Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fabric Crocheting

I like to crochet with fabric every now and then.  I use cotton quilting fabric in strips about 3/4 of an inch wide to 1" wide.  I make Rag rugs, pot holders, etc.  When using fabric, I use a larger crochet hook than when I crochet with yarn.  My hand muscles hurt after using the larger hook since it is not my normal hook size.  I only use one brand of crochet hook.  I love the way they fit my hand and of course they are pink.  If only they had glitter in them, they would be perfect.  LOL  I use Tulip Etimo Rose Crochet Hook, 10.5/6.5mm/K.  It is smaller than many rug makers use.  I see many rug makers using a blue Boye plastic crochet hooks in a size S or so.   That is too large for me to grip comfortably.  My great-grandmother used a wooden hook.  It was larger than what I use.  I feel more comfortable with a metal hook since it is stronger.  I broke a few wooden hooks when I started crocheting fabric.  There are always fabric threads that get caught on the hook when I crochet with fabric---OK, I just pull too hard.  

I decided to make a bowl by crocheting a circle and then not increasing stitches so the sides would curve up.  I used a strip of fabric which was approximately one inch wide.  Along with that fabric, I used a novelty eyelash yarn.  As I crocheted, my bowl looked like a nest.  I hate to give up on such a lovely creation.  I placed a decorative Christmas bird ornament in the nest and went with it.  It is cute.....not what I originally planned.  I think one of those comments about getting lemons and making lemonade should go here.





I recently made 3 fabric trivets.  One was made with two different fabrics.  It can also be used as a pot holder.  (Rustic yet shabby chic)  The second was made with eyelash yarn, fabric strips, and a sparkle yarn.  This turned out real pretty, but the sparkle yarn is almost invisible.  In the third trivet, I used handspun Merino yarn to crochet an edge around the trivet. The yarn was mostly pink variegated but it had a pink, curly Wensleydale/Columbia locks placed in-between a second yarn as it was plied through the spinning wheel. I haven't decided if I like this trivet.  


  I used handspun yarn throughout the complete trivet, along with fabric strips.  It is all natural wool or cotton.  The curly wool is pretty, but I an not real a big fan of this trivet.   


Trivet made with fabric, eyelash yarn, fabric strips, and sparkle yarn.  The sparkle yarn barely shows.  I think I would use two strands of sparkle next time.


PS  Don't forget to go to my website at: https://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com or my website at: https://www.custercottage.com or my Etsy shop at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage

Weekend Playing
A house that I dearly love in Hutchinson.  It is also for sale.


Thank you for viewing!

Dawnie

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Rag Rugs and Other Things



I have lately found spinning and making rag rug items for my home keeping me busy when I am not at my full time job.  I recently made the table runner and a couple of hot pads.  I am crocheting a circular rag rug, but it is only about 2 feet in diameter.  I want it to be closer to 5 foot in diameter.  Crocheting with fabric takes me a lot longer to do than crocheting with yarn.  Part of this time is due to the attachment of fabric pieces every 44" or so. 

Next, I plan to make another type of of rag rug using a peg loom.  I will update you with the progress once I get started with that rug.  

I don't know why I have been fixated with rag rugs so much lately.  I have always loved them and find them to have a welcoming charm in any home.  I only use new fabric.  It is remarkable how long the bright and bold colors hold up in a rag rug.  My great-grandmother made the one in the following picture.  This rug is at least 58 years old.  It has been well worn and in a few places the fabric is unraveling. 







PS  Don't forget to go to my website at: https://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com or my website at: https://www.custercottage.com or my Etsy shop at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage



Saturday, October 21, 2017

Rag Rug Table Runner


So many things have happened lately.  I took a little break and had a hysterectomy.  I am doing fine and have recovered much faster than I expected.  

