Playing with Colour.

Do you remember that gorgeous bunch of flowers that Abi gave me for my birthday?

They were so beautiful, especially the lilies that it seemed a shame to just throw them away so I decided to use them to dye some yarn.

I have dyed with natural dyes before so I knew that there  are often surprises along the way and I wasn’t disappointed!

I stripped the flowers just before they died off, chopped them up and boiled them for a couple of hours. While the flowers were boiling I prepared the yarn.

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I had put the stamen into the pot too and knowing how much Lily stamen stain I was thinking I might get a bit of an orangey pink for the colour.

Well, the first surprise was that the spoon went bright yellow while the water was pink.

Once I started to dye the yarn it turned quite orange, a lot more orange than I thought and to be honest, a lot more orange than I wanted, although considering the ratio of stamen to flowers I should have guessed that one as the stamen stain so much.  Sadly the photo of the yarn at this stage seems to have gone for a wander 😦

Finally came the time to wash the yarn.  Here was the biggest and best surprise because most of the orange washed right out and I was left with a gorgeous flamingo pink!

Those stamen stained everything else, the carpet, my jumper and even my face but not the yarn!!  Not that I was complaining, I love the colour now 🙂

I was now a bit concerned that the dye may not be colourfast so I rinsed it as I usually do until the water ran clear and then left it to dry completely.  I then washed the yarn again to double check its colour fastness and was pleased that not a single bit of colour washed out.

I would love to dye with lilies again (hint for more flowers Abi if you’re reading this) as the colour it produced was just gorgeous.  I would also like to try and re-create the colour with my acid dyes.

This skein of yarn is now available in my Etsy shop (inspirationalyarns).  Oh yes, you can get 10% off your first order too with the code ‘firstorder10’ if you’re interested.

I hope you’re all enjoying your week so far, mine is a typical holiday week, the house is a mess with muddy footprints and dirty shoes littering the conservatory floor but Josh is having fun and that’s what hols are all about 🙂  Josh has a friend round today so I took the opportunity to jump on the laptop quick and say Hi!  I shall try to get around to posting again next week if I can.

I hope those of you with school holidays have a lovely time with your children and that all of you lovely peeps have a very happy and creative week.

Sharon xx

 

 

 

Out and About!

Before I get going  I was wondering if anyone has had any problems with my posts crashing?  One lovely reader gets about halfway through reading my posts on her phone when the page crashes.  I do have a mobile compatible layout but if there’s a general problem I’ll look into changing it.

Well now for a little catch up.  We had the most gorgeous weather at the beginning of last week,  a little teaser that spring was on its way,

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actually it felt like it was here but then we were back to chilly dark days again but then I guess that is probably a more accurate reflection of the British weather at this time of year. Then again today has been so gorgeous that Abi and her cousin went to the beach and knowing them they are sure to have had a paddle at the least!  (yes they did!!)
Last Monday, to make the most of the sunshine Abi and I decided to take a picnic down to the beach at Bexhill on the way to an appointment I had at nearby.

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We found a little spot next to the break water that was sheltered from the wind and once I had buried the dog mess next to us it was just amazing.

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Sitting quietly with no one else around,  enjoying the beauty and listening to gentle breaking of the waves.

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I had thought to put sun block on, (I am photosensitive and the sun makes my lupus flare and gives me a rash) but I forgot to take a hat.  I wasn’t too worried as I didn’t think the sun would be too hot but after a while I borrowed Abi’s beanie. Unfortunately the sun was stronger than I thought so the rest of the week I paid for it but you do know what?  It was worth it,  it really was.  Those quiet moments together don’t come often enough and it was just such a lovely time.
We also managed to catch another little bit of time outside but this time it was a lot colder.  Josh had an appointment in Eastbourne so we put my wheelchair in the car and on the way we called into Hampden Park, you may remember it from this post.  It’s in the village where I grew up and I have many fond memories of walks there especially on Sunday mornings with Dad, feeding the ducks.

Josh enjoyed playing by the stream

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I was busy making the most of the tree skeletons before they grow their new leaves.  I love the tree skeletons, in fact it’s become a bit of a family joke as I always comment on the trees when we go out for a drive!

and enjoyed seeing some of the old trees that I remember from when I was a little girl.

I used to love playing about on the tree roots and now it’s great to see Josh enjoying them too. (I sound really old now!)

We ended up at the swings where Josh soon disappeared into the distance and Abi had just as much fun on the swings. It was lovely just to be outside enjoying the park.

Saturday Hubby also took Josh to the skate park for the first time where he had great fun on his scooter.

Hubby had a go and of course he went flying!  Thankfully only his pride and his jeans were hurt!!

