crafting

Today I’m Making… red snoods

Classic lipstick red

Today I’m concentrating on restocking my classic red snoods. In the picture it looks a bit brighter than in real life, thus is like the perfect shade of red lipstick, it’s an intense red without being too bright.

I think red can almost be used as a neutral, it will add a pop of colour to a dark outfit without looking too colourful and don’t believe that old wives tale about it clashing with red hair, I’m a redhead and I’ve seen other redheads wearing this shade and it looks cute.

If you’re like me and tend to wear mainly dark colours a red snood can be a nice way to add a bit of colour without feeling overwhelmed by it.

As you may know already I moved house not long ago so quite a lot of my yarn is still in boxes, I have only been able to lay my hands on this one back of red so there won’t be many of these in my shop but it is a staple colour for me so if you miss out this time it will be coming back at some point.

crafting · crochet · Knitting

Today I’m Making… alpaca jumper, a scarf and some hearts

img_3142In my usual way, I start at the bottom left and work my way around clockwise. So, here’s what we are looking at in this picture:
  1. An alpaca sweater
  2.  Placemarker for things I have to do today
  3. Placemarker for my embroidery coursework
  4. A reminder to write this blog
  5. Crochet heart bunting
  6. Fisherman’s rib scarf

That’s a cup of black coffee in my ‘I’d rather be knitting’ mug.  I used to have that mug at work but then they banned individuality so I had to bring it home where I’m always knitting so it makes no sense here.  

 

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A  couple of weeks ago me and The Mister went to Pennybridge Farm for one of their two hour alpaca experience days.  It was without a doubt one of the nicest days out we have ever had.  The people so obviously care deeply for the alpacas and love what they’re doing.  I never knew alpacas would be such gentle and friendly animals. We both fell a bit in love with them.  I’d really like to go back and do it again next year. I’ll pop a picture below of the gorgeous yearling that we got to walk and feed.

They have a great little gift shop, and in that gift shop they sell huge bags of fleece for spinners but they also get the fleece spun into yarn to sell in the shop.  It was pretty reasonable too at £14 a skein.  They had a deal – 5 skeins for £60 so I snapped that right up in this gorgeous light biscuit tone.  Its funny because it doesn’t feel like anything much in the skein but once you start knitting with it, it is the softest most beautiful yarn.  I would quite happily knit with nothing but this forever more, its that nice.  Really.

I offered to make The Mister a jumper, not really expecting him to be that interested because he sure as hell never wears the socks I’ve knitted for him in the past.  But to my delight he jumped at the idea.  We spent a bit of happy time on Ravelry choosing the pattern. He favours a close fitting jumper so he went for the Eren by Marianne Munier which comes in a nice wide choice of sizes and the profits from sales of this pattern are donated to a cancer research charity, which I only just noticed. Its knitted top-down in the round and so far it’s easy enough to follow. The pattern is translated from French to English and I think so far they’ve made a good job of that.  You may think I’m mad but I’m really looking forward to getting past the arms so that I can do a ton of plain knitting in the round.  I love that, it’s pretty much a meditation.

img_3119So this is Aniken – he likes to randomly trot for a few seconds when you’re walking him. He’s also a bit too fond of willow, they give you some willow to feed to them but Aniken has absolutely no qualms about walking up to another alpaca and stealing the willow right out of their mouth.  How he gets away with it I don’t know, I mean, he is very beautiful but so are the others so he can’t just be trading on his good looks.  

Bizarrely one of my favourite people at work went here too not so long ago and when I showed her the pictures we’d taken it turned out they’d walked Aniken too.  There are 87 alpacas living at Pennybridge Farm so that’s a pretty big happy coincidence I think. 

Next up are three placemarkers for things I really need to do today, they are generally housework type things or other little tasks that I really need to get done today.

