I wove a bigger thing.

To be honest, I have a lot of yarn stash. Buuuuuuuut yanno. Sometimes you need to make sure you have enough yarn. What I’m saying is I bought more yarn. It’s cheap acrylic which I bought specifically to practice with. I am not yet good at estimating how much yarn I’ll need to weave a thing, so I got a lot more than I needed but that’s okay, I’m sure I can find something to do with the left overs.

Woven shawl in yellow and purple

A pattern like this is one of the easiest “fancy” weaves you can do, it’s simply blocks of colour in the warp and blocks in the weft. When the same colours meet you get the check effect. Easy peasy, and a good way to practice doing things with yarn ends. This is a variegated yellow/white with what could be a bright purple or a dark pink, depends on the light. It looked purple in the shop.  The warp threads are, in theory, 20 strands each while the weft I just eyeballed while watching Doctor Who (I have much catching up to do, haven’t even seen a single Matt Smith episode!).

Close up of checked shawlI say the warp is 20 strands per block “in theory” because I managed to double up several times in one section of the purple. By the time I noticed I was basically too lazy to correct it so I just went with it, it was a practice piece anyway.

Couple of things I still need to work on, including avoiding loops on the edges and keeping a more even tension, but I’m warping it up again tomorrow so we’ll see how I get on. Did I mention my loom? I have a loom now. (Eeeeeeeeee).

I wove a (tiny) thing!

My loom arrived yesterday and was assembled last night with brute force and a hammer. Other tools too, I didn’t just hit everything till it gave in. Since today was my day off, I had a bit of a practice go. Most of this time was spent admiring the warp threads which were rainbow coloured and pretty. See?

Rainbow coloured warp threads on a loom

It’s a rigid heddle loom, which means the warp threads are passed through a bunch of slots in a heddle and it’s super easy to move them up and down to pass the shuttle through. All my prior weaving as been on frame looms with needles, or a super crappy little loom I got at Spotlight which was so annoying I gave up after 10 minutes. The loom is 60cm wide, which felt more like a solid shawl or wrap size than the 40cm option. The 80cm was tempting, but there’s also the issue of having somewhere to work that would fit the loom. The 60cm is perfect for the end of my cutting table.  I completely planned that and didn’t say to myself today “Wow, that was lucky”. As you can see the thing I did today was not the full width, since it was just a practice run I thought I’d try for a scarf width instead of wrap. The key words here are “try for” because what I hadn’t considered was the warp yarn being so… rubbish.

Rainbow coloured yarn fraying

I’ve a lot of this rainbow yarn on account of I went into a complete frenzy and bought about 10 balls at one point for no firm reason. That’s how you make me spend money – make things nice colours. I’m easy. I’ve had some minor issues with it just pulling apart, but I’d forgotten those obviously. The motion of the heddle passing over the yarn eventually caused it to start to fall to bits. I had one warp thread break and kept going because eh, practice run. However when two on one side just snapped I decided to end the piece rather than end up with two sad little warp threads. Therefore I have a little block of fabric which is too small to do much with, but is lovely to look at.

Rainbow toned woven patch of fabric

There’s a few skipped warps in there, but I don’t caaaaaaaaaaaare. I learned a few things even on this little bit, such as leaving longer tails for tying off, and how to maintain tension. It was a lovely afternoon I spent faffing about with the loom and of course I have about 8 million ideas running around in my head about yarn combinations and patterns and… oh. OH it’s exciting. I see dye baths in my future too…

Hooked

Soooooo I haven’t really been doing much on the crafty front. At least, nothing finished to share or things that aren’t Morsbags, so this is a double project show off post because I’ve been crocheting like a loon of late. Two crocheted octopi

These little octopuses were made for a friend on account of it was her birthday and she likes octopuses. They’re both made from stash yarns, and I did two strands on the tentacles of the purple one for a bit of visual interest (spell check just suggested “testicles” but they’re not that detailed). They work up nicely and I like how the tentacles curl up all tidy. The pattern is by LadyLilliput on Etsy. Mine are not as tidy as hers…

12 Point Star blanket

I recently joined a crochet group on Facebook and everyone was making these 12 point star blankets. Not being a super confident crocheter, I gazed at them for ages before deciding to use up some of the cake yarn I’d bought in a frenzy of cake yarn buying. This one is just the width of a single bed, and took about 2 2/3 cakes. I could have done another couple of rounds, but I wanted to end with the purple as the border because I plan these things. Stop looking at me like that. I sometimes plan. The pattern is the Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket by Celeste Young.  It’s a free one. You can stop at baby blanket size, or you can just go on for weeks if you like as long as you follow the increases/no increase rounds pattern. Easy peasy. I know a lot of cake yarns have this colourway, but this one is by Heirloom and it’s so much softer than the Lincraft ones I’ve used.

