A-Z of Yarn: Uses of Eyelash Yarn

Eyelash yarn, and in fact any form of Novelty yarn, divides knitters into two distinct camps. Those who love it and inevitably those who hate it. First of all, what is it?

Eyelash yarn up close

Eyelash yarn up close

It is usually a man-made fibre central thread with varying amount of fine thread sticking out of it. This can be mixed with sparkly polyester, paper, pompoms and can be long, short or anything in between. Recently I have also seen more luxury fibres being used to make this yarn.

It is the fine thread that gives the yarn the semblance of eyelash. The texture is usually very soft – think of pet rabbits.

If you already have some in  your stash, perhaps it’s been there for a while and you may be wondering what possessed you to get some in the first place. Well, it’s time for a spring clean!

So what can you use them for? Let’s start with the simple.

Eyelash yarn scarf from www.straw.com

Eyelash yarn scarf from http://www.straw.com

Eyelash edging on a simple jacket at www.knittingonthe net.com

Eyelash edging on a simple jacket at http://www.knittingonthe net.com

Now look at this.

Eyelash yarn added to beads to create a striking necklace on Etsy

Eyelash yarn added to beads to create a striking necklace on Etsy

Holding eyelash double with another yarn creates a tactile texture

Holding eyelash double with another yarn creates a tactile texture

I think this one is perfect.

A great decorative spring idea from craftycrow.net

A great decorative spring idea from craftycrow.net

I love the texture that eyelash creates. It is a little difficult to carry it off as an item of clothing but I’ve been working on the right design. Has your interest been piqued yet? Pattern coming next week on the blog.

 

 

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Happiness is 100 things

Whilst battling the latest lurgy brought around by trains/boys/general life, I’m feeling lacking in all creative energy for writing. So in case you haven’t seen this, here it is again. If you have read this a while back, apologies. Wishing you the best week!

I try to keep my private life and my on-line life a little segregated. Perhaps it’s age related reticence, perhaps I’m afraid of revealing too much and how people may react. However when the lovely Mrs Bishop suggested that I participate in her idea “Happiness is 100 things”, I thought it was too good an idea to pass up.

windmills

This will not be a blog about knitting or crochet, much more about life and what makes me tick. Just so you know in advance. I’ve not ordered this list, just wrote it all as it popped into my mind.

  1. The laughter of my children
  2. The wagging tail of my dog
  3. My husband’s special smile for me
  4. a cat washing its ears
  5. baby animals
  6. the sunshine
  7. a cold, crisp snowy winter’s day
  8. a roaring fire on a cold day
  9. toasted marshmallows
  10. my favourite cake baked for me
  11. birthdays
  12. anniversaries
  13. weddings
  14. spring buds
  15. yarn, yarn, yarn
  16. colours
  17. textures
  18. learning a new technique in my crafting
  19. learning a new thing
  20. reading a book so that I loose sense of time
  21. wild flowers
  22. tulips
  23. peonies
  24. my favourite perfume
  25. intricately wrapped presents
  26. a really good cup of coffee
  27. morello cherries
  28. plum jam
  29. French chocolate
  30. shoes that fit like a glove
  31. manicures
  32. Swedish massage
  33. funky coloured handbags
  34. silk scarves
  35. patterned tights
  36. green eyes on a cat
  37. purring kittens
  38. my childrens’ achievements
  39. the sound that wood-pigeons make when they’re calling to each other
  40. spotty dogs
  41. stripy cats
  42. sound of waves on the shore
  43. walking on the beach
  44. home-made fruit ice-cream
  45. walnuts
  46. the smell of lavender on fresh linen
  47. kid leather gloves
  48. alpaca in a herd
  49. owls
  50. looking at my children’s baby clothes
  51. the smell of babies
  52. holidays with all my boys
  53. long weekends
  54. recognition for hard work
  55. going to bed after a hard day’s work
  56. crisp, ironed linen sheets
  57. luxurious hand-cream
  58. concerts
  59. a good play
  60. Friday night TV on the sofa with my husband
  61. coming home after being away
  62. sleeping in my own bed
  63. napping with one of my pets
  64. spaniel’s ears
  65. playing the violin
  66. having an interesting conversation with a stranger
  67. debating a point and winning
  68. writing something that perfectly conveys my thoughts
  69. finishing a project that looks good
  70. having a new hairstyle
  71. baking for my family
  72. rose oil
  73. bookshops
  74. yarn shops
  75. getting a bargain
  76. auctions
  77. my husband holding my hand just because he can
  78. having friends round for dinner
  79. making a difference in someone’s life
  80. cheering someone up
  81. passing on some knowledge
  82. being a “go-to” person
  83. my boys choosing to spend time with me
  84. internet shopping
  85. having a clean and tidy home
  86. making my home feel more homely
  87. baking bread and the way it smells
  88. hot showers
  89. reflexology
  90. long walks near water
  91. hand-written letters
  92. pretty knick-knacks
  93. ducks
  94. the smell of sun-tan lotion on warm skin
  95. the smell of my children
  96. clothes that fit me well
  97. vintage jewellery
  98. Christmas
  99. planning for our future with my husband
  100. growing older together.