That’s what the first one is anyway.  The second is for my City & Guilds hand embroidery coursework. I caved in and nipped up town to buy the right size graph paper after spending an age struggling with the teeny tiny version I was using.  So now I’m actually making progress with my cross stitch sample and I think I’ll be able to finish that over this weekend and at least make a bit of a start on the second piece. At least I’ll have time to watch some YouTube demonstrations on drawn thread embroidery which is not something I’ve done before, it’s never really appealed to me but I’m happy to be converted.  

The third one is to remind me to actually write this blog, so here we are.  I really need to make more effort to blog, I like to read other people’s craft blogs and even if no-one but me ever read these, it’s interesting to me to see what I’ve been doing back over time.   

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Next up we have these cute little crochet hearts.  There are a ton of free patterns online to crochet heart motifs, I used the one from the Planet June blog.  Nice and easy to follow and you can scale it up easily just by changing yarn and hook size.  I’m using up scraps for mine, this the leftover yarn from a feather and fan scarf I made last year that’s shades of pink and lavender going into grey. Its quite fuzzy and sparkly so I hope I have enough left to make a good few of these.  They live in a little pineapple block printed cotton laundry bag from Flying Tiger.

The picture above is from my Instagram feed. I was rereading Alice in Wonderland last week, I’ve finished it now and I did enjoy it but I did not particularly enjoy the amount of stares I got from my fellow commuters reading this on the train. I know it’s ridiculous of me but I like to think of my commute as a quiet and private space and I don’t like people leaning over me to look at my book. I suppose it is quite unusual to see adults reading books with pictures in public, but still, sod off!  

img_3147Last is my fisherman’s rib scarf which I’m knitting using inherited acrylic yarn.  You might remember I completely frogged this and started again after I made a weird see through section that I couldn’t fix.  I’ve made this version on smaller needles so it’s lost a bit of its pleasing squishiness, I didn’t intend to make it on smaller needles, I thought I was using the same ones as before to be honest.  And that is why you’re supposed to make proper project notes in Ravelry isn’t it? I still like it, it’s still squishy and it looks neater in this smaller gauge but it has lost some pleasing squish.  I think when I’ve finished this I’m going to add some contrast tiny tassels along the edges. I fancy something neon. Maybe bright bright pink or green. Or both. Sod it, why not both?

Right that coffee you see at the bottom is not going to drink itself.  I’m off. x

 

crafting · crochet · Etsy · Knitting

Today I’m making… a snood and a scarf

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It’s been far too long since I’ve updated this blog. I really want to make more of an effort with this rather than just spending time on Instagram, don’t get me wrong, I do love a bit of Insta but I feel like the time is right to move back to blogging.

I’ve been on holiday since my last update, 9 nights in Crete which was really lovely but I think I’ve fallen out of love with flying. I used to really enjoy the whole airport experience but this year I just found the whole thing really stressful and just not worth it.  So we’re thinking of staying in the UK next year and maybe driving up to Yorkshire. I’m all for it.

Right so lets get on to what I’m actually making today.  Usually on a Sunday I have about six projects on the go at once and I flit between them all during the day but today I’ve only picked two things to work on and hopefully I’ll make some decent progress for a change.

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First up is a lipstick bright red snood.  I finished a large one in this colour this morning and have updated my Etsy shop with it, so if you want a large red snood I have one ready to post to you.  This one is going to be a medium, and then I’ll make a small.  Not sure I’ll get both done today, I have some housework to do too and I have this delicious Portuguese tart to eat (only 50p in Asda!).  I’m in love with this shade of red, it’s a blue red so very easy to wear, I’m a redhead and I can wear this shade.  You’ll also see in this picture my perfect and much loved solid silver crochet hook from Lynn Roberts Design and I’m sure I mention it all the time but it’s just the most joyous thing to work with. It feels really special and is a joy to work with.  When I’m at home its the only hook I use, I don’t tend to take it outside because I’d be really upset if I lost it.

Anyway, I’m making a bit of an effort to put some snoods back in my Etsy shop, I’ve had to put them on the back burner for most of this year because I’m doing a City & Guilds in hand embroidery and I need to concentrate on that really so I’m only adding stock I have in hand rather than listing everything and making snoods to order, which I what I normally do but means I’m constantly making them and I fell way behind with my coursework.  I think I’m back on track now but my snoods are thin on the ground to say the least.