I learned a new craft/skill.  It is another method of making a rag rug.  I have crocheted and knitted rag rugs, rug mugs, and  hot pads in the past where I used fabric strips. When I crocheted and knit with fabric, I tried to keep the fabric strips about 3/4 wide and use a large hook or needles.  When my great-grandmother crocheted rag rugs, she used a large wooden crochet hook and single crochet into the back loops.  She usually made round rugs.  The fabric she used came from old clothes. If an old shirt would be used, the buttons would be taken off.  The buttons would would be strung together with thread and placed in the button jar.  Who wants to hunt for matching buttons so stringing them together is a must.  Then the seams would be cut out of the shirt.  The pieces of shirt fabric would be cut on the bias, or ripped into 2 inches wide strips.  These strips would be sewn together on the bias using a sewing machine.  Then they would be wound into a ball.  She would fold the outside edges in to meet in the center and then fold the strips in again and iron the folds into place.  This would be like making a bias tape.  

My grandmother made many of these fabric balls and sent them to Grand Island where a military hospital was.  The men made rugs on a weaving loom and sold the finished product.  I think the making of the rugs was a form of therapy. 

When I make my little rugs, I sometimes string along a novelty yarn, such as an eyelash yarn.  This adds a nice accent to the fabric.  I never fold or iron the pieces because I think the fray of the fabric edges gives it some character.  I also use new cotton fabric which can be referred to as quilting fabric.

With the new method using a frame or loom, I learned, I make the rugs, mug rugs, table runner, pot holders, etc. using 1 1/2 inch strips.  This method is called twining. You can learning about twining here:
AND here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9edMZykB14r

My finished table runner:

 
Little One's Playhouse and Welcome Matt.


PS  Don't forget to go to my website at: https://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com or my website at: https://www.custercottage.com or my Etsy shop at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage 



Monday, August 21, 2017

Child hat or beanie

With recently spun yarn, I made a child hat/beanie.  I haven't decided if it was for a boy or a girl.  I had a particular boy in mind, but I thought I should run a ribbon through the bottom triple crochet stitches and see if it would look good for a girl.  I asked my grand-daughter what she thought.  She said she wouldn't wear it.  I guess it is not girlie enough even with the ribbons.  LOL  This wool is plied with a blue cotton thread and two wool strands making a triple ply yarn.




Thank you for viewing.  Dawnie


PS  Don't forget to go to my website at: https://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com or my website at: https://www.custercottage.com or my Etsy shop at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Antique Store Find and Soap Cracks


I was at an antique shop a short while back.  I picked up this box of cotton thread/yarn.  It said to me that it would be a great carrier yarn, or a great yarn to ply in my spinning.  Today, I decided to use it with some Shetland I was spinning.  The Shetland is white, but when spun some natural colors show.  I happened to also have some of the natural colored brown and beige yarn on a bobbin (like the previous post) so I plied the two wool spools and the blue cotton thread together to make my first yarn.  Once I used all of the natural colored brown and beige yarn, I continued to ply the cotton with the Shetland.




I know it is hard to view because of the brightness in the center.  I hope you can sill tell what it looks like.  Yes, this is my old castle type spinning wheel.  All other wheels I have used pale to this one, except for one I tried and it was plain ugly.
I am not sure what I am going to make with this yarn.  I am still spinning the single white yarn and I may make more plied with the blue thread.  The texture of the yarn, especially the three ply with the natural beige and browns should stand out in whatever I make.  As you probably remember, I don't like to make large projects, so who knows...............

I have also done a little soaping.  I am low on laundry soap, so I made some more of the base soap.  Coconut oil, lye, and water.  Of course half of it I had to play with, even though it is going to be shredded up.  To the second half, I added some mica and made swirls.  I also added Irish Spring type fragrance.  You may notice that it got hot and cracked down the center of my loaves of soap.  The soap loaves may have been less hot if I had not placed them all together to help support the edges so they did not bow out.  Once I saw that they were splitting, I sprayed rubbing alcohol on the tops.  A few minutes later I planned to give them some pressure on the top and another spray of alcohol, so the crack would not be so visible.  It really didn't matter if there was a crack since I was going to shred most of this soap up, but you know that damn soapers pride.  Standing there ready to spray, I noticed the two white ones healed themselves.  There is a visible line, but no crack.  The swirled ones have a little crack, but not much, so I didn't do anything except give it all another spray.
If you look carefully, you can see the cracks, but they are only on the very top.  The worst one is the one that is sideways on the left.  It doesn't look bad does it?


