Saturday, December 15, 2018

Possom Gloves

On a recent trip to New Zealand, I noticed lots of things made from possum yarn. Everything from socks, gloves, hats, mittens, scarves etc. I know that possums are a pest in New Zealand, and it is good to know that when they are culled, they are not wasted. After seeing all these products made with possum yarn, I was on the hunt to find some for myself.

I had heard via the grapevine of a yarn shop in Auckland, so when we got there, I was on the hunt. Took a little while but we found the shop, and I was in a candy store! Decisions decisions! Possum yarn is sooooooo expensive!

I ended up with one 25 gm ball of lace weight Zealana Air. 40% brush tail possum down, 40% Cashemere and 20% mulberry silk. I could only afford one ball, so I had to think very carefully about how I was going to use it. My plan was to combine it with something else, and probably make a scarf. I was thinking a feather and fan one with this yummy yarn in between the pattern for just two rows.

When I came home, an acquaintance suggested gloves. What a fabulous idea! I had needles, I had a 2 ply pattern for gloves, I just had to find them. In the meantime I did an internet search, and found a pattern for fingerless gloves put out by Zealana using the exact yarn I bought. Did I want fingerless gloves? No, I wanted full fingered gloves, and I wasn't sure I had enough yarn for full fingers, so I made a decision to make the fingers out of another yarn.

The fingers are worked in Patons Embrace 2 ply, something I had in my stash. It is a 90% merino wool and 10 % silk yarn. I had made other gloves in it before.

So my gloves are finished, I have something made with possum yarn, and they will be waiting to be worn in about six moths time when winter  hits.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Winter Hat

Behold, my new winter hat.  Mmmm..... winter is long past in my part of the world, in fact this week it will be more like summer. But next week, I will be heading for parts that will be a tad colder than home. I have winter hats of course, so why did I do another one?

I had made this blanket, and in the process had to look for some yarn to do a border. I found ten balls of navy acrylic yarn in my stash and used only part of one doing the blanket border. What to do with the rest? I had obviously earmarked it for something, but who know what that was now. So I dug out my double pointed knitting needles and decided to make a new hat to take away. It's only acrylic, so if it gets lost, it's no biggie. I still have my nice woollen ones.

So my hat was born. I started with six stitches on the needle, joined into a round, and just knit, increasing six times on every second row. I continued this way until it was big enough for what I wanted, knitted another two rounds, then decreased until it fit may head. Finally I added a ribbed band. No pattern needed, just winged it.

Its a beret style hat, a bit slouchy which is how I like them. It's navy, my base colour for clothing, and its warm. So it will serve the purpose of what I want.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Double Eyed Spider Book mark No 3

This is my third attempt at this book mark with double eyed spiders. I wanted to do it again to get my notes down pat, and to see if  I could work it again just from my notes. I still had trouble, and my notes are not the best. These double eyed spiders have certainly got the better of me. I usually found that I got interrupted half way through working them, then got lost, so just tried to figure it out following the lines on my pricking.

Anyway, it's finished now, and I am already onto something else. I think I may let these little spiders a rest for a while.

The book mark itself is worked in Guttermann Sulky 30  thread, with a gimp down each side of Guttermann Quilting cotton in a double strand of plain blue. It's difficult to see in this pic, but it's there, and a little thicker and more noticeable than the last attempt. The quilting cotton was a bit tricky to work with, but we got there in the end.

I've been keeping track of the hours it has taken me, and I have worked out this book mark  has a value of $200. No wonder I only give my bobbin lace to people who appreciate it.

A new book mark has already been started, another deign with no spiders, just seven little tally flowers. I've tried these flowers before and they certainly were a challenge. Oh well, practice makes perfect and I am always up for a challenge. Watch this space!

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Crocheted Blanket

Another finish, a crocheted blanket.

This blanket started on an impulse buy. I spotted some yarn cakes at Lincraft and loved the colours. I'd heard so much about yarn cakes, so I bought three of the same colour way on impulse to give them a try.

What to make? How far would my three cakes take me? I had no idea, so I just started crocheting squares. I believe now the cake yarns are supposed to be self striping. Just like me to be different, instead  I got miss matched squares.

I tried pressing the squares to get them to sit better. The smell produced was one that disagreed with me. It was at this stage that I decided to give it away.

