Somewhere I can let out my inner crafter without being labeled as even more insane.

Posts tagged ‘plans’

Failed experimentation: tie dying silk hankies

Story time! One day, when I was in Hobbycraft, I decided I wanted to buy a tie dye kit and experiment with tie dying. My original plan was tie dye some shirts for work. This was a complete flop when I accidentally bought polyester shirts (for those following along at home, you can’t dye polyester, at least not with a cheap tie dye kit from Hobbycraft. It has to be natral materials).

So I also wanted to try knitting from silk hankies (please note: these are not the handkerchiefs you use to blow your nose on 😉 ). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find what I was looking for already dyed. Bingo!

Except…the silk *really* didn’t want to take the dye. It was just beading on top (I was dying onto dry silk and hadn’t done a pre-wash or anything, so this may be entirely my fault). I massaged the silk to get it to absorb, and oh boy it needed a lot. And a lot. And a lot. And it still didn’t do a great job.

I know that tie dying should leave some white space, but frankly the other stuff I dyed (underwear, so no pictures 😉 and my partners each did a couple of shirts) didn’t have the greatest white spaces, and this had too much. And it didn’t even go all the way through the small pile of silk hankies I had in each lot. This is the other side

This isn’t a big pile of hankies. I split 100g into three piles using scales for three colours, and then halved each of those for the dying, so this pile is probably about 17g.

After pplying the dye, you have to wrap it all up in clingfilm and leave them for 6-8 hours, then rinse. I started rinsing then stopped because the running water was really starting to Mess Things Up. So I stopped and let them dry while I thought things through.

And now I have the start of a plan:

Soak the hankies (colour by colour) and hope the colours even out somewhat.

Leave them to dry



So, this may be a bit of a failed activity, but it works great as an experiment! Now I just need to remember to keep writing down what I do! If anyone more experienced than me has any advice, please share! (If you feel comfortable!) I’m so far out of my comfort zone, help would be wonderful! But I’m (kinda) happy to keep experiementing and seeing what happens if necessary! (Also, quick note: how do silk hankies cope with being heated up in a saucepan for dying? That is probably going to be my next plan if the soaking doesn’t get the colours I want…

Let’s pretend it’s Wednesday and I’ll tell you about the elephant in the room

It is unfortunately nowhere near finished. Even if I hadn’t forgotten the week I spent away or the many weekends I was travelling rather than crocheting, I was also hit by a bad shoulder which meant no crochet for a (different) week 😦 I haven’t even finished the main head yet, for crying out loud!

Here’s where I’m up to, so far.

At least the front of the head is made, I guess! The tusks were really awkward to fit in, but I’m oretty happy with how it went.

I have a bit of a respite- the rest of my year plan for crafting looks like this:

October- test knit a pair of socks for John

November- do the writing NaNo (I write HP fanfiction)

December- knit my OLAS cardigan as a delayed NaNo project

(Then when January starts I’ll do most of that as the cross stitch NaNo and see how far into this wedding sampler I can get).

Am I slightly insane for thinking this is all feasible? Almost certainly. Am I going to learn from this if/when it all fails spectacularly. Probably not. And most importantly- what is the repite I was talking about?

Well, this comes in two parts.

A-I can easily knit a sock in less than a month, so I have quite a lot of October to also finish this elephant. (Also, the knitting group at Uni has started again so I have even more time to make things)

B- the pattern for the socks I’m test knitting hasn’t arrived yet, so even if I wanted to start work on it, I can’t. (John, please keep procrastinating…)

Right, I’m off to keep crocheting! Wish me luck on this deadline!

Spinning- what I’ve learnt so far

Spinning has been rather an interesting thing to learn again second time around. Using a drop spindle, along with the park and draft method, has definitely helped. It also probably helped that I have a planned use for the yarn I make. Actually, I have two plans; I’ll talk about them later.

