Make It Your Own

Make it unique. Make it yourself. Make it your own

Ramblings 6 March, 2008

Filed under: Craft,Hand dyed Yarn,knitting,Sock knitting,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 10:52 am

Hmmmm….don’t really know what title to give to my ramblings today. I haven’t been blogging much lately but that doesn’t mean I have been idle. Life just gets complicated sometimes and making stuff gets put on the back burner or the stuff I’ve been working on I can’t show you because it’s for my top secret Yarn work or something like that. Anyway…in this post I have a yarn review for you and some pictures of a few projects I’ve been working on. Happy reading.

MORE HAND DYED YARN FOR SALE

If you love affordable hand dyed yarn you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve dyed a stack more yarn for you to admire and buy. Click on the “Hand dyed yarn for sale” and “Hand dyed sock yarn for sale” tabs at the top of the page. Pleeeeeease tell your knitting friends about my yarns and watch out for my ad in the next YARN mag (due out in March sometime). Coming soon: wool/nylon/lycra bouncy hand dyed sock yarn. You’ll love it.

SELBY’S YARN PICKS

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Live 2 Knit Lauren 100% Superwash Merino 12ply/aran weight. $21.60 for 100g.

Live 2 Knit Lauren

I’m working on a large project for YARN mag in this yarn at the moment and I am loving every minute of it. Lauren is a beautifully smooth, top quality wool yarn with a high twist and plenty of bounce. It runs pleasantly between your fingers as you knit and produces a very even, smooth and soft fabric. While the specs on the Live 2 Knit website say it produces a tension of 17sts to 10cm, I have found that 17sts is a little loose. I prefer to make it 18 or even 19 sts to 10cm for a slightly firmer fabric that still drapes. For a top quality, beautiful knitted garment that is also machine washable and will last a good long time, the cost is probably worth it. To see the full colour range go to the Live 2 Knit website. I recommend this yarn for soft and cosy winter garments and accessories in stocking stitch to show off the beautiful colours.

FELT HATS AND MORE TEA COSIES

In my post of June 18 2007 I gave instructions for making a felt tea cosy using an old jumper that had been felted in the washing machine. By following the basics of those instructions you can also make hats. You might need to use two pieces of fabric to get a piece long enough to go around a head but the basics are the same. (Don’t cut the holes for the handle and spout unless you have very big ears or want to pull your pigtails through!). Add blanket stitch, chain stitch, a fold up cuff, beads or tassles. Here are some hats and tea cosies I made this week to give you some inspiration.

Felt hats

Felt tea cosies

Here are some socks I finished last week. They are the Breeze socks from Issue 3 of YARN.

Breeze socks

PATONYLE LOVERS UNITE

Do you love Patonyle? Do you care that ACS have discontinued it? If you are on Ravelry, join the Patonyle Lovers group or the ACS group and voice your displeasure! If you aren’t on Ravelry contact ACS and tell them what you think. Go to your yarn store and buy up before it’s too late. In my opinion, discontinuing such a fantastic yarn is criminal. I’ve been stockpiling it lately so that I have enough Patonyle to last the rest of my life. Sorry to anyone I have e-sniped recently…

IN OTHER NEWS

The Handknitters Guild of SA are having their biannual exhibition on 12th and 13th of April at the St Peters Hall on Payneham Rd, St Peters. There is no entry fee except for a gold coin donation and the exhibition will be way way better than it has been in the past. There will be lots of knitting and crochet on display and stalls, including Colonial Lake books so you can stock up on knitting books. There will also be lots of knitted and crocheted items for sale and even some of my hand dyed yarn if you want to see it in the flesh. There will be a raffle and refreshments for sale. I’ll be there from 10 till 2 at least on Sunday.

Goodwood Autumn Sidewalk market will be on the 15th March along Goodwood Rd between the primary school and the tramline. A couple of friends and I will be having a stall selling a variety of handmade items, including my yarns, tea cosies and hats. The market runs between 9 and 3pm. Keep a look out for Barb, Sue and me by the physiotherapists, next to the lane and across the road from the Waste Not Want Not shop.

Happy birthday to my dear cousin Mia and my Dad. Also welcome to my new cousin Ben.

Visit me at Ravelry. My user name is SarahGolder. Have a happy day. Sarah.

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No Pattern Required Tiered Skirt 7 February, 2008

Filed under: Craft,knitting,Weekly useful stuff,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 12:43 pm

It feels like a hundred years since I posted here. Sorry to all my loyal fans who have been checking regularly…(actually I don’t know how many loyal fans I have; probably just my Auntie and my Dad).