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Next up is my fisherman’s rib scarf.  This will eventually go in my Etsy shop but it will be a long time in the making.  I can’t quite remember where I got this yarn, I’m pretty sure it was passed to me, it might have been my mum’s but I don’t think she ever bought grey.  It doesn’t really matter does it?  It’s an acrylic 4ply so that means it is pretty practical for a scarf because its easy to wash and won’t felt from rubbing against your clothes.  Its SO squishy and soft and the shade of grey itself is such a nice pearly grey, with almost a pink tone to it.  I just realised this Sunday is all acrylic.  Now I’m not much of a yarn snob, I just use what I like and I do like hand dyed natural fibres but if I see acrylic and like it I’m having it.  A lot of my acrylic yarn has been gifted to me when another knitter has died or has a destash and it’s better to knit with it then send it to landfill.  However you feel about yarn content, this is a lovely yarn and I have two huge balls of it.  Let’s just take a moment to have a little smirk at my two huge balls.

As I said, this is fisherman’s rib which has the look of brioche but none of the faff.  I have seen several people online assert that brioche and fisherman’s rib are the same thing, they’re not. They’re really not, fisherman’s rib just looks like brioche and has the same squish factor. It feels amazing.  I have actually pulled back about three inches this afternoon because there was a row where I slipped a stitch with the yarn in the wrong place and I had been thinking it didn’t really matter because it was in a pretty good place for me to sew on a label to cover it up anyway, but then thinking about it that mistake draws my eye so much that I’ve been putting off working on the scarf so I thought, sod it, just rip it back and reknit. Of course I could have just dropped that stitch and picked it up correctly all the way up but I like knitting, so more knitting is good, right? I’m going to put a stitch marker in to see how much progress I make on this today.  How many inches do you think I’ll recover? Its 4ply knitted on 4mm needles.

Books · crafting · crochet · Etsy · Knitting · vintage

Today I’m Making… all the snoods

Today I’m making several snoods all at once, a Gin Poodle and a 1940s sweater.

The snoods have several days grave before they need to be posted to customers but I to post early if at all possible so I think I’ll have them all done by Tuesday at the latest.

I’ve already finished two snoods from this order, look at how little teal yarn was left! That was a slightly hairy moment, I can tell you. Sadly my supplier had stopped dying this shade so this is the last teal snood for the foreseeable. I’ll keep my eye out for a replacement, I really liked the teal but never got around to making one for me. Berk.

The sweater is the Pretty as a Picture 1940s sweater, all I need to do to finish it is finish the swag shown, sew it up and knit the neckline so I want to get all that done today if I can.

The Gin Poodle is just for my own amusement and because I only have three of them in my Etsy shop at the moment.

The book is my current read and to be honest I’m not that engaged with it. I’ve started skipping descriptions of dinosaur skeletons for instance. I think if you can skip bits of a book it’s not the book for you. I’m using it to give my wrist a rest now and then from crocheting snoods.

crafting · crochet · Etsy · vintage hair

Today I’m Making… gold hair snood

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This morning I finished making my first ever metallic gold 1940s style hair snood.  Its something customers have been asking me about for quite a long time but I’ve never found a metallic yarn in a quantity that makes it possible to make a large snood without a join.

I always have a look in yarn shops for metallic gold but never have any luck, in the end I found this yarn online from the Turkish company, Ice.  Turkey seems to be a pretty enthusiastic knitting country, a lot of yarns seem to be produced there now and its good quality too. Ice make a lot of more unusual yarns, I’ve bought from them before and never been disappointed.

So, I have bought six balls, each one is just enough to make one large snood with a fair bit left over so not entirely enconomic  and the yarn is quite expensive so this batch of six will be the only ones I make.  If you like them and want one please do move quickly, they’re a very limited run.

