Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Make Lounge

Last night I went to a class at The Make Lounge in north London. This was my first visit to their new location near Highbury & Islington - previously they had been next to Angel tube station. Both places are convenient for me to get to after work, which is great!

As it says on their website, The Make Lounge offers contemporary craft workshops with a stylish, social twist – perfect for embracing the ‘make do and mend’ ethic in a fashionable way! And they're right. The new location offers several brightly lit rooms with large tables for working on, quiet music in the background, and an assortment of drinks and nibbles to enjoy.

So last night I took their Survival Sewing course and it was really good. Five of us brought along things that needed small repairs - ranging from loose buttons and hanging hems to stuffed animal surgery and the transformation of a dress into a top! We all got clear demonstrations of the "felling stitch" for hemming and the best way to put on a button, and then those of us with simple repairs got to work while individual tuition was given to the people with more complicated projects.

I am proud to say that I have repaired the hem on my best "dressy" trousers, replaced the missing button on my coat and secured several others, and gotten started on raising the hem on a new pair of jeans. The plush spotted seal that another person brought has come through surgery fantastically, and a little boy won't be tripping on the hem of his cricket trousers anymore. And all this in only two hours!

I'll be going back in spring for another workshop, about zips and buttonholes. After all, I'll need someplace to put all my newly attached buttons!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Get your Fiber on!

Sheepshape Spinning will be represented in the April 2009 Phat Fiber Sampler Box! People who get a box may get a sample of my glow in the dark alpaca yarn or a piece of hand-dyed roving, and one very lucky person will get a miniature knitted sheep with big ears!

Click here to see a list of all April's contributors!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

I've contributed to the Stone Soup Challenge

What a deal - not only am I supporting a fellow crafter and getting karma points in the Stone Soup Challenge, but I also have two braids of this to look forward to!

This is Superwash roving from Hullion Artworks.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Let's make Stone Soup together!

When you were younger did you ever read the book "Stone Soup"?

In Stone Soup, a stranger comes to a starving village and looks for food. He puts a pot of water on the fire and adds a stone, telling everyone he is making stone soup. Gradually, the villagers come forward with ingredients to add to make the soup. The contributions are items that the villagers are hoarding due to their fear of starvation. Each villager only contributes a small amount, but the end result is a soup that feeds everyone.

Right on the heels of yesterday's post about the slowing economy, I've discovered the brilliant Stone Soup Challenge.

It's about independent crafters helping each other by pledging a percentage of their net sales to buying other handcrafted items. If you're a crafter and would like to join then see the information post on the Stone Soup Challenge blog. If you're not a crafter why not visit the blog's main page for the latest featured artist?

Monday, 16 February 2009

Monday update

The slowing economy is definitely hitting sales have dropped off almost completely. When then means, of course, that I have no Paypal dollars to spend in other Etsy shops. I would like to get some more interest in my shops - have you got any ideas? Are you running a raffle or charity project and need donations? Let me know!

This past weekend I spent a lot of time working on my current pair of knitted socks. I've been suffering from second-sock syndrome, and have had only one done for ages! But this weekend I managed to turn the heel and am now decreasing the gusset. Nearly the home stretch! The yarn I am using is Trekking sock yarn, same as always, and it's one of my dye jobs. It was a failed experiment, unfortunately. My idea was to get a variegated yarn by dyeing a skein red, balling it, and then dyeing only the bottom half blue. Unfortunately I think it was balled too tightly, as the dye didn't permeate as far as I had hoped. The result is a red yarn with lots of blue at the start and then less and less as it goes on. I didn't feel that that was good enough to sell, as I will only put my best work on my shops. So it's socks for me! The first sock has a cool blue spiral down the leg, and less and less blue as it progresses to the toe. The second one doesn't have nearly as much blue, but does have the occasional dark blue stitch, which is kind of interesting. I'll certainly never have a problem telling the right and left apart!

DH has asked me for some knitted fingerless mitts! I think he was inspired by the ones I made recently for Lesley (photo shown below) and the fact that it was really cold outwide when he was playing his fiddle on the weekend. So I'm going to make some from brown shetland.

That picture shows Lesley's mitts in handspun BFL and alpaca. The pattern is Waffle Stitch Fingerless Gloves by Jill Toporkiewicz, available free on Ravelry. It's a great pattern - easy to read and really quick to do! The spinning took forever but the knitting was only one night per mitt.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

My surprising dye result

I like it!

The extra dye in the bath is being put to use with a second skein, which looks to become a rather shockingly vivid shade of pink.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Don't count (out) your dye job before it's cooled

We've been hit with some heavy snows here in London, so last night was the first chance I have had to mix up my new dyes. I purchased Royal Blue, Pink and Turquoise acid dyes from the Handweaver's Studio via mail-order, so now I have a full range of colours available to me.

By the time I got the dyes mixed (and washed the worst of the pink and blue spots off my hands!) it was getting fairly late, so I skipped the roving plan and instead soaked some pre-skeined sock wool that I had tied some time ago. I wanted to do a turquoise and pink skein, with sections of purple where the two dyes combined.

In the crockpot, I heated the skein to 135F in a thinnish layer of water/vinegar/ecover, then carefully poured pink dye on some sections and turquoise on others. I then covered the pot again and left it for about half an hour, then came back to check on it.

I didn't have pink and blue. I had purple soup. "What happened?" I thought...

Oops. I forgot to dilute the dyes. WAAAY too much dye in the bath.

Disappointed at my seemingly solidly purple bath, I turned off the heat and let it cool overnight. This morning before work I removed the yarn. (I left the extra dye in the pot and will use it to dye another skein.)

Surprisingly, after a rinse I have discovered there's still sections of bright pink and blue amongst the purple. Once it's reskeined it should actually look pretty good! The colours are very vivid, too.

So today's lesson is - even if it looks terrible in the pot, don't give up, as you may be pleasantly surprised by the result.

I won't be home till late tonight but I will try to get a picture of that skein up here in the next few days.


In my previous post I talked about some new rovings that I had dyed and was waiting to get pictures taken of. Here they are!

First, a Texel wool roving in red, grey and purple:

Next, a matched pair of Falkland wool rovings in yellow, green and orange:

Finally, a Romney roving in orange, yellow and black. With this one I was trying to reproduce an "autumn foliage" roving I once saw in a raffle.

All of these are now on the Sheepshape Spinning Etsy shop!