Today I’m going to give you instructions on how to sew a tiered skirt without a pattern. All you need is fabric and a sewing machine! Since I reached 25000 visitors recently, I’ve got a little competition and to keep all the knitters happy, I’ve got a yarn review. Lets start with the yarn review…

SELBY’S YARN PICKS

Selby’s yarn picks

Biggan Design DK Merino First Cross. 50g/105 metres. Made in Australia. $8.95 each.

Biggan Wool

Biggan Design colour chart

Merino wool is renowned for its softness and Border Leicester wool for its durability. A Merino sheep crossed with a Border Leicester sheep will theoretically give a very soft but durable yarn. The people at Biggan Design have done just that and indeed created a yarn that is incredibly fine and smooth but will last a very long time. This yarn is smooth enough to wear next to your skin and smooth enough for babies’ garments but it also has plenty of bounce and elasticity. I’ve knitted a few swatches with this yarn lately and it feels lovely through my fingers and creates a very smooth fabric because of its high twist. At $8.95 a ball it seems more expensive than other solid colour DK weight (8ply) wool yarns but the quality of the yarn makes the cost worth it. You’ll have a garment that will last a very long time and will feel great. The machine washability (gentle cycle) is also worth paying a little extra for. Aside from the fineness and quality of this yarn, my favourite thing about it is the colour range. It is available in 64 colours that harmonise with each other, making it perfect for picture knitting, stripes and Fair Isle knitting. Biggan Design also claim that the same colour range will still be available well into the future. I hate it when companies change their colour ranges (especially when I’ve just designed something in a particular colour that gets discontinued; I have to then change my colour scheme and usually have to change yarns). If what they say is true, I’ll be a very satisfied customer. The Biggan Design website is easy to navigate and you can buy their yarn and patterns there. I recommend this yarn for all kinds of garments and comfy socks. I’m about to start knitting a design I’ve been working on in the Denim colour and I’m looking forward to the experience. Visit Biggan Design at www.biggandesign.com.au.

NO PATTERN REQUIRED TIERED SKIRT

Tiered skirt

Here’s a “recipe” for a skirt you can sew without a pattern. I made this one for myself from some fabric I bought in Penang, that’s been sitting in my fabric stash for the last 9 years (gulp, is it really 9 years since we went to Penang? Matthew and I got engaged not long after that). All it is is four strips of fabric, each one longer than the last and gathered together to fit the one above. It’s pretty easy but you’ll probably need a little bit of sewing experience.

What you need: fabric, a sewing machine and thread, scissors, pins, calculator, tape measure, 3mm wide elastic for waist, iron.

Here’s what to do…

First measure yourself (or the person who the skirt is for) at your widest point, the part that is euphemistically called the hips. Add 15cm to that measurement and write that number on a piece of paper. Your first piece of fabric at the top of the skirt needs to be that long and about 25cm wide. (My top piece was 120 x 25cm). Sew the ends of the piece together with a 1cm seam allowance. Sew a wide hem at the top of the piece, wide enough to just fit the elastic through, leaving a hole big enough to thread the elastic through. I like to iron down the hem and then sew it.I also like to press all my seams before continuing on the next step.

The next strip of fabric needs to be 1.3 times longer than the first so multiply the number you wrote down by 1.3. Cut you next piece of fabric that long and 17cm wide. Sew the ends together. Run two rows of gathering stitches 8mm apart around the top of the second piece and then pull up the threads so that the second piece is the same size as the first, making sure the gathers are evenly spread over the fabric strip. Pin the second piece to the first and sew together between the gathering threads.

Do the same thing with the 3rd and 4th pieces but make the 4th piece 20cm wide. Each strip should be 1.3 times longer than the previous. You’ll probably need to join pieces together to make the strips long enough. Sew a wide hem on the bottom of the skirt. Remove the visible gathering threads. Run elastic through the casing and pull up so that it fits your waist but is long enough to stretch over your hips. Iron the whole thing and trim any loose threads. My mum always said that your sewing project is not finished until it’s been ironed.

TIME FOR ANOTHER COMPETITION

Just the other day I noticed that I’ve had 25, 000 visitors to my blog since I started in April 2007. Amazing huh? I can thank Knitting Pattern Central for a huge chunk of them, people searching for instructions on how to make felt, make curtains, make tea cosies, people searching for yarn reviews, and friends and family who keep coming back regularly. Thanks to everyone who leaves comments. I appreciate them greatly.

The prize this time is your choice of yarn from my Hand Dyed yarns up to a value of $15. You can see them all by clicking on the Hand Dyed Yarn For Sale tab at the top of the page.

