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Morning Echo Cardigan

29 May

I finished knitting this cardigan some time ago (last November to be precise… just in time to wear to the first Nottingham yarn expo (which was rather lovely – I got to go with many of the Knit in Notts, knit group members, which for several of them, their first knitting show).

morning echo cardigan - photos - nettynot

I was missing a navy cardigan from my wardrobe after loosing one a while ago (I accidentally left it on the tram). I wanted something fairly simple but with a little interest so I could wear it with lots of different things and not get bored knitting it. After an advanced Rav search (v-neck, raglan sleeves, dk, 1 colour) I chose Morning Echo by sweet paprika designs. It’s lovely lace edge detail and v neck shaping was perfect for my criteria. Knitted from the bottom up in the round, it was a nice quick start to the pattern. However when I got to the sleeves I decided to veer off the pattern path.

morning echo cardigan - blocking - nettynot

I much prefer to knit most things in the round and in one piece, it makes it easier to try on as you knit and less sewing up, however the sleeves for morning echo are knitted flat and then sewn in. I decided to do a provisional cast on for each sleeve before starting the raglan shaping in the body so that I could knit the whole top of the cardigan in one piece. I worked out how many dec there would have been on the edges of each piece and spread incorporated that in my re-design of the top. I ended up adding a few more rows into sleeve tops, I think we’re supposed to me more stretched, but I don’t think my alterations were have turned out too badly and the cardigan fits well, I’m really not much of a fan of sewing up awkward seams.

morning echo cardigan flat - nettynot

Other adjustments I made were knitting the hips a size larger and then adding more decreases so that I ended up with the right number of stitches for the second size at the waist, this worked well and the cardigan flares out over my wider hips and I now have a cardigan that fits my shoulder, bust & hips all at the same time which it rather wonderful!

Shoulder morning echo - Nettynot

I really liked the way the edging was incorporated up the sides and around the next band, however I really don’t like vague instructions in patterns, to finish the neck band the pattern states to knit until “…reaches centre back of neck when stretched…” stretched a bit? Stretched a lot…I don’t know? I realise why it’s been written this way, it will be different for each size and possibly vary with neck sizes/shapes, but a little guidance at least would have been appreciated. I knitted, grafted, sewed into place then unpicked, ripped back a bit, re-graphed, re-sewed 3 times in total, it hibernated for a week or so too as I’d found it so frustrating. I knitted a size 2 at the top and made each side of the neck band 17.5cm before graphing together, in the end.

Despite my frustrations, I did finish it and had a lot of wear out of it and I’m sure I’ll get s lot more wear too.

morning echo cardigan - button band - nettynot

Yarn was Patons diploma gold dk originally bought from my lys Knit Nottingham, though it has since been discontinued by the the shop.

Nettynot in Morning Echo cardigan

I really need to work on my posing, I usually look too serious, but mostly too awkward (I’m always envious of instaesque photos people post of casually not looking at the camera, yet looking cool & perfectly showing off their handmade garment – I look so unnatural in my poses)!

More cardigan details on Ravelry (nettynot).

Thanks for reading

Steph

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Mosaics : a new challenge

10 Feb

I’ve always liked mosaics, the more inventive and colourful the better. I dream of having loads of colourful mosaics in my garden and took a lot of inspiration from my trip to Barcelona back in October.

My trip also made me just get on a book a workshop I had been pondering doing for some time, so the same day I got back from my holiday I booked a workshop with Lily Mosaics & attended a day later!

It was a lovely relaxed day, I loved picking out colours and seeing all the different mosaic bits n bobs on offer to work with. I went with the intention of making a small plaque of an owl/bird, that I might have hung in my bathroom, but then on a whim started creating a bold geometric design on a small tray.

It is quite a time consuming activity, (well it is when you do something far from simple as a beginner), I found it very relaxing cutting and playing around with different pieces. I got most of my larger motifs done in the workshop and then took a few spare bits to continue at home. I had already acquired several mosaic tiles myself and I ended up incorporating several of these into my patterns at home, as my design evolved.

I had originally planned to do a grey background, however a went for a lighter white, as I thought it’d make the colourful tiles standout more and match the already white tray.

