Tag Archives: colours

Knitting hiatus!

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Is has become very apparent to me that too much of a good thing can be painful…  Which is sad because I love crafting.  But crafting too much and too long has forced me to slow down and enjoy the skeins, so to speak.

In the last month I have given myself a painful case of tendinitis…  This has come to severely interfere in my knitting, spinning and overall craftiness.  My Physiotherapist has told me I should stop knitting, spinning or doing anything involving my wrist & thumb.

As of this post, I have not knit in over 60 hours.  I have no knitting or spindles in my purse, backpack, car as to avoid the temptation to pick up a UFO or to start a new project.

On the other hand, I have been able to organise my hand-dyed and hand-spun yarns for sale over the next couple of weeks.  That is something that I have put off to complete time-sensitive projects.  It feels very good to re-skein, label and track all my yarns, rovings and spindles.

Although….

Next weekend, I will likely turn sharply from my Physio’s advice as I will be joining a group of fibre freaks in the Mountains for a bi-annual crafting get-away.  I plan on bringing a large amount of spinning to work on, and to show off Walter, my handsome, German spinning wheel.

Organising my sale yarns has become my evening activity that brings me inner peace. I have been able to measure, weigh and label all of my completely skeins, a chore unto itself.

Thankfully, my Hubby and I are setting up my AFHandcrafts website where I planning on blogging, updating local events and selling my fun handspun yarn.  I also plan on making tutorial videos as my skill level allows, I’ve very excited to be able to show people how I dye my yarns & fibres.

Hooray for technology!

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Unique Blanket Patterns

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So… I have asked for you to send me your requests. If you are looking for a new project, why not let me do all the hard work for you? It makes for a great blog post that we can share with everyone and you get out of searching through endless patterns. I have finally gotten my first Craft Diva request! Okay, so maybe I kind of had to beg my friend to let me do the research for her but either way, I did.

My friend, who was featured in my last post, is looking for a new pattern. She made a fantastic Mario granny square blanket not too long ago and now it is time for a new project. I’ve scoured Ravelry for some unique and fun blanket patterns for her and YOU!

Hopefully, I have made the choice a little easier for you and her by narrowing down the pattern choices to the more unique and child-friendly options. There are so many patterns out there to choose from and plenty are similar to each other but I have selected a few of varying skill range that seem to jump off the page for me.

All of these patterns are available for FREE so please browse and choose as many as you like. Click the photo to be directed to the pattern link on Ravelry (you may need to sign up for a free account to get the pattern.). If you do decide to take on one of these beautiful blankets, please share!

Try this pattern in a variety of colours for a boy or a girl!

Baby doll/blanket

Amigurumi and blanket in one!

Endless colour possibilities and super simple!

How utterly adorable is this little fox?

In keeping with the Nintendo theme...

What about a life-sized sock monkey?

This one may take a leap of faith but is VERY cool!

Crochet visitor

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Crochet visitor

This weekend, a friend of mine came to visit. She has recently taken up crochet and is a very talented and creative artist who works with many different media. Since I had a visitor, it seems fitting for the blog to have a visitor too!

For those of you who are beginners at crochet or are debating trying it, I hope that this post will be inspirational to you. With little more than borrowed hooks and a passion for crafts, my friend has very quickly proven that crochet is an excellent outlet for creativity (not that this is of any debate).

She excitedly texted me this photo of her very first blanket-in-the-works a little while back and I was blown away! Not only does this project fit with her personality seamlessly, but it is also an ambitious one. With more than 100 white granny squares alone to form the background, this is a very time consuming endeavor.

She has since finished the blanket and it looks absolutely fabulous. A quick note; she ran into the same problem as I did when seaming her blanket. Beginning with horizontal rows and single crochet, she found that the number of single crochets were too few to allow for the full stretch of the granny square causing some bunching of the pattern. How nice it is to have friends to discuss this sort of thing!

Below are a few more pictures of her “blankie”.

She has also taken to creating some very adorable amigurumi stuffed animals and had a sweet little elephant named Frank, or “Fwang” as my 2 year old has taken to calling him, for us when she arrived. She documented her process very well too!

If you would like your very own Frank, you can get the pattern here. You may notice that in the original pattern, he has no tail. He simply could not be an elephant with no tail so my friend improvised his sweet little tail by creating a short chain and single crocheting back on it once.