All you need to do is leave a comment telling us about your favourite knitting or craft book or mag and why it’s your favourite. I’ll publish the list of the books and mags you like in a future post so that we can all find out what the best publications are. This competition is open to anyone anywhere in the world (except my extended family, sorry guys). I’ll pick a commenter at random to win. My usual method of choosing a winner is to write down all the names on pieces of paper, put them all in a bowl and let Matthew choose one. Last day for entries is 21st Feb.

Looking forward to hearing from you…

Have a good week, Sarah.

 

Christmas recipes 13 December, 2007

Filed under: Craft,Home cooking,Travel,Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 10:30 am
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Hi there everybody, it’s been a while since I posted but for a very good reason. I’ve been in England for 2 and a half weeks and then at Moonta Bay for 3 days. For your reading pleasure this week I have a couple of Christmas recipes, a little report on my trip to England and some ideas for making your own gift tags. Enjoy.

CHRISTMAS PUNCH

Here’s a recipe for making your own Christmassy punch. In our family, whenever we make punch for a party, it must include pineapple juice, ginger beer and cold black tea. These are the essentials and any other drinks such as orange juice or lemonade may be added. Just add whatever you like and see how it tastes! We had 6 people over for dinner last night and what follows is what I put in the punch. It was pretty popular. I also make it when the weather is stinking hot and plenty of cold drinks are wanted.

Ingredients: 750ml ginger beer, 1 litre pineapple juice, 1 litre cranberry drink, 500ml strong black tea, 750ml lemonade, large handful of mint leaves, ice cubes.

Make up the tea in a jug and allow to cool then refrigerate. Have all the other drinks nice and cold. Not long before you want to drink the punch, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl or very clean bucket. Since you probably can’t fit a bucket in your fridge, it’s a good idea to make sure all the ingredients are nicely chilled before you make it. Fill a large jug with punch and add some ice cubes and serve.

The cranberry drink added a Christmassy flavour and a lovely red colour to the punch.

Christmas punch

SAGE AND ONION STUFFING

Stuffing for your Christmas chicken or turkey is easy to make yourself so there is no excuse for buying packet stuffing that is stuffed with artificial flavours and dehydrated mystery. This is the way I always make stuffing but usually without the sage and some extra dried herbs.

Ingredients: for one chicken (double everything for a turkey): 2 slices good quality bread, a large handful of fresh sage, 1 tsp mixed dried herbs, 1 onion, 1 clove garlic, olive oil, large pinch salt.

Cut the bread into 1cm cubes, finely chop the onion and sage and crush the garlic. Put all the ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl and mix well. Add enough olive oil to moisten the mixture. You may need up to a quarter cup. Mix well. Before you stuff the bird, wipe the cavity with a paper towel to remove any extra moisture. Pack the stuffing firmly into the bird and cook as you normally would.

I don’t have a picture of the stuffing because all the stuffing from 2 chickens got eaten!

MAKE YOUR OWN GIFT TAGS

I like to make my own gift tags each Christmas from various scraps of cardboard and last year’s cards. I always keep the cards that have suitable pictures to be reused. In an hour or so you can make as many cards as you’ll need. This is a good activity for the kids to get involved with.

What you need: scraps of thin cardboard, old Christmas cards, scissors, glue, a hole punch, stick on stars

Card scraps

Here are some ideas of tags you can make from scraps like the ones above:

Just cut out a pretty picture from a card and punch a hole in one corner

gift tags

Cut the pretty borders from old cards and glue them to a piece of plain coloured cardboard. Add some stars.

gift tags

Cut small pictures from old cards and glue them to a piece of plain coloured cardboard

gift tags

HOLIDAYS

From 13th November to 2nd December I was in England visiting my sister, her husband and their 10 month old baby. This was the first time I had seen my niece. She is the sweetest little thing and is even cute when she is crying because of the way she sticks her bottom lip out.  They live just out of Oxford and we spent most of our time in the Oxford area and we went to London for a few days. I did plenty of wandering around Oxford. Even if you don’t go any touristy places, Oxford is lovely just to walk around. My sister and I went to St Edmunds Hall which is one of the oldest colleges. The chapel was decorated by William Morris and the wood carvings are especially lovely. We had a brief wander in the Bodleian Library and we went to see the graves of Tolkein and CS Lewis, two of my favourite authors. Aside from that we went for a few drives, visited some family and lazed around watching tv.

I only went to 2 yarn shops while I was there. The yarn shop in Witney (a small town near Oxford) has pretty run-of-the-mill yarns such as Sirdar and Debbie Bliss but it also has all the Noro yarns. While in London we went to Loop in Islington. It is very up-market and has a good range of high-end silk, alpaca, merino, cashmere and loads of books. I bought some Blue Sky Alpacas pure alpaca and silk/alpaca blend yarns, some sock yarns and two tiny balls of Habu kid mohair/nylon. Yes I was feeling rich and reckless that day! If you are in the Islington area of London Loop is definitely worth a visit. I’ll no doubt do a review of some of these yarns at some stage.

