I have finally managed to re-wallpaper my background board, it was looking a bit ratty. I had to wait until the weather got better- wet weather and wallpapering don’t mix very well. I used the same wallpaper, so no change there.
The first things I photographed using it were these neutral chunky mini-blankets – I also moved where I take photographs, so hopefully the lighting will be better. These came out well, I had to adjust the white balance and exposure a little, but I usually do. These were knit using 15mm needles and super-chunky yarn. It felt like knitting with broom sticks and rope, after the 4mm needles and fingering yarn I’ve been knitting shawls with!
There are 3 colours – cream, grey and light brown. They are perfect for layering under a newborn or popping under a sitter. These are great photography props! Each one is available in my Etsy Shop. Which is your favourite colour? I think mine’s the grey…
Another guest blog post – the first in a short series featuring UK Etsy Shops.
This first shop is Hopetheblackdog and is owned by (or is it the shop that owns the person?) Amy Alice Donoghue from Nottingham. She’s opted to answer a few questions about her and her etsy shop. (Click on the captions to see the item’s listing).
Hi! I’m Amy, 26, from hope the black dog, and I live in Nottingham with my fiancé and two pet rats called Marie and Rosa. I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder and I love teaching myself new crafts. Winston Churchill used to call his mental illness “a black dog” when he was suffering with depression and bipolar disorder. I wanted to take this imagery and make it more positive, so I took that black dog and I named it hope! I find a lot of inspiration from quotes, Instagram, Pinterest…
Blocking, what’s blocking, I can hear some of you ask. Especially if you have visited to look at my recipes…. Blocking is magic. It transforms a crumpled up a used tissue-looking piece of knitting or crochet into a fabulous piece of lace, cabling, plain stocking stitch hat/scarf/cowl/sweater/whatever that no one would be embarrassed to wear.
Sometimes the transformation is subtle, sometimes it looks like it’s not the same piece at all. There are whole threads on Ravelry.com about blocking, how-to do it and the results in photos… lots of photos….
This is an example of crochet. Not my crochet, I got this vintage crocheted table runner off ebay. It’s original measurements were 14″ x 22″. I think it was also ‘tea-dyed’ as when I washed it, a lot of colour came off and there are now some paler patches. I wonder if it was white, but was dyed after a tea-spilling accident?
When I washed it, I put it in a bowl of body temperature water, with a tiny bit of Eucalan, a non-rinse hand detergent. Then I swished it around a bit and left it in the water to soak and relax the fibres. When I got back to it a couple of hours later (usually I soak for 20 minutes) the water was tea-coloured and the crochet runner was lighter – not a lot but noticeably. I squished as much of the water out as I could then rolled it up in a towel and squeezed it again. Then I laid it out on my blocking mats (I have to get some that don’t have holes!) and began pinning out the middle 8 motifs.
This photo shows 7 of 8 center motifs pinned out. I started pinning like a clock face at 12,3,6 and 9 then pinned in between pulling the motif into as circular a shape as it would go. Then I moved onto the next one. There are about 20 pins for each motif.
This shows one corner pinned and stretched out. I pinned all 4 corners first, then started pinning from each corner towards the middle of each edge. I found that the middles would stretch more than the corners so tried to pull out the middles enough, but not so much I ended up with a piece with bowed out edges. You can see how much the crochet has opened up!
This is just a close-up of one corner.
The piece completely pinned out. I actually had to go out and buy more pins as I ran out even before I finished the center.
It stretched out to 17″ x 27″ and I suspect I could have stretched it out more. There are some ends of threads I’ll trim that have popped out because of the blocking, I don’t think it had ever been blocked. I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll do with it, I might sell it as is, for a photo prop layer, or I might sew it onto a little velvet blanket for a mini-bed prop…
I get asked to make all sorts of things. Some I can make, some I won’t make (copyright infringing items, mostly) and some I don’t know how to make but can figure out.
This comes into the last category. How do you get 2 crocheted boobs attached to a piece of fleece?
I started off making the boobs. I altered my pattern to make them wider and flatter than the other boobs I make. I then cut out a piece of fleece and folded it in half and stitched it together.
Then I pinned the boobs onto each end and managed to sew them on with my sewing machine. (My machine rocks!) Here are a couple of photos, one on the machine and one all done, I haven’t decided if I’ll list it or not…….
I’ve had this lace stole pattern knit up in a bamboo worsted weight yarn for several years, and the people who have bought them all love them – they are soft, squishy and warm. A bonus is that as they are grey, they go with almost anything.
I had a request from a bride in the US for 4 of them, but the yarn is discontinued, as I’ve posted before, and I don’t have enough left for 4. So I looked for another grey yarn, and found 2. One was an alpaca/merino blend and the other a wool/acrylic blend. The alpaca/merino was much thinner than the wool/acrylic, but I held it double and knitted up a small sample of each yarn in the pattern then took photos for my buyer-to-be. She picked one and I gave her a quote, with courier shipping and she bought them.
