29 November 2013

Bling-bling socks for little girl

I love everything that is strong colours, shines or sparkles. I enjoy mixing ordinary yarns with bits of novelty yarns. Fortunately there is such a choice of those now!

These socks will be a Christmas present to my 4-year-old granddaughter. She loves sparkle even more than me!

This is a basic sock with some purl rows at the cuff to show off the yarns better. One 2+2 stitch cable on top of the foot.

28 November 2013

Advent calendar with pockets

This bell-shaped advent calendar is not new - in fact it has served for many years since I made it for my daughters who are now in their twenties. Various little items have been found in the pockets - hair baubles, little toys, pens, felt tips, craft items, occasionally also sweets. The bell also moved with our family many times, both in Ireland and in Finland.

The calendar has quilted fabric as backing to make is stiffer. It is 87 cm high (34 in). I tack it on a wall with 3 tiny nails.

The pockets and the bow at the top are made of  various Christmas fabrics. The numbers are glitter glue.

This year the bell might be passed on to the next generation! That was already planned last year but we never got round to it.

25 November 2013

Christmas tree bauble of patchwork fabrics

At the end of 80's and early 90's I used to live in Ireland and work at crafts. Each year I spent several months making and selling Christmas decorations. I just loved it! This patchwork bauble was one of my most sold items. I hadn't made any for years now and felt very nostalgic making this one!

Unfortunately I didn't find the golden sewing thread I bought a couple of weeks ago. So had to sew this in red, but it isn't bad either!

Nowadays I knit and crochet far more than sew, so last Christmas time I made up a pattern to use this same idea in granny square baubles. The pattern is available free in Ravelry.

Size of the sewn bauble is 6,5 cm (2½ in). Here some photos of making it:

You need some wadding to put inside each part.

Quick to make, time to make many for Christmas!

21 November 2013

Mini Christmas stockings

Any small bits of left-over wool get in handy for these tiny Christmas stockings! I found lots of tapestry  wool when going through my mother's things. Most of them came ready cut in lengths which makes quite a few ends to finish. But since these are decorations, not for use, I often just make a knot and cut the ends off!

Each stocking is 10 -11 cm high and has 16 stitches, knitted on 4+1 dpns. I will send these to family and friends instead of Chritmas cards.

More different kinds.

20 November 2013

Cable cowl

Made this cowl without any plans who it would be for. One of my daughters decided it was for her!

This photo shows the technique used:

The wool is Raggae tweed, with suggested needle size of 5-6 mm.The whole cowl is garter stitch.
35 stitches in groups of 7.
7 sts of garter sts - 7 sts for the cable - 7 sts of garter sts in the middle -  7 sts for the cable - 7 sts of garter sts. The "cables" are formed by platting together strips in the middle of the work. For each strip I cast off 7 sts and cast on 7 the next row at the same place. Each strip is 8 rows.

After you have knitted a length that goes twice around the neck (this one is 120 cm long), bind off. Twist the first strip so it forms a circle. Pull the next loop through it, as if crocheting with your fingers. Continue like this through all the strips. Then do the same with the second lot of strips. At the send, sew the cowl to form a cirlce. Sew the last cables so they don't come loose.

Colourful scarf in slipstitch crochet

I crocheted this scarf using mainly slip stitches where I took only the backof the previous row on the hook. Always crocheted from the same side (not turning the work). I wanted to make the scarf as varied as possible. Sometimes there is one yarn on the hook, other times 2 or 3.

A few times I used a single strand of  weaving linen and single crochet. That shows as a sparser area in the scarf.

Photo of the back side of work - not so different that it matters if the scraf turns that way when worn:

Quick to make and a great way to use up stash!

Scarf in crazy wool

See the previous photos of the Crazy wool-course I attended. The last evening on the crazy wool course I made a scarf. Or part of it, finished it at home.

