Sunday, 17 September 2017

A Bit More Giant Tatting, Needle Lace, and Gifts from the Garden

I had another go with a different yarn.  The blue one from the previous post was a cotton yarn where the strands were quite loose and it was easy to catch the strands with the hook when trying to close the rings.  This time I used a thick wool yarn in aran weight and a 5mm crochet hook and it was much easier to work.

You can't see in the photo but I actually drilled a hole in the bottom of my hook (pictured in photo) so that I could use it like a tatting needle and thread my yarn through it at the bottom.  I tried like that and I tried the cro-tatting way but I preferred the look at the bottom of the rings when made the cro-tatting way and then there is also the great advantage of working from the ball too.  Except I've not yet figured out how to make "tatted" chains that way so the chains are actually crocheted.  You can see how large this tatting is compared with the tatted leaf in the middle which is made in size 20 thread.

Anyway, I don't know if I'm going anywhere with this.  Perhaps that's it for now and it was just interesting to try very large tatting.  I think it could be interesting to tat a shawl or something like that but I'd have to practice some more to get more even rings because at the moment, it's not satisfactory to me!

Then I saw a video on YouTube that caught my eye and I had to give something new a try.  It's a bit of needle lace...

The bottom motif is my first attempt (rather wonky!) and the green one is my second attempt (already much better).  It was interesting to make and it looks pretty.  Some of the edgings I've seen done with this technique are really lovely.

And lastly, just a photo from my garden.  We had a go at growing a few vegetables this summer with very mixed results.  Tomatoes and green beans were a bit of a disaster but this weekend we dug up some potatoes and beetroot which are very nice, a few stunted ears of corn (not a huge success) and we also collected the remainder of the apples from our trees (we have two).  The photo shows some of what we collected and I just thought the fruit and veg looked appealing in the sunshine...

Best wishes,

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Giant Tatting, Miniature Knitting and More Socks

Just been having a bit of fun with a few things lately.  A friend of mine showed me some amazing miniature sweaters so I gave tiny knitting a try with some pins and tatting cotton.  It's not difficult to knit in that size really, the only thing that's difficult is finding a way of holding on to the needles!  What you'd need is a needle that is fine but much longer so you could grasp it.  After that I saw some big tatting somewhere and went on the search for a set of japanese crochet-tatting needles I'd got a few years ago and which were gathering dust in a drawer.

I added the tatting shuttle in there to give you an idea of scale.  As you can see my cro-tatting skills are still leaving much to be desired!

Blowing the next image up so you can see how small the knitting is!

I'm still finding it really hard to make a neat job of needle tatting though not doubt it's just a matter of practice.  I kind of like the idea of oversized tatting though and I think (if I can get my technique up to scratch) it could be nice to make a bold necklace in a thicker yarn.  I might give it another try.  

And then I also have more socks on my needles which will be gifts.  A pair of fun, extremely fluffy ones with cookie monster eyes for a young person:

And another pair in my current favourite sock yarn (Cascade Heritage) with nice fine cabling, a pattern by Wendy Johnson.

That's it for now.  Tonight I'm working on the green doily.  I'm over a third of the way around the last round so just more of what you've already seen.  That's the problem with big projects isn't it.  You feel like you don't have anything new to show for a while.

Autumn is definitely in the air already.  It's been cool, wet and windy!

Best wishes,

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Basket Case!

We did have some fun with our basket making!  I'm back now but was a bit sorry to have to leave my unfinished last project behind... for the next holiday.  I'm definitely keen to make some more baskets at some point (and even try some different kinds).  These coiled baskets are really easy though and anyone could have a go at making them.  They are inexpensive as you don't need to buy any materials (apart from some string maybe but any cheap natural fibre string would work - well, it doesn't even need to be natural fibre of course, but I just think it's nicer to go with the dry grass and the whole theme of it.).

After the first larger basket, I decided I wanted to make one with a lid.  This time I used a different, finer linen string to make it.

I decorated the lid with real acorns and some crochet oak leaves.
I loved the tiny one I found which I drilled
with a fine drill bit so I could attach it.

