28 February 2014

yarn end bowl

This wee bowl is made up of yarn ends from a previous knitting project. It's easy quick and good fun to make. I have mine sitting on my beside table and I'm using it to keep small pieces of jewellery in.


small pieces of yarn or thread
water soluble fabric (heavy weight such as "Romeo") - 2 pieces larger than embroidery hoop
cling film
embroidery hoop
sewing thread
sewing machine

Place one piece of water soluble fabric over one ring of the hoop, Arrange yarn / threads on top. There is a particular type of water soluble called "aquabond"which is sticky on one side and this makes the arrangement of yarn etc much easier. Scraps of organza, fabric and nets could also be used in the arrangement. Make sure the central area is well covered as this will be the base of the bowl.

Then place the second layer of water soluble on top to form a sandwich and place inside hoop, making sure it is taut.

Free machine over all the yarns making sure that stitching is dense enough to cover all of the yarns. Any yarn not caught by stitching will fall off one the water soluble fabric is removed. I used a circular design for free machining. 

Remove work from hoop and then to dissolve rinse under tepid water. Keep rinsing, removing as much of the water soluble as possible.
The stitched yarn ends will be sticky enough to mould into shape. Put cling film over a bowl or glass before moulding the work on top. Rearrange the stray edges as necessary.
 Leave to dry and then remove from bowl.

Till next time, Ali.

22 February 2014

winter woollies

I know I should be writing about the arrival of spring, with photos of pretty spring flowers, but this post is about knitted winter accessories. Unfortunately, it is still cold enough to wear them here! I saw a pattern for Union Jack mitts back in December and thought I'd like to have a go. I knew it was going to be a challenge as the pattern required carrying three floats at the back of the work. I had several false starts as my tension for the floats was too tight. I did eventually finish the mitts, although I'm not particularly happy with the end result. The pattern is by Suzanne Stallard and for details click here. The photo on the right shows the inside of the mitts.

Once I had finished the mitts I wanted to knit a matching scarf. Ravelry is great for sourcing patterns and I saw a nice pattern for a scarf knitted sideways by Barbara Albright click here. The pattern is published in a book which I didn't have, but from the photo it was clear that the scarf was knit lengthwise, using garter stitch. I used a different colour for each row and left a long yarn tail at the beginning and end of the row, which I later knotted to make a fringe.

Both the scarf and the mitts were knitted using Drops Lima, bought in the Textile Studio, Ballyhackamore. A beautiful soft yarn, 65% wool, 35% alpaca, which was lovely to work with.

After trimming the fringe I had lots of end yarn bits and I'll be making them into something, but that's for the next post.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Ali

15 February 2014

bellinter house

I was lucky enough to spend a few days down South last week. We stayed at Bellinter house, Navan. It was a home from home - mismatched furniture, a few cobwebs and the odd light bulb needing changing. Sounds as if I'm painting a negative picture but far from it, it was great.  The weather just like home was grim, so a but dark for photos but I thought I would share some of them..........
grand entrance
nice fireplaces in every room
the library
wellies to explore the banks of the Boyne, pity the weather hadn't have
 been better
the drawing room (I snuck into this photo too)
And that was Ballinter house, till next time. It would be a beautiful wedding venue and for the website click here.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Ali.

11 February 2014

painted bondaweb heart

I recently heard a talk by the experimental textile artist Kim Thittichai and was most inspired by her work. She explained how to create a surface using pelmet Vilene and painted bondaweb. To see her blog click here.
I thought I would make use of her technique to make my Valentine card this year.

Firstly, I painted pelmet Vilene with Koh-I-Noor dye (I'm very fond of this wee palatte, with its vibrant colours, it is also very easy and convenient to use for small areas).

Then I painted the bondaweb on the "glue" rough side with watery acrylic paint (any water based paint will do). Once the bondaweb is wet, it crinkles in lines in one direction.

To fuse the two together, I made a sandwich - baking parchment on the bottom, pelmet Vilene, then bondaweb with the painted side down and finally baking parchment on the top.
 Once ironed, the paper backing on the bondaweb was removed.

To add a bit of bling, glitter was sprinkled on and foil ironed on with the tip of the iron. Then I ironed the whole piece again, not forgetting the baking parchment.
The end result is an interesting surface which can be cut with scissors and stitched. Painted bondaweb can also be fused onto fabric.

To make the card I sewed the three hearts in a continuous line without cutting the thread between them.Then I machine stitched them onto the actual card.

 I made a fabric envelope using Messy Jesse's  instructions, click here.

Bye for now, Ali.


3 February 2014

paint and stitch

Maybe its the gloom of winter affecting my state of mind, but I headed out to the garden to take photos of snowdrops, spring bulbs etc and was drawn to the withered foliage of last summers plants. Needless to say they have all been left by the lazy gardener (me) who never got round to tidying them away.
Some Shasta daisy heads, Japanese anemones, lavender and some unknown perennial. I thought they looked quite beautiful.

Feeling a little artistic, I tried to catch the last of the daylight to do a quick watercolour of the Japanese anemone.
...hardly a masterpiece but so much fun nevertheless.
I haven't done much free machining recently so thought this piece of Basil would lend itself nicely to some stitching.
Firstly, I drew a sketch outline with a water erasable marker on heavy weight
bonded curtain lining which is firm enough to avoid using a hoop. I then stitched with brown and then black thread. The background colour was added after sewing with a very wet brush and some colour from the Koh-I-Noor palatte. The watery paint also removed the original guide marks. 

Bye for now, Ali.