Weaving! My New Loom!

Exciting times for Patchwork Fairy, I’ve bought a loom!  I already sew, quilt, crochet and knit and for a long time I’ve wanted to learn spinning and weaving! Two week’s ago I bought a brand new loom!

Ashford Knitters Loom

New Loom and instructions!

I actually started buying one in July in order to get an early start on Christmas presents but that didn’t work out and I ended up buying a different one a couple of week’s ago.  This is an Ashford Knitters Loom!  It’s the same as the plain Rigid Heddle Loom but comes already assembled and ready for use!  It’s only a small 12 inch loom and even now I’m thinking I could quite happily have one twice this size.  However, mine is very light and portable and also folds up, so doesn’t take over the dining room table in the way that a wider one would.

I bought it online from Wingham Wool Work and I was very impressed with their customer service.  Although you pay on ordering they don’t actually take the money from your account until they have despatched your goods. From ordering to playing with my loom took about 4 days!

It arrives with everything you need to start weaving, except the yarn, but that was never going to be a problem in this house!!  The box included two different sized shuttles and a coloured pictorial guide which was very good.  I managed to set up the whole thing by myself with no need for DH to interfere help at all!!

I started practising with my Stylecraft acrylic as this is a very good yarn at a reasonable price.  It’s smooth and soft, so easy to learn with, although I wasn’t very good keeping the sides straight at first.

weaving in autumn colours

edges aren’t too good on this first ever weave!

but I did get a bit better with practice,  and help and advice from the Rigid Heddle Weaving groups on Facebook I managed to create a sort of scarf!

scarf in autumn colours

Finished scarf with fringe and crochet edge

People are so kind and will take the time to get newbies out of pickles and disasters.  The green wool below was a wool and acrylic mix and so hairy the weaving ‘sheds’ wouldn’t open, but in no time at all, with one post in the Facebook group  I had half a dozen suggestions as to how to solve it!

green yarn on a loom

very hairy yarn! Wool and Acrylic mix on the warp and mohair on the weft.

 

It was much easier using the hairy yarn on the weft with a smoother double knit by Hayfield called ‘Spirit’ on the warp.

purple and green weaving

nice mix but obscures the warp pattern

 

purple woven yarn

showing the warp pattern

 

I find weaving very relaxing and productive, in fact it’s much quicker to complete say a scarf in a plain weave than it is for me to crochet or knit one.  My next task is to weave DH a scarf for winter and then I’m going to try out some more expensive hand dyed  wools from my stash!

I don’t know if weaving appeals to some unconscious need to create and provide but I found myself incredibly happy and at peace sitting in a low comfy chair overlooking the garden, cup of tea to hand and the sound of rain pattering down on the conservatory roof!  With this new skill, come the Zombie Apocalypse, I’ll be able to make my own clothes on the run!

purple wool on a loom

weaving and a cup of tea ..bliss!

 

New Patchwork Fairy Dresses!

So I’ve finished my new range of handmade patchwork fairy dresses and I’m almost ready to put them in my Folksy and Etsy Patchwork Fairy shops! It’s taken quite a while to complete them as handfinishing is quite time consuming!  I’ve loved creating these – it’s just my kind of thing –  Fairies, pink, purple, ribbons, floaty tulle and crochet!

My first dresses are all small sizes while I test the market. I can make them in larger size to order if necessary. Already a friend has requested an adult size so she can float about playing Fairy Godmother!!

Doesn’t taking photos take a long time?! Much harder than you’d think to try and set a scene and get the lighting right.  I took a lot of photos trying to get the perfect one, not sure I’ve really got it right yet though!

Pink fairy dress

Pink dress with cotton and silk bodice

I enjoyed crocheting the bodices in some lovely tactile yarns.

Fairy dress in pink, purple and blue

Violet and Pink soft cotton bodice with pink, purple and blue tulle.

This bodice of this one is a fresh Egyptian cotton

Lemon yellow fairy dress

Lemon cotton bodice with delicate tulle skirt.

Fairy dress with gold and lilac bodice

Silk and cotton and merino wool bodice with delicate pastel coloured tulle skirt.

