Seaside yarn

>> Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I haven't posted any spinning for a while but I haven't abandoned it. It felt so good to get that bowl finished so I thought I would tackle some of my unfinished spinning. Plus I have a good adjustable niddy noddy tip!
This yarn started with a blue Cheviot from Pleasurecraft. I spun it up without really knowing what I would do with it, then left it on a bobbin for a while. These wooden bobbins are so nice, they're vintage, I found them on ebay. I bought a few and they're perfect for storing your singles before you decide what to do with them.

So then I finally finished spinning those sailboat batts I made a long time ago. Unlike a lot of my other handspun yarn that's variegated, these spun up with an overall tweedy kind of look.
I didn't have that much, so I decided to ply the sailboat single together with the blue cheviot. It worked out really well, the solid blue evened out the colour a bit and I ended up with a bigger skein of thicker yarn.

So on to the adjustable niddy noddy tip I had. Here's a picture of my niddy noddy with the yarn wound around it:
To make skeins you wind the yarn around the niddy noddy. If you need help, there are Youtube videos that will show you how.  You end up with a long loop:

There are niddy noddies for sample size skeins, medium sized and larger skeins. But when you take it apart it's just two curved end pieces with a dowel in the middle.
So once I had bought a sample sized niddy noddy (which is what I had found at Romni Wool) I realized I could make it adjustable by adding different lengths of dowel. I bought one large length of dowel at Home Depot, then Bradley cut it into a few standard lengths. The skeins can be any length you want but there are standard lengths that some prefer so you could look up those to match them if you want.
This is the finished skein.  Another thing that can be demonstrated better than described. But basically you put a finger in each end and twist the loop. Then bend it in the middle and the two sides will twist around each other. Then tuck the end of one side into the loop on the other side.

When I'm ready to knit or crochet I wind the skein into a centre pull ball with a nostepinne but that's another post.


Advice for a grey day

>> Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Today started out pretty grey. Well, ugly grey. The snow looking particularly dirty and clumpy, with a flat grey sky. Above is the picture I took after the sky started to brighten up.

It always seem that the days where I feel pretty lousy are the days when I suddenly feel really pressured to achieve things. I mean, really turn things around and sort out the big picture. While at the same time feeling completely incapable of doing so. I generally end up wasting the day fretting.

So my solution was to pick a very small job and finish it in order to give myself a sense of accomplishment (however fleeting). So I picked a bowl I started to crochet with beautiful handspun yarn from Kristyn of Pleasurecraft a mere year ago. I had about 2 inches left on this bowl, yet I set it aside at some point and didn't finish it. I wasn't sure if it was going to work out as it was turning out to be very floppy.

Here's the bowl before felting:
So I finally finished it, and felted it and was very happy with the results! The yarn is helping hold the bowl's shape while it finishes drying but it's much thicker now and isn't too floppy anymore. I love wool felted bowls, everytime I see one I want to make one myself, but after all the years of admiring them this is actually my first one. I love it! Now I want to make more.
The best part is I no longer have this unfinished project sitting around taking up space and saying "why can't you get things finished?" every time I see it. This one was depressing because it was also saying "why did you waste this beautiful yarn making something that is clearly not working out??"

Detail of the lovely texture:
And now it's sunny...

This handdyed handspun yarn is the beautiful handiwork of Kristyn from Pleasurecraft.

The yarn is thick-thin handspun that overall is quite bulky. I used a size G crochet hook which made the crochet quite dense and tight. You would do a sample with your yarn and choose a hook that gives you that result - ie. a bit smaller than you would usually use with that yarn. If the yarn isn't bulky enough you can always double it up.

The whole thing is sc (single crochet stitches). This bowl is shaped like a cylinder rather than curving up gradually.

Make a circle as large as you want the base to be (remember it will shrink a bit after felting). Start with 3 ch, join into a loop and start sc into the loop until you have your starting circle. As you sc around the circle add increases here and there so that the circle lies flat.

