Category Archives: Custom Orders

AFHandcrafts at the Handmade Mafia

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Always exciting in Edmonton are the constant farmer’s, artisans, pop-up and handmade markets throughout the city.  I feel very fortunate to be able to take part in these events to be able to showcase my handmade products to locals.  I have had much more luck selling items in person than online with Etsy.com

I love that at markets customers can come up and feel my yarns, rovings, batts, scarves and bags.  When I have stuff for sale, I know that touching an item is a big part of wanting to purchase it.

Needless to say I’m in full gear for the upcoming Handmade Mafia Market on June 2, 2012.  As always, I will have varied selection of hand spun yarns, uniquely dyed roving, crazy blended batts, squiggly scarves and a wonderful project bag.

Here are two Shetland rovings dyed with the season in mind. Bright green spring and late, lovely fall.

Newest from my studio are beautiful blended batts.  Ranging from 40g to 75g in weight, these batts contain wool, silk, firestar, locks and sari silk.

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A baby beanie – Staying motivated

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If I had to categorize knitting and crochet into a particular season, I think winter is very fitting. In the winter, the cooler weather and ever-changing fashions lure me back to my yarn stash. Inspiration is easy to find in stores, on celebrities and in the natural need for a fresh new pair of mittens on a cold day.

In the summer, warmer weather calls to me and, for some reason, I forget all about fiber arts. It’s certainly not for lack of projects to do. I always have a long mental list of pieces I want to accomplish. Perhaps I fall prey to the cliche that knitted and crochet garments are better suited to the cold (we all know that there are plenty of summer patterns on Ravelry). I just tend to set aside my projects with the intention of picking it back up in a day or two and, before I know it, it’s time to start Christmas gifts again.

The projects that I had told myself I would accomplish once I finally had the time are put back on hold before they are begun.

This year, as I feel my interests begin to once again shift, I am more determined than ever to stay focused. So, inspired by a request by my husband, I have come up with a strategy. I am going to sprinkle in a bunch of small projects with my larger ones so that I can enjoy the satisfaction of a completed piece and stay motivated to continue on the large ones.

What does this have to do with you? you may wonder. Well, for one, it means that I will be blogging more often. For two, (do we say “for two”?), it means you get a free pattern for the sweet little newborn hat I made for Brian’s associate who just had a baby girl! By the way, how do you stay motivated to work on those bigger projects? Share your strategies in the comments!

For this little newborn beanie, I used some leftover Bernat Alpaca in Ebony (Less than 50g) and a couple of meters of hand spun yarn made by Alli which was absolutely beautiful! (Check out her yarns and other products here!) The pattern is super simple and the whole project took me less than an hour!

To form the base of the hat:

Size: 0-3 months
Hook: H
Yarn: Bernat Alpaca, Ebony
Qty: Approx 50g

Note: If subbing for another yarn, I would recommend a DK or sport weight yarn or slightly lighter than worsted.

Begin: Ch4, sl st to first chain to form a loop. Ch2, 8 hdc into loop. Join to first ch2 with a sl st.

Row 1: Ch2, hdc1 into first hdc, hdc2 into each rem. hdc around. Join.
Row 2: Ch2, hdc1, [hdc1, hdc2] rep. around. Join.
Row 3: Ch2, hdc1, [hdc1, hdc1, hdc2] rep. around. Join.
Row 4: Ch2, hdc1, [hdc1, hdc1, hdc1, hdc2] rep. around. Join.

Repeat row 4 seven more times. Fasten off and weave in ends.

To form the flower:

This is a great little appliqué for using up scraps of yarn. I used some of Alli’s hand spun yarn!

Hook: H

Begin:
Ch 11 (foundation chain), ch2, turn.
Dc4 into 4th ch from hook, ch2, [sc, ch2, dc4, ch2], rep. until you have formed 5 petals.
Fasten off yarn with a 5″ tail and draw tail back through the foundation. Tighten to form flower and fasten off.
Use a large button as the centre of the flower and attach flower to the base hat.

PDF coming soon!

