Cross Stitch Finished Projects

Cross Stitch. I’m majorly into cross stitch again. This trend did not start in Australia, but just before – and it has become a bit of a competitor to knitting! I always find that I tend more to cross stitch over the British summer, and even though it was winter Down Under, that didn’t stop me.

Finished Cross Stitch Projects

The day before we left, John bought me a couple of kits to do on the train, as I only had my sock knitting with me. The socks were on metal needles, and I didn’t fancy my chances trying to get them through security. I’ve never had a problem getting knitting through security before, but I’ve only ever taken wooden needles. Now was not the time to start experimenting.

Wedding Sampler

Before I get too excited about this project, I have sad news to share. After travelling from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast to Sydney to Melbourne, the finished object got misplaced and we don’t actually know what happened to it. Despite my best intentions, therefore, I can’t actually show you a photo of it, as I never took one…

Cross stitch sheep with real sheep. Not that I'm obsessed.
Cross stitch sheep with real sheep. Not that I’m obsessed.

Anyway, this was my plane project. The pattern is a DMC one that I got from Hobbycraft, and I chose it because, well, sheep! Before you ask how I got sewing needles on if not metal knitting needles, well, they just didn’t seem to pick up on them at all. I went through airport security too many times to count, sometimes putting just my project bag into the X-ray machines without anything to create ‘noise’ so the needle was harder to pick out on the scan…nothing.

I modified the chart to put the bride and groom’s names and the date of the wedding, and was really pleased with the end result! The day I finished stitching it, however, I got food poisoning, and didn’t finish it off properly. It wasn’t washed, ironed or framed, and I was going to have to leave it with the newly-weds to finish…

The finished sheep love cross stitch. (As it should have been.)
The finished sheep love cross stitch. (As it should have been.)
We all know that this is the one I really wanted...
We all know that this is the one I really wanted…

(The big secret is that I’m kind of relieved it got lost. I get to do another one now, and finish it properly too. The chart was fun, and it’s no skin off my nose to spend another few hours on it. It’ll be a good way to relive the memories!)

Ring Cushions

These aren’t exactly cross stitch, but they were finished for the wedding. I absolutely loved making them, and have a new design to put on my craft stall in August! They’re hessian and an evenweave fabric with lace and ribbon, and stuffed with odds and ends from knitting projects.

Two ring cushions for the wedding.
Two ring cushions for the wedding.
The front and back of the ring cushions.
The front and back of the ring cushions.
Close up of the wedding ring cushion.
Close up of the wedding ring cushion.

They served their purpose well during the wedding!

Koala Bookmark

It was my birthday while we were in Australia, and the newly-weds bought me a couple of cross stitch kits, as well as some yarn, as a present! Aren’t I lucky? I now have a love affair with koalas, after John and I held a lad called Maximillian at the Lonely Pine Koala Sanctuary.

John with the koala :)
John with the koala :)

You know what nobody tells you about holding koalas? They smell. Terrible. It’s all the essential oils from the Eucalyptus that they eat, and they excrete it and get it all over you. So gross. We were at Australia Zoo the one day and walked past an apparently empty tree. I stopped cos I could smell something – lo and behold, there was a koala in the tree!

I have finished stitching the bookmark, and just washed it. When it is dry, I will back it with interfacing and that will be that.

Working on my koala cross stitch with lunch and a beer.
Working on my koala cross stitch with lunch and a beer.
The finished koala bookmark.
The finished koala bookmark.

Bunny and Can’t Resist

These are those mini kits that you can buy in Hobbycraft. I bought them years ago, when I still had Archie (ohhhhh my poor boy) and reeeeally wanted a cat, and stuck them in my pencil case to work on in odd five minute stints.

The three mini cross stitch FO's I managed while Down Under.
The three mini cross stitch FO’s I managed while Down Under.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with them…maybe make a scissor minder!

Lorikeets

On our last day in Sydney, John and I went to Coogee Beach and had lunch together (that’s where the photo of the koala bookmark kit and the pint comes from). While John was away from the table, I had two visitors!

The two lorikeets who visited me for lunch.
The two lorikeets who visited me for lunch.

They hung out with me on the table for about ten minutes – I have a video where one of them eats salt, and the other tries to drink John’s beer! It was so special, and I wanted to remember the moment somehow…

“I come from a Land Down Under” is a line in the song that was our anthem to the holiday, along with the other Brits that made the trip for the wedding. I edited the pattern (which is a DMC one) to put the phrase in!

Two Lorikeets with the trip catchphrase added.
Two Lorikeets with the trip catchphrase added.