These are not everyday dressess so I’m hoping to appeal to the market of special occasion dresses – birthdays, weddings, flower girl, family photo occasion etc.  This is a departure from things I’ve previously sold on Folksy and so I’ve run the shop down deliberately so I can launch the dresses as a new line.

One comment I’ve had from my test pictures is that fairy dresses should be sold with wings – I’d welcome any comments about them and whether you agree with the wings idea – I wasn’t originally intending to sell wings!

 

Planned Pooling in Crochet

Autumn coloured yarn made into a cowl

Crocheted a cowl in Red Heart ‘Autumn’ or ‘Fall’ as it’s called in USA!

 

I’ve been fascinated recently by the planned pooling technique in crochet! It’s a method of crochet which involves carefully counting and manipulating your stitches to force an Argyle type pattern.  It’s not easy! I actually used 3 diffferent hook sizes to get the patterning to work as I kept needing to use more or less yarn up in within the rows!

There is a very helpful Facebook group called Planned Pooling in Crochet with lovely, helpful members who advise and support newbie after newbie tearing their hair out and crying “it’ll never work! I just can’t do it!”   It’s  definitely worth joining if you want to try the pooling technique.  This Pooling calculator is very useful too, although it’ll mean more to you if you read through the Facebook group posts first!

I used Red Heart super saver to make this cowl as not many UK yarns will pool – the sequence of colour change in the yarns has to be just right and even some Red Heart will not pool. Fortunately the Autumn shade above pools relatively easily. I bought a few different balls of this type of yarn whilst I was about it as it took ages to find a supplier in UK!

Below is the start of another scarf using Red Heart Supersaver  in Wildflower.  I love this colourway – it’s very pretty!   The  only downside of Planned Pooling is you can’t really watch TV whilst doing it as it need concentration!! Hence it will take me a very long time to make another complete scarf and much as I’d like a  blanket in it ….. not sure the old brain could sustain the focus!😀😀😀

Yarn in purple, yellow and green making an argyle patttern

The start of a new Planned Pooling project

So if you fancy a new project and you can already crochet quite well I’d recommend Planned Pooling – but a word of warning –  once you start you just might not be able to stop! (And you might miss your favourite TV programme!) 😜

Autumn coloured yarn made into a cowl

Crocheted a cowl in Red Heart ‘Autumn’ or ‘Fall’ as it’s called in USA!

Love Autumn!

I love Autumn!

Although summer is good in lots of ways it doesn’t have a starting ‘feel’ like spring and autumn do!  There is something about how the air smells in September which transports me back to ‘new term’, ‘new pencils’ type feelings of anticipation and excitement.

I do enjoy being able to shower without shivering in summer and getting dressed quickly because I don’t need layers but I adore wearing my boots, woolly hats and scarves and fingerless mittens again!

We’ve had an unexpected pleasure in our garden this Autumn too – lots of blackberries which are soooo good with meringues and clotted cream 😋

Blackberries in a hand

Handful of blackberries!

 

Another autumnal pleasure is the crunchy red brown leaves which start to cluster on the pavements or whizz round in the air on windy days! I used some decorative ones as a setting for my new fabric gift tags!

Heart shaped fabric to use as gift tag

Heart shaped fabric gift tag!

Fabric gift tag rectangular shape

Gift tag with embroidery

These hessian and linen gift tags make pretty keepsakes for the receiver of the present! They will be for sale in my Folksy  shop shortly! See sidebar for shop link

Funnily enough the weather has changed this week and it’s now sunny and warm outside – not at all autumnal – might just go and take in a few rays and embrace the end of summer (again).

Back Home from Holiday!

Back home from holiday!

Boo 🙁

My new camping blanket made from fabric called “Windy Days” came in handy and was appropriately titled!

blue green patchwork blocks blanket

new camping blanket

windy days are good for surfing!

sea and surf

gransdon catching a wave

 

not so good for watching so thank goodness for the beach tent – cosy behind the gauze flap!

mum and kids in beach tent

Inside the beach tent – Cosy!

 

 

we  are a messy group of 16 covering 3 generations on the beach and there’s always something to look for, someone to chase after, or someone taking their sunhat off (again) !

family set up on the beach

Messy beach day!

