ScrapHappy July 2018

One of our regular Knit Nighters has moved away and so we will only be seeing her when she comes up for an occasional visit. Before she left, however, she witnessed the creation of the alpacadillo and she was besotted. I didn’t have time to make her one of her own before she left, so this little chap will have to go in the post:

His head, body, limbs and tail are made from the remains of a ball of wool from Sophie, but I can’t remember what the shell is an oddment from… anyway, it was lurking in a basket of small left-over balls, so I clearly made something out of it at some time (I do know it’s one of the last remaining bits from the sadly missed company Colinette). This critter is 100% wool, so not an alpacadillo, but a scrapadillo, I think. It’s going to live in Swindon.

-oOo-

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) ScrapHappy posts by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month… do check them out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ScrapHappy February 2018

I had a sort out the other day and decided that the time had come to get rid of some clothes that were really beyond repair. Initially, I was going to send all of them for recycling, but then I realised that there was some good fabric left in some of them, so I set-to with my pinking shears and chopped up some old pairs of pyjamas to make cleaning cloths/dusters. They are 100% cotton and so there are no plastic microfibres to shed. I put the off-cuts (the bulky seams mainly) in the recycling and ended up with a nice big pile of eco-friendly cloths and a little pile of waste.

Actually, this wasn’t my main scrappy activity this month, but I wanted to share it anyway. My scrappy focus has, in fact, been on crocheting a blanket. A couple of years ago I bought a kit from Colinette (the company is, alas, no more) and made a knitted blanket. The blanket turned out beautifully and I use it regularly:

but there was rather a lot of scrap yarn left over. I originally planned to use this yarn in a blanket for charity, but the more I considered it, the less suitable it seemed – lots of different textures and rather too fluffy for easy washing. Nevertheless, I made a start on it sometime last year, beginning with a central square made from some purple yarn that had been given to me – some one else’s scraps! And then I got distracted… other charity blankets were made, other projects embarked upon and completed and this one languished as a UFO*.

In the past month, however, I have been revisiting abandoned on-going projects and I decided the time had come to get this one finished. A secondary incentive is that I know who I want to give it to: a friend who is having a hard time, but who is too far away to go and see in person. The idea is that I’m sending a hug in the form of a blanket. So, my hook has been flying and the scraps have been gobbled up – including additional oddments from my collection of left-over yarns. There’s quite a lot of mohair in the mix, so the blanket will be especially snuggly, plus they are cheerful colours and I’m hoping they will brighten my friend’s day. What do you think?

It isn’t finished yet, but I am nearly there. I’m hoping to be able to send it on it’s way within the next week.

I’ve been inspired to write this (and future) ScrapHappy posts by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month… do check them out.

-oOo-

* UnFinished Object

 

 

 

 

 

Three Things Thursday: 2 June 2016

As I have been so bad at blogging in recent months, I’m wondering whether some structure might help. So, with this in mind I’ve decided that each week I will join with Nerd in the Brain (and others) and write a ‘Three Things Thursday’ post. As “Nerd” says…

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

So, without further ado, here they are…

First, something I completed a few weeks ago, but that I haven’t blogged about but is still making me smile every time I see it… my completed Arizona Dreams throw. I’m still sad that Colinette, the company that produced the kit, is closing down, but very grateful that I have had the chance to work with some of their yarns (and have some more squirrelled away in my stash).

Second, I’m loving the abundant growth in the limery at the moment. Summer is here and we have tomatoes and peppers developing, melon flowers, passion flowers and pitcher plants thriving. Plus there’s my lovely light-catcher creating rainbows (thank you Pauline).

Third, is both sad and happy… or old girl Lorna died a few days ago.

She was six and a half (not bad for a chicken) and she’d had a fabulous life, digging holes, eating slugs and invading the vegetable patch. She’d even laid eggs up until a couple of months ago. She went to sleep the other day and didn’t wake up. Since she was the last of our original flock, it does seem like the end of an era. However, our hens are working girls and so we needed a couple of replacement layers. We chose a Light Sussex and a Rhoderock (apparently that’s the correct name for what we have previously called a Blackrock). We’ve been enjoying watching them settle in. Tiffany is putting them in their place and making sure everyone knows she’s top chicken. We have named them Mags (short for Magrat) and Aliss II (our last Blackrock was Aliss). They are a little skittish at the moment, but here are a few pictures:

Mags is clearly less mature than Aliss II judging from that teeny-tiny comb, but there should be eggs in a month or two.

So that should be my three things for the week, but I just want to add my gratitude for Skype, which allowed me to chat with Kate (Tall Tales from Chiconia) yesterday prior to her setting off for Brisbane for an operation on her spine. I’m sure those of you who know Kate and her blog will join with me in wishing her well… I’m hoping that next week one of my ‘three things’ will be gratitude that Kate is on the mend.

Colours and Textures

Having decided to abandon my comfort zone and buy some yarn I would never normally work with in the form of the Arizona Dreams kit from Colinette, I decided to go the whole hog and knit it using a stitch that I would usually never consider – a form of broomstick lace.

First, though, I had to spend a couple of hours winding the hanks into balls, using my antique swift and the 1970s ball winder kindly given to me by my friend Susan a year or so ago:

And so on to the knitting – no broomstick is needed for the broomstick lace, but it does require wrapping the yarn round the needle multiple times in some rows and then some jiggery-pokery in the subsequent row to end up with some fancy loops. It takes ages to do. Intervening rows are simply knitted and so are super-quick.

I have to confess I’m really pleased with the way it’s turning out… trying something different CAN be a good thing.

