Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Tracing the Blueprint

After a visit to the wonderful Museum in the Park (www.museuminthepark.org.uk) to see their exhibition, Tracing the Blueprint, I bought a lovely pack of assorted indigo squares in the Museum shop. This exhibition is only on til the 30th of March - and is definitely worth a visit.

This in turn reminded me of my unfinished sewing roll that's been in the works for months. I already had the blue check fabric and the felt was from Yards Ahead (www.curtainsstroud.co.uk). I wanted to accommodate the boxes and envelopes of sewing notions that I'd designed for the Amberley Village Store.  I'd already finished a rough hand sewn roll and Judy at the Stroud School of Sewing (www.stroudschoolofsewing.com) very kindly spent time trying to teach me the intricacies of the sewing machine...bless....she needed the patience of Job, and it all worked rather well, although I'm not sure I'll be using the sewing machine again any time soon.

Bombs Away!

Just started to get ready to 'yarn bomb' the Nailsworth Festival in May (17th-24th). For those not in the know, yarn bombing is a form of urban guerilla knitting or graffiti that employs colourful displays of yarn in all its varied forms - knitted, crochetted or, in my case, pom-pommed. We want to make all sorts of flowery shapes for the festival and down at Mother Goose (01453 298725) there are loads of additional workshops (as well as the regular ones) to help with the project. These are my attempts at yarn alliums using Steffi's pom-pom makers - not bad for a first attempt. They even sway in the wind!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Snug as a bug!

Here's my attempt at a 'Giganto' blanket. I have seen these beautiful throws for sale on Etsy (along with gorgeous yarns - see Loopy Mango - but very expensive) and decided to experiment for myself.

I bought 3kg merino wool roving from Mother Goose and separated it into two strands, twisting the wool gently as I wound it into balls to try and make it stronger. I cast on 32 stitches on a pair of 27mm needles (from Rachel John of Extreme Knitting fame). Steffi Stern at Mother Goose also makes her own extremely lightweight giant needles which are lovely to use.

I then knitted a rib pattern (2 plain, 2 purl) for the length I wanted. Whenever I needed to join the wool I used invisible knots (thank you Kate at Mother Goose knit and natter) which seemed to work well but I'm told felting ends together is better. The whole project probably took no more than a week-end to make in total.

Of course I know this will shed and pill. I expect to use a lint roller after snuggling up underneath it so generally I simply use it as a throw over the bed to minimise fluff! It measures approx. 3.5ft wide by just over 6ft long and I LOVE it!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Fruit of the loom!

It certainly feels like spring really has arrived...I spent the morning in the garden playing on a peg loom from Mother Goose. I had just found a bagful of wools (some carpet grade) in Emmaus and decided to make a bolster or rug ... can't decide which yet. I'd never used a loom like this before but Steffi's instructions were easy to follow and it just took a little bravery the first time I removed the pegs and pushed down the work. After that it was easy-peasy. For ease and speed of weaving I've used a 'Heath Robinson' contraption made from a plastic bic biro case!
  These looms are made by local people at the Nailsworth Community Workshop (Tel 07971 737626)You can achieve amazing results on them using both familiar and unusual materials such as yarns, unspun fleece, rags, even strips of old T shirts and plastic bags - great for recycling. Children and people with learning difficulties find them simple to use and very therapeutic - as did I!
  If you want to weave with finer yarn Cornhill Pets and Country Crafts in Stroud have some double peg looms with both wooden and thin plastic pegs which are spaced much closer together.

By the way, Julie Wickham from the Stroud Valleys Project (Tel 01453 753358) is looking for crafty people to make goods to be sold not-for-profit for their charity. If you have any ideas for knitted, crochetted, knotted, embroidered, appliqued or woven handicrafts do let her know. Come on folks - support your local community and get weaving!