Shade Card Pom Poms

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Thanks to moving house, preparing the old for sale, lots of unpacking and DIY at the new one, and work, I’ve now got a big flare up of RSI in my hands. And week before the work deadline. Sigh.

I’d been so looking forward to getting past the deadline and finally having time for some craft. Now I’m resting my hands (I shouldn’t be typing this), dying of boredom and my main form of creativity right now seems to be trying cocktail recipes (only one a night, mind you, unless Paul wants one).

Yesterday I tidied up the craft room a little. Looking at some of the stuff in my refashion/repurpose piles, I came upon the leftover shade cards from my Yarn Shade Card Blanket. I got to wondering if I could turn them into pom poms. It seemed like it would be very quick and not too fiddly, so I gave it a go. Lo and behold, it worked.

Two things I found worth noting: cable yarns don’t form fluffy pom poms, and wool yarn doesn’t seem to be as good as cotton at staying in a tight knot.

Not only did I have leftovers, but new cards that had become obsolete (or contain mohair, so I won’t be buying the yarn) since I made the blanket. Plenty to choose from:

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I cut away all the paper except a narrow strip where the yarn was attached:

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Then I rolled it up:

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Into a nice little coil:

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I tied it twice, flipping it over for the second knot, as tight as I could manage:

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Then I pushed the string to the centre and trimmed off the paper strip:

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A gave it a haircut to even up the strands:

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Success!

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But the mix of colours on a Bendigo Woollen Mills sample card tend to divide into pastels and darker colours, which don’t always go together well. I decided to try cutting up the cards and combining similar sets of colours:

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And that worked, too!

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Which is great, because some of the sample cards are of novelty yarns that aren’t going to make good pom poms. I can combine them with other yarns…

… when my hands recover. Even this small, fast project left me sore. I can see a long, boring, craftless summer ahead.

Two Cardy Refashions

I’ve had this post waiting for a few last pics for some time now…

Back at the beginning of the year, I decided Purple needed to become a cardigan:

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This involved cutting it down the front. I sewed a zig-zag on the machine, either side of the stitches I wanted to cut, then took a deep breath and snipped:

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It languished in the bottom of my knitwear adjustment basket until its turn came. I simply picked up stitches along the raw edge behind the zig-zag and got knitting.

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I have no idea why I chose a 2×2 rib. It wasn’t until I got to the second band that I thought about it. But it works. I crocheted over the raw, zig-zagged edge on the inside as an extra precaution against unravelling.

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The only detail that gives the refashion away is that the neckband is usually knit onto the edge of the button bands. This is the other way around. Let’s call it a ‘design feature’, eh?

I’ve worn this quite a bit since the refashion, which I’d say makes it a winner.

The next refashion was easier – simply to add another band of ribbing to the Gift Yarn Jacket as it just didn’t look finished enough to me:

So this:
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Became this:
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And this:
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Looks like this:
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Which took some months, but was done in time for winter at least. I prefer the second way of wearing it, though I haven’t yet worn it since doing the refashion.

Craft WIPs

Tapestry Bracelet – Abandoned
I went off the boil with this project. The trouble is, though I’ve sewed in the ends, the flower yarn is slippery enough that they worked their way out again. And it’s was such slow work. This is about five or more hour’s worth. Zzzznore!

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Art Necklace – in hiatus
I was going to fill the frames with little paintings of eyes and ears and mouths, then after I started embroidering I got the itch to stitch something instead. But I couldn’t think of a subject. Lately I’m thinking photos of my ancestors might be better – and much faster.

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Double Trouble Baby Blankets – picking up again
Inspired by a weaving group meeting on multiple projects on one warp at the Guild, I cut a warp for two baby blankets late March. I lost momentum for this project for a little while, but resumed warping a few weeks ago. Last weekend I finally finished and started weaving. I’d really like to give one of the blankets to a friend who had a baby in April.

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Two Heddle Leno Scarf – established
Another project inspired by the weaving group, after a meeting in which we explored bead leno. I got to thinking that bead leno should be possible on the rigid heddle loom if it had two heddles. Well, I didn’t manage to do bead leno, but worked out a way to do doup leno with tabby between.

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Gift Yarn Jacket Modification – current tv project
Adding another band of ribbing to this:

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Eye Embroidery – poised to begin
The skull was a great ongoing brainless portable project that I could pick up while watching tv or work on while travelling. Now that it’s done I’ve got this eye ready to go.

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Knitwear Refashions, Part 1

A month ago I decided to tackle the refashioning pile. I’ve posted about some of the sewing refashions I finished, but I actually tackled some of the knitwear first. One of the projects is taking a long time, since I can only knit a few rows now and then, so I’m abandoning my plan to do one knitwear refashion post so I can show you what I’ve done so far:

Sunrise Circle Jacket
Before:

After:

Because the garment has raglan style sleeves, and I wanted to use the same sort of hem on the arms as on the rest of the garment, I could only frog back to a short sleeve rather than sleeveless. I’ve added extra large decorative hook and eyes that have been in my sewing notions stash for twenty or so years. I like the change but I will have to see if I wear it now before I decided if I’m happy with it.

