Category Archives: crafts

Pattern for Felted Mittens – Recycling your old woollen jumpers/sweaters

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It’s not yet winter here in the UK, but it might be an idea to think about preparing for it!

There are quite a lot of links on Pinterest for projects that recycle your old clothes, rather than just throwing them out, or giving them to the charity shops.

This is a very simple fun project for you to try, even if you can’t knit – and especially if you mistakenly ruined one of your favourite woollen jumpers by washing it on the hot cycle.   

Actually – this is a process often used in craft projects – it’s called FELTING WOOL!  You can use it for all types of woollen items to make a denser and stronger piece of fabric out of any knitted – or even woven – wool.  It doesn’t work for knitted items made from other materials.  As you will see, if you don’t already know (smile) – it shrinks the wool – the hotter the wash the smaller your jumper/sweater will come out – so do take care when washing wool you don’t want to shrink!

The short video below has been taken from Creme de la Craft, although there are various other sites that have instructions for the same process.   They have used a plain coloured jumper, that you can decorate any way you like.   Using patterned wool items can give you some very attractive mittens too!  

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You can also find lots of sites that use the felted wool for other projects – quite a lot of them for slippers too!

You will need:

Materials: 

•  Wool sweater (at least 80% wool, but preferably 100%)
•  Marker or pen for tracing
•  Scissors

•  8-10 straight pins
•  Embroidery floss matching the color of your sweater
•  Sewing needle
• Buttons and additional embroidery floss for decorating

Instructions:

Prep the sweater: Wash your sweater on the warm cycle then dry it on high heat. This will felt the wool fibers together so they won’t fall apart when you cut them (kind of like tangled hair). Your sweater will shrink significantly. Tip: Place your sweater in a mesh laundry bag to avoid the wool fibers from clogging your machine.

Flip over + trace: Turn the sweater inside out and lay it flat on a table. Lay your hand on one of the side edges of the sweater and trace a mitten shape around it with a marker or pen. Add about a half-inch all the way around your hand to allow for seams. Leave about an inch or two at the bottom to create a cuff. Since the bottom of sweaters are already ribbed and finished, this creates a great cuff for the mitten.

Cut: Cut out your traced mitten, leaving about an inch or two of fabric around it.
Pin: Secure the front and back layers with several straight pins along the edges. This will ensure the two layers will stay even while you’re stitching.
Sew: Thread your needle with embroidery floss and do a simple running stitch along your tracing. Make sure to leave the bottom of the mitten wide enough so that your hand can easily fit through.
Trim: Trim about a quarter-inch around the stitching to remove the excess fabric. Be careful not to cut too close to the stitching, or it may fall apart.
Flip: Now the fun part! Flip over the mitten to see your finished product.
Decorate: Use buttons and colorful embroidery floss to decorate!
Repeat: Repeat all steps on the opposite side of the sweater.

HAVE FUN!

List of Craft Shows & Events in UK

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A few years ago I put together a list of events for Crafters on this blog under the tab of craft events, but unfortunately it was too complicated to keep it up, altho you can  still find the old dates and click on the links to see the current dates etc.

There does seem to be a lot going on this year, and so I have copied the listings from two different sources – hence the change of style half way down! – so do have a look and see if there is something that catches your fancy.