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The other reason I won’t be making these regularly is the yarn is properly metallic, it’s gorgeous, it has a lovely sheen and teeny tiny little sequins that really catch the light so they’d be brilliant for performers but the yarn is quite stiff so it’s blimmin’ hard going on my hands to crochet with.  Course, this means the snoods are a bit stiff too, so if you have one of my usual acrylic numbers it won’t feel anything like that.

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I am going to keep looking for a softer metallic gold yarn, I think Ice do a lurex thread I can use alongside a ‘normal’ yarn but finding a base colour of a non metallic gold is also a bit of a challenge.  Don’t hold your breath because I’ve been keeping an eye out for gold for years so far.

Books · crafting · crochet · Etsy

A pair of sparkly snoods

Things have gone a little quiet over the Easter weekend for me on Etsy orders so it gives me a chance to let you see the progression of an order I have just posted off to America.

I’ll take this picture by picture and explain what is going on. The first picture is the yarn I use to make the sparkly snoods, the cone on the right is super fine metallic blue lurex which I crochet in with the usual blue yarn.  The lurex is a funny thing, it is really quite strong but feels very delicate as if it would snap at any moment.  In the background of this pic you can see some of my snood making yarn, that wicker unit is crammed to bursting with the rest of my snood yarn and a small amount of Gin Poodle yarn also on the coffee table are a couple of books I’ve read and haven’t decided what to do with yet, a train timetable and a book and map that I intend to make paper flowers from.

Next pic is the snoods nearly finished, the silver one is pretty much done apart from adding the elastic, the ribbon bow and sewing in a label, the sparkly blue one  isn’t quite finished, I’m putting a neat edge along the hair band here.

Next up is the book I am struggling to get anywhere with (The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen) which I’m reading in between making things.  I just can’t get into it, I don’t like any of the characters and don’t really care what happens to them. I’m a quarter of the way through it so surely by now I should care a bit? I’ve set myself a modest target of reading 26 books this year and I’m already three books behind schedule. Ms Bowen is not not helping. Sometimes I just give up on a book I’m this apathetic about but this is a book I picked up through Bookcrossing so I feel like I owe it to its previous owner to let them know what happens to it so I’ll slog on.

The last two pictures are the snoods pretty much ready to go sitting on my bony knees – all I’ve got to do now is wrap them up in tissue paper and add some complimentary sparkly hair grips to the vintage postcard and send them off.  The postcard is just over 100 years old, I bought a job lot of them and while they last I’ll use them as my notepaper or hairgrip holders in all my orders.  This one shows Gertie Gitana who was a music hall actress also known as The Staffordshire Cinderella.  This one was written on and posted, nothing exciting though, just some bloke Dave asking after his mate Jim and saying he’ll be home soon because they expect to be sent off to France soon.  I wonder if he was a soldier in the First World War but he doesn’t say so expressly. If they are blank I usually write a message on the back but if they’ve been used I like to keep them as they are and just pop one in the package as a nice surprise. Not that it will be much of a surprise if the customer reads this post before the package arrives.

 

 

crafting

Today I’m Making… red hair snoods

Yesterday I was knitting a purple sparkly Gin Poodle that I intended to finish off today but when I switched on my phone this morning I got the magic ‘cha’ching’ from Etsy that is the fantastic alert sound that you’ve sold something!  I love that sound.

So, I’ve sold one of these bright red hair snoods which is fantastic because I like making these (I make everything to order) the red is so cheerful. The first thing to do is go ferreting about in my main yarn store for red.

wpid-20150517_135520.jpgThis gives you an idea of how the love of snoods have taken over my home. This is only my main store, I have a big trunk, some boxes in the loft and a load more dotted about here and there. I know I’ve got some red but I know I don’t have an awful lot.  Turns out I’ve only got about enough to make three snoods. So that’s OK, I’ve sold one and I can order some more yarn any time I like but then – cha ching! I’ve sold another one exactly the same.  So now I’m forced to go shopping for more red yarn. Poor me.

wpid-20150517_132153.jpgThis is all I have left, Not much is it? To put it in perspective here it is again next to a nearly full cone. wpid-20150517_132211.jpg

Yesterday I went to the excellent I Knit Fandango yarn fair in London, run by the excellent I Knit London shop at Waterloo. I had a fantastic time and bought some yarn but of course, I didn’t buy any red.

