Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Next To-Do Project List

Over the weekend I rummaged through my stash and craft many things I want to make. I narrowed it down to 10 items and have matched the yarn or fabric to patterns. Plus my two other half-done projects: a patchwork quilt and a cross-stitch lilac fairy, 12 all together.I found the cross-stitch at the bottom of a box; just stretched it out now.
Wishing you a wonderful day.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chris Gnome

I finished the Yuletide Gnome toy yesterday. I want to make 4 gnomes as Christmas gifts this year, but only if I could knit them in the rounds, otherwise I would give it a miss because of the amount of hand sewing involved. The first gnome worked out fine.

Poppy followed me everywhere when I tried to take some pictures outside where the light is good; she thought it’s a new toy for her!
Sitting on a palm leave...
...on a little succulent plant
...and on a little banana tree.I wrote down a lot of notes. I think I will tidy it up and post the notes with photos, in the next week or two.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Carder Drum Holder

I was tidying up my spinning stuff and realised that I still don’t have a proper container to store the second drum for my carder. These are expensive items and I should really take better care of them. So, off I went to the nearest Michael’s craft shop, and I came home with this.
It is a sliding book shelf at a costly sum of $4.19 :) I used a jig-saw to cut two notches at the book shelf ends and it turns out to be a perfect holder for the spare drum.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yuletide Gnome

I promised myself not to start any more knitting or crochet project until I have finished all the outstanding ones. Apart from the little pink cardigan, which I am waiting for a set of circular knitting needles that’s on back order, I am good now to rummage through patterns for new projects. I love moments like these; so many nice patterns, so many things I want to make, and so much fun just looking through old files and books.

Decision, decision…there are a few things I have been meaning to make, also I am thinking ahead now for Christmas…so I write down my next To-do list and have just made a start with a toy: the smallest Yuletide Gnome designed by Alan Dart.

My mother-in-law bought a knitting paperback book and posted it for me towards the end of 2007.
I read through the pattern first and really don’t like the idea of sewing so many little flat pieces of knitting. I make some notes so that I could knit the toy in the rounds. Here is the first leg knitted in the rounds in one piece. So cute.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weighing Scale

I want some green and red yarn for my next project; don’t have any in my stash, so it’s time to do some dyeing. I weighed what I got left of a Dorset fleece, about 12 oz.
I thought I will show you the weighing scale I use: the Rapala Digital Fishing Scale.
Fishermen use these to weigh their catch. I use mine to weigh my fleeces, yarn, and big parcels…basically anything that is too big or bulky for my kitchen digital scale to handle, I just put them in a bag and hook it up. Mine has a 50lb capacity.

I first saw the hand-spinners in Wales UK using an old portable hook scale to weigh a whole fleece. It was a small piece of farm equipment. They normally used it to weigh bags of animal feed.

This fishing scale is much better. It is digital and is very accurate. Anyway, just thought I would share this with you.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Brown and White Yarn

I have nearly finished all the half-done knitting and crochet projects now. The only outstanding half-done is a little girl’s pink cardigan. I was ready to knit the band when I realised I didn’t have a circular 5mm knitting needles. I have ordered it on-line, but it is on back order, so I have to wait a week or two before I could work on it again.

I took a look at my other half-done projects: a cross-stitch lilac fairy, a patch-work quilt, and some brown and white yarn. It has been a while since I last used my spinning wheels, so I gave the wheels a good clean and then oiled them up.
Found some brown and white fleeces in my stash.
And… this morning I have two skeins of brown and white yarn. Just washed them and hanged them out to dry.

Friday, April 17, 2009

From Lady Bird to Little Lamb

When I was 15 years old I chose Needle Craft as one of my subjects to study in school back in England. I had a wonderful teacher. She taught us sewing, embroidery, cross stitch, crewel work, macramé, appliqué…basically any needle craft you wanted to learn, all you had to do was to talk to her and she would show you. She was one of those rare teachers whom didn’t simply teach you to follow a pattern, but she would show you how to create your own design. That’s probably why I love needle work so much now; it has been so creative, fun and rewarding right from day one.

I remembered we had to do a final exam for this class: a 3 hours written exam plus a submission of three practical projects. My three projects were a beaded corn-on-the-cob picture, a round embroidered cushion and a patchwork ladybird toy. I received good marks for all my work and passed my exam but they never returned my corn-on-the-cob picture. The cushion was so worn out, I might have binned it. I don’t know where it is now. And the ladybird? Poor thing, it has been with me all these years; I used it as a little cushion to support my lower back when I sit down on my rocking chair. Time has taken its toll. I am sending ladybird to retirement.
In comes the little lamb, got him the other day, so cute.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Goldfish bone

I visited my family earlier this year. It has been almost three years since I last saw my sisters and their families. The children have grown so much. Jenny, my sixteen years old niece, is taller than me now. Like all young women, she is very much into her fashion. I noticed she was wearing a silver necklace with a fish bone pendant, very cute.

So when I was paging through books looking for my next project, I came to a stop at the Skelly Fish page in Elisabeth Doherty’s Amigueumi book…it looks just like Jenny’s necklace.

My sister Frances suggested that I should make it a goldfish bone, more fun, she said. Frances picked out all the thread color for me.
Here is the finished goldfish bone.
I am going to post it next month in time for her birthday. I have made the goldfish bone small enough so that she could use it as a book mark. I hope Jenny likes it.
Material: Craft thread 100% Cotton (I actually used some home grown cotton fibre to stuff the fish head)
Crochet hook size: 2mm
Pattern: Skelly Fish page 55 in Amigueumi Super Happy Crochet Cute by Elisabeth A. Doherty

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Morning Glory Flower Placemat

I finished crochet all the pieces for the flower placemat last week. It took me some time to sew it all together. The pattern is not so easy to follow. It doesn't give the finished dimension or any clear picture of what the lattice mat should look like. The lattice mat was worked from the centre outward in rounds and I struggled on round 8. This is what mine looks like. I used a 27" diameter hula hoop ($5 from Walmart) and some waste yarn to block the washed lattice mat. It is about 17" x 10". The next problem area is the morning glory flower. I think there is an error in round 2 of the instruction. In order to have the petal symmetric this is what I think the correction should be:

Rnd 2 With periwinkle, pull up a loop in last sl st, (ch2, fpdc around next dc, work dc in next dc, fptr around same dc you just worked in, ch1, sl st in front loop and side bar of same tr, work dc in next dc, fpdc around same dc you just worked in, ch2, sl st in next dc) 5 times, ending with sl st in same st as first loop.

I worked all my flowers with this correction.
The single bud spray is worked in two pieces: the bud first then the leaves.
When I had all the pieces I decided not to use hot glue as suggested by the pattern to attach the flowers. I used the same cotton thread to sew them together. This saved me the task of blocking any of the flowers, bud sprays, leaf sprigs or vines. I cut a length of thread about 1 yard long, separated the strands (there are 4 strands in this thread) and used one strand at a time. The single strand is very weak and breaks easily, so I folded it and gave it some twist to add strength. This gave me a thread that is of the same color and is fine enough to use. Some of the flowers and leaves actually hang outside of the lattice mat.

The finished flower placemat with two different color background.
Thank you for dropping by. Please feel free to leave any comment you might have. I would love to know if you like the hula hoop idea for blocking the lattice mat?
Worsted weight/4 ply cotton thread
4.00mm crochet hook
Floral Placemats & Hot Pads by Annie Potter