Wow, real life holly (this is a novelty for an Australian at Christmas)

Real holly

A church in a tiny Oxfordshire village, Shelsbury

Shelsbury church

Tolkein’s grave at Wolvercote Cemetary, just outside of Oxford

Tolkein’s grave

Last weekend we went to Moonta Bay on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia for a few days with Matthew’s family. We fished off the jetty, ate the fish and generally lazed about. It’s beautiful there. I can definitely recommend it for a few days of fishing and relaxing. We caught squid, garfish, tommies and some mackerel-type things that we didn’t know the name of. We also caught trumpet fish but they don’t taste good so we threw them back. If you catch a trumpet fish and hold it up to your ear you can hear it honking quietly. Amazing!

Moonta Bay Jetty

IN OTHER NEWS

Good news Australian yarn lovers! YARN magazine has found a buyer and will be continuing. The next issue will be out in March 2008. I’ll be continuing to write the Yarn on a Shoestring column and will be having more of my patterns published.

Well that’s it for this week. Coming up next week: yarn reviews galore (well maybe 2 or 3).

Have a great week. Sarah.

 

Start thinking about gifts 1 November, 2007

Filed under: Craft,knitting,Weekly useful stuff,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 5:48 pm

Hi there everybody,

Now that it’s November, it’s time to start thinking about the making of Christmas gifts. Many gifts take a fair bit of preparation time, especially if you are going to try and knit everyone in the family a pair of socks. Gifts that involve drying herbs and flowers and cooking also need plenty of preparation time. Since there’s less than 2 months until gift-giving season, now is a good time to make a list of the things you’d like to make. To that end, this week I’ll give some instructions for making pot pourri and pomanders, two things that need about six weeks to complete. Real knitters know that knitting doesn’t stop when the weather warms up so there’ll be a yarn review as well. (Actually, I do more knitting in the hottest part of summer that other times of the year. It’s way too hot to go outside so I sit inside by the air conditioner, watch the Australian Open tennis and knit.)

MAKE YOUR OWN POT POURRI

Pot pourri is a fragrant mix of dried flowers and spices that is put around the house and in wardrobes to be both decorative and air perfuming. I like to make it myself with a mixture of flowers and herbs from my garden, some purchased whole spices, dried citrus rind and a little essential oil or perfumed oil.

Pot pourri

Drying the flowers and herbs

Pick a mixture of flowers and herbs from your garden. I used lavender, rosemary, santolina and rose petals. You could also use lemon balm, thyme, lemon verbena and calendula flowers. Tie the herbs up with string and hang somewhere to dry. The rose petals can be dried in a paper or string bag. I find the bags that onions come in to be best. I don’t usually have enough rose petals at one time so I let some dry and then pick some more and so on until I have enough.

To make dried citrus rind, peel strips from citrus fruit with a vegetable peeler. Using a needle, thread the strips onto a string and hang to dry.

Drying the ingredients for pot pourri will take a week to 10 days.

Herbs and flowers for pot pourri
Drying herbs and flowers

Once the herbs and flowers are nice a dry it’s time to mix everything together. Strip the leaves from the rosemary and santolina and cut the flower heads from the lavender. Put them all in a large bowl with the rose petals and citrus peel.

Other ingredients

Other ingredients you might like to add to your pot pourri are star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves and ground spices. The whole spices add interesting texture and the ground spices add significantly to the fragrance. The other vital ingredient is some essential oil or perfumed oil. The oil will be absorbed into the dried ingredients and keep the whole thing smelling good for a long time. You only need a few drops of your favourite. To my mixture I added 3-4 drops each of orange, lavender and rosewood essential oil.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Put the mixture into an airtight container and store it in a dark place for 4-6 weeks to allow the fragrances to develop and mingle. It is then ready to be packed up as a gift or displayed in bowls around the house.

MAKE YOUR OWN POMANDER

A pomander is usually hung in a wardrobe or cupboard and serves a very similar purpose to pot pourri in that it is both decorative and sweet smelling. The other benefit of a pomander is that the smell will keep moths away from your clothes. They are quite amazing things to make and you’d think it couldn’t work but it does.

What you need

An orange, a handful or two of whole cloves, a knitting needle or skewer, 1 tablespoon of mixed ground spices, a couple of metres of satin or velvet ribbon, a pin (dressmakers pin) .