I rather like my finish tray and found the grouting less arduous than I expected, though some of the really tiny pieces I used were a pain in the bum (lesson learnt).


mosaic tray - nettynot blog

mosaic tray close up - nettynot blog

I have since covered a simple picture frame, I’m not a huge fan of the finished result, I didn’t think enough about the edge where the tiles meet, but it looks alright in situ and still an improvement on the boring pine (fortunately I’m not too much of a perfectionist)!

I also made a set of Rennie Macintosh inspired coasters for part of my parents Christmas present. I really enjoyed making them. It was one of those rare occasions where the idea in my head worked out exactly as I imagined!

macintosh ungrouted - nettynot blog
macintosh grouted coasters - nettynot blog
The only thing I’ve not figured out, is what’s the best way to seal them, I didn’t want to make the lovely matte tiles shiny, but equally don’t want them to end up tea stained. I gifted them as they are, but keep meaning to do further research, does anyone what any suggestions?

 

I’m eager to do more now & started collecting ideas on a mosaic & garden board on Pinterest. Just need some warmer drier weather now.

Thanks for reading!

Procraftination

12 Dec

I like all my crafty pursuits to have a purpose, I like to have some thing tangible to show for the time spent creating something, which is one of many reasons why I love knitting. I can appreciate why others colour-in or scrapbook for relaxation, but I’ve always felt it’s not my cup of tea.

That said, many years ago when I went on the Amy Butler colour workshop at the festival of quilts (bought as a 30th birthday gift by my wonderful friends). I found it fascinating to see how her themes develop and they mostly start off with a trip, photos and then collages, from which she picks out colours, which then inform the pallet for her new range. I found her talk inspiring and actually really enjoyed making the collage we created on the day (something that has no real practical use). I have actually framed it and hung it in my spare room (which doubles as my sewing room).

When I was feeling a little uninspired recently, I’ve had a tea leaf of an idea brewing away in brain for a little while and sometimes when I have a vision for something I’m quite apprehensive to get it started in case in turns out terribly. However I found collating a few things, ripped out of old magazines and creating a collage helped with the idea brew further and I’m feeling more confident to see it through.

My collage just focused entirely on colour, I found it very therapeutic and I now have a great colour palette of my own to inform my projects.

This was very therapeutic to do, helped with my creative though processes, and I cleared out a loaf of old magazines too (a whole shelf’s worth)!

New Year & Hedgehog Mitts

26 Jan

I haven’t blogged for a while, however I’m not feeling guilty about it or beating myself up for not keeping up with my ideal 1 blog post a month. I have been busy crafting; knitting, needle felting, sewing and much more. I have just been spending more time doing than documenting/reflecting in blog posts. I have been  posting the occasional Instagram WIP photos when I’m busy making and doing, still acts as a good reminder as what I’ve accomplished. That said there are finished project I do really want to share and I do still an enjoy blogging.

collage-of-recent-makes-nettynot-blog
I got quite a bit of knitting done in 2016 (unlike 2015 which I wrote about here). I have had a different approach to knitting this year. I’ve only had one larger project on the go at a time, and knitted several smaller things in between and along side. Sometimes for practical reasons, like not wanted to take a whole garment to knit club or just getting inspired by something.

stranded-knits-by-ann-kingstone-nettynot-blog

I started my hedgehog mitts after a spark of inspiration having treated myself to Ann Kingstone’s “Stranded Knits” book at Yarndale back in September. I fell in love with the Hedgerow Cardigan when saw the book at the first Yarndale but thought I’d never get around to knitting something that complicated, but I’m started to think it’s achievable (eek) it is stunning (though it  might end up being a 2018 project – once I’ve collected another yarn – so many colours) – isn’t it beautiful?!

 
stranded-knits-hedgerow-cardigan-nettynot-blog

But for now, needing new mitts and loving the fairisle Pleiades Mitts in stranded knits, I thought knit them as a good pause mid Puffin Sweater, however I decided to change the motif slightly.

pleiades-mitts-nettynot-blog

Taking the same hedgehogs design from my adapted paper dolls jumper and playing with different stripes. I also managed to knit these mitts using yarn entirely from my stash – always a bonus, and then I can feel less guilty for buying more yarn!

hedgehog-planning-nettynot-blog

hedgehog-mitts-nettynot-blog

I completed these back in October and I have been wearing them loads, which you can tell from the slight pilling that’s already occurred – ah well, you can be too precious about these things – they are very woolly & warm and there’s not much point in knotting things you aren’t going to wear.