Once the circle is as large as you want the base of your bowl to be, stop adding increases and continue sc around the circle until your bowl is as tall as you want it to be.

I felted by washing in alternating hot/cold water with lots of soap and agitation. I put it in the dryer until it was mostly dry but then took it out to shape it.

If you try this, I'd love to see your results!


Coffee cup sleeves

>> Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I try to have a mug that I take to coffee shops but sometimes I forget. But on the rare occasions when I'm taking out a hot drink in a paper cup I feel bad taking a cardboard sleeve. I mean, how hard could it be to just sew one up?

It was a tiny bit trickier than I thought as I wanted just a simple tube, and after confidently sewing the lining to the outer fabric along the top and the bottom (and leaving a gap of course). I came across the same topological problem when lining a sleeveless dress. Now I know why so many of them have velcro or button closures, or at least are made in one long piece then sewn together.
But I figured it out and came up with a nice simple design that I really like. Then I made a bunch for my shop. I even cut into some small (hence precious) Japanese imported fabric pieces I had:
Then I made one for Bradley with an embroidered Zelda Triforce symbol on it. Which Francis took to make a king hat from:
So there you go, another miniscule tick on the insurmountable to-do list of my life.


Green treasury

>> Monday, February 14, 2011

I found another helpful page for blogging Etsy Treasuries on Craft Cult. Even more fun, you can enter your Etsy name and it will give you a list of Treasuries that you are featured in or that you have made. I've been featured in 37 Treasuries!

Here's a sample of the widget showing a new treasury by Andrea. I love green and I thought it was perfect for feeling like Spring is around the corner. Andrea's blog, Andrea Creates, is really nice too, you can have a peek here.

I love figuring out new things like this because sometimes there are just too many technical things out there. It can feel overwhelming at times and hard to keep up. Although I think I'm inordinately proud of figuring out things it takes 10 minutes to look up online...

p.s. I keep meaning to mention it, but I also have a few wristlets for sale at Nathalie-Roze & Co. They're tucked here and there around the shop.


Springtime happiness

>> Monday, February 07, 2011

'springtime happiness' by NeedleBook

pretty items that make me think of spring!
















For a while I was finding it harder to find things I liked on Etsy. It got so huge that any time I searched there were just too many choices. Lately I've been spending a lot of time there and really loving some of the new features.

First of all they have a Circle feature where you connect with people you know and shops you admire. It's also easier to create a Treasury. And finally there's your own Activity page where you can see things that people in your Circle have chosen as favourites or put in a Treasury. I can also see when someone adds one of my items or my shop to their favourites. I love that.

I'm happy to say I finally got around to making my first Etsy Treasury. And I found a helpful site called whale shark websites that makes it possible to add your Treasury to your blog with clickable pictures instead of a screen capture.

After a miserable week being sick, I thought I'd turn my thoughts to Spring. I love those first days when it's cool but you can leave your window open. I don't mind leftover bits of snow and mud when the spring flowers show up!


Shhh... orchid blooming

>> Thursday, February 03, 2011

This has never happened for me before. I love orchids so much and I keep them and try to look after them once they've stopped blooming but I've never had one bloom again. The closest I got was a stem and some buds but they dried up and died. Heartbreaking.
So this is very exciting for me. This orchid was a present from my parents on my birthday last year, with large gorgeous purple blooms. As you can see the buds already look a little purple. I'm taking pictures just in case something goes wrong. I think last time my other orchid tried to bloom I must have changed something. Too much watering maybe. So right now I'm trying not to change a thing. And crossing my fingers!

Please leave a comment if you have any general suggestions. This orchid has a spot on the windowsill over the sink so it gets a medium amount of light, occasional steam from the kettle and light watering with warm water not very often. I try to wait until the soil feels dry. And of course in the winter I never open the window so it won't get a chill! It also has another orchid for company. I have some food... not sure if I should give it some now?

Incidentally, I try to take pictures with a nice plain background, so if my home looks like a tidy haven of tranquility, the fact is there's a big mess right behind me.


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