Tag Archives: Custom

AFHandcrafts at the Handmade Mafia

Standard

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.

Knitting hiatus!

Standard

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!

Unique Blanket Patterns

Standard

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!

Learn to Crochet

Standard

As you may have noticed by now, Alli does plenty of spinning, knitting and weaving. I tend to do more crochet and knitting. We both dabble in plenty of other crafty activities as well. For example: painting, drawing, carving, sewing, cooking, card-making, scrapbooking, and much more! In fact, if you come across something you think we ought to try, tell us! Maybe we can blog about it too!

I am going to take some liberties here and say that Alli and I both are just naturally the artistic type. We have both been fortunate to have friends and family that support our addiction, ahem, hobbies. Plenty of what we know; however, is self-taught or was handed down by a “self-taught”. So I thought I would share with you a few of the great resources available online.

There is so much out there to learn (as anyone who has ever visited Pinterest may know). So for today I am going to limit this post to a crochet-focused toolbox. I will even need to limit that because otherwise I would never finish this post. Let’s grab a few YouTube and Printable resources…

Most of what you need to know to become a skilled crocheter is available on YouTube. There are some great how-to videos out there. Some are certainly better than others. I have tracked down a few favorites for you here but if you come across something you think is better, please let us know! Also, if you don’t find what you are looking for, tell us about it and we will track it down! Thanks!

Abbreviations and other notables:

Craft Yarn Council Abbreviations, Chart Symbols

Lion Brand Dictionary of Knitting and Crochet Abbreviations

Purple Kitty Yarns abbreviations in alphabetical order (PDF available too!)

YouTube How to:

Many of the authors of these videos have other instructional clips too. I have tried to find a variety so that you can choose your favourite source and explore other videos authored here. Please note that there are some interchangeable terms used in crochet depending on your source. See abbreviations above for clarification.

Make a Chain

Single Crochet

Half Double Crochet

Double Crochet

Triple Crochet

Single Crochet Increase/Decrease

SC Decrease only

 

Printable Resources:

Learn to Crochet Instructions – source here

More to come!

Dyeing commences!

Standard

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!

Fibre Diet, March 2012

Standard

For the first time, ever, in my entire knitting life I have decided to go on a fibre diet for a whole month.  (Insert shocked sounds here.)

Yes, I, Alliston will refrain from purchasing fleece, roving, add-ins, and yarn from March 1 – 31, 2012, except in the event that the items are needed for a custom order.  (Yeah! Loophole!)

As of today, March 12th, 2012, I have not spent any money on these items. I am proud of myself because I am an avid Ravelry user and am never far from anything fibrous.

I decided to stop my purchases of anything squishy and shiny so I can dig down to the bottom of my fibre bins to see all the wonderful stuff I have accumulated in a little over a year of spinning.  And once I’ve emptied those bins, I can go on to my vast and varied yarn collection.

I guess I have been able to keep myself busy planning for the upcoming craft markets I will be attending in Edmonton:

March 24 & 25, 2012, On the Spot Pop-up Craft Fair, 10720 – 124 street, Edmonton, AB.

This will be my first show with On the Spot, and I am looking forward to meeting the organisers and aligning with such a great group!

April 14th, 2012, Handmade Mafia, 10335 – 84 Avenue, Edmonton, AB.

This will also be my first show with the Mafia.  Unfortunately I was ill for the last show and had to cancel my attendance in early March.

Apart from craft shows, I have been very fortunate to share my spinning talents with my Mum-in-law, Noreen Crone-Findlay.  She has used many of my yarns in her weaving projects and I am very happy to share!

Happy crafting!

The Great Toque Marathon: finale!

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard


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!