A Productive Week

I finished off a couple of projects this week which is always satisfying.

I crocheted this horse – a commission from a friend who will be giving it as a Christmas gift to a horse owner.

He’s a sort of caricature of her actual horse and I’ve replicated the colour and markings. His eyes are glass beads and the details are needle-felted. He’s wearing horseshoes embroidered in metallic thread.

I’ve made several of these over the last few years. One of the hardest things is finding the right colour yarn. I’ve modified the design from a pattern I found online and have refined it a bit more every time I’ve done it.

The second item I completed was a pair of brioche hand warmers for K. They will be part of his Christmas present. He’d requested some similar to some I made for myself a while back, but he wanted them in a much more neutral colour than the bright pink and grey stripes I used last time. He intends to use these for fishing – hopefully his hands will stay warm and his fingers will stay unencumbered for tying on lures and so on. I used this from my stash. It’s lost its band but I think it’s Stylecraft Special DK 100% acrylic. Most importantly it’s machine washable as, depending of how successful the fishing is, could potentially end up slimy, wet and stinking of fish after every wearing!

With a knitted project done I had nothing cast on so I’ve started some socks for myself – the pattern was given to me by a friend at one of my knit and natter groups – I’m using the version with the contrasting welt, heel and toe and using more yarn from the stash – I have a feeling both may be from Flying Tiger. I’ve bought all sorts of crafty things from the Newcastle store in recent years but I hear that this branch has now closed – I’m quite sad about that.

I’ve also been prepping and spinning alpaca fibre. I spun some I prepped a while back. The three larger skeins are 2ply, each about 100 yards. The smaller skeins (the white is more alpaca and the blue is merino) are my first attempt at chain plying, using some singles left over on bobbins after plying. I felt that this got better as I went along, but I must remember not to overtwist next time.

I washed a batch of the alpaca fibre I skirted last week and hand carded it. I’m improvising with pet grooming brushes until I get proper carders (I have it on good authority that Santa Claus is bringing me some…if I’m good). I’ve braided the roving as I intend to dye it eventually. It does look rather messier than the braids of fibre that you buy, but in it’s current undyed state I thought it resembled the hair of Elsa from Frozen. I promise not to put it over my shoulder and start singing Let it Go!

Christmas Crafts: Door Wreaths

For this week’s Crafty Monday project, Daughter and I made Christmas wreaths. We enjoyed attending a workshop to make these last year, but classes like that are another COVID casualty. One of Daughter’s friends has started a floristry business: Polly’s Petals and makes stunning wreaths and kits with everything needed to make your own. Polly’s family have a large garden and much of the material is sourced from there. She even makes her own dried citrus slices, drying the fruit in the aga. Daughter went to collect the kits we’d ordered yesterday morning and arrived here with two large boxes.

Each included

  • florists foam ring and base
  • hanging string
  • huge amounts of foliage (included cypress, Scots pine, holly, ivy and various other evergreens,
  • dried seed heads, teasels, grasses, pine cones
  • dried citrus and cinnamon stick bundles
  • berries
  • pheasant feathers
  • ribbon
  • florists wire
  • full instructions

There was more than enough in each to make quite a substantial wreath and all we needed to provide were secateurs or strong scissors. We began by soaking the foam in water for ten minutes and attaching a hanging loop.

Working from the outside, we began to cut small sprigs of foliage and pushed it into the foam.

We continued until the whole wreath was covered and no foam was showing.

We then added the other items, twisting florists wire round the citrus and cones to make a stem to push in the foam.

I have vast numbers of feathers so I added some of my own. I looked in the ribbon box and found a length in a pinky peachy shade that looked perfect so I used that instead of what came in the kit.

Daughter added some gun cartridge ends and found some gold ribbon

Even though the kit contents were very similar our wreaths are very different. We love them. Thanks Polly!