…create your own beautiful dip-dyed silk scarves in an array of different colours…
you will need:
Two plastic buckets/bowls Plastic gloves
Silk, dye and salt
Cut your silk into four equal strips. Stitch small teams along both long sides by machine: fold the raw edges over by 5mm, and then by 5mm again before pinning or tacking and stitching along them. NB: make sure you use 100% cotton sewing thread to ensure that it takes the dye at step 4.
Run through a wash cycle without using fabric softener. Stretch flat whilst damp.
Mix up two dyes following the instructions of the packaging, setting the two containers close to each other on a work surface. You may find that the silk takes the dye better when still damp – it’s worth trying out a scrap of dry and a scrap of wet fabric firstby dipping them in the liquid and observing the way the colour spreads.
Submerge one end of the scarf in each of the pots of dye. Shift the central section of the scarf from one dye to the other every ten minutes or so, to merge the two colours.
When the hour is up, rinse and wash your scarf following the instructions on the dye packet.
…keep your toes cosy with a soft fireside rug that can be made out of new soft yarns or by using up your stash of wool scraps…
you will need:
I used Rowan Cocoon, 80% Merino Wool, 20% Mohair (115m per 100g)
4 x 100g balls in cream – Frost 806 (A)
1 x 100g ball in black – Mountain 805 (B)
1 x 100g ball in light green – Clay 825 (C)
1 x 100g ball in dark green – Jupiter 839 (D)
1 x 100g ball in light blue – Moon 836 (E)
1 x 100g ball in dark blue – Misty Blue 827 (F)
1 x 100g ball in red – Quarry Tile 818 (G)
1 x 100g ball in purple – Bilberry 812 (H)
1 x 100g ball in beige – Tundra 808 (I)
1 pair of 5.5mm double ended needles
Large darning needle
1m burlap or hessian (140cm wide)
Make 3 central swirls: one central swirl with colour A and contrast colour G, one with and and contrast colour D and one with A and contrast colour F.
Cast on 20 sts in A.
Row 1 (ws): K18, turn. Row 2: Sl 1, K17. Row 3: K16, turn. Row 4: Sl 1, K15. Row 5: K14, turn. Row 6: Sl 1, K13. Row 7: K12, turn. Row 8: Sl1, K11. Row 9: K10, turn. Row 10: Sl 1, K9. Row 11: K8, turn. Row 12: Sl 1, K7. Row 13: K6, turn. Row 14: Sl 1, K5. Row 15: K4, turn. Row 16: Sl 1, K3. Row 17: K2, turn. Row 18: Sl 1, K1. Row 19: Knit to end. Row 20: Change to colour B, knit to end Rows 21 to 40: As rows 1 to 20 changing back to A on row 40. Rep rows 1 to 40 four more times, then rows 1 to 38 once, alternating between B and the contrast colour on rows 20 to 39. Cast off.
Sew the cast on and cast off edges together
using A. Tie the loose ends in the centre of the
wrong side of the swirl together in pairs. Trim
ends to 3cm.
Make four triangular shapes in C: Cast on 40 sts. Row 1 to 6: Cast off 3, knit to end. 22 sts Rows 7 and 8: Cast off 2 sts, knit to end. 18 sts Rows 9 to 20: Cast off 1 st, knit to end. 6 sts Rows 21 and 22: Knit to end. Rows 23 and 24: Cast off 1 st, knit to end. 4 sts Rows 25 and 26: Knit to end Rows 27 and 28: Cast off 1 st, knit to end. 2 sts Rows 29 and 30: Knit to end. Rows 31 and 32: K2tog, cut yarn and pull through loop to finish. Sew the three central swirls together using a scrap of yarn and a large darning needle. Place two circles right sides together, aligning the colour swirls. Use overstitch to join the edge of one swirl from each. Open out and place the third circle on top of one of the joined circles and, again, use overstitch to join the edge of one swirl from one of the joined circle and the third circle to create a strip of circles. Lay the strip of circles out horizontally, and fill the two gaps at the top and the two gaps at the bottom by stitching the pale green triangles in position.
Inner border strip Using one of the following colours: E, I, C, A, cast on 10 sts. Knit every row, changing colour every 16 rows, until the strip measures the same as the outer circumference of the centre piece.
Cast off. Join the two short ends,
making sure that the strip of knitting
is not twisted. Use safety pins to hold the
strip in position before stitching it around the
Middle border strip
Using one of the following colours: F, G, H, D, B, cast on 10 sts.
Knit every row, changing colour every 16 rows, until the strip measures the same as the outer circumference of the work. Cast off.
Join the two short ends, making sure that the strip of knitting is not twisted. Use safety pins to hold the strip in position before stitching it around the outside edge.
Outer border strip
Using A, cast on 15 sts. Knit every row until the strip measures the same as the outer circumference of the work. Cast off. Join the two short ends, making sure that the strip of knitting is not twisted. Use safety pins to hold the strip in position before stitching it around the outside edge.
Cast on 5 sts in C.
K4, sl1 purlwise, yarn forward, with RS facing p1 through one of the cast-off stitches halfway along the curve at one end of the rug, psso, * move all 5 sts to the other end of the needle and k4, sl1 purlwise, yarn forward, p1 through the next cast-off stitch along the outside edge of the rug, psso. Repeat from * until you have worked to halfway around the curve at the other end. Change yarn to H and continue making the i-cord until the circumference is completed. Cast off and join the two cord ends by hand with a crochet hook or a large darning needle.
Lay the knitting right side up on the burlap and
smooth it out to make the edges symmetrical.
Pin or tack all around the edge before cutting all
the way around 5cm outside the knitted edge.
