Brownies visit Oxheys for weaving

Last week a group ( of Brownies from Preston visited my space at Oxheys Mills Studios.

After a look around the current exhibition from the BIPP (British Institute of Prefesseional Photographers), and a short introduction to the Studios, the girls and leaders had a tour of the building to see what our resident artists get up to during their working day.

We settled into my studio at two large tables loaded with a host of different textures and colours of yarn, and after a short demonstration everyone began to weave.

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Even the leaders got stuck in to the activity!

As some of the pieces made in chunkier yarn were finished, there was a short demonstration about how to finish the weaving and remove it from the card, then it was time to pack up and take the work home to finish.

It was a pleasure to have such interested, well-behaved girls at the studio making fantastic textile art – well done everyone!

I seem to have bought lots of wool

When the postman knocked this morning he handed me a respectable-sized parcel. Nothing mind-blowing, just a white bag taped up with an address sticker on.

It was my order from Wingham Wool Works, in Yorkshire – just a few different types of wool and some lightweight hand carders to try out with my new wheel. Remember I ordered this on Sunday night, about 10pm, and it’s only Tuesday morning. It beat my Amazon order.

As soon as I opened it, the beautiful smell of wool hit me.

I opened bag after bag – each with their own scent.

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Black Welsh – probably the most ‘sheepy’ smelling one, slightly musky, feeling slightly coarser than the others. A beautiful 80% dark chocolate colour.

Texel – Long staple length, so it should be an easy spin. Quite sheepy and a great vanilla colour.

Cotswolds – Feels hairier but softer than the texel, probably due to having less crimp. The least sheepy smelling one, apart from the flax.

Dyed Merino – I bought the 250g Brights mixed pack, to top up the merino I bought when I started spinning on the drop spindle. This is 21 micron and very, very soft and silky. Much softer than my last batch, which was probably more suitable for felting. The colours are just what I expected, maybe a bit pink-heavy, but a fair range. I’m very impressed.

Flax – bought to test my spinning skills and to try out something a bit different. It feels soft, looks hairy and smells like sunshine and grass, in a good way.

Although I was initially disappointed by the amount of fibre in the bag, I have left the bags open, and the contents is slowly expanding now it’s no longer squished. I seem to have bought a lot of wool. What a delicious adventure…

Custard-y Hairpin Goodness

I finished my hairpin shawl for the Hairpin-Along-Athon on Ravelry. I used Patons Misty in Custard, which is a lovely shade of yellow.

I thought it might be scratchy when I finished it, but after washing and blocking it, it’s actually very soft, fluffy, and smells slightly of coconut.

The most tedious part of this project was adding the edging, which sounded plain on paper but turned out ok in the end. The most nerve-racking was washing it ready to block. I’ve never blocked mohair before, and as it sat in the sink, looking like a drowned rat (albeit yellow), my heart sank. So many hours wasted! I was careful not to agitate the water too much, kept the temperature lukewarm, and just worked a little bit of hair conditioner through it with my fingers.

When I fished the drowned rat out, I squeezed it gently in a towel and allowed it to air dry on a bath towel. It’s much longer than I anticipated – about one and a quarter times my height, which is a little bit long, but it will make a good thick scarf, if I can wear it. It *is* yellow.

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Here it is, being elegantly modeled by my slightly overgrown hedge. The picture really doesn’t do it justice.

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7 Amazing Hairpin Lace Projects

If you are anything like me, when you reach the end of a crochet project you start wondering what you will make next, search your stash and look for patterns (as if we don’t have enough already!)

I fancy a bit of a change, and as the warmer weather gets here I wondered if I should do some more hairpin lace (also referred to as Maltese lace and hairpin crochet). The long loops make a fabulous fabric which drapes easily, especially when worked in a natural yarn like bamboo or cotton.

These are some of the best hairpin crochet designs I’ve seen, and I hope they will inspire you to try this technique.

  • Hairpin Cardi Wrap by Stitch Diva
    I made this a few years ago, and it became my favourite cardi for a while and the shape of this waterfall or cascading style cardigan is still fashionable. Use a yarn with drape for best effect. I was still learning, and chose a red bog-standard acrylic. It was wearable, but it wasn’t as great as it could have been. The pattern includes a knit version.
  • Bustle Skirt by Stitch Diva
    Steampunk crochet! I think this might be my next project. My wardrobe is largely based around jeans though, so I’m not sure what I could wear it with. Perhaps I could make it and just look at it every day?
  • Uncommon Wristlets by Stitch Diva
    These fingerless gloves are unusual. There are two lengths: wristlets (ending below the elbow) and opera (ends at the top of the arm). Again, there is a cabled knitted version available, which look much warmer, rather than the lacy hairpin lace.
  • Lei Necklaces by Artisan Threads
    These necklaces would be great for a beginner to learn hairpin lace, as they are basically one long strip. Once you can make a strip, you can join them in various ways to produce more advanced designs.
  • Haarukkapitsihuivi shawl from Novita
    I’m not really a shawl person, but this is a really lovely hairpin lace shawl. This pattern is written in Finnish, but some people seem to have had success by running it through translation software, such as Babelfish or Google Translate.
  • Hat and Scarf available from crochic
    A cosy looking hat and scarf set which is denser looking than the usual hairpin lace.
  • Wire Earrings
    This is walking on the wild side – obscure crochet technique with wire. 🙂 These look fun to make as a gift, or could be altered to use as a pendant.

First published at CarryYarnStitching

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Welcome to Happy Makes Art

Caroline has been teaching crochet and knitting since 2011, under the name Carry Yarn Stitching. This is rewarding work, but now it’s time for a new chapter.

Happy Makes is relevant for everyone – we can all improve our lives through being creative, and you don’t need to be an artist or be able to draw a straight line.

We aim to:

  • Share knowledge and preserve techniques
  • Celebrate the beauty and fun in everyday items and activities
  • Create, Experiment and Play, and encourage others to do the same
  • Improve our lives and help others to improve theirs through living creatively
  • Challenge the perceived gaps between craft, art and science; revel in their differences and similarities

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