Anyway that’s what I’ve been up to. There’s a package of yarn and a loom on the way to my house for some more projects, I might even remember to update when I do them. Perhaps…

Double Dye Day

I know, right? Slack blogger. I’ve not really finished anything much lately, so I haven’t had much to say about things. New year new… year. I make no promises.

About 2 years ago I bought a couple of summer dresses online. They’re pretty good dresses, cool and airy and ideal for all that wandering in flower fields and standing on beaches I do in Summer (okay so in reality I cling to the aircon and weep softly). One of them was white which is not a great colour on me. This has nothing to do with my skin tone and everything to do with my ability to lean in cobwebs, spill coffee down myself or otherwise get grubby. It’s a natural gift, I can’t teach it. The other dress was red. Online, it was red. It was listed as “Red”. It was not red, it was dark pink. Dark pink is not red. It’s dark pink. Unacceptably un-red. I picked up some dye not long after I got the frocks, and those two dye packs have been sitting on my dresser for almost 2 years so it was probably time I did something with them. Since i ordered dye for another project last night, I remembered this one.

Before and after photo of the white dress

I did the white dress first, and sort of kinda dip dyed it. I like a dip dye, my hair is currently sort of dip dyed, the ends are red. It would have been more effective if my knot holding the frock up hadn’t gone “nah” and dropped the second tier in early, but I’m not bothered. It came out pretty well and is much nicer than white.

Is rustic still in? Man I hope rustic is still in, the chookshed is new and perfect for my whole rustic blogger… thing. I have a thing. You know I do.

White dress in purple dye bath

I only took one picture of the purple dye bath because I was juggling shit around to hold the dress up. At this stage I just draped it over the edge and went for a coffee.  It’s a much nicer purple than I was expecting. I tend to have low expectations when I dye, because I usually dye things red and reds are a pain.

Speaking of reds.

Before and after pink dress

The difference here is a bit more subtle, and the camera didn’t pick up the shades very well. It really honestly was a horrible shade of pink, and is now a more jewel toned red. I used Rit Wine, so it’s a darker red. It’s wearable, but I’m going to need some beige undies because it doesn’t have a lining like the purple one does and I don’t want people to know I wear underwear.

So, yes. These were both Rit Powder dyes. I used the sink method because when I dug out my dye pot I realised I’d never fit a whole frock in it along with the dye. The only issue I had, other than some patchiness where I didn’t dunk long enough, is that while the dresses themselves are cotton, the thread used to sew them mostly isn’t. This is only an issue with the label on the red one, little blobs of white thread at the back collar. I’ll sort something out. Or! I’ll forget about it entirely. Either way, workable.

See You Round Like A Rainbow

Rainbows are definitely becoming a theme for me this year. A couple of months ago the Spotlight store (craft supplies and whatnots, for those who aren’t Australian) posted a photo on their instagram of rainbow yarn.

“Aww, that’s a shame” I thought, “I’m on a no yarn buy at the moment until I’ve cleared down the stash a bit”. I said this as I grabbed my handbag and flung myself out the door to the nearest Spotlight. Look, I tried to resist. I tried.

View of the back of the rainbow slouch hat

It took a fair bit of pattern hunting to find one I both liked and could do. I’m no great crocheter so I like a basic pattern. This one is the Autumn Slouch Hat by Swellamy on Etsy. This was a really good buy, the pattern is written beautifully and it’s a nice straight-forward project. I mostly worked it as stated, but I did add a couple more increase rounds because I have a big head. Also I tend to work a very tight stitch, which is a habit I can’t seem to break. I think it comes from starting to learn to crochet with Amigurumi, those little crochet toys. They need to be worked very tightly so they can be stuffed properly.

Front view of the hat

I actually finished this thing a week ago, I’ve been waiting until I’d dyed my hair to post it. You’re welcome. You may have spotted that while the yarn is gorgeous and bright and many coloured, it’s not actually a proper spectrum. It’s very heavy on the green, not so much on the red.  It’s not hugely apparent in this hat, but it’s showing in the scarf I’m making. However, that’s going to be an infinity scarf, so it doesn’t matter. Apart from the fact there’s not enough red, that always matters.

