yarn dyeing…

I don’t know where it came from, my urge to dye yarn.  It is not something I have ever thought of doing until about eight weeks ago; when the thought entered my head and I literally became obsessed with wanting to dye yarn.  Before I knew where I was, I had become the clueless owner of 2 beautiful hanks of bare merino/nylon sock yarn.

yarn dyeingOf course I couldn’t wait for dyes or my preferred mordant of citric acid to be delivered, so I watched a few youtube tutorials which dyed yarn with food colourings and used white vinegar as a mordant and off I went to raid my kitchen cupboards.   I was very disappointed with the resulting consequence, the colours did set, but they were insipid and uninspiring and the white vinegar made everything smell just horrid…for ages!

So, I had to wait for my order of acid dye and citric acid to be delivered.  Oh the excitement when the delivery guy knocked that door!  I tore open the parcel and oohed and aahed at my little bottle of brilliant blue Jacquard acid dye and then went to watch a lot more tutorials, which got me quite confused.  Each tutorial recommended different amounts of mordant and they contradict each other greatly.  I summarised there was no one way to dye yarn and so I decided to just go for it!   I wore a safety mask as you must when dealing with acid dyes…that youtube did agree on! and I carefully noted down everything that I did, to include times and measurements and then I began to dip dye my yarn.  I chose  to dip dye as I wanted to play with the colour a little and because this seemed the simplest technique aside from just dumping the hank into the pot to get a solid colour.

dip dyeing yarn

I enjoyed the whole process immensely, (apologies for the lack of photo’s but it is quite hard to take photo’s when you are dealing with dyes and heat sources, whilst wearing gloves, trying to write the process down and not quite knowing what you are actually doing!) I just love that you  don’t quite know how the dye is going to take to the yarn and how the yarn will look when it’s finished.  There is a definite amount of science to it, but there is a whole lot of artistry and magic involved too!

I was thrilled with the end result too, a beautiful gradient skein of lovliness, in pastel blues.  Some of the bare yarn just peeped through on the paler end, which I really liked…that was the magic bit!  What I was not prepared for was the sheer joy of twisting it into a skein…oh my word, that twist is a beautiful thing!

hand dyed yarn

I added a label and printed some sock patterns out and gifted it to my Mama for  her birthday.

hand dyed yarn

Now I can’t wait to dye some more yarn and try some different techniques.  I have certainly found a new yarn addiction!  It’s really great to try something new isn’t it?

If you have any yarn dyeing tricks and tips please let me know in the comments thread below…I would love to hear them and jot them down in my yarn dyeing journal.

xxxxx

How to sew on crochet ears…the easy way!

Crochet has had to take a back seat for a little while.  July was and always is a crazy, busy month with end of school stuff!  This year though was particularly busy as my littlest robin left primary school and began getting ready for new adventures in high school.  I won’t regale you with the number of tears I cried…they will always be my babies I know…but I no longer have any babies in the nest.  I now have three secondary schoolers; that are at times  like teenage toddlers and at other times, shaping up to be lovely young men.  What has this got to do with sewing on ears I hear you ask…it hasn’t a thing to do with it, so I will stop waffling and get to the point of this post.  panda baby hats

Sewing on Ears has proved for me to be incredibly time consuming in the past.  Whether I am sewing ears onto a lovely squashy amigurumi or sewing bear ears onto baby hats, my ears…well not my actual ears, but the crochet ears, have ended up being wonky, not in the right position or have ended up looking unequal.  I have found this to be incredibly frustrating; as what I thought would take me 5 minutes has taken me much longer and has caused a number of expletives to fall from my mouth!  That was until I developed a method which has proved to be both accurate and speedy every time and since I don’t have much crochet to show you,  I thought now would be a good time to write this post.

crochet ears

My method is very simple…you just need a balloon, a glass and pins.  With these three items sewing ears onto hats and garments and amigurumi becomes much easier…every time!  Yes, I sew ears onto amigurumi before stuffing and sewing up, using this method and it seems to work really well.  The beauty of using a balloon is that you can blow it up to the exact size required.  You do need to be careful that you don’t prick the balloon with the pin though!