I finished this on the plane home, and absolutely adore it.

That’s it for holiday FO’s! I have a few WIPs to talk about, and am still trying to sort out my stash…it is huge both in terms of yarn and cross stitch! Hurrah.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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A Finished Object Bonanza – Knitting

I’ve had a chance to sit down and look at what finished objects actually made it out of my hands while I was in Australia and New Zealand. I’m super pleased with my productivity while I was away, and although I still have to update my Ravelry project pages and figure out how to keep track of cross stitch projects, I wanted to blog first!

I’ll do this in two parts because I got a little wordy…as always.

Finished Objects – Knitting

I didn’t knit as much as I thought I would while I was away, but I did finish two projects.

#hapalong

I missed the deadline for the end of the #hapalong with Knit British, but I worked on Kelpie by Jared Flood, and completed it on July 10th. This was knitted in Rowan Fine Art yarn in two colours that I just do not have the current information on me for (eek). I wasn’t thrilled with it when I had finished the cast off.

Kelpie blowin' in the wind.
Kelpie blowin’ in the wind.
Kelpie keeping me warm while looking out over Melbourne.
Kelpie keeping me warm while looking out over Melbourne.

The lovely Melanie (who made my hat as a birthday present) sewed in all the ends, then helped me to block Kelpie while we were together in Melbourne. John was very confused when we kept talking about the kelpie on the bed, until we got home and he realised what we were up to! As soon as it was blocked and dried, I fell in love with it. It grew a lot, the mistakes that I made basically vanished, and the colours seemed to pop.

Saguaro Hat

I went to a lesson at Wild and Woolly with Renée Callahan in March, and knitted up a two colour cable cowl; the pattern is Saguaro designed by Renee! This was knitalong that a number of people participated in, including the lovely Allison of Yarn in the City.  I appear to have never posted a photo of this…

The Saguaro cowl ready to wear.
The Saguaro cowl ready to wear.

The pattern is a cowl and hat set, and although I had the yarn for the hat, I didn’t think I was actually going to do it. When I was packing for our trip to Oz, I saw it sitting in a project bag with the needles and pattern, so I grabbed it and popped it in my bag for the flying.

I started on the 1st of July and finished it on the 10th while sitting in a pub(!), and wore it without blocking it for a few days. It did not fit. At all. While blocking Kelpie, I popped the Saguaro Hat in too, and was much happier with it. It grew loads, the stitches evened out and it became a great hat for me!

Wearing Saguaro and having a pint during a walking tour of Sydney.
Wearing Saguaro and having a pint during a walking tour of Sydney.

I already knew this, but blocking solves everything.

Baby Hat

We went to New Zealand to meet John’s new nephew, as well as spend some time with his sister and brother in law. It was absolutely fantastic being with them! I loved seeing Ollie, he was adorable, and it has been over two years since we saw his parents, so it was lovely to catch up.

We spent some time in Queenstown, and it was very, very cold – snowing, in fact! Ollie didn’t have a warm enough hat, so I bought some Cleckheaton 10 ply yarn (equivalent of DK) from a gift shop in Queenstown, and knitted him up a hat.

Ollie's hat - Mach 1.
Ollie’s hat – Mach 1.
In the snow in Queenstown.
In the snow in Queenstown.

I didn’t follow any pattern, and deliberately made it a little big so he could grow into it. Unfortunately, Mach 1 had 2×2 ribbing, which I didn’t think anything of while making it. It turns out that this is far too elastic and tight for a little baby…so I frogged it and started again.

The second hat was completed in Milford Sound – I’m not sure if he will ever wear it as the sizing seems to be a little funky and I wasn’t convinced it fit him particularly well…I had fun anyway, and got two hats for the price of one. Good value yarn!

Ollie wearing his new and improved 1x1 ribbing hat!
Ollie wearing his new and improved 1×1 ribbing hat!
Milford Sound in New Zealand - one of ten clear days per year!
Milford Sound in New Zealand – one of ten clear days per year!

That was it for knitting. I worked on one pre-existing project and cast one on…you’ll have to wait for more news on those.

I’m so pleased to be back! Tonks has been charming me with her silly behaviour, our flat feels like home, and I’m enjoying having Fully Functioning Internet again. I’m even pleased to be running again (don’t tell anyone I said that). How was your July?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Back from the Land Down Under

I come from a Land Down Under! We got back on Monday, and appear to have missed the British summer… Although it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, I had a fantastic time meeting up with old friends, making some new friends, meeting some knitting friends who I only know off Ravelry, attending a wedding, holding a koala, seeing humpback whales up close and personal, and so many more experiences of a lifetime that I will talk about in the coming months.