Take your orange and start sticking the whole cloves into it. If the skin of the orange is a bit tough, poke holes for the cloves with the knitting needle or skewer first. Put the cloves fairly close to each other, not quite touching. (Have a look at the picture). When the whole orange is well covered with cloves, roll it in the ground spices. Put the orange in a paper bag and leave it in a dry dark place for 4-6 weeks. The whole thing will shrink and shrivel and dry, the clove oil preserving the orange inside. When it is good and dry, attach some ribbon as pictured. Secure the ribbon with the pin in the bottom of the pomander. You can now give it as a traditional gift or hang it in your wardrobe.

In the photo below the pomander on the left has been in my wardrobe for a few years. The one on the right is in progress.

Pomander making

SELBY’S YARN PICKS

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Live 2 Knit Claudette. 100% Mongolian Cashmere, fingering weight, 55g/375metres, $30.90.

This is the kind of yarn that you buy just so you can hold it next to your cheek and pat it. Pure luxury. I have had the pleasure to knit with and feel a scarf made from it. It is very soft and has a lovely halo when knitted. It is sold as a 4ply yarn but I think it’s closer to a 3ply when knitted up. It has a slight tendency to split so don’t use your pointiest needles. There is a very wide range of hand dyed colours available so everyone should find a colour they like. It isn’t cheap but you certainly get what you pay for with this yarn. This is special occasion luxury yarn, but don’t hide it away just for special occasions! At just over $30 it’s still cheaper then buying a readymade luxury cashmere scarf or going to Mongolia to find one! I think this yarn is best suited for lace shawls and scarves or small luxury beaded hand warmers that don’t need to stand up to hard wearing. You can find it and other beautiful yarns at Live 2 Knit.

That’ll do for this week. My trip to England looms closer (I leave on the 13th) and I’ve got Christmas knitting to do and a sock knitting class to organise. For those living in or near Adelaide, don’t forget the Craft and Quilt Fair is on 8-11 November at the Showground.

Have an excellent crafty week. Sarah.

 

Make Your Own Curtains 18 October, 2007

Filed under: Craft,Home cooking,knitting,Weekly useful stuff,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 9:19 am

Hi everybody, I’m back.

The last two weeks have been pretty busy. My Dad came over from NSW to stay for a few days, Matthew had a whole week of Karate training and a tournament, we almost finished having the house rewired and we went camping at Burra Creek Gorge for a few days. I got very little knitting done and I’ve been missing my blog. Coming up in the next few weeks there’ll be more yarn and book reviews, I’ll give some ideas for Christmas gift making, talk about Ravelry and report on the garden. This week we have soup, curtains and Heirloom Cotton.

Let’s get started with the curtains

MAKE YOUR OWN CURTAINS

Curtains can either be very expensive to get exactly what you want or cheap for readymade ones that don’t quite fit and are produced in few colours and patterns. Sewing your own gives you the best of both; they are inexpensive and you can make them just the right size and colour to suit you. I’ve just finished some for our spare room/office and over the past few years I’ve made curtains for every room of our house in various styles. You don’t need any special equipment either. Don’t be afraid of making curtains; they are much easier to sew than clothes!

Styles of curtains A good curtain book will tell you about all the many ways of doing curtains but here are the three I’ve used in my house.

Rod and clips: these are just 2 hemmed rectangles of fabric attached to the rod with clip-on curtain rings. These rings clip onto the fabric and then slide onto the rod, which is a thin powder coated metal rod. You can buy the rods and clips at Spotlight and they are a very cheap and easy way to do curtains. I have these curtains in my kitchen. Another advantage is that they are easy to unclip for washing. Hem the sides and then the top. Hem the bottom last. Clip the rings on at regular intervals and then slide onto the rod.
Rod and pocket: again using a powder coated metal rod in my laundry but you can use any kind of rod such as wooden dowel, a strong string, whatever. A rectangle of fabric is hemmed at the sides and then sewn over at the top to form a tube. The rod slides into the tube. Hem the bottom last. For a little frill at the top, stitch along the top of the tube, about 2cm in from the top fold. The rod slides under that stitching.

Gathered: rod and clip and rod and pocket designs are gathered as they squeeze up on the rod. They are best for less formal decorating. Gathered curtains are gathered up with gathering tape to fit the rod neatly. They look stylish and neat and a good for more formal decorating. These are a little trickier than rod and pocket or rod and clip designs and use a little more equipment. I have these kind of curtains in the lounge room, the office and the bedroom.

Making gathered curtains

What you need: fabric, sewing machine, pins, scissors, gathering tape, curtain hooks, rod and rings, tape measure, sewing thread, iron and ironing board.