UK CRAFT SHOWS & EVENTS

Take a look at the fantastic range of events taking place from August to November
The British Wool Show 2018 
Whatever your chosen craft there will be exciting treasures for you to discover as you explore the stands at the show.
York Auction Centre, Murton Lane, Murton, York
YO19 5GF
10th – 11th August 2018
Click here for more information
Festival of Quilts
Visit Europe’s leading quilt show where you can view over 1,000 amazing quilts as well as stocking up on fabric and other quilting suppliers from the 300+ exhibitors.
NEC, Birmingham
9th – 12th August 2018
Click here for more information
Henley Handmade Fair
Explore marquees and outdoor markets filled with handmade jewellery, homewares, clothing and more – all lovingly created by specialist Craftspeople.
Stonor Park Henley on Thames RG9 6HF Oxfordshire
24th – 27th August 2018
Click here for more information
Southern Wool Show
Visit wonderful stands selling a wide range of products, workshops and free demonstrations allowing people to share their passion and skills for woolly arts and crafts.
Newby Racecourse, Newby, RG14 7PN
1st September 10am to 4pm
Click here for more information
Great Northern Needlecraft & Quilt Show
Patchwork and quilting exhibition and needlecraft with trade stands selling all items within the needlecraft trade.
The Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, HG2 8QZ
31st August – 2nd September 2018
Click here for more information
The Creative Craft Show
Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts is where you’ll discover ideas, inspiration and all the supplies you could ever dream of! Discover new products and innovations, watch demonstrations and take part in workshops.
EventCity, Manchester, M41 7TB
6th – 8th September 2018
Click here for more information
Perth Festival of Yarn 2018 
Bringing together independent dyers, farmer, small-holders, knitters, spinners, felters and weavers
Dewars Centre, Glover St, Perth PH2 0TH
8th – 9th September 2018
Click here for more information
The Handmade Fair
The Handmade Fair is brought to you by Kirstie Allsopp and is all about appreciating the beauty of handmade, and learning the skills to become a maker yourself! |
The Green, Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, KT8 9BU
14th – 16th September 2018
Click here for more information

Cornish Yarn Festival

15 & 16 September 2018, 10am to 4pm St John’s Hall, Penzance

http://www.cyfonline.biz

Shetland Wool Week

22 – 30 September 2018

A busy week dedicated to celebrating Shetland wool and textile heritage.

Includes classes, talks, drop-ins, art. See website for the full events listing.

shetlandwoolweek.com

Masham Sheep Fair

The Wool Event, Masham Sheep Fair

Saturday 29 Sep and Sunday 30 Sep 2018, Masham Town Hall

Craft market and fleece stalls, specialising in British wool to compliment the sheep-related events that fill the square of Masham over the weekend.

http://www.mashamsheepfair.com

Yarndale

Yarndale

29 and 30 September 2018, Skipton Auction Mart, North Yorkshire

For you if you love yarn and are passionate about all things woolly. It aims to celebrate the beauty and diversity of wool, cotton, linen and silk fibres in all their forms.

yarndale.co.uk

Bakewell Wool Gathering

Bakewell Wool Gathering

Bakewell Agricultural Centre Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October

An event for wool lovers in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales.

There will be exhibitors, demonstrations of fibre crafts and a fleece stand selling plenty of local fleece.

bakewellwool.co.uk/

West Wales Wool Show 2018

West Wales Wool Show 2018

Saturday October 6, Queen’s Hall and Plas Hyfryd Hotel, Narberth, Pembrokeshire

A celebration of all things woolly. From beautifully hand crafted items, clothing and footwear to knitting wool, fleece and all the equipment needed to make at home. Demonstrations run throughout the day with stall holders sharing their skills and knowledge with visitors plus wool skill workshops such as felting.

westwaleswoolshow.weebly.com

Kendal Wool Gathering

Kendal Wool Gathering

Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th of October

Kendal Wool Gathering mixes demonstrations, fun activities and displays, all connected to the cloth on which the town’s wealth was built.

Stands and stalls representing all aspects of commercial wool products, including carpets, looms, spinning wheels and crafts will be on display at a large unit at Kendal Leisure Centre. Outside there will be livestock, walks and talks. Linked fun events take place throughout the Kendal.

www.kendalwoolgathering.co.uk

Nottingham Yarn Expo

Nottingham Yarn Expo

Nottingham Conference Centre Goldsmith Street Entrance, Nottingham. NG1 4BU

Workshops Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 November. Market place Sunday 11 November

https://www.nottinghamyarnexpo.com

Dyeing with Dandelion Leaves – gives you Yellow!