Wedding in Brisbane, with the beautiful Rachael and Toby getting married. My wonderful best man is to the right of the photo!
Wedding in Brisbane, with the beautiful Rachael and Toby getting married. My wonderful best man is to the right of the photo!
After a 36 hour flight, our first day in Brisbane involved a two hour hike in the Glasshouse Mountains.
After a 36 hour flight, our first day in Brisbane involved a two hour hike in the Glasshouse Mountains.

We travelled from London to Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast to Sydney to Melbourne to Auckland to Queenstown to Auckland to Melbourne to London. And breath! I did a lot of crafting on all of the flights and during our travels, and I also ate a lot! I didn’t do a lot of running, and put on far too many kilos to talk about actual numbers…

After being away for exactly a month, flying over 25,000 miles, buying a lot of souvenir yarn/fibre, and missing my cat terribly, I am finding it quite tough to get back into the swing of things in England.

My holiday stash!
My holiday stash!
The purse I needed to pay for all that yarn...giant purse on the streets of Melbourne.
The purse I needed to pay for all that yarn…giant purse on the streets of Melbourne.

Blogging about Down Under…

I’ve been trying to figure out how to kick-start my blogging again, and I had originally planned to do a photo-update of the trip. However, my computer is having a hissy fit trying to download all my photos from my phone, not to mention I’ve had terrible problems with my email services, and our living situation has changed a bit. What a thing to come back to! I’ve been sorting out stuff and can’t face actually processing that number of photos and writing the update.

The photos I’ve put in this post are all from my Instagram feed!

Holding a koala called Maximillian at Lonely Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Holding a koala called Maximillian at Lonely Pine Koala Sanctuary.
Groot likes piña coladas!
Groot likes piña coladas!
John on the City Cat in Brisbane!
John on the City Cat in Brisbane!

Instead, here is a list of some of the things I did that I intend to blog about. If you have any preference as to what comes first, shout out! Otherwise, sit back and enjoy what August will bring you on Plutonium Muffins.

  • Suitcase Sale in Brisbane
  • Yarn Shops in Sydney
  • Morris & Sons in Melbourne
  • The Victoria Guild of Spinners and Weavers
  • Yarn Shops in Queenstown
  • Yarn Shops in Arrowtown
  • My Antipodean Obsession with Cross Stitch
  • Lord of the Rings yarn!
  • Sheep Shearing in Brisbane
  • Sheep Shearing on a mountain in Queenstown
  • Masco Wools in Auckland
  • WIPs for the trip
  • FOs for the trip (there were a few!)
  • Sources of inspiration for crafting

I’m sure I’ll think of a few more, but that seems plenty to be getting on with for now! Here’s a little clue of what our soundtrack to the trip was. Try get it out of your head once it’s in there…

YouTube Preview Image

I had intended to blog while I was in Australia and New Zealand, but had trouble getting online. I have so much respect for our Antipodean friends in their engagement with the knitting, fibre and online community – especially podcasts and videos. I will be back Down Under one day, you mark my words!

Much love,

Corrie xx

A Portugese Man o' War in Auckland.
A Portugese Man o’ War in Auckland.
In the snow in Queenstown.
In the snow in Queenstown.
Sydney Harbour Bridge to the left - the opera house to the right.
Sydney Harbour Bridge to the left – the opera house to the right.
Fairy Penguin in Melbourne.
Fairy Penguin in Melbourne.
Milford Sound in New Zealand - one of ten clear days per year!
Milford Sound in New Zealand – one of ten clear days per year!
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Brighton Knit and Make Social

Saturday found me in Brighton with a group of Yarn in the City fans, for the Brighton Knit and Make Social! This was a mini-crawl to Brighton, with a few shops, some good knitting time and some great cake involved…

This weekend has been something of a Yarn in the City bonanza, as a group of us also ran the Nike Women’s 10km in Victoria Park! I got a personal best, was rewarded with a glass of champagne and two new tote bags (because you can never have enough, right?), and John took me out for a tasty good lunch to celebrate. See you at the next one?!

Brighton Knit and Make Social

We all met at Brighton Train Station early in the morning and caused a ruckus on the concourse with knitting, shopping trolleys and a desperate need for coffee, amongst excited chatting. I was thrilled to meet some lovely new people, and also enjoyed seeing some old friends that I had not expected to see. After waiting for the last few trains to arrive, we set off on our quest with joy.

