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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fuzzy Feltiness!

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A few months ago I, along with many of my relations, received a rather curious email:

I am hoping to create a felt hanging, as a surprise 50th birthday present by assembling felt squares made and embellished by you!
If you are interested in joining in please let me know your address and I will post you out a wee package of sheepy loveliness.

It turned out this was from Omi Pharncote, who was a close friend of the birthday girl in question and a fantastic artist. You can check her out at http://www.bluefacedfelt.co.uk 🙂

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I had never done felting before, so apart from being a fantastic idea for a commemorative gift from loved ones, this was a brilliant excuse to learn a new craft!

As good as her word, Omi sent us lovely packages of felt pieces, bubble wrap and a piece of fine netting. We were also, thank fully,  issued with comprehensive instructions.

First you need to take your 100% wool felt and decide on the picture you want. As first timers, my mum and I went for simplicity 🙂

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You then lay your designs on a tray, with the bubble wrap beneath them, and lay your netting over the top. Pour a concentrated mixture of washing up liquid and water over the top of your layers, and gently rub across the top of the netting.

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After a few minutes of rubbing, peel off your netting, flip your felt over, put your netting back, and rub all over for a few mone minutes- more vigorously this time. Repeat this process several more times.

Then run your now felted piece under the tap to remove all the soap and gently wring out, before leaving to dry.

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We embellished ours with thread and beads etc., before returning them to Omi, who created this beautiful wall hanging with them:

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I love how everyone’s created something unique and personal, yet Omi has got all the panels working in harmony with each other.

I hope this inspires you to try felting, or do a collaborative project with friends!? Thank you for the inspiration Omi!

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Floods

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The extra rain and flooding has caused problems for pretty much everyone recently, and despite living on a hill, I seem to be no exception. Although on the grand scale of things this isn’t a serious disaster in any way shape or form, it is rather irritating.

I have been keeping some bags of odds and ends stash wool in the cellar and unfortunately the water got in. I completely forgot about them until I needed some for the knit and natter group, and wow did they pong! So, only one thing for it, putting it all in the washing machine!

As all can hopefully realize, this was a pretty drastic move, all pure wool would felt and the rest would become pretty tangled, but it seemed to be the only way to salvage any thing at all!

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First off, time to dry- the radiator is a pretty good spot (as long as you don’t let any cats in!)20140122-213907.jpgThank fully some balls hadsurvived mostly in tact and untangled, but for the rest I sadly had to get the scissors out. The trick seemed to be prioritizing some wool (I went for bright colours) and giving up on others, and of course the process is made much easier when you’ve removed all the felted bits 🙂 Plus it does help to have some time on your hands!

I also had help from The Rabbit- who actually became quiet territorial over her chosen selection!

20140123-123733.jpg20140123-123753.jpgFinally finished, a mass of tidy yarn balls for the group to play around with, though how long they’ll stay like that is any ones guess! 🙂

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A is for…

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Afghan crochet- also known as Tunisian crochet. This is a hybrid mix of both knitting and crochet, and uses a specially styled crochet hook. These hooks are longer than normal, smooth all over and tend to have a stopper at the end to stop your stitches falling off. They can alternatively have a hook at both end, these hooks are normally for circular work.

tunisian hooks

I’m going to show you how to do the basic stitch- the same as used for my robots (which are coming along nicely 🙂 ). This stitch is called TSS, Tunisian simple stitch.

TSS
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This wonderful diagram is taken from a vintage crochet pamphlet.

To start with, make a normal slip knot and chain your desired number of stitches- as you would with standard crochet.

Now work your foundation row, this also counts as your first row.

Row 1 forwardfig 1 Insert hook into the first chain space from hook. Yarn over and pull up a loop. * Insert hook into next chain space, yarn over and pull up a loop. Repeat from * across all stitches; making sure to keep all of your stitches on your hook.

Row 1 return: fig 2 Yarn over and pull back through one loop. *Yarn over and pull through two loops. Repeat from * until only one loop remains on your hook.

Row 2 forward: Note: The stitch on your hook counts as your first stitch. fig 3 Working forward again, * insert hook from right to left under the next vertical bar, yarn over and pull back through vertical bar. Repeat from * to end bar. Here you are going to put your hook through the last vertical bar and the stitch directly behind it, yarn over and draw up a loop. fig 4 This creates a firm edge and stops your work from trying to pull to the right.

Firm left hand edge

Row 2 return: Work as row 1 return. (Yarn over and pull through one loop. *Yarn over and pull through two loops. Repeat from * until only one loop remains on your hook.)

Repeat row 2 forward and return until you have your desired size. Then create your finished edge.

Finishing edge: Working forward again, * insert hook from right to left under the next vertical bar, yarn over and pull back through vertical bar and stitch on hook- as though slip stitching. Repeat from * to the end.

Break off yarn.

I hope you have fun trying this lovely new technique 🙂

Robots!

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So one of my new years revolutions is to save money, and to this end I am going to attempt not to buy any more wool until I’ve used up at least a little of my stash!

Over the years I have managed to collate an awful lot of Patons 4ply cotton yarn in multiple colours:

Image and after experimenting with afghan/ tunisian crochet I have decided to turn my hand to robot making 🙂 The basic stitch used creates a square/ block look, perfect for angular robot designs- or at least I’m hoping so!

ImageFirst I needed designs, and my lovely fiance Gnasher kindly agreed to help out:Image

 

We were able to expand on the original design slightly, and have had great fun creating more robot doodles! Which will make it to crocheted completion is yet to be seen…?

ImageThese are the first prototypes, more will be on the way with many interesting appendages! (I feel an army may be required.)

ImageIf you have any robot designs I would love to see them- and maybe create them? Please let me know 🙂