I think I’ve got enough to do another two snoods, so that’s the one other one that I’ve sold today and one more.  I’m going to order some more red today so if the final one sells before it arrives red snoods will go out of stock for a while but hopefully will be back in stock by the end of the week.

crafting · crochet · Etsy

Today I’m Making – reuseable cotton make-up remover pads

I cannot remember who directed me to it but an absolute age ago I found this blog giving a pattern to make your own  make-up remover pads by What You Sow. See below for a link to the pattern.  Its a rainy old Easter Sunday so not much to do here but housework and crochet while the Mister gently snoozes in front of Touring Cars on the telly.

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I’ve made a few of these for personal use now and they come out really well in the wash, I made them all in white cotton but one of them has gradually gone a nice pale blue in the wash.  I love them, cotton pads are so wasteful, you have to use them to take off nail varnish but there isn’t really any need to use them for your make up when you can have these little fellers.

20140420_115332 20140420_115221[1]I use them to take off all types of make-up, they’re great for taking off eye make up as well as for foundation. I use them with toner too and I can’t say I’ve had any problems with them, they’re not rough on your skin but it is a different feel to cotton wool pads, these are much chunkier and they have the advantage of not shedding fluff all over the place.

I am also a big fan of the Dettol anti-bacterial additive that you put in the washing machine (£4.60 from Waitrose) if you’re worried about them festering bugs and bacterial this stuff will sort it out – its also fantastic to use on sportswear because it stops it getting whiffy as it ages.

If you don’t crochet you can buy ready made cotton pads from her here: http://www.whatyousow.co.uk/product/reusable-eye-makeup-remover-pads

She’s on Etsy too, you get five for £9.95 and she does nice muted colours too.

 

 

crochet · Etsy · vintage · vintage hair

Today I’m Making – another snood

I’m being the nutter on the train again today, crocheting hair nets while I commute.  I don’t know which gets me more funny looks, the crochet today or the trashy romance I was reading yesterday.

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Anyway, I’ve had an enquiry via Etsy about one of my sparkly snoods, this nice silvery grey one in fact.

Link: Snood for sale in my Etsy shop

Most of my snoods are made to order and I only have a little bit of this

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yarn left so I’m going to make up a long one for this potential customer who wants one that sits just below her shoulders and then I’ll have to see how much yarn I’ve got left and revise my listing accordingly.  I’m guessing I have enough to make another five after this one but I find it hard to tell with cones.

This particular customer prefers a longer length snood, personally I prefer to wear one higher and for it to scoop up my hair, maybe I should make some extra-long ones? What do you think? Do you prefer a snood that holds up your hair or just covers it for decoration?

crafting

Knitted chain link scarf

SAM_1548Have a look at this, its an experimental chain link scarf. If I’m honest its not my own original idea, I saw someone selling kits at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace but I’d spent so much money already I couldn’t afford to buy one. It stayed in my mind though and here’s my attempt to replicate it.

The one in the kit was done using DPNs so I tried that for a bit but it was far too fiddly and time-consuming. It did give a great result though.

 

SAM_1549Now I’m just knitting strips and sewing them together but I don’t like the seams, its just not the effect I want. I’ve nearly finished this one now, and to be honest I’m also not convinced that using more than one colour is a good idea either.

For the next version I’m going to try crochet links, that should solve the ugly seam problem and I’ll be able to make lovely fat tubes rather than curls. I think I’ve nearly finished this one so I’ll see how it ends up before deciding whether its good enough to sell. I’d like to see how it gets on in a washing machine first really.  I do really like it, when I’ve mastered the technique I’m going to make one in a single colour, or a graduated colour yarn… I really hope the crochet version is the answer because that would make it a fantastic train project.

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