So my current WIP (work in progress) is a baby blanket for a colleague. I’ve been using the delightful Tutti Frutti from Sirdar’s Snuggly range. Sirdar is one of my favourite yarn brands and I’ve been wanting to use one of those chenille-type yarns for ages so it ticked all the boxes!
I’ve got the Dolly Mixture colourway which is a white base speckled with multi-coloured flecks. It is wonderfully soft and is if anything softer once it is crocheted up. A major complaint is that it is near impossible to work with at first. The yarn is so fluffy that you can’t see where to put your hook as you work! The tag recommends a 5mm needle/hook which I tried at first but eventually had to move up to a 10mm hook just to be able to get enough space in each stitch to actually be able to see where the hook needed to go. You get the hang of it after a while as you can judge by placement and feel where each stitch is but you have to concentrate quite hard while you’re working.
It is of course completely worth it as the blanket is coming up lovely! I will probably wait quite a while before I work with such a fluffy yarn again…
Between work and keeping up with my personal life, I haven’t had much time to work on my crafts recently. It’s been much too hot to work on the blankets and what not I’ve been crocheting, and then it occurred to me that I haven’t done any candle-making in over a month! My local Wilkinson’s (a sort of bric-a-brac shop you get in England) had a set of 12 300ml jam jars for £6 that I’d had my eye on for a while, so I popped in and picked them up one weekend and got to making!
Calculating how much wax I needed per jar, I figured out I needed 202.4g or so of wax for each candle. I wanted to make a couple of candles in this one batch so I filled up my double-boiler as much as I could with my soy wax flakes while following my measurements, and managed to have enough space to make 3 candles. As all the wax melted down though there was a lot more space in the double-boiler, so I might be able to make a larger batch next time if I add the wax a little bit at a time.
Lavender seemed like a nice colour for the summer and I hadn’t made any candles in this colour before. I added all of my colouring in at 75ºC and it turned the liquid wax a nice grape-y shade of purple.
For the first pouring, I filled the jars up to about four-fifths full. The second pouring was about 30 minutes later. Unlike last time, I didn’t have to reheat the double-boiler for the second pouring as the wax was still liquid. That just proves how hot it’s been!
The wax is a much more of a lavender rather than a purple when it’s set properly.
I gifted two of the candles to my neighbours downstairs and next door. They were really pleased with them and said they looked nice and professional which was lovely to hear. Sitting on the couch the other day, I heard something being dropped through the letterbox. My downstairs neighbour had dropped off a cute assortment of ribbons for me to use as a thank you for the candle! It put such a smile on my face!
My music for this candlemaking session was ‘Hardwired…To Self Destruct’ by Metallica and ‘Helplessness Blues’ by Fleet Foxes. An interesting mix!
A month or so ago I picked up a couple of cute dress patterns that I thought I’d have a go at so I had some nice breezy outfits now that the weather is getting hotter. My knowledge of sewing isn’t bad at all, I can whip up simple shapes quickly on a sewing machine and my hand sewing is pretty good from making amigurumi and whatnot. But it had been nine or so years since I last did any proper dressmaking.
Nine years isn’t that long, I thought. It can’t be that hard, right? You don’t forget the specifics of sewing, it’s like riding a bike!
I opened up one of the patterns and had a quick glance over the different pieces. I then booked myself into a Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking class.
So last Saturday I went for my class. It was taught on behalf of theLittle Woolie shop in Shortlands, South London by Jo Steele, an ex-design and technology teacher. Jo was not only lovely, but a great teacher too! She checked up on everyone frequently to make sure we were ok and her explanations of the different techniques were concise and helpful. The course was run out of the Neighbourhood Church in Beckenham. While the outside is fairly unassuming, the inside is a lovely, open space great for a crafty get together! There were 6 students including me, everyone was lovely and very keen to learn which made for a great atmosphere.
My sewing experience meant I was a bit more advanced than the other students there, but it helped me solidify some of the techniques I was unsure about and I learnt some helpful new skills too.
It was great fun! As always, I’d recommend taking a class or course if you can. It’s great to learn!
I’ve been tagged by the lovely Robin over at Imperial Crochet to do the Blue Sky tag! Thank you for thinking of me Robin!
Living in England, it’s less of a Blue Sky tag and more of a grey-sky-some-blue-if-you’re-really-lucky tag.
Give 11 questions.
Tag 11 people.
Answer the 11 questions given to you.
Don’t forget to thank the person who tagged you.
1. Why did you choose the name of your blog?
I like trying my hand at loads of different crafts so I wanted a name that would suit that rather than being crochet-centric. My partner and I also have a running joke about when I got confused between an atelier and an abattoir…
2. Which of your own blog posts is your favorite?
I don’t have many to choose from but I’ll have to go with my first post. I’ve been trying to get into writing a blog for years but couldn’t pinpoint what sort of tone of voice to use, but I feel just having a nice relax and putting all the details about candle making that I would want to see in a post seemed to work out nicely.