I told you it was simple.

how to sew crochet ears on...the easy way

So there you have it, I hope you find this post useful…do let me know.

xxxxx

Bright and Bold Summer Flowers…pattern news

Do you remember not so long ago I said I had some exciting news to share with you?  Well, I can share that news now…crochet flowers free pattern

 

These are my bright and bold summer flowers and they were featured in Crochetzine, a fabulous online crochet magazine, last month!

  I felt so proud and excited to see my work shared.  Of course I want to share it with you also.  These are great flowers to make from left over snippets, but I think they work best in a cotton yarn, as they hold their shape better.

crochet flowers

 

The pattern is based on hyperbolic crochet, but don’t let that put you off…it is really simple!  I have had so many lovely comments about the bunch I have on my table.  Here’s the  link to Crochetzine, where you will find my pattern.

Do let me know what you think if you make any won’t you?

 

xxxxx

Off Piste…

I said I would pop in and write about some recent makes…so here I am, I hope you are well.  My makes of late have been a little off piste, in that they are not yarny at all!  

Over Easter I had a little time away from work which was just delightful.  The weather was sunny and spring was most definitely flourishing.  The boys were off school too, so our days were lazy and quite carefree.  Amongst the laid back ways, I still had chores and it was whilst ironing of all things that I was overwhelmed with an urge to embroider. 

The urge just fell so heavy upon me whilst ironing an old but beloved blouse of mine.   The material had become thinned in areas and I sadly decided the blouse could no longer be worn.  I loved that blouse and some of the material was still good and this is what sparked my embroidery urge. 

Having never done any embroidery before I happily abandoned the ironing pile and exchanged it for a pinterest exploration and I was gone for several hours.  I gathered supplies and with a fabric sewing pen I sketched out my design.  Between consulting youtube clips and pinterest I ventured on my maiden embroidery voyage.  I loved it, it scratched that creative itch so well, I felt so deeply satisfied. 

I can only show you a little of this make as it is a gift and is still to be gifted. 

I embroidered at every opportunity, I just couldn’t put it down.

I made a second hoop which I can show you, as this has already been gifted.

Oh, how I adore French knots and satin stitching. What do you think?

xxxxx

Birthday treats and fabulous hooks…

I’ve had a lovely few days celebrating another year…yes, it was my birthday!

I have been well and truly spoilt this year and I have had some great yarny presents too, which I thought I’d share with you.

I kicked things off by booking time off work and then was treated to the most loveliest of birthday eve meals with my parents and  brother as well as my guys too.  It was a really great way to start the celebrations.  My actual birthday day…you know what I mean! was relaxed and laid back, hanging out with the boys and Mr R.

We had a game of birthday badminton before cake and coffee…

birthday cake

no guilt involved, as calories definitely don’t count on your birthday!  It was a beautiful coffee and walnut cake…my absolute favourite!

We took time out to notice Spring has well and truly arrived…

spring flowers

and I enjoyed finding some more spring inspiration whilst browsing around too.

spring vibes

Fabulous zingy spring vibes right there!

I spent more time with family andfriends and of course did some hooking too…this is how far I have got with my C2C rainbow heart blanket.  Pattern details are just here. 

baby blanket
rainbow baby blanket

I also got some great yarny presents too.

personalized crochet hooks

Fabulous personalized crochet hooks of my bestie and…

Mr. R surprised me with tickets to this years Yarndale Festival which is in September….SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

So, I’m feeling very loved and very blessed and quite yarny today.

Have a fantastic weekend, whatever you’re up to.

xxxxx

Last minute Easter pattern…

I thought I’d drop by to let you know all about a really cute pattern I have found.  It’s a quick make and the pattern is free (always a bonus!) and it would make a super cute Easter gift or spring gift.

newborn hat

It’s a very sweet little lambs hat, what could be more spring like…apart from a little fluffy yellow chick perhaps!

The pattern is available in all sizes from 0 -3 months right through to big peoples sizes and it is brilliantly written.  If your thinking I’m not sure about making those bobbles there is a useful youtube link to help you with that.   All in all this pattern would take you a couple of hours to make…that’s plenty of time to hook yourself a little flock.

newborn hat

I just adore how those lamb ears are low set and droop down.

baby hat

Of course I made a pink one too…

baby hat

So here are the pattern details…

Pattern by: Sarah Zimmerman

Pattern Name: Lamb’s Hat

Have you found any good patterns worth a shout out recently?

xxxxx

 

My Make Do Blanket…

I have been reviewing my yarn stash…I have lots of little balls and some big balls of mainly acrylic yarn…mostly Stylecraft special dk and some balls of ‘I just don’t know what’. They are leftovers from projects long gone by like my Happy Ripple

crocet ripple blanket
from 2014

and my Very V Blanket

crochet v stitch blanket, rainbow blanket
Very V blanket from 2016

and the Cosy Cottage Blankets I hooked way back in 2014

the ‘his’ colour way
Cosycattage blanket, ayarnyrobin, crochet blankets
Cosy Cottage Blanket by Attic 24

Of course, I did well last year de-stashing a lot of what I had with the lovely coastal crochet CAL

I was going to gather the rest up and take it to the charity shop…as I have felt for quite a long while that the numerous odd balls of this colour and that colour have been blocking my creative mojo.  But, as I gathered what was quite a tangled mess a pang of guilt coursed through me…it seemed so wasteful. 

I peered into the bag of what I had managed to detangle, not even sure if I liked the colours anymore, but I couldn’t shake that wasteful feeling.  I also felt tired, but I needed to hook; and so before long a simple granny stripe (there are several versions of the pattern out there) began to fall from my hook.  Even more surprisingly, the random colours were so very satisfying to my soul…as was the feeling that this odd surplus of yarn was not only becoming useful, but it was becoming something rather splendid indeed!

crochet blanketI am calling it my ‘Make Do’ blanket.  I’m not sure what size it will be when it is finished…I’m not even sure how many chains I began with, I’m just making do! 

What’s on your hook?

 

 

Little Hearts…Lots of Joy!

These are some of my first makes of 2019…

crochet hearts

Colourful 3d crochet hearts. The pattern is called ‘Hearts and Bees’ by MojiMojiDesigns.

I spent a lazy New Years afternoon looking at lots of different heart patterns over on pinterest, but this pattern was written well and was my favourite by far. 

crochet hearts

I really like the neat little invisible decrease stitch which is recommended in the pattern too.  I had read ‘invisible decrease’ in a few patterns, and had no idea how to make my decrease invisible, but this pattern clearly explains how to execute said stitch…and it is super nifty and is indeed invisible. 

crochet Hearts

These hearts are made from Stylecraft Special Chunky and measure approx. 10cms x 9cms.    

I ended up hooking several and found it a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon thawing out after an extremely cold and particular lengthy walk with the dogs. 

crochet hearts

I think these hearts would be adorable as little newborn photo props or for gender reveals or perhaps even for Valentine’s which is just around the corner! 

What do you think?

xxxxx

Thank you 2018…

As 2018 draws to a close and 2019 peeps over the horizon, it is that time of year when bloggers from all around the world post their obligatory review of the year. 

Yes, this is that type of post…however, I have kept it simple and I have decided to choose just one photo from each month…yarn related of course. 

Suffice just to say, 2018 has had it’s ups and downs, as I am sure it has for you; but crochet has, as always been my constant therapy!  2018 was all about busting my stash, finishing Projects Half Done (PHD’s) and learning to knit…I have also released the following FREE patterns this year which I hope you have enjoyed.

Sunshine Jelly Baby Blanket

Grandma Florence Tea Cosy

Grandma Kathy Tea Cosy

Being part of an amazing crafty community means so much to me and I just want to say a MASSIVE thank you to you, whether you are a first time reader or if you are a regular  here at the nest.  Your support and encouragement is treasured. 

Here  are my favourite 12 yarny photo’s of 2018…

January 2018

crochet tea cosy free pattern and tutorialThe Grandma Florence Tea Cosy…bright, quirky and a whole lot of fun to make.

February 2018

broken foot and crochet
guilt free resting!

February, revolved around guilt free crochet as I ended up on crutches and had to take a month out of work. Luckily, for me I found the beautiful Seaside Stashbusting Blanket CAL hosted by the very talented Coastal Crochet It was the perfect project to bust some of my stash…every cloud eh!

March 2018

crochet blanket
crochet and coffee

This is my favourite photo from March.  My Seaside Stash Busting Blanket was starting to look more blanket like and by now I was enjoying the random colour selection from my stash.

April 2018

crochet baby blanketOn a personal level April was profoundly traumatic and sad here  at the nest, but on a yarny level I released the pattern for this beauty.  I just love this blanket so, so much and it proved to be a welcome shower of cheer which burst forth amongst the grief.  This also fulfilled the remit of completing a PHD!

The free pattern is available just here. 

May 2018

learning to knit
learning to knit

2018 saw the beginning of my learning to knit adventure…this is as far as I got.  I started really well and perhaps got a little ambitious…which became my downfall.  Here are my posts to prove it here,  just here and here

I haven’t returned to this project yet as I can’t work out where I am in the pattern!  I do really want to finish this off…a New Year Challenge perhaps? 

June 2018

crochet blanket cal

  We had an unusually hot summer here in the UK, so hooking al fresco was great now that my Seaside Stash Busting Blanket had grown in size.  We had a beautiful sunny weekend glamping and those soft pink and grey shells will forever remind me of that recharging break away with Mr R and the Robins.  You can read about those glamping adventures just here.

July 2018

crochet zebra

The stash busting continued throughout July and inspired me to hook this cheeky dude.  I had some black, white and grey Paintbox cottons just sitting in my stash and the most apparent thing to make was a zebra of course. 

Having never made amigurumi before I am now completely smitten with all things amigurumi, which came as a total surprise to me!  I made so many mistakes with this pattern, but learnt lots about the process of amigurumi along the way…if you want the full details of the mistakes I made take a look here.

August 2018

Vintage Market Tote

This was a joy to hook and also busted some more stash.  I made this Vintage Market Tote for my Mama…and she loved it

September 2018

mixed stitch blanket

The end was in sight for the now glorious Seaside Stash Busting Blanket…and just in time for the change of seasons as Autumn crept in.

October 2018

amigurumi unicorn

A real …tadaaa… moment.  This beautiful unicorn was made with a lot of love in my heart and no mistakes…well none that I know of!  A real gem of a pattern that was easy to follow and so well written.  It was an absolute joy to send her to her forever home and I am looking forward to hearing what she has been named.  The pattern details are just here.

November 2018

crochet baby blanket

My two favourite things to do when I’m on my own are to crochet and drink coffee and if I can do both whilst watching the world go by then that is near perfect for me. 

This  is another stash busting win for me also…a super soft and pretty baby blanket using up left over yarn from my Sunday Shawl.

December 2018

crochet bag

This is the sad state of my Charming Harbour Blanket…still in its bag  (hangs head in shame!). 

This photo is from January…a PHD fail.  I have added some more rows over the course of the year…honest I have.  I don’t know why I haven’t finished it.  The pattern is simple and it is very handsome… and it is not really that far from being finished; but the pretty things call me more loudly.  

All in all 2018 has been quite yarny, maybe not as yarny as some, but yarny nonetheless.  I have met some amazing crafty friends along the way, busted through a lot of my stash and finished a PHD or two. 

Now bring on 2019!

xxxxx

 

 

 

 

Yarn a long Sunday #8

 

Well this is the last yarn a long Sunday in this June series.  Apologies for this last session being a bit late…It has everything to do with a manic weekend, a 16 mile charity walk and a wedding in a field!  It is still Sunday in the UK…so only a bit late eh!

I now have  a little collection of cute summer projects and if you follow me on Instagram you will know what has captured my heart…but I will post about that separately in the week.

This week’s topic is

‘Ask me a question…yes you can ask me anything!’

ayarnyrobin

Go on don’t be shy!

xxxxx