Lucy – you’re right. I could have gone on for an other hundred. There is so much to look forward to in each day. We should never forget to see the nuggets of happiness even in the darkest day. Thank you for suggesting this.

happiness

Please join in if you feel like it – just link back so we can all share. Many thanks for reading.

Posted in family, happiness, life | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

5 Free Tunisian Crochet Patterns

Since I’ve been bitten by the Tunisian crochet bug, I’ve been scouring the web for good patterns. I’m not quite ready for striking out on my own with anything more complex than a scarf. I know that it is possible to Tunisian crochet any existing crochet pattern with a bit of thought, but I wanted to find patterns specifically written for this method. Here is my short-list.

1. Tokyo Vest by the fantastic Doris Chan

In a longer version this would make a great beach wrap

In a longer version this would make a great beach wrap

2. Happy Monday Vest by Aoibhe Ni

To my shame I can’t pronounce Aoibhe’s name but she also has some truly stunning Tunisian crochet shawls on her website that are well beyond the run of the mill.
HappyMonday113. Tunisian Ripple Scarf by Elisa Purnell

What a beautiful colour

What a beautiful colour

4. Double Spiral Afghan by Margaret Zellner

M A K E  M E

M A K E M E !

5. Birchbark Slippers by Mr. Micawber’s Recipe for Happiness

Trendy slippers

Trendy slippers

Posted in Patterns, Tunisian Crochet | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Tunisian Crochet – my new craft and pattern

One of my promises for 2015 to myself was to try Tunisian crochet. The blending of crochet and knitting has been intriguing me for a while. And the opportunity of buying more kit was just too tempting.

Look what I've got! New kit...

Look what I’ve got! New kit…

And of course the crochet hooks had to be tried as soon as they arrived. I decided that I would make a lengthways constructed colour stripe scarf. I’ve been eyeing those up for a while as I loved the idea of the colours running up the scarf length rather than across it. Also by having so many of the same stitches to make in one go, it was the perfect way to practice a new stitch. On the other hand the idea of knitting something like this by hand is really quite daunting.

Next, the colour scheme had to match with my new coat/duvet which I bought for my Norwegian holiday in four weeks time. Since the coat is purple, the scarf had to be somewhat complimentary. Here is the colour scheme:

minniealpacapurpleblackgreen-300x248

Purple, Green – Colour A

minniealpacapurpleturquoisebrown-300x247

Purple Turquoise – Colour B

 

To which I added a splash of yellow to clash and then the edge colour in lavender. The yarn is aran weight alpaca mix so it’s really lovely and warm. Time to start the pattern

Lengthways striped Tunisian Crochet Simple Stitch Scarf Pattern

I used two 50g skeins of Colour A (total of 200m), and one 50g skein of Colour A and the yellow skein (100m each). I also used some of the lavender skein but you can substitute with one of the other colours too but add this in to the calculation, you will need more yarn.

Using the edging colour (lavender) I chained a lot. I didn’t count how many as for this scarf it’s more important that you have the length that you want – mine is around 180cms long. That is a LOT of chains.
I then used Colour A to crochet the foundation row and the simple stitch row.

The foundation row

The foundation row

I was amazed that the foundation row is sort of like knitting a stitch and the simple stitch row is just like crocheting. So different parts of my brain were working at different rows. Neat!

I changed to the yellow colour next to provide a strong contrast and bring out the beautiful colour changes in Colour A – not that it is obvious in this photo!

On to the second foundation row!

On to the second foundation row!

The order for crocheting after that was Colour A, Colour B, Colour A, yellow and repeat from the beginning. In effect you are using twice as many of the Colour A yarn that of the yellow and the Colour B one.

It's getting there

It’s getting there

When I had the width I wanted – 26 foundation rows and simple stitch rows in total – I used the lilac colour again to edge in DC into the vertical bars. It seems that Tunisian crochet curls. A lot. In fact, two rows in, I sized up on the crochet hook from 5mm to 5.5mm to help a bit. Whilst I was crocheting, the scarf was just a furled up piece of material. So now I’m blocking it and hoping for the best.

