Saturday, 14 September 2013

Whats new?

I have been a little busy making rag rugs out of some of my huge second hand material stash as it is kinda taking up too much space which could be used for other things. So have been using the method I outlined in my last tutorial and also simply cutting strips and tying them together which gives a raggedy finish which is nice for the winter. I am planning to make the finished rug rather large so its still a work in progress as you can see. But having just finished making two other new balls of material yarn ( think that's what you call it lol) I think I have plenty to be getting on with.

Also this week I have been starting to experiment with natural dyes and dying fabric. It all came about when my sister in law saw the rug I was making and asked me to take some old unwanted clothes and make two small mats for in front of my nephew and nieces bedroom doors too keep the drafts at bay in the winter. And some of the material wasn't very practical as it was white. So I got experimenting with natural dyes and did a bit of dip dying with Turmeric, cayenne pepper and cinnamon and got some rather good results. I really recommend it! 
  Plus after I did the materials for making the rug I decided to do the same dying process with a few old white clothes which I wanted to revitalise. Loved the results and will defiantly be wearing my new turmeric dyed homestead style top for the autumn.
Made a lovely chocolate cake and poured melted galaxy chocolate over it . It was a real hit with my family in law. The only issue now with having food so nice is that I have to remember I am trying to stay slim and fit and not have a slice every day lol.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Today's blessing

OK today's blessing is trees. We take them for granted and forget how much work they do for us environmentally but aren't they amazing. Their beauty is unparalleled and the way  they create more oxygen for us to breathe incredible . They give us shelter from the rain or in my current case ( weather wise) the heat of the midday sun. They produce the most delicious fruits and they live many times longer than the average human. When I think of trees I think of the woodlands near to my parents home and the wonderful smell of the leaves if you got for a walk in the rain. I have always loved how when you are inside the woods you are sheltered by a huge umbrella of leaves but you can still hear the falling raindrops and smell the cool fragrance of the earth mixed in with the water. Its as much a wonderful sight to see it in winter when the snows have fallen and the whole scene is white and crisp flecked with the imprints of animals who have passed by the wayside.
Even after living here is Jordan for three years I still see the exotic trees and feel as though I am on a holiday as they are as different from my birth land as chalk and cheese. But I also love the landscape here as it has a wonder of its own and the trees here all have a story to tell of their own. The olive trees here produce the most wonderful olives which our family press into a deep pungent green olive oil and preserve the olives to with chili to eat with hummus and flat bread ( one of my and my son's favorite breakfasts). I love their waxy leaves and elegant form that reminds me of my trip to Italy many moons ago whilst on my travels. Trees are one of our most underrated resources in terms of the un surpass able job they do for our air, our food and our environment . One little idea for loving trees would be to plant one in your garden. When I was born my parents planted a cherry tree in their garden to celebrate and I think that's a really great thing to do. So plant a tree today - you could plant it as a celebration of a birthday or in memory of someone dear and at the same time you can play your part in improving the environment you live in . ( plus if you plant a fruit tree you get free fruit to make fantastic fruit pies and crumbles with , yummy!!!)

Pot holder/ mat tutorial

What you need

Old t-shirts ( the more elastin content the more flexible your t-shirt yarn)
an 8mm crochet hook

First things first

Making the t-shirt yarn. Firstly cut a line from just under the arms and also across the bottom of the t-shirt cutting off the bottom hem which can be a little to thick. 

You should at this point have a tube of fabric. Fold it in half with the seams together and cut strips from the inside towards the seams leaving about an inch before the seam.

 Do this down to the bottom of the tube then open. What you should have at this stage is a tube with cuts down.
I was not sure how to put the next part. You open the tube and at one of the top sides you make a diagonal cut on one side from the start of the edge to the very edge of the material and this side will then be repeatedly cut diagonally from one line of material to the next. The other side can then be cut across rather than diagonally. I hope you get the idea. When you have a long piece of material this is when the elastin in the material really helps. You hold the material by the side seams and pull gently and it will hopefully curl to form a yarn like string. Continue and don't worry if the seams cut you can tie them together and later when you crochet them they can add some texture to your piece if your making a rug for example. But if your wanting to make something neat you can tuck the ends in after you finish crocheting anyway so its not a problem.

Pot holder pattern

  1. Chain 20  and 2 extra for turning .
     2.Then triple crochet in the second chain from your hook. Triple crochet to the end.
     3.chain two and then triple again in the second from the hook and until the end.
Continue repeating step two until the desired size is acquired then fasten off.

The edging

Now the edging I made is quite easy and can be used for both pot holders and mats.
simply chain 3 then make a slip stitch in the first chain and then slip stitch in the base of the chain. then slip stitch in the next stitch you are making the edging in. And to make a loop just chain about 20 and then slip stitch back in the first chain and tie off.


  So when making a mat alternately you can make it any size as long as you add two chains at the end for turning and then when starting the next line make your first stitch in the second chain or stitch from your crochet hook.
Here is a dressing table mat I made from a recycled piece of lace I cut into strips and attached together, an old stretchy t shirt and an old vest. I really like the mixed textures of the materials all mixed together and It has freshened up the appearance of my dressing table . Not to mention I have gotten rid of some old clothes which were taking up much needed wardrobe space. It's a win win situation with recycling !!!!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Today's blessing

Today's blessing is our hearts and our ability to love others unconditionally. This type of love is the greatest ever. This type of love is what we all aspire to have in our lives. To have our parents love us without condition and despite our blunders and for them that we love them without judgment. That Our romantic loves realize that the greatest most passionate of loves comes from having no preconceptions about what we want them to be like. That we love them for being simply and that we no longer seek to persuade them to change their tastes so that we are ourselves more comfortable. I think our hearts ability to love those dear to us without condition is one of the most miraculous gifts of life. It can literally heal disease and physical pain and even if it doesn't cure us it gives us a peace which is incomparable. Its not always an easy thing to do but it is achievable with the most incredible results!!!!

Autumnal colours for projects new!

I am getting into re-salvaging wool from old jumpers and second hand knitwear more and more these days. Especially as my stash of wool is getting ever smaller and the opportunity to get out and buy anything is new is few and far being. So , given that predicament I have resolved to get on and unravel as many unwanted garments as I can physically get my hands on and create some fantastic new clothes for the cooler seasons to come and also my trip to the UK in December. I fell in love with a small jumper which was rather easy to de-tangle and am now making a fantastic beanie hat. I love the colour kind of reminds me of an Indian summer.

Another long term recycling project is a table mat I am making out of a machine knitted next jumper which I have been painstakingly pulling apart. So far its going well but I think I will need to finish pulling the whole garment apart before I finish this mammoth of a piece as my dining room table is rather large. I do love the style of the mat so far though - it has a kind of rustic feel and makes me think of all those lovely Laura Ashley interior pieces which I have admired before and then almost given myself a heart attack when glancing at the price tag. This feels so much better and has none of the guilt of buying it especially as If I now see cushion covers or table mats now a days I always wonder how easy it would be to make that myself and how much cheaper to boot.
Will be posting a tutorial for a truly recycled project for your kitchen - the recycled T-shirt potholder. Which is really easy and quick to make. As well as being green and reusing all those t-shirts you no longer like or want. Yay!!!! go green !!!!!!