Friday, April 27, 2012

Quick Roundup

Alas, between my sister's wedding and the other randomness that's always going on, I haven't blogged much. Also, I lent my sister my camera (it does underwater) so I haven't been taking as many photos lately.

I do have some things to share though, so without further ado...

More Knitting!
Remember this yarn?

Scrappy Spinning

It was crying out to be something nice, wasn't it? Well, I decided on Argosy because I thought it would work well with the colours.

Scrappy Scarf

Once it was blocked I posed it on my pea structure (I'm hoping to grow peas this year!) so that I could count it for my Nerd Wars Unity - terraforming!


Would you believe that those are iPhone photos?

Pattern: Argosy
Yarn: my scrappy handspun
Needle: 4.5mm
Modifications: None
Verdict: Brilliant! Exactly what this yarn needed to be. My squares aren't very square, though perhaps I could have evened that out in the blocking.

Now that I've finished that I've been working on hubby's slippers again. There's a chance that he might get them in time for our one year anniversary coming up soon! They're actually quite nice and simple, but I've been procrastinating about making the custom insoles. Tsk tsk. It's not that they're going to be hard to make, and I'm almost at a point where I can't continue with the slippers without them. I don't have an excuse!

I have completed some spinning too, but I haven't taken photos of that yet.

Speaking of peas (as I was back a few paragraphs) I've got quite a few things on the go from a vegetable perspective, as I'm sure you remember me writing previously. Well, the chilli plant is all but dead, I think it's been too cold for it in the greenhouse with all the cold and rain. I've bought some seeds though, so I'll hopefully be able to get some plants going in the house instead. I have six squash plants which I intend to pot-on this weekend, though I'm not sure I'll risk them going outside just yet.

I'm also going to hopefully put some peas outside soon. I have one really strong looking little plant in the greenhouse and two or three reasonable looking ones in the seed propagator. Ideally I want 12 plants on each bamboo frame.

The weather hasn't been good enough for me to get out and weed the potatoes, or to earth them up which needs doing soon too. The ones in the potato bags need another layer of soil too. I'm quite hopeful that there will be potatoes, though we will see. If it goes well this year I'm thinking about re-arranging the whole garden!

I've had some success with the second seed planting of Brussels Sprouts, which hubby is quite keen on. And there's also some Swiss Chard on the go in that same seed tray. The beans and peas are not doing so well in there (though the peas are doing better than the last lot) so I may have to plant another round of those. I'm also hoping to arrange a bit of a swap with a knitting friend who also has some tomato plants. I may have to have a bit of a move-round in the greenhouse to accomodate them all though! Or else get myself another plastic plant shelter. I gave my old one to my mum!

I'm learning all the time though, and I already think that next year I might plant more varieties of tomato, but fewer of each plant. I'm also going to have a re-think about how early I sew some things. That said, if I get a nice early crop of tomatoes then that's fine by me! If I get myself out there either tonight or over the weekend (weather permitting!) then I'll take some more photos of how it's all going.

Monday, April 23, 2012

My sister

This weekend saw my lovely sister marry her lovely new husband. G & P I thought that she looked absolutely beautiful, and they both looked very happy. I was a bridesmaid, and Mum outdid herself with another amazing outfit. (She had the best hat out of everyone!) Mum and me It was a great day, and the weather held - no rain during the photos or anything! Woot! Congratulations to them both, I hope they have a great honeymoon too!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yarn to bag – my first woven project

Just before Easter I bought a Loom. It’s a Kromski Harp.
At the same time I got a book with directions for weaving bags in. Inspired by the first bag in the book, I went out and bought some cotton.

Weaving a bag

It’s Rowan Pima Cotton DK. I’m pretty pleased with the yarn, although there were two knots in the brown ball. (I’m not sure about the others as I used less of them)

So, the first step in weaving is to warp the loom. The Harp has a built in warping board, so I was easily able to measure out the warp. As you can see, it’s a striped warp. The next step is to start weaving!

Weaving a bag

The white bit at the beginning is a “header” – this is so that you can even out the warp threads at the start of the project. I used some basic craft cotton for that. The weft is also Pima Cotton in brown. I wove until the length of the weaving was about 10 inches. (I actually then continued and wove another pattern for another bag)

Once the weaving was complete, I took the fabric off the loom and washed it. I learned a couple of things in this process, one key thing was that the ends got all tangled with one another, so I probably need a method to stop that in future. I don’t know if it’s this yarn or a general problem.

weaving progress

Once washed and ironed dry, the next step was to apply some fusible webbing (also known as iron-on interfacing) to the back of the fabric.

woven bags

This has a couple of benefits in this situation. It helps avoid any loose ends from becoming truly loose, and it also adds a little more stability to the bag. The weave is firm enough on its own, but for once I followed the pattern!

woven bags

I cut two rectangles of faux-suede and two slightly smaller rectangles of quilt batting. These were sewn in place to make the top of the bag.

woven bags

Separately to the main bag fabric I wove a strap for the bag. This was inserted into the bag in an ingenious way, and then it made the sides of the bag as well as being the strap

woven bags

Once this was done, I had to make a lining. I decided to make a similar lining to the exterior of the bag, so I made a gold lining with green striped fabric down the sides. I overstitched this by hand into the inside of the bag.