Cowly Vest
Before:

After:

It’s a little hard to see the change, but trust me, the vest sit better. After removing the triangles joining the shoulders I put the garment on the dress model, with the underarm about where it needed to be, and discovered a very simple solution: fold the front and back over each other and stitch into place. Very pleased with this one.

Olive Wrap Vest

On closer examination I decided a woven shawl would be nicer, so I frogged it.

I also frogged this:
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I’d outgrown it a while ago and made three attempts to add width to the front that all looked crap. I decided I didn’t want to send it to the op shop. I like the yarn, and I’m thinking of taking out the rocket needles to make another chunky scarf.

I wound up with quite a bit of frogged yarn:

All which I washed and hung to dry and straighten, wound into balls and added to to the stash.

There’s something appealing about frogged yarn, especially when it has gone slightly felty. It’s more rustic, and more honest. Some washing and wear and you see its true self, and hopefully what you knit with it won’t change any further.

Dyeing Day

After making so much progress last Saturday, I was keen to do more on the Sunday. But my back was a bit stiff from hunching over the sewing machine so I decided to do something that didn’t involve sitting down. It was warmer and dry, so I decided it was Dyeing Day. Items on the list:

Dye poncho-shawl
Overdye socks I don’t wear much

The first project I tackled was converting this poncho my parents bought for me on a holiday to something a bit more my style.

These days I want my knitwear to be easily removed, preferably not over my head, and bulky white garments make my body look huge and my head tiny. Thankfully the two pieces of the poncho were easily unpicked. I sewed them together end to end to make a shawl on Saturday. Now I just had to dye it. For that I needed dye for synthetics, which I found at Lincraft.

There was a lot of shawl to dye, so I decided to dip dye the ends. I tied a string to the rail of the deck above and made loops to adjust the height. The instructions for the dye said to boil the item in the dye bath for half an hour to an hour, stirring constantly. The stirring was vital – at one point I let it go still for too long and the end of a piece of fringe began to melt. I don’t think I kept it up for an hour – more like half an hour.

Look at that strong colour! The instructions warned that not all synthetics dye well. Unfortunately, the shawl must be one of those kinds, as didn’t turn that wonderful blue. But the pale lavender it did change to is nice enough. Which is why I chose blue. No matter how pale or strong it turned out, I’d still like it.

It dried even lighter than that. Oh well.

Next I set about overdying four pairs of socks I don’t wear much because the colours don’t match much in my wardrobe. I used trusty Landscape dyes and it was satisfying, after the shawl, to see the wool suck in the colour. Here are the socks, back when they were fresh off the needles:

And here they are now:

Almost like having new socks. Almost.

Later in the day I did another Accessory project which I included in this post at first, but it looked odd so I’ve made that one a separate post.

Score for the day: 3 projects finished. One category defeated! Yaaaay! I wondered if I should eke out these posts, as I suddenly have a lot of them after a couple of months of not much happening here, but I like the diaryish feel of this blog that lets me look back on what I was doing at different times in the past, and so it may as well reflect the droughts and floods in my crafty life right now.

Yarn Shade Card Blanket

I’ve been receiving shade cards from Bendigo Woollen Mills for quite a few years now – since 2006 if the shade cards I’ve collected are any indication. When the new one arrives I can’t bear to throw away the old one, or the shade cards for yarns they stock temporarily once the yarn is discontinued. Those little fringes of yarn are just too pretty. I’ve always wanted to come up with a way to repurpose them, maybe as greeting cards. Well, greeting cards for knitters.

A while ago I gathered them together and found I had enough for larger projects. I could cover a scarf or bag in multicolour fringe. I just needed fabric or a bag to cover, so it went on the craft to-do list.

When I measured how much fringe I could make last week, in preparation for the weekend, I realised I could go even bigger. I could surround a small blanket. Two blankets, even. But if I stuck to the standard shade card where the fringe is all the same width I had enough to go around a meter square.

I bought polar fleece and iron on adhesive tape.

The first task was to iron the tape onto the fringe, on the side attached to the card.

Then cut down the centre of the tape and carefully peel the fringe off the card.

Once I had all the fringe off the cards, I applied the first piece to the blanket, peeling the backing strip off the tape…

… and ironing the edge of the blanket to it.

Then I sewed the fringe to the blanket with a wide, short zig-zag.

But I found this made the edge curl, so I cut it off, and discovered that the removed fringe straightened out. So I attached the rest of the fringe to an off-cut of polar fleece instead, which I cut off…

… then sewed this to the blanket with a longer wide zig-zag.

I’m really happy with how it came out.

Hopefully the adhesive and two runs of zig-zag is enough to keep the fringe in place. It seems well attached, though I haven’t tried giving it a good yank.

I have some fringe left, and plenty more shade cards, so maybe a shade card scarf will go on the next craft to-do list.

Human Knitting Machine

Here are some pics sent to me by Gail, one of the other participants in the Human Knitting Machine last Friday:

I was on the far left and, as you can see, not really able to whip my camera out to catch the moment.