Structure at Brighton Sewing Centre.
Structure at Brighton Sewing Centre.

Brighton Sewing Centre

The first stop was the Brighton Sewing Centre, a lovely little fabric shop. With some of the brightest and most fun fabrics I’ve seen, as well as an amazing selection of machine and equipment, this shop was something of a revelation. There were boxes of buttons, reams of ribbons, row upon row of lovely prints, and I was sorely tempted to blow my budget without blinking an eye in here.

Front of the Brighton Sewing Centre.
Front of the Brighton Sewing Centre.

A demonstration of an electronic embroidery sewing machine meant that all of us (around twenty) wanted to have our names embroidered so we could enter a competition. I’m loving my little strip of fabric, which I am supposed to be sending off to enter the comp….the jury is out on whether or not I will do that!

I managed to be fairly restrained, and apart from buying some sewing machine maintenance bits and pieces (at an incredibly reasonable price), the only unnecessary purchase here was a meagre £2 worth of beautiful pink shell buttons.

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Ditto Fabrics

There followed a quick walk through the streets of Brighton, squeezing between vintage jewellery sellers, sheepskin rugs, coffee shops, buskers, other visitors, and we arrived at Ditto Fabrics. Another fabric store, this also had an amazing selection of different fabrics. They were less whimsical than in the previous shop, but no less amazing because of it.

I spent my time in this shop pawing through the selection of off-cuts, emerging triumphantly with three lengths of linen that I intend to use for embroidery. The amount of time that I spent elbow-deep in fabric is indicated by the fact that I only took two photos…and not particularly informative ones at that!

Bolts of fabric outside Ditto Fabrics
Bolts of fabric outside Ditto Fabrics
Knitting Books on sale at Ditto Fabrics
Knitting Books on sale at Ditto Fabrics

The rest of the group had a fab time here, with Alli buying a ridiculous amount of awesome fabric that I will not describe as it will go towards her outfit for this years Great London Yarn Crawl, so you’ll have to wait until then to see it! Linda of Kettle Yarn Co also went slightly mad (in the best possible way), and we left her to it clutching bolts of fabric to herself while we wandered off for some lunch and knitting.

Hanging around outside Ditto Fabrics.
Hanging around outside Ditto Fabrics.

Lunch

Some brief backstory here; the night before was John’s leaving drinks, and I had consumed rather more than my fair share of beer. As a result, energy and appetite were low. When lunch was suggested, I was initially going to stop and have a cup of tea, then wait for my stomach to settle…and then I walked past Cloud 9 bakery.

This was my lunch, no word of a lie.
This was my lunch, no word of a lie.

I don’t think anyone is surprised that I bought this for my lunch. It was vanilla flavour, supercharged with sugar, and totally, totally delicious. Of course, it was also ridiculously rich and left me feeling that I had preferred my hangover to this particularly substance abuse, but cake.

We ate in the park outside the Royal Pavilion, which was absolutely beautiful, although there were a lot of seagulls trying to have a go at our food. We then sat for about three hours knitting (boy did I get a lot done…). Then it was off to…

YAK

Brighton’s hub for the knitting and crochet community, YAK (short for yarn and knitting) is run by the lovely Kate. I have so, so much respect for what she has achieved. The shop opened in January 2015, and as well as having some rather exciting sounding parties of the launch type, also has an A-list of guests and teachers visiting from time to time.

I won’t go on about the yarn stocked too much as the website is excellent – here are some photos though!

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Once we had all had some time to peruse the shelves, Alli and Rachel announced the door prizes. These were sponsored by Erika KnightLioness ArtsThe Uncommon Thread and Yellow Bear Wares, and won by a bunch of very deserving people. Danni, Ce and Claire of the last three sponsors respectively were all in attendance, and Claire had her Yellow Bear Wares wares set up for us to have a paw through.

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I ended up buying two skeins of Life in the Long Grass sock yarn in the bramble and atlantic moss colourways. I intend to weave these, and am looking forward to showing them off when they’ve been turned into something beautiful. I had a lot of fun choosing the colours – I feel in love with bramble and spent a long time picking the solid colour to go with it. Suggestions ranged from lemon yellow to bright pink…I can’t wait to see how it comes out.

I had a great time, and can’t wait for the next YitC event. We had amazing goody bags sponsored by Fripperies & BibelotsSoak and Porpoise Knits Designs (Rachel), and a great bunch of people in Brighton. YitC do a knit night in Clapham Junction on Wednesdays from 7 pm, which is great fun (although it takes me a ridiculous amount of time to get there) and I recommend anyone looking for a new knit night in London gives it a go.

Here’s a quick heads up – the Great London Yarn Crawl tickets go on sale on the 1st of July, and sell out quick. You can sign up to their newsletter to find out when they’re on sale, check out the website.

I hope to see you out next time!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Friday Round-Up: hapalong, multiple crafts, cats

Time for a Friday update, and I’ll be honest, I’m scraping the barrel a little this week, although I have been playing with a lot of different crafts. We leave for Australia in just over a week (!!) and I am not ready. I need to pack (aka buy) suitable clothes, choose which projects are going across with me, sort out the cat and the myriad other things involved in going away for a month. The stress and anxiety has been slightly overwhelming, and I have spent a lot of time in bed.

Nevertheless, I will find five good things to talk about this week.

Cross Stitch

I’ve been getting really into my cross stitch again, particularly after unearthing this guy again and thinking about how to frame him. I haven’t quite got there yet. I wanted to re-stitch him, but I can’t find the chart as I made this project well over ten years ago, and you can’t buy the PDF online. Frustrating!

The first design I ever cross-stitched, a Newton's Law design.
The first design I ever cross-stitched, a Newton’s Law design.

I’ll be doing an introductory post to cross stitch later on, mainly for the benefit of my lovely friend Lucia, with whom I will be stitching the below project. As if Lucia and I aren’t working together enough, we’re also still on our Harry Potter kick – find out the latest here, including some really interesting thoughts on religion from my partner in crime.

Cat in the Sun

I found this hilarious video on Buzzfeed of life before and after a cat is acquired. (In our case, a cat acquires you…) It really rings true – particularly the last snippet about ‘my cat is the cutest cat in the world’. I think John and I say to each other at least once a day “hey, we have a cat”, “I’m cuddling our cat”, “I touched our cat’s nose”. I don’t know if I will ever get over the fact that I have a cat!

YouTube Preview Image

Tonks and I have been enjoying the sun this week – here she is keeping my pile of darning “warm”. She’s been having a lot of fun hiding my craft supplies, with a bobbin of green embroidery floss going missing and delaying delivery of a project.

Tonks enjoying the bright sun.
Tonks enjoying the bright sun.

I love summer in the UK, and am a bit sad that I will be out of the country for the whole of July. The sun doesn’t go down till 10pm, it doesn’t get fully dark till 11pm or so (bearing in mind it is the longest day of the year this coming Sunday) and the temperature is not too bad for what we affectionately call “the mud puddle”. I’m trying to make the most of it!

John finally found the missing floss hidden in the blanket at the end of our bed...
John finally found the missing floss hidden in the blanket at the end of our bed…

Wedding Ring Cushions

I’ve been putting together ring cushions for the wedding we will be attending in Australia. This has been my first chance to contribute to a wedding using my craft (usually my ability to play music is the skill that is called upon) and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve spent hours and hours looking up patterns, designs, in shops looking at fabric, ribbon, trims…

Plotting ring cushions!
Plotting ring cushions!

Speaking of Tonks playing with my craft supplies, I bought gorgeous lace ribbon for the ring cushions for a bargain price a couple of weeks ago. Tonks was so obsessed with the ribbon that I had to hide it from her so she wouldn’t completely destroy it. When it came to making the ring cushions, I looked for the beautiful ribbon…and I have no idea where I hid it. Argh!

The first cushions I made, which I didn't like very much...
The first cushions I made, which I didn’t like very much…

I didn’t mind going haberdashery hunting for a third time, and when I find the ribbon I will no doubt find a use for it. Silly cat!

The final design, still not completely finished but nearly there.
The final design, still not completely finished but nearly there.

Weaving

I’ve been doing a Deborah Jarcow weaving class on Craftsy: Simply Stunning Scarves. I am really enjoying it. There’s a lot more information on this here – but for now, admire this beauty!

Finally! Some in-progress weaving.
Finally! Some in-progress weaving.

#hapalong

My knitting has slowed down massively – but I am still plodding away on Kelpie by Jared Flood for the Knit British #hapalong. This is nearly up – the end date is the 12th of July (the day after my birthday) and I’m not sure I’m going to finish on time. It is currently my travel knitting (the only time I get any knitting done these days…) and if all else fails, I’ve got 36 hours on a plane coming up…

#hapalong in the pub.
#hapalong in the pub.

So, that’s it for this week! I’m going to Brighton with Yarn in the City tomorrow, and running 10km on Sunday. I’m pretty excited about it all! You’ll hear all about it next week…

Much love,

Corrie xx

Bonus: If you’ve forgotten about this soundtrack, I suggest you go check it out. It’s been keeping me entertained this week!

