Hunky Hank Blanket… Jacket… Rug… Shawl

I finished the last square for this months ago. Since then I’ve sewn then together only to pick them part again twice. Why? Well, I was going to crochet them into a blanket, but on a whim I tried ‘draping’ them on the dress model and came up with an arrangement for a jacket that I was pretty excited about.


But I had second thoughts as I was joining the squares. It was looking, well, ugly. I blamed it on using the crochet method of joining, which made the seams stand out and the squares pucker a little, so I undid that and started sewing the squares together instead.

Yet I was still getting an ‘ugly’ vibe. The fabric was a bit too thin and open for a jacket. And a little scratchy. So I put it aside, my jewellery-making providing a mental break from the project. After a few weeks I decided I had to trust my instincts. I unpicked what I’d done and went back to my original idea of a blanket or rug, only this time I’d sew not crochet them together.

Another whim had me sew them together in this pattern:


Which, because of the thin and open fabric, put me more in mind of a shawl. It made a long, narrow rectangle, too – more shawl-like than blanket-like.

So I crocheted around the outside and called it a shawl. Which I like very much.




Without really thinking much about it, when I started tinkering with making jewellery again a few weeks back I set myself a challenge to finish or abandon most of the pieces I’d left incomplete last time I had a bout of diy-jewellery-itis along with refashioning and exploring new ideas.

I had these paper beads made from the pages of a book. I tried stringing them, knotting the string between each bead, but the result left me feeling ho-hum. As I cut the threads I lined the freed beads up in a row, and that’s when inspiration struck.


I used a beading technique from The New Beader’s Companion called ‘square stitch’. The result has drape, and a pleasing nubbly texture.

The other batch of paper beads I’d made were from Japanese paper. I tried joining them in a hexagon pattern to make a triangle, bib-style necklace, but they wouldn’t sit flat. So, once again, I separated them. I started playing with them on my beading mat. They put me in mind of beaded curtains, so I lined them up in a triangle that way instead, and I liked the effect.


(Necklace stand bought from Waverley Antiques Bazaar. It’s a bit small, but works okay for my shorter necklaces.)

Courtside Garden Plans

A month or so back I made a rough panorama photo of the courtside garden, traced it in Photoshop and identified as many of the existing plants as I could. Then I did another layer and sketched rough outlines with the weeds and some plants removed, and new ones added:


It helped me decide what was going and what staying when the landscapers arrived. But mostly it’s so that when I’m ready to plant next autumn, I’ll know roughly how many plants of each size I have space for, as well as a rough idea of whether each position gets more or less sunlight.

In the meantime, it gives me a framework on which to dream…

New Weave

An empty loom. Two empty looms. We can’t have that!

So I’m doing something I never do – weaving a sampler. I want to weave a couple of shawls with a metallic stripe at each end. Only I can’t decide which colour warp to match with the three metallic yarns I have.


The idea was to see how the three metallic threads looked with a few different warp yarns. Only I’m rather liking the combination of colours.


I use an old cordless drill to wind my bobbins. The battery lasts for one or two before it runs out of puff. And it takes days to charge it up. It was flat when I wanted to start the sampler, so I turned my attention to the rigid heddle loom.

I had bought some brown warp to go with this olive handspun ages ago.


The handspun is interesting enough that I don’t need a weave structure more complex than plain old tabby. I’m using the finest reed. 12.5 dpi, I think.


I don’t know what I’m going to make out of it yet.


We finally got approval of the planning permit amendments for our garage last Monday, and I got straight onto the landscapers to book the tidy up of the embankment garden. They’ll be here in two weeks. In the interim the old tennis court needs to be demolished.

I’d like to recycle as much of the court as possible. Many of the fence posts will become a shorter fence, a pergola and a cat run frame. Some of the mesh will be reused on the new fence if my idea for recycling it works, and a friend of a friend is interested in taking some for her property. I wanted to put the fake turf on the embankment gardens to suppress weeds until next autumn, when conditions are better for planting, but by the end of the weekend I had to abandon that idea.

Two much-needed helpers provided invaluable extra hands:


While Paul tackled the fence:


He made better progress on the fence and posts than I expected – they’re almost all down and stacked away. The turf was my target. However, lifting one big piece to use on the garden turned out to be impossible, as the stuff is very, very heavy. It’s embedded with sand, and though a good blast with a high pressure hose gets most of it out, to have any chance of moving it it had to be cut into 30-50cm wide strips.


We’ve done maybe 10% of it and spent at least 12 hours on it now. When we stopped yesterday, and considered the size of the garden beds it’s meant to cover, we realised we’d need almost all of what’s on the court. That’s just not going to happen before next Monday.

Once autumn arrives and it’s taken off the garden beds, we’re going to face the same problem all over again. And next autumn we won’t have landscapers here with excavators to make light work of moving it.

So we’re going to keep what we’ve lifted, and the rest will go to the tip. We have kept a square of it under what will be the pergola, too:


It’d make great door mats, too. But we don’t need THAT many door mats!

And, of course, I’ll have to find other ways to suppress weeds in the garden until autumn. Black builder’s plastic is recommended for this. It isn’t too expensive, and I have an idea for what I can do with it afterwards.

So while I’m sad that we can’t reuse everything from the court, I’m happy that we’re going to be making something out of most of the non-turf parts.


Paul wanted to go to the tip shop the other day, after a friend said there were some vintage cameras there. I tagged along, and found myself trying to untangle some necklaces. I wanted some of them for the beads, but boy were they tangled! I wound up buying a fistful of beaded strands because it was easier than separating them. That and a beaded bracelet cost me $2.