It WILL be flat

It WILL be flat

The scarf has a really nice woven texture to it and is quite dense. Much thicker than knitting and without the holes of crochet. I’m seriously impressed by this technique.

Posted in my design, Tunisian Crochet | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Beginner’s Knitting Patterns

After the inspirational knitting blog entry, I needed to lie down in a dark room with a wet cloth on my head! So as a direct result, I’ve gone ahead and collected some truly beautiful and simple knitting patterns, which are perfect for those new to the art, those wanting a satisfying knit and perhaps those who just want to knit without having to watch what they’re doing.

I’ve chosen patterns which are slightly different from the standard scarf/hat combo that most beginners knit. The skill – pick a really lovely yarn in your favourite colour. Perhaps even a nice chunky yarn. Whatever you knit will automatically look fantastic. Which is your favourite?

1. Easiest Baby Booties by Gina Michele.

Even better than knitting for  yourself!

Even better than knitting for yourself!

2. Lightning Fast Mistake Rib scarf by Purl Bee

Quick, easy and avoids the "home-made" look

Quick, easy and avoids the “home-made” look

3. Beginners Tea Cosy

Tea Anyone?

Tea Anyone?

4. Teen’s fingerless gloves by Mama in a Stitch

Beautiful AND Easy!

Beautiful AND Easy!

5. Mitered Coasters by Learn Knitting Stitches

Make a set of these in different colours!

Make a set of these in different colours!

6. I love stockinette baby bib by Laura Treadway

I love these colourful bibs and you can embroider on them too.

I love these colourful bibs and you can embroider on them too.

7. Leafy Washcloth from Tricksty Knitter

So pretty, even as a decoration only.

So pretty, even as a decoration only.

Posted in Knitting | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Aspirational Knitting

I’ve not settled to any of my knitting projects – there is just too much going on right now for me to be able to finish items. It’s more of a starting type of time in the year. The sudden burning burst of inspiration quickly fizzles and turns to something else. I’ve decided to give in to it, but also try to limit the numbers of WIPs.

In the meanwhile, I’ve been looking at others’ creations. I’m not one for high fashion as the price tag and the design tend not to suit my lifestyle. However, every now and then I see things that make me gawp in awe. The sheer hours of creation, the energy of putting the ideas into practice. Just wonderful. So for lack of anything to show you which is mine, here are a few things that have amazed me recently. I hope you enjoy them.

Jean Paul Gaultier gown - this has almost all the techniques of knitting and crochet included

Jean Paul Gaultier gown – this has almost all the techniques of knitting and crochet included

Oscar de la Renta crochet jacket - too beautiful to take off

Oscar de la Renta crochet jacket – too beautiful to take off

Emilio Pucci's take on drindl. I'm there!

Emilio Pucci’s take on drindl. I’m there!

Chanel  - I would wear this without alteration but sprayed in Teflon

Chanel – I would wear this without alteration but sprayed in Teflon

Alexander McQueen - I love the lace design

Alexander McQueen – I love the lace design

Hitomi Shida - I WILL learn Japanese just to be able to read patterns like these

Hitomi Shida – I WILL learn Japanese just to be able to read patterns like these

Armani

Armani at his best

 

Posted in Knitting | Tagged | 1 Comment

Best places for patterns

When I’m looking for the inspiration for my next project and it needs to be a pattern, the majority of the time I find something on the web. There isn’t a local yarn shop that stocks the type of yarn and patterns I like, so it’s publications or the web for me. There are many, many websites with free patterns and most of the yarn suppliers (Rowan, Austermann, Katia, Bergere de France, Red Heart, Thomas B Ramsden, Lion Brand etc. ) also have free patterns on their website, so it is worthwhile to look around. Big name designers similarly entice you with free patterns from time to time. Another good resource is the blogosphere. We all follow talented crafters who make the most gorgeous things. Many of them give away their patterns or sell them at a small price.

Art by Woolybison

Art by Woolybison

Apart from all of the above, the websites which I frequent the most are these:
1. Ravelry – if you haven’t already found it, take a look. It’s free to join and contains a wealth of information from knitters and crocheters around the world.
2. Vogue Knitting – elegant, gorgeous eye candy. Lots to look at and covers a huge range of items as well as fashions.
3. Berroco – I know that they sell yarn too but I really like their designs.
4. Drops – ditto. I have been known to forget the time whilst browsing.
5. Knitty – It’s an other alternate knitty resource.

Where do you go to get your patterns?