The scarf has 5 layers while it's being made: 1: water soluble fabric, 2: mix of yarns, ribbons and wool, 3: layer of organza,  4: mix of yarns, ribbons and wool, 5: water soluble fabric.

 Layers pinned together while working.

All layers sewn together, free embroidery on sewing machine.

After sewing I washed the panel so the water soluble fabric disappeared. Then I felted it slightly. Finally I cut away the extra organza.

19 November 2013

Granny square Christmas tree bauble

Each year I try to come up with a small, quick Christmas decoration to send instead of Christmas cards. This idea came from a decoration I used to sew: 3 layers of round padded pieces joined in the middle. I decided to try the same with mini-size granny squares.

When I first published the pattern (free) in Ravelry last year, I guessed it would be popular. I was right, 150 downloads in no time the same day. www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/granny-square-christmas-bauble .

You can think of any number of variations. Add tassels, beads or join several with a ribbon.

Crazy wool-technique

Crazy wool means simply that you use wool or other fibers in whatever way that comes to your mind. I attended a class about it for 4 evenings. I just loved it!

The first panel

This panel was made on top a sturdy base fabric. Then I spread all sorts of yarns, lace and ribbons on it. The top layer is a water-soluble fabric. the whole lot was sewn together using  free stitching on a sewing machine.

Here it is after the sewing and after the soluble fabric has been washed away:

Another one made in the same way but smaller:

The second panel

This time we added also felting wool. I have lots of at home in all sorts of colours. I chose my favourites, pinks and purples.

There is a water soluble fabric both below and above the wool. Again I stitched it all together.

Here the soluble fabric is being washed away:

Then I felted the panel by hand, using also steam.

The finished panel measures 27 x 27 cm. Before the sewing and felting it was 35 x 35 cm.

The panel fitted perfectly on a cushion I had. I stitched it on it by hand.

Tampere handicraft fair 2013

Spent last Friday at this fair. It is the largest in Finland and their website says it is the largest in Europe but that would be hard to believe. Big, though - 3 large halls full of crafts and all sorts of craf supplies.

You were not allowed to take photos of the stalls but I just photographed the corridoors in between...

I loved to se eso many yarn sellers! So many different brands in one place. I didn't buy that much but studied many to know what to buy online later. Like the Finnish brands Pirkka and Wetterhoff are ones I haven't used before. There were many Peruvian yarns and of course the main large European manufacturers and some American ones. There was also an interesting looking brand from iceland I hadn't heard of before.

I bought some novelty yarns. I love to add those to everything at the moment!

Dropas Nepal (65% wool, 35% alpaca) was on sale and I bought several colours. I'll use them to try out the original fairisle texhnique.

Here some of the other ones I bought. The pink Lumio has reflecting thread in it. Others for socks and some pale green merino for a baby.

You could spend any amount of money on wool! Some of them are just so expensive, too. Fortunately there are many price levels to choose form. One thing that had changed from what it was years ago is that now nobody would expect handmade to be cheaperthat store bought. Most of the time it is more expensive to make it yourselves. But you loose out on all the joy of  working and seeing the final result if you just buy your hats and scarves at H&M!

One thing I had decided - no stopping at the quilting fabric stalls! And I kept the resolution! Last year I bought many lovely pieces of Christmas fabrics and I still haven't made anything of them.

BUT I have a brand new sewing machine, bought a few weeks ago to replace the 30-year-old one. So I had to get some material! One of these will become a dress for my granddaughter (4) and the other is lovely coarse Nepalese fabric. I don't know yet what to use it for but it coul dbe many things, like cushions, bags or even a coat.

People in Finland have a lot of imagination! These photos are from the Novita mittens competition entries. Last year I took part in their sock competition but didn't enter this year.

I noticed that stalls selling supplies seemed to be doing much better than ones selling ready-made items. Such a large part of the people were people who have crafts as a hobby. I counted that there were 39 stalls selling yarn but there seemed to be even more selling paper craft supplies like scrapbooking or beads.