3. Do you have a set schedule for blogging? Morning, evening, daily, weekly?
No schedule unfortunately! Working at a music venue means I work different hours and days depending on what gigs we have on, so I have to squeeze my crafting and blogging time in around my work.
4. Have you ever done any published writing outside of blogging? Books? Articles?
Not yet. I did Creative Writing at university and specialised in poetry. One of my tutors said I was good enough to be published and it is a goal of mine for the future to have my work published.
5. What is the title of your most useful book?
‘The Candlemaker’s Companion’ by Betty Oppenheimer for candlemaking and ‘200 Crochet Stitches’ by Sarah Hazell for crochet. Oppenheimer’s book is great for people new to candle-making and answers lots of questions for veterans too. Hazell’s compendium includes a beginner’s guide to crochet and has over 200 different, beautiful stitches all documented clearly with pictures. They are both invaluable!
6. What is the title of the last book you read for fun?
It was Professor Green’s autobiography ‘Lucky’. I’m a fan of his music and have enjoyed his appearances on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and other shows. He writes non-fiction well and takes you on an informative and funny journey through his childhood, his various shady dealings and his well-earned rise to fame.
7. Who is your favorite celebrity?
The Youtuber Markiplier (aka. Mark Fischbach). I play a lot of video games so I like to keep up with Markiplier’s videos to see the newest games and I enjoy his humour a lot. He does a lot of work for charity and his fans, and is just a really nice guy. He’s also quite handsome…
8. What is your favorite song?
I listen to way too much music to have just one favourite song! Some of my more recent favourites are ‘Moth Into Flame’ by Metallica and ‘Forever Young’ by Rhiannon Giddens and Iron and Wine.
9. Where would you love to go on your next vacation?
My last holiday was a city break so I would love to have a proper sun, sand and sea trip as my next vacation. Spain maybe?
10. Is there a skill you’d like to learn?
Always! I love learning and am always trying to learn a new skill in one way or another. I’ve got a dressmaking class this weekend and I’m waiting for the next term of my evening BSL (British Sign Language) classes to start!
11. Cats or dogs?
Both! All animals are amazing. Being allergic to fur and feathers has never stopped me from loving all animals or living with a cat of my own.
I’m still new to this blogging thing and so don’t have 11 people I can tag with this. Feel free to tag yourself and do your own Blue Sky tag if you would like to!
I’ve always been a strong believer of the ‘Work hard. Play Hard.’ ethos. So even if I haven’t got much money, a special trip means a special treat for me, usually in the form of yarn!
The place I had scouted out for a visit was ‘This is Knit’, a specialist yarn and knitting shop just south of the Molly Malone statue. It’s an absolutely GORGEOUS shop, very bright and and airy. Beaming as I walked in, I was immediately welcomed by the ladies who ran the shop and felt I was in the company of kindred spirits.
They had a big selection of handmade Irish yarns with some lovely colour ways and some artisan silver shawl pins that really caught the eye. Sadly, my allergy to wool meant my selection was more limited, but after much deliberation I decided on Debbie Bliss’ Cotton Denim DK. I had seen an interesting review of it in the ‘Simply Crochet’ magazine and was only more impressed seeing it for myself. The colour selection includes the blues that you would expect as well as a neutral white/cream shade, some grey/black mixes and one with a delightful lime twist. It is wonderfully soft and I’m thinking of making a nice shawl or scarf with it. I’m not sure if I want to follow a pattern or go free-hand, I think I might make a swatch to see how the colours work up and then decide.
I also grabbed a cute little yarn sheep keyring as a souvenir for a friend.
It’s been a couple of days since my first try using soy wax for a candle and overall it’s turned out quite well!
The colouring has made the wax a sort of powder blue which is interesting as the liquid wax was a vivid turquoise colour. The manufacturer says to only use liquid colours with the particular wax I was using so I wasn’t sure if the colour flakes I used would bond at all to be honest.
It’s not a perfect candle by any means though! There are visible lines from the different pours and once the candle has been lit for a while it seems to… well “sweat” is the best word I could use to describe it? A clear liquid oozes from the top surface and sits there. I can only assume from what I’ve been reading that this is a result of the colouring but I’m not really sure.
As I say, it’s not perfect but it’s turned out great for first try with a new material. My next step will be to get some smaller containers so I can experiment with the different qualities of the wax more.
After about a year and a half in the making, today I crocheted the final stitch in my cardigan!
The pattern I’m using is from Sirdar’s cotton crochet collection from Summer 2016 I think? It’s a nice collection of light summerwear and accessories. I’ve made some alterations to the pattern based on personal taste and for simplicity’s sake. I’ve not done the decorative border or the flowery back panel and have gone with a slightly bold colour stripe instead to keep the piece visually interesting. I’m using Sirdar’s own Cotton DK yarn.
I’ve now got the (unholy) task of sewing all the pieces together, blocking it and weaving in the ends. I might have to save this for a long weekend to make sure it doesn’t drive me insane. Wish me luck!