip, if you want to keep the length but one side is longer than the other, slide some buttons off and put them on the longer side

Button Bracelets

Now for the hard bit...  Knotting!  I hate this bit, I found it quite hard, but no pain no gain?  You'll want to hold the two pieces together and do an 'overhand knot' rather than a shoelace type knot because it will probably come undone and then there'll be buttons everywhere.

Button Bracelets

But now you're done!

Button Bracelets

You can blob some clear nail varnish on the knot if you want just to hold everything together

Button Bracelets

Wear, enjoy, make yourself a brew and congratulation yourself on being a master of craft ;-)

x x x x

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Rubbish, Revamped!

Yesterday I went along to a series of drop in workshops run by a group called Rubbish Revamped who were training some of our WI to make things out of pre-used, pre-loved and pre-worn stuff. Their motto is 'Reduce, Reuse, Revamp, Recycle' and they're a fabulous bunch of ladies who seem to be able to make anything out of anything!

Rubbish Revamped

My first workshop( and the one I was most looking forward to) was button jewellery

I bought along some of my own Papermania buttons in red and green, the same I used for my upcycled skirt.

Rubbish Revamped

I can't rate these buttons enough! For £3 you get so many! I quite like that lots of them are patterned or have writing on them so you can end up with something quite funky.  I've not been paid to say that, but Papermania if you're listening feel free to send me more ;-)

Rubbish Revamped

I was quite excited by my creation! I've told J at least three times, "Look I made this!!" and he's humoured me so far. I hear though that there are people out there who have button phobias, and can't stand anything with buttons on them! I can imagine that would make life quite difficult. Jeans? Nope!

I bought some of the elastic so I could make more at home.  It probably only took 15 minutes and that included getting a cup of tea and chatting.  I like short therapeutic projects like this!

Rubbish Revamped

Moving on I started on making something called a Suffolk Broach. You only need a tiny scrap of fabric and a button for this project and it's pretty simple as well. I went for fabrics that clashed a lot but it seemed to work bizarrely.  You can make them into badges or hair pieces, anything really.  Smaller puffs make good necklaces and rings too.

Rubbish Revamped

I found that absolute perfect button to sew onto the top of mine, see how it's a bit like the fabric puffs?

Rubbish Revamped

There was also a do-it-yourself table with scraps of paper and punches of different shapes. Who'd have thought that the inside of envelopes could be so interesting! Next time you get a bill have a look, you might find something useful :)

Rubbish Revamped

I made some paper bunting out of the heart stamps in two sizes and it fits nicely on my greenhouse

Rubbish Revamped

Now we weren't just learning how to make lovely things out of recycled materials, no! The ladies at Rubbish Revamped were also giving us tips on how to train others you see, because we're going to share these skills with the world*!

*maybe just a little part of it

We're probably going to run some sessions next year but it occurred to me this morning that I could also share it online with you! I need better light so I think I'll have to wait til next weekend so I can take photos as I go, but if anyone is interested then come back soon :)

x x x x

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Today

At the start of the weekend I had various plans (including going to Yarndale), which all completely changed!

I decided to give Yarndale a miss for a couple of reasons.  No one in our WI craft club could make it & while I wouldn't have minded going on my own, I didn't really need to buy any wool (although it would have been nice!) & the workshops I would have been interested were sold out.

Maybe I was just talking myself out of it but I may go next year if I get myself organised ;-)

Stylecraft

It would have been lovely to be part of it, & I'm enjoying reading everyones posts, although I think it must have been a very surreal experience as if jumping into someone (Lucy's) blog!

J & I had a call to arms to assist with baby sitting, so we spent a shattering 4 hours in the park with our nephews who were very well behaved, & we had a rather nice picnic!


I've been crocheting up squares in some new colours too...  I completely caved in (September's not bad!) & splashed out on some Stylecraft, after Deramores emailed with a 20% discount.  How could I not?

I took muchos inspiration from this project of Heathers in choosing some new colours, & I've gone for raspberry, pale rose, grey & camel & then violet because I don't have it & it will fit in lovely, & pomegranate, wisteria, clematis & lavender to top up the colours I'd run out of. SO much for de-stashing!  Unfortunately Deramores were out of stock of meadow & grape :-(

Today I'd planned to go on the TUC march in town (the Tory Conference is here!) but my friend was a bit unorganised so I decided to stay put.  I'm quite glad I did really as I'm about to tuck into some lemon drizzle baked earlier today


J & I also went on a long walk not far from where we live.  I'd love to live in the countryside, although I don't think we're quite ready for it yet, but I always forget about what's on my doorstep

Walk 29.9.13

We might live in a city but we've got some lovely places to walk.  I still remember my first wander along the canal saying to myself "I live here??"  I'l be sad to leave if we end up moving, but happy at the same time; it will be nice to move onto new places & find new things.

Time for a well deserved glass of wine ;-)

x x x x

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

More clothes!

I definitely don't need to buy anymore clothes, but making them's okay right?  OF course it is!

I bought this pattern ages ago because I fancied a change from skirts and dresses.  I think it might also have been on sale which helped.

Burda top 7509

They're not the most adventurous of tops I admit, but I reckoned a few of these would be great for work.  Because I always need more work tops, don't I?  No.

This was a new one for me, cutting on the bias.  It was a right pain to fold properly to pin out the pattern pieces but once pinned it was a piece of cake really.  No zips, no sleeves, no waist bands!

Burda top 7509

One very nice (if I must say so myself) dart.

Burda top 7509

And there you have it.  I used linen, mainly because the pattern suggested it and who was I to argue.  When J took a photo of me wearing it I blended into the curtains.  Camouflage for when I need to hide from him, like possibly later in the week if when he discovers I placed an order for more Stylecraft.  Yep.