Colours of my life

I know that I intended to minimise my yarn purchases that year, but in recent months I have used up so much of my stash and completed a UFO that had been sitting around for ages, that I have succumbed. I know, I know, I’m weak! Anyway, you are not interested in my guilt, you are interested in the lovely yarn that I bought…

Following my visit to the Colinette shop before its closure earlier this year, I have been thinking a lot about textured yarn. Normally I’m not keen on fancy yarns (or fashion yarns as they are sometimes called) – I generally like to work with good old wool with a nice even ply. However, Colinette’s range combines beautiful colours and interesting textures and I started thinking that I would like to work with that combination, and having had the opportunity to handle their yarns, I decided to give it a go. Now I acknowledge that I might hate working with some of this, but nevertheless I have bought myself an Arizona Dream kit, from which to make a throw (afghan). I selected the colourway ‘Lone Star’, but there are several patterns that I could follow (all included with the kit). I haven’t even decided yet whether to knit or crochet it.

For the time being I’m just gazing on the glorious colours and stroking the yarn…

There’s cotton, mohair, viscose, wool and a fascinating bouclé yarn that’s probably going to be a nightmare to work with. You never know, maybe this will be the start of a love affair with textured yarn!

A work of “Art”

You may recall that I bought some yarn from Colinette in January – a beautiful, soft bamboo and wool concoction flecked with jewel-bright colours and called “Art”. It was bought to make a larger version of ‘Dream catcher‘, and that’s what I did. In fact the colour that I bought, lilac, looked lovely on its own, but as the work grew, I realised that it would benefit from a contrasting border. So I ordered some ‘mint julep’ and finished with a flourish.

The finished shawl/top measures 130cm (51 inches) across. I modified the central circle compared to the original pattern so that it was larger and more solid, plus I reduced the distance between the arm holes at the top and increased it at the bottom so that, unlike the original it only has one axis of symmetry. I had to add extra rounds to make it bigger and based the stitch pattern for these on earlier ones, but in addition the yarn I used was thicker than my original, so it would have been bigger anyway. For comparison, here’s the original laid on top of the new version:

IMGP7569

Mush bigger!

On reflection, I think the original would benefit an increase in diameter, so I’ll be adding a few extra rounds to that now too.

Alladin’s Cave

Now, you know that the idea of a shopping trip as entertainment is complete anathema to me. So you will be surprised when I tell you that I jumped at the chance of going shopping with my dear friend Ann yesterday. You will be less surprised when I confess that she offered to take me to a yarn shop! In fact a yarn shop that is closing down and that we had been planning to visit for a while… namely the Colinette factory shop, These creators of yarn in amazing colours are based in the depths of mid-Wales, but sadly I have never visited them before and never will again, because from 22 January, they will only be selling online.

I’m saddened that a ‘real’ shop like this is disappearing; partly because it provides an opportunity to see the actual colours and feel the texture of yarn before buying (just not the same online) and partly because of the jobs that will disappear as a result.

Anyway, off we went and experienced temptation and inspiration…

It’s hard to capture the lustre and depth of colours in the yarn, but at least the pictures give an idea of the variety.

I know that, like last year, I plan to reduce my stash this year, but since this was a one-time-only visit I did succumb… some multi-coloured 100% wool from the sale room that will be used to make hats and fingerless mittens, plus an amazing lilac wool/bamboo mix, of which I can’t quite capture the gorgeousness in a photograph.

In fact, the day was about much more than shopping… it was about spending time with a friend and sharing an experience. It was also about lunch – we ate at the Quarry Cafe in Machynlleth… it used to be owned by the Centre for Alternative Technology, but when they decided to close it, the workers too over. If you are ever in mid-Wales, it’s well worth a visit.

Seize the day

I was supposed to be teaching this weekend – a course on land restoration and habitat creation. Sadly, it had to be cancelled and I was left with three empty days, Not that my days are ever really empty, but I was very conscious that some time had appeared that would otherwise have been filled with teaching and I was keen not to let it slip away. Happily, I got the chance to go on a  felting course today… an opportunity too good to miss.

So, I have been making felt slippers at Denmark Farm Conservation Centre with Lorraine Pocklington of Greenweeds. In fact, it’s a course that I have done before, but a girl can never have too many pairs of slippers and I knew that I would really enjoy myself. So the day was seized and there’s now a soggy pair of handmade slippers drying in our bath!

We started off by selecting the wool that we wanted to use: Masham, Texel, Gotland, Icelandic or Hebridean, all produced in Britain so not many yarn miles!

A selection of undyed, British wools

A selection of undyed, British wools

Then we made our resists (the thing that goes in the middle or your felt to stop the two sides sticking together and allowing you to make three-dimensional objects without the need for seams). Once you have a resist, you build up layers of fiber around it, using water and soap and then you begin to felt.

The felting begins

The felting begins

You rub the fibres to encourage them to mat together, and once they have started to develop a structure, you keep on working them to form the felt. Today we rolled our felt in bamboo mats to achieve this

Bootee slippers still joined as a pair about to be rolled up in a bamboo mat

Bootee slippers, still joined together, about to be rolled up in a bamboo mat

And eventually, you form two slippers and mold them around your feet… or get a friend to do it!

Felting to fit your feet

Felting to fit your feet

Get a friend to help!

Get a friend to help!

And at the end of the day, we all ended up with at least one completed slipper!

Lovely slippers - mine ore front left

Lovely slippers – mine are front left

Since I had the advantage of having done the course before, I finished both mine: Gotland exterior, Texel Interior with decorations using some scraps of yarn from Colinette. What a productive and satisfying day.

%d bloggers like this: