Knitting charts – a dragon is born…

I have had a few requests for a dragon knitting chart, so here it is!

dragon chart
dragon chart

This is a free chart for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. I have a few more in the pipeline, so don’t forget to check back every so often.  Just now I am working on a scottie dog, a greyhound, cats and other random creatures.

The process involved in making the chart goes like this: I do a pen and ink drawing of the subject of the chart. Then I have to convert it to an image file, tidy it up in Photopaint and then make up a chart in CorelDraw. Finally it gets listed on t’internet.

This chart is intended to be used for knitting but I am hoping to create charts aimed at other crafts too. I’ll see how it goes! 🙂

Don’t forget to let me know how you get on if you do use the chart.

Button it…

The last couple of days, I have had a polymer clay frenzy. I needed some buttons and decided to make some. However, polymer clay buttons are a bit like Pringles, once you start, you can’t stop.

I think that this may continue for some time – because it’s fun!

Hand made, polymer clay buttons
Hand made, polymer clay buttons

I made some floral ones, using a mould that I made from an antique glass button. I added a little mica powder before baking, then after baking I rubbed a little acrylic paint in to the surface to give it a bit of patina.

Hand made, polymer clay buttons
Hand made, polymer clay buttons

I also did some tribal faces, I had the idea a while ago and never got round to it then. They are made with some clay that I made to give the appearance of wood, then antiqued with some acrylic paint.

Hand made, polymer clay buttons
Hand made, polymer clay buttons
Hand made, polymer clay buttons
Hand made, polymer clay buttons
Hand made, polymer clay buttons
Hand made, polymer clay buttons

The rest are a random mix of texture, along with some that I made from an old polymer clay cane.

As usual, they are available on my Etsy shop. 🙂

The quest for a washable inkjet print on fabric…

The good, the bad and the ugly, inkjet prints on fabric
The good, the bad and the ugly, inkjet prints on fabric. on the left, pigment ink prints. On the right dye based prints.

A few years ago, I did some prints on to old cotton sheeting, using my HP  inkjet printer, which used pigment inks.  After drying thoroughly, I was able to wash the printed fabric with very little loss of ink. Although the prints were a little more muted than those done on paper they were still very good.

So this week, I decided to do some more fabric prints. However, what I had forgotten was that not all inkjet printers are created equal. Now I am not sure if it is the type of ink, my current printer uses dye based inks, but it doesn’t give the same results. The ink washes out.

I tried leaving the prints to dry, I tried ironing them, I tried pre-soaking the fabric in a solution of alum, washing soda and fabric softener, none of which made a bit of difference.

I know that there is a product called BubbleJet Set, which purports to help you get colourfast fabric prints. Being a bit grippy, I am loathe to spend money on it as I have no guarantee of it working.

I also have concerns that, even with the Bubble Jet Set solution the prints, being dye based, might fade. I really wish that I still had my old printer 🙁

Do any of you lovely people out there have any experience of this product?

Quick Fabrics – they are indeed quick!

I just received some lovely fabric from a shop called Quick Fabrics – https://www.quickfabrics.co.uk/ and they turned out to be very quick indeed. 🙂

Here in the depths of Aberdeenshire, we get used to things taking a while to get here, sometimes it takes a week or so after ordering, when most other places will receive their stuff the next day. So imagine my surprise, when, the day after ordering it, my fabric turned up! Hurrah!

Not only that but it is really nice fabric and was very reasonably priced.

Quick Fabrics have a good range of material, so it didn’t take me long to put an order together. It’s great to find a shop like this one.

I bought some calico, for printing on, as well as some lovely thick cotton jacquard and some bright poly-cottons. I couldn’t get a good photo of the jacquards, which is a shame as the texture of them is fantastic.

