If you know me, you know I am stubborn. Super stubborn. I really do take pride in it. So it is something of a radical departure for me to say this: I don’t like my current knitting project, and I’m going to unravel it. I had been thinking grumpily that I need to set targets of numbers of rows to do per day to make myself do it when Mr Han asked me if I was a sewer and not a knitter any more. That made me a bit sad because knitting is my first textile love! I replied that I just wasn’t enjoying my current project. In his typically practical way he said “don’t make it then, make something else”. The more I thought about it, the more I agreed. Why waste fancy yarn and hours and hours to make something that will be (already is) full of mistakes and I will hate doing?
It’s going to be frogged (I would like to know why knitters call unravelling something is called frogging!) so I took to Ravelry to look for a new pattern and I found this:
The pattern is by Emily Wessel at Tincan Knits. I am excited about making this and it looks a lot easier than the lace scarf. I am too pushed for knitting time – I need TV knitting! It does help to visualise things when they are in an almost exact same colour as the yarn I have too… Wish me luck!
This week we were trying out the Japanese dyeing technique of Shibori. Our tutor Aeron warned us that it was quite a tricky technique but showed us two ways to try it. You can either pinch pieces of fabric up and sew tightly around them or you can fold the fabric in a concertina and then sew pieces through it. The idea is that these stitched parts will remain undyed. When the stitching is done you can dye the fabric. I tried out submerging it fully and dipping is different colours.
Shibori in progress
All that I needed to do was to wait for it to dry and then unpick the stitches… These are in the same order as the ones above so you can see how they turned out.
Unpicked, unfolded and ironed
One of the folded ones (bottom right) really didn’t work at all. The other looks good towards the bottom but not enough dye got into the folds higher up in my opinion. The “pinched” ones worked better, particularly the pink one. The navy one had a plan to middle of it – ignore the random dots down the right hand side, inspired by the night sky. If you can guess which constellation it is please comment below!
Guess the constellation!
If you want to see what can be done by people that actually have some skill in this look here.
We are all thinking about what we might make as a finsihed piece at the mid point of the class. Somehow I don’t think I’ll be using shibori, but it was fun to try.
I am a bit worried this is turning into a sewing blog! But it just gets finished so much quicker than anything else. In the midst of my awful cold I managed to stop blowing my nose long enough to do a bit of sewing. I had been in the wonderful emporium that is The Cheap Shop in Tiptree. This is a massive craft shop that has pretty much everything. Including iron on fleece that I used for this project.
As I need to take my fabric scissors to my evening classes I thought a scissor holder was in order. I had this fabric left over from something so I tried to follow the instructions in my how to Sewing book but it didn’t come out quite right… It didn’t specify a seam allowance and I think that I made mine too narrow so the shape was a bit wrong. This left a bit too much fabric to wrap over – but then I remembered I have pinking shears too…. And made a second pocket for them! A happy accident I guess.
So, I battled the world’s worst cold (who has a cold for a week? Honestly?) to get to my Textiles class and I am so glad I did. There are 12 of us, all ladies, and it was mega exciting to be in a proper studio! I will try and sneak a picture one week. To get started our tutor Erin showed us a super simple printing technique. We wrapped some wool around a wooden block and wiggled the strings about a bit to make a pattern. Then we used leftover ink from the “proper” students to print with. We practiced on paper but next week we’ll be on the fabric. We used Dylon dyes and some other thicker pigment dyes. It was amazing to see all the different patterns, colour combinations and ideas from one simple idea when used by 12 different people.
My first ones looked like a crazy pink zebra. I also made some patterns and most excitingly, we covered a couple of pieces in Dylon dye and then dipped the block in bleach to print – can you believe the amazing green colour that came out on the brown page? I think the last one looks like a migraine on a page but the tutor quite liked it…
L-R – Top row: 1 Dylon dyes and bleach printing,2-4 printing with Dylon dyes
L-R – Second row: 1 Dylon dyes and bleach printing, 2-4 printing with pigment dyes.
My favourites! I think I will be using these colours again. These are currently livening up the wall of the Han Cave and I am looking forward to next week already.
I am so excited, because I am going back to school – sort of. Back in September I signed up for a 10 week textiles evening class at our local college, but not enough people wanted to go so it got cancelled. I was disappointed but last week they called to say they had enough people on the list so class will be starting on Tuesday!
I was one of those children who loved school because I just liked learning new stuff, I was quite academic so didn’t really get much out of creative classes. Not that we had many, we did art of course but because I couldn’t draw, paint or sculpt I thought it wasn’t for me. In the last six years I have realised I am a creative person and I’m not afraid of trying new things. After all learning to sew or knit is only following instructions isn’t it? What’s the worst that can happen?
The course is going to cover lots of things I haven’t done before like dyeing and embroidery so I hope these will add really nicely to the things I already do. It will be nice to meet other people who are into these things too. Of course I’ll be sharing all the experiments here too, so watch this space!
#sewcrazychallenge ! Again I seem to be late with the homework, though better than January. I wanted to learn piping because I have some amazing oak leaf fabric to make into a bench seat cushion, and I can just imagine it with professional looking piping! I thought I’d best practice on some scraps though, before I tried on the expensive stuff… I used the tutorial that came with the challenge, and garden string that I nicked from the man cave. It was pretty easy really and I decided to turn it into a pin cushion, because I keep ending up with them rolling about on the table and I’m worried for the cat! The theme is “home is where the heart is” so I reckon something for the Han Cave fits in too
The scraps actually came from a project I did for a friend who is soon to have a baby. I don’t have any but I can imagine that sometimes you just have to nip to the shops and don’t want to take a full changing kit, so I thought this pouch designed to hold a pack of wipes and a couple of nappies would be a good idea. It also counts as a bonus project for the challenge which should be a gift. I enjoyed making it, it was pretty easy, I just had a little trouble sewing neatly around the opening. Yeah, yeah, I’ll iron it before I send it, just wanted to take the photo in the daylight!
Fabric supplier: Franklins of Colchester (oh yes, I entered town!)
String supplier (for piping): Husband’s shed
As part of my knit-from-the-stash resolution I pulled out both a pattern I’ve been thinking about for years and a yarn I have had since 2012. The yarn is Fyberspates Gleem Lace, which is just such an appropriate name for this shining skein, the pattern is Flowers in the Rain which I got at a knitting event from the p/hop stand. If you’re a knitter and at all charity minded I encourage you to find out more about p/hop. It translates as “pennies per hour of pleasure” and is a fundraising endeavor for Medecins Sans Frontieres.
However, this pattern is not giving me “hours of pleasure” so far. I’ve got my stitch markers in place, I knit carefully with the chart on my lap but I keep messing up! I think I am starting to see the pattern come out but I am not enjoying this. I think I am really in the mood for TV knitting (you really cannot watch Borgen and knit lace) or just the instant gratification of sewing. Cold fingers due to my Victorian house (at least I hope it is just cold and not the arthritis) are also making is project unappealing. Still, I’ll keep going, but it’s going to be a while!
Apologies for the flash photo, but I am never in my house in daylight. It is a fairly good reflection of the colour.
I’ve done a little baking too, but nothing worth showing. I tried a “healthier” muffin recipe from one of the Saturday magazines from Lorraine Pascale – yuck, I’ll never bother with that again! Maple syrup is NOT a suitable substitute for sugar in a cake. The other was lemon curd jam tarts with the curd I made, not pretty, but tasty.