Firstly, I made the white yarn. Then the bright blue, and now I’m working on the darker blue. The light blue is (I think) rather underspun, so I’m concentrating on spinning and plying the darker blue a lot more, and I think it is making a difference 🙂 Any tips (including telling me I’m doing it wildly wrong) will be gratefully appreciated (and then probably researched because I’m like that!) (Unfortunately no close ups of my yarn because my phone is refusing to focus close up and I can’t find my camera, which may or may not be capable of such a feat. IRL the light blue is greener than portrayed, and the dark blue is…well…dark blue rather than black)

Since I don’t have a niddy noddy I’ve been skeining it up on my arm, which is a grand total of 30 inches around (very nice and round for working out total yardage!). Just count the number of loops(IDK the right term???), multiple by 30 inches then divide by 36 to get yardage (or just multiply by 5/6). The important thing to note here is that the yardage I’ll get is less than the number of loops. Which I didn’t realise at the time, so the yardage I had previous announced as spinning is rather inaccurate…*whistles innocently*. So, trying this again:

-White yarn. 34 loops(wraps maybe???)=28.33 yards

-Light blue yarn. 35+29=64 wraps= 53.33 yards

-Dark blue yarn. 27 wraps=22.5 yards

*lesigh* Much worse than I had thought. Oh well, I’ll have fun knitting with it :). Just to flarify- this isn’t wildly different yardage for the same weight of fluff. The white is 18g of*something*, the light blue is 25g of merino and the dark blue is about 12.5g of merino. I bought a mix bag of merino from world of wool. Lovely stuff, must acquire some more 😀 (On a side note, this is why my spinning yardage has suddenly dropped if anyone is actually reading that 😉 )

So, onto my plans for the yarn! Originally I planned to make a stripy colourwork scarf, so bands of colourwork in different pairs of colours and different patterns. But then I remembered that I was originally going to buy the Peerie Flooers pattern and make that (probably two- one for me and one for my mum). Decisions decisions…I mean, I guess there’s no reason why I can’t do both (other than the speed at which I spin…) The scarf I’m thinking of will look something like this:

just in double knitting rather than in the round because yardage…I’m thinking that the hat first- it should give me an idea as to how far my handspun will stretch, or whether I’ll need more than 25g of each colour (I mean, probably, even if 25g of two colours can do a complete band on the scarf!)


2017 look back and 2018 plans

Right, 2017 is nearly over (might in face be over by the time I finish this and get it posted, I’m not sure how long this is going to bed), and wowsa what a year!

Finished the PhD, got a job, knitted (checks ravelry) 9.5 projects on ravelry (the half was finishing the scrappy hexagon blanket), very nearly finished the rainbow cardigan (it is currently being used but I need to sew buttons on and I can’t do that whilst wearing it…), did four cross stitches (Hello, make today awesome and two stockings). Plus Christmas cards, the seagull (remind me to tell you about that later, it’s so cute!!!) and probably seeral other things. But I definitely feel that I haven’t done as much this year as I have in previous years (the PhD probably contributed to this!).

So, next year! As I announced a while ago, my 2018 word is going to be ‘Preparation’. I was rather hoping to have cross stitched this by now, but at least I have a pattern (Christmas knitting rather took over…). So as well as wanting to cross stitch that (I’m rather thinking a grey for the word, I don’t really feel that it’s a bright colour sort of word), I’ve decided to come up with a list of projects I want to make next year.

So far, I have:

Cross stitch my ‘preparation’

Kita’s OLAS cardigan- the sleeves are nearly finished, must remember to blog about that!

My OLAS cardigan- I’m not sure whether I want it big or not, so I’m using Kita’s as a sounding board- I’ll be able to try it on wince we’re about the same size, and see what’s what

Cockatoo Brae- I know I’ve been having a really hard time hitting gauge, but I really want this cardigan!

Masc buttonbox- it’s a really nice waistcoat pattern, I just want a masc version of it. Will have to blog about that too when I get the yarn for it 🙂

Socks for mother- she loves the bluetit yarn I used for some socks, and requested some socks with it. I decided to raise this to a pair of socks in every bird colourway West Yorkshire Spinners do (9). I’m also thinking that if I use contrasting yarn for toes and heels (afterthougt heel, I’m turning into a massive fan of it), I can use the rest of the yarn to make a bedspread- I’m thinking hexagon flowers of central colour in the bird yarn, surrounded by hexagons in the solid colour in some pattern. West Yorkshire Spinners suggest which of their solid yarns goes with each of the bird yarns, so I wouldn’t have to guess from the internet pictures if I can’t find a stockist of it.