So that concluded our week on the out and about front.  I have some crafty bits to share with you soon but Abi is now off for a week and with the Easter hols I may not be about much for a couple of weeks, I guess that may well depends on what the weather does!!

Wishing all a very Happy Easter and Happy Crafting!

Sharon x

 

 

 

 

Challenges, crochet spinnning knitting designing!

I have quite a bit of creativity to chat about this week.  Wips, to do’s and help me’s!!

Firstly Josh’s blanket (I am keeping this project in the fabric basket I got at Portsmouth in the summer).

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I ripped back the blanket in January and started again with a more mindless pattern so that it could be my ‘no brain power needed’ project but I’m still going so slowly with it!  I think a lot of the problem is Josh!!  Poor Josh, it’s not his fault directly but he is having a real job getting to sleep in the evenings so he is not going to bed so early.  By the time he is asleep (anywhere between 9 and 10)  I am ready to hit the hay myself!

Also, to be completely honest, I am just not enjoying it.  I just have so many ideas for other things and other wips I would rather be doing that I overlook it! I have been mulling it over and decided to challenge myself (appealing to my competitive spirit usually works 😉 ) so, I will aim to work on it either for 15 minutes or work 1 row a day five days a week.  Probably Monday to Friday but if I miss a day I will catch up at the weekend.

While I am challenging myself I may just add 10 minutes of spinning a day to the challenge.

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I have hardly touched my spindle this year and again it’s because I’m not enjoying it.  I just don’t enjoy the colour I am spinning.  Abi loves it though so there will be a use for it so maybe if I aim to spin it for a birthday gift for her (June) I may just have the incentive to get back on my spindle.

I am also thinking that my spindle could do with a case of its own.  Maybe with a separate pocket for the fibre?

Also on my hooks I have another crochet shawl that I am designing. This time I am using the yarn that Abi’s boyfriend gave me for Christmas.  It is a lovely soft cotton, I love working with cotton but the only downside is that it can be rather splitty and this one is very splitty, so much so that if I don’t keep on top of sewing the ends in I end up with tassels!

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Despite this though I am loving working with the yarn and enjoying how the design is working out.  I am using the gorgeous bag that Jane made that was in my Stitching Santa swap.

I have made some bits and dyed some custom yarn for a yarn swap I have entered that Mina of the Knitting Expat Podcast is hosting but I won’t show them yet as I have told my swap partner about my blog!  I love the yarn colourway that I design for the swap and shall show you all the bits once my partner has received them 🙂  Oh yes, and while I’m on the subject of dyeing…

I’ve been thinking that the lilies Abi gave me for my birthday would make a great natural dye, so I may be trying that one out next week!

I have also made a couple of project bags and done some more dyeing so there are a few more bits in the shop.

The socks I am knitting for Abi are also only coming along slowly, this time it’s the doctors fault!!! 😉  I am keeping them for knitting when I wait for appointments as they are so portable, (especially as I keep them in my Japanese knot bag which hangs perfectly on my arm as I knit).

Anyhow, the reason it is the doctor’s fault is that she has been on time lately!  I always have to wait ages at the doctors and suddenly she decides to be on time! – I mean, it’s wonderful that she’s on time but what about my knitting?  I shall just have to start arriving extra early.

I did decide to buy extra ‘Big Softie’ yarn with my birthday money, lots of!!

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Hopefully enough to make a lovely oversized sweater. I am thinking of doing my own design so it will be interesting to see how that goes!  I’m not too sure how easy it will be to frog as it’s a singles, I think there will have to be lots of planning and drawing first!

Now to my knitting dilemma.  I am wanting to knit a shawl.  I have some  yarn that I dyed that I would love to use.

And maybe this one to twin with it!

But I just can’t decide on a pattern.  I have a couple I have downloaded, the latest being Mina’s brioche shawl.  I love this design but I am really not sure if my knitting is up to two colour brioche.  So if any of you have tried it I would love to know how easy it is? I have watched Mina’s tutorial which is really clear and helpful and has given me a bit more confidence but I’m still wavering!

Also do you have any other knitted shawl patterns to recommend?  I will be using 4 ply, each hank being 400m and I would like to use one or two colours and also try something new, like the brioche or maybe some simple lace?

I’m not sure why I haven’t started a pattern yet as I’ve been wanting to do this since the end of last year.  I’m sure if I was looking at crocheting a shawl I would have started it by now, maybe it’s just my lack of confidence in knitting that is putting me off!

So with that lot on the go I think it’s time I sat myself down in the sun and got on with it, yes we actually have some sun today, enough for Abi and her cousin to try out sunbathing in the garden, I’m not too sure how long it will last!

I hope you all have a creative and lovely weekend.

Sharon xx

A Birthday and Mother’s Day!

It doesn’t seem possible that it’s over a year since I posted about my 40th birthday!!  This year was a lot quieter!  I didn’t have many presents as several people gifted me money which I have put by for now to wait for something special.

My first gift was early, from Abi and her boyfriend, as we had nowhere for her to hide it! They gave me two bar stools for the new breakfast bar Hubby has built.

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They also gave me some flowers on the day.

Josh got me this lovely notebook which is ring bound so that I can always add more pages and a little message inside.

I also had some creme eggs.  I have a bit of a weakness for these, in fact, I had a craving for them when I was expecting Abi and they may have had something to do with the her being a rather big baby at 9lb 8oz!  I ended up with a cesarean as she was too big for me!!

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Finally some blocking mats, well, they are kiddies play mats but the same as blocking mats and a lot cheaper! They were about £14 for a pack of 18 on Amazon.

Oh, I have to show you this card too!  I love it, it describes perfectly my friendship with this friend, we often talk on the phone and they are not short phone calls, it is great having freinds that you can talk to about anything and everything, do you have someone in your life like that?

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We had arranged to get together again as a family on my birthday as it seems to be a weekend that suits everybody.  We went for a walk and then back to my sisters for tea.  It was lovely to get to spend time with my family on my birthday.

For Mother’s day I got some more flowers from Josh, I love the deep red with the yellow

and Abi gave me some lovely squishy yarn.  It’s Sirdar big softie and is a singles yarn.  I am thinking that some of my birthday money may have to go on some more of this, as at the moment I am thinking of crocheting a jumper with it.

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Creativity time seems to be a little sparse at the moment, I think with Abi working shifts I usually keep the days and half days she is off free to do things with her if she isn’t busy which is lovely and I wouldn’t change it but it does cut down the creative time!

I hope you all have a lovely and creative week!

Oh yes, and before I go you can still get 15% off in my Etsy shop using the code ‘opening15’ until March 15th.

Sharon xx

 

 

 

A Busy Year, News and an Offer!

Hi everyone.  I mentioned at the beginning of the year a couple of goals I had for this year. One of these was to create a pattern each month!

In January I designed a crochet shawl pattern which I am really pleased with.  Actually, I’m not the only one in love with it, so is Abi, she promptly claimed the first one, then loved the colours of the second too and claimed that too so I nabbed back the first although she would have happily kept both!!  Anyway, by the time I had tested the pattern, made alterations etc it was the middle of Feb and then I was so busy with other bits (I’ll tell you about that in a mo) that I have only made a start on my February pattern – another shawl but completely different.

So, what has been keeping me so busy?  I have decided after a lot of thought and prayer to open an Etsy shop, click here.  I don’t have a huge amount of self confidence so it has felt a really massive thing to do.

A name was really tough to come up with but in the end I decided to go with ‘Inspirational Yarns’ as most of the hand dyed yarns are inspired by our family, home etc.  I wonder if you can recognise any?

Here are the hand dyed yarns I have in the shop so far.  – more to list

I have four main bases, Superwash Blue Faced Leicester (British wool) and Nylon in a 4 ply.  Superwash Merino, cashmere and nylon in a 4 ply. Superwash Blue Faced Leicester, silk and cashmere, 4 ply and a Dk Superwash Blue Faced Leicester.

Also in the shop I have some project bags in two styles – both my own design

Japanese knot bags with a circular base

and ‘basket bags’.  I have designed these with an extra wide base and a top that folds down over the outside to create a basket.  Just one size at the moment but more to come when I get time to make them!

Oh yes, look out for the little embroidered mouse somewhere on your bag!

I have my new shawl pattern in there too (and on Ravelry), my ‘Pebbles Asymmetrical Crochet Shawl’ pattern.  here are a few pics

It is a long asymmetrical shawl with a diagonal stripe, which can be worn over the shoulders with the longer side wrapped around and tucked through or more like a conventional scarf.

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and here is the other colourway

I have also made some scripture wall hangings (I’m happy to do custom orders for these).

And that’s it for now.  I have just created a new site for the shop as I don’t really want my blog space to change too much, so although I will sometimes show you what I am making for the shop and let you know when I update most shop news will be on the new blog/site which you can find here.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot, I am now on Instagram too @inspirationalyarns. I am using that both for the shop and general day to day snapshots of life. Please let me know in the comments if you have IG so that I can follow you (that is, if you would like me to follow you of course!!)

Before I go I have a special offer for you all.  A discount code for 15% off of everything in the  shop until 15th March. ‘opening15’ There will be a little surprise gift included in the package for the first three people to order from my shop!