Category Archives: Dyeing

Hooray for Crochet Mice!

The Making of the Crochet Mice…The Crochet Mice Clock | Planet Penny Pattern from Etsy

I’ve set myself a challenge, to see just how many projects I can get out of the Planet Penny Cotton pack, at one ball of each colour.  One of the reasons I put this collection together is that I found it impossible to find one stockist, on the high street or online, who had every colour to make up a rainbow, and going from place to place, or buying a ball here and a ball there from different online stockists was time consuming and expensive.

From the time I dyed my own colours I was determined to use every scrap of Bluefaced Leicester 4 ply I had so painstakingly coloured myself. I’m still using the little leftovers the needlefelted pincushion from this post, and the Sophie Digard inspired scarf from this post.

I wanted a pattern for crochet mice which was just right for small amounts of yarn and this silky smooth cotton yarn is perfect for amigurumi, and the bright colours just lend themselves to something fun so I devised this cute crochet mouse pattern and made one in every colour.

Crochet Mice using Planet Penny Cotton Colours rainbow yarn pack

Crochet Mice using Planet Penny Cotton Colours rainbow yarn pack - Crochet Mice

crochet mice pattern available from Etsy

crochet mice using the Planet Penny Cotton pack

So I developed my own simple pattern for crochet mice, and used beads for the features as I have made them to be strictly ornamental  However, with embroidered features they are ideal for a small child (just right for little hands) or filled with catnip for your favourite puss cat.

And so the knitters out there don’t feel left out, there a knitted version too!

Knitted Rainbow Mouse Clock |pattern from Planet Penny Etsy shop

a ring of crochet mice

You can find the yarn, the knit and crochet patterns for the mice, as well as other patterns using the gorgeous Planet Penny Cotton yarn in the Etsy shop here

I’ll be back soon …xx

A Reason to be Cheerful? It’s February!

I don’t want to wish the year away, but I’m never sorry to wave goodbye to January.  There’s an optimistic feeling to February, an anticipation of Spring, even when it bitterly cold and wintery.

I have to work a little harder at being cheerful this week because Tim went back to work yesterday, so Higgins, Henry and I are  keeping the home fires burning while he’s away.  It’s good for me that, in Tim’s absence, I have to do more Higgins walking, even when the weather isn’t very nice, like yesterday…

Back at home, exciting things were happening in the garden.  My gardening gurus were giving the whole thing a once over, clearing out ‘ground cover’ plants which have been threatening to smother us in our beds (and have certainly smothered quite a lot of pretty plants in theirs…) creating fixings for over enthusiastic climbers and generally getting things into shape for Spring.  They also mostly finished off what I had started in the veg patch, which has always been my responsibility, so I’m still on target there for when the weather starts to warm up.

The excitement for Higgins was the appearance of long lost toys which have lurked in the undergrowth for months.  He didn’t know where to turn!

Another cheerful thing has been the arrival of a wonderful piece of equipment.  I’ve been wanting for ages to dye some more yarn, (you’ll remember the adventures I have with dyeing here and here) but I’ve struggled to  prepare the undyed yarn.  The yarn arrives in 100gm hanks and I dye it in 25gm mini hanks, in the microwave.  A while ago I bought a winder, not the beautiful antique one I would have preferred at a vast sum, but a cheap and cheerful annoying one, which has never, ever worked properly. There was no where I could easily attach it, every time the yarn got tangled it fell off etc. etc… And the whole winding thing just became such a time consuming back breaking faff I just haven’t bothered.

Until it was mentioned to my friend Bill.   Kit (my buddy and partner in craft) is married to Bill, and Bill, apart from being an amazing artist, a builder of cars, and all round good egg, does like a challenge, even a little one like making a wool winder.

So I now have a be-yoo-tilful wool winder or ‘Swift’, made of mahogany, which will sit on the table and twirl merrily as I get the wool ready for  the dye…

And today, as you can see from the photos of Higgins above, has been glorious…

if very cold.

I had hoped to have finished a new project to show you, but I may have to squeeze in another post instead!  Instead I shall add the Linky on the end, and hope that you have some Reasons to be Cheerful to share.  And if you haven’t got a blog, you can still join in via the comments.

