Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yes, you are earring me correctly.

Spain was awesome. I shan't bore you with details - I'm not travel writer, and my photos are only so so. If you want to read about interesting trips with good photographs and some crafty goodness, I advise you to wander over to my friend Fiona's blog - she's much better at it than I. Suffice to say there were long walks, aquariums, good food and bilingual confusion. I highly recommend San Sebastian as a destination for a couple of days stay, if you like walking and exploring. While we were away the aforementioned Fiona volunteered to feed and water our various creatures. As a gesture of thanks, I made this brooch today, featuring her flutterby favorite and my own brand of wonky mattress stitch. I think there's probably a bit too much distraction from the stitch details, but Fiona, I hope you like it!
If, like me, you like tacky stuff, Penneys is awesome (for any non-Irish readers, Penneys, also known as Primark, is an chain store which sprawls across Ireland and Great Britain. Selling clothes and accessories, they provide cheap versions of whatever fashion extravaganzas are sweeping the nations at that moment, as well as basics like underwear, socks, home-wares etc). I rarely pay full price for anything in Penneys though - the beauty of tack is to pay as little as possible for something which someone else paid full price for with no sense of irony. Such as the following earrings - 3 euro full price, or 50 cents on a good day.
I know what some of you may be thinking - as fond as I am of piercing, they're not really mon style. However, a bit of jiggery-pockery with some jump rings and round nose pliers can work wonders. Still as tacky as ever, but on my terms, and with more anchors.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Spinning my way to Spain

While I was at home last weekend, I spent a few minutes spinning on my best friend Ruth's spinning wheel - it got me all fired up to get back onto my own. You may recall the purpular yarn I was spinning when I finally 'got' spinning.
Some bits of it were of it were very think, some of it was reaaal thick. I didn't want to add more weight to it, but as it was still a bit overspun in places I wanted to ply it. I decided to use some pink thread from my sewing box. Here it is in all its washed glory - all approximately 135 meters of it.

I was on a spinning roll. I spun a bit more onto a bobbin of white from Rocking out, then I spun a whole other bobbin while watching the final stage of the Tour de France today. They were quite good, for me, quite thin and mostly balanced. I plied as much as could fit onto my third and final bobbin. I still have some of the unplied singles left, so I think I'm going to spin more onto these , ply those together, then put the 2 skeins together in a dye. I'm thinking I'll dye them either red or a nice deep blue. Anyone got some good sources of dye? 

I came close to entirely finishing my socks during my time in Donegal last weekend. There's a random 5 rows of garter in the midst of the stockinette - such as will happen when knitting and drinking beers with your sister. What I didn't finish I did during the cycling the week. They're a little bit long along the foot, and for some reason this only got worse after blocking, even though I was really careful not to stretch them. The heel stitches don't really sit under my heel, and as they're pretty narrow I can't even gift them to a long footed man. I'm going to wear them around the house for a little while (they were always meant to be housesocks) and see how I get on. I have so much left from the luxurious skein I probably have enough for another pair anyway. A shorter pair.
Myself and my housemakts are off on holidays tomorrow, huzzah! We're back on Saturday, and I declare now that I shall squeeze in some craft betwixt then and Sunday evening. We're travelling light so the crochet hooks are staying at home.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Hi cats. I'm going home for the weekend, so there'll be no update on Sunday. Now that Jim's scarf is done, I can get back to my second sock, last seen here. I've been doing a few rows here and there over the last few weeks, and just the other night I knit the heel flap. I then started to turn the heel while watching cycling, even though I knew I would mess it up by doing it when not giving t my full attention, and I did. But here's a picture of where I am now anyway - should get loads done this weekend, wee! Excited!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Skull so sweet

Good news - I finally found the charger to my camera again. While my photography skills are, well, basically 'point and click', I realize the pictures of late have been a bit dark and blurry. I prefer my little cybershot to my housemate's (ok, let's admit it, he's my boyfriend) fancy camera. I'd probably love his camera if I knew how to use it, but as I say, 'point and click'.
Hurrah for long stages of the Tour de France - I finished Jim's scarf! Ending up at somewhere around 68 inches, I hope he's happy with it. We'll see tomorrow.

I continued practice with my free motion (stippling) sewing foot. Yes, these are wonky, but that's why they call it practice. I was doing them free hand, with no line to follow. I think once I get the hang of it some cool things should be possible. 

One thing I thought would be cool to do with the stippling foot would be sugar skulls, with lots of different colors in the designs. I was practicing drawing some to get an idea of what I might do. I've never taken art or anything, as well as this I lack a natural aptitude, so I'm not very good at drawing. Nonetheless, the results were kind of cute, so I turned them into shrinky dinks! These little guys will have jump rings attached - new necklaces, hurrah. I used tippex on the black skull, which cracked during the 'cooking' process. Some of the flakes stuck to the face in the heat.

Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Stipple me this

I bought myself a present (for no good reason) this week - a stippling foot for my sewing machine. Normally, when you're using a sewing machine, the combination of the pressure of the foot above the material and the motion of the 'feed dogs' (basically little metal teeth) beneath the fabric pull the fabric along as you sew. This is why you can only really sewing forward, and also to go around curved corners it requires lots of stopping and starting and rearranging of material, before the machine pulls you along (at least that's the case for me, a relatively unskilled and definately untrained sewer). A stippler foot subjects no pressure above the material - it hops up and down along with the motion of the needle. When using a stippler foot, you'll either lower the feed dogs, if your machine does such things, or as is my case, cover the feed dogs with a 'darning' plate, which handily came provided with my machine. With nothing above or below the fabric pulling it along, it's all up to you where the material goes - backwards, forwards, crazy lines, curves, you name it. Such foots are utilised in free motion embroidery, quilting and the like. Obviously, this will take some getting used to. As the Tour de France started yesterday (as some of you may know, for reasons beyond my control I've found myself getting massively interested in cycling) my first attempts were appropriately themed. Sorry for the bad light - I was using my housemates camera and I was too afraid to touch the settings.
I started with the wheel on the left, and was turning the material as I sewed, as you would have to with a normal foot, completely forgetting that the whole point of buying the foot was to ease such difficulties. My second attempt was slightly better.
I'm looking forward to getting to grips with my stippler foot - or at least, I hope I'll get to grips with it. I'm having fun either way thus far.
As I mentioned, the Tour de France started yesterday, huzzah! I foresee getting quite a bit of knitting done as I catch up with the action in the evenings. Jim's scarf is at about 50 inches right now, and I'm going to count anything over 60 inches a bonus - I'm bored, and working with two strands of DK weight held together begins to hurt my fingers after a while. My style of knitting uses my fingers to wrap the yarn, and I hate feeling them being splayed out. The picture is from this morning, when I was at 46 inches.
Now for some old school Skuld crafts - chopping up big t shirts, yeah! Check out how much excess there is on this man's shirt compared to the top I used as a size reference.
After the usual sew up the sides, cut off the sleeves and collar treatment, I made use of this extra material to sew some extra onto one shoulder strap to make it an asymmetrical tie top.
I'm not sure what I was doing 'photographer' was making me laugh.
Have a great week everyone.