Once home, I washed everything, pulled apart the bracelet and untangled the necklaces. Turned out that the reason half of the strands of beads wouldn’t separate was because they were joined with a small circle of beads to make one necklace. I liberated them, but got to thinking about how they, and two other strands, went really well together.

So I started exploring how I could hold them together. I tried this snap clip first:


Works, but is a bit ‘industrial’. What I wanted was a ring that could open and close. The next morning, as I was putting the clip away, I noticed my bag of old buckles. Particularly a fancy one I’d always wanted to try incorporating into jewellery. So tried it:


It works and looks better than I expected. The tongue is not inclined to hinge open, even when there’s no pressure from the strands holding it down.

The whole exercise has had me thinking about jewellery-making again. I did a pile of it around this time last year. First I had a critical look at the costume jewellery I have already, finding a few pieces in my collection I wanted to cull or alter. Then I looked in my supplies case, reminding myself about projects I didn’t get around to last year.

So I got playing, and had some winners:

This is a re-de-refashion, or something. I liked the original bracelet…


…but the crimps holding the beads in place were scratchy. So a couple of years ago I did this instead:


But I never really liked the result. I preferred the look of the first bracelet better. So this time I remade it using beads instead of crimps, threading the tiger tail through them twice to keep them from moving:


I made this a couple of years ago:


Then later made a matching bracelet using a washer for the closure. I didn’t love it, and I was going to simply cull the necklace. But looking at the washer closure gave me an idea:


I’ve also tweaked two more necklaces – including one that must be 15 years old. The ideas are flowing. The visual diary has some new sketches in it. Looks like I’ve tipped over into one of those short-term craft obsessions again. That’s fine. It never lasts more than a month or so, and I’m having fun.

Scary Tea Towels


As I was weaving these, I kept thinking that the further along I got, the more likely it was I would miscalculate and do too few stripe repeats for the size of tea towels I wanted. Turns out the second and third were fine, but I’d made the first one too short. Never mind! I’m calling it a hand towel. Here’s the fabric that came off the loom:


I used up the last of the weft at the end of the warp, leaving me with a scrap to play with, or a sampler to keep with my project notes.

And these are the finished, hemmed towels.


As it turned out, this project wasn’t as scary as it initially seemed. The problem was a) not having enough heddles to make something of tea towel width if I wove using 16/2 cotton, b) I assumed the loom would come with enough heddles to make something like this so when there wasn’t enough I figured I had the math wrong, and c) I had the math wrong anyway – but a different part of the equation.

I know now that I can weave tea towels on this loom if I use a 8/2 cotton warp, or I convert the loom to 8 shafts so I can double the heddles without losing a whole lot of weaving width when weaving thicker yarn.

And if I want to weave anything else with yarn thinner than 8/2 cotton and wider than a scarf I’ll have to convert the loom, too.

Converting the loom will mean adding more pedals to our handmade loom table, too, so it’s no easy decision.

And there’s still plenty I on my list of weaving techniques I want to try with 4 shafts before I start exploring the possibilities of 8 shafts. Now now that I’ve woven with 8/2 cotton, I’m looking forward to doing it again. Perhaps waffle weave tea towels next, because these are a bit thin for tea towels.

But not straight away. I’ve cut a warp for a sampler using 4ply Bendigo Classic, to work out what I want and need to do to make some shawls.

Tapestry Hat

The Tapestry Hat is done:


It came off my modified loom easily, just a bit of ‘persuasion’ to get the circle of plastic out from inside.


Once out I knit a brim:


Then I gave it a good rub under hot soupy water followed with a cold rinse and good squeeze, to get the yarn to felt a little. Even so, I think I should have woven a more densely packed fabric…


Still, the gaps don’t appear unless the hat is stretched, and it’s not stretched when worn, so it looks fine on my head. Still, I’ll keep it in mind if I make another.

Now that my fidgety projects are done, I’ve been whittling away at the WIPs. The scary tea towels are off the loom and being wet finished. The woven squares are slowly being assembled to make a jacket. Though I’m not 100% happy with the look of crochet joins on a garment, so may end up doing it all again.

Capucine Cowl

To make a cowl over the leftover yarn from Capucine, I cast on about 80 stitches, knit 10 rows of rib, a pile of garter stitch, and finished with about 8 rows of rib (because I underestimated the yarn I’d need to do a matching 10 row rib section, and I didn’t mind the variation enough to frog back and reknit it).


A toggle and loop mean I can adjust the fit on the inside by moving the knot on the loop.


So that’s another bit of stash used up. A bit of unravelled former project yarn stash used up. Sometimes I wish I wouldn’t get so attached to something I’ve knit that when I grow out of it (or it shrinks) I unravel and keep the yarn. It makes using up stash a ‘two steps forward, one step back’ process. But I guess I only do this with yarn I really like.


I contracted a bout of startitis recently. Though I’d made progress on the tea towels and had started crocheting together pin loom squares, I also cast on for the Capuchine Cowl and started a tapestry woven hat.

The latter happened after a friend said she wanted to do some simple weaving on a cardboard loom at the school she works at. I went through books and bookmarked web pages for suitable methods. One of the more complicated ones was in this book:


It involved making a circular cardboard loom to weave a beret:


Looking closely, I got to thinking about how the circle could be altered so you didn’t have to tear it up to get the beret off. I found an old scrap of plastic and using an awl, knife and scissors came up with something I think – and hope – the hat can be removed from without damaging either. And then I got stitching, using some leftover scrapes of discontinued Vintage Hues.


Turns out, it’s quite addictive. With added suspense, because I won’t really know if I can remove the ‘loom’ until I finish and give it a try.