hedgehog-mitt-details-nettynot-blog

Macrame Bracelet

3 Jun

A little while ago a had an experiment with Macramé which I mentioned in this previous blog post. I’d made a simple knotted bracelet introducing different sized beads. My long term intention was to make a friend a bracelet for her birthday, after she’d commented on a macramé bracelet we’d seen at a show earlier this year. My macramé skills left a little to be desired, mainly down to a tension issue, hence needing  a practice project.
Macrame Bracelet - Nettynot BlogI have worn this bracelet quite a few times, but knew I needed to make the gift a bit more impressive. To pinterest I went in search of a little inspiration.

Macrame Inspiration - Brooch on Pinterest

I came across this picture of a brooch which triggered an idea in my mind. I’d already gathered and bought some beads and S-Lon cord for what I had in mind. To be honest, other than a bit of a practice and looking for inspiration, until I start making something I truly don’t know how things will turn out. Sometimes they work as I imagined and other times it’s a disaster – but a good way to learn.

I got started and played around with a few different bead combinations and then got stuck in. The knotting for this project it relatively simple, using forward and backward knots. Macramé is definitely made easier using a Macramé board and pins.

Macrame Board - Nettynot BlogMacrame bracelet growing - Nettynot Blog

I made the bracelet over a few evenings, I found it quite therapeutic and good to have a slight change from all the recent knitting.
Turquoise Macrame bracelet - Nettynot BlogHere’s the finished article, I’m really happy with how it turned out, and not too dissimilar to what I had imagined. I also love the texture that’s created on the back of the work.
Turquoise Macrame bracelet back - Nettynot BlogI made a few minor mistakes, which are hard to identify and I didn’t even notice until the very end, as they didn’t effect the pattern on the front I decided not to worry about them, it just makes it more unique!
Turquoise Macrame bracelet  front - Nettynot BlogFinding ways to start and finish macramé neatly is the biggest challenge, though using these little triangular connectors I thought made a nice feature. To finish the end of the bracelet I knotted the pairs of threads together; looping them though the connector creating a larks head knot.
Turquoise Macrame bracelet - knotted end - Nettynot BlogTo secure all the knots and ensure they wouldn’t come undone I used some hypo cement on each knot. I chose to add a toggle bar for the clasp, I think they look so much better than a trigger clasp (my usual go to clasp), and I find them much easier to do up single-handed.
Turquoise Macrame bracelet - toggle clasp - Nettynot BlogI have now given the finished bracelet to my friend for her birthday and it seemed to go down very well, even if a few extra jump ring are needed to prevent the loss of blood flow to her hand, but these things are easy to adjust.

Thanks for reading!

Silver Art Clay Day

30 Apr

Since discovering that I teach Silver Art Clay workshops I’ve been asked by a couple of friends whether I’d show them how to make something. I casually said “Yer sure…” then a few more friends asked and so a date was set! I hired the workshop space at The Bead Shop and last Sunday got set up to show everyone.

I feel here I should tell you what Art Clay actually is; Silver Art Clay is mouldable clay make out of recycled pure silver, water and an organic binder. You can shape and manipulate the clay however you like and once it’s fired (the binder burns off and the water evaporates) you are left with pure silver – magical really! It’s popularity increased hugely after it was featured on Kirstie Allsopp‘s “Kirstie’s Homemade Home” series several years ago, although I seem to remember Kirstie’s items weren’t overly successful, she and many others watching, were blown away by this wonderful material.

Our Art Clay Day; I did a quick demo to begin, then found out what everyone wanted to make, guided them in the right direction and off they all went.

Everyone busy - Nettynot BlogI had to stop myself going into full on teaching mode, as it was a relaxed craftanoon and I was giving everyone free rein, after all we have a small picnic set up too and I was technically NOT at work –  there’s always more to do than I anticipate, with “does this look alright”, drilling holes and antiquing finished pendants, it all got a little busy towards the end. But it was ALL worth it! I find it immensely satisfying to teach someone a new skill and help them to create a unique piece of jewellery from scratch and it’s even better when you’re showing your friends! (sorry for the cheese – but it is true!)