Two half hats, to compare

On the right in the above picture is the first hat I tried. It was okay, but the pattern was worked in joined rounds. This meant the join was super obvious because of the colour changes. You can also see where it’s gone a bit hexagonal, which seems to happen with joined rounds. The sizing was weird too. I even worked to gauge on that (sorta) and it just didn’t work. I’m much happier with the spiral. The colour changes are smooth and lovely like a marble bench made of crochet.

The yarn I used was Moda Vera Fayette in Frenzy. It’s quite nice to work with, but varies in thickness a little bit. There’s a bit on the scarf that’s like laceweight. I suppose you could cut around those bits if they bothered you.

Patchwork Scarf

I’m getting reasonably good at patchwork, I’ll have you know. So good, in fact, that when I found a bundle of batik style fat quarters I’d bought on whim a few years ago, I decided to revisit the “Icicle Scarf” from “Stripped Down Patchwork” by Erin Gilday. I’ve made this three times before, the first time was a bit of a disaster because I did the maths wrong, and other two times went perfectly. The only problem with the last one I made for myself was the pressing cloth moved, and some of the fabric melted. You know, tiny things.

Because I was using Fat Quarters, the first step was to cut the fabric into short strips. These would then be sewn into long strips, before being sewn together and cut into short strips again.

Fabric cut into strips

Because I wasn’t using a limitless supply of fabric, I had to do some maths on this and I don’t like doing maths on things. It makes me frowny and a bit cross. I did a whole page of maths before I realised I was basing the entire thing on the wrong measurement and I had to start over. I know, you feel for me right now. Thanks. Turns out I got the second lot of maths wrong too, but this was actually a good thing. I’ll explain later. The end result was the strips were 5cm wide which meant precision cutting. Can you imagine me being precise? I can’t, and I was there.

Wrapped thumb

Let’s all be thankful I was once a Brownie because yes of course I slashed myself with the rotary cutter again. Quite deep this time, hence the emergency bandage made of off cuts. Again, I wasn’t even cutting fabric at this point so I have no idea what I was doing to get cut, but there you have it.   Precision.

Long strips joined up into a single piece

Once all the little short strips are turned into long strips, it’s a matter of sewing them all into one super long bit of fabric. Up until this point, everything was lovely, apart from all the bleeding. This is when the maths went skew-wiff though. Basically, what you do with your long strip is cut into triangles. I already knew the measurements in the book wouldn’t work because the strips were a different width. So I mathed, and it ended badly. Instead of half squares, I had half diamonds. I’d cut four before I realised why this wouldn’t work. You still get a bit of the effect, but the edges are zig zagged and also the stripes don’t continue through the whole thing. Back to the math board! That lasted a while, as I did counting on my fingers, but in the end i just got a big bit of cardboard and plonked the corner down on the top edge of the fabric, then drew a line where the bottom edge was and there you go, easy. Worked!

Half squares

See? Half squares. I’m amazing, go me! Okay so they’re a little bit off kilter but shit happens. Those are all sewn together in squares, which are then sewn together in a strip. Here’s why it’s good I messed up my maths earlier – I had a lot more strip length than I needed, letting me cut the proper number of proper triangles even though I’d cut stupid ones previously. I thought I wasn’t going to make it actually, but then I realised I’d cut more triangles than I really needed because counting to eight is difficult.

Backing

I didn’t end up using all the squares anyway, because my backing fabric was a tight fit. You can see in the above photo I had to hack a bit off and stick it to the end, I’d also had to turn some of the bits and jigsaw it a bit. I did order some orange polar fleece (which the original pattern calls for), but the colour was a bit wrong and I liked this rusty orange against the purple better. Backing mostly was alright, things shifted a bit in the pinning. This was probably partly me not pinning it enough, and partly the small dog that kept walking around on it while I was pinning. I’ll blame the dog, she can’t read this anyway.

Finished scarf

Once the backing is on, and I have done a lot of swearing because it moved around a lot and pfft to that, and the edges of the strips topstitched (more swearing as I had to unpick some – but I do love sewing, I do I do. I just like swearing as much), it was all done. I’d like to make sure you appreciate the Industrial Grunge Chic Aesthetic I went with for that photo because I’m a blogger, dammit. I’m all about random words shoved in front of the word “aesthetic”. Probably get a sponsorship deal out of this one.

