Serious about Naturally Dyeing | WIP {Knitting}

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


This is the second skein that I dyed naturally (and using another kit from SpinCityUK). The result is totally unexpected - in a very pleasant way, of course. I thought it was going to be dark (very dark) - and well no, there are shades of darker green of course, but the overall effect is quite soft and light green. 

In fact I left the dyeing process much longer this time than the last (I posted about the result here), but once I saw the actual colour, I knew exactly what I wanted to make out of it, and I started as soon as the yarn was dry - mittens using this pattern, it is simple but has a bit of texture to it - also it is quite a versatile pattern. And it should be a quick project. 




Compared to the previous kit I bought, the yarn is much thicker - you don't get to choose the yarn in the kit, so that is already a bit of a surprise of course. 

I will naturally dye more yarn (on a one skein scale still), and not use a kit anymore and have a bit more control over the process and elements. The kits were a great start though - and I cannot recommend them enough. 

So just you can see by what I mean by the unexpected, here is a picture of the dyeing jar. You may notice that instead of mixing the dyeing stuff with the yarn, I made some muslin bags filled with the dye stuffs. I am not sure whether this is why the colour is less saturated, but again looking at the jar the outcome was unexpected. 



Where is the green?? Where has the dark colour gone? A bit more work needs to be done - in the meantime I shall get on with some knitting and look forward to new mittens. 

Linking up to Ginny's today

Autumn Leaves | A finish {Knitting}

Saturday, 25 October 2014


If you follow me on IG you know that I actually finished Slable  a week ago - and that the pictures were taken on our weekend away in Norfolk (the last one as a family of 3!). It was all scheduled that way - I was hoping to snap some autumnal scenes as well as the beanie hat - because that colour kept reminding me of Autumn leaves. Not that I knew what to expect when I started with the natural dyeing kit - and in fact I had no idea what the result would look like, but it totally exceeded my expectations. 



I did not change anything to the beanie hat pattern - this is my second beanie hat from Twisted Woolly Toppers (I made Acorn for Baby MiH - one of my favourites). I wanted something with texture yet simple that would show off the yarn colour. The combination of moss stitch and cables certainly did that. I think a real revelation of the pattern was the cast on method used - the alternative cable cast on. Woolly Wormhead did a great tutorial here, so you could use it for your future beanie hats too (it may work better for thinner yarn though). 




Pattern: Slable by Woolly Wormhead (available here)
Yarn: Hand dyed fingering weight yarn (naturally dyed in fact) - by me. 
I talked about the kit I used here
Needles: as recommended by the pattern
Size: Size 2
Modifications: None
Result: I love how it shows the variegated yarn and also the intricate cable work. 
It is slouchier - slouchier than I expected. 




As you can see it is really hard to capture the actual colour of the yarn - but hopefully between the leaves and mushrooms and the different snaps - you get the general idea. 

All I can say is that if you are thinking of trying natural dyeing - do it, I don't think you will regret it. I like it so much that in fact I have another yarn being dyed as we speak. I have not found a project for it yet, so I am leaving it to be. 

Cross-stitching patterns | Christmas 2014

Friday, 24 October 2014


I finished two patterns for my first Christmas ornaments and I have now cut the burlap to size - which looks a bit tidier. I have not chosen the backing fabric yet nor how I will hang them, but at least I have an idea of size (especially if I start going for another pattern). 



Both patterns were cross-stitched on burlap fabric (I have a big piece of fabric in my stash, but you can try Ebay) - I think the red thread is my favourite. I used 3 strands of thread in each case - but the red looks fuller somehow. Or I may be biased towards that pattern - it is definitely my favourite out of the two. 

I am not a cross-stitched expert and I have not got any software to transcribe the design onto an electronic pattern sheet, but I reckon you should be able to work it out from the pictures (and do a hand-written pattern as I tend to do). However, if you know any free pattern making software - let me know, and I will be happy to transcribe everything! 


I am really happy with my progress - at this stage I am not sure whether to add another pattern and another thread to my ornaments - or just keep it at two colours, two patterns... I went through my Embroidery Pinterest Board again and I saw so many patterns from last year that I like that I may just have to add another pattern

Feeling the pressure | WIP {knitting}

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

This week is my last week at work, and more importantly my last week commuting to work - I cannot actually believe that as from Thursday night, this will be it, but I am delighted about it, commuting has really taken its toll on me. So much so, I was worried I was going to give birth on my way home last week . Not ideal when you are an hour away from your hospital and your husband, who happens to work near said hospital. Thankfully we are all fine. But I am definitely feeling the pressure - and want to finish the baby blanket asap. If I have the hand knitted blanket, all will be fine and will go smoothly (in my head). 



