Sunday, 26 April 2015

Home Spun Up-Cycled Cowl

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Crochet & Leather - an interesting combination
My spinning wheel has been a bit quite of late so I decided that it needed a bit of a work out.

A few months ago, I spent a wonderful afternoon dyeing some roving for future use. If you have always wanted to do some dyeing but wasn't sure how it was done, I happened upon a microwave method which I love - plus it's quick and relatively mess free (the use of the word 'relative' is deliberate).  Our blog posts on how it's done can be found here.

Once it was spun, I wanted to do something quite different.  Re-fashioning and up-cycling are very popular at the moment and I had a leather belt that I didn't use.  It came free with a skirt I bought but it didn't really suit the skirt and so I used another one instead.
This belt had little slits all the way along and I thought it could very easily be attached to a piece of knitting or crochet.

I grabbed my brand new ball of hand dyed-home spun and started to double crochet a long band.  The size can be anything you want.  I chose to chain 32, then double crochet into every second stitch (16 in total), chain 2, turn and double crochet into each gap.

My ball of homespun measured 256 metres and I crocheted until I had very little left.

Then the fun began - how do I put it all together?

Firstly, I ran a large running stitch along the middle of the scarf and gently gathered it until it was the same length of the belt.  Then, using the slits in the belt I ran another running stitch through it.  I then secured the ends tightly, weaved in any loose threads and did up the buckle.  
The denim look of the wool and the brown of the leather means I can't wait to wear it with some jeans and brown boots.  I will have to wait a few more months until it cools down though - it's still a bit too warm here in Western Australia.

How to spin and make your own up-cycled cowl.
Happy crochet,
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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Hexagon Patchwork Pin Cushion

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I love nothing more than a little trip to the country and the recent Summer holidays saw us trek around sublime little towns and villages in Victoria's High Country.  Besides the promise of wonderful bush walks, antique shops and divine morning teas, I'm always hopeful of finding a craft shop to add a little shopping to the mix of holiday activities.  

I was pretty happy in Bright to stumble across Sew Bright Alpine Quilting in between lunch  and a wander around the local charity shop (where I picked up some fabulous fabric to make a skirt for the princely sum of $3.00).  While I'm not usually one to quilt and generally avoid hand sewing at all costs, the lovely bits and bobs on in the shop ended up being far too tempting.

They had a fabulous pin cushion on display in the shop and I loved the idea of making something so useful out of my holiday haul.  

I used "Vintage Sunshine" charm pack by Ellen Crimi-Trent with white linen for the plainer sections.

The pin cushion is made with:

Twelve  patterned 1" hexagons
Eight plain 1"hexagons
Six plain 1' squares.
Filling of your choice
Cotton thread for sewing

It has been a very long time since I'd done English Paper Piecing and if it's something you've never done before I'd recommend the tutorial from Connecting Threads to get you on your way.

I started by making two hexagonal "wheels" which consist of 6 patterned hexagon with a plain hexagon in the centre.  These form the top and bottom of the pin cushion.  

The sides of the pin cushion are made with alternating square and hexagonal pieces sewn in place on one of the hexagons.  This will give you a little fabric bowl shape.  To join the top to the base (the bowl shaped piece will be the top) work inside out until only one or two seams remain. Before turning right way out, ensure that any paper and tacking stitches are removed prior to this point.

Once turned the right way you should have a little opening to add filling and from there the pin cushion is finished by sewing the last seam closed and adding a button for embellishment.

I had forgotten how relaxing sewing hexagons could be.  I can't help but think I may just have to have a little hexagon sewing project on the go at all times for when things get a bit stressful!

Happy patch working


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Sunday, 12 April 2015

It's Payback Time .. (Just don't mention the line ..)

Pin It Regular readers of our blog would know that our Dad is a very crafty individual.  The list of things that he has made us seems to go on and on .. and we couldn't be more grateful.  Some of his wonderful creations can be found herehere and even here.

A few months ago, About a year ago my Mum ordered some wool online but the colour wasn't quite right. She wanted brick red and this had a bit of terracotta in it.  Lovely wool (from Bendigo Woollen Mills) but not what she had in mind.  She asked us all if we wanted it.  I believe that I have a highly developed reflex action where wool is concerned as it was up at my place and waiting for a project before I could say 'Sure, I'll have it if no-one else wants it .. '
It's a jacket - not a cardigan.