ON a fence

For those who prefer an Outdoor Rural Rustic Aesthetic, here’s the scarf on a fence. Actually this is to show off the colours properly, aren’t they pleasing? I’m so pleased. You can also see where the backing got all scrumbled, but eh. I respond to the scrumbling with a big fat EH and you can quote me on that.

Tablecloth Handbag

Last night I was standing the dark next to my car, with a first aid dummy hoisted up onto my hip and two ukuleles in my hand as I tried to find my car keys in my bag. I decided then and there to finally make the handbag I’ve been looking at. That’s not quite true, I decided later I’d make a new bag but gosh it was a dramatic moment wasn’t it?

Anyoldway, as much as I love my old handbag, it’s actually gone from “Nicely roomy” to “too big too big!”. I’d like to say I’ve made a smaller one in an effort to streamline my life and embrace a minimalist ideal, but really it’s just because I’m fed the fuck up hunting for my keys/lighter/phone/purse in a big bag.

Handbag made from vintage tablecloth

I’ve been eyeing off the tutorial for this bag over at Mmmcrafts for ages on the basis it looked quick, and was a nice size. I was right on both counts. The most time consuming part of this project was all the wandering around I did, poking things and looking out the window in a very procrastinatey way. Although I’ve taken the time to fling some scrap fabric over the cutting board to make a proper background for once, I can’t help but feel yellow wasn’t the right choice. Too late now, the camera battery is on charge and all hope of a redo is lost.

The outside fabric, you may have gathered from the post title, is a vintage tablecloth I got in a bundle from eBay a while back because I buy fabric bundles when I’m sad (don’t judge me). The fabric of the tablecloth was a little bit soft to be a bag on it’s own, but the lining fabric is sturdy and that holds all the shape. Well done lining fabric, unsung hero of the handbag world.

Front pocket of the bag

I changed a few bits of the tutorial pattern. The tutorial has the external pocket on the back of the bag, but I’d rather have the pocket under the flap so I did that. There’s a photo even, to prove that I would not lie to you about flaps and pockets.  The other change I did was not rounding the flap corners. This was because I couldn’t be bothered clipping curves. I mean, that’s for aesthetic reasons and nothing at all to do with me being slack.  I also didn’t divide the inner pocket into two because I don’t have many tiny things that need a pocket all their own.

Inside of the table cloth bag

The lining fabric came… oh. It’s from eBay. I bought a bundle of …fabric one time. Shush. The bag is plenty big enough for what I need to carry such as my frog purse (which I made but never blogged), my tobacco pouch (which I made but never blogged), a Morsbag (which I made) and my phone (which I bought with money I made). I’m perfectly willing to pretend that this is all that’s ever in my bag, and that I never carry around loose change in the bottom of the pockets. Or old receipts. Or loose tobacco. Or random bits of crap. Not me! Minimalist! Streamlined! Not at all full of shit!

That went better than expected

Right, this is going to be a long post I suspect, so make a cup of tea. I’ll have one too while you’re up – white with one thanks. Since my last post, I’ve actually finished the skirt. Much, much faster than expected, if we’re honest. So here’s the bits I did since I last posted.

Rolled up skirt with all colours

Pink and white were added. These are what I consider “buffer colours”, because I’m not much of a fan of pink and would have started this skirt at red if I owned shorter shirts. My shirts are, without exception, longish. I don’t tuck in because I don’t care for your rules, you square. So the white and pink serve to “lower” the good colours so they can be seen under my shirt.

Once I’d done all the tiers, I sewed the open edges together with a rather natty French seam. Then I hoisted it all up around myself to check the length. It’s not quite as long as I was expecting it to be, but that works out well because I tend to trip over my clothes a lot. It’s better to have some kick room, which is not to say I won’t fall over this. We both know I will.

The hoisting up also helped check the sizing. If it had been all huge at the waist, I’d have gathered the white tier into the waistband a bit. I did end up gathering the white a tiny bit, but that’s really because I cut the waistband too short and couldn’t be bothered recutting it. The top edge of the white was finished with a zigzag which may or may not be enough to save it from dissolving, we’ll see. It’s exciting, like a cliff hanger!

Finished skirt hanging in a tree

The waistband is basically a length of fabric with the edges folded in, sewn to the top of the skirt so that the raw edges of the white are encased. I did a double seam on that, because this skirt is kinda heavy. Although there’s a drawstring, I also opted to slip some elastic in there so it was a bit gathered in by itself, and also for extra holdyupability. The drawstring is just a long strip of left over purple fabric, folded in half and sewn closed. Then I turned it out, pressed it and top stitched it. You care. I can tell.

I was expecting this thing to weigh a lot more than it does. It’s only 1.2 kilos, which is practically nothing when compared to… you know. Things heavier than that. Like abnormally large hats. I bought a luggage scale specifically to find out how much this weighs, by the way. Dedication. I’m not allowed to weigh babies with it, which is a shame as I was planning to open a door to door baby weighing business. Thwarted again.

Yours truly holding up a skirt, like a dork

I’m bloody delighted at how well this thing fits, because that means I get to actually wear it instead of shoving it in a cupboard until doomsday. It’s getting two outings this week already, and I’m not even charging money for that. Really, I’m lovely in so many ways.

How do I stand?

I do not enjoy having my photo taken because I never know how to stand, a fact which is screamingly apparent in the above picture. What are hands for? Where do I put those? Am I even real? Why can I smell toast? Still, it lets you see how the skirt sits. The skirt sits wonderfully, even when I’m standing around like a complete doofus.

I sent the above photo to my friends Evie and Lizzie, and Evie said almost right away “Is it twirly??” to which I replied with this photo:

Swirling

It’s absolutely twirly. Glee!

Thanks for following along with me as I indulged myself with a stupidly massive project, and thanks to my Facebook buddies for (presumably) not muting me as I spam their time lines with fabric and thread. This has been so fun, I’ve loved every second of putting this skirt together and feel a bit lost now I’ve finished it. It’s okay though – I’ve a pair of jeans that have given up, and a couple of table cloths to sew to those jeans. New skirt ahoy!

Orange You Glad, and also Red

Double colour update today to celebrate the fact I couldn’t be bothered doing a post just for orange. Now things are zooming along quick like, I didn’t want to risk establishing a daily update habit which would fall to bits as soon as I finish this skirt. It’s all about managing audience expectations, really.

Skirt pinned with the orange layer and taking up a whole bench thank you

Above, we see the moment when I thought “This has become unwieldy”.  While the tiers are being finished much faster as they get smaller (well obviously), moving the whole lot around for pinning/sewing/trimming/pressing is becoming a bit of a production. Not that I’m complaining. I’d rather be under all this fabric than doing something unfun.

Skirt up to orange spread out

Just for a change from the rolled up skirt, here it is just before seam pressing. It’s pretty damn pleasing to look at, even if I do say so myself. And hey, even though I’ve said so myself, feel free to agree with me. I will allow it.

Skirt rolled up

The rolled up rockets are free standing, by the way. My Mum thought I was wrapping them around a cone of some kind, but nope. Sheer volume of fabric. There was a slight complication with attaching the red. Shall I tell you about it? Okay then. In order to avoid any half squares, the number of orange squares was rounded up. This means that the gathering of 1.5 squares to 1 square was slightly not right. I’m explaining this brilliantly, and should have gone into teaching. I woodged it, it’s perfectly okay but there’s one orange square that’s not as gathered as the others. This should end up at the back of the skirt, so I’ll simply always have my back to something and refrain from pointing at it in public.

I’ve only pink and white to add now, and the white is potentially waistband. I’m not sure yet. I want to see the overall length before I worry about the waistband. I also kind of don’t want to do a waistband because I don’t particularly like doing them. I know, they’re kind of important in your basic skirt, but there you have it.

Mellow Yellow

It’s all getting a bit quick now isn’t it? The yellow is attached, seamed and pressed and you’re delighted. I can tell.

Rolled skirt

The above picture is pre-zigzag/trim. I didn’t take that many pictures of yellow going on, I think I was distracted by the Netflix series on murderous women I’m watching while I sew. Some of them were quite stabby.

Yellow, green, blue and purple tiers rolled up

It took me until I was sewing the green to the yellow to realise I should probably just remove the dental floss as I go, rather than trying to snip it all out at the end. I never claimed to be smart. This has meant that for the first time, I don’t have a tier that smells a bit minty. It’s a loss, I can tell you.

There’s always too many photos of this (and other stuff) on my Instagram if you’re interested. I should warn you I tend to take a lot of pictures of spiders, because I think they’re dreamy. 

(Every time I roll the whole thing up for a picture, I start thinking of the Rocket Clock from Playschool. Not relevant, but something I felt you should know).