Tag Archives: wool

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.

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!

Learn to Crochet

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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!

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!

 

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!

Fibre Diet, March 2012

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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!

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