Saturday, 30 November 2013

Wrist Warmers

Well, it's turned rather chilly now and hats, scarves, gloves with lots of layers are a must! I have inherited some driving gloves, which I have really taken to, but they stop right at the edge of the hand. A nice pair of wrist warmers are just the thing to stop the chill getting in when I'm out of the car.
I've been making these for a few years now and they make great presents as you can really vary them up and personalise them.
For this tutorial I have used the sleeves of a "fulled" jumper by shrinking it using the hottest wash on the washing machine. Alternatively you could knit/crochet the base and felt it or you could use felt material and sew the base by sewing a tube leaving a space for your thumbs.
In my opinion buttons for decoration are a must though.

After you're happy that the jumper has shrunk the desired amount and you've left it to dry completely, cut the ends of the sleeves off to the length you want. I like them to go from half way up my little finger to around 8 cm beyond my wrist or more. If the end of the sleeve has a ribbed cuff you may like this as a feature and leave it, alternative you may prefer to cut it off or if the end has shrunk a lot you might have to cut it off to fit your hand in!
Once you're happy with the length you need to cut a hole for your thumb in each. I find using a small, sharp scissors makes it easier, once I've done the first I use that as a guide for the second.
The easiest way to finish the edges is to sew around them, using embroidery floss for example. Simple whip stitch looks very effective as does good, old blanket stitch.
And as mentioned a few buttons finishes them off nicely!There you have it, lovely and toasty wrists to wear with or without gloves.
For a more fancy edge I like a bit of crochet. Using a fine hook, 1 mm usually works well (and the sharper the better), I attach the chosen wool/yarn by slip stitching all the way around, poking the sharp hook into the edge and pulling the yarn though. I space it by eye but you can use your little finger as a guide to help or if you like things very precise you could use a tape measure. It's good to keep things nice and loose at this stage. Once I have worked all the way around I slip stitch into the first stitch once reached. After this I switch to a larger hook perhaps a 3.5 mm to a 5mm depending on the yarn and then crochet a frill. For example, chaining three and dc into every other stitch or sc, dc, sc into every other stitch. Experimenting is always good!

Until next time stay cosy and craft in earnest, Craftin' Ernest x

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Chunkier The Better

How great are "chunky knits"? They're so cosy and grow so fast. I have some shop bought chunky knitting needles and crochet hooks but thought it must be extra satisfying to use homemade ones so I thought I'd have a go at making my own using a length of 18 mm pine dowel (though it actually measures 20 mm). I bought it from my local Homebase store and a 0.9 m piece costs a little over £3.

So far I have made a crochet hook, I used a hack saw to cut a section approximately 22 cm long (I also cut the remaining 68 cm in half to make knitting needles at a later date, but who knows when I'll get round to that).
I roughly marked the position for the notch using a marker pen about 2-3 cm from one end and cut it out roughly using the hack saw. I tidied it up using some wood cutting tools. A set of 9, all with various tips, cost £1.99 from "The Works"- I love that shop, you can pick up some real bargains.
Then using the sanding attachment of my electric multi-tool I worked the tip into a blunt point and tidied the notch up before using a fine sand paper to neaten everything up! It took a while to achieve a point I was happy with, perhaps 40 minutes, and I found that it was much quicker to press the "hook" into a hard surface whilst sanding the end with the multi-tool and use a good bit of pressure. A lot of dust is created so if you're working inside a dust mask is highly recommended, a pair safety specs is a good idea too.
All that's left is to crack on with some speedy crochet. I've used Cygnet "Seriously Chunky" which suggests 10-12 mm knitting needles but looks lovely and snug using my jumbo crochet hook- perfect for a cowl I would say . I included a packet of Parma Violets for scale (and then promptly ate them).
Its really is quite satisfying to crochet with and very quick!
Until next time craft in earnest, Craftin' Ernest x