Rachel’s wedding sampler- I don’t know when she’s getting married (after she finishes her PhD), but I’d hate to be caught out with this, so this becomes my cross stitch priority after I finish the wolf

Two wedding cards- as well as Rachel’s wedding (Mr and Dr by the time she finishes her PhD), I’m going to a same-gender wedding between a Mr and a Dr. I would be very surprised if I could find a suitable card for either of them, so I’ll have to make my own. Which involves finding a suitable pattern, but I figure that’s more likely, and I can always modify something if necessary…

2 pillow covers- Kita’s is nearly finished, mine hasn’t been started, but this plan has sort of ground to a halt since I need to replenish my sock yarn scraps for them…maybe ‘knit myself more socks’ would be a better plan…

2 blankets for me- I really want the woodland blanket attic24 is bringing out soon, and I would definitely want the larger size. I’m also thinking that I want the larger cosy blanket as well.

That’s all for now, which comes to a grand total of 21 projects (counting my mum’s as 9), and not counting any socks for me to do the pillow covers. Umm. This….could be interesting. Ok, let’s scratch the pillow covers, they’re probably the most unrealistic in the whole thing, thanks to not haivng very much scrap yarn. So, summarising, we have:

4 jumpers (aran, aran, aran, 4ply)

2 (large) blankets (crochet, DK)

2 cross stitch cards

1 large cross stitch

1 small cross stitch

9 pairs of socks.

I’m still not convinced that I can do all of this (but plans are still great), but that doesn’t seem so completely insane at the moment. Obviously, this isn’t everything I want to do this year (I have no other Christmas presents planned yet…), but I think this is pretty much the backbone of it all. Actually, looking at my Christmas list, it could well be that no-one else gets a hand-made present next year…

Other things I want to do: more cross stitch stockings and knit me more socks. It’s hard to be precise about these, because how many do I want to make? I don’t want to have a set number to hit, because I think that if I manage that I’ll stop then making them, and I don’t want to do that. I also want to make some knitted birds from a book my parents gave me for Christmas, but I need a lot more thinking to decide which ones (as well as what to do with them after they’ve been made…)

I also want to organise this blog a lot more in 2018. Organise my tags, retag most/all of my posts, have a look at organising posts in different ways etc. I’m also thinking of having a page for finished object posts, and maybe in thos posts link back to the beginninng/WIP posts I’ve made for them all. Or even just link it all to ravelry…we shall see. This is the thng I think is most likely to fall through the cracks, but we shall see. At some point I shall try to remember to have a look at what it’s currently like and hopefully break down the whole thing into manageable chunks.

I also have more not-crafting goals and plans for next year (including getting a new job…), but I’m not sure if people would be interested in hearing them??? Or do you all just come here for the crafting??? (In which case, sorry for the lack of pictures, there will be some later when I do finished posts for the shawl, and the rainbow cardigan and the seagull…)

Hello 2017!

So, who’s looking forward to 2017? Can we say it starts tomorrow in order to protect David Attenbrough???

I have compiled a list of goals for next year, a variety of crafting/learning new skills/personal development. I’m really excited to start!

There are three crafting(ish) ones I’m aiming for:

1)Have birthday/Christmas presents planned by the end of February

This one is actually mostly done. I need to come up with something for my dad’s birthday, and I currently have a blanket down for my parents Christmas, but I’m not sure about that one… I’ve started a spreadsheet with everyone’s birthday/fav colour and what they’ve had from me previously to make this much easier, and it’s definitely working! I can do a larger post on this later if people are interested?

2) Stitch and finish my Christmas stockings.

I want 24/25 of them to become an advent calender for me, the others I’m not so sure on. Maybe Christmas tree decorations? So far I think I have about 3 done (but they’re currently up in York so I can’t check!)

3) Complete the November crafting challenge. Either NaKniSweMo, or NaCrossStitchMo.

I have a couple of options for this. There’s a butterfly fairy cross stitch I’d like to do from a couple of issues of one of the cross stitch magazines I’ve got. Alternatively, I still have Cockatoo Brae to do (because doing NaKni with a 4ply yarn is such a great idea…). Or I could figure out how many hexagons on my scrappy blanket that would be and do that (this would be the easiest to keep track of whether I’m on track…). Or just a generic blanket, as I totally want a proper blanket for myself!


So what do you think? Any thoughts will be gratefully read! Are any of you planning on anything similar???

