Sunday, November 20, 2011

A purse for the purse?

The language can be so confusing sometimes, especially when it's not your mother tongue. All the nuances and different meanings of the words... I try my best to find the right words for things, so feel free to correct me when I'm wrong or not making any sense! They didn't talk much about knitting and crochet in my English classes in school...

I want to show you this little thing today, it's a little purse. Not for money (I think) but for those little things you keep in your handbag and never seem to find when you need them. A purse for the purse, so to say... (What would you call that??)

This is the one I crocheted after trying to felt a knitted one to the size I wanted. I only felted this by hand, to have more control over the process. That's why you can still see the stitches. 

The lady who ordered this one from me really liked the cerise flowers on the gray background on the one I have, so I pulled out my ribbons to try to create the same feeling on this one. I hope she will like the result, I am quite pleased with it if I may say so. Some trouble in paradise though, the ribbon embroidery created a mess on the inside, so I realized I would have to line it to stop the future content of the purse to get tangled up in the ribbons.

I can honestly say I feel more at home with my hooks and knitting needles now, than I do with my sewing needles. And she wanted a zipper too. There is no other time then now when I have inspiration for something, so I dug through my fabrics and actually found something suitable in the right color. It used to be the body lining on a girl's dress and I managed to cut out a piece that was (almost) big enough. One inch more would have been lovely, but it was close enough for me. I used my sewing machine to attach the zipper to the lining, and then I hand stitched it to the purse. I liked that method, and it gave a neater result than I had hoped for. So now I will present this purse for my lady friend and hope she likes it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy pan holders

I am still working on some custom orders, but I sneak in some crocheting for me between them. Just to lift my spirit and go with the inspiration a little.

We have some old pans, molded in one piece. They are great, and we use them a lot. But since they are in one piece, their handles tend to get very hot. Especially when we make a lot of pancakes and the pan stands in the heat for a longer period of time.

Ordinary potholders tend to slip around some on the handles, and since these pan are really heavy I prefer to get a good, firm grip on them. We once found an old pan holder, just like these, and I have used it a lot. I even made a new one, but it wasn't soft enough to give a good grip.

I have made these in double yarn, one "ordinary" soft cotton and one chunkier soft cotton. I crochet quite loosely to make them soft and flexible. It also gives an extra dimension to them that the colors are not exactly the same, just almost.

Maybe not the colors you expect to see in November, but I like happy colors when I cook. Anything to make it more fun!

Anyone can make these, just chain three, make enough sc's in the first chain to make a circle, increase until it's wide enough for your handle and then work in the round until you are happy with the length. You can add a contrasting color in the ends if you like, make a hanger if you want one, or just make it as simple as possible. Or really complicated too, I guess. But I like simple and fast...

Hope to be back soon with some embroidery on that little bag (made a new one and felted it today) or the tutorial about the African Flower bag I've been talking about. Wrote half of it the other day, but somehow Blogger didn't save it although I pushed the button. Didn't like that at all! Hope you get some happy colors in gray November too!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What a waste!

 I've heard about a married couple here in Sweden who doesn't want a garbage can. Simply because they rarely throw something away. As I remember it, their total waste during an entire year was easily fitted into one little plastic bag. What they did with the rest of their stuff`? Well, they composted and recycled what they could, and fixed what was broken. I wish I was more like that. We would have a much cleaner and prettier environment if we all did like them!

Well, at least I have made a small contribution. Can you see what this is? It's the broken upper part of a shoehorn. The part that has a hole that makes it possible to hang it somewhere, and thus keep track of it. But ours is broken. And hard to find, since we have nowhere to put it! Besides, it has some really sharp edges up there too. I was just about ready to throw it away to get a new one, but then the crochet-part of my brain started ticking. Maybe it could be fixed...

And of course it could! Maybe not the most stylish crochet you ever saw, but it's certainly doing its job! I had to glue it to the shoehorn to keep it from sliding off, but you see no sharp edges and now I can hang it. Yay! And it is prettier now than when it was unbroken. At least I think so. And it works as a soft handle too. Perfect!

See! Now we will always find it. And my husband will hopefully stop putting it in my wellington boot 'cause that's where he found it... We played that game for a while. Someone thought my boot was the perfect place for it, I slightly disagreed since I used my boots almost every day and it got a bit annoying to always find the shoehorn there. So I put it leaning on the shoe rack, then someone used it and put it back in my boot "where it should be". Annoying! 

