Stiff Crochet Doily Plate

A while ago a lot of stores suddenly started selling crochet doily plates, baskets and trays. They were out of regular yarn but treated with glue to make them stiff enough to be functional. Very out of my budget though so I decided to give making my own a try!

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All you need is a cotton doily and some PVA glue. I decided to just crochet my own out of some stash cotton to use it up.

_1220844 Once it’s finished, wet block it out into the shape you want.
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And if required iron it.

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Next take some PVA glue and water it down so it has the consistency of milk.
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Dump the doily into it and make sure it soaks up the liquid evenly and completely. If you want something very stiff, you will need a higher ratio of glue._1220854

Squeeze out extra liquid._1220855

Lay out to dry on a plate or something else the shape you want to the finished item to take._1220856 _1220858

Leave it overnight to dry completely and then peel it off._1230283
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Done!
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Depending on the glue you use the stiffness will vary so if you want something like a bowl then use extra glue so it holds shape well. Enjoy! 😀
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Pom Pom Mat Tutorial

Another mini craft tutorial that I found in the depths of my harddrive 😀

Here is a mini pompom mad that I made quite some time ago to serve as a backdrop for photos. It’s only about 30cm across because I didn’t have much green yarn in my stash but it’s perfect for little macro photos.
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It’s a pretty easy one, just make a bunch of pompoms…

_1220813 _1220812 _1220811 Then sew them down to some felt. Gluing would probably be a lot quicker and less fiddly.

_1220823I crocheted a few little daisies to brighten it up a bit too.
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One day I really want to make a HEAP of these daisies and make a gigantic blanket of them!_1220824

DIY Washi Tape Flags

Today let’s do a mini craft! I saw these little flags at a junk store a while ago but figured I would save some money and diy. I made about 30 of them for our Billy Idol Day lunch and only used 3 >_>

So cute though right?

You need:

  • Cute tape, I used washi tape but you can use whatever
  • Toothpicks
  • Scissors

Literally all you do is take a piece of tape at least twice as long as you want your flag…

Fold it in half over the toothpick so it sticks to itself…

And then snip the end into points.

Rinse and repeat till you have enough!

This really probably is the easiest tutorial I’ve ever made here haha! But they look so cute when you poke them into cupcakes or bowls of stuff. I’m using the left overs now to jazz up lazy dinners! I’m having a lot of lazy dinners lately >_>

Spinning Adventure- DIY Sewing Machine Spinning Wheel

So in part one I tried my hand with a drop spindle and found that I enjoyed spinning but didn’t enjoy drop spindles. I spent ages scouring the internet to see if I could find a faster way to do things or build my own wheel from stuff I already had etc. New spinning wheels are very expensive and also huge and I just wasn’t ready to commit. So I just continued reading a lot until I understood the mechanics and became impatient.

Isn’t it typical that I have all of these ideas when no shops are open for parts? >_>

After researching Charkhas which are a type of hand turned spinning wheel I got to the point of “Screw it, I’ll do it myself”. So I gave it a little thought and then dragged out my sewing machine. All a Charkha is, is a spike which spins around so you can add twist to the roving and then wrap it around the spike for storage. The bobbin winder on my sewing machine spins quickly and is pedal controlled… easy diy!

You need:

  • Sewing machine with pedal controlled bobbin winder
  • Bobbin
  • Pen
  • Tape/glue
  • Wire,
  • I also used a plastic tube from the inside of sewing thread for stability

So basically I emptied the pen, glued it to the bobbin and added the hook to the top, the same as my drop spindle. The problem I had is that the bobbin clips onto the machine to be held in place so I couldn’t just shove the pen into it. Instead I glued the plastic tube on then glued the pen to that.

And it worked. I mean it was wobbly as hell but it worked and made yarn! Being foot peddle controlled meant I could vary the amount of twist I had in the wool very easily and could work slowly as I learned what to do. So dodgy but so good.

Yep…

To use it, I switched the machine to bobbin winder mode then held the roving above it to add twist.

And then out to the side to wind it on for storage.

I managed to get singles which were quite thin and even.

And I learned what was a good amount of twist:

Verses too much twist:

Once finished, I wound each single off onto a pen so I could later ply them together into 2 and 3 ply yarn. Unfortunately the bobbin winder couldn’t really ply because it only went in one direction.

It was quite fast and it really made me realise that I enjoyed the process of making my own yarn.

The yarn I made ended up as this little proof of concept swatch.

I was so happy with it, it almost looks like commercial yarn!!

And as a reminder of where I started out, this is all of my hand spindle and sewing machine yarn:

The downsides of this method were that with it on the floor I had to sit right at the front of my chair so it wasn’t very easy on my back for long periods of time and winding off onto the pen was a pain in the arse. It was a great system to learn on and made learning about drafting really fun but it wasn’t something I could use long term.

After that I was totally hooked though. I took my time researching and learning online for around 6 months so I could make my next move: buying a spinning wheel. And that’s for part 3!

Spinning Adventure – DIY Drop Spindle

I think my obsession in spinning was a bit inevitable. I love learning new things and when we came home from Bendigo Woollen Mills last year I had picked up a massive bag of roving for $9 and there was no way I could use it all for needle felting.

So spinning, I don’t know what piqued my interest but somehow I got on the idea of spinning my own yarn. I didn’t know anyone close by me who spun so my adventure started off on the internet trying to learn as much as I possibly could about everything. Had I known that the Handspinner and Weavers Guild is like 2 suburbs over this probably would have all gone a little quicker and painlessly haha!

As with all crafts I try, I didn’t want to invest before I knew it was going to be a long term love affair. I’ve been knitting for *cough*25*cough* years and I still haven’t even splashed out for a nice set of needles… long story short I did a lot of reading on Ravelry and decided to make a drop spindle to begin with.

Drop spindles are basically a stick with some kind of weight on the bottom so they spin evenly. I saw a lot of DIY versions using CDs or Kinex or even Hama beads. I settled on a mini CD I had no use for and some random junk around the house. This isn’t the best spindle, it’s really not even a very average spindle but it worked to let me learn the basics on!

You need:

  • Mini or regular CD
  • 2 pens
  • Wire
  • Tape/glue
  • Bobby pin

Remove the insides of the pens so you just have a hollow tube and tape the non-writing ends together.

Tape the CD 1/3 of the way up the pens and make sure it’s level.

Shove a piece of wire in the top inside the pen and bend it into a hook. Tape in place.

 

Now you’re ready to spin.

To make yarn, tie a piece of commercial yarn on and bring it up through the hook. Ignore the fact that the yarn is tied to the roving in this photo >_>

Hold the whole thing by the yarn (around 2 inches from the end) and spin the spindle by holding the bottom pen with your finger/thumb and flicking it.

Honestly this tutorial isn’t going to be super thorough because I didn’t take enough photos, I read a lot about doing this  when I was starting but it’s something you really need to *see* done to understand the motions so I suggest watching some videos on Youtube. Don’t just limit yourself to one teacher either, watch as many people as you can because everyone has a different technique.

Spin it a few times so the yarn is wound really tightly then grab the spindle and hold it between your knees. We’re going to do a method called “Park and Draft” which is how most people learn to do this. Grab the end of your roving and place it on the end of the yarn. Let go of the yarn then let it and the roving twist themselves together.

Now you’re ready to spin the actual roving. This will take some practice to get right but that’s part of the fun.

You want to hold the twisted bit so the roving in your hand doesn’t get twisted, this way you can gently pull/tease the roving (called drafting) apart so you have enough for the yarn you want to make then bring twist into it.

The motion is basically that you load the yarn you’ve already got with extra twist by spinning the spindle and then hold it between your knees while you draft out some roving so it’s the width you want and allow the twist to go up the roving and turn it into yarn. When you’ve got a bit too much, wrap it around the spindle and keep going. I used a bobby pin to hold the yarn on the spindle in place and to stop it all unravelling when I eventually dropped the spindle.

So yarn wrapped around like this and twisted in the yarn at the top:

Add more twist:

Draft some more of the roving and let the twist creep up:

Twist some more, draft more roving, repeat:

At this point my arms started getting sore >_>

To turn this single ply into 2ply you basically fold it in half so I wrapped it around my hand to find the other end, tied them in a knot and started letting them twist together.

Really you should ply together by spinning the opposite direction on the spindle but I didn’t know that at the time so I just did it like this and then rolled it into a ball.

My first ball of yarn! It’s uneven, overspun in places and tiny but who cares? YARN!

With that, I started making more… and more… and experimenting by spinning different directions and with different widths and becoming more even. I just kind of kept going….

I knitted little swatches as I went so I could see the difference of the techniques I tried. They’re just little 10×10 stitches but it was so helpful to see things like how very tightly spun yarn didn’t have a finish that I liked when knitted up because you could see the individual strands.

First try:

Second try ended up curling back on itself… I think I spun in the wrong direction in some parts but it’s more even.

Third try… getting there!

This one is a preview of the next post where I started getting better just to show that I *did* actually eventually make some nice yarn and progress hahaha!

Yarn porn:


All of those first tries got knitted up into a little cowl for my Mum’s Christmas gift which I think she loved because it was extra hand made.

It was really fun to learn this way and see how much roving was needed for what size yarn etc. I spent a weekend playing around with it before I became frustrated with the speed. I don’t have very long arms so the stopping and starting was irritating. I was having fun making yarn but this just wasn’t a method that I enjoyed using so the next day I became a bit more inventive and added some electricity…

part 2  of the spinning adventure is coming up next 😀

 

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