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Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Here it is! A knitted dishcloth gone wrong that turns as if my magic...

..into a baby jacket. Isn't Elizabeth Zimmermann wonderful?

I don't actually have a cold baby to hand and was looking for a charity project to sent it to. Anyone any suggestions? Thanks.


Here are a couple over over dyed bags. Nice, I like them. I make these calico bags every time I make a piece of textile art, to carry it to exhibitions in. If it sells, I get the bag to take home. I used to always write my name and addy in large indelible letters on the front. Not so hot if you're just doing your shopping and don't actually wish to give every passer by full contact details. You can still see the writing but have to strain to read it. Only very determined, eagle eyed passers by will be able to stalk me now.

I still have some undyed bags which will be good for showing the kids before and after samples.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Next day dyeing

This is a piece of silk after 5 hours....

This is a piece of cotton after 21 hours. Well, I was up early. The definition is sharper in this one and the colours brighter so I guess the length of time you leave it to cure does make a difference. Also as the author of the book Magic Dyeing made Easy, Helen Deighan points out, after 24 hours your dye is completely exhausted so you're not discharging an active dye into the environment.

Good experiments and good fun. Feeling a lot more positive about the whole project.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

More dyeing fun

I dyed an old calico bag with what was left from my experiment this morning. I'm going to overdye it a nice, sharp green in places. I had forgotten how much fun dyeing is!

Magic Dyeing Made Easy

Many thanks to my good buddie Maggie who recommended this book for dyeing with children. You know the kind of thing, dissolve children in boiling water and apply to fabric. Only joking. I'm not really the wicked witch of the north.

I found plastic bag dyeing to be remarkably mess free, fuss free and simple. The instructions were to leave your bags to cure for 24 hours (hah!). I lasted one hour and here is the result. Not too dusty. I have left some comparative pieces still curing until tomorrow

Dyeing with the ravening hordes is beginning to look as if it might be possible after all. Many thanks to Maggie (and Helen Deighan who wrote the book).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The results

Synthetic fabric stiffened with PVA. A bit wobbly and very plasticy. Wouldn't be my fabric of choice.

Cotton. The firmest of all the fabrics.

Silk. The lightest of all the fabrics. Good results all round. Shiny one side, matt the other. The silk picked up an amazing amount of detail. You can see the embossed writing from the bottom of the lemon tray on this one. And yes, the whirlies so whirl when you blow on them.

At least I have something to take to the planning meeting tomorrow. Feel a bit better prepared now.

Plannng the next school's project

The next school's project kicks off in August and is a collaboration between the art and science departments of my local secondary school. I'll have 80 11 year olds this time, heaven preserve us. So far the rather sketchy brief is to dye fabric, be inspired by cell structure and make mobiles. Thankfully not a collaborative outcome for all 80 kids this time but several smaller projects. I say thankfully.....remind me, this is
After my last experience I was rather concerned about the construction challenges presented by fabric/mobiles/children/needles and thread so am making some samples of different fabrics stiffened with PVA glue. The picture shows from left to right synthetic, silk and cotton stiffened as a flat sheet and molded over a plastic lemon tray. As I always say, when life gives you lemons, keep they trays. Oh, and make lemonade. I'll let these dry overnight and see where we go from here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Surprise baby jacket

Relax, it's only the jacket that's a surprise. Franklin Habit of the blog Panoptican recently introduced me to Elizabeth Zimmermann, a lovely person and immensely talented knitting designer (amongst other things) from way back when. I am knitting Elizabeth's surprise baby jacket . It's supposed to look like a dish cloth gone wrong when it comes off the pins (I can do that) but with a bit of judicious tweaking it turns into an amazing jacket. Just you wait and see! The idea is so deceptively simple I have already made a pig's ear of it by not reading it properly. There was a bit of remedial frogging last night but all is now progressing well.