Well, maybe not a huge contribution to the environment, but we take one step at a time, don't we? And it got me thinking twice about throwing things away that actually can be fixed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Frosty morning

It's cold today, coldest day so far. The frost has been glistening in the grass in the warming sun. I started this morning sneezing and freezing, but I just had to get out there and try to catch this beautiful late autumn day! Didn't catch the sparkles, but you can see the frost, right?

The sky has been blue, so blue and the trees are all naked now. 

The cows in the pen have been taking it easier lately, but you could see they really enjoyed the warming sun today.

I saw them from my kitchen window, saw their breaths forming steaming clouds and wanted to catch that on picture if I could. I couldn't, but I got many pretty cow pictures! 

As I've told you before, they are pretty shy. But I tried to make myself as small as possible, and some of them seemed curious enough. And if one comes - they all come! More or less...

They look different now compared to this summer. Their fur is thicker, probably from staying outdoors, and they have grown quite a lot. "Our" farmer has milk-cows, so that's what they are. Only these are the youngsters. Don't dare to guess if their going to be mums or dads. Or should I say, mums or meat. They don't need that many dads...

But hey, look there! To the left of the brown cow, I can actually see some hot cow breath! Mission accomplished!

When the kids were smaller, we used to visit the "real" farm, where they keep the milk-cows. The farmer's boys would take my boy on a ride on the tractor, my girl never dared to do that. And we would watch when the farmer milked the cows. All automatic of course. And they all knew their places! Twice a day he brings them in to milk them. But the milk-cows only get to go out from May to October, too cold for them now. 

After a lot of patience, calling them cowards just to let them prove the opposite, this pretty brunette came up close. Actually so close I could touch her (?) face. And when I finally had a lot of cows up really close and watching me with their pretty eyes, my camera memory card got full... Frustration!

So I had to bid them goodbye and hope that they will let me close again. I just love getting close to animals, especially the shy ones! And I don't know what you think, but I think they have very pretty eyes!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Taking shortcuts don't pay off

 I'm a lazy person. It's really just a fact. I am. I always try to find the easy way around, and don't do more than I have to. Sometimes that works just fine, sometimes it doesn't. This post should really be about felting samples. Or more correctly the lack of felting samples. It's a good thing, you know, to make a sample to see how much your knitting will shrink when you felt it. But of course it takes time and effort, something a lazy person would avoid....

I'm making a little bag for a friend. A bag to keep small things in, to make them easier to find in her purse. She liked my knitting money purse, so I was making her something like that. Knitted and felted in the washer. I bought yarn made for felting, and the lady in the yarn shop told me it would shrink something about 40 %. I trusted her, neglected making a sample but did my math (I've always been good at math) and calculated how I should knit to get the size I wanted. Only, it wouldn't shrink! The first time in the washer (in 60 degrees C) it shrunk 2 cm. Less than 10 %. Ok, I had another try, put more stuff in the washer to get more friction and waited. Well it was smaller, but still only 25 % shrinkage. I even tried to felt it by hand but it didn't help.

It's not huge, but a little to big for it's purpose. At least I think so. So now I'm making a new one. But this time I crochet. I always feel more in control when I crochet than when I knit. Hopefully I will get it right this time. I will probably run out of yarn though, so I hope my husband can take me to town tomorrow. The too big bag will be something else. I have some thoughts...

This mobile phone cozy was felted together with the too big bag. It's for a woman at my husbands work, she wanted a cozy with a wolf. Interesting enough to see what that will look like in the end... This one felted better, maybe because I had hand felted it a bit before putting it in the washer. (It has some light fibers all over, since it caught some yellow from the tennis balls I use for friction when I felt.)

But still, it's a bit too big. It's very spacious even for my phone, and the phone she is using is smaller. Sigh! So I guess I'll crochet a new one when I'm done with the gray bag. At least I'll have something to do.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Some time ago it felt like I couldn't get anything out of my hands. Lots of projects going on, and not one was even close to being finished. Now it's the other way around. I finish what was started long ago, and if I start something new, I don't stop until it is done.

This might look familiar to you, I have made a bag just like this before only different colors. It's for a dear friend who loved the other bag but didn't love pink too much I guess. She asked if I could make her a purple one, and here it is. I have even lined it (on request, but anyway)! The other bag, which I call the Pink and Purple African Flower Bag has been very popular on Flickr, so I'm planning on sharing how I make these bags. I plan to do it this week, but I don't promise to. Anyway, then you'll get a closer look.