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Dandelions are normally treated as weeds, which have long tap roots and are difficult to get out of your lawn, if you prefer a perfect green, nicely mowed lawn.  But before you get rid of them, think again – they could be useful as a dye for wool!

rivillaRiihivilla is the name of a small business based in Helskinki, Finland, which specialises in hand dyeing, with plants and mushrooms – and I was interested to find this post thro’  hand-spinning-news.com.  The original blog post, written in Finnish and English can be found here.

If you haven’t used natural dyes before, this will give you an idea of what is involved, but there are simpler ‘recipes’ for all kinds of flowers, leaves, and even wood!  It’s a fascinating subject and if you want to discover more about what colours you can get, there is more information on the Riihivilla blog, and there are many books on the subject.

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I dyed with dandelion more than a week ago,(May 2018) when they were beginning to flower. Now they are still flowering. I collected a bucketful of leaves and flowers, mostly leaves though, and they weighted 1,9kg.
I simmered them for an hour (with added some washing soda) and let the bath cool until the next day. Bath was dark reddish/brownish yellow.
After straining off the bath I dyed 100g of yarn in it, mordanted with alum and CoT. I thought that it is better to put too little yarn in it rather than too much. The colour became very nice lemon yellow, a bit like you would get from a weld bath. To a yarn with no mordant the colour didn’t take hardly at all. I found from Liber Herbarum pages that dandelion contains many flavonoids which also act as dyes, including luteolin, which is the same dye as is also in weld, so it was no wonder that the colour I got is similar to weld colour.
I don’t know if I’m happy or not that there are not that many dandelions in the garden: they can be an awful weed in a flowerbed but on the other hand they could be used for dyeing!

Young dandelion leaves can also be used in salads, and I’m told that beekeepers rate the early season dandelion honey as the best there is!

 

 

Kantha – Vintage Quilts – recycling fabrics the time honoured way

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I hadn’t known anything about the history of quilt making with recycled fabrics in India, until I chanced on an advert for an exhibition of KANTHA textiles at the Mingei International Museum, California, last September.

see https://julzcrafts.com/2017/09/06/kantha-exhibition-of-textiles-of-bengal/.

“Kantha is a term used across the Indian sub-continent to denote decorative stitched quilting. In Gujarat, hangings patterned with concentric circles or squares in running stitch are known as kanthas, while in Bengal, kanthas are stitched for a variety of purposes, such as winter quilts, covers and wraps for books and valuables or as mats for ceremonial purposes.

They are most often given to daughters on the occasion of their marriage, as a token of love, or as a gift for a new-born child or grown son. They are often, as tradition has it, made up of old cast off saris or dhotis. They can be the work of two or more generations of women and are treasured as family heirlooms.”

You can also find out more about Kantha HERE

fullsizeoutput_34bOne of the people who saw the post was Manish, who was doing research on this ancient tradition, and he has recently set up a small business to collect and recycle old quilts, and to make new ones for sale worldwide.

He asked if I could give his website a mention, and sent me a bit more information about Kantha.  So I checked him out!  I have edited his contribution to fit the style of this blog – which is ‘to inspire and educate’ my readers – and myself! – in various aspects of crafts, whether you make anything yourself – or just appreciate!

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PHOTO-2018-05-17-17-32-33” The term ‘Kantha’ can be understood in Sanskrit as ‘rags’.

 

The origin of Kantha can be dated back to the age of Vedic period, which has a profound background in India. Chaitanya Charitamrita is a very popular age old book written by Krishnadas Kaviraj, some 500 years ago. The recurring patterns, designs and other beautiful elements are most celebrated part, which the book talks about.

The historic art and motifs are incorporated in modern works with the depiction of nature, sun, trees, people, culture and many more through the finest play of thread over a piece of cloth.

In the region of West Bengal, Kantha is seen as a very auspicious symbol in weddings and birth ceremonies.

Being a Bengali man, I never really got an opportunity to peek inside and know more about this form of art, which is being transferred from generation to generation. 

