Autumn bead crafts, delectable earrings.

Just a quick update to the autumn earring collection

I love beading. In less than 5 minutes you can have a completely unique pair of earrings and the satisfaction of being able to say, “I made them” well… at the very least you could say, “I assembled the component parts”.

Now I must learn how to make my own beads.

Take care

Shelley

A red red rose

I started knitting a while ago and my little one was desperate to get involved. Remembering a wooden knitting doll from my childhood, I told her she could have her own doll to knit with and after finding one in the shops, buying it and bringing it home, we sat down to have a go.

This is when I remembered just how fiddly these thing are, and needless to say my head strong three year old soon gave up.

So, now I have a new toy!

I found some very red, red wool in Sainsbury’s of all places, and started to play around with the idea of making some roses.

I think they turned turned out alright, very rose like. I’ve been wearing this one as a brooch. This is how I made it.

I found it a lot easier to use a crochet hook to do the french knitting instead of the large wooden “pin” that was supplied with the french knitting doll.

I also found that I could get a nice rhythm going by holding the wool under a little tension with my little finger and rotating the knitting doll with my left hand.

It’s important to leave plenty of wool at either end of your french knitting once you cast off as this is what you use to stitch it all together. (I didn’t leave enough in the photo below, so leave around 70cm)

You need around 1 metre of french knitting to make one rose that will end up being about 6.5 cm across.

Make a small loop in one end of the knitting and stitch it together using a darning needle, at what will now be the back of your flower.

Add three or four slightly larger loops around your small starting loop, stitching in place at the back as you go. Now you need to build up more loops around the outside, try to overlap them as you go.

Continue to loop the knitting around.

You may find it easier to roughly lay out the last couple of loops in your hand before stitching to ensure that they are even and you have finished with the  end of your knitting at the back.

Once you have all your loops stitched in place and the end attached at the back then you need the tighten the whole flower up.

To make the petal shapes and tighten it up, stitch from the center out through the whole flower to the middle of the petal loops and pull them back in towards the center, don’t pull this too tight as you could just end up with smaller loops rather that pimpled petal shapes.

Take your time and make sure you are happy with the shape, then tie off your lose ends but leave them attached so you can use them to simply attach your choice of fastening to the back.

If you have a go I’d love to see your results and what you use them for.

Have fun.

Shelley

Does that bandoleer come with matching earrings?

My eldest and I have finished her fancy dress costume for leavers day. LEAVERS DAY !!!

Yes, she is about to leave school and I’ll have a panic attack if I think about it too much, so… on with the costume.

Bandoleer, how great is a costume that needs a bandoleer…

Answer, this great! Yes, that’s Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter not my daughter.

Now this is a lot of costume, so we started small.

The main ingredients for the bandoleer were;

  • Stylecraft double knit wool in khaki
  • Metal look beads, 3
  • Small metal rings, 2
  • Acrylic paint (a little diluted with water and in lots of colours)
  • Strong tea (no milk or sugar)
  • Wooden cotton reels

After asking around for wooden cotton reels in a few haberdasheries and craft shops with no joy, I found bags of mixed size new ones on eBay. Got to love eBay.

Now being new and empty they needed some thread. I like to do things properly where I have the knowledge and resources, but I also don’t like to punish myself when there is a reasonable alternative. So we painted them. I know I know, I still feel as if I cheated, but it’s done now and even painting them took long enough.

They needed ageing, so, once the paint was completely dry I dumped the whole lot in a large bowl of strong tea, it seemed very appropriate, and left them soaking for half a day, then hung then on the line to dry.

It was then a simple case of threading them together with the wool (using a darning needle) and attaching a ring at either end of the cotton reels. We plaited the wool which goes around the back with a 6 string plait but using 12 strands of wool to thicken the whole thing up (each one of the 6 strings then consisted of 2 strands of wool, I hope that makes sense). The end that hangs down from the front was a straight forward 3 string plait. We finished both plaits with the metal look beads.

I know The Mad Hatter does not have earrings, but this costume is not a faithful reproduction, more of a homage. Plus we had to, the mini cotton reels that came in the mix bag are just adorable at only 9mm long.

So in answer to the question I posed sometime ago… Yes, that bandoleer does come with matching earrings, yay.

I started by painting and tea staining the cotton reels just like the bandoleer. Then I found some button earrings that I wasn’t going to wear and removed the buttons so I was left with the flat pad stud earring posts.

Using needle nose pliers I bent the sides of the flat pad to fit around the cotton reel, I also scuffed up the pad so that the super glue would have a better surface to adhere to.

Once I was happy with the fit, I super glued the reel to the no longer flat, flat pad stud earring posts.

When the glue had gone off I wrapped the reel and the pad with a cotton that matched the paint colour.

I think that’s enough for part one.

The full outfit and more details of how we put it together, coming soon, now available here, The Mad Hatter Costume.

Shelley