Work out how wide each curtain needs to be. Curtains should extend about 20cm past the side of the window. Measure how wide your window is, add 20cm for each side and then divide that by 2 if you want 2 curtains. Now you need to decide how gathered you want the curtains to be. If lightly gathered, you’ll need the fabric to be about twice as wide as the finished curtain, if heavily gathered about 3 times as wide. Add about 10cm to allow for the hems.

Now work out how long each curtain needs to be. The top of the curtain should be about 20cm above the top of the window and the length is up to you. Measure your window, starting 20cm above the top of the window and down to where you want the bottom to be. Add about 30cm for hems and gathering area.

Now you can go and buy your fabric. While you’re buying the fabric, you’ll also need to buy gathering tape and hooks. The gathering tape needs to be as long as the curtains are wide plus some extra. Tape comes in different widths and I like to use one that is about 7cm wide. The packets of hooks have information on the back saying how far apart the hooks need to be and then how many hooks you’ll need for your size curtain.

Now get to work: Cut the fabric to the correct size. Iron and then sew a hem down each side of the curtain. Your hen should be folded over twice so no raw edges are showing and be about 2cm wide. Iron over the top of the curtain. The first fold can be about 2cm and then the next fold needs to be as wide as the gathering tape plus 2cm. Pin the gathering tape onto the fold, with the bottom of the tape close to the where the hem will be sewn down. Note that there is a right side and a wrong side of the tape. The side you want showing has extra bits of tape where the hooks hook in. Sew the gathering tape and the hem at the same time, through all thicknesses. Sew the top of the gathering tape in place. Gather up the curtains by pulling the threads in the tape until the curtains are the right size for the window. Tie a knot or a bow in the threads so that they don’t come loose. Don’t cut these treads. When you need to wash the curtains, they will wash better if you can ungather them. Even out the gathers along the threads. Put the hooks into the tape at regular intervals. Once the rod and rings has been installed by a handy person, put each hook through the little ring at the bottom of each curtain ring. Do not hem the bottom yet! Allow your curtains to hang in position for a few days to allow the fabric to drop. Then you will know exactly where to put the bottom hem. Sew a deep hem, about 5cm along the bottom of the curtains and then hang them back up. Done!

This is what the top of gathered curtains look like.

Curtain top and rod

Here’s what the top hem, gathering tape and hooks look like.

Curtain tape, hem and hook

Here’s the bottom hem

Curtain hem

Tips

Any leftover fabric can be used for tie backs or matching cushions. If you want to add a blackout fabric to your curtains, pin the blackout fabric to the main fabric before you begin and treat the two fabrics as one. It is especially important to let them hang for a few days before hemming as the fabrics may drop differently. If using patterned fabric, buy extra so that you can match each curtain. The people in the shop where you buy your materials usually know lots about curtains so don’t be shy about asking questions.

UNDERGROUND SOUP

No it’s not soup that you eat on a London train or illegal, black-market soup, it’s soup made from vegetables that grow underground. I make it when the vegies are in season. It’s healthy and tasty and I call it Underground Soup.

What you need: 2 tbs olive oil, 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 carrots, 2 parsnips, 2 potatoes, 1 sweet potato, 1 litre water, 2 tsp stock powder, salt and pepper.

Roughly chop all the vegetables. Heat the oil gently in a large pan and then add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion and garlic gently for a few minutes. Add all the other ingredients. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the vegetables are very tender. Allow to cool slightly and then blend using a stab mixer or a blender until the soup is nice and smooth. Taste and add as much salt and pepper as you like. Reheat the soup gently and serve with a dollop of cream or yoghurt. Mmmmm.

SELBY’S YARN PICKS

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Heirloom 4ply cotton (50g, 165 metres), made in Australia

Heirloom 4 ply cotton

This is an excellent plain 4ply cotton, very smooth and much softer than other 4ply cottons available. There is nothing fancy about it, making it perfect for a wide variety of projects. I like to use it doubled for dishcloths and it makes excellent childrens’ cotton clothes. For adults it makes lovely cool summer clothes, either knitted or crocheted. Its softness and very slight loft mean that it never looks stringy. It comes in 16 colours but most of them are pale pastels and not very inspiring. However, the creamy off-white and the natural beigey-brown are lovely. You can expect to pay around $5 a ball, which is more expensive than other 4ply cottons but worth it for the extra softness. I found some discontinued colours at my LYS recently for $3.75, so some dishcloth knitting is in order or perhaps some facewashers.