Looking forward to hearing from you…

see you soon ! x

 

Tripping the Light Fantastic!

I can’t believe it’s Monday again, the days are galloping away and I’m scared to look at the Christmas Counter on the side bar!  And we’re still having glorious weather here in Norfolk.  (I apologise if this isn’t the case where you are, honestly, I’m not gloating!)

We went off to make the most of it the other day, if you’ve seen my Silent Sunday post, you’ll know we went to the coast.  I always take my camera, I always take loads of photos – as you’ve probably noticed – but I never tire of the view, the colours, the light and freshly washed feeling in the air.  I hope I’m not repeating myself with all these photos!

We went in the afternoon this time, so the tide was further out…

…and you can see there were lines of the most beautifully coloured seaweed washed up on the sand.

We had seen a parasail bobbing above the dunes as we drove up, and it turned out to belong to a dune buggy wizzing round and round on the flat sand left by the retreating tide…

This was our special beach when I was a child, and in all the time we spent there, we never saw a seal, but now we can expect to see one or two on every visit.  I spend ages trying to get a photo, and usually end up with an expanse of water and what looks like a speck of dirt on the lens, but I think this time you can see it’s a seal..

…or perhaps not! (If you want to find out about when Higgins met  a seal, he wrote about it here! He got much closer than me!)

The seagulls were slightly easier…

…although even they were determined to make a swift get away!

Talking of swift get aways, where’s Higgins going…?

I just love this photo, low flying dachshund!

This time we rather ambitiously decided to climb up and walk back along the dunes, which was slightly hair-raising.  Higgins went first, running furiously and sliding back and so needing a hand under his bottom for a helpful boost, then me, in much the same condition (with less running and more boosting…) and then Tim, heroically preventing the three of us from slithering back down to the beach!

Meanwhile, it’s Handmade Monday again, and I’ve been experimenting.  With Christmas coming up I’m obviously doing the obvious in the way of decorative items, but I’m also working round the whole idea of pretty decorative bits and bobs which, like puppies, are not just for Christmas.  After all, I’ve had my heart and pompom bunting on the dresser for ages, and my origami ball is hanging up in the centre of the sitting room just because I like it.   I love fairy lights, and have them round the mirror, but I decided it would be interesting to see if I could make them just a little bit more Planet Penny.

I have an interesting little basket of  Blue Faced Leicester yarn which I dyed in order to make the Sophie Digard inspired scarf a while ago…

… and thought it might be fun to play around with the colours and make my fairy lights flowery…

Unfortunately, they are really hard to photograph!

I then moved on to another set of lights, this time with lemony yellow bulbs, so I made the flowers with little yellow centres, and they also look really pretty…

especially when I tried them on my wire tree.

It would be lovely to know what you think? Shall I write a pattern/tutorial? I could sell one or two sets in the Planet Penny shop perhaps, for non crocheters. They could go anywhere, being battery LED they’re very safe.

And finally, a further flight of fancy took me back to my pompom maker for a bit more fun…


(and you can also see I’ve been buying pretty things from Vanessa, don’t you love her ‘thank you’ card?)

Phew, I think that’s all I’ve got to say for the moment!  Don’t forget to pop over to Ist Unique Gifts for the Handmade Monday Linky where you’ll find lots of other lovely things going on!

See you soon x

 

All Wound Up with Sunset Colours!

hand dyed sunset colour lemon yellow

Hooray! I’ve wound all those lovely colours into nice neat balls with my trusty wool winder. I do like using it, it makes such nice soft balls which mean that there is no tension on the yarn to stretch it.  I’m working on an idea at the moment, which I hope to show very soon, although I have had very little help from the four legged members of the family.

Apparently the only reason I ever sit down is so that my legs form a lap, and the only thing in the world that a lap can be used for is not to support a book or some knitting, or, heaven forbid, a pattern and knitting, it needs a cat, no, a dog or both, or a jealous punch up between  cat and dog.

So keep your fingers crossed that tonight the fire is hot enough to keep them squabbling over the warm spot on the hearth rug instead of the warm spot on my lap so I can get to grips with my woolly project.