I think they were unraveling it so people could have a go each day. If you finished with a cast off it would be an amazing blanket – but expensive. The knitted strip yarn they’d made was only acrylic, but even so there was hundreds of dollars worth in it.

There are other ways you could make or find yarn this chunky, though. A sewn tube stuffed with padding. Cheap jersey fabric cut into strips. Multiple strands of fabric selvedges. And if you had something too rough for a blanket, make a floor rug instead.

Gifted

The lovely woman who wrangles the writers at Supanova, Ineke, is a crocheter. A few years ago she made some fabulous, whacky Futurama hats for us. I adopted the Zoidberg one. This year she made amigurumi critters. When asked what I’d like, I suggested a sea turtle, since they eat jellyfish (long story there).

I think there was some frantic hooking between the Supanovas. When I arrived in Perth she presented me with this adorable guy:

In the meantime, I’d got to thinking that I ought to make a thank you gift in return. The first Supanova was in Sydney and we stayed a few extra days, and of course found ourselves walking past Tapestry Craft/Morris & Sons. The ground floor level, where all the cross stitch and embroidery products are, was suddenly more interesting than the yarn filled basement. I had an embroidery project in mind for my gift – perhaps a small pendant – then I spotted cross stitch mobile phone case kits.

It’s very likely I did cross stitch as a child, but I can’t remember. Still, it’s all about squares, be they crossed or pixels. So I bought some graph paper, googled for images of Ineke’s favourite Futurama character, and only needed to acquire two more colours than what I had for the projects I’d taken with me.

It was a lot more addictive and a lot slower than I expected, and I had to be very sneaky at snatching stitching time to get it finished by the last day, but I made it:

Of course, it meant I didn’t get much work done on the embroidery projects I took with me, but I was having too much fun to care. However, my eyesight has suddenly deteriorated a little, so I’m worried that all this stitching is the cause. I do most of it of an evening where the lighting isn’t fantastic but, well lit or not, working close is bound to have an effect.

I’m already rationing the time I spend stitching so be nice to my back and hands. Perhaps a good light is all I need. It can’t hurt.

Gift Yarn Jacket, Part II

It’s finished! And I like it!

To recap: I had knit a long striped band out of some gift yarn and decided to make it the sleeve-yoke section of a jacket inspired by Jo Sharp’s Origami Bolero pattern. Though the Bendigo Luxury yarn (shade ‘bark’) I ordered to make the rest of the jacket arrived in a few days, by then I’d become thoroughly distracted by other machine knitting projects. It did benefit from a bit of time out, though. When I came to knit the body and collar/waistband I had a better idea of what I wanted to do.

First I knit the body on the Bond and blocked it to size. I had planned to make the collar/waistband piece out of some natural Bendigo yarn I already had, but by calculating the weight and number of stitches of the body piece I worked out that I didn’t have enough. There was almost enough left of the ‘bark’ coloured yarn, however, and I liked the idea of continuing with that shade. Having the rest of the garment in one solid colour would make the sleeves the feature. And a white band around the waist was only going to make that bit of me look bigger.

Trouble was, the Bond wasn’t wide enough (then) to knit the waistband, so I’d have to do it sideways, in a strip. That would make it very hard to get the size exactly right and use up all of the yarn. So I decided I’d just have to hand knit it, veeery slooowly. That’s why one of the first projects I started on the Bond is the last to be completed.

The Jo Sharp pattern is for a garment that can be worn both ways. Now that it’s done I’m not sure what I like better – the ribbed part at the waist or as a collar. Hmm. What do you think?

First Bond Fair Isle

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a pair of garter bars for the Bond made by Kriskrafter:

They arrived just after I packed the Bond away to clear the dining table for some visitors, so I figured trying them out would have to wait until the next time I had a project to make.

While on the train on the way home from picking up the freebie machine I read the old manuals and realised that the way you do fair isle is really quite easy. I hadn’t got that far in the book for the machine I’d bought, because at the beginning there was already so much to learn.

Having taken over the dining table again so I could look over the freebie Bond and combine it with the one I’d bought, I figured I may as well try a small fair isle project – and give the garter bar a go too. Though not for making garter stitch but to do spaced decreases across the bed.

So I picked some yarn and a simple beanie pattern from the Bond manual, and got knitting.

I tried a simple zig zag as I could do that without worrying about a chart. The fair isle was pretty straight forward, though I had to learn by trial and error that whichever yarn has the greater number of stitches in a row has to be the one you knit with the carriage. When hand knitting fair isle I tend to make the floats a little tight. On the machine I’ve made them too loose, but now that I know I can adjust for that.

The garter bar worked well. Getting it to line up with all the needles takes a bit of fiddling, but it makes decreasing (and increasing) across a row so much faster and easier than doing it by hand.

Now that I’ve done a hat, I really want to make something larger. I have enough of the blue and brown yarns left to make a vest. Hmm…

(But that did have to wait. I had sewing to do. Lots of sewing.)