After the lidded one, I decided to try using raffia as my 
tying/covering media and completely covered the dry grass.
I looks really nice and makes for a more "professional" looking basket
which is smooth and tight.

The only thing with rafia is that the lengths are shorter
so you need to refill your needle and join more often.
Raffia is a natural fibre which is also inexpensive.
It's really thin but really strong.
I had never worked with raffia before and I like it.

I asked my son to make me yet another needle for this project,
one that was flatter to be more easily inserted between the tight coils.

He made it out of elder (the others were all made of oak) and it works
a treat.  Sadly it eventually broke but he promised to make me another one.

Here are the various needles he made for us:

And lastly, a photo of our collective first effort
at basket making - there are even more unfinished items
that I didn't show in the photo.

I made a couple of videos on this which I will upload over the course of the next couple of weeks.  I really enjoyed this holiday activity with my children.

I hope you all had a nice time too.  Can't believe it's September already!  Time to buy new school shoes and get back to the routine.  

Best wishes,

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Holiday Project Completed

I wasn't too sure what final shape I wanted this to take... shall I go higher and make a handle for it?  In the end I decided to keep it as a shallower basket as I hoped we'd get more use out of it like that.

I enjoyed making it.  And I wouldn't mind making another - perhaps taller and with a handle next time.  I don't think it will be for this holiday though, sadly...

We weren't able to find any more of the same sisal twine we had been using but I found some linen string which worked well although it was quite rough!  Next time I wouldn't mind something a bit smoother.  You can see in the last photo where the bottom of the basket is a lighter colour than the sides where I changed from sisal to linen.

My son is still working on his.  He understandably got side-tracked by other holiday occupations.

Did you notice the edge?  I just couldn't help myself!  A little bit of tatting had to be involved.  I made a video of working the edging which I will upload when I'm back home.  Happy Holidays!

Best wishes,

Monday, 21 August 2017

Holiday Project

My son and I had been wanting to try basket weaving for ages.  Summer holidays is the perfect time to give this a try, isn't it?  We looked things up and then searched around to see what materials we could use.

We found some sedge and I used this in the first attempt.  It was not very easy to work with, many of the blades breaking as I wove but I managed a tiny basket.  It's starting to dry now and turning straw colour.  I will show you another photo when it's all dry.  I don't know how well it'll hold... perhaps it will all fall apart when dry but we'll see.

Some of our first tries in progress...

For the second attempt, we decided to try using sisal which wouldn't break like the sedge blades and dried grass for the coil.  That was much better.  My son carved us some fantastic needles from a piece of oak to push the sisal between the coils - sooooo much easier!  

I also decided to incorporate a few sprigs of lavender into my basket so that it would smell nice too.  I don't know if you can see the pale purple flowers in the photo below.

By afternoon, we were making good progress on our respective projects.  I'm planning a bigger basket so was still working on the flat part of my base, whereas my son is making a smaller, taller one so had started going up the sides already.

And this is where we were at by the end of the evening.  We have now run out of sisal so need to go on the search for some more today before we can carry on.

I love "gifts of nature" like that...  Just as we enjoyed picking blackberries and elderberries from the hedgerows a couple of days ago which we made into a crumble.  Delicious!  

I hope you are all enjoying a lovely August.  

Best wishes,

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Here Be Dragons!

Still working on the green doily but got side-tracked by another pair of socks.  I should have had a change of colour but I had a skein of Cascade Heritage sock yarn that was waiting in my basket... so green it is again!  These are "Here Be Dragons" by Rachel Gent.

I'm just a few rows away from the ribbing on these and then I'll be done.  The interesting stitch appealed to me... as well as the name!  They look great in purple on the original.  

Not worth showing any progress on the green doily as it's just a bit more of the same from the previous post.  Still have a long way to go before I complete that last row!

Best wishes,

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Last Round!

How exciting!  Yes, I'm on the last round!  I must admit I didn't think I'd get to the end of this big project so quickly.  I've not shown the whole thing for the last few posts as I'm saving it for the big reveal when it's all completed.

Best wishes,