I have made progress - a whole repeat of progress to be precise. I am getting the hang of the pattern, even though I still need the paper next to me at all times, but it makes more sense. By the third - and last - repeat I am sure I will know it by heart. 

It is not a hard pattern, just a lot of cable and yarn over work, and you need to be careful (no late knitting for me!) - this makes a beautiful effect of course. I am in love with this pattern, really. 


I think the colour of the yarn is probably as close to the real thing as can be - and really shows off the pattern. I am always worried that the yarn colour will overwhelm the pattern - but it does not (totally worth that customs charge I had to pay, oh I hate customs charge). 

Pattern: The Hourglass Throw by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Swans Islands Yarn organic Merino and Alpaca blend yarn, naturally dyed
Needles: 5.5mm
Modifications: None - do not have the brain for it. But I reckon that it would make a great jumper pattern if someone wanted to take on the challenge!



I believe we could see a finish soon - cannot wait to block this blanket! There is already a finish at MiH, Slable is finished and has been photographed - but more on this later this week... 

As for the reading, I am finishing Inferno by Dan Brown. It is not the Da Vinci Code but it is surprisingly fun to read, and I do love all the additions of historic details about Florence and Venice. 

Will be joining others over at Ginny's today. 

You can also see my choice of baby blanket patterns here, if you are interested. 

Serial Pompom Maker | Maker versus Cardboard {Review}

Sunday, 19 October 2014


I love pompoms, but I must admit I dislike making them. It is quite time-consuming and I am always worried about the thickness of them - as in them not being thick enough. I love really chunky ones (which eat yarn).  This was until I (finally) bought some pompom maker.

I have known about those for a bit of time, but never bought one. I was really worried that the pompom would not be thick enough and that it would not actually make me save any time. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I was so wrong... 


Those makers (I have 4 because you have to buy them by two and the two sizes I wanted came into different packs, of course!) are my pompom saviour - the things that are going to make sure I will be able to make a pompom garland without giving up after 2 pompoms. 


I will probably never use the cardboard technique ever again, except for making oversized ones. But I will definitely use my pompom makers a lot. If you have not bought it, but are considering it - do it now! I was not paid to say this, I bought all 4 with my money.. 

Slow Start | Christmas 2014

Friday, 17 October 2014



I made a very slow start on Christmas decorations - well singular decoration in fact. I will be using this template (you can find more of my Christmas embroidery inspiration here) on burlap with cream DMC thread. I am using 3 strands at the same time to make it stand out a bit on the burlap - I may move to red thread next. 

I do love working on Christmas stuff though. 

The Peaceful Lion | Le Challenge

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Every month le challenge deadline arrives, and I am wondering whether I will finish what I intended to make - texting Lu in-between for some moral support. This month's theme was 'mix' and I knew I wanted to make something that would be a mix of fabrics - with hints of vintage. I knew quite quickly that it would a cushion for Little Baby MiH, but that was about it - and then I fell in love with this picture and I just had to make it happen (how did I survive before Pinterest, who knows?). 

I did not have the background  fabric in my stash - but found this great organic herringbone fabric at Ray Stitch (they have a great range of organic fabrics). It is quite sturdy which is great for home dec' projects. I had the felt - probably intended for a Christmas project many years ago, and the vintage fabric is from the vintage sheet swap organised by Mary
All set in the Moses basket, and yes the bumper basket is out again
The project was easy to put together once I finished making the template. I never make templates - I just get on with it usually and hope for the best (well to be fair I follow a lot of patterns). But this time I spent some time trying to create a picture and played a bit with the colour scheme. I made the template not knowing what I actually had in my stash, but the colours/fabrics I found are nearly the same one as the ones I had on my original template. 

All the pieces were ironed on the background fabric thanks to the wonders of fusible web - which makes unfortunately the embroidery step just that bit harder - and I really missed having a thimble handy. I drew the eyes and the mouth and just went for it with some black thread. 



I don't have any great pictures of the back - but I used the herringbone fabric and added a zip (thought that it might be wise to be able to wash if needs me). 



I love it despite not being perfect. The face could be a bit smaller, I may have been over-enthusiastic with the embroidery of the nose, and I am really not sure about my French knots technique. But overall the cushion is what I imagined it to be - it is a great mix of vintage and modern fabrics. It is also quite different from high street ones, and makes me happy every time. 

For all the other Le challenge entries, go here. If you enter a recently completed project that fits with the theme 'mix' - and let's face it this is quite easy - you could have a chance of winning a $25 Fat Quarter Shop gift certificate. Please remember to include the button or a link to Le Challenge in your blog post or Flickr description and use the hashtag #lechallenge if you're linking up from Instagram.