I had been thinking for some time that I would like to knit my Dad something.  He's a hard one to knit for though - he doesn't feel the cold.  I remember watching him walk across our lawn when I was a child.  It was freezing - minus 2 or something like that, and as he walked, he snapped the grass as it was frozen solid.  Nothing remarkable you might say, but he had bare feet.  He never wore shoes if he could possibly help it.  I guess he was in hot work boots all day and relished not having to wear them.  If this man has bare feet in the middle of winter - what is it going to take to get him to wear a jumper?

Anyway, I thought this new wool would make a perfect jacket (NOT a cardigan .. ) and came across a fantastic pattern by Jared Flood on Ravelry.  It's called 'Ranger' and surprisingly, Dad was quite agreeable to a hand knitted jacket.  I felt as though he deserved something after all the things he has made us.

It knitted up quite well, but then I was given a sewing machine and well, the jacket was put on hold for a while .. When I say a while, I actually mean a year - oops.

Mum and Dad are coming up for Easter and it's a perfect opportunity to get the jacket back out and finish it once and for all.

Dad noticing the offending 'line'
It was all coming together reasonably OK.  I had a few problems understanding how the sleeves were meant to be joined but finally got the hang of it.  However, after knitting for a considerable while, I noticed that there was a funny little line of knitting on one of the sleeves.  What was this?  I couldn't figure it out.  I thought, incorrectly it now seems, that this 'line' would disappear with blocking.  It didn't. 

Perhaps Dad wouldn't notice - he did.

He's very gracious though.  Mentioned it once or twice (three times really but that's OK) and then allowed himself to be photographed - albeit with no head shots or anything that might identify him.  However, if you are walking down the street in a small country town in Western Australia and you notice a man wearing a jacket that to all intents and purposes is well made except for a line along the arm, that will be our Dad.  

Line or no line, I am sure that in the depths of a freezing cold winter morning he may just wear it.

Happy Knitting,

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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Hexagon Easter Basket

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It's fair to say I've become a little bit obsessed with sewing hexagons of late, and with Easter fast approaching I could think of no better excuse to stop by a little sewing centre that I drive past everyday  (Camberwell Sewing Centre if you're in the area) and pick up a few fat quarters in Easter type colours.

My plan was to make a little individual hexagon baskets as table decorations for Easter Sunday and if you've got the time, I think they do make a lovely display.

What you'll need:

Hexagon paper pieces
4 different coloured fat quarter
Needles, cotton and scissors.

I made my basket using half inch hexagons and squares, but for larger baskets, feel free to use one inch hexagons and squares

Using main colour, cut 7 hexagons and sew onto paper (there's a great sewing hexagon tutorial at Connecting Threads ) cut and sew three hexagons from two further colours.  With remaining colour cut and sew six squares

 To assemble:

Use the main pattern as the centre hexagon and surround with six hexagons in further two colours .  Sew into place as shown.  Sew six squares to form curve in the bowl base and finish with top layer of six hexagons in main pattern fabric.

I didn't end up with a lot of time to line my little basket with anything other than Easter Eggs, but I'm sure they'll look lovely with a little bit of fabric sewn inside to hide all the seams.

Happy Easter


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Sunday, 15 March 2015

Knitlon Crochet Coat Hanger

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I've always thought there's something quite decadent and lovely about covered coat hangers. Showing care and attention to  the most mundane of household items, seems to elevate the owner to a whole new level of sophistication in my eyes. A recent conversation with a family member, who was indeed in the process of covering coat hangers, got me thinking that perhaps my own level of sophistication could do with raising a little!

I've been trying for a while to use up some Knitlon I purchased a a year or so ago and so this looked like the perfect project to  get through the last of it.  Now I'm aware that Knitlon (sometimes called Craftlon or Knitting Ribbon depending on where you are from) can be difficult to find in the shops.  In Australia, I've found the best stockists seem to be Lincraft and Big W while in the USA, tulle ribbon seems to be the closest equivalent product.

Using a 5mm hook, chain 10.  Check that the chain length wraps loosely around your coat hanger with a chain or two to spare.  Adjust the chain length as necessary

Row 1.

Chain 2 and then Double Crochet into second chain in row.  Double crochet into each chain until row is complete.

Repeat until work measures the length of the coat hanger you are using plus an additional row (or two ) at each end to allow for seams.

To Make Up

Fold work in half lengthwise.  Sew end seam and three quarters along the length of the cover. Slide wooden part of hanger (unscrew and remove hook prior, if this hasn't already been removed) and then sew the remainder of the length and the last end seam.  I found overcasting to be almost invisible when sewing the Knitlon. Gently find the hole for the hanger hook and insert.

Add crochet flowers and ribbons to decorate and you'll have the prettiest little coat hanger imaginable.

Happy crocheting.


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