Friday, 27 November 2015

Paua yarn

No, not yarn made from paua, though that would be rather awesome.  Just that the colours of this yarn remind me of paua shells.  I dyed carded wool of an unknown breed and then spun and plied it on itself. I still have a large bag of this wool so will be further dyeing experiments.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

21 November 2015

From this

 to this

to this

My first attempt at arty yarn, lots of things to do differently next time and I might even look at some instructions instead of guessing how to do things. :)

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Dyeing experiments

 The Spinners and Weavers group I belong to had a retreat last weekend at Awhitu.  The weather was beautiful, and Saturday was perfect for dyeing. I had a few bags of fibre that other people had given away that I decided to dye in the hope that I will now do something with the results. Everything was dyed using Ashford wool dyes and the microwave method where you paint the dye on and wrap in gladwrap for steaming.  You can find a tutorial on this page.

First up is what we decided is probably mohair, it is very hairy whatever it is 
and has a slight sheen to it. It is the fibre equivalent to having a Welsh Springer Spaniel in the house as it just keeps on shedding.

 Then some carded wool fibre of unknown breed.  

And finally some mohair locks, they're still a bit wet in these photos so the colour is deeper than when they dried.

I'm spinning the locks above with some red merino.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

30 September 2015

I bought a secondhand 4-shaft loom, assembled it and then let it sit in the lounge been taking up room and collecting dust for a month. Finally I decided that I had better do something with it so I whipped out  the copy of the book "The Four-shaft Loom" by Anne Field  and followed the instructions in there for a first project, the result of which you can see below.

Of course there were a few mishaps along the way, mainly due to me not reading all the words before starting but  I got there in the end and learnt quite a bit which is after all the point of practise. My navy wool was slightly thinner than the cream and I beat too hard for most of this project so the twill weaves didn't come out properly.  Then I continued with the same warp and tried out a couple of other yarns for the weft.  About a quarter of the way into using the grey I finally realised that I was beating too hard and after that the twill weave patterns looked a lot better.  The cream and red yarns shrunk more than the grey when I washed  the finished piece which is why it narrows.

I haven't forgotten about my rigid heddle loom though, here's a laptop case and bag I made using a piece I wove on that.  The bluey purple colour is actually a dark purple and I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out.  Now I have to decide what to do next, better start something before I forget everything I've managed to learn so far.

Monday, 13 July 2015

New to Me Dollshouse

I've bought a second-hand dollshouse from TradeMe.  It's a Classical Dollshouse and Basement from Dollshouse Emporium. Some of the interior was completed but not to my taste so I have spent the last couple of days stripping wallpaper and carpet ready to start the makeover.

I thought the dollshouse seemed quite large until I started putting my Mackintosh furniture in it.  The furniture is from a range the Dollshouse Emporium used to sell, there was a house as well but it wasn't ever in my price range.  It is a lovely house though, so if anyone wanted to give me one I wouldn't say no.
Next step, undercoating the interior and exterior, getting rid of that dark blue, and deciding whether I want to try wiring the house.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Sparkly Bracelet

I have had the book Fashioning Technology: A DIY Intro to Smart Crafting for several years but haven't got any further than looking and dreaming.  Then burda easy Spring/Summer 2015 mentioned the 21st Century Fashion Kit from and I thought that looks interesting, checked out the website and ended up looking at LilyPad sewable electronics.  I found the sparkly bracelet tutorial on the sew electric website which looked nice and easy and found a New Zealand supplier for the components. And here is the result.
The Front

The back - very boring
 Here it is in action:

  • Conductive thread
  • 4 x LilyPad LED Yellow
  • LilyPad Coin Cell Battery Holder - Switched
  • LilyTiny
  • Coin Cell battery CR2032
I ordered them from  It is easy to use these components, the hardest part was deciding on a design and fitting all the connections in. I still have some components left to use in another bracelet and then I'm coming to try something more complicated.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Chinese Thread Book

 My first try at making a Chinese Thread Book using the tutorial from Paper Kawaii.



Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Paper Tape

Having fun making paper tape.  Basically you just stick double-sided tape on the back of any paper you want to use and then cut into strips, however you can find more detailed instructions here: diy-printed-paper-tape

Monday, 4 May 2015

4 May 2015

Spinning group today and we had a visitor who showed us how to do hairpin crochet.  So this is my first attempt.  This part is fairly easy, but then you have to join strips together and make something.  I think it is a good way to show off some of the multicoloured yarns that just get all muddled up and blurgh when you knit or crochet them.  Will have to investigate further.