Looking at my carpet I now realise these must be my colours of choice. Another surprise!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Round up

Pink buttons are better than brown, set off by mad necklace keeping the circular theme going.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The crocheted buttons of awsomeness

You get the idea with the cuff link fastening? If you look very closely or click for the enlarged version if you can bare the excitement you'll see a tiny bit of gold chain joining the two buttons. I like the green ones but not the brown. Going to whip up a few different shades of pink and see if that tickles my fancy.
Forgot to take my crochet project into the shop yesterday and had to do WORK work instead of pretend work. Must remember to keep emergency project handy to prevent this from happening again.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Button it

It's done, blocked and over with. Not blocked as in ironed but blocked as in sprayed with water, poked about a bit and left to dry. I do think this process relaxed the stitching a bit although it's still pretty textural. I did unravel the arms in the end and reduced the hook size but I'm still not convinced about the length. They may yet be ripped back.
This is a kind of wavy edge to edge cardi so I decided to make a cuff link arrangement using buttons joined together by a small piece of chain. A button will go through each protruding fan when the jacked was closed and will dangle cuff link- like from one side only when the jacket was open. I experimented with different, non-matching buttons.
I recently bought a beautiful John Rochas (diffusion line, not a catwalk ) crocheted cardi with, of course, crochet covered buttons. So for many, many hours I experimented with crocheted buttons. Here they are. Next step, cuff link manufacture.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Fat and happy

the string bag road tested well you'll be pleased hear. I know you must have been anxious waiting for word. Just wanted to put your mind at rest.
And no, even through I am a dervish with the crochet hook, I don't make my own pasty.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Baggsie I never have to make another one of these.

Camera in hand I asked my dearly beloved 'How do you make a string bag look interesting?' Put it over your head was his reply. I suspect this was meant to be a compliment. He must think I am interesting enough to add allure to a string bag. Then again, he did suggest I put a bag over my head. Hmmmmm, I'll ponder that one while I go the messages.

This is a very Scottish expression, to go the messages. It means to shop. So remember, if a Scottish person asks you to get them a message, the don't necessarily mean in a bottle. Although being a Scottish person, that's probably what they would mean. Cheers!

Tour de Cumbrae

Last week was summer here in Scotland. This week it's October again. I cycled round the circumference of our neighbouring island on Wednesday and again on Thursday. No particular reason, just recreation (read house work avoidance). I have a folding bike, very versatile and light but with tiny wheels and only three gears. This week I graduated to a large wheeled grown up bicycle with 28 gears. I used to go on these Susie Madron Cycling for Softies holidays in France and have walked up many a hill because I didn't know how to work the gears on my bike. For a smart broad I can be pretty dumb sometimes. I used to think people who cycled up hills had legs of iron and wills of steel. I feel quite cheated now, knowing all they were doing was reducing their ratio (increasing their ratio?). Haven't quite got the hang of the maths yet but I do know if you click these little levers on your handlebars you don't have to sweat and strain and curse anymore. Well, cursing optional.

Now I want lime green, skin tight lycra. I don' care if I only pass one old lady, a dog and two rabbits on my morning cycle, I just want it, okay?

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Yesterday I swapped a buddie some wire for a mystery bag of yarn that had been donated to her. Mainly acrylic and school jersey coloured double knitting which I'll pass on to a charity shop but there were several balls of Patons mohair and one little gem. No, not a lettuce. A ball of Bernat Klein yarn which is possibly older than I am. Feels like living Scottish history and just demands to be used. They both team interestingly with the NY yarn that was destined to become a scarf. So now it will be a longer and more interesting scarf - and what a talking point!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Knot a bag......oh yes it is!

Here's my Solomon's knot string bag in the making. I love this fabric. I would make a groovy scarf. Scrunch up cosy or fan out into a lace shawl, as required. A good buddie brought me some yumptious yarn for NY which is just the right colour for my winter coat. Who said crochet had to seasonally appropriate?

To complete the bag, in case you were wondering, you add a handle at either end and crochet up the sides. Look out Tesco, here I come! Get you double club card points ready.