Tag Archives: stash

From Peg Loom to Leg Room!

Well I think my yarn stash must be magic – it seems no matter how much of the stuff I use, I still have bags of wool hiding under my table!

This time I thought I ought to use up some of the chunky wool I have, so I decided to make 2 little mats to go in the back of the car.

 

My lovely Dad had made me a little peg loom a while ago, so when Harry went out the other night I sat myself down in front of the telly and set to.

 

 

Peg loom weaving is wonderfully easy to do, and very therapeutic.  A small loom like mine fits nicely on your lap and you work with the weaving away from you so that it covers your legs as you go (all will become clear!)

To start, you need to thread each of the pegs in the loom with a long piece of yarn.  I used a darning needle to get my yarn through the holes and made sure that the yarn was plenty longer than the size I wanted my finished mat to be (this is to allow extra yarn to tie off the ends and make tassels).  You’ll end up with 2 strands of yarn hanging down from each peg and these are known as the warp threads.

Once your loom is set up, pop it on your knee, make sure you have a bag of yarn and a cup of tea to hand, tune in to Poirot, and you’re ready for the off!

To start, you simply weave your first colour in front and behind each of the pegs in turn.  When you come to the end of a row, bring the yarn round the last peg and continue the pattern.  Keep going for as many rows as you want with this colour.  Once you’re ready to change, get to the end of a row, trim the old yarn (leaving a nice long end to weave in), and attach your new colour with a slip knot just like in the picture above.  You’re now ready for the off again, making sure that  you keep the ‘in front then behind’ pattern correct as you go.  For neatness always change colour at the same edge of your loom.

 

As you weave, your work will progress up to the top of the pegs.  Once you’ve got to this stage, it’s time to clear the pegs to allow you to continue.

 

 

You do this by carefully lifting up one peg at a time from its hole, pushing the weaving down the warp threads and replacing the empty peg back into its hole.

Your work will slide safely down the warp threads and you just have to push it back up again once all the pegs are back in their holes.  You’re reading to continue weaving.  Repeat this process until your work reaches the required length.

To finish your work, take it off the pegs but don’t push it back up this time.  Instead make sure you leave a good 6 inches of warp thread showing and then snip the warp close to the pegs to remove them.  You should now have your weaving with long warp threads on either end.

 

In order to secure your weaving, you’ll need to knot tassels at either end.  To do this you take one warp thread from one channel, and one from the channel next to it, then knot them together (see the two single threads in the photo)

 

Do this at both ends of the weaving, then trim the tassels to whatever length you like.

All that’s left to do then is to weave in the loose ends on the back of the mat.

 

Once I finished my first mat, I made another the same size and they now have pride of place in the rear footwells in my car 🙂

 

Like Hilda Ogden Loves Nosing

One of the things I’m loving about my 52 and Thrifty Too! project is that I’m finally getting to finish lots of WIPs that have lain for months (and sometimes years) in my stash.  This little embroidery started life four years ago on a holiday in the rather lovely village of Honeystreet, near Malborough in Wiltshire.

 

It’s a copy of one of Harry’s poems, and reads:

Like curtains love closing
Like models love posing
Like Hilda Ogden loves nosing
So do I love you!

I hand sewed the words freehand on a piece of linen cloth I had using 2 strands of embroidery thread.  The letters were worked in back stitch with french knots for the punctuation and dots on the i’s.  At the time I had no idea what I was going to do with the embroidery, but just enjoyed making it and added to it using what I had with me on holiday.

 

Once I’d finished the words, I folded over the edges of the white linen and centred it onto a piece of Liberty fabric.  I then hand sewed a piece of ribbon on top of the join.   Next I folded over the edges of the Liberty fabric which I then placed onto the teal background and sewed all the way around it with a decorative blanket stitch.  The last thing I did was to add a button to each of the four corners.

This was as far as I got on holiday, and the embroidery has been at the bottom of a basket since then!

When I rediscovered it recently I thought about turning it into a wall hanging, but in the end plumped for another cushion to add to my collection (or should that be obsession!)  After a rummage through my Liberty stash I realised I didn’t have enough of the same fabric to create the front and back of the cushion, so opted instead for 3 different patterns which you can see above.

To save a bit of money I was going to take the cushion pad out of one of the existing cushions on the sofa, but when I removed the cover the pad definitely looked the worse for wear, so instead I spent £1.75 of my budget to buy a new one.  The size of the pad was 45cm x 45cm so when I cut the fabric for the front I cut a 48cm x 48cm square (to allow for 1.5cm seams).   I also opted for another envelope back so cut out 2 rectangles 48cm x 34cm.  This would leave enough of an overlap to get the cushion pad in, but ensure both pieces would lie flat once the pad was safely inside.

 

 

Once I’d cut the fabric for the front of the cushion, I cut the rectangular teal fabric into a square shape, folded over the edges, centred it on the cushion front and used a decorative blanket stitch to attach it in place.

