Friday, 19 August 2016

Two Down......

......but several more WIPs still on the needles/hook/wheel.

I sat down at my loom the other day and wove and wove and wove, until I'd finished the tea towels I started in June.

I had one long warp on the loom and did the first two-thirds(ish) of the weaving using white cotton for the weft.  Once I'd finished the ball of white I'd got on my shuttle stick, I had a decision to make.  I didn't really want to break into a new ball of white and I had a part ball of the yellow I'd used in the warp, and a part-ball of the turquoise.  So..... the last third (or just over) is part yellow and part turquoise.

Once I'd cut the woven fabric off the loom (after hem-stitching the last end), I measured it and decided to make it into three tea towels; two white and one yellow/blue.  First I zigzagged, using my sewing machine) across the fabric where each end of each towel would be and then I cut between the two lines of zigzg stitching.  After that, I hemmed each end by folding over twice and pinning and stitching first one line of straight stitching close to the inner edge of the hem and then a second line of straight stitching closer to the end of the tea towel, just to make sure the hems were secure.

And here they are, washed and dried.  They shrank a bit during washing, but they'll probably shrink a bit more over the next couple of washes as I usually put tea towels and dish/wash-cloths on a 60C cycle in my machine and dry them in the tumble dryer on the high heat setting.

I also finished a hat the other day.  It's the third time I've made The Boyfriend Hat  by Purl Soho and the third time I've cast on fewer stitches, on a bigger needle (I've made a note of my modifications on my Ravelry projects page for each hat).  I'd bought a skein of Caron Simply Soft Paints a while back as an impulse buy and, to be honest, I wasn't that enthusiastic about it when it turned up as it wasn't as bright as I thought it would be.  I started off thinking I could crochet a scarf, but that didn't work out, so got frogged and I decided to make another ribbed hat.

I thought that working a worsted weight yarn on 3.5mm needles, in K1, P1 ribbing would take ages as it felt quite hard on the hands, but in fact it turned out to be a quick knit, once I'd got going (especially whilst watching the Olympics) and I finished it on Wednesday evening, having cast on last Saturday.

DD2 has said she'd like it and, as it's difficult to get her to wear a hat in the winter, I'm going to let her have it.

In the meantime, I've started something new.  It's a crochet baby blanket and the yarn was a bargain (yes, I bought more yarn) and it was looking at me from the bag and I'm weak-willed when it comes to crafting!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A Few Finished Items

I think I've caught Startitis as the number of WIPs I've got at the moment seems to have increased rather than decreased:

- Hap for Harriet (been in hibernation for over a year; must remedy that);
- Ribbed hat (started because I was going to use the yarn for something else which didn't work out, so decided to make a hat from it instead);
- Crocheted blanket (another one where the yarn had started being something else it didn't want to be, so as it was out, got made into something else instead);
- Socks (one finished, need to cast on the second one);
- Woven tea towels (haven't touched these since before the school holidays started);
- Spinning (yarn for a sweater; two skeins done, halfway through the next and another 400g to go after that).

Listing them all like that makes it look so much worse than it really is, but helps to get my focus back and not cast on anything else.

I have finished a few things though:

Socks - two pairs.

This pair were made from a Regia Creativ sock blank that I bought in a sale a few years ago.  I'd never knitted from a sock blank before and it was an interesting experience.  I've got another two blanks, in different colours, which I might make into scarves instead of socks.

This pair were made from Drops Fabel (another sale purchase - from Wool Warehouse).  Fabel isn't the softest of yarn, but at less than £2 a 50g ball, I don't expect a silky-sock feel to it and it's a perfectly acceptable, workaday yarn.

Crocheted baby blanket.  One of the knitting ladies was making a blanket in the same Sirdar pattern  and she'd got a finished one in her bag and I liked it, so got the pattern, pulled out some Stylecraft Special DK from stash and off I went.  It was a quick crochet and rather satisfying to make.  The pattern doesn't specify a border, but I added a round of crab stitch/reverse DC - SC US) which I think finishes it off.

Here's a close-up of the mesh pattern:

Nice, isn't it.  So nice, in fact, that I started another one, that's very nearly finished.

