Monday, 24 March 2014

A new look, new hooks and new projects!

Welcome to the first post of the newly revamped Dinkyflowerpots blog. I felt it was time for a change and, although not too radically different (a new background, header and title font) there has been a bit of a spring clean. Hope you like it!

I am finding increasingly these days that I prefer a comfier handle on my crochet hook. Maybe I am just getting older, maybe I crochet a lot more - either way it's not as easy to keep hold of the thinner variety of hook, of which I have many.

So, whilst also trying to keep an eye on cost, these are my latest acquisition, with lovely chunky bamboo handles no less.

They are so smooth and light to hold and I am loving them quite lot.

For those who are interested (and depending on your thoughts re buying from Amazon these days), this set of 10 crochet hooks cost me £4 with free delivery. Similar can be found HERE.

Creating crocheted/knitted clothes for little ones isn't something that I have ever really done. I helped out with the jumpers, hats and blankets for charity (the latest details from which will be in another post in the next week or so), but that is about it.

I am also not one for completing
a) anything that is too big (but this is soon to be remedied)
b) anything for myself.

So, in my 'book', an item that is small and for someone else is usually the way to go as it has twice the chance of being finished!

A couple of other knitters I know have been making some very nice 'modern-looking' jumpers and cardigans for the little ones of relatives and friends, but nothing so far has been of the crocheted variety. I too have a couple of relatives who have not long both had girls so, after a brief search through some of Sirdar's more recent publications in a local shop, I was lucky enough to find me this - The Baby Crochet Book.

After checking that I could follow the patterns!!...... I bought it in the sale for £6.99 and have designated this little bolero cardigan as my first new project.

Sirdar recommend that this should be made with yarn from their 'Snuggly' range and I found some in the sale, online, at Black Sheep wools.

The little 'wiggly-worm' bits in a contrasting white give it lovely texture and interest but I am sure that it must be easier to knit with than to crochet as I am constantly getting stuck on the 'worms'. Also, it is a bit of a pain if you have to undo any of your work and I am getting stuck on the 'worms' going that way as well. As this pattern is a learning process for me, the yarn is probably something I should have taken into account, but there you go. It gives me more reason to get things right first time!

Other than that it is a nice soft yarn to work with and further updates will follow as I progress! (NB. Picture take before acquisition of new hooks!!)

Anyhow........talking of other things that I don't complete, I did mention larger items. This includes blankets. My recent experiments with dyeing acrylic yarn have given me a reason to try and get past this hurdle and I have started a blanket that I intend to finish whilst also testing out the newly dyed yarn to see how the colourways and dye patterns work.

Instead of working in individual squares or stripes, or following a pattern, I though I would start from a largish plain square in the middle (where I may add some embellishment at a later date) and work my way outward, making things up as I go along, depending on how the mood and the yarn takes me.

It is quite a revelation watching the pattern appear from yarn that you have dyed yourself. This is the centre square and I wasn't at all sure what to expect.

It has been a pleasant surprise and gives me ideas for other dye combinations that I might try.

Working out from the middle I have used the different colourways as I have dyed them, combining them here and there with the un-dyed yarn in it's original cream shade

Working this way holds my interest far more mainly because I have no idea what I will do next until it happens....therefore it has far more chance of being completed. I will have a blanket yet!

So, this is my progress to date. I have a new blue/grey/green colourway to start adding next and then when I have used all the dyed yarn I will make some more. The randomness of whole process totally fascinates me!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Parcels of yarn and an abundance of daffodils

So, after much rinsing and drying, the  acrylic-dyed yarn samples are ready to go to their new homes - one in this country and one 'over the pond'

Although the fibres have toughened slightly, it is still a nice workable acrylic yarn and the colours have faded to some rather lovely shades of cerise and fiery peach.

I can't begin to tell you how pleased I am with the way that this has worked out!!!!

Wrapped in tissue paper........

....and tied up with turmeric-dyed string....

.....they are now in the post and should arrive at their destinations any day now.

Meanwhile, during what has been a rather dull weekend weatherise up here in the north of England, we went to the park for a walk yesterday to see the absolute abundance of daffodils that are there at this time of year.

Some very grey skies and a rather cold wind stayed for most of the day yesterday but these vibrant bobbing flowers were a real dose of alternative sunshine.

It is probably the slightly colder weather that is allowing them to bloom so slowly and stay in flower for so long.

And it is so nice to welcome in the spring at long last. I love this time of year!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Continuing with acrylic dye.....and using the first batch!

Well, this is how the new batch of dyed acrylic yarn started out. I have used a cream colour previously but thought that maybe some with a white base would be a good choice for the giveaway recipients. This yarn was also a lot softer to start with.

Wound into skeins (on my clothes airer!), they are dampened throughout with warm water and the excess squeezed out.

Acrylic paint, thinned to the consistency of single cream, is added wherever you wish the colour to primarily be.....

.....and then 'massaged' evenly into the yarn

This is with a slightly different colour way

Since I didn't want to colours to run into each other as much with this batch, I have dried it flat, outdoors in the sunshine this weekend, and just kept turning the yarn as the exposed areas dried

I have also started to use the first yarn that was dyed, and it is turning out really well with an interesting random pattern. The colours end up a lot paler than they start out, but this is fine for me right now until I become more proficient at the whole process.

The texture is slightly robust but, again, I think that this is also something to do with how soft the yarn is to start with and I will know more about this after this latest batch is ready.

This was the second skein that was dyed - the colours were really strong to start with. They have mellowed out somewhat to these muted earthy sage and rust shades.

When wound into a ball the colours split nicely into random areas and, since this was the way I did the first blue/green colour way, it will go well with the first batch.

I am enjoying the creativity of this process so much. You never know, I may even get into dyeing the REAL stuff!!! :)

Monday, 3 March 2014

Giveaway results and more yarn dyeing

Gill, Noreen and Chelsea........thank you so much for expressing an interest in trying some of my 'experimentally' dyed acrylic yarn. You will be receiving some through the post but I will need your home addresses so please email me with your details (

Over the last week my experiments in yarn dyeing have continued and I have to say that I'm extremely pleased with the results.

I have tried various different types of acrylic paint and some varying pale shades of acrylic yarn with some very unusual results, but it's all really interesting and there are so many permutations that I am eager to try.

I have also progressed to dyeing cotton string, and that has worked really well.

I want to try using some more natural dyes as well but this is where it starts to get more complicated with the inclusion of various substances to fix the dye within the yarn be it cotton or wool. Its a bit like a chemistry lesson and absolutely fascinating.

This evening I am dyeing some cotton string with Turmeric - such a wonderful colour which will fade quite a bit to hopefully leave a pale golden shade. Watch this space!!