Year of Projects 2018

Year of Projects 2018

Whilst reading MrsMcD918’s blog posts I came across the Year of Projects.  I then went onto Ravelry to read a little bit more about it and joined one of the Ravelry groups.  The ‘year’ technically started at the beginning of July but I am only a few weeks late.

So, what is on my list for the year?

Wet felting

  • A case for my craft scissors
  • A picture of my dog Ylva
  • A loose casual waistcoat or top 
  • A project bag using the plastic loop handles in my stash
  • A coin purse
  • Make a fancy scarf or wrap using nuno felting

Needle felting

  • A 3D animal…probably my dog Ylva
  • Make up some more bug related fairies…to go with my ladybird one

Spinning

  • Spin all the commercial fibre currently in my stash on Ravelry @ date of posting!
  • Spin 200g of alpaca fibre currently in my stash
  • Master chain ply
  • Create a fractal spun yarn
  • Spin some tweed yarn
  • Create my own wool and silk blended spin
  • Create an official (not accidental) art yarn 

Dyeing

  • Dye some of the natural fibre tops in my stash
  • Dye some my own spun yarn and the undyed bought skein I have

Knitting

  • Finish my Chimney Fire cardigan*
  • Make my husband a pair of socks
  • Make my dad something for Christmas
  • Make up a matching accessory set from my perpetual purple paradise homespun yarn
  • Make the shawl with my Rowan Lima yarn
  • Make a 2nd pair of socks for myself
  • Learn brioche stitch
  • Learn fair isle knitting and knit one of the small fair isle items in my queue

Crochet

Oh my is that too many things?!  But that barely makes a dint in my stash, so is it enough!?!  We shall see as the year goes on.
 
*I drafted this earlier in the week…and after a few days of knitting my Chimney Fire cardigan I am only on row 9 of the upper body and I am already stuck and have reached out to a lady on Ravelry who created one that inspired me to buy the pattern, to see if she’d be willing to help me…if not I will have to contact the designer…at this rate I will be struggling to finish by Christmas, never mind the rest of my list! 

My latest wet felting creation

My latest wet felting creation

Years ago I thought about joining the Highland Felting Group which meet in the town that I live in, on the last Saturday of each month.  Finally, all these years later I plucked up the courage to go along and what a warm friendly welcome I received.  There were other new members too, so I wasn’t the only newbie.

I didn’t really know what I was going to make, but I had dug out some seriously bright pink merino and some (UK) air force blue shaded merino to counteract the brightness of the pink.  I also had some scraps of dyed blue and pink silk.

By the time I got there I had set my mind on making a bag (or purse for US readers) with a flap, with most of the pink hidden on the inside!  

The photographs do not do the pink justice…it is BRIGHT!

Wet felted bag
Rose and blue bag

 

Inside view of rose and blue wet felted bag
Open view of rose and blue bag

I have in my mind that I will use it to keep sock ‘work in progress’ projects, but its still drying at the moment.  It also needs to be pressed.  When its open I can hang it over the side of the sofa and I can use the flap pocket too!  

The ladies in the group were very kind in their comments about it, so I am glad I put my ‘big brave girl’ pants on and went along! 

Next month I thought I would make a scissors sleeve and perhaps some smaller bags or a purse (US wallet) we shall see.

How craft making and Scotland rescued me

How craft making and Scotland rescued me

Life before…

My life was consumed with working hard and very long hours to earn money for a few weeks a year of international travel.  We went to many fabulous and breathtaking places around the world including Hawaii, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Australia, various US states and parts of Italy.  I also travelled to Peru and Bolivia for 31 days as a mix of holiday and unpaid leave (Follow links to see photo highlights).  And so I thought my blog was turning into a travel blog…

The breakdown…

At the end of 2016 I started to burnout and lose control of my mind, I wasn’t coping at work despite (or perhaps because I was) working almost every waking hour and not making enough progress to satisfy my own high standards. By early 2017 I was a jibbering wreck, unable to stop crying all the time and was eventually signed off with anxiety and depression.  When my sick pay ran out I couldn’t face returning to work, stressed at the thought and afraid that my resilience was too weak and I would return to old habits of working every hour and so I requested a 12 month sabbatical (unpaid leave).  So I am due to return in September, unless I resign.

My new life…

Whilst off work I have started doing more craft type things, I have wet felted a hat and a handbag learned how to knit, made some sea glass jewellery, bought a spinning wheel and I’m now learning how to spin.  We bought a tent last autumn and instead of international travel we have been exploring the North of Scotland and some of its many Isles either with the tent or renting small cottages.
I have been blown away by the scenery that we have seen…and with my calmer mindset I can actually be present and fully enjoy being in the moment and after walking 20k steps enjoy an evening sitting in our tent with my husband and dog and knitting another hitchhiker scarf! Scotland has white sandy beaches and turquoise water, okay you need to wear layers, not a bikini…but then you often get a beach to yourselves!
As for my future…we shall see!
October 2017  
Isle of Eriskay, Western Isles, Scotland
 March 2018
Coral beach, Isle of Skye 

 

June 2018
Sango_Sands_beach_Durness.jpg
Sango Sands beach, Durness
Balnakeil beach, Durness, North Scotland

 

Dusting off my sewing machine

Dusting off my sewing machine

Despite doing numerous rounds of decluttering the house, I kept thinking “one day I will re-use my sewing machine again”….and I kept telling myself that for about 15 years!!!!!!!!!

Today I finally dug it out of the study wardrobe, rummaged around for the instructions and fetched a bottle of 3-in-1 oil in case it had seized up having not been used for a decade and a half (at least)!!!

I half expected it to blow up when I plugged it in, but a good few drops of oil on all the parts and it burst back to life!  There was a weird incident where the reverse button got stuck and I sewed one side in reverse!!!  Not sure how I can oil that part.

As you can imagine I am totally out of practice using it, but made a liner for my new felted bag I made.  I am happy enough with the results and if I make some more I am sure they will get neater, but for now I am very proud of my efforts.

 

Brother VX-1200

 

 

 Lining.jpg

Inside_bag.jpg

 

 

Wet felting…my first bag…updated

Wet felting…my first bag…updated

To make my bag I used:

  • ~160g of wool felting tops (2 shades Mulberry (from Kiki’s craft corner) and Maroon (from Gilliangladrag)
  • soap (I use olive oil soap)
  • a sushi mat
  • a homemade plastic template (I used an existing bag as a basis, but you need to multiply the size by 1.4 to allow for shrinkage)
  • some netting
  • a section of pipe insulation
  • large piece of bubble wrap (small bubbles version)
  • hot water
  • something to sprinkle the hot water evenly (I have a special felters bulb spray but a small watering can, squeezy bottle would work)
  • the wooden fulling tool isn’t essential, but it is handy to change method of agitation
  • towel to cover flat surface
The ingredients!

There are loads of YouTube clips on how to wet felt and Gilliangladrag website sells products, kits and has some how to videos.  I would say I made the bag first, then made the strap, so I have sewn the strap inside the bag.  I made the strap long enough that I could overlap the strap to the bottom of the bag so that I could sew a good amount and hopefully the handle is secure.

I needle felted a bit of wool curls along the edge of where I had turned down the opening, just for a bit of detail and to avoid needing to tidy the edge.

The front

The back

I will probably give it another cool iron to reduce the wrinkles and attach a clasp inside.  For a first attempt at a bag and only my 4th go at wet felting anything, I am really please with how it has turned out.

 

Update: I have now added a lining, toggle and my logo lable.