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Mend And Make Do Monday – Bring on the Buttons

I’m very fussy about buttons. I always take ages choosing the right ones to add to a garment I’ve made. Sometimes when I’m buying something to wear, the buttons can sway me if I’m undecided. A favourite cardigan of mine – a cheap chain store one that I wear a lot, started to lose its buttons. They were quite innocuous fabric covered ones, but I’d lost a couple and the fabric on the front had come off some of the others.

My attempt to buy some replacements at a haberdashery didn’t go well. There was nothing that grabbed me at all. I could have gone with plain white pearly ones but didn’t;t fancy that. Black might have worked but I couldn’t find any small enough. Finding the right shade of green – a sort of chartreuse – wasn’t helping. I tipped out the contents of my button jar for inspiration and found a card of little mother of pearl buttons, just the right size and enough for the whole cardigan. I’d already decided against white. Then I had a brainwave – I coloured in the buttons with a light green Sharpie.

This gave just enough colour but was translucent enough to show the blue/pink/green iridescence of the mother of pearl. I sewed them on and now have buttons that match the cardigan. I’m not sure how long the colour will last but I can always grab that green Sharpie and touch up the colour. My favourite old cardigan not has a new lease of life!

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From Fibre to Finished Scarf

After my success at dyeing my handspun alpaca fibre, which I subsequently used to knit a sweater, I wondered how it would work out if I dyed the prepared fibre first. A while ago I decided to dye some carded batts.

I used acid dyes which are activated by acid (I use citric acid, which I’d added to the dye solution) and heat. I laid the batts on clingfilm, slightly overlapping, and poured the dye on, forming stripes of each colour, squishing the fibre with gloved fingers to help the dye cover it all and encourage the colours to bleed into one another. More clingfilm was added on top, excluding air and creating a seal at the edges.

This was then rolled up ready for the microwave.

I microwaved the rolls for 5 minutes in 1 minute bursts. Acid dyes bind to the fibres leaving clear liquid behind – that’s a good indicator that they are ready. I unwrapped them, rinsed carefully and hung up to dry.

I spun the fibre in colour sequence and chain plied it to keep that sequence intact to create yarn that shaded from blue and navy into teal and turquoise and shades of green then back again.

I chose the Ox pattern from Knitty Bitty (available free on Ravelry). All rows are the same (which makes it easier: no pattern repeats to count), with a sort of 3×3 rib of knit stitches and increases/decreases. This gives the scarf a lovely texture.

I’m really pleased with the colours and the way they shade into one another.

I made the scarf wider than the actual pattern and about 75 inches long so it can loop around my neck. It goes really well with this teal coloured fleece jacket.

I’ve now worn this combination – it looks great and the scarf is so warm and cozy, perfect for approaching winter! There’s some yarn left. I wonder if there’s enough for a matching hat?

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When Wren Met Buddy

It’s a couple of weeks since Wren, the fox-red Labrador puppy came to live with Daughter. She’s not quite ready to go out for walks yet as she hasn’t had all her vaccinations, but we decided it was time to properly introduce her to Buddy our big black Lab. He’s healthy and we were in Daughter’s garden, where no other dogs have been.

Buddy is pretty good-natured but doesn’t really like the way puppies jump up at his face. With lots of reassurance (and treats) he was really patient with little Wren. She certainly wasn’t intimidated by his size! She is tiny next to him

There was a lot of sniffing and tail wagging…

…but Wren took it all in her stride…

…and Buddy was a very good boy.

Then it was time for a walk. Daughter has been putting Wren in a backpack, worn at the front, to take her out and get her used to seeing traffic , people and other dogs.

After all that, Wren was worn out!

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Knit and Natter Round Up – September 2021

Our online Knit and Natter Group members have completed a number of projects over the last month

Y is such a prolific knitter. She completed this commission – an adult sweater in a deep raspberry shade, with a complex cable design

She’s also nearly finished making this man’s sweater – just the neck and the side seams to go….and probably finished by the time I write this.

She’s also been working on a Childs sweater – it’s a project from her Knit In A Box subscription.

If all that wasn’t enough, Y has been spinning too and recently made this beautiful black (Welsh Black Mountain) and white (Dorset) yarn. She spins in the grease and it looked quite yellow when it was first spun but now it’s washed the white has come out really bright. It’s stunning!

R has been making squares for a blanket. These are knitted in different designs, either textured or multicoloured, using a palette of red, green, gold and white

L finished a crocheted blanket for her step granddaughter, in black and grey with a touch of sparkle.

A has been working on a waistcoat for herself in this lovely soft grey yarn.

I finished the scarf I’ve been knitting on Friday. I used my handspun, hand-dyed alpaca yarn. I wore it over the weekend and it’s lovely and warm.

I also started spinning some black Shetland wool.

It’s always fun to see what everyone is working on.