Still here

Hello All

Well I’ve done it. I am all upgraded and stuff. Although it maybe a reprieve rather than a full pardon from the Old Bailey of Techi-ness as there are still WordPress pages that I cannot access. Apparently my machinery is on the old side (know how it feels). Nonetheless for the time being at least I can keep blogging! But not today.

After spending the best part of a yesterday with technical this and that I have promised myself a day without IT and instead am giving my time to baking, knitting and crochet. Bliss. Or I may just lie down in a darkened room.

Until next we meet (which we will), Moke x

Just in case!

Hello All

A quick post this one. Just to say that I am about to upgrade my computer. With IT obsolescence knocking at the door like Google’s Grim Reaper it is unavoidable my friends.

Upgrading can be a risky business (is this just me?) and I wanted you to know that if I vanish from the air waves it is unintentional and nothing you have said.

Until next we meet (I hope), Moke x

…. it is a far better thing that I do now …… 

Kitchen Table Crafts

Hello All

What a lovely day. A day of conversation and cuppas enjoying woolly crafting. All from the comfort of my kitchen.

When friend AFl suggested coming over I balked slightly at the craft she suggested. But as soon as I started gathering everything we would need I felt the old excitement I got from running workshops and joining in Wool ‘n’ Stuff sessions.

What were we going to do? There’s a (BIG) clue on my kitchen table.

‘Felting’ you say? Felting yes but with a twist. This is Nuno felting (felting onto cloth) and if you want to have a go at this low cost craft – or just want to see what we got up to – read on.

Here’s what we used:

  • surface to work on that you don’t mind getting a bit wet (kitchen table = perfect);
  • bubble wrap;
  • cling-film (needs to be quite robust variety);
  • muslin (remember there will be about a 50% shrinkage so allow for this);
  • fibres (we used dyed merino tops);
  • plastic bag each;
  • cool soapy water (I put a mix of washing-up liquid and cool water in an old plastic spray bottle);
  • clothes washing flakes or liquid; and
  • vinegar.

At this point I should have been able to show you what we did first but fueled with coffee (and a cheeky donut..or two…) I forgot to take any photos!!!! So words will have to suffice. Normal photographic service will soon follow.

Our first steps:

Bubble wrap was laid out bubble side down;

We wet the fabric and spread it out on the bubble wrap;

Remembering that less fibre leads to more shrinkage we pulled our wool tops into small, even and thin pieces;

Then we lay the fibres in all directions (one direction means shrinkage will only be one way);

We gently sprayed COOL soapy water on the fibres and cloth; and

Covered our fibre patterned muslin with cling film (AFl had brought an old industrial sized roll which was perfect cos it wasn’t too thin nor very sticky).

Now we gently pressed all the water down through the wool,

DSCI0119

until it started to go flat at which point we rubbed gently – still through the cling-film – with our scrunched up plastic bags. A bit like rubbing down a wet horse I thought …. or is that just me?!

Off came the cling-film and rolling commenced … oops just noticed the cling-film is not off … remember to remove yours.

DSCI0120

We rolled three hundred times (yes 300!) one way and then having re-rolled the felt in the opposite direction three hundred (YES 300!) more times.

Unbeknowst to us hours passed as we chattered and rolled … and rolled …. and rolled …  Time flew.

Once we could see fibres making their way through the muslin we flipped the bubble wrap over and rubbed the nuno (yes it actually looked like nuno felting, amazing) along the whole length.

DSCI0123

We put the nuno into hot soapy water. As hot as our hands could cope with. Ooooooch. Then came the best bit.

DSCI0122

‘Is that it?’ I hear you cry. OK it doesn’t look very exciting but this is my nuno felt after I had thrown it full force S-P-L-A-T onto the table. This only needed to be done about a dozen times but as I hurled my felting I found it was a great means of working off my angst … “and this is for …. bang! and this is for …. BANG!” Twelve throws was not enough. When you get to this stage you’ll know what I mean.

Not only was it therapeutic but it was also magical. Shrinkage! Houston we have shrinkage!

Finally all our nuno needed was a rinse to get rid of the soap and a last rinse with a splash of vinegar and more water.

DSCI0124

We were very pleased with ourselves. We had actually created nuno felted pieces and had just enough time for a celebratory soup as they dried.

Excellent way to spend a day. Getting together with a friend and having a bash (quite literally) at a kitchen table craft. Thank you AFl for reminding me.

Until we meet next. Moke x

Finished!

Hello All

Glad to say ITS FINISHED! That little Rowan waistcoat has had the stitches picked up, its borders garter stitched and the seams sewn. Voilà

done.

Time for a new little person project and now we know its a girl I am afraid I am going to have a pink moment ….