BURRA CREEK GORGE

We hadn’t been camping for so long that when Matthew had an unexpected week off work, we decided to head off for a few days. We were planning on heading down to Newland Head, down near Victor Harbor but when we saw the weather report we changed our minds and went north instead. Strong winds, cold and rain are not at all pleasant anywhere near the Southern Ocean. Going the other direction seemed a better option. It was still windy and cold at Burra Creek Gorge but at least we could expect our tent to stay pegged in the ground. Burra Creek is about 25kms south of the town of Burra and about 2 and a half hours’ drive north of Adelaide. It is an old copper mining area and very beautiful in a bare Australian kind of way. The creek winds its way through a gorge full of ancient river red gums, tiny wild flowers and reeds. The soil is red and the water in the creek is very clear. There are all kinds of birds and sleepy lizards lazing around. Sleepy lizards are not just lizards that happen to be sleeping, they are actually called sleepy lizards. They are fat, slow sort of creatures with interesting markings and stumpy tails. They are also called stumpy-tail lizards. These two were lying on the road and crawled away so slowly that I had time to find the camera, jump out of the car, and take their picture before they found a rock to hide behind. Our few days away were exceedingly relaxing and reviving. I was glad to get home and have a shower though!

That’s it for this week. I’ll leave you with some photos of Burra Creek Gorge and some sleepy lizards.

Sleepy Lizards

Burra Creek Gorge

Burra Creek Gorge

This is what Burra looks like when you’re not in the gorge.

Near Burra

 

Fun with Dyeing 13 September, 2007

Filed under: Craft,Hand dyed Yarn,Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 11:20 am

Dyeing is fun, not to mention all the puns you can make the dyeing/dying thing (I dyed today. I’m dyeing. I’m going to dye next week. Dyeing is fun. Dyeing can change your life and so on and so on.) I always have fun playing with colours and yarn and I always wish I’d made more hanks so that I can keep going. I dyed lots of cotton yesterday (pictured below along with some wool) and you can buy it! Go to the Hand Dyed Yarns For Sale page and peruse the new additions. Next week I’ll be dyeing a large amount of mohair/wool/acrylic blend yarn and maybe some laceweight and I’ll add that to the list of available yarns too.

Dyed yarns

I dyed some t-shirts too. This was my first go at tie dyeing since I was a kid. I had a couple of t-shirts that used to be white and new and nice but after a few years of constant wear, were not looking their best any more. Perfect candidates for being spruced up with some dye.

SIMPLE T- SHIRT TIE DYEING

Here is an easy way to tie dye t-shirts. This is how I did it anyway. You can do it in the kitchen without making a mess and hopefully all you’ll need to buy is a packet of Rit powdered dye. I bought mine at Lincraft but you can also buy it at the cheaper department stores. Each colour costs around $6 and it’s enough to dye several t-shirts should you want them all the same colour.

What you need: a cotton t-shirt, vinegar, a packet of Rit dye powder, water, string, a microwave, a medium sized bowl, a microwave safe container, scissors.
To mix dye for one t-shirt: into the bowl put 2 teaspoons of dye powder, 4 tablespoons of vinegar and a cup of very hot water. Mix to dissolve the dye. Add cold water so the bowl is about half full.

Tie up the t-shirt: gather up the t-shirt from the centre front and tie pieces of string around it as pictured below. Tie up other smaller sections too if you want.

Tie Dyeing

Immerse the t-shirt in the bowl of dye for a minute. Remove it from the dye and let the excess liquid drain away. Put the t-shirt into the microwave safe container. Microwave on medium-high for 2 minutes. Wait for 2 minutes and then microwave again on medium-high for another 2 minutes. Leave until it is cool enough to handle. Snip off the pieces of string. Rinse the t-shirt under running water until no more dye is coming out. Squeeze gently, spin dry if you want and hang to dry completely.

Easy huh?! Here are my results…

The two purply ones were my experiments and the pink one is the result using the above instructions.

Tie Dyed t-shirts

Don’t forget to enter my competition. You could win some knitting goodies. Have a look at the post of 6th September for the details and photos of the prizes.

Thanks for the congratulations on reaching 5000 visitors.

Have a good week. I’d love it if you’d all leave comments to let me know that you read my blog.

Sarah.

 

Make Your Own Peg Bag 2 August, 2007

Filed under: Craft,Hand dyed Yarn,Vegetable gardening,Weekly useful stuff,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 3:46 pm

Hi there everyone,

It’s Tuesday again… no, wait… it’s Thursday. Sigh, it’s been a busy week.

This week I’ll show you how to make a very useful peg bag out of some fabric and a wooden coat hanger and I’ll give you a yarn review. Hope you like it.

You may have noticed a new page called “Hand Dyed Yarn For Sale”. Please have a little look. People who see my yarn in person say that it is lovely and that the colours are beautiful so rest assured that even if my photos aren’t great, the yarn is. Since my sources of yarn are cheap, I can offer you original, hand painted yarn at low prices.