Amigurumi animals are great personal gifts for anyone, not just children, so why not check out this page of free Ravelry patterns to see if you can find your own little friend to build! Or, if you like, here are a few of my faves: Baby Elmo, Alphabet Letters, Baby MONSTERS!, Little Owl… You can also click here for some YouTube tutorials on Amigurumi!

Do you make Amigurumi? Tell us about your favorite pattern in the comments below!

My First Crochet Blanket

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My First Crochet Blanket

Okay, so I know it has been a very long time since I have blogged. I have a big update in the works which I should have up soon. Until that is done, I wanted to share the crochet blanket I have been working on. It is for my son and I didn’t use a pattern.

Crochet, for me, provides flexibility and the ability to improvise. I love that it is quick, (I am a sucker for instant gratification.), and I love how portable and forgiving it can be. The drawback though is that it uses much more yarn than knitting and I often prefer the texture of a knitted garment to a crocheted one.

Many times I pick up some yarn and begin to crochet with an image in my mind and no pattern. I find that I am usually able to bring that image into reality through hooking and that is what I did with this blanket. For awhile now, I have contemplated trying a granny square as they are notoriously easy and also allow you to use up yarn ends and scraps. So I looked up an easy tutorial for a modified granny square on YouTube and began to build my very first blanket! (Find a written tutorial here!)

Building a blanket using granny squares gave me the instant gratification I need and still allowed me to create a larger project. My son, who is almost two, was thrilled to play with the squares of his new blanket while I continued working. (What a great distraction!)

For this project, I dug through my stash of yarns and selected a few worsted weight yarns in teal, grey, black and white. These were a combination of Red Heart, Bernat, TLC and a bag of anonymous roll ends I bought at discount from Zellers I think.

The process was quite simple, very portable and fast! This project is incredibly easy to pick up and put down at a moment’s notice as well. Because this blanket was for my son, the size isn’t too big; four squares by six.

I wanted to create a randomized pattern with both solid and multicoloured squares so I crocheted 6 teal, 6 white, some with teal centres and black or white borders, some with white centres and black or white borders, and even a few black ones. Finally, I bordered every square in grey, adding an extra row one side in the hopes of making the blanket a bit larger. To bring it all together, I used a slip stitch through one of the top loops of each square then I created a border in half double crochet.

Here are a few pictures of the process:

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I am a very “type A” personality so I needed a bit of help from my husband and Alli to add a bit of chaos to the pattern.

I really like how it turned out. I wasn’t expecting the reaction I got from my son when he saw all of the pieces finally as one. He was elated! In fact, I have not yet been able to weave in all of the yarn ends as he doesn’t want to give it up. He saw it on the floor, final product for me to appraise and immediately began to dance on it! It was very cute.

Dyeing commences!

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This spring I have decided to build my skills by learning how to take wonderful rovings, locks, fleeces and dyeing them with wonderful Dharma Acid dyes.  This past week, with wonderful weather, I was able to set up a preliminary dyeing station on the deck to try my first roving with the new dyes.  I am very, very happy with the results:

Aurora, Merino/Silk roving dyed with Dark Navy, Peacock Blue, Teddy Bear Brown and Brilliant Orange.

Aurora Braid, Merino/Silk

 

Once the dye was used up, I put in some BFL roving and tried something a little different, Brilliant Yellow, Fire Engine Red and after a few minutes, a touch of True Black.

Zombie, BFL roving

 

Because not all of the blue had full exhausted and because I did not change the colour, the Brilliant Yellow became lime green.  I can’t help but to think of all the fun zombie movies I love to watch with my husband.

These are currently for sale on my Facebook Page, seach: AFHandcrafts, or in my Ravelry stash page, search: nomadalli.

Happy crafting!

The Great Toque Marathon: finale!

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Now that my Xmas and winter weather knitting rush has quieted, I can get back to blogging and building my Etsy store! I was very happy to receive an email from the customer who purchased the 10 toques from my Great Toque Marathon Part 1 & Part 2. The toques were enjoyed by all over Christmas as well as out in Banff and Lake Louise, AB.

I was very pleased that the toques helped the family to bond and keep warm in the cool weather. I can only imagine they bewildered looks wherever they travelled. According to my customer, they were helpful in spotting each other on the busy Banff sidewalks!

I’m very proud and happy that I was able to help welcome French visitors to Canada in style. Bienvenue!

Christmas with warm ears!

Thank you to Jan & her family for sharing their Christmas photos.

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!