Monday, 30 March 2015

New T-shirt

The pattern

Laid flat

And worn. It doesn't hang off the right shoulder like that all the time, just my stance.
Pattern: no.4 one-piece scoop neck asymmetrical top from Drape Drape 2 by Hisako Sato (the english version)

I have had both Drape Drape books for ages but this is the first item I have made from them. I made the L/XL size which is still a bit tight in the right arm.  The neckline is quite low, keep flashing my bra, so when I make this again (which I plan to) I'll adjust the neckline and try to figure out what to do about the right sleeve.

Thursday, 26 March 2015


I am doing the PaperLove e-course run by Rachel Hazell.  It's only the first week but I'm already realising just how much paper I have collected, some might say hoarded, around the place.  This week we are making Pamphlet Stitch pages.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Tea Towels (and a couple of face cloths)

Weaving has been happening.  Just practising and seeing how many mistakes I can fit into one tea towel.  The yarn is cottolin Ne 22/2 in blue and white. It is the same blue in both photos but the top photo is more accurate colourwise.  The patterned stripes in the bottom photo were made using simple pick-up patterns from "The Weaver's Idea Book" by Jane Patrick.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

sister MAG

Just popping in to say I have just discovered this new online magazine, sisterMAG.  The magazine has been around for a while as it's up to issue 17. Their blurb says that magazine topics range from fashion, food, DIY to technology, digital trends and other lifestyle issues and the magazine is targeted at widely interested, well-educated, independent women who are enthusiastic about the digital world and who want to read intelligent information presented in an appealing design. Obviously that's me to a T, it's like they know my life *  but what really made me look at this magazine is that it has free sewing patterns.  

The patterns (or at least the ones I have looked at) come in one size and the sizes seem to range from European 36 to 40.  The instructions assume you can sew, for example for the brown pleated skirt pattern:

 1. Mark pleats then baste.
2. Iron pleats.
3. Close side seams sewing in zipper on the left.
4. Try on skirt adjusting size if necessary.
5. Close pleats up 20cm/8”.
6. Finish the waistband

7. Sew the hem.
8. Re-iron pleats.

Right, I'm off to have a bit more of a look at the magazine.  I'm not sure when I'll get around to trying one of the patterns but if you have a go please leave a comment so I can see what you've made.

 * parts of that statement may not be completely true

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Lola Pants

I've spent a lot of time looking at the StyleArc website, I like the look of quite a few of their patterns, but have always hesitated to buy any.  However they recently started selling pdf versions of some of their patterns through etsy and I finally succumbed and bought the Lola pants pattern.  The pdf is very simple to put together, the only problem I experienced was that my printer printed the watermark logo over the pattern instead of behind it which meant that parts of the pattern outline were missing.  However I contacted StyleArc  about this and within a day they had sent me a copy that worked with my printer.

 This is a basic pant pattern, with an elastic waistband  and elastic at the back cuffs. 

The instructions for the pockets are very basic,  I stitched around the pocket opening to make it look neater. A suggested option is to sew zips into the pocket openings.

I made a size 14 but ended up upicking the waistband and cutting the elastic down to the recommended length for size 12 as the pants were too loose around the waist. I'm not totally sure about the fit of these pants but they are comfortable to wear and I think they are a good casual pant.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Indigo Dyeing

Finally trying out an indigo dyeing kit I bought at a craft show a couple of years ago.  I  can't remember who I bought it from but you can get the same brand ingredients from 
You dip your fabric in the dyepot and when you bring it out it is green.  It turns blue as it oxidises.  You  keep dipping the fabric until it is as dark as you want. The colour fades a bit when you wash it after dyeing and obviously the colour looks darker when the fabric is wet so it is a bit hard to tell how dark the finished product will be.

 I thought the first batch of fabric looked quite dark but after washing it and drying the colour was lighter than I'd hoped for.  The instructions with the dye kit said to soak the fabric in the dyepot for one to several minutes before removing it so I left it in there for about 5 minutes max.

 The second batch I let the fabric soak for 30 minutes at a time and it came out a darker blue, more the colour I was hoping for.

Now I just need to do something with all this fabric!