Turn work over and fold the raw edge of the
burlap in, so that the fold is inside the edge of the
knitted i-cord. Fold the raw edge under by 2cm
and then 2cm again. Pin or tack in position.
Sew down by hand all the way around.
Working from the front, baste the knitting to the
burlap along all the sewing joins to completely
secure the rug to the burlap backing.
This is a perfect project for using up wool scraps, but do make sure that your yarns are all the same weight in order to maintain consistent tension throughout.
This rug can also be made out of heavyweight cotton yarns.
I find stitching the pieces together much neater if you do it from the back of the work – Keep checking the other side/front as you work to make sure your stitches are nice and neat.
…here’s a version in cottons – I made it from a stash of scraps and left off the i-cord as I’d run out!
… don’t get caught unprepared when the nights draw in. make your own kindling and spills with tightly folded newspaper and tissue paper …
This really is the sort of present I’d just LOVE to receive.
A wine box, wood kindling, newspaper twisted and folded to make efficient fire starers… the evening you stole down with nothing to get a fire going is miserable… this is really just the best box o’ tricks to have to hand.
. . . transform a vintage food sack into a unique tote bag – perfect for market shopping or a visit to the beach . . .
You will need:
Vintage food sack
7cm x 84cm medium weight heavy cotton or linen fabric for the bag outer (this includes 16cm which folds in at the top of the bag to meet the lining)
Contrasting hand dye
37cm x 84cm linen or cotton for lining
44cm x 84cm firm fabric stiffener
Thread to match your outer fabric colour
Key ring 35mm diameter 71cm brown leather handles Linen sewing thread
Large sewing needle
Make a basic ‘sack’ with your cotton outer fabric. Fold your material in half along its longest length. Sew a 1cm hem by machine along one long edge and one shorter edge. There is no need to finish off the raw edges in any way as the bag is lined. Wash your basic sack without using fabric softener.
Attach the top edge of your sack to the central section of a broom handle or wooden pole with masking tape or thumb tacks. Roll it up around the pole smoothly so that if you balance the pole across a plastic or metal bucket (I used my kitchen sink) the sack hangs down, it’s just above the bottom of the bucket or sink. Prepare your dye following the manufacturer’s instructions.Lower the sack into the dye and gently stir it, avoiding splashes onto the main body of the fabric. Then leave for an hour and finish following the instructions on the packet. You can raise or lower your fabric by turning the pole, thus affecting the depth of your dyed section (Teo bags shown in photograph).
Using an iron, flatten the base of your sack and stitch across the two bottom corners at right angles to the body and 7cm measuring along the bottom seam from the point, creating a flat base and box corners for your bag.
Prepare the lining by folding the lining fabric in half and stitching a 1cm hem along two long edges and one short edge. Repeat step 2 to replicate the box corners of the outer sack. Make a key ring tab with a scrap of the lining fabric, 8cm x 11cm. Fold it in half along its length and press with an iron. Open up the fold and fold the two long edges in to meet the centre crease, then fold in half again to encase the raw edges. Tack and machine a few millimetres from the edges along all sides.
Slot the lining (right side out) into the sack (wrong side out) aligning the top edges (the lining is shorter than the sack because the top fold will be along the edge of the stiffener, the outer fabric lining the top 15cm of the bag). Tack 1cm from the top edge. At the same time, take the key ring tab, fold it in half, and position it at the mid-point along one side between the outer and the lining
Machine along the tack line. Leave a 12cm gap on the top edge opposite the key ring tab for turning out.
Turn the bag out and close the gap using slip stitch. Fold the lining and 15cm of the outer to the inside of the bag: this should be along the top edge of the stiffener. Tack along this fold over stitch through all layers 1cm from the top edge. Put the key ring onto its tab.
I used vintage French pasta sacks found in a car boot sale. If you are fortunate enough to find something similar, adjust your stiffener and lining material quantities to the same dimensions, remembering to allow for 1cm seams and calculate the fold in at the top where the outer meets the lining.
Some fabrics take dye better wet, some dry – try out two small scraps of your fabric first (one wet and one dry) – if the wet fabric ‘draws’ the dye better, quickly soak your fabric and wring out to dye it whilst your dye is still warm.
…a different twist to bunting – make cardboard boxes and fill them with sweets at summer parties and celebrations …
You will need:
Assorted A4 patterned 240gsm card
(check that your printer will take this weight if you are printing the template directly onto the card)
Scalpel or scissors
Double sided tape
Bone folder (optional)
Tape, string or ribbon for hanging
Photocopy the template onto the reverse/plain side of your patterned card.
Using a scalpel and working on a cutting mat cut along the blue lines of the template.
With a ruler and a bone folder or the handle of your scalpel, on the reverse/ plain side of the card, score along the orange lines of the template.
Apply double-sided tape to the shaded area A on the reverse/plain side of the card and trim flush to the edges. Peel off the backing tape and, using your card off-cuts, stick a contrasting patterned card on this area.
Trim flush with the edges.
Apply double-sided tape to the shaded areas B and C of the template on the patterned side of the card and trim flush to the edges.
Punch a hole with your hole-punch in the centre of flap A.
Peel off the two remaining strips of tape backing and assemble your box bunting (B to B, C to C).
Thread your box bunting onto tape or ribbon through the punched holes.
When scoring your card, run the bone folder (or the handle of your scalpel) along the edge of a ruler several times – be careful not to cut yourself with the blade. Retaining the position of the ruler, slip the bone folder or blade handle under the card and gently push the card up against the edge of the ruler to create a sharp crease.
Bone folder: this is a bookbinding tool used for scoring and folding, available from www.payperbox.co.uk