It was a lovely week though tiring.  At the end of the day it was nice to have my sweet little caravan to come home to for a cuppa!

inside of small caravan showing red seats

newly covered seats and cushions!

red covered bench seating in caravan

bench seats

 

I enjoy making things for my caravan and the awning,  especially when I use things from my stash.  However, I’m off to the Festival of Quilts next week so I might just acquire a teensy-weensy bit more fabric ….. 🙂  …….. It’s good to be back home from holiday!

Grandaughter’s First Birthday!

I’ve been busy lately preparing for my grandaughter’s first birthday party!

First there was the cake! I so enjoyed making this!

Pink and green and purple birthday cake in shape if a fairy castle

Charlotte’s Fairy House Cake

 

the two tiers were homemade – Chocolate Fudge Cake with chocolate buttercream and Madeira cake with Rose buttercream!  To cover the cake I used ready made roll out icing and decorated with sweets, sugar paste hearts, flowers and edible glitter.  It tasted gorgeous although it was very rich and sweet so a small slice was an excellent sufficiency!

Charlotte shared the party with my daughter’s friend’s 4 year old and the theme was Super Heroes.  The older children were dressed in capes etc so I made Charlotte a Fairy Costume with Super Baby on the back!

Baby girl's fairy dress in pink, blue and lemon lace.

Charlotte’s fairy dress WiP!

 

the dress in progress and the dress in use!

One year old in fairy costume with Super Baby on the back

Charlotte the Super Baby!

 

I was exhausted at the end of the week and then there was the actual party with a giant bouncy slide for adults and children! It was difficult, but I managed to have a couple of slides – fab!  Mainly though I left it to the younger people!

Giant bouncy slide

Me and my grandson!

So when I look back at these photos I will remember we did have some summer this year after all!

Crocheted Fairy House Tea-Pot Cover!

So I’ve got this awful cough and cold and can’t get on with my caravan makeover so I have devoted my lolling about time to – what else? – trawling through Facebook and Pinterest of course😀   Best way to cheer yourself up – that and some crochet!    A while back I spotted on Pinterest a most gorgeous crocheted fairy House tea-pot cover with instructions which I really,  really wanted to try and make. Unfortunately as the pattern was in Russian and google translate couldn’t cope with crochet terms I though I would never be able to attempt it. So what have I been doing this weekend?

Crochet in shape of wizard's hat

The ‘wizard’s hat’ part complete!

Oh happy day! I found there was a part translation in the files section of a crochet  group of which I am (was) not a member.  Now I am revelling in the pictures of WiPs and patterns etc from the new group and on my way with the crochet tea pot cover! Can’t ever be in too many crochet groups eh?

Crochet tea pot cover in purple and teal yarn

Just started the side pieces

 

I’m enjoying making this immensely, despite the racking cough and general aches and pains.  It’s taking longer than the one day suggested but that’s fine!

Stylecraft yarn to make tea-pot cover

Crochet fairy tea-pot cover taking shape

This was my progress last night when I had to stop and rest! There’s no detailed instructions for number of stitches etc after the wizard hat part as you simply make the cover to fit your tea pot. It’s not too difficult though if you are experienced in making things.

Unadorned Crochet tea pot cover

Completed the cover all round – now need to add the little mushrooms and fairies and flowers!

 

So, here I am with the base cover crocheted!  Now I will have great fun making little extras to adorn it – some such as the door and windows are in the pattern, the rest I will make up or use some little flowers and leaves like ones found in Attic 24 patterns.

If you want to see what the finished thing looks like you can follow this link.Here to my Facebook page where I shared the finished crocheted tea pot cover by a page entitled Haken en breien en naaien en juwelen kantklossen woon idees.  I can’t work out any other way to credit the original as it’s somewhere on the page last year and linking direct to it won’t show the teapot

Next week I will have my very own crocheted fairy house tea-pot cover finished! Watch this space for pictures!

Linking up with Handmade Monday

 

New Year, Old Fabric!

Happy New Year 2016!

The title isn’t a misprint! One of my new year resolutions is to use up my old fabric stash and not buy any new fabric! So far so good as my first project of 2016 was to make a replacement bag for a favourite hessian shopping bag I received as a Yule present a few years ago.  I saw the exact same colour hessian in Abakhan last summer and bought the fabric with the intention to make the bag right away, but in reality just added it to my stash and forgot about it.  So last week I dug out the fabric and made a simple small shopping bag lined with yellow spotted cotton. I really like to make the interior of bags in a light coloured fabric as it makes finding stuff inside much easier!

