Friday 19 November 2021

British Wool For Spinning - Shetland

 I Like to promote British Wool and Rare Breed sheep's wool.  I am gradually adding more to the shop.  Here are a few Shetland wools we have in the shop.

Shetland from The Cotswolds

This is some lovely local Shetland from a local farm here in the Cotswolds.  I have used this wool quite a lot, It has been hand scoured and it is lovely and soft when spun.  It takes quite a lot of carding to get a really smooth fibre but is worth the effort. I do like working with hand processed fleece as you have much more variation of colour and I actually like a variation in texture too that is much harder to achieve with commercially processed wool.   It is in the shop now in 50 bags    Shetland Wool

Commercially Processed Shetland Top  

For less work, we also have lovely Shetland Mootit Top, ready to spin.  Commercially processed top lacks some of the character of hand processed fleece, but it is a lot less work.  It comes in a chain which you can just pull out gently to undo and start spinning.  You can find it in the shop here Moorit Shetland Top

Grey Shetland is another lovely wool and goes so well with the Moorit or the White, together they would make a beautifully warm jumper!  Grey Shetland Top

The White Shetland is also lovely to spin and is here White Shetland Top

Sunday 12 April 2020

Sewing for the NHS - Scrubs bags from sheets.

My sewing isn't the best, in fact if my secondary school sewing teacher (who is also my Auntie) saw it she would probably make me unpick it, but needs must...

You can get 6 good size scrubs wash bags from a single flat sheet.  You are aiming at something around pillowcase size but Im making them a bit bigger if I can. They do all vary in size.

Start by folding your sheet in half length wise, then in half length wise again. Get the edges as close to even as you can and smooth out all the wrinkles.

I made a cardboard template 22 in x 28 in  56 cm x 70 cm just to give me a rough guide.

The top and bottom of your sheet will have a hem on which you can use as the top hem of your bag. 

I mark off the length of the template from the top and then fold down the top. Align the edges to give a right-angle and cut across all layers level with the folded over top.

you can do this each end of your sheet and the bit you have left in the middle will probably be a little longer. It may need to be straightened up a bit.

Next, the strips you have need to be cut in half the easiest way I have fond of doing this is to just cut down the fold that's the same side as the edges of the sheet.

when you have done this on all 3 strips you will have 6 pieces.

Next, for the 4 end pieces you can just fold right sides together with the original hem as the top of the bag and hem and zigzag or overlock down the side and across the bottom.

For the centre 2 pieces fold over the top about 2 in or 5 cm on the inside and press. 

Then fold right side together, so the fold is on the outside. 

next hem as you did the others. 

Next you need to make 2 button holes for the drawstrings. These need to be positioned so you can turn a wide hem down over them to make the bit for the drawstring and they are on the outside of the bag. I have done them different ways but think the best way is horizontally about 1.5in or 4cm from the top edge, you may have to alter this depending on your sheet hem width. It is easier to sew a button hole on a double thickness but it does work on single. 

You need to put one close to your side seem

Then mark the centre and do the second on the opposite side.

You need to carefully cut up the centre of your button hole with sharp scissors or a stitch ripper (I use a scalpel but it's a bit dangerous)

When both are done turn the top over to the wrong side (outside at the moment) and press.

Next hem round the bottom of this turning.

Now turn the right way round.

Now you just need to thread in the drawstring. You can use bought tape, or home made tape or cord, but it should be able to stand lots of hot washes so cotton is best.

I use an adapted large cable tie as a threading needle but a nappy pin will work or a long stitch holder for knitting.

To thread your drawstring you need to go in one button hole, all the way round and out of the same one.
Pull your bag as open as you can and tie off close to the bag.

Do the same again through the other button hole.

to close your bag just pull both knotted ends away from each other.
(they are bigger than it looks in the photo below, its hanging off the ironing board)

All done! Now have a cupper! or glass of something as a reward.

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Nostepinne - what it is and how to use it

A Nostepinne is a really handy tool for hand winding a centre pull ball of wool.  It is tapered one end, where you wind your ball, so you can slide it off easily and has a handle the other end.

A hand turned Nostepinne

These are a brilliant tool if you like to rewind commercial balls of wool to make it easier to knit from, or divide a ball into two small balls for sock knitting.   Also Ideal for spinners to wind balls from their skeins or hanks.

So how do you use it? well you will develop you own technique with practice, but the basic principal is quite simple.  I would suggest for beginners to tie the end around the handle to start with, just to stop it disappearing somewhere in the ball, never to be found again. Then wind round the centre of the tapered top part a few times until you a lump starting to form.  Once you have this to work over you need to start winding diagonally and as you wind turn the nostepinne in the other hand.  The method is not that easy to describe, much easier to demonstrate.

In the first photo you can see how I have tied the end around the handle and easy to undo knot is the best, it doesnt need to be tight.

Nelly - Inspecting my work as usual 
The video below shows the winding method 

When you have wound all your wool on you will have an oval shaped ball on your Nostepinne and its now ready to take off.  Untie the know around the handle and pull it off its as simple as that.  The strand on the outside can be tucked in under some of the other outside strands, to keep it tidy and the other end should unravel easily from the inside.

All done and ready to use
We have hand turned Nospetinnes in our shop here Hand Made Nostepinne we also have some Knitpro Nostepinnes here KnitPro

Monday 16 March 2015

Unraveling Crochet Conundrums

I learnt to crochet from my Mum when I was young and it's the sort of thing that once you have learnt you never really forget.  Like falling off a bike, once you have the basics you can relearn with a little practice.  The main problem I had was the stitches.  I tried a few things I had found patterns for online and checked the stitches in an old book I had that showed you the basics.... It didn't look right it wasn't working.  Then my Mum told me that the Americans call the stitches something different... well they actually use the same names but for different stitches. So as most of the patterns you find online are American I was using the UK versions of the stitches instead of the US version. I have inadvertently got more used to the US names than the UK ones.  Its a good idea to always check to see if the pattern is written in UK or US, an easy way to tell is UK don't actually have a single crochet stitch (sc) so if this appears in the pattern its written in US format.

The other thing that can confuse matters is the hook sizes.  Yes, again they are different and US has letters and numbers.  I like to use Metric (mm) because that's a standard measurement, so here is a chart to convert.

Most balls of wool you buy have the size crochet hook or knitting needle you need for that particular type printed on the label, but that may differ according to the pattern you are following and the tension you work at.  It is a good idea to check you tension at the beginning of your project if size is important.  It would be painful to reach the end of a large piece of  work and find your one off, individually handcrafted, unique cardigan, is too small! Yarn also has the tension printed on the label in stitches/cm or your pattern usually state the tension for that particular project.

The other thing that varies is the name given to the weight and thickness of the yarn. Different information is provided on different websites and it gets a little confusing.  One of the most popular weights in the UK is DOUBLE KNIT (DK) its equivalent in the US seems to be LIGHT WORSTED and in Australia its 8 PLY.

When Spinning WPI (wraps per inch) is used to measure the thickness more accurately so I have put another chart together as a rough guide, using WPI as the starting point.

Please feel free to download and print off the tables.

Happy Crocheting