Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Christmas Market

There is going to be a Christmas Market in Green Park Station! I can't wait to visit as there will be great stalls including hand made textile gifts, handmade organic soaps, delicious food and mulled wine. The weather won't matter much because it is also under cover.

Monday, 23 November 2009

I'm A Winner!

I have just won my first ever prize through Twitter. It is a really cute fingerless glove pattern from Jackie of JL Yarnworks.

I really shouldn't but I'm gonna cast this on tomorrow in some lovely yarn from Gothic Yarns (unfortunately, she no longer dyes which is a real shame).

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Craft of Natural Dyeing, Glowing Colours from the Plant World by Jenny Dean

As a novice dyer, I have dyed one skein of yarn using Kool Aid and a couple of skeins of yarn using Natural Earth Dyes.  I have been looking for a book that will provide me with a bit more information about natural dyes but that doesn't concentrate on growing the plants themselves. Jenny Dean herself is a renowned natural dyer who lectures on the subject.  At first glance this is a compact book with large clear colour pictures and generous sized text. The information provided is succinct and reasons are provided for them, such as the use of metal or glass stirring rods or separate wooden stirrers to prevent contamination of the dye batch.  Jenny advised how to mordant fibres to achieve different colours when using the same dye bath.She also explains how to use assists such as cream of tarter in the mordant bath to minimise waste and maximise safe disposal whilst still providing the same results with less mordant.  She provides a range of mordant recipes for animal, vegetable and cotton fibres. The dyer is provided with information on light-fastness of colours and how to carry out a simple colourfastness test which would be useful when dyeing for specific projects. In the second half of the book Jenny Dean provides a list together with photographs showing obtainable colours broken down by dyestuff, fibre type, mordant and light-fastness. She also recommends a list of 7 plants which the reader could grow and still obtain a wide range of colours by the use of colour mixing or over dyeing. This book contains a large amount of information in a concise and useful way.  I myself plan to follow her recipes for mordant baths and believe this will be a useful book for both the novice and intermediate natural dyer.
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Thursday, 12 November 2009

What, more fabric!

I had today of work due to a hospital appointment. Nothing serious but it meant I couldn't drive to work.

As a treat to me I was naughty and purchased the attached charm pack by Moda. It couldn't be more different than the fabric I've been using for my quilt. Comprising of paisleys, hollies and florals the colours include light sage, baby blue, red and chocolate.

I can't wait to play but there are too many things in the queue before it.

The other good news is the wadding and walking foot are on their way.

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Sunday, 8 November 2009

A crafty time

I have had an enjoyable and productive crafting fortnight.

My brother and sister in law are expecting their first child in the Spring. It's the type of news that demands crafting and so I cast on a ripple blanket using Patons 100% Cotton DK. Just under 2 weeks later I am over half way.

I really like the mix of the tomato with the more neutral kiwi, stone, white and black. I hope Matthew and Sam do too.

I also finished the front of my quilt. I can't wait to do some more work on it.

The centre panels

Showing the inner border and outer panel, which has now been sewn on.

I am currently waiting for the wadding and my new walking foot for the sewing machine to arrive. I can then start machine quilting this baby. I like the idea of quilting in the ditch for the central panels, a random braid for the inner border and diagonals for the outer border, but that just might change.

Also, as I have been uploading photos, I thought I should share images of my completed Lizard Ridge blanket. I finished it in September while I was on holiday in Cornwall. Each night as it became cooler, I added a row to the blanket and then crocheted the border over two nights. By the time I had completed it, it was cold enough to need a blanket on top of my summer weight sleeping bag.

I couldn't resist posting the last picture, although it is a bit dark. As you can see, we camped in a tipi in Cornwall. The site was lovely and the space and height in a tipi is pure luxury. We are hoping to try a Yurt next year.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Yum, yum, yum

Today is my friend's birthday. I spent a lovely evening talking and eating the lovely food cooked by her partner.

As always, it was a great evening. She sent me home with a doggy bag for Iain, whose back is playing up again.

Thank you for letting me share your birthday. I hope you had a great time.
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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Bathing at the Weekend

I had a great weekend. The house was full of people, I cooked up a storm and was a tourist in Bath. This was because we had visitors. My friend Sam and her youngest came to stay.

I originally met Sam on Twitter and we met up at Fibrefest for the first time. We got on great that day and so, when she decided to tour in her new campervan I jumped at the chance of seeing her.

We had great Friday eating pizza and chatting. On Saturday we visited the Roman Baths. I forget how big the actual complex, the number of finds and the information given is great and we were all tired by the end. In fact an early dinner and Strictly Come Dancing was followed by an early night for all!

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to try Sam's Joy complete with it's WooLee Winder. It is a really smooth wheel and I really liked the feel of the Winder. I would really like a smHarvest Madnessall wheel that could just pop into the seatwell of my car but the downside of the Joy is the fixed ratio so a lace flyer could not be used. Having said that, I believe it would be possible to make a fine single on the Joy.

I also had the opportunity to teach Sam how to use a sewing machine, she left mine with a draw string bag made specifically for her WooLee Winder.