 

 

Now that my cushion front was complete, it was time to prepare the back.  To do this, I needed to hem the inside edges of both back pieces.  It was then simply a case of overlapping the back pieces and placing them snug against the front (right sides together) then sewing all the way around the square.

 

Once completed, I trimmed the seams and snipped the four corners before turning the cushion cover the right side out and pushing out the corners to make them as sharp as possible.

 

 

You can see the finished front and back of the cushion cover below:

 

And here’s what it looks like with the cushion pad inside and on the sofa!

 

Now You See It, Now You Don’t!

I must admit that I have a bit of a reputation in my family for occasionally losing things.  Personally I prefer to think of it as putting things in safe places but then forgetting where those safe places are until way after I need whatever it is I’m looking for!

Anyway, I seemed to have misplaced the rather lovely silver brooch that came with a grey knitted hat I bought from Accessorize a few years ago, so when I came across a pack of brooch pins, I thought I’d have a go at making a replacement.

Having just finished a couple of crochet flower workshops, I thought flowers would be perfect for my new brooch, so set about digging in my yarn stash.  In the end I decided on this gorgeous King Cole Curiosity Tweed leftover from a shawl I knitted a while ago.  The full cake had lots of colours in it, but I was left with 2 here, so the obvious choice was to make one flower in the dark petrol blue shade, and one in the paler blue.

Some of my favourite flower patterns are from the wonderful Attic 24 website which has really comprehensive instructions with plenty of photographs to help you on your way.  I opted for the pretty flowers that you can find in Lucy’s Jolly Chunky bag pattern (this was the bag that ended up being a bed for Coco the chihuahua back in Project 17!)

 

To end up with a 3d effect I wanted to lay one of the flowers on top of the other, so needed one to be smaller than the other.  To achieve this, I simply used different sized hooks – a 4mm for the large flower and a 3mm for the smaller one and they came out really well.

 

 

Once I had my 2 flowers, it was time to layer them up and find just the right button to sew on.  The button needs to be sewn through both flowers to secure them together.

 

 

When you’ve sewn the button on, there’s no need to cut the thread, just use it to sew on the brooch pin on the back, making sure it’s nice and secure.

And there you have it – one flower brooch all ready to pin on whatever you fancy.  Now I just need to remember where I put my hat!

 

 

 

 

I Want to Ride my Bicycle!

Well we’ve had a few promising days weather wise recently and it got me thinking about getting out on my bike again!  I then remembered that I’d made a start on some rather lovely bike decorations that I’d discovered in this gorgeous book by Shara Ballard and published by David&Charles

 

The project I particularly liked was the bike spoke decoration and after a bit of digging around in boxes I managed to find the pieces that I’d already crocheted using 4ply cotton in a variety of different colours. The book provides patterns for some rather lovely shapes and I just had to make sure I’d made enough of each of them to complete the design.

 

Once I was happy with all the pieces I’d crocheted, it was a case of laying them out on the table and checking how they would fit together.   It took a little experimenting to see what looked best where, but when I’d decided on the final positioning I had to sew them together – this was simply a case of a few stitches at the places where the pieces met.

 

To make the spoke decoration rigid and weather proof, it needed to be varnished, and acrylic  varnish was recommended.   I decided that I’d better do a proper job and bought some spray varnish which I thought would be ideal.  I turned a tray upside down and placed a piece of clingfilm over it.  I then laid the crocheted pieces on top before I started the varnishing – that way they wouldn’t all stick to the tray and I could turn them over once they were dry and do the other side.  I soon discovered however that perhaps the spray varnish wasn’t the best option for use with cotton as I needed multiple coats before it was anywhere near rigid.  In the end I reverted to my trusty pva/glue mixture which worked perfectly – typical!!

Once the spoke decoration was rigid and dry, it was time to fix it to the back wheel of my bike.  To do this, I needed some plastic cable ties.   These I got from Wickes for the princely sum of 99p!  They were much longer than I needed, but it was an easy job to trim the ends once I’d fastened the decoration to the wheel spokes.  I ended up using 8 ties in the end to make sure it was firmly in place.

All in all this was a really satisfying project.  It’s been great to complete another of my WIPS (Works In Progress!) and I’m just waiting for the next sunny day now to get back out again on the bike.  I may even have a go at a few more of the lovely projects in the book!

Valentine Buttons

After a recent framed proggy heart workshop, I was left with a white box frame just begging for some kind of picture to liven it up!   I’ve fancied having a try at a button picture for a while now so I got out my jars of buttons and set to work thinking about a design that might be suitable.

 

After a bit of a play around I decided on a H and a B (for my husband Harry and me) and had a go at sketching out a design.  I used greaseproof paper which I could fold in half then half again to make sure the initials would fit in exactly the right position.