This green and brown beanie is my son's. He wanted me to make him one when I needed something to try my knit pro needles on. It was a success, since he loves the beanie and I love the needles! He won't even take it off indoors, yesterday he was complaining about it since he had to take it off because it was too warm... Asked me if I could make a cooler one too! I'm so happy when my kids like what I make them, so I'll make him as many as he wants!

Of course his sister wanted a hat too. We looked up a hat she had fallen for last winter with the lovely name Daisy Chapeau, and she chose the colors. Pink and purple, I'm not very surprised!

This hat has a very simple pattern and is quickly done. The little flowers made of i-cords turned out better than I thought they would. I'm very pleased with it. And both children look really good in their hats too!

I'm hoping to be back soon with the tutorial for the bags, if nothing gets in the way. I have my girl home from school today, so she's bossing me around a bit!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

From shirt to lamp shade

Hello there!  I'm finally sitting down again, giving you some glimpses of what I've been up to lately. Last week the kids were free from school, and we also had my sister and her three boys staying here for a few days, so there haven't been so much creating going on here. But last night I finished this lamp shade. Do you like it? I do. I don't know how well you know me, but I really, really love making things from old "junk". We visited my father-in-law the other day, and I found the remains of an old lamp, that is I found the metal skeleton of an old lamp. Had to have it, and he loves when we bring his old things home and it comes to use.

 I had some thinking about what to do with this lamp skeleton, but I didn't have to think long. I wanted to make a lamp for my boy's bedroom window. But how do you make a lamp like this cool enough for a ten-year old? Think, think, think... Then I remembered one of his old shirts that I found while sorting out outgrown clothes a little while ago. We gave most of it away, but I kept some for future crafting. And I loved this flannel shirt. So I got my scissors and got to it!

As I was still planning the lamp I had other treasures lying on my table that I brought home from my father-in-law. Or actually from my mother-in-law's old stuff. She died seven years ago and had been ill for as long as I knew her, but she used to be a really crafty lady. She sewed, knitted and crocheted, and tried all kinds of other creative things. Oh how much fun we could have had together! But as it is, I bring home the things she left behind and use it. I think she would have liked that. In this particular case, I had ribbons, and a wide, brown ribbon was just perfect for what I had in mind.

I simply cut the shirt to fit on the hight, and took it in a little in one side to fit around the metal. I attached the ribbon around top and bottom, but only on one side so I could use the machine. That way I got a more even and straighter seam than I could ever sew by hand. This was all done in a few minutes.

Then the more time consuming part begun. To fold the ribbon around the metal wire and sew it into place. The top was okay and not much trouble, but the bottom... Well, I kind of act without giving it too much thought when I create and there's a price to pay for that! This time, I had completely forgot about the feet on the shade. It doesn't show on the pictures, but in each corner the wire frame bend to make feet. So I couldn't just fold the ribbon over the frame! I hate redoing things so I found a way, only not the neatest. But no-one will ever see that, unless they turn the lamp upside-down. Hope nobody will! 

And by the way, I see some bloggers sometimes talk about the mess on their working space or any other table. I tell you - you have seen nothing! Consider me the queen of mess. I bring everything to the table when I'm trying out new ideas, and I truly don't put it back at once. This is actually almost as tidy as my table gets. Sometimes I get enough and tidy things up, but it never lasts long. So what? Really? It works for me. But it's hard to take a clean picture, I can tell you that! Hehe!

Aren't these booklets just lovely? Enlarge it if you can't see it properly. I found these too in my in-laws house. Old booklets filled with alphabets, names, tags, flowers and such to use for embroidery. Lovely! I think some of them belonged to my husband's grandmother, I found some small papers with her initials on.

Oh, and meet my new best friend, Evermat! At least I hope he is. This is a food dryer, the cylinders on top of the heater are six drying boxes on top of each other. This will save me so much time and space when I'm drying things! I got this on my birthday from my parents, grandmother, sister and brother. Thank you!

Oh, and this is me trying to take a picture of the lamp shade. Someone here is dying for attention right now, so I had to push her away to get the shot. Something, probably another cat, bit her on her jaw and the wound was infected so we had to take her to the vet. She has to stay inside for ten days, and oh my how she hates that! The wound seems to be healing well, although I keep smearing half her face when I try to give her the medicine... So I let the man in the house be in charge of that when he's at home. Well now, I seam to have a cranky girl to cheer up, see you soon again!