Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Coasters and Flowers

Here are a few pictures of the finished coasters. I have had the opportunity to repeat the coaster creating with another group of children and this time I remembered to take a few pictures.

The colour combination in this one does not show up so well in this photo. The green yarn on the purple hessian looked quite good and was contrasted with a pale cream yarn as well.

I also played some more with dyeing my crocheted flowers and also dyeing some wool before making the flowers. It is addictive!!

Lessons learnt this time:

* do not put little flowers out in the hot sun to dry out. End result sunburnt, faded flowers that were re-dyed to try and make them look pretty. The vibrant colours turned very muted in the hot sun. Front and back photos were taken to try and show the difference. I still like the muted flowers but was very surprised at the rapid rate of fade.
* exploding dye in the microwave can make a mess that needs cleaning!
* plastic cling wrap is your saviour - it contains the mess.

The back view is much brighter and clearer in colour tones than the sun exposed front. I suppose I could argue that nature can look like this often so it is a good thing for my flowers to look like this.

The flowers look very different when they are crocheted with the pre-coloured wool. I made the wool multi-coloured and then crocheted the flowers. What do you think?

And last of all an arty shot of the a few blooms in a row! I love playing with my camera and feel incredibly grateful for having been given it as a Christmas present.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Long Time Between Posts

Oh dear, it has been another long time between posts!

Unfortunately other parts of life have been very hectic of late and there has been little crafting happening. We have been dealing with ill relatives, funerals, work and housework and once they have been dealt with there has been little time left. Blog reading has been a welcome luxury but blog posting has just seemed unattainable.

I did do some crafting - not for me - with a class of children that I was fortunate to spend some time with. I got them all making a hessian coaster for Mothers Day. A square of hessian with the edges frayed was the starting point. They then removed a thread further in to the square and re-stitched this with some contrasting wool. This was repeated two or three times on each side to create a threaded pattern. i then backed each coaster with felt.

Here is the first side with two of the re-stitched threads done and the next thread removed ready for the third row of stitching. It was important to remove each thread one at a time and to skip a thread of hessian before removing the next thread to stitch. This helped to keep everything from falling apart. Some of the children did have difficulty with the edges continuing to fray but most coped very well. Some chose to go over and under two threads, others three and some one and each coaster looked very different. Unfortunately I have not got any pictures of the finished coasters to share.

Adding the next thread. The felt was added once all the stitching was done and then all the loose yarn threads were trimmed back to the frayed edge. Leaving them a little longer stopped them from pulling out easily. I zigzagged the felt on but another way would be to fuse the felt to the hessian.

The children also decorated a plain brown paper bag as the wrapper for their gift.

For me there had been a little order placed with Amazon. Now I have to wait patiently (oh that is hard!!) for the books to arrive. One is the next book in the Cute Stuff series, the other is the Softies kit and the third is one about making books. I read about the making book one here, borrowed it from the library and then decided I needed my own copy. Thanks so much to Melissa for posting about it.

In other the news - the apron got used very successfully at our mother/daughter adult education class and my daughter came home with some very nice recipes to add to her collection. My apron has not been made as life intervened but I had an old one that I could take.

(Sign off name courtesy of a link from this blog.)

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Finished Flowers

Thought that it was about time I got around to posting the pictures of the finished crocheted flowers that I posted about earlier.

I was very pleased with the end result. The flowers were crocheted out of some cream wool and then I dyed them using some lace dyes and some ink. The ink gave some very vivid colours and I will be interested to see how colour fast they will be. When I dyed them I rinsed them until the water ran clear, added some more dye for highlights, zapped them again in the microwave and then rinsed them again before leaving them to dry.

The blue and red dyes combined to create some very nice purple tones.

The last batch were very orange and I liked how bright they looked. What do you think?

For the centres I dyed some strands of wool yellow and then stitched lots of French Knots. I like how these contrast with the texture of the crochet.

Each flower was then put onto a coilless safety pin so that it could be pinned to a place card. That leads to a quick explanation of why I was experimenting with these to start with. I was asked to do some place cards by my MIL for a birthday celebration she was having and she was not looking for anything in particular so that gave me free reign to try something new and dyeing wool is something I had not tried before. The flowers were something small to practise on.

I was pretty pleased with the result and will have some more fun soon making some more flowers, dyeing them and tucking them away for later use. I was also pleased to get in some practise with French Knots - something that I often avoided stitching. Repeated practise sure helps to perfect the technique!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

In Memory Of.....

Mostly this blog is just here for my daughter and I to share the crafty things we get involved with but today is a little different. On Monday 31st March my wonderful grandfather departed this world. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word and he will be thought of with affection for a very long time! This week will be one of remembering for all our family - there are so many memories to share.

He was a creative man himself. He worked with metal making all sorts of wonderful things that will now be treasured by his children and grandchildren. He was the one who encouraged me to learn to crochet and it is still a craft I love. I remember using wool to make chains with my fingers - fingerknitting - as a young girl and it was my grandfather who told me that I could do the same thing with a crochet hook and that is when I started to teach myself to crochet with a little guidance from my Mum. Mum is a right hander and I am a Leftie! I will be forever grateful for that little hint that lead me to a craft that I have enjoyed so much.