 

 

 

Posted in Inspiration | Tagged | 2 Comments

A New Project – and a ribbing question

I’ve started knitting myself a new jumper. I’m using the lovely alpaca yarn that so spectacularly failed to turn into a double knitted jacket and I’ve reverted to the same principles that I did for my son’s ribbed jumper. I love ribbing! It is so versatile and easy and there is something just so satisfying seeing those vertical lines. Obviously there will be a few twists and turns…

The Front. Or is it the Back?

The Front. Or is it the Back?

It will be reversible with a simple slash neck. I was thinking to reverse the colours on the other side – yellow on brown instead of brown on yellow. As you can see though, it is, even for ribbed knitting, rather narrow. So I want to introduce a band of tomato red on each side which will link the back and the front (as you probably know by now, I’m not shy and retiring when using colours). But I wanted to use a different sort of rib stitch – perhaps something a little lacier than just solid ribbing. This sent me scurrying to the web to do some research.

I came up with a treasure trove of information and I certainly know what I don’t want. But I am totally overawed by the impact of some of the ribbing stitches – and they are so simple to do! Why don’t we use them more often? Just look at these beauties.

Chain of Hearts rib

Chain of Hearts rib

Raised knit rib

Raised knit rib

Reversible rib

Reversible rib

Rib with garter stitch borders

Rib with garter stitch borders

Seed stitch ribs

Seed stitch ribs

Of course, my problem now is which one to use. I want to introduce a stripe in the sleeves too – in which case the pattern has to be quite narrow. Perhaps I need to go back to the drawing board.

In case you’re wondering, the majority of the stitches I found on craftcookie.com.

Posted in Monster Yarn design, Ribbing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Northern Lights Skinny Scarf – a Pattern

My first pattern for 2015 was inspired by the soon-to-come cruise to Norway that I’m taking with a friend. The colours and swirls of the hope-to-be-seen Northern Lights

The real Northern Lights

The real Northern Lights

and a friend who needs a scarf, united in this.

Woolly Incarnation of Northern Lights

Woolly Incarnation of Northern Lights

I hope you agree – it is a close match! I also used some other night sky colours.
scarfI adapted the candlelight pattern and used an aran weight alpaca mix yarn – you can either use one colour, variegated yarn or like me go bold and use different colours for a striped effect. I used five 50g skeins to create a long 20 cms by 185 cms skinny scarf.
Pattern:
Cast on 1.
Row 1: K, YO, K in one stitch – going forward, I will use kinc2 annotation.
Row 2: P3
Row 3: K1, kinc2, k1.
Row 4: P5
Row 5: K2, kinc2, k2.
Row 6: P7
Row 7: K3, kinc2, k3.
Row 8: P9
Row 9: K4, kinc2, k4, cast on 3 stitches.
Row 10: P1, k2, p11, cast on 3 stitches.
Row 11: Kinc2, p2, k4, slip 2 stitches knitwise, k1, pass slipped stitch over (I will use sl2kpsso annotation), k4, p2, kinc2.
Row 12: P3, k2, p9, k2, p3.
Row 13: K1, kinc2, k1, p2, k3, sl2kpsso, k3, p2, k1, kinc2, k1.
Row 14: P5, k2, p7, k2, p5.
Row 15: K2, kinc2, k2, p2, k2, sl2kpsso, k2, p2, k2, kinc2, k2.
Row 16: P7, k2, p5, k2, p7.
Row 17: K3, kinc2, k3, p2, k1, sl2kpsso, k1, p2, k3, kinc2, k3.
Row 18: P9, k2, p3, k2, p9.
Row 19: K4, kinc2, k4, p2, sl2kpsso, p2, k4, kinc2, k4, cast on 3 stitches.
Row 20: P1, k2, p11, k2, p1, k2, p11, k2, p1, cast on 3 stitches.
scarf1

Row 21: Kinc2, *p2, k4, sl2kpsso, k4, p2, kinc2, repeat from *
Row 22: P3, *k2, p9, k2, p3, repeat from *
Row 23: K1, kinc2, k1, *p2, k3, sl2kpsso, k3, p2, k1, kinc2, repeat from *
Row 24: P5, *k2, p7, k2, p5, repeat from *
Row 25: K2, kinc2, k2, *p2, k2, sl2kpsso, k2, p2, k2, kinc2, k2, repeat from *
Row 26: P7, *k2, p5, k2, p7, repeat from *
Row 27: K3, kinc2, k3, *p2, k1, sl2kpsso, k1, p2, k3, kinc2, k3, repeat from *
Row 28: P9, *k2, p3, k2, p9, repeat from *
Row 29: *K4, kinc2, k4, p2, sl2kpsso, p2, repeat from *
Row 30: *P1, k2, p11, k2, repeat from * end with cast on 3 stitches after last p11