I'm trying to keep DD2 occupied over the summer holidays.  She's had three days at the holiday club they run at her school, but that's finished now, so it's a case of trying to think of things to do when, in truth, all she really wants to do is go shopping so I can buy her more beads and lip glosses!  It's a bit of a struggle, but at least I've got DD1 home now.......

......  DD1 plays in two youth orchestras and each year, at least one of them goes abroad on a tour (as well as having a couple of workshops during the Christmas and Easter school holidays).  This year, they went on tour to Hungary, so last weekend her case was packed, clarinet cleaned, snacks added to her hand luggage, passport, currencies and European Health Card put in her handbag and I went to work and hubby and DD2 took her to the drop-off point and that was the last I saw of her until they got back yesterday afternoon.  She seems to have had a good time (she usually does; she blossoms when shes in the company of like-minded young people as she's not particularly girly - unlike her sister), although travelling 24 hrs each way on a coach meant she didn't get much sleep on either journey and was in bed early last night, sleeping for 12 hours.  I've just got to start saving for next year's tour now as it's Essex Music Services 60th anniversary next year, I believe, and there are rumours they're going to be "doing something a bit special".

DD1 has another music workshop next week.  It's a residential one, but at a school that's only about six miles away, but it's also GCSE exam results day next Thursday, so I'll pick her up after breakfast, whizz up to her school so she can get her results and then whizz her back to the music thing.

Just noticed out of the window that my mother's arrived to visit, so I'd better go!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016


I'm not a natural seamstress.  I find it quite bitty and fiddly and I wonder if it's because I'm left-handed and sewing machines seem to be designed for right-handed people.

Anyway, I can sew, but don't do it very often, but am determined to rectify this and make more things.  I buy fabric with the intention of sewing it into something wearable, but then it gets put with the rest of the fabric I've bought and I get out some yarn and needles or hook instead.

Last week, I traced off the pattern for the pyjama bottoms from the Tilly and the Buttons book, cut out the pieces and got to it.  I was fairly pleased with the results and DD1 has worn them a few times since.  DD1 doesn't really like traditional pyjama tops and prefers a simple vest-type t-shirt to wear with pyjama bottoms, so I don't have to fiddle about with making any tops!

I know the legs don't look even, but I promise they are (well, within a millimetre or two).  The fabric was a remnant I bought from a local shop.  I didn't have enough fabric to cut out the full length of the pattern, but DD1 isn't overly tall (at 16, she's 5' 3" and doesn't think she's going to grow much taller, if at all) and it turned out that these were the perfect length for her.

Of course, having made the PJ pants for her sister, DD2 wanted me to make something for her.  Every time we go shopping, she tries to get me to buy new hairbands and hair accessories and recently I've been resisting her efforts to get me to buy hair scrunchies as, at around £4 each (and she needs two because she puts her hair in bunches most days) I resent spending that much money on what amounts to a rectangle of fabric and a few inches of elastic.

So..... upstairs we went, to choose some fabric.  That done, a tutorial was found on YouTube, two rectangles cut out and a couple of lengths of thin elastic snipped off.  Then I started sewing.  The first two seams were fine, then I did some clever folding, as per the video's instructions, and started sewing the fabric into a tube along the long edge.  The first half was fine and I felt rather pleased with myself.  I pulled the fabric round to do the second half and disaster struck...........

............  I took my foot off the pedal of my sewing machine and.... nothing happened.  It didn't stop!  In fact, it started racing along, so I switched the machine to off and unplugged it.  Then I unpicked the runaway sewing it had done on the scrunchie.  I got a piece of scrap fabric and switched the machine on again...... and off it went again.  It was like it had been possessed by a demon (actually, it was the suppressors/capacitors --- or something like that --- but I like the possession theory better!).

I did what every 21st Century home crafter would do.  I Googled "sewing machine won't stop running".  Several sites suggested the food controller had malfunctioned.  It looked as though a new controller would be required, so I phoned the local sewing machine stockist, found out they had one and went in the next day and bought one (bye bye £35).

What happened to the second scrunchie?  I sewed it by hand!

At least she's pleased with them.  I can see more scrunchies being made as I have various bits of fabric I can use.  Next time, I might make the rectangle of fabric a bit longer, for more scrunch.

I haven't tried the new foot controller for my machine; I'm working my way up to that.