 

 

So far so good, but when I traced the initials onto a piece of card and started to place buttons along the outline of the letters, I soon realised that it just wasn’t going to look good at all!  I loved the 2 heart buttons, but unfortunately even the smallest round buttons in my stash were just too big, so the end result just looked a bit  naff really!

 

So it was back to the drawing board ,,,

Looking at the frame again, and the actual amount of space available, I realised that a simple shape would look best and, with Valentine’s Day looming, a heart seemed the obvious choice.

On another sheet of greaseproof paper I drew a simple heart shape, making sure it fitted neatly inside the mount and, once I was happy with the shape and size, I traced it onto a piece of plain white card.

The next step was to experiment by simply placing a variety of buttons on the heart to see what it would look like before I started gluing them in place.   When this was done, I carefully slid all the buttons over to the left of my heart outline (as in the photo above on the right).  Then I put a bit of UHU glue on the lower part of the heart and gradually moved the buttons across one at a time, pressing them into place as I went.  The glue stayed wet for a while, so it was still possible to slide them around a bit if I wanted to change the design a little to get the best fit.

Once all the buttons were stuck down, I put a sheet of old cardboard on top, then a pile of heavy books on top of that, just to make sure they all stayed in place and also to flatten out the card as the glue had made it buckle slightly.  The next morning the heart was dry, nicely flat and all ready to sellotape to the back of the mount and pop into the frame!

And there you have it, one Valentine’s Button Picture!

 

 

A Paper Bracelet


Well, working my way through my stash has meant that I’ve gradually been able to organise my craft room a little better – although it’s still a long way from finished!  Sorting through a set of drawers I came across some A4 sheets of paper that I’d marbled a few years ago, but never done anything with. It took me a little while to decide what to do with them, but I thought I’d have a go at making some jewellery and I plumped for a bracelet.  I chose 2 designs with a similar colourway and found a sheet of handmade pale lemon paper too which I thought might go quite nicely so added that in as well.

There are lots of on-line tutorials explaining how to make paper beads, but it’s really, really easy to do.  First you decide on how wide you want each of your beads to be – I went for 2cm across.   Next you mark the back of each sheet of paper with cutting lines so that each strip is the desired width at the base and rises to a point at the top (see the photo).  So basically you’re looking to cut out long, thin triangles 🙂

 

 

Once you’ve cut out your strips, it’s time to turn them into beads.  To do this you need a thin knitting needle or skewer and you simply wrap the paper around as tightly as you can, starting from the wide base.  Try and keep the paper perpendicular to the needle so that you end up with a nicely balanced bead and you don’t get the paper veering off to one side of the bead.  Once you’ve wound most of the paper round, and you’re just left with the thin point, paste the point with some pva/water mixture and continue wrapping it around the needle until it’s all gone.  You can then transfer this bead onto another needle to keep it out of the way and let it dry.  Continue in this way, until you have as many beads as you need.  At this point you can paint them all with a couple of coats of pva/water just to strengthen them.

If you remember, as well as my two marbled sheets, I also chose a sheet of handmade paper, but when I started to work with it I found it ripped too easily, so in the end I opted to just use the 2 marbled sheets.  By all means have a good experiment with different types of paper.  These beads would be great made from old magazines or the dozens of take away leaflets that seem to be posted through the door every week!

Once your beads are all dry they’re ready to use.  I dug out some wooden beads to add to my bracelet and had a play around with positioning before I threaded a combination of paper and wooden beads onto a length of invisible thread.  You can have fun experimenting with different combinations before you commit yourself to the final design.

As soon as you’ve made your mind up, you need to fasten off the ends.  If you wanted to make things easier for yourself, you could avoid this stage by simply threading your beads through some elastic thread.  You would then just need to tie the ends and make sure the knot was hidden inside one of the beads.  However, if you want to be a little more sophisticated you will need some jewellery ‘findings’ (basically all the metal bits that enable you to finish off your piece and make it close and stay closed).

You’ll need a clasp, one or two small jump rings and two calottes.  The calottes are tiny shell like pieces that you open out.  There is a small hole in the centre of them, so the idea is that you slip the end of your thread through, tie a good few knots in the thread, then hide the knots in the clasp part of the calotte.  You can simply close the two sides together to hide the knot, or you can add a dab of glue before you close it up just to make sure.  You can then snip off any extra thread that’s poking out of the calotte.  Once you’ve put a calotte on each end, your bracelet is secure and the beads won’t fall off.

You now need to attach a jump ring to one end and a clasp to the other end, in order to be able to fasten your bracelet.  The jump rings have a small cut in them so that you can hold either side of the cut with a pair of pliers, move one pair forwards and the other backwards to open up a slight gap.  Once you have a little gap you can slide the clasp through, then take up your pliers and reverse the procedure to close up the gap thereby securing the clasp.

And here’s the finished result!

 

 

 

 

If you’re interested in having a go at any more jewellery projects, there’s a great introduction to jewellery making produced by Beads Unlimited, and I’d love to see photos of anything you make 🙂