You have now created the angled end of the scarf
Angled edgeNow work on the body of the scarf and creating a three stitch edge to help the scarf lie flat.
Row 31: P1, m1, k3, sl2kpsso, k4, p2, kinc2, p2, k4, sl2kpsso, k4, p2, kinc2, p2, k4, sl2kpsso, k3, m1, p1.
Row 32: K1, p9, k2, p3, k2, p9, k2, p3, k2, p9, k1.
Row 33: P1, m1, p1, *k3, sl2kpsso, k3, p2, k1, kinc2, k1, p2, repeat from * to last two stitches, p1, m1, p1.
Row 34: K2, p7, k2, p5, k2, p7, k2, p5, k2, p7, k2.
Row 35: P1, m1, p2, k2, sl2kpsso, k2, p2, k2, kinc2, k2, p2, repeat from * to last three stitches, p2, m1, p1.
Row 36: K3, p5, k2, p7, k2, p5, k2, p7, k2, p5, k3.
Row 37: P3, kinc2, p2, k4, sl2kpsso, k4, p2, kinc2, p2, k4, sl2kpsso, k4, p2, kinc2, p3.
Row 38: K3, p3, k2, p9, k2, p3, k2, p9, k2, p3, k3.
Row 39: P3, k1, kinc2, k1, p2, k3, sl2kpsso, k3, p2, k1, kinc2, k1, p2, k3, sl2kpsso, k3, p2, k1, kinc2, k1, p3.
Row 40: K3, p5, k2, p7, k2, p5, k2, p7, k2, p5, k3.
Row 41: P3, *k2, kinc2, k2, p2, k2, sl2kpsso, k2, p2, repeat from * to last three stitches, p3.
Row 42: K3, p7, k2, p5, k2, p7, k2, p5, p7, k3.
Row 43: P3, k3, kinc2, k3, p2, k1, sl2kpsso, k1, p2, k3, kinc2, k3, p2, k1, sl2kpsso, k1, p2, k3, kinc2, k3, p3.
Row 44: K3, p9, k2, p3, k2, p9, k2, p3, k2, p9,k3.
Row 45: P3, *k4, kinc2, k4, p2, sl2kpsso, p2, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3.
Row 46: K3, p1, k2, p1, k2, p11, k2, p1, k2, p11, k3.
Row 47: P3, *k4, sl2kpsso, k4, p2, kinc2, p2, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3.
Row 48: K3, *p9, k2, p3, k2, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.
Row 49: P3, *k3, sl2kpsso, k3, p2, k1, kinc2, k1, p2, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3.
Row 50: K3, *p7, k2, p5, k2, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.
Row 51: P3, *k2, sl2kpsso, k2, p2, k2, kinc2, k2, p2, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3.
Row 52: K3, *p5, k2, p7, k2, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.
Row 53: P3, *k1, sl2kpsso, k2, p2, k3, kinc2, k2, p2, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3.
Row 54: K3, *p3, k2, p9, k2, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.
Row 55: P3, *sl2kpsso, p2, k4, kinc2, k4, p2, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, p3.
Row 56: K3, *p1, k2, p11, k2, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.
ScarfNow just carry on with the scarf until it’s long enough. Wait until you have decreased the “leaves” at either end of the scarf  to 1 stitch. Then decrease in pattern for the three border stitches at both ends and the remaining one stitch from the leaf. Carry on with the pattern as normal for the leaf in the middle i.e. you are reversing the steps you knitted when you started the scarf.

I added a tassle at either end to help weigh down the scarf in windy weather. And that’s it. This pattern creates a lovely stretchy scarf which is also reversible.
Right side of scarfReverse of scarfHope you enjoy this pattern!

 

Posted in Knitting, my design, Yarn | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Ski Masks Galore

Although I was only asked to make one ski mask, I got a bit carried away.
Family of Ski MasksIt seems the boys are happy and now I know they’ll be warm too. When I was knitting the Wicked Woolens Dwarven Battle mask, I decided to simplify the pattern – no bobbles, no add on beard or moustache. But the existing beard is fantastic to keep boy necks out of the wind!
Dwarfen Battle maskI used aran weight wool/alpaca/polyester mix yarn throughout in a dark and acid green.

A  number of you suggested the helmet for my husband to prevent him getting a cold head. I churned out two more woollen beanies and then added the visor later. They are a bit tricky to sew on – the angle has to be just right to make sure that the visor sits flush with the face and there is no gap which flaps around.
HelmetsI used the same yarn in blue and grey and dived into my button stash to fix the visors on. I made sure the buttons are very flat so that the ski helmet still fits over the top without denting the wearers head!

For the time being, there are no more requests so I’ve started a new project of my own. More on that later.

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