Sunday, 16 December 2018

are we there yet, are we there yet????

the last week before christmas it always feels to me like that - checking my to-do list and how many days are left is a constant now! sometimes I wish I could just book a nice swiss chalet in the snow for the 2 weeks before and leave without letting anyone know! I could bring my knitting or spinning and sit in front of an open fire, working away - or going out into the snow without worrying about how to get my shopping done or will the mail be there in time! I think christmas should be whenever I've finished all I had planned to (though that would probably mean it only comes once every 10 years or so:)
I've been working away on different things - but just now I realized that I've taken several "finished" pix with the tablet:( meaning - the pictures are still in there, not on the computer up here... well, that's technology for you! but I have a few things to show.
after our session of WWSIP in september, where I used my blending board to make that autumn medley I suddenly had the idea to make an advent calendar for a spinning friend. that night I didn't sleep well, because I constantly worked over in my mind how to go about it. and if I made a board full of fibre, wouldn't that give me more rolags in each colour? I decided to do a little calendar give-away for the group. but there are only a few spinners, most are knitters, some patchworkers... one or two don't really do anything textile... what to do for them? after getting up at 4 in the morning without any sleep I decided to do one for knitters with 24 small skeins of yarns, one for patchworkers, with 24 pieces of fabric - and one for those non-textilers - with 24 little pewter charms. I should have enough stuff in my stash - and it would mean that I'd get rid of some!
well, after a few weeks of just thinking about it I realized that most of the work is in the wrapping, not the collecting of materials! I wrapped the fabric in small paper tubes and glued them on a cardboard circle... bit of decorating, putting on the numbers, easy... for the charms I used matchboxes - the charms are small, so I only glued together twelve of the boxes, decorated them, split them in half - so the box can be used on both sides, like little drawers... now for the yarn skeins! the plan was to use toilet roll inners... but I didn't have enough collected in the short time! putting two skeins in each? no, too big. and how to close them, so that they could be opened easily? the whole thing turned into a bit of a packing nightmare - and the clock was ticking by then:) eventually I decided on putting the skeins and the rolags into paper bags. but making 24 for each of the 5 or 6 calendars would take ages... buying them? phh, they are either in huge amounts (5000 paper bags anyone?:) or quite costly. with the deadline coming steadily closer I finally realized that I could use paper sandwich bags.... of which our supermarket had exactly one pack left! for a hefty price, but so be it. together with the ones I still had in stock (I use them for wrapping seed heads in the garden, to dry and collect the seeds!) I nearly made it - only had to fold and glue four more by hand. but they were boring white, so I dug through my collection of stamps - and colouring pens... numbers on, now just the filling... you see the bags in the photo below... 6 x 24 - and the stamps took ages to dry, but it worked. two days before the due date (there's no point in sending out advent calendars too late - nobody wants to open 20 bags shortly before christmas:) I just had to do the rolags... which took me most of one day:)
sometimes sleepless nights can mean great ideas - sometimes it just means making a huge load of work for yourself:)
well, I only took pictures of the rolags - but the idea was to make two skeins/fabrics/charms/rolags for each month. and I tried to follow the year, so january = white/icy/sparkly etc.. if I had bought the materials for this, it would have been easier, but it worked out ok, I think - best of course with the rolags, because I could put together which colours I wanted. these are the 24 rolags for one calendar - you can see the tips of the other 3 sets above them.. and the decorated bags on the left..... after handing all of them out I used up the last fibres/rolags of each blend to spin up a ball of my own "seasons" - not sure what to make from that though... maybe something double knit with a single colour?


I also took part in an exchange of the OLG. send out a coaster and receive one from your exchange partner in return. I received mine from canada - but apparently my set of leaves is still somewhere in the post:( I liked the different autumn colours and used my handspun to make another set for my friend, though this picture shows them unfelted. I put the 2nd set in the machine and they all felted nicely. though the crochet pattern is more obscured, but they are denser - and of course washable now! they show how the leaves turn from green to....orange, some red - and brown and dry eventually... 
 we also had a secret santa in our textile group. the group decided years back that we do one gift to exchange in the group - and one to put into a collection for the museum staff, who look after us so well. which is always a bit more difficult, because there's no way to know if a male or female will receive the gift! eventually I settled on making a "spa basket"... the basket itself is made in tunisian crochet in the round, 2 colours, the brown is a linen/cotton blend, the natural one is sea island cotton, which is very soft - and stays soft after washing! I made a wash mitt and a wash cloth in waffle stitch, one of those scrubbie balls, and 10 face scrubbies (make-up removers) with a little wash bag...
after making the make-up removers I realised that they might be a good gift to make for a lot of female friends and relatives as well - so I spent a large part of the last few weeks with making small rounds in puff stitch... can do them in my sleep now, after producing about 60 or more of them... they all come with a little "basket" to store them and a lacy washbag so as not to loose them in the machine... swimming on the eco gift wave:) and making good use of cotton yarn leftovers...
I also made a double knit cowl for the exchange between our members - but the photo is still "in the tablet"... and I made another one of those in a different pattern for myself - but I still have to close the upper edge with a whole load of kitchener:)
So after I've done all the baking (still working on it) and the gift wrapping, parcel packing, putting everything together in the house - I'm finally going to be free to do what I want - in things textile I mean. a while back a friend of mine fell in love with Kieran Foley's crescent scarves... lots of colour, interesting knits - of course I was all for making one for her:) it's just finding the right yarns in the right colours... you can buy them, but either they cost a small fortune or they don't come in the colours she wanted or they aren't very soft or... there was always something. when the UK company World of Wools did a 20% off sale on merino fibres I thought I'd go for it... to have some choice I bought some of her favourite colours, berry tones and turquoise/mallard/duck egg tones... some grey to tone it down if needed, some darker purples (which I can use for myself if not needed:), a bit of sari silk with turquose to set it off and just in case a contrast is needed the golden yellow (I have enough yellows to play with the stash if I need to blend). I think the pink is a bit iffy in this set-up but I couldn't resist that hot pink:) now I'll send her samples and she can decide which colours she'd want. and which of the 7 crescent scarves she likes best...
I think I am going to spend the christmas week with spinning some of those colours - they are the best medicine against cold and grey winter days! oh yes, I forgot to mention that I bought 300 g of natural brown merino (I want to knit the hexahap in the Kate Davies hap book. have the main colour spun up, but needed a yarn for the edge!) - and a kg of natural merino, just in case I need to test a dye urgently...



Why am I not allowed to write on the side or directly below the pictures??? very weird... anyway, I also wanted to test silks they have on offer... this one is called red eri silk - a natural wild silk with the most beautiful orange-golden colour (not red at all though...) I only bought a test sample of this....
but I bought 100 g of peduncle silk!
it's not exactly cheap, in fact it costs more than mulberry silk! but it is really special - I love it! it has this natural brown colour (peat?) and is soft and silky, but not as shiny as mulberry silk. I am going to spin it into a fine 2ply for a cowl for myself. this is so lovely that it will be my christmas gift to myself:) can't wait to spin it up!
I think this will be all for now - I still have to do more baking, more wrapping and packing - and I should really do something about sunday dinner now:) have a good time before christmas!