4 weeks until Christmas…

…and finally the slight panic sets in. This post is just going to be informative- a reminder to myself of what I have to do, and deadlines for everything, so no pretty pictures (because I went on a long fast cycle ride this morning and I still haven’t recovered enough to make getting up from under a blanket a good idea 🙂 )

So, what still needs to be made, and deadlines:

  1. Cushion for my American pen pal-deadline 1st December to be posted, so really needs to be finished by the end of Wednesday. If I get around to sewing the front together, I can then just make a giant granny square for the back on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday and put it all together Wednesday evening.
  2. Advent scarf for my aunt. I’m going to Salisbury for Christmas on Thursday 15th, so really if possible, this should be done by Sunday 11th, so it can be blocked here
  3. Advent hat for my mum. This can be knitted in Salisbury, but I do need to remember the yarn if I don’t start it before then. I also need to figure the pattern, so I should probably start it here in case I need anything funny… Deadline for this really is like the 20th, so it can be blocked.
  4. Cat butt coasters for my sister. This is the third thing she asked for this year, I think she keeps forgetting what she’s asked me for! But this is the easiest option so I’m going with it! Again, doesnt need to be kept a secret, so the deadline really is Dec 25. I’m making them out of acrylic, so blocking them will be with my mum’s iron on the ironing board.

This is ridiculously straight forward. I feel as though I’m missing something…But no, that really is everything. Just have to remember to pack all the yarn/presents when I go home!

I am back!

After spending the summer with my aunt (sho doesn’t have unlimited internets, so I was restricted to just using the web for my work), I am now back and busily crafting away. How is it September already?!? Christmas is just around the corner, and I have nothing finished… (excpet my to-do list!). One of my friends is going to Japan at the end of November, and so her present (a crochet attic24 blanket) needs to be done by around about the middle of November, so I can postit to her before she goes. However, I don’t have the yarn for that yet (I ordered it on Tuesday), and so I’ve been getting on with another Christmas present, this one for the aunt I went to stay with. It’s so pretty! Naturally, I want to keep it to myself, but I’m sure my aunt will like it 🙂


I have also been crafting over the summer, and have a bit to show you all! There is a finished pair of socks (of course!), and a nearly finished other sock, using the longitudonal pattern. It’s so fun! It produces a completely different pooling effect, which is why I’m using it- I didn’t like how it pooled when knitting normally, but this garter stitch is lovely 🙂 I haven’t taken any photos of them yet, so I’ll show them off later.

There has also been some cross stitching- not very much as there was a 5 year old around as well, which meant I didn’t want to get into the technicalities of a pattern and threads etc etc etc, but I have done a few stockings.




Intermittent blog posts the second (and a finish!)

Firstly, I have finished (and washed!) my housemate’s blanket. I absolutely love it, and don’t really want to give it away. *sigh* But I’m sure he’ll enjoy it, which is the important thing. And I think I have enough yarn left over to make me a scrappy crochet blanket. I’m thinking hexagon, because apparently my brain really likes hexagons. Ooh, I could do that mathematical half-hexagon thing. Hmm, that would involve quite a lot of sewing up, I think. I will think on that some more…

Tom5But now this has been finished, I really should get back to the alphabet blanket. *sigh*. It’s nearly finished, so it really could be quite a lot worse, but I don’t want to. I really want to start knitting Cockatoo Brae, but the blanket really should get done first…and if I save it, it would be a rather fun (and slightly stupid, given that it’s 4ply yarn) option for NaNo this year.

So at the moment ~I’m being fairly good, and I plan to continue embroidering the last few letters on the Dick Bruna blanket.

blanket12Not too much left to go! I’ll get there eventually…

More socks! And other news

So, I’ve finished another pair of socks! I think I’ve lost count of the number of pairs of socks I own, but hey, the more the merrier, right?

Roansocks2I mostly used my vanilla pattern, but I decided to add a small amount of decoration with purl stitches in a diamond pattern. Here’s a closeup so you can see.


It’s very subtle, which is strangely nice for a change! Most of my socks are either vanilla, or strongly patterned, so having a subtle pattern is definitely something a bit different.