I continued to make squares, as many as my cakes would let me. When I had enough for a blanket, I sewed them together. I was hoping I would have enough left to do a border. In case I didn't, I went looking in my stash and found a navy acrylic that I could use at a pinch. The cakes were equal to a 10 ply, while the navy was an 8 ply. Not sure how it was going to work but I would give it a try.

I was also concerned that the navy may have been too dark, so I started with a row of chains and double crochets. My idea was that the chains would be covered in a row of trebles  in the cake yarn on the next row of the border, and so just leave me with little spots of navy. I was hoping that I could get just one colour of the cake yarn to go all the way around the blanket for this part of the border, but no. Continuing in the style of cakes, I have a colour change. Not to worry, I just did another row of navy.

This would be my final row, so I decided to do a row of picots. I felt a shell edge would be too solid, and in the navy would be too much. The picots would add an interesting edge without too much navy.

So the blanket has now been blocked, and looks better, though the smell still disagrees with me. So I have asked a friend of mine who does a lot of work for charity if she would like it. So my little blanket will go to a charity somewhere, hopefully to be loved by someone. I am sure it will. I have had my experience with cake yarn now and I think that will do me, and I can now go back to my beloved Bendigo wool.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Warm Cardigan

My latest finish, a warm winter cardigan for me.It's been made in Bendigo Woollen Mills Savanah 8 ply. which is 70% wool and 30% alpaca.

I made a jumper for a male member of the family back at the beginning of last year, and ran out of yarn to do the neck band, so had to order more. I knew that I would never get the same dyelot, and I only needed one ball, ( the ball size is 200 gms) so thought I would order enough to do something else with.

At the time I had plans to make a blanket, one of those half fabric half crocheted ones, but that went by the wayside  and I decided to make myself a cardigan instead.

The pattern is from my Paytons Classic Cardigan book, and then I just added a pattern up the front from my Knitting Dictionary 900 Stitch Patterns book.

It's warm, it's comfortable, and I had a devil of a time trying to find buttons that would suit.

Friday, August 24, 2018

A Pulled Thread Needlecase

This little needle case was born out of a demonstration.

I was asked to demonstrate at an exhibition of works by Laura Leverton and Christina Barton, held at 76 Queen Street Gallery in Concord West. The exhibition was mostly pulled work, and I was just beginning to experiment with pulled work. What to do?

I looked through my fabrics, and found a scrap of linen that I thought would work. It was only small, so I had to set it in some fabric that would then let me put it in a hoop to work. Now what to stitch?

I had Googled some ideas, and came up with just stitching straight lines of stitching, so off I set. I left enough room for a hem, and started stitching.

There is some satin stitch in there, lots of four sided stitch, and lots of eyelets. My favourite row is one with half eyelets that gives a negative space of a zig zag line. My second favourite is one which combines all three of these stitches, and was inspired by the work that was on the walls.

I hemmed it with a four sided hem, lined it with some cotton fabric, added some Doctors Flannel, a hand made twisted cord, tassel and toggle closure.

Wallah! My new little needle case is now in use.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Little Work Pouch

Way back in 2016 the creative stitching group I belong to ,Stitchers Plus, had a challenge for the year to work 2" squares. My mind went instantly to working tenneriffe lace in a square format, it was something that I had wanted to try for a while.

I played with a few different designs which can be seen here , and settled on one that I liked so decided to make more.

The problem was what to do with them. A friend had suggested that I make a 15 sided biscornu, and I remember thinking 'why not?' So off I set to make 15 of the same designed little squares, just in different colour ways. I think I made ten before I  started to think how I could put this pin cushion together. The squares had been on exhibition, and in that process had been mounted to navy card to keep them flat and show off the colours to best advantage. To make the pincushion, I would have to take them off the card and mount them onto something else. I needed something rigid to help hold the shape, and everything I thought of was not pin friendly, so I needed to think of something else to turn them into.

I thought of one of those  square shaped bags that were traditionally from Central Asia, so bought some navy linen, interfaced it, carefully sewed a square, turned it through and folded it to shape, only to find it didn't sit quite square. Oh well, it would have to do. I found out later that all my friends who have made them have never got them quite square either.