Have a wonderful week!  Dawnie



PS  Don't forget to go to my website at: https://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com or my website at: https://www.custercottage.com or my Etsy shop at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Over-dying wool




As of late, I have enjoyed spinning natural colored wool.  In one yarn, I have used several sheep breeds (Merino, Shetland, Jacob, Zwartable) in an effort to make a tweed-like yarn.  With some of this yarn, I crocheted a baby hat.  It is not the softest yarn, but not very scratchy either. A trick I picked up over the years if the cap is not soft enough for a baby head, line the cap with fleece-type fabricThe same kind of fabric used to make tied blankets.




After spinning this natural colored  yarn, I decided to over-dye the yarn so it did not look so boyish.  I used a Raspberry dye.  Some of the dye is darker in places than in others.  I like that look.  I have only made the hat, so far.  I have no idea what to make with the rest of my spun yarn.  What do you think I should do with it?  Do you like the over-dye better than the natural colored yarn?  The yarn used in the hat had more dark yarn spots and it came out darker.  It almost looks black and red. colored.  The plastic button even turned a tinge of pink. 
 






Thank you for viewing!  Dawnie







PS  Don't forget to go to my website at: https://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com or my website at: https://www.custercottage.com or my Etsy shop at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage

Friday, July 21, 2017

Lavender & Tea Tree Soap





How do you feel about tea tree oil?  I think it really stinks! 
However, some people dearly love the fragrance.  A friend of mine used it in her hand made baby wipe formula since it is good for minor skin irritations and it has antiseptic properties.  Tea tree essential oil comes from the leaves of the tea tree which is grown in Australia.  This has nothing to do with the green or black tea we drink.  Tea tree is placed on the skin (topically) and used as an antiseptic for minor cuts, burns, skin irritations, eczema, and many other things.  I am camouflaging the smell of tea tree with lavender in this batch of soap.  My home smells heavenly!  Aside for a little color, everything in this soap is natural.  Since there is no real definition of natural in soap, it may not mean much to you. lol  When I mixed the lye, I added the sea salt.  About 1/3 does not mix totally.  This does not pose a problem for me.  I use salt totally mixed into the water and the opposite way where the soap is crunchy and needs to be cut right away. As the soap cures, it will have a white film on it due to the salt. 

I visited with a lady not long ago that had a son with eczema.  She said that his eczema (on his neck) cleared up when they were on vacation and he was in the salt water at the ocean daily.  That healing could be a result of many things other than salt, including stress, food, clothing he wore, soaps and shampoos he used, laundry soap and fabric softeners, etc.  The mother thought it was the salt and salt makes my skin feel awesome.  I am not a doctor and I can't tell you what does or does not work, but I have skin issues and so do many of my friends and family members.  I would like to say that my soap is used because everyone that uses it loves it and wants his or her skin to feel great!  Unfortunately I am realistic.  Many of my friends and family members use it because it is free.  LOL





Soap Ingredients:  Coconut oil, Tallow, Water, Lye, Sea salt, Shea butter (Unrefined and organic), Sunflower Seed Oil,Cocoa butter (unrefined and organic), Grapeseed oil, Colloidal oatmeal, Lanolin,  Purple and lavender oxide

Every once in a while, handmade soap may have a problem setting up.  With this soap, I had lye pockets.  This is something that I rarely ever have.  I noticed a small hole in the soap when I cut it.  I also noticed a little hole/pocket in the bottom of the soap, almost at the bottom of the mold in another loaf of soap.  There was some liquid in these holes.  I usually cut out these areas of the soap and the bad areas become family soap, or scraps used to re-batch.  This is what lye pockets look like:

I have been spinning a little.  I will keep you posted in case I make anything with the yarn.  I am intentionally making it look like tweed.

Have a great weekend!!!  Dawnie




PS  Don't forget to go to my website at: https://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com or my website at: https://www.custercottage.com or my Etsy shop at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage