Small Leaps

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Whittle and hook

Frances' gloves. DONE! (Pictures son)
Red Singlet top of doom:slight progress, my eyes hurt.
I am pretty ashamed that it has taken me so long to do a WIP update.

I jumped on the Panta Bandwagon, and it was a really quick project. Started sunday evening, cast off moday arvo. I was thinking of a way of joining a piece while binding off, without a three needle bind-off, and I think I may have come up with something.

Lay two edges that you want to join near each other, making sure that there are no twists.

Using the same size hook as needles, insert the hook as if to knit.
Then, with hook still in first stitch, insert it on to cast on loop closest to edge.
YO, and pull back through cast on edge. There should be two loops on hook at this point,one of which is still on needle. Remove stitch from needle, two loops on hook. Yo, pull through loops. Double Crochet (SC if you are in the US) completed.

Continue along the edge in this way, only, instead of doing a YO and pulling though the two loops as in the last stitch, three loops will already be on the hook. Slip the two last loops, through the loop closest to the hook.

When you have reached the end, simply break yarn and pull through the last loop on the hook. Weave in ends.
This is what the join looks like from the inside.
and outside
Though it has opened out today, and is now hardly visible.

And, an action shot:

My dad sanded down my spinning wheel, waxed it, and gave it a buffing. It looks really beautiful, and I didn't even notice the greyishness that the student estapol job gave it. Dad seemed pretty into his woodwork job, and I didn't think he would be thrilled to have me elbow in and do a bit. Instead, I made a WPI gauge thingo.

Using a length of dowel, I marked 1/2 inch away from end, then 1 inch, then another 1/2 inch, 1 inch and 1/2 inch. I did this a few times around the dowel. I then used my handy-dandy utility pen, and the saw on it, to break off a bit.

I then scoured around these measurements.It was pretty much then a process of whittling down the 1 inch sections.
At this point, my craft knife and I couldn't take any more whittling so the second section was abandoned. A good sand all over, and a wax finish, and I have a useful tool.
What got me started on this was finding out the WPI of yarns that I wanted to sub with my own handspun, specifically Brown Sheep Bulky, at 7 WPI.

I also got my smocking started, or at least the test piece.

The colours are really not representative of what it is in real life, it is more like halway between this and this. The white is outline stitch, it has a total length of 18 rows. I put about 40 cm through, and it has shrunk to under 10. It will expand a bit after I take the gathering rows out, but I am really hoping that I have enough.

The blue line on top are dots I put every cm, so I can get an accurate idea of how large I need to cut out my skirt.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Flea Market!

Today was really good. My dad and I were originally going to hit a couple of fete's that we had seen advertised earlier this week, but about halfway there, there was a sign for a flea market. I hadn't expected there to be so much stuff!

A couple of craft books:

A petrified wood brooch.

30 zippers (what? They were cheap.):A silk scarf, irish linen hanky, purse frame, and lingerie bag. I am probably going to use the lingerie bag for felting.

In the fabric area I was picking through some patterns, and the lady at the stall said she would give the box to me for $5. Obviously, I took it. Everytime I walked past subsequently, they would have something new to show me, and my pile of stuff kept getting bigger and bigger...

First the patterns, all 31 of them
Kids and Men:

Nightwear and Robes:

and more dresses:
Including these, with some pretty interesting shaping techniques:And this gorgeous maternity dress, with pleats for roominess, and pockets! It's a shame I'm gonna need to wait a while before I can wear it.

My name is Hannah, and I have a storage problem. I really need an alternative.

I also got quite a few skeins of tapestry wool and embroidery thread, most interesting (for me) is the silk; it is deliciously soft.
I have no idea why I manage to keep acquiring tapestry wool; I don't have any plans to pick it up in the future. Also, a couple of little balls of wool, and some dp knitting needles.

The ladies also kndly gave me a bag containing 2 doilies, an embroidered hanky, and a little crocheted bag which I will use when carrying around small projects.

I have been experimenting with the yarn I plyed, and when doubled it is roughly equal to a worsted weight, or at least according to my swatching. I rolled it into centre pull balls using two 20mm knitting needles as a nostepinne, and there have been significantly fewwer knots and tangles than when I have done it using my thumb to keep the centre hole.
I have been meaning to give candle making a try, so when I saw this at a garage sale I bought it. I am not sure if wax has a used by date when it gets a harder to use, but I am probably going to make some personalised christmas presents. Maybe a set of candles spelling out somebody's name. I really don't need any more candles (I have heaps), and some seem to aggravate me throat. The pink fabric for my smocked skirt has been washed, so I will (hopefully) pleat up a swatch of my intended pattern and see how is stretches and stuff. I am not sure if a swatch is what it is called in smocking, or even if people do them. Most of the people I know use patterns for their smocking.

My friend kindly gifted me Stitch and Bitch Nation for my birthday, and I really like the Candystripers purse. It seems very practical. Along this thought, I have ordered some raw fleece from here to experiment with, with some Romney intended for this purse. Spinning is already proving useful, as the yarn used in that pattern isn't widely available down here, but that isn't going to stop me from making it.

Clare's overalls are also back in my posession, with the only alteration needed being a lengthening of the straps. Phew!

Also, the pink smiley animal dress in some of the pics above is my apron/wrap dress.
It is really comfortable, and I got quite a few compliments on it, though they may have been directed at my fuzzy angora sweater.

Next time, hopefully I will have better pictures of the details, with my shoulders actually straight (which is why the neckline looks lopsided) and my Pj pants not on. Hopefully.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Practice is boring....

I am practicing a few different hairpin lace stiches, and while it it good for TV work, I don't find it that engaging. Hopefully this will change when I do things more interesting than double stich, and double double stitch. I am making a bedspread, and as I finish strips I am planning to join them, to avoid overwhelming myself at the end. I have finished two so far, and joined them;
The yarn on the right is Red Heart soft, while another baby yarn is on the left. The Red Heart feels thicker, and looks it too, though not so much in this picture. It does have a nice sheen to it, however.

This is the bit I am currently working in. While the two in pink are just plain old double (the simplest stich in hairpin crochet), this one is a bit more interesting to work, even if it is just working two doubles in, and around, the same loop. I think it looks cooler too. The strips are about 220 stitches, but I haven't got an accurate count yet; they keep moving about when I am trying to count.

My bobbins for my spinning wheel are off with Clare to be painted for a b-day present (receiver of the dungarees, which fit perfectly except a minor alteration yipee!). I managed to almost finish plying a thin thread that I had, and although there is a little left on the cone, I now have two quite hefty skeins of more usable yarn. With them is a Docter Who figurine given to me by Clare. He's fighting them off admirably.
To give you an idea of thickness, this is the plyed thread with the Lian Brand baby. It is I guess a light Baby weight.

This is the fabirc and thread I am using for the smocked skirt, and all I need to do is wash the pink, and swatch my planned stiches to see how it stretches before starting. I have never done more than little samplers in smocking, so I am assuming that this is how you design stuff. Factoring in negative ease like in knitting, embroidery stitches, and sewing it all together. A good melding of craft techniques.

I am using blue and green and white to smock with, though the white isn't pictured.

Erin also gave me this pattern for my b-day, which I am happy with. I am not going to be making it aimmediately though, as I will need to do a hunt for the right materials, and build up my courage. I read the instructions, and it all seems very complicated. It looks lovely though. I am not sure what I would do with it ehn I was done though? Maybe gift it back to Erin

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Time Passes...

It has been a really hectic couple of days. I came home from the gym on Wednesday, to find that my beautiful cat Pluto had had another stroke, and could only walk in anti-clockwise circles. She was really distressed, and I spent a lot of the night up with her, as whenever she wasnted to move her legs couldn't support her, so she would cry and get all distressed again. Eventually I had to just put her on the floor next to my bed to get some sleep, and she did relax a bit after that.

All that needed to be done to Claire's dungarees was sewing the buttons on at the hips, which I did with snaps actually doing the closure, and a button on top. It really took me all day to sew them on, as it was disgustingly hot and sticky, and I had just done some accidental felting (see below). They got done eventually though, and when I gave them too her she loved them. When I expressed my concern about the fit, she told me she would loose or gain whatever, which makes me feel good. Hopefully she wasn't serious through.

I finished off the yarn for Rach's birthday, plying it with beads and skeining it. She seemed to like it, which makes me glad. It did reek a bit of vineger, so I will need to experiment with reducing the amount I put in. There is a positive though; when I washed it no colouring came out.

I also tried fulling with Erin's scarf, and worked out after the attempt that most of the wool was superwash. I probably should have checked, but I am still gifting it too her- I doubt that she will really notice. Unfortunately, I had some unfortunately successful fulling. I was planning on handwashing my first handmade sweater (Frou Frou), but the sink was full of painting stuff. The yarn label said that it was machine washable under 30 degrees C, do I put it in a cold wash, turned spin off, and used woolwash. When it came out though, it was totally felted; even the openwork edging was solid. I was pretty shattered, and am still disappointed. Mum is keen to try and see if Fullers Earth can reduce a bit of the shrinking, which would be excellent, but I am not going in to it hopeful. Maybe this is a lesson, that 100% wool jumpers aren't good for Australia.

Today I bought a hairpin for hairpin lace, and have been working at that a bit. I also found a ball of Red Heart Soft Baby, and boy is this stuff cheap! Huge as well. I am looking forward to going to the US at the end of the year to stock up on craft supplies; everything seems so much cheaper.

Those finds were probably the only good thing about my trip to Spotlight. I wanted to get some garter clips, but they had none in stock. Understandable perhaps, as not so many people wear stockings, but I got a bit ticked off when I was tartly informed by one of the Shop Assistants that Batiste was a winter fabric, and that they would not have any in stock, even though it was advertised in their catalogue. The general dissaray of the entire store always brings me down, and I absolutely hate shopping there. Unfortunately, my budget will not allow me to shop at somewhere like Tessuti and the closest Lincraft is about 45 mins drive away. Blah!

In the end I got some hot pink Lawn for a smocked skirt, and a cream lawn for a blouse. Hopefully there will be progress there soon.

Today I started to ply a yarn I have had for ages. It is really fine cotton that I bought in a big bag from markets (for a different yarn) and is red and white. I have an entire cone of it, and there is really nothing I can think of making in christmas colours. It looks much better to use at twice the thickness, but I may got 4X which will bring it to about a 4 ply weight (fingering).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


There has been a bit of drama at home lately. On the weekend it was my B-Day, which wasn't really all that dramatic. The dramatic part comes from one of our cats;Don. Neither are really well, but when we took Don to the vet he was diagnosed with liver failure in the fatal stage. He was given a shot of steriods to give him some more energy, and a nutrient gel to help him stay healthy. He is almost 18 (older than I am) and we knew that he wasn't going to live forever, but hearing it from the dispassionate mouth of the vet was pretty upsetting. It has been a few years since I was able to leave the vets office with dry eyes.

This weekend I bought some food-dyes to experiment with dyeing, and I have learnt a bit since them. My first lot of dyeing was with a mix of blue and cochneal, which shows up OK.
WHy is it that nobody mentions the smell? The scent of vinegar and wet sheep still hangs around in the nooks of the kitchen, and both cats were very distressed ;).

Next I tried to make a hot pink for a gift for a friends B-Day. I added significantly more dye this time, adn the result is a much stronger colour. I really like how the colour is not consistent, and varies from stong pink to a much softer tone.

I was planning on plying this with thread, threaded with pink beads and buttons, but I discovered (after I had threaded) that my buttons wouldn't fit though the orifice hole. A bit of a bummer, but it didn't take too long to re thread.I am happy with the result, even if it is a little bare. One skein is done, and I just need to do two more. I found working with the thread a little stressful, as if I looked away for a moment it was liable to tangle. Grrrr...
I have also nearly finished Erin's scarf, effectively 6 balls of it. I am considering giving felting a go.