Showing posts with label making. Show all posts
Showing posts with label making. Show all posts

Monday, 8 May 2017

Making a yarn bowl

What is a yarn bowl? I hear you ask.'s a decorative piece of knitting or crochet equipment whose sole purpose is to stop the yarn ball from running away under the lounge while you work and getting covered in dust bunnies (and who knows what else in my house).

 Yarn bowls can be made of anything really; wood, clay, plastic, felt, or any number of other materials. The important thing is that they hold the ball securely inside and have a yarn guide that keeps the yarn from getting really tangled as you pull it through.

I pulled these photos of yarn bowls straight from an internet search. Some of them are so pretty.

 While not strictly required for knitting or crochet, they do add a touch of class to the whole thing. I love the look of them and can imagine a row of yarn bowls on a shelf, each with it's own little ball or cake of yarn sitting patiently in it while I decide what I will knit today, or sitting on a table beside my chair as I effortlessly and smoothly knit Fair Isle patterns without tangles, snarls or swearing.

The ones with lids have the advantage of being more dust proof I suppose, but there is something about seeing your yarn while you work that is so soothing and satisfying.

Home made yarn bowls here we come...

I decided to use what I had in my craft supplies (not really a choice when getting extra materials means driving two hours), I had air dry clay left over from previous projects and it is relatively cheap to buy. Next I needed a template for my bowl (not owning a potting wheel or even knowing how to use one). I found two bowls that might do among my stash.

Air dry clay from my stash

A mat, a bowl, a rolling pin, coffee and a water bottle...I'm set

Oh, and a knife for shaping

Cut a chunk off the clay and mush it up until it's soft.

Cover my chosen bowl with cling wrap

Roll the clay out flat with the rolling pin and mold it over the bowl.

Cut the spiral shape into the clay (carefully) and be sure to leave a gap wide enough for yarn to pass through

Sand the rough edges off the bowl once it's dry, especially the spiral bit

Another possible mold

I decided to try molding inside this one

Before sanding the bowl down, you can see how rough the spiral is

Using my new yarn bowls

While I don't actually need them to knit, or even to keep my yarn from getting tangled, the little yarn bowls are fun and decorative. I think I will make some more to sell at the markets and on Etsy. Maybe I can add paint to them, or use different coloured clay to make them.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Up-cycled wardrobe - Last 2015 update (probably)

Back in June I challenged myself to make a weeks worth of clothes using mostly up-cycled materials.
So far I have succeeded making some items from my challenge list...

Seven pairs of underpants, in fact I made ten pairs.

Three skirts

Three pairs of long pants, I just can't stop making these.

At the moment I am working on making some tops from remnant materials I have found in my stash and at the second hand store. After that I will tackle shorts and socks (not together obviously). The hard things like bras and shoes will be left until last... I have a few ideas.

The prototype top, simple but comfortable.
More and more of my clothes are hand made now. I am really pleased with my progress on this challenge. I am wearing everything I make regularly and even making some things not on the list originally (like house dresses).

Monday, 6 July 2015

A new bed for my old dog

We have a sixteen year old dog, he has been with us since he was a puppy of five weeks and now he is an old man. These days he has arthritis and his sight is going, most days we think he's deaf but sometimes it seems that he has just decided that listening is optional as he can't hear us call him in from the yard, but if I get the cheese out of the fridge he is there like a shot. He seems to have periods of time where he doesn't know where he is and wanders around the house looking distressed until he spots one of us, maybe he has dementia. Recently I noticed that he seems to find comfort in sleeping on our clothes (probably because they smell like us) so I decided to make him a comfort bed out of a sacrificed jumper. I wore the jumper for a day before I started sewing so it would smell strongly of home and comfort.

An old fleece jumper I have laying around

My first step was to sew a line across the body of the jumper from underarm to underarm, I added a bit of an upward curve so the back of my bed would be roundish.
Next came the fun part...stuffing the base. I have some of that crumbled foam stuffing used in sofas and old cushions that seriously needs to be used so in it went. As it turns out fleece fabric and crumbled foam have a fatal attraction and trying to stuff handfuls through a little hole made a huge mess and seriously threatened the balance of my mind. Luckily a piece of PVC came to my rescue, I shoved one end down into the jumper and poked handfuls of foam into the other. This kept the foam and fabric apart and prevented even more mess and possibly an embarrassing tantrum.

My sanity saving stuffing device.

The base all stuffed and sewn shut, still with some bits of foam stuck to the outside.
 For the 'arms' of the bed I decided to use dacron stuffing from an old lounge cushion I had been keeping for just such an occasion.

Old longe cushions are so handy

I stuffed the arms and upper chest area of the jumper with dacron and sewed the sleeves together and the neck shut.

Spot looks on with worry, he has been in trouble for ripping the stuffing out of lounge cushions in his youth so he probably thought I would be in trouble too.

Almost done.

I sewed the sleeves together by hand rather than take the unwieldy pile to Prudence (my sewing machine).

Spot in his new bed.
Still in his new bed.
He seems to love it, he has slept in it at every opportunity and even pushed one of the other dogs out of it. I hope it gives him comfort and lets him know that  he is safe  here at home.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Happy Yule to all

Happy Yule to everyone. The winter solstice is here again, and so much faster than last year (I must be getting old). This year we decided to break with tradition and go on a coven excursion to the Lismore Lantern Parade for the solstice. There was a Viking recreation village set up in a convenient park to visit and a hunting party drifting around town (looking for boar and elk no doubt).
We started the celebration with lunch and an exchange of Yule gifts then went off to tour the Viking village where we felt right at home. I gathered lots of ideas for building and making things and admired the leather bound warriors who drifted by occasionally or could be seen sitting beside their fires making socks and sharpening axes. Finally we found ourselves a prime spot beside the road to watch the parade go by once night fell (we took thousands of really blurry photos but I have included the best ones below).

Yule gifts

More Yule gifts
Even more Yule gifts

A Viking tent with straw under the canvas floor, what a good idea.

Warriors beside the fire making things with a pole lathe. The seated warrior is naalbinding a pair of socks (more on that later)

Sleeping skins in a tent

A game of chess (sort of) set up to play when the women are finished cooking.

A pegged bed (no nails) I loved this tent, so neat and tidy. The shield by the door tells everyone who's tent it is.

Some traditional Viking tools: nallbinding needles, sewing needles, card looms, needle holders, spindles and the essential drinking horn.

An old friend who used to come to circle as a child, who knew there was a Viking lurking in there.

Some of the beautiful lanterns at the parade.

The Viking ship sailed by accompanied by a crowd of fur and leather dressed villagers. The smell of leather and wood smoke in the air and the sound of a marching chant and drums just made me goosebumps all over.

Where the wild things are is one of my favourite books.

Gaia in person

The Green Mand was there to welcome the sun back.

A better shot of the long boat.

I have decided to try naalbinding this year as it looks amazingly complicated. I watched several people making socks and pouches at the Viking village. Apparently the Vikings didn't know how to knit, they made woollen clothing using a sort of macrame with a needle: naalbinding. Check out the video below for a quick explanation and a demonstration...

Look out for a post about naalbinding in the future.