Pink hessian bag

Pink hessian bag with Liberty print heart appliqué

 

I used some of my (ahem) small stash of Liberty to add a heart shaped appliqué on each side and then found a lovely white-cotton-with-lemon-spots fat quarter for the lining. I’ve had this fat quarter for about three years so using it added to the virtuous feeling 😀

Interior of a pink hessian shopping bag

The yellow spotted cotton lining

 

My second craft-related resolution is to clear out and streamline my craft room and to keep it an uncluttered and stress-free area …… yeah right!  But I have made a start – might even be able to photograph it for the blog if I keep up the enthusiasm 😀.

Linking with Lucy Blossom Crafts

 

 

Knitting Socks!

I don’t know how many of you read Attic 24 ? But Lucy recently posted about her foray into sock knitting, as opposed to her usual crocheting.   Well half the world (including me) seems to have gone sock bonkers been inspired to also take up sock knitting and the wool that Lucy used has vanished from sale as have nearly all the circular needles in 2.5mm! I tried to order from Amazon but they were cleaned out and didn’t have a restock date! The power of social media eh?!

I did manage to find some wool in the same range, but not the colour way as that had sold out completely! I managed to secure some pretty alternatives  though!

4 balls of sock wool

My 4 varieties of sock wool!

I couldn’t just order one ball though like a sensible person, no I had to have 4 so that I didn’t pay postage! Saving money! Totally justified 😜.

I selected my ball for my first ever hand knitted sock and joined the online support group called Winwick Mum Sock a long! The sock pattern was designed by Christine Perry  aka Winwick Mum and the FB group is full of devotees who are willing and eager to be as helpful as needed.

My post in the group of this picture has about 70 Likes!!

Opal sock wool and knitting needes

The adventure begins!

 

I was quite excited when I posted the above, but that soon gave way to frustration and misery as I tried to make the tiny little needles behave! So much harder than my lovely, comfy crochet hook! I’ve also got a gap in my knitting which obviously shouldn’t be there and I am a little embarrassed yet to own up in the FB group! Hopefully I can do a bit more this evening  and get it in better shape!

So that’s my crafting for the next few weeks sorted! As well of course as making Santa sacks for the grandchildren, finishing patchwork Yule items and making family pressies!

I’m going to hop round Handmade Monday blogs this evening and tomorrow where I shall undoubtably find most people have finished and wrapped their crafty presents already! Ho Ho Ho!

Auditioning the Fabrics

Hello!  I haven’t been around on here for quite a while so today I decided to write about ‘auditioning’ the fabrics for my grandaughter’s new quilt!

I’ve been getting over the knee replacement (much harder than anticipated) and also the return of the dreaded Sciatica!!  Having two bad legs has been pretty difficult pain wise and then to find there is an 18 week waiting list to see the Pain Consultant has been very demoralising.  Especially since the initial appointment only leads to another waiting list for the actual injection treatment, which is the only thing which made me better last time.

Anyway DH did some research and suggested buying a home ultrasound kit and it actually seems to have made a difference. I’ll never know if this time the sciatica was going to be milder or whether the daily ultrasound treatments have stopped it in its tracks so to say.  So I’m cautiously optimistic that I am improving and ohave started going about for a bit longer without any terrible repercussions.

I’ve only managed a limited amount of sewing in the last few weeks and it been more a case of sitting down with crochet hooks and a bag of cosy yarn!  But never mind that today! Today I must tell you of a new term I learnt in my weekly patchwork class, it’s called ‘Auditioning’ the fabric for a project.  So, if like me, you thought you were just messing about with your stash when you were wondering what to make and/or what to use, you weren’t, you were auditioning your fabric for a place in the final item, in my case it is a quilt.

Fabric squares for a patchwork quilt

Auditioning Patchwork squares for the quilt top!

 

DD is obsessed with pink girly everything after having two boys but I think it’s nicely balanced with some non pink in it.

That’s it for this week, hopefully I will be able to make it to the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate on Saturday and I’ll have lots to write about next Handmade Monday!