DSCI0097

Here are the beginnings of a little pattern gleaned from this handy book by Candi Jenson.

Knit in a Day

Crammed with simple, easy to follow items to knit for babies from 3 to 24 months it is perfect for finding a quick knit  when time is of the essence. But what am I making?

DSCI0095

let’s wait and see.

Until next we meet, Moke x

Beaten by the clock

Hello All

A quick  post today as time has gotten the better of me. I was hoping to unveil a finished project (for once, I hear you chorus) but I hadn’t realised the magnitude of the task I was setting myself. It was ever thus.

I have been working on a small person garment from the ‘Little Rowan’ pattern-book. I have got as far as this

two sides and the back of a moss stitch and cable waistcoat.

At this point I confess I had pithered about as I wasn’t looking forward to the next bit of the pattern. But today I planned to complete my knitting and show you the whole garment made up and ready to wear. I was right to pither ….

First I made the classic mistake (or is it only me for whom this is a classic mistake?) of sewing together the wrong sides. Aaaaaaaaarghhhhhhhh. How come if I had wanted a seam to hold together it would have fallen open at the first  snip but when I want my stitching to undo I have sewn firmly enough to withstand a tug of war between two teams of super heroes?!

However after (only) an hour of unpicking I was ready to re-sew. The work of minutes. Then … groan …. another hour was ‘happily’ spent wresting with the task of lifting sufficient stitches on to the needle. And here they are sitting snuggly on my 2.75mm needle awaiting the garter stitch to come:

DSCI0074

But by now the afternoon had worn on and while I have managed to get some actual knitting done (oh the joy),

DSCI0076

I am nowhere near finishing.

I am sorry but the dog is crossing his legs and our stomachs are grumbling for tea-time. So short rations today … never fear I’ll be back to finish the story of the trickiest little waistcoat in the West very soon.

Until next we meet, Moke x

Build Me Up Buttercup

Hello All

When a friend at work mentioned that there was a local charity project to raise money by the sale of wool crafts I decided that I must find a way to beat the bus sickness blues.

Much as I love the stunning landscape and its changing nuances it is a long daily journey to work and while I am fine looking out of the window I struggle with anything that means bending my head. That has meant reading and crafts are out …. oh woe is me.

Then an inkling of an idea. If I stick to crafting simple patterns on the ‘straight’ (the Romans didn’t touch these roads or were defeated by our mountainous topography), less lumpy-bumpy, bits of the road I might manage the odd brooch or two.

Practice first. I turned to an old favourite for inspiration,

With so much choice what to do? Start at the beginning with the easy crochet patterns and work my way through. Off we go.

First the lovely Hellebore,

A very satisfying make but with three colours fiddly. A certain recipe for a stomach churning journey. Next!

Let’s build up a buttercup ….

Pretty little thing. But while small is beautiful it is also a tad tricky for someone with fingers a bunch of bananas would be proud of. Lest this go the way of Goldilocks and the Three Bears … too fiddly …. too tricky …. shall we move on to ‘just right’ …

…. the madness of the Chrysanthemum.

Flamboyant yet simplest to do. Yippee. Despite its woolly wildness it makes a striking corsage brooch. Any suggestions as to yarns and methods to make it fit any occasion gratefully received.

Now I have a pattern I can replicate on the bus AND three little contributions for the charity sale.

Reading on the bus next …..

Before I go. My good friend JH came over for cake and a cuppa yesterday. We are both to become grandmothers within weeks of each other so you can imagine we had a lot to talk about and look what she made for No1 Daughter ….

Woof-ely and beautiful. Needless to say both No1 Daughter and I were very very grateful for such a wonderful handmade pair of baby bootees. Thank you JH.

Until next we meet, Moke x

This Cumbria Life

Hello All

As you know little things please me. Something that is definitely not little however is monthly magazine Cumbria Life,

DSCI0022

You may remember that I have talked about this super periodical before. We are very lucky to have such a high quality magazine celebrating our beautiful county. No surprise that I am a regular reader.

In July I took a trip to Leeds to visit No 1 Daughter and No 1 Son. I carried with me the latest Cumbria Life to keep me entertained and to share with my offspring. One of the articles took us on a merry stroll down memory lane as we recalled the No1s younger days at Kendal Calling music festival. So much mud!

Anyhoo I thought that I would regale the editorial team with my latest outing accompanied by their glossy magazine. And hey! what’s this on their letters page?

DSCI0023

My name!!!

DSCI0024

OK its not a Pullitzer. I did say little things please me.

Until next we meet, Moke x

P.S. Oops… the spots on that last picture are Cumbrian raindrops that decided to fall just as I was taking the photo.