woven bags

And thus, the bag is ready for use! I have no idea what to use it for though. Perhaps it’s just a nice decorative bag. I will definitely make a larger version of this though, I especially liked the method for putting the bag together, and I can imagine this working well for a messenger style bag in the future.

woven bags

Pattern: the first bag from the “Woven Treasures: Bags” book
Yarn: Rowan Pima Cotton DK (Brown, Orange, Bright Orange and Yellow)
Loom: Rigid Heddle, 10 dent. (I should put my epi here, but I’m afraid I didn’t make a note)
Modifications: I didn’t make the specified handle as I only have one heddle right now.
Verdict: Well, I think weaving could easily become a new obsession of mine! I enjoyed pretty much every step of the process. The part where I turned the fabric into the bag was pretty cool too. I’m not the world’s best seamstress but even the hand stitching parts were pretty simple. Overall I’d make it again (and again, and again…)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just before Easter I was fortunate enough to find a discounted loom for sale from the lovely Wingham Woolworks. I called about it and they shipped it to me really fast! I was very pleased! It’s a Kromski Harp, 16 inches wide with a 10 dent heddle. If that was all Greek to you, let me explain…

Kromski make all manner of crafty things, including spinning wheels and looms. One of the looms that they make is called the harp. It’s a folding rigid heddle loom. A rigid heddle is the bit which the threads go through. A 10 dent heddle is a heddle with 10 dents (or spaces) per inch (I think).

Anyway, it’s a lovely thing of beauty. I got some books to go with it, one of which contains some patterns for weaving bags. But first I had to do some practice.


I warped the loom (that means I strung on the long bits that go back to front and through the heddle) with some cotton which I have previously made baby jackets from. As it’s cotton it doesn’t stretch much and I’m told it’s a good fibre for a beginning weaver to use.
Then I used the same yarn for the weft (that’s the bits that go left to right, under and over the warp threads) and made a strip of fabric.

It’s great fun! And so fast! I’m working on a bag pattern from the book now. I have some other bits and pieces for the bag, ranging from cotton and fusible interfacing to lining fabric and buttons. Some of these are new (like the yarn) and some are from my stash (of fabric and buttons!)

My weaving in progress

Oh! I didn’t mention before, I also dabble in cross stitch! I’ve been working recently on a panel from the Quaker Tapestry known as “the co-operation donkeys”. I’m quite pleased with it (though the back isn’t very neat) and I hope to frame it.
(sorry, no pic yet!)

Over the long weekend we (me, hubby and the in-laws) did some gardening. We weeded a good portion of the garden out the back in order to plant some veggies. I’ve put two rows of potatoes in (one row of “early”s and one row of “main crop”). I’ve also built some wigwam structures for growing my peas up (they’ll also need something a bit thinner to grip, but this is good for now.)

I’ve got tomatoes, peppers, salad leaves and a chilli plant growing in the greenhouse,

My Gardening - Outdoors

and courgettes, butternut squash, peas, beans, chard and Brussels sprouts growing in trays on the windowsill

My Gardening - Indoors

I’m also growing some decorative plants. We weeded a section in front of the wall and I’m going to plant some summer flowers out there. I’ve also planted some daisies in a propagator, and I plan to use those with some other decorative summer flowers to make a nice planter or two. It’s actually quite fun (well, not the weeding. Weeding is just hard. But the planting is fun!)

I’ve started knitting up that handspun from the last post. Keeping to my word, I’m making Argosy.

Scrappy Knitting in progress

Sadly for hubby, this scarf is prettier than his (grey) slippers, so it’s getting all of my crafting time that isn’t weaving at the moment. On the up side I am almost finished with the scarf so it shouldn’t be long before I get back to the slippers. They were trucking along before I started the scarf, so I anticipate them taking only a short amount of time to complete.

Of course, all of these things can be entered into Nerd Wars for round three! I’m still waiting to get my official cube-melting badge for round two, but I am scored for 6/6 challenges! Brilliant! The scarf, slippers, woven bag – that’s three projects! Giving Geeks this time is about disasters, so I’m thinking about donating to MSF, but I’m unsure about that. Then I only need to think of one more new thing to make because the final challenge in round three is all about WIPs (works in progress) I reckon I’ll spin some more yarn and maybe finish knitting the baby jacket I’ve been designing.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Scrappy Spinning

I finished it!

Scrappy Yarn Collage

Fibre: (1) MHE Falkland (yellow), (2) Skeins Merino (green), (3) Wingham Merino Silk (blue/white), (4,5) Freyalyn Merino (blue/purple/red), (6) Skeins Falkland (pink), and (7) Mandacrafts BFL
Colourway: various
Spun using: Ashford Traveller, middle ratio
Spin direction: Z (wheel turning anticlockwise, spin to the left)
Plying type/direction: 3-ply, S (wheel turning clockwise, spin to the right)
Yarn Stats: 110g / 256yards (14 wpi, approx 4ply weight)
Verdict: All of the fibres were amazing to spin with, and so different. It was good fun trying to get something even out of it! I also wasn't expecting the colours to work so well. It's my first attempt at a three-ply using fractal spinning principles. I do like it, and I'm planning on knitting something like Argosy (a diagonal scarf) with it...