Burda top 7509

I reckon being me it could do with some livening up.  Given that I've not finished sewing the red buttons onto my skirt I don't think buttons are necessarily the answer.  I'd quite like to give embroidery a go, I have some lovely books on sewing that my Dad of all people bought for me.  He is awesome!

Burda top 7509

So perhaps an embroidery ring will be added to my wishlist.

x x x x

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Projects on my needles

Just a quick post today.  I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit hungover today, the result of a lovely wedding yesterday :)  Remind me to go easy on the wine next time...

The sun in shining today though and a chinese takeaway is on the way.  Life is good!

Cables
Chunky cables using Cygnet Seriously Chunky in Fawn, knitted on 10mm needles

The owl & the pussy cat knits
 A project I've been working on for a while from Knitted Toy Tales; the Owl and the Pussy Cat.  This is the owl obviously!

x x x x

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Rosie elmer blanket update

I haven't posted any updates about my Rosie Elmer blanket in a while and part of that has been the constant indecision about which colours to stick with.  I honestly didn't want to keep boring people with my ummming and ahhhhing.

Rosie elmer blanket

Thank you all for your wonderful comments on my previous posts though, it's given me a lot of food for thought, not least this website called Design Seeds. I warn you, you'll end up buying a shed load of yarn so you can whip up beautiful projects based on tropical birds, berries and doorways I tell you!

Unfortunately I couldn't find a colour palette that matched mine but I do have some ideas for the future. When I've cut down my wool stash to a sensible amount I'm going to save up & treat myself to a purposeful order, but I can't get too carried away yet because I am nowhere near that stage yet!

A few weeks ago I had two ways of going with the blanket... #1 was a warmer mix of squares.  I do love the green  but I think it was the green making things difficult.


#2 worked better but felt quite dull, a bit like how things look on a cloudy day.  Does that make sense?  I don't know, but that's how it made me feel!

Rosie Elmer Blanket

Then I had a look in one of my yarn boxes and it hit me that I really do have too much because I found some stylecraft that I'd forgotten I had... Honestly!

I found the lovely plum and  magenta and that's it :)  Problem solved

Rosie elmer blanket 

Rosie elmer blanket

Woooooopeeeee!!!

I can't really explain how great this feels because this is exactly how I was imagining my blanket (ok, with some green) and it's just been really hard to pull this out of my head and make it. 

I even feel like I might start joining them all together soon....  Oh what fun :)

x x x x

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Yarn cakes!

I will get around to sharing some crochet square soon, or maybe my button skirt (yeah, right!) but really all I want to do now is show you my YaRnCaKeS!

Green yarn cakes

I bought one of those yarn winders from eBay.  I have to admit that it was after reading Lucy's post here because I thought you also needed one of those spinning hexagony things (I can't describe them properly, and I've had a glass of wine (ooops!) so I hope you know what I mean) so I was thrilled when I realised you don't because I love yarn cakes and the little ocd in me loved the idea of having uniform balls of yarny goodness

Bergere de France yarn cakes

So there you have it.  I've just about wound every ball I have now, would you believe it's actually making them take up less space?  I've definitely reduced the space my yarn takes up, hurrah!  They're also great for taking out and about on trips or to work, instead of carrying around several hundred grams of wool

x x x x

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Liebster awards :)

Aww the lovely Jo from Three Stories High has nominated me for the Liebster award :)

I'm not sure when or how I came across Jo's blog but we seem to share a similar love of sewing (she has made some fab stuff!) and craftyness :) Liebster is a sweet award which anyone with fewer than 200 followers can be nominated for, and in return you answer some random facts & questions :)

July 2013

First of all I'd like to make my own nomination and I've chosen Ladybird Diaries, which is a lovely blog, full of craft and beautiful photographs. Don't take it from me pop in and say hello :)

It was kinda hard because lots of my fave blogs now have over 200 followers, and there are so many ways people can follow your blogs now (e.g. I use Feedly) so it's impossible to really know, but I think the nice idea is it's to give recognition to smaller blogs :)

July 2013

I'm not very good about random facts about myself but I can answer some of the questions that Jo was asked :)

1 :: Who has influenced you most in your life?
The most obvious choice would be my parents, but aside from them it's probably my friend CJ! We went to Primary school together and I'd planned to go to a different Secondary school but she said why not go to the open day where she'd be going. I did and completely changed my mind which I'm convinced changed my life from then on. I wouldn't have met my friends, gone to the uni I did and probably wouldn't have met J!

2 :: If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
Weirdly I'd live in London because I'm assuming this question means money & employment is no object :p Most of my family and friends are there, and sometimes it's hard being away

3 :: If you went back to school what would you choose to study?
Physics. Yep.

4 :: Are you impulsive when making decisions or do you ponder things first!
Impulsive. Didn't even have to think about it!

5 :: What is your food preference when you eat out?
Indian

6 :: Looking at your average day, what do you enjoy best?
Going home from work & crocheting :)

7 :: What gives you the least pleasure in your daily routine?
Going to work ;)

8 :: Is there a famous person that you would love to meet, and why?
I'd like to have met Neil Armstrong but I gather he doesn't talk much about his trip to the moon, so I'd like to chat with Valentina Tereshkova instead

9 :: Tell us about a favourite place in your locality that you like to visit
I love the Northern Quarter in town, although it's changed somewhat since I used to work there, it's still awesome though

10 :: If you were marooned on an island what would you choose to have with you?
Knitting or crocheting materials!

11 :: What is your favourite type of film?
Comedy, who doesn't like a good laugh?



July 2013

x x x x