The Aristocats OST is amazing!
The Aristocats OST is amazing!
Posted in Knitting, Projects, Regular Features, Weaving | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Weaving Simply Stunning Scarves Part One

I bought a loom! I know, none of us has heard me say that for several months…but I have been ‘looming’ away, and after getting bored of doing straight weaving, decided I wanted to learn some new techniques. I could have booked myself in for lessons at the local Handweavers Studio, but due to a lack of cash and time to commit to a term of teaching, I decided to go the Craftsy route.

Craftsy

Of the classes on offer, I looked at what I was available, as well as what I thought would be most useful to me. I have now got some experience weaving, and I wanted something that would challenge me slightly. The two candidates were “Rigid Heddle Weaving: Beyond the Basics” and “Simply Stunning Scarves“, both by Deborah Jarcow. I went for the scarves, as the other class produced a table runner – an item I have absolutely no use for.

Woven scarves that I have produced to date.
Woven scarves that I have produced to date.

Weaving Simply Stunning Scarves – Part One

The majority of my learning up to this point has been via YouTube – Ashford has some particularly good tutorials on their channel. I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks, but after watching the first lesson of Simply Stunning Scarves, I was feeling a lot more confident about weaving. The first lesson contains the introduction, which was super useful as a fledgling weaver; Deborah provides you with tips on what to keep in a weaving tool-kit, and I will make this up soon.

There are four scarves that you are walked through – along the way, tips on how to avoid or correct common mistakes such as an incorrect warping pattern and so on.

The Actual Weaving Process

I’ve so far woven one scarf of the four patterns given in the class. I’ve learned some key lessons so far that are not explicitly included, but useful nonetheless! The first scarf that is taught is an “Open-Weave Felted Scarf”. The key word here is ‘felted’.

“Duh” Lesson One: Know Your Yarn….and make sure it’s suitable for purpose.

As I was ‘playing’, I decided to get out some stash yarn and have a go with whatever was in the Trunk. I pulled out an enormous ball of Hayfield Bonus Aran, and decided that with a high proportion of wool (80%), this would suit my purpose. I didn’t think much more beyond that, and wove the scarf.

Then it came to the felting. Having assumed it would felt because of the wool content, I spent a long time at the sink with boiling water, a washboard of sorts and my scarf. No luck. At this point, I decided to check the properties of the yarn. Which was superwash.

“No fear,” I thought, “as long as I just stick it under enough heat and agitation, it’ll felt…you always have to be so careful with wool, after all…”

Two and a half hours after being put in the roughest wash cycle in my washing machine at 90C, the scarf was resolutely unfelted. This yarn is indestructible.

A resolutely unfelted Open Weave Felted Scarf.
A resolutely unfelted Open Weave Felted Scarf.

“Duh” Lesson Two: Know Your Yarn…and make sure it’s suitable for purpose

I could have moved on to the next scarf in the lesson, which is a thick and thin item. However, I wanted to make sure I had a good example of each scarf to take away from each lesson, so I decided to try the Open Weave Felted Scarf again. This time, I took some Namolio yarn out of my stash and decided to use that. This yarn felts almost as soon as you look at it (meant in the best way possible), so I knew it would be perfect for this scarf.

I warped up the loom (making a couple of mistakes along the way – never fear, I knew how to fix them because I’d just been taught!) and started winding the warp onto the back beam. You have to put an enormous amount of tension on the warp threads for this; without enough tension, the weaving becomes very uneven.

Namolio, while gorgeous, is not the most robust yarn. The spinning is quite loose, and it is a two ply yarn. If one of your plies should happen to be slightly weak and snap as a result of the tension you are putting it under, odds are the yarn will snap in that place. I had nearly finished winding the yarn on the loom, and…snap.

Broken warp - that hole right in the middle of the photo should have a thread running right through it.
Broken warp – that hole right in the middle of the photo should have a thread running right through it.

There was a lot of swearing. I had the choice of snapping the corresponding warp thread on the other side and pretending it was a deliberate feature….or simply unwinding it and replacing that one missing thread.

I went for the latter action, and many hours later was ready to go. It was now 1 am, and I decided I needed to do some weaving before going to bed. Three inches down, I put it all away and went to bed. 

Finally! Some in-progress weaving.
Finally! Some in-progress weaving.
My weaving folded up and ready to go to bed.
My weaving folded up and ready to go to bed.