MAKE A PEG BAG

Peg bag

The idea of using a coat hanger in this design is not quite my own. I saw a picture of one in an interior decorating book. It didn’t come with instructions and the design was quite different. I liked the idea and so I made one for myself that matches the red and white decor in our laundry. Mine has been in use for a couple of years and has faded a little. The coat hanger gives it sturdiness and means you can hang it on the clothesline or the laundry trolley while you hang out the washing and then hang it on a hook in the laundry when you are done.

WHAT YOU NEED

A piece of fabric about 65cm long and 25cm wide. Use a heavy cotton fabric.

A sewing machine and thread

A wooden coat hanger

A small saw like a hack saw or pruning saw (yes really!)

A small length of ribbon

Pins

An iron

WHAT TO DO

Cut your piece of fabric into a rectangle measuring about 65 x 25cm.

At a point in the centre of the width and 11cm from one end, make a 1cm long buttonhole using the sewing machine. This is where the metal part of the hanger goes through the fabric into the wooden part of the hanger. If you don’t know how to do a buttonhole, the instruction manual of your sewing machine should explain it.

Now you join the ends of the fabric and make the opening at the same time. Make all seams 1.5cm from the edge. Pin the ends of the length of fabric together. Sew a seam at either side of the ends for about 5cm so that the ends of the fabric are joined only at the sides and there is a large gap in the middle. To make the opening more secure at the edges, sew backwards for 1cm at the opening edges. Press the seam open and continue pressing the top and bottom of the opening to make a hem around the opening. Sew down the raw edges of the join and the opening about 5mm from the fold line. You now have a long piece of fabric, joined at the ends, with a neat and secure opening in the seam. It’s a bit hard to explain so have a close look at the picture.

With wrong side facing out, lay the bag flat so that the button hole is at the top fold line. Pin sides together and sew a seam down each side of the bag. Turn it right side out. You now have a bag with a small hole at the top and an opening about 10cm down from the top.

Put the bag up against the hanger with the buttonhole and the metal hook lined up. Mark on the hanger where the bag edges are. Using a small saw, cut off the ends of the hanger so that it fits into the top of the bag. Remove the metal hook and put the hanger inside at the top of the bag. Poke the metal hook through the buttonhole and screw into the hanger.

Tie a piece of ribbon around the bottom of the metal hook. Fill it up with pegs and make doing the washing a little easier.

SELBY’S YARN PICKS

imgp1142.jpg

Heirloom Alpaca 8ply, 100% Alpaca, 50g, 95 metres, made in Australia.

Heirloom alpaca

This is the best commercially produced alpaca that I have come across. It is soft, smooth and lofty and has just the slightest amount of halo. Some alpaca can make you itch and some can be a little rough. This one, however is almost as soft as angora and not at all itchy. It knits up like any other 8ply or DK weight at 22sts to 10cm, perfect for substituting into 8ply wool patterns. It is pleasant to knit with, doesn’t split and glides easily through your fingers and on to the needles.

What I like best about Heirloom Alpaca is the colours. Although there is not a huge range of colours, each one is heathered and made up of many colours to achieve the main colour. The light blue, for instance, if you look carefully, contains light green, pink, lilac, mid blue and light blue. The pink contains light pink, mid pink, lilac and light purple. The heathering is just visible in the finished knitting, making for beautiful, dynamic colours. Aside from the heathered colours, there is a light brown and white twist which is also lovely.

For huggable, comfortable and warm garments, this yarn is an excellent choice. It retails for around $7 a ball which is not a bad price for 100% alpaca. I highly recommend it.

IN THE GARDEN

After a couple of sunny days the weather has turned cold and wet and, once again, our lounge room has turned into a drying room. If I go for a walk in the garden my shoes get very wet. Our broccoli is finished. We have eaten some and frozen some and the remainder of the plants go to the chickens where they get devoured. We have had some caulis already and there are more to come. I never really liked cauli until I tried homegrown ones. We have had some baby carrots but I’ll let most of them grow larger before we eat them. Our broad beans are flowering so beans aren’t too far away. The potatoes are grand and the chickens are giving us about 5 eggs a day. I think when the weather warms up our peas will be happier. We have ordered various seeds for spring and summer vegies and also a heated propagating tray. This should help us get the summer veg growing early.

I’ll be spraying the stone fruit trees shortly for leaf curl. This needs to be done in late winter and again as the buds begin to swell. Leaf curl spray is basically copper and prevents the tree succumbing to the fungus that causes the disease. Spraying is particularly important if you have pruned the tree because the fungus can enter more easily where the cuts were made.

Many thanks to those who read my blog regularly. Please leave comments and questions so that I know who you all are.

Sarah.