Fabric
Fabric

 

Freeform crochet and another couple of cases

Freeform crochet
Freeform crochet

I have started yet another project! I just can’t help myself, I get an idea and just have to go with it.  This time it is a freeform crochet vest – what you don’t believe me? Really it will be. 🙂

I am using some dark charcoal grey alpaca yarn, some thick and thin, mid grey merino and some hand dyed merino sock yarn.

With his usual razor sharp perception, my husband said, “but it has holes in it, it will be draughty”. I explained that it was intended to be worn over a t shirt, to which I got the reply, “hmph!”

I’m enjoying myself with it anyway.

I also made another couple of Kindle covers. One is knitted from alpaca yarn and felted, with a cotton lining and cotton lace trim. The other is knitted and lined with felt. Off to Etsy with them.

 

Lots of lovely eggs…

A mixture of egg colours
A mixture of egg colours

I decided to take a photograph of today’s eggs, just because they look so pretty. The Marans pullets, which I hatched out last year,  have begun to lay and I am now getting a lot of eggs each day. When I say I hatched them out I mean that the incubator did! 🙂

The very dark brown ones in the photo are the Marans girl’s eggs. The blue ones area from my Araucana hens. I am really keen to get even more colours of egg.

I have my Araucana cockerel in with my Marans girls and I am hoping to hatch out some of their eggs this year. Any of the resulting chicks that are female should lay an olive coloured egg – the blue egg layer crossed with the brown gives olive. I just hope that my luck is better with this year’s hatching, last year resulted in more cockerels than pullets.

The other colour that I don’t have is white so I am hoping to buy a white egg layer of some sort this year. There are actually only two colours of egg shell, white and blue. The brown and tinted eggs are the result of a coating that is laid down over the egg shell during its transit through the hen’s oviduct.

Your Kindle needs to be cozy too!

A couple of Kindle cozies, to help stop scratches on your e-reader. I used some polymer clay buttons that I had made last year as closures.

They are both crocheted. I used multiple strands of a wool/nylon mix yarn for the dark one and a really nice thick and thin type, multi-coloured yarn for the other one.

They both have a cord to loop over the button at the front. It is held in place at the back with sewn on buttons.

These have been added to my Etsy shop. 🙂

Stop your apples going brown and keep your loo nice and white!

High-angle close-up of a lemon, natural source of vitamin C and citric acid, with shadow on white background

For a long time, I have used citric acid as part of my wool dyeing process but it has some other uses as well.

Citric acid is a weak organic tribasic acid. It occurs naturally in citrus fruits. Here’s wikipedia’s entry on the subject.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citric_acid

If you find that, when making stewed apples or apple pie, your apple slices are discolouring before you can get them in the pan/pie dish, then add a sprinkle of citric acid to some water and drop them in there until you are ready to cook them. Drain the water off, you don’t need to rinse, and you are good to go.

Citric acid is used commercially in many foodstuffs but don’t use massive amounts of it in cooking.  Small amounts are sufficient. As with most things too much of anything is not good for you.

I also discovered that it makes an amazing toilet cleaner. First of all I dissolved about three quarters of a cup of citric acid crystals in a litre of boiling water. After skooshing most of the water out of the toilet bowl with the brush, I very slowly (don’t want to crack the toilet) poured the hot water into the toilet bowl. I left it for a couple of hours, overnight would probably have been better though. Then I gave it a quick scrub with the loo brush and after flushing the toilet it was sparkling clean. Yay! I had previously struggled to remove the limescale in there, even with commercial cleaners.

I also chucked half a cup of the citric acid into my empty washing machine and put it on a hot cycle. It had previously had a musty smell and the citric acid got rid of that so now it smells nice and fresh!

Apparently you can also use it to make cheese, although I haven’t tried that yet.

Here’s a link to a couple of pages describing the process:

https://www.cheesemaking.com/howtomakemozzarellacheese.html

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/jul/22/homemade-cheese-recipes-fearnley-whittingstall

I am sure that there are many more uses for this stuff, please tell me if you know any of them.