No cheese here though, probably the only thing we didn’t have…mmm.
Picnic - Nettynot blogHere’s some pieces in progress, Margaret brought along a collection of vintage sugar craft cutters which make great pendant shapes. Rebecka took inspiration from her background in textiles and started weaving clay together and Jem went free form, creating lots of different pieces, look out on her blog for a post soon showing off her finished pieces.

Art Clay in progress - Nettynot BlogThere was much excitement as everything went into the kiln…
Pre-firing Art Clay - Nettynot BlogHere’s some of the wonderful makes! Lots of different bits n pieces – makes me happy! Anyone who is familiar with some of Amy Blackwell’s illustrations might spot her distinctive style in the form of a lovely hand.
Kiln ready - art clay firing - nettynot blog I do like a good before and after shot – although my camera was misbehaving for the finished jewellery.

Finished Art Clay Pieces - Nettynot BlogEverything was a bit too shiny for my camera, however I’ve pinched a few photos from the others, which show of the detail much better.
Some finished Items - Nettynot BlogYou can achieve so much with Silver Art Clay, it’s a wonderful material. It allows you to make anything from stunning sculptural pieces to simple items with imprinted texture. Once an item is fired you can sand and polish a piece until you get a mirror finish, giving it a high end ‘bought from a posh jewellers’ look. However I’m much more in favour of something that’s been handmade retaining a handmade element. When I finish an item I tend to give it a quick burnish, to highlight all the raised detail, which contrasts well with the matte surface of the lower detail – simple yet effective.

Rebecka’s woven pendant above was antiqued using liver of sulphur, which oxidises the surface (basically speeding up the tarnishing process), she then polished over the raised areas creating that wonderful contrast and highlighting the detail.

Button Charm - Nettynot Blog

I found a bit of time to utilise a mould I’d made from a metal button and created a small charm pendant. This is the kind of small project that’s very achievable and a great way of replicating something.

Thanks for reading!

Springing into Action

15 Apr

I just don’t know where the past month has gone, it only seems like a week ago that I was in the Lake District, but when I actually think about it I have achieved more than I thought I had. Spring and its longer days and lovely sunshine seem to be doing me some good.

Blaithin Sleeves - Nettynot BlogI’ve made some progress with my Bláithín Cardigan. I’m still managing to shock a few knitters at knit club by explaining what steeking is, however I’m not quite there yet. I have knitted the body up to the arm pits and it currently set to one side while I knit the sleeves, I decided to figure out how to knit my sleeves both at the same time using magic loop on a long cable, once I got my head around the idea and knitted the first row I was away! I hate it when you finish a sleeve, only to have to knit a whole other one, this way I won’t have that dreaded feeling, I am also ensuring that I do all my increased on the same row of each sleeve – brilliant!

10 Stitch Blanket  - Nettynot BlogI mentioned back in February that I’d collected up lots of my stash yarn ready to knit another blanket, well…. I started it. I just fancied getting started, admittedly I’ve not got very far, it is a film n a half’s worth of knitting (that’s an official unit of knitting time, right?). I’m using this 10 stitch Blanket pattern on Ravelry, and 5.5mm needles with doubled up DK and the odd bit of Aran weight yarn. I’m enjoying it so far, it’s going to be a useful in between project and one I can just pick up and put down when other projects are too taxing (or I’m too tired to concentrate) I’m imagining it will very much be an on going project for some time.
Succulents - Nettynot Blog

I’ve also been busy adding the odd finishing touch to my Bathroom (which is close to being entirely finished) I’ve added a few small succulents in matching pots to brighten up the window sill. There will be a future post about these as I intent to create a little something extra too.
Macrame Bracelet - Nettynot BlogI do love learning something new and recently I’ve tried two new things. I taught myself Macramé (I knew a little already) however I created my own little pattern to get going, I have a larger project in mind and wanted to build a little confidence first. I’m quite pleased with the results, it’s also a great way to add one of my many buttons into a piece of jewellery! I also went to a lamp shade making workshop, I will write a whole post about this little venture soon.

I’ve also done a fair bit of spring cleaning and sorting – cleared out my wardrobe, sent a bag to the charity shop and created a pile to clothes that might get chopped or adjusted. I also collected up all my unfinished sewing projects and I intend to finish at least a few of these soon.

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