It took me about 6 weeks to knit them – the yarn is thinner than the old yarn, but there is more in the skeins, so the pattern got adjusted slightly to make sure it was as wide as she wanted them to be.
These stoles are approx. 19″ wide and 84″ long – considerably longer than the old stole, but as they are finer, they are the same weight and don’t feel too long when you wear one.
The buyer loved them and couldn’t wait to give them to her bridesmaids! I love it when I get an email from a happy buyer!
She wrote: “I got the Shawls today, they’re lovely!!! I love them & cant wait to give them as a gift to my bridesmaids! Thank you so much for all of you help.
I’ll have to try and remember to send you a picture from our wedding this September with the girls wearing them :-)”
Here they are, and the new stole will be in my Etsy Shop shortly!
I found a rainbow yarn online recently and bought some to knit up for mini-blankets. It’s a wool blend yarn, from the burn tests I did, and it knits up as a fingering weight yarn. There were 2 colourways, so I bought both. Neither are a ‘ROYGBIV’ rainbow yarn; the colours mostly knit up that way, but not always, as you can see from the photos. The colours are very blended; there’s no way I could cut and split the yarn so it kept to the traditional rainbow line-up. I still can’t decide which one I like better!
I knit the blankets on my knitting machine, then washed and blocked them. There isn’t a lot of roll because I knit them using every other row, which gave enough yarn to adjust the tension so that they can lie flatter. These are perfect for any newborn photo shoots, not just for rainbow babies!
I offer them in my Etsy Shop with and without a cream wool fluff; which would you choose? You can find the bright rainbow mini-blanket here and the rainbow mini-blanket here.
I know there are thousands of oatmeal raisin cookie recipes out there, but this is the one my son and I make – and he does most of the work! LOL
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1 cup (250g) butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins or sultanas
Preheat the oven to 160’C (350’F). Cream the butter and sugar together (we used an electric mixer). Then add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, mixing in between until the mix is fluffy. Add all the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.
Using dessert spoons, scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet, they do spread out, so give them room. Bake for 8-12 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Take off the sheet and place on a cake rack to cool. Try not to eat the whole tray at once. Makes about 4 dozen smallish cookies.
The dough will keep well in the fridge for about a week – we cook a few every day straight from the fridge, and just press the dough down a little before putting in the oven.
You can add chocolate chips, cocoa, more spices, wholewheat flour, meusli instead of the oatmeal… what’s your favourite combo?
I recently knitted my first lace shawlette – well, it’s really a lace and cable shawlette. I used an Ice Yarns Cashmere Silk DK weight yarn (sorry, it’s discontinued) in a lovely navy. It was gorgeously soft and easy to work with – but some of the colour did come out when I washed it – both times.
I actually knitted this twice as the first time, the cast on row was too tight to block properly, while the cast off was too loose. The 2nd time they were more evenly knitted and it blocked out much better.
I haven’t yet decided whether I’m going to keep it or sell it, but I’ll let you know! The pattern is well-written and easy to follow, I used the chart to knit the cable & lace section. I will definitely make this one again!
I recently sent out 5 keepsake cushions made from old T-shirts for a client. They were pretty ratty and well-worn and made quite large ones – 3 -24″ and 2 – 22″ keepsake cushions.
I sent out the cushions in 3 shipments, due to the size of the cushions, and the combined weight. On last Monday, I sent the last 2 out. I send all of them by Special Delivery or by Courier if they are over 3KG (which they may very well be by the time I box them up).
On Wednesday, I heard a knock on the door about 10AM. It was a delivery driver with a bouquet of flowers, addressed to me. When I opened the card, it was from my client! She thanked me for the keepsake cushions on behalf of her family. It was a lovely bouquet of peach roses, hot pink gerberas, nigellas, and…
This is a guest blog post from Heather Barber from Moosethemint on Etsy. She offers quirky eco-friendly gifts she makes from upcycled materials. Her guest blog post today is a Cord Necklace Tutorial. She recently made one for me for my ill-fated attempts at buying a blue agate pendant….
Cord Necklace Tutorial
1. Gather your tools – 2 set of pliers, scissors, ruler. Tools
2. And your equipment – wax coated cotton cord, 2 jump rings, 2 cord ends, 1 lobster
clasp and whatever you are going to put on the cord – I’m using a music pendant.
Cord and findings
3. There are a variety of different kinds of cord ends, often called bead caps, and
these ones have 2 fold over ends like a tri-fold wallet.
4. Cut the cord to a suitable length, I normally go for 18 inches. The cord is easy to cut with…