Sunday, 23 February 2014

Dyeing your own acrylic yarn.......and a Giveaway!

Another chance find on Facebook, and as they say........who knew?!

As always, reading one page or link online usually needs to another. Moogly's Facebook crochet knitting page showed a link to Hodge Podge's Facebook crochet page and her blog where she had a post regarding a Youtube video, by The Frugal Crafter, on dyeing your own acrylic yarn!

To get the best idea of how the process works you will need to have a look at the Youtube link, and Hodge Podge's blog, but basically what The Frugal crafter has done is find a way of 'dyeing' pale coloured acrylic yarn using acrylic paint! As Tanya at Hodge Podge says, 'Okay...I'll admit; I was skeptical. But she's SO convincing and charismatic and so gosh darn infectious with her energy that I knew I needed to try it on my own to see if was indeed true! And guess what you guys...IT IS!!'

So, I decided to give it a go myself using some cream-coloured yarn.

With the paints being really strong in colour and totally water-based, this process saves a lot of time and mess whilst also being fairly easy to do. Below, you can see what the initial adding of the watered-down paint looks like.

Then, this is what the yarn looks like after the colour has been 'massaged' in - quite toned down with all of the shades blending from one to another.

I only did this last night so the experiment is still drying but from what I have seen, I must say that the overall effect is excellent!

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Edit - Mon 24 Feb update!
This is how the yarn looks when it is completely dry (the ball of yarn above shows you the original yarn, pre-dyeing). The colours are slightly muted but I love these natural shades even more now.

Also, it is advised that you rinse the yarn again once it has completely dried to remove the slight 'crispiness' left by the acrylic paint. I have done this with a drop of fabric conditioner in the water and am pleased to report hardly any transfer of colour into the water!

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I am considering dyeing a fair bit of acrylic yarn in this way, using the Frugal Crafter's method, with a view to having enough for a blanket-making project. The paint colours will vary, as will the base shade of the pastel coloured acrylic yarn underneath.

In the process I am bound to have plenty to spare, so I will be offering, as a GIVEAWAY, three batches of 100g from what I make, for three recipients to experiment and try it out for themselves to see what they can create.

If you are interested in the chance to get some of this yarn, all you need to do is
1. Follow my blog (join as a member)
2. let me know that you want to be included by leaving a 'Yes' in the Comments section of this post, by no later than Sunday 2nd March 2014.

As soon as I have enough yarn ready, all names will go into a hat and three winners will be randomly chosen.

Good luck and thank you for participating!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Crocheted stripy mitts

Last November, a lovely pattern for a pair of crocheted stripy mitts appeared in Facebook. I loved them straight away, and 'Shared' them on my page. Devised by Sandra at Cherry Heart, she had made them (an excellent use of very short lengths of yarn) using a range of colours in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino together with a variety of nice little buttons for decoration.

A friend sent me a message on Facebook, saying that she loved the mitts too and would I make her a pair?........she would pay for whatever yarn was needed. Well, not only had I never crocheted a pair of mitts/gloves before, but I have hardly ever worked solely from someone else's pattern as I tend to make up my own........ so I thought why not give it a go, especially if it meant I may eventually make a pair for myself too!

Nine colours in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino isn't cheap for a pair of mitts (or two pairs for that matter). This is presumably why Sandra was using up the ends of colours that she had left over - a great stash-buster for small amounts. Initially I toyed with the idea of purchasing some of the fab 'small-ball' bargains that can be had for an excellent price on eBay, but eventually settled on some King Cole 'Dolly Mix' that was in the sale at Deramores in 25g balls, and near enough the exact colours that I needed.

The mitt can be created either by using the standard pattern or following the excellent tutorial, which seemed the best choice for me. Sandra explains everything really well with plenty of excellent pics (although I did notice that my stitches came out a little different to hers).

The square shape for the first mitt was fairly easy to create, the only slight downside being all the ends that need weaving in - but that's multi-coloured stripes for you and there really isn't any way around it.

With all the ends woven in, the next part involved continuing the rows on the top area of the mitts which are crocheted in a complete loop for several rows.

Then the top edge is decorated with a row of double crochet and a pretty little picot edge,

Seven buttonhole loops and a facing edge for the buttons can then be worked from the wrist edge.

The thumb hole is added in a similar way with two neat little rows of double crochet. Then the tricky part (which I actually quite enjoyed) of adding the buttons (another first for me!), hopefully lining them up with the buttonholes that you have just made!!!

Adding buttons all the way to the cuff, this turned out very well and I was sooooo pleased! A very smiley moment!!!

Repeat the process on the other glove, and there you have it - a fab pair of warm and beautifully stripy mitts!

Now I just need to start on a pair for myself!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Baby comfort blankets - Aug-Nov 2013 ('Catch-up 5')

Similar to my earlier post on 'Fish and chip jumpers', there followed a request for comfort blankets for newborn babies in this country. Again, our knitting group set-to, as did friends, family and work colleagues nationally.

As I have mentioned before, I am not really a knitter but have been learning over the last few years and have grown in confidence regarding what I can and cannot tackle. Most of the patterns supplied in the request were achievable and I chose a chequered basket weave style (onto which I crocheted a picot edge) and another that had a raised stripe and wavy edge.

They took me a long time and I must admit that a fair amount of frogging went on before I ended up with the two blankets that were eventually my contribution. Other knitters I know can talk, eat, watch the telly, use the phone and keep an eye on their kids, all at the same time as reading a pattern and knitting. I can't!! - it takes my full and undivided concentration.

Then the blankets started appearing through the post from all over the country (the collection of which was again organised by Kim) and what a fabulous array of colours they were - more than 100 of them!

It took us quite a while to fold and arrange them so that they could be photographed but they looked amazing when it was done!

The amount of work that people put into these items is astonishing. The receipt of each and every one is acknowledged, the response to that usually being that the knitters want to know how they can help with the next items that may be needed! Such kindness and generosity is very much appreciated.

The jumpers went off to their new homes in November but it is likely that half of them went to help those is need after the disaster in the Phillipines too.

So, for the moment, we have returned to the Fish and Chip jumpers, this time with longer sleeves and matching beanie hats. The completion date for this batch is the end of March and I will update my blog with the details of how we get on!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Innocent Smoothie hats - Autumn 2014 ('Catch-up' 4)

Continuing the theme of knitting for charity, my friend Kim decided that she wanted to contribute to the national request for small knitted hats that were part of the Innocent Smoothie Big Knit campaign for last year.

'Innocent' work with Age UK 'to help thousands of older people across the country keep healthy and well during the chilly winter months - these little hats save lives'. All the knitted hats (millions of them) were put on to bottles of smoothie for sale in November in WH Smith, Waitrose, Asda, Ocado, Boots, Sainsbury and Tesco, 25p from the sale of each bottle going to Age UK.

Innocent have been doing this for the last 10 years but this is the first time that we had participated. Patterns were available online but you are free to contribute your own as well.

As you will see, Kim really went for it!!! In the pics below, I crocheted 4!


We will definitely contribute again next year. In fact, by just knitting the odd tiny hat now and again through the year we should collect quite a lot without even noticing.

It is certainly worth the effort!