So, the bag made, I then stared to add on my tenneriffe squares for decoration. I had a plan, but the plan didn't quite work, the squares were just too big to do what I wanted. I could only fit four of them on, and then they went on crooked, and the bag still looked incomplete. So then I decided to add some interlaced herringbone. Mmmm... remind me not to do this stitch ever again!I knew the stitch had to be worked carefully, and I'm sure I did it right, but when I came to do the interlacing, some of it worked, some of it didn't. If I don't tell anyone they won't know 😃😃.

The bag talked to me as I worked the interlace herringbone, and I kept adding rows of it. The issue was that where the joins met was not the best. So I decided to cover them up. I vlysafixed two layers of the linen together, cut some small circles and stitched them over the joins using woven wheel. Looks much better.

Then I needed a closure, so I made a covered button using the same linen with another woven wheel for decoration.

It's finished! Yay! My fifth UFO done for the year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Textured White Bookmark

This little book mark was born form spotting a scrap of fabric in a bag on my coffee table. It was left over from making some Christmas decorations, but not big enough to make another one. It was big enough, however, to make a book mark.

What to do? Firstly it needed a buttonhole edge to finish it, and I had a thought I would work a needle lace edge later. I have found over the last few years that I find straight buttonhole stitch edging a little boring. It just needs a little something to add to it.

OK, so the buttonhole stitch was done, now what? I needed some inspiration so looked in a few books to see what inspired. I spotted a lovely edge of two rows of 4 sided stitch with bullions angled in a zig zag worked in between. This would do. I am so used to counting by four, I left only four threads between the two rows of 4 sided stitch. It really needed more, possibly at least six threads to make the bullions stand out, and then it may of been too wide for this little book mark. A lesson learned for next time.

So once this row was done, I was left with a blank space in the center which needed to be filled. Back to my book for some more inspiration. I spotted some bullion flowers that would work nicely, so spaced them out evenly,  then worked a row of satin in between, also decorated with bullions.

The little book mark was cut out, and I decided to only put a small amount of needle lace in the corners, rather than all the way around the edge. Then I made a tassel to finish it off.

I am quite happy with my new little book mark and do intend to use it.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Double Eyed Spider Bookmark No2

Back in April I finally had a go with this pattern featuring double eyed spiders. There are four of these spiders in this book mark, and on that attempt they were all different. I vowed to myself I would do another one to practice them. At the time, I made notes on how to work them, and I wanted to test my notes out as well.

So, here is attempt number two of this book mark. It is worked in Guttermann Sulky thread, just a slight different colour than the last one. This one is more green than blue, and I put a plain bright blue pair of Guttermann Quilting thread down each side. Unfortunately it gets lost and is not noticeable. I may need to double it next time to make it stand out.

All my spiders are the same on this one. I followed my notes working them, and for the most part they are good. They just need to be tweaked a little at the end.

I want to work another one still, just so I know my notes are fool proof. Once they are correct, I will type them up and store them with my pricking. So watch this space to see version number 3 of this book mark.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

A Blue Edged Handkerchief

This little handkerchief is another one in my collection. The edge is in bobbin lace worked by me and then  mounted by hand to handkerchief linen. The pattern is by Olwyn Scott, and was published in Australian Lace.

Started back in April this year, it is finally finished and ready for show and tell.

The pattern of the edge is the same as this yellow one that I finished back in February. When I finished the yellow one, I nearly cried, it wasn't square! So not to be put off, I made a new pricking, made sure it was square, and started another one.

This one is also worked in Gutermann Sulky 30, in this gorgeous variegated blue. This time I tried a little experiment though. Along the edge, I used a double thickness of a plain deeper coloured blue/green thread, sort of like a gimp. It's difficult to see in this photo but it's there. It worked beautifully so I may try this double thread edge thing again.

I am very happy with my new little handkerchief, and once it has finished it's run of show and tell, I plan to use it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Little Book Mark In Pueblo Stitch

Just over a week ago I met with my creative stitching group. This year we have all been taking turns to inspire each other with a little exercise of some sort. At our last meeting our inspiration was Pueblo Stitch.

We were asked to bring a piece of fabric, two different threads that could not be divided, and a needle that would accommodate both threads at once.

I threw in a variegated crochet thread , a plain Perle 12, and some scraps of even weave linen that was left over from another project. I had no idea what we would be doing.