By the way, replacing a broken warp on a yarn that practically felts when you look at it is no fun. Balance, as it turns out, is important.

I haven’t done any other work on this yet, as I’ve had a meeting with the lovely Yarn in the City girls today, been writing up my thoughts on Harry Potter (join the readalong here!) and have been getting the cars sorted out. I’m hoping I will be able to sit down slightly later and just Get Things Done.

In the meantime, look forward to more weaving action soon! I can’t wait to share the completed Namolio scarf with you…

Much love,

Corrie xx

Please note that I am a Craftsy affiliate. Any classes you purchase after clicking one of these links will give me a little kick-back to help keep the yarn flowing at Plutonium Muffins HQ. There are no obligations to you, monetary or otherwise, and you’ll be doing me a great service! All opinions are my own.

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Felt, Weaving, Harry Potter

I’ve been playing with felt this week! With a couple of other projects on the go, as well as preparation for Australia, my brother moving house and birthdays to plan for, I’ve been ridiculously busy. I don’t anticipate this state of affairs changing much over the next few months, so hopefully you will forgive me and look forward to a busier winter!

Nevertheless, it is time for a Friday update! Here is my list of five great things from this week.

Felt Budgies

I have a subscription to Craftseller, and am delighted whenever a new copy falls through the letterbox. The latest issue arrived this week, and it had two felt projects in it that I was desperate to make! A quick trip to Hobbycraft from some supplies and I was all set! I have another project on the go, but for now I have made this summer wreath with a couple of budgies for fun. What do you think? I’ve learned a lot about dealing with felt in this project.

Making a felt budgie.
Making a felt budgie.
Pair of little budgies.
Pair of little budgies.

Weaving Lessons

I was sent a free lesson to review on Craftsy – this is Simply Stunning Scarves by Deborah Jarchow. I’ll give you more information on it when I’ve competed my lessons…but for now, I’m really enjoying it, and highly recommend it to any of you new weavers out there! It’s currently on sale, and £12.50 (as of the 12th of June 2015) – I don’t know how long it will be cheaper for, so if you want to enrol, don’t wait too long!

(This is an affiliate link. Should you purchase this lesson, I will get a kickback that will help keep the lights on at PM HQ.)

Harry Potter Readalong

My friend and I are Harry Potter fans, and have started a readalong and blog! We’re on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – feel free to join us here!

Enjoying Harry Potter in the sun with a coffee.
Enjoying Harry Potter in the sun with a coffee.

Cambridge

My brother moved back to Cambridge this week, and I spent a day helping him. My, I like Cambridge! He has a huge house, which is so exciting for someone who lives in a tiny flat in London! I always have trouble sorting my stuff out, and always looking for a way to make the flat tidier and things more efficient…so far, not much luck, but it was inspiring to help get the brother installed in his new place and start to get settled in.

Moving old bottles from place to place .
Moving old bottles from place to place .

Father’s Day

I’ve been making cards! The range of Father’s Day cards have been popular this week, and I have sold more than a few of them. There’s not much time until the big day, so even if you don’t want to buy something from me, you need to get yourself sorted out well before the 21st of June. Read more here about the Just a Card campaign for reasons for sending more cardboard hugs!

A custom card made to order from Skinny Lizzys on Etsy!
A custom card made to order from Skinny Lizzys on Etsy!

Time to head back to the grindstone. I’m thinking of everyone, even though I’m too busy to catch up on blogs or podcasts at the moment! The Plutonium Muffins podcast will resume when I am able to sort myself out – possibly not until August though!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Alpaca World

I am a huge lover of Alpaca World Magazine, and was super thrilled when they published my photos of the p-LUSH show in the latest issue of the magazine! For obvious reasons, I won’t post a full photo of the copy, but here is the proof…

Alpaca World

Rachel Hebditch is the editor of Alpaca World, and also one of the brains behind UK Alpaca. I love seeing her and Chas Brooke at shows when we are all in attendance, and I was highly flattered when she told me they had used my photos. I was asked to let them use my photos, and having sent them off, had forgotten totally about the whole thing.

Credit to me for the photos of the p-LUSH show at the Ricoh Arena.
Credit to me for the photos of the p-LUSH show at the Ricoh Arena.
Photo credit on the page for the British Alpaca Futurity Show at the Ricoh Arena.
Photo credit on the page for the British Alpaca Futurity Show at the Ricoh Arena.

Alpaca World is a quarterly publication that is sold in shops across the UK, distributed at shows, and available globally to subscribers. It recently featured on “Have I Got News For You”. I greatly amused my boyfriend when I reached over and plucked the issue that was being talked about off the sofa and held it up to the TV!