Now onto the other news! In a couple of weeks, I’m heading to Oxford for a conference. While I will be taking my Christmas presents to work on, I also want to have a knitting project in case I need something easier for poor little introverted me! I have two skeins of this in my stash (bought the last time I was in Oxford, in case you were wondering why I wasn’t going to be taking socks!). It is 100% llama, 220m per 100g (I have 200g). I’m currently thinking a nice hat/cowl set, either for me or maybe going in a gift pile.

stash (2)

The hat choice was easy- ever since seeing this cabled hat with short rows come up on knitty, I’ve wanted to make it. The cowl part was a bit more challenging- I knew I wanted to knit it around the neck and shoulders, rather than up, and it took a while to find a nice pattern. Eventually, I found this one, but I’m still not 100% sure… I don’t even know what it is about this pattern that I don’t like. *shrugs* I’m strange, I guess!

I’m also hard at work behind the scenes working on my Christmas presents. I’m calling Dec 1st my must-be-done-by date, as some of them need to be posted out, and I’d rather they arrive early than late! Ideally however, I’d like to be done by the end of October (3 months away, eek!), so that I can take part in NaNo again in some form (I have a cardigan in 4ply, a jumper in aran and a cross stitch as current options…), which means I need to complete 6 things a month, for a total of 18. So far 1 is finished which doesn’t exactly bode well since I’ve had them ready for more than a week so far I think. Ahh well, better step up my game I guess! I’m hoping that keeping a record here will keep me accountable, even though I can’t show pics yet (and I must remember to start taking pics so I can show you the process later!).

Last post of the year…just!

Whew this has been a busy time of year. Definitely in a good way, but I’m almost looking forward to getting back to work! And I’m going to be thrown in the deep end then, but hey ho, it’s all good.

So, what has 2014 been like for me? Ignoring the number of plans I had (yeah…not gonna try that again this year), I think it was pretty successful all around. I knitted two tops (Susan and my NaKniSweMo jumper), a shawl, 10 pairs of socks (I wonder if I can beat that score next year…), and finished (nearly) all of my presents on time. The only ones which were late were the Cthulhu mittens and Susie the hybrid kangaroo/elephant and her daughter Nellie.

I also stitched the entirety of the OUAT sampler (photos of that to come some point next year (feels very strange saying that…)), a number of cards, and started several other pieces I’d like to finish next year. And the absolutely adorable coasters. Actually, all the Christmas presents this year were very well received, which is definitely a good thing 🙂

As well as knitting and cross stitching, I also started EPP, and made a pincushion (which will be part of my mum’s birthday present this year), and have recently started dress-making (do I have enough time to finish my first skirt this year?)

So, that’s all for crafting (that I remember. Please remind me of anything I’ve missed out here!). On top of all that, I feel that I’ve gotten the hang of this blogging lark- I won my first give-away (thanks Wisher!), and held my own (winners announced later on!), as well as being nominated for two blogging awards (very inspiring and lovely- thanks to those wonderful bloggers who nominated me for them 🙂 )

So, my giveaway. Over the course of the last few months, I was giving hints about the particular fairy tale showcased in the particular block I was stitching, and some of you were kind enough to support my insanity but guessing which fairy tale it was. Some of them were easier than others (the last one is Hansel and Gretel, and I’ll post a photo of that next year when it’s been finished finished), and some of them had some rather amusing guesses 🙂

So, I (fairly randomly) picked two people to win a small collection of goodies from me, and they are:




So well done to those lovely people. While I did this giveaway largely because I won one, and I wanted to pay it forward, naturally these winners aren’t expected to carry on.

And finally, for next year, rather than give myself deadlines and targets to achieve, I have decided to do what I saw some people doing this year(or the end of last year, ready for this year…), and just pick a buzzword for 2015. This year, I have decided that it will be ‘organised’. I hope that by being more organised, I can craft even more things. Additionally, this year I was organised enough to finished all my Christmas presents by the end of October, if not earlier, and I’d quite like a repeat of that( and maybe schedule some Christmas crafty posts so I don’t feel like I’ve just abandoned this blog when it all gets busy?)!

So, on that note, it’s time for me to wish your all a very happy end of 2014 (if you celebrate that), a wonderful beginning to 2015 (if you aren’t too hung-over from the night before!) and I’ll see you all again in the New Year, with a finished skirt!

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Blog - Jillian Moreno

Somewhere I can let out my inner crafter without being labeled as even more insane.

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Somewhere I can let out my inner crafter without being labeled as even more insane.

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Somewhere I can let out my inner crafter without being labeled as even more insane.


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Cross-stitch Project Progress and Random Life Updates


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