When I was a kid, I saw my grandmother would sit with a piece of cloth in her lap and different colours of thread lying all around her. She used to be very keen and generous with her work. She would move her hands very slowly and firmly with a needle and thread across the cloth and a very beautiful design would come up. 

The clothes on which she used to weave would tell stories of trees, people, lakes and animals.

vintage kantha quilt by makkiWhen I moved to eastern Bengal, I saw old and young women still so engrossed in the stitching kantha handkerchiefs, quilts and bed sheets. I was mesmerized by the beauty in their eyes and the passion in their attitude while they were busy doing the embroidery.

I was so inspired and motivated to continue this tradition in other parts of India that I started my own business, selling Kantha quilts and, hopefully creating a world class platform for customers from every corner of the world to know more about India, its tradition and history of India, through the quilts.

vintagekanthaquiltThe Kantha quilts have been made with finest threads, and will last long longer than your life, so that you can pass down this historical piece to many upcoming generations. India is best reflected within the dimensions of quilt.”

He tells me that the “quilts are made in West Bengal by artisans, and they are paid fairly”.

Do have a look at his site – vintagekanthaquilt.com – the prices are reasonable and he is currently running a special discount offer.

NB:  I do not normally ‘advertise’ other businesses on this site, but he asked nicely – smile – and I like what he is doing.  No fee has been charged and I have no other knowledge of how he works, and do not take any responsibility for the quality of the products.

Sheep Shearing in the UK

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Following on from my previous post – the video of shearing a shetland sheep in USA – I thought I’d add a couple of my old photos of sheep shearing, taken about 30 years ago!  I can’t remember where I took them – somewhere in South Wales.

 

 

These are scans of the A6 sepia postcards I published of the original photos – which is why they aren’t very sharp.  The sheep were being sheared in a field, and they were penned to make it easier to do the shearing as quickly as possible.

I did a search for shearing in the UK, to get a bit more info on when shearing is done here, and found this useful piece, oddly enough, published under the name of Sheep Shearing in the UK by Indie Farmer.

 

 

These are a couple of colour photos from that site.

And this is the first part of the blog – written in July 2014

The sheep shearing season in the UK (roughly mid May to mid July) is pretty much finished now, so farmers will be pleased that one difficult and time consuming job is over for another year, and the sheep will be happy to have got rid of their thick fleeces in this hot weather.

Shearing requires both skill and a lot of hard, physical work in hot summer conditions.  Some farmers shear their own sheep but many, especially those with large flocks (anything over a few hundred sheep) hire specialist shearing gangs to do the work for them.  Shearing gangs typically have three to eight members, and travel the country going from farm to farm, shearing every day during the season.  It is a hard life but pay can be good, about £2 a sheep and a good shearer can shear 200 sheep per day.  When the UK shearing season is over, the shearing gangs often travel to other countries where the shearing season is at a different time of year, in what is known as ‘the shearing circuit’, travelling from the UK to Norway, the USA, the Falklands, New Zealand, Australia, and pretty much anywhere that you can find plenty of sheep!  It is a very tough, hard working and hard drinking lifestyle, but it’s a good way to see the world, have fun and make some money.

Wool used to be where the main profit was in sheep farming, with meat as a useful sideline.  Many of the great Cathedrals and castles of the middle ages were built using the profits from the wool trade.  The Lord Speaker in the House of Lords still sits on a ceremonial Woolsack to represent the importance of wool to the economy in former times.  Now, however, sheep farmers make their main profit from meat, with wool being a very minor sideline.

It’s always useful to know a bit more about where your wool comes from!  Especially for spinners who are carding and spinning the raw fleeces!

PS. PLUG!

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pair of standard hand carders – 72 pt

I sell hand carders that can deal with raw fleeces and all types of wool fibres – and also are quite useful as brushes for sheep and other animals if you are tidying up your stock for Agricultural Shows.  The current listings can be found if you click on the links below.

Listed on julzcraftstore.com here

USE THE COUPON CODE  customer10%off  at the checkout to get 10% off your order.

Listed on etsy here

Listed on ebay here