I have made some really cute little baby shoes though.  there’s something about tiny baby shoes, isn’t there? My three babies were born with enormous feet and were really slow at learning to walk so by the time I came to buy them shoes they were practically into adult sizes! (I’m going to get into trouble for this!)

However, I was really keen to find out how well the wool I have just dyed would felt so I knitted this…

 

knitted baby shoes

…and then I just popped them in the washing machine with a normal wash and they came out looking like this…

Aren’t they sweet?  I’m so excited about them! (and yes, they are nearly small enough for Higgins to wear before you suggest it, and no, because he would eat them!)

And today the sun shone and Higgins and I went for a walk and there was NO MUD! (well, it was sort of fudgy, but it didn’t stick) and I’ve just realised where I got my colour scheme from..

See that shadow?  It’s me!

After so many grey days it’s just magical watching the pink splashes spreading across the purply violet clouds and that golden glow before it vanishes as if someone has flipped a switch. Then it’s a quick trot home to get back in the warm.

And finally, I have been working on the Hearts and Pompoms tutorial and if you want to make your own version it’s on the Tutorials page at the top.  Please let me know if you do, I’d love to see.

Right, ok, I’m going to tiptoe off to the sofa now and try and do a bit of knitting befor someone spots….THE LAP!

See you soon x

P.S. Siobhan, I tried to email you but it didn’t work, but I just wanted to say Yes! my cat is Henry and the ‘My Fair Lady’ connection IS why we named Higgins as we did.  By George, you got it!

A Time to Live…

…and a time to Dye!  Do you remember this post?  It was all down to wanting a Sophie Digard inspired scarf similar to the one which Vanessa made and not being able to find the colours I wanted. 

Well I’m at it again, this time with a larger palette of dye shades. Last time I ended up with this inspiring basket of yummy colours…

 and I am still using up all the little ends in the needle felting even after I’ve crocheted the ends of balls into tiny flowers.  When you’ve dyed it yourself you don’t want to waste an inch!

I had a kilo of 4ply wool to wind into 25gm hanks which has taken quite a long time to get out of the way. 

 It’s so BORING!  Trouble is, once you’re in the swing of it, you just want to keep mixing and dying and its too frustrating to have to stop to wind more wool so you’ve got to get everything ready beforehand.

I got the utility room all geared up to make a start last night,

 and immediately got a volunteer to help…

Thank goodness Higgins can’t jump quite that high!

I’ve carried on mixing and microwaving and rinsing on and off ever since.  It actually fits in really well with writing the blog as I have 15 minute time slots while the microwave is doing its stuff to sit here typing! (It does mean I’ve abandoned the rubber gloves and I’ve just noticed how grey my hands are getting!)

The light is fading now and I have a very fed up little dog wondering why we are not out walking, so I will leave you with a glimpe of the story so far!

A Colour Infusion

I try so hard this time of the year to convince myself I like autumn.  I look at all the beautiful photographs in Country Living of autumn leaves, and snuggly coats and interesting things to do with sweet chestnuts.  I read articles about the joys of crisp mornings and hot chocolate by a roaring fire and, while I like all these things, nothing can make up for the shortening of the days, and the prospect of the colour gradually leeching out of the surroundings as winter approaches.

Today has been glorious and I took the camera out to capture the last few flashes of colour in the garden

09

So while it’s sunny outside I make the most of the colour left in the year, and when the weather turns, I, and my studio assistants, Henry…

…and Higgins…

…(Oh dear, you can’t get the staff!)… get stuck into the dye bath and making our own colourful landscape.  Using the microwave has been a revelation as far as dyeing is concerned.  I’ve never really used it it much in the kitchen apart from defrosting things, heating up my wheat bag and exploding custard (don’t ask).

dyes

Using the Easifix dyes I’ve been able to work out a foolproof method of mixing the dyes, getting reliable results and not ending up with multicoloured hands and splashes all over the walls. I had the most wonderful time experimenting with mixing the powders and the amounts and have been really excited by the variety of hues possible just using the four shades, Turquoise, Golden Yellow, Ultramarine and Magenta. I have been so organised! colour swatches

…and now I have a whole gardenful of beautiful yarn to play with…

If I never made anything with all these gorgeous colours I would happily sit and look at them, but I do have a project in mind…

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