Watching "Have I Got News For You" with the current copy of the obscure magazine they used for this particular episode!
Watching “Have I Got News For You” with the current copy of the obscure magazine they used for this particular episode!

There is loads more about it here. The website is very clever! I have been trying to click through the links to articles, which actually tell you what page to look for in the recent issue for that story. I have been enjoying this immensely! As a hobbyist, I really enjoy it – I can’t say what it’s like from an industry viewpoint, but if you think it may be useful and you haven’t heard of it before, then definitely look out for it.


I’m still trying to prepare for various craft shows! In the meantime, I’ve released my Father’s Day cards – you can purchase them here.

Children wishing Daddy a Happy Father's Day! Other designs (including beer!) available.
Children wishing Daddy a Happy Father’s Day! Other designs (including beer!) available.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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[BLOGJACKING] Harry Potter

If I were to talk about my new, Harry Potter project, Plutonium Muffins would soon be over-run with talk of the World’s Favourite Wizard. Instead, you’ll be pleased to know that in a joint project with one of my dearest friends, I’m an author on yet another blog: Read All The Things.

Read All the Things
Read All the Things

Yes, I know it abbreviates to RATTs. I find it amusing!

Harry Potter Blog

This project involves a re-reading of the series of books. Lucia and I will each be taking a month to read the seven books in the Harry Potter universe, starting with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone this June (2015). We will be blogging about ‘the experience’ – Lucia as someone who has not read the books in a while, and me as someone who has the audiobooks on constant playback (don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m joking) and is reading the new editions of the physical books for the first time in a long time, trying to be thoughtful and think hard about everything as I do.

June 2015 is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone month.
June 2015 is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone month.

I’m really excited about this project. Lucia and I have set up a Facebook Group so that anyone who fancies joining us can get involved. There are no real rules – mainly just that we will be discussing the books over the next seven months.

I think I’ve outed myself well and truly as a Harry Potter fanatic now, and you won’t be surprised to see a lot of Harry Potter related fibre arts in the next year or so over here. (I have a grand idea for a cross stitch project.) I would love it if anybody would care to join us. Otherwise, read our words here and enjoy them.

We’ve already been busy! There are some great, meaty posts on the blog to sink your teeth into.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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A cross-stitch WIP

I haven’t been doing a lot of knitting recently, and have instead turned to cross-stitch. I’m still working on my hapalong project, Kelpie by Jared Flood – but I’m not feeling inspired by it, and I’m enjoying a few other crafts instead! With my love for all things crafty, I’ve branched out over the last few days.

Here is what I’m working on at the moment. I have another, bigger needlework project on the go, but I can’t blog about it just yet as it’s intended for someone who will see it if I share it here. Stand by on that please!

Non-Knitting SHEEP

I bought this kit when I was in Barrow-in-Furness last October. The shop was Cumbria Embroidery, reviewed by yours truly a few days after the trip. I was on a bit of a cross-stitch kick, and was really enjoying some gentle needlework of a different kind. I find it so helpful to focus on different things when I’m finding my mental health is a little too much to handle, and this has been doing nicely.

A photo that caused some intrigue.
A photo that caused some intrigue.

I posted the above photo on Instagram, and people guessed it was a cloud, an owl and ‘nothing’. My lovely friend Janet was spot on with her guess, which is made obvious by the next few hours of work. I have had a pleasant evening working on him.

My cross-stitch sheep in much greater glory.
My cross-stitch sheep in much greater glory.

I’ve been watching a few YouTube videocasts on cross-stitch while I’ve been working on this guy, which has been a bit of a change from my usual programme, but actually rather nice. I have been particularly enjoying Carolyn Mazzeo – check her YouTube channel out here.

The kit was expensive (£6.50) and I suspect rather old. I can’t find it online in any case. The thread is not very strong, and is tending to fall apart in my hands, which I’m finding frustrating. The finished project will be about 15cm x 13cm, and I have not yet decided what I am going to do with it. No doubt add it to my collection of sheepy goods!

Despite all of this, I am enjoying it. The pattern is complex enough for me to stay interested, but easy enough to allow me to stitch without too many reference materials! On another note, does anybody know what kind of sheep this is? The label on the kit helpfully says “sheep”. I realise it is not clear from the project as it stands, so here is the cover of the kit.

The sheep as shown on the cover of the cross-stitch kit.
The sheep as shown on the cover of the cross-stitch kit.

I’m not sure when I will finish the project, but I’m going to enjoy every second of it until I do.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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