Happy hooking!

 

Fluffy and spikey Mail, Lots of locks

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The second parcel, which I alluded to in my previous post, was from another Canadian fibre producer.  Val, from Wooly Wool of the West contacted me via Ravelry when she saw my ISO (in search of) postings on various forums.

Merino on Hackle with comb, Diz and Diz Threader.

I spent numerous hours playing with it once I had it secured to a sturdy table.  Firstly, to get the motion down, I combed through  a couple ounces of merino roving that I purchased a while ago that was full of little pieces of hay and grass aka “VM”.

Because Merino does not have a long staple, I found it difficult to use the comb and hackle, but managed to get a small bag of wonderfully soft and nearly vm-free fibre.  I spun a small amount of it and am very happy with the results.

My second attempt, this time with cotswold locks also purchased from Wooly Wool of the West, stashed Firestar & Silk, as well as Lincoln Locks from Neauveau Fiber Arts .  Long, curly locks comb very nicely on my new tools.

Layer 1, Cotswold locks

Cotswold locks, silk & Lincoln locks on Hackle

After two passes, I found that I had made beautifully blended and lofty fibre.

Twice combed locks on Hackle, ready to Diz.

I dizzed off two lengths of wonderful green and sparkly top, which I spun up on a home made top-whorl drop spindle, then plied it together from a centre pull ball.

Combed top, featuring Cotswold, Lincoln, silk & Firestar

Making a wonderful skein of dk weight yarn with lots of halo.

Swamp Yarn

Fluffy Mail, Superwash Club

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In our home, packages are a common occurrence as we all have busy hobbies and crafts that require items that we sometimes can’t get in Edmonton. The best kind of mail that arrives, in my opinion, is the fluffy kind!

A couple of nights ago I was handed 2 parcels. One was a small bag from Ontario, it was my first in a 3-month Superwash Fibre club.  It contained a 4 ounces of beautifully dyed Superwash Merino in a braid.

Wool wash, Braid & Cat shadow

It was immediately squished by the women and was claimed by my fibre-addicted Cat, Bubba.

Bubba claims his prize.

When I started searching for a club to join for a monthly fibre fix, I had two conditions:

1. Superwash fibre, so I could spin the yarn and knit it into an easy-to-wash item for sale in my Etsy store.

2. Canadian supplier/producer.

I was very happy to find both of these criteria in one place, The Sweet Sheep, with their ‘Nothin but Superwash Fibre Club‘. I joined the club, 1 – 4oz braid for 3 months, $80 CAD including shipping.  Needless to say I am happy with the first one, and can’t wait to get the next two!

The Sweet Sheep also has a Ravelry group, so I was able to see the spoilers and get quick updates on when the next shipment will take place.  Note: You will need a Ravelry account to see their group page.

Unfortunately I know I will have to wait to spin this braid as I am still knitting away on the Great Canadian Toques (90% complete, hooray!), and because of package #2, Fluffy and Spikey Mail!

The Great Toque Marathon: Update

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K2, P2, K2, P2 has been my thought train for over a week now. Whenever I am not working, driving, cooking or sleeping, I have been knitting the Great Canadian toques.

I can say with great joy, that I have started on my 9th toque in 16 days! I am also very happy to say that my current speed will, in fact, allow me to complete my Xmas knitting in time for the big family get-togethers.

I have not changed the pattern, but I have had to change how I build the toques:

Firstly, I discovered that the balls of Bernat that I purchased, from different stores and different batches, have been plagued with knots and unusual colour changes.  I would suggest to anyone who is going to take on a colour-sensitive project with a variegated yarn to pull out a ball winder or nostepinne to re-wind and ensure that the ball of yarn is worth using.

Secondly, I have started putting on stitch markers from the beginning so I have an easy view of all my stitches and can make sure that I don’t accidentally drop or knit/purl two stitches together. This was a suggestion from my Mum-in-Law who is a wealth of information and a very talented artist!

Be sure to check back for the final details on the project and the free pattern I will be posting.  Happy knitting!

A little birdie told me…

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