On arrival, we were given a page of notes on Pueblo Stitch, and told to go for it.

It was an instant decision to make a book mark, so I left enough for a hem, and just started stitching. The piece of fabric was only small and I soon came to a corner. Another decision had to be made, how to get around the corner? Once worked out, I turned the corner, worked some more, turned another corner and worked some more. This continued all the way around until I was nearly back at the start. It was here I made an instant decision to keep stitching in a square spiral in towards the center until there was no room left. I might add here that this entertained me for the day.

When I came home I added a hem and a tassel to finish it. Such a quick and fun little project in which I learnt a new stitch.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Tenneriffe Handkerchief

Another handkerchief to add to my collection.

This project began some time ago, how far back I am not sure, possibly a few years. I was looking for something else and found this small snap-lock bag containing thread, some tenneriffe wheels, and one of my own hand made tenneriffe pads with a circle part worked  .

I actually found it with less work on it than it has here, as there was only one of those center petals worked. I had obviously worked out the maths, because as I continued to work the other four, the petals all fitted beautifully. I just had to make up my mind as to what to fill the spaces in with.

As I was working it, I was thinking "now what am I going to do with it?" I played with the idea of making another five and working them into a doily. Mmmmmm........... that would require too much extra work. I had two other suggestions, one was to put it on a facinator, one of those  hair accessories that are worn to the races. Considering I have never been to the races, and never likely to go, I ruled that idea out. The second suggestion was to put it in a ring and hang it as a Christmas decoration. This idea worked for me, but at this stage I had already decided and half put it into the corner of a handkerchief.

As I mounted the circle into the corner, I realised that I would have to put an edge all the way around to totally finish it. I had just finished doing buttonhole loops with bullion picots on my book cover, so  I worked the same finish around this handkerchief.

So this is number four UFO finished for the year. There are a few more yet that I want to complete, so watch this space to see which one is next.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

A Book Cover

Behold, my latest book cover.

It didn't start out as a book cover, it started as a project towards an Embroiderer's Guild fund raising effort some years ago. Half done, these letters got packed away for some reason, and didn't see the light of day again until earlier this year. I found them while I was looking for something else.

They were part done, and still packaged with all the threads I was using at the time. So I finished off the embroidery, then wondered what to do with them now. The only thing I could think of was to applique them onto a book cover.

The letters were stitched onto even weave linen, so I thought it might be nice to hem them first before appliqueing. Rather than machine stitching, I could then hand stitch them to a background which could them be appliqued to the cover. In hindsight, this was a fabulous idea as they can be easily removed and used for something else if need be.

The hem I used is a pulled thread hem, which gives a little picot. The letters were two separate pieces, and this hem gave me little loops at the side to join the pieces together. Once they were joined, I had this idea to do a needle lace edge around the outside. The edge just made it.

When finished, I hand stitched the piece to a scrap of navy fabric, which then got appliqued to the striped fabric, and turned into a book cover. The book cover was made to fit a spiral backed note book which I use for my Stitchers Plus group, and can be removed to adorn another when the current one is full.

So, another UFO done. I wonder which one is next to be finished?

Monday, June 04, 2018

A Chocolate Tin

Another tin in my collection today, this one is number nineteen.

I found this tin while cleaning  out a cupboard a few years back. The cupboard is an old china cupboard that belonged to my parents, and dates back to the 1950's. I remember it in the kitchen as child, being full of every day food stuff like salt, pepper, jam, honey, sugar, cereal etc. Our every day cutlery and table linen was housed in the drawers, and every day plates cups and glasses were behind the glass of the top section. The cupboard is mine now, and houses all kinds of textile goodies including old knitting and crochet patterns. These patterns were what I was going through when I found the tin.

I am not sure where the tin came from, it was probably a gift from someone. I've done the Google search and found similar ones for sale from a few dollars up to $30. There is lots of information on the bottom of the tin including nutritional information and a use by date of August '13. Hmmm.......  that's fairly recent, and I know I didn't buy it.

The tin is rectangular in shape and only about 4cm in height, so it's another perfect stitching tin. It's just tall enough to hold a ball of Perle thread, along with a needle case, a pair of embroidery scissors and a piece of even weave linen. What more could I want for simple work storage?