Knitting for the Cats Protection League

I will be starting a small knitting group here at Cattery57, in Gorleston soon, in aid of the Cats Protection League. They need knitted blankets and toys for the homeless cats that they take in.. Don’t worry if you don’t knit and want to have a go we can teach you. I will supply the wool if you bring your own knitting needles. Or if you can, donate any amount of DK wool, it would be very much appreciated. Please contact me for more details.

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My first Embroidered Rock….

In my last post I showed you how I created these little rocks from pebbles taken from my friends driveway. They fit beautifully in the palm of your hand and are very tactile.

The only problem I had was how was I going to decorate them! So many things to chose from…… In the end I decided on a little embroidery with silks.

Just enough to give some contrast but not too much to cover over the lovely alpaca felt. There is a nice weight to the little rock, and when you hold it in your hand it becomes lovely and warm. And shabby chic comes to mind!

Felted Rocks……

Yesterday I showed you how I make my little rocks ready for felting. There are lots of videos on the net showing you how to wet felt, that is how I learnt. Not half as difficult as I first thought. Just takes some time, but not alot of concentration, which is good sometimes!

Here are 5 finished rocks. I wet felted them, left them in the airing cupboard overnight to dry and now they are ready for decorating with some embroidery and lots of beads! They have turned out approx 3″ long, 2″ wide and 1″ deep. Plenty of room for lots of mini decoration. I used 4 layers of alpaca wool and tiny (and I mean tiny wisps, so it goes along way) amounts of coloured wool roving. As they have ployester wadding and pebbles inside I saved on using up too much of my precious wool. They are not as heavy or hard as stone, but they do have weight to them and once the decoration is on will look like a proper felted rock. And having more room to manoeuvre a needle, underneath the felt, will make it easier to embroider onto. Now I just have to decide what to put on them!!!!!

From Little Pebbles A Felted Rock!

Since trying out wet felting and looking at other peoples on the net, I found the craze of rock felting. Some people are also incorporating embroidery onto the felted rocks. As I have loads of raw wool ready for felting I thought I would give it a go. Although I live near a beach it is quite a walk away, and having the cattery I don’t really have time, or the inclination to go hunting for rocks on the beach and then having to carry them home. So I made a rock out of wadding to see if the felting on it would work. It did, the felt tightened up the wadding so it became firm, it was just like a rock except it didn’t have any weight to it, which makes the proper felted rocks so unique. So this was my next experiment, how to get the weight without a rock. My mother has loads of lovely gravel in her garden, and my friend has a gravel driveway!!!! Most of it is little smooth pebbles. Ideal for this project.

You will need:

Pebbles, any size or shape, just make sure there are no sharp edges, (these ones are about an inch big). Cheap polyester wadding, I use 2oz wadding, any kind of wool or cotton and scissors.

Wash and dry your pebbles. Weigh a handful so you get approx 3oz, this will make a rock the size of a bar of soap when felted.

Tear off a small strip of the wadding and wrap the pebbles, make sure they are completely covered.

Wrap some wool around the little pebble parcel, tightly, and tie with a knot. (Don’t worry about the colour of wool it won’t show through once you get felting).

The pebbles shouldn’t be able to move around in the parcel.

Next take your little parcel and with another piece of wadding wrap it up like you did before. You don’t need alot of the wadding, just to give it one layer of cover.

Tie this parcel up the same, but not too tightly.

So now you have a nice sized, weighted rock made from little pebbles ready for wet felting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Wet Felting Experience!

My friend Suzie, from Suzie’s Alpacas, kindly sent me some raw wool from her beautiful animals. I have never tried spinning or weaving, but have the needles for needle felting. Whether I have the right needles or because they were cheap, I don’t know, but it was soooo boring, and I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. So I decided to do a bit of wet felting instead. Although it took alot of time too, it didn’t take alot of concentration or bloody fingers!

So, with a bowl of water, a bar of soap, 2 dog brushes, some cling film, bubble wrap and a cats ball.

I made this little purse, with two little felted pompoms as decoration.

So easy to make, I found the tutorial on Youtube. I didn’t have to wash the wool first, and only carded, with the dog brushes, as I needed it. The only slightly akward bit was sewing on the purse clasp. But as you do it whilst the felt is still damp, you can stretch it and as it dries it shrinks back to its original shape.

I will definitely be making some more of these, and embroider cats and things on them to sell in my cattery, along with felted soaps, which are also so easy to make.

I would love, love to be able to make 3d animals etc, with needle felting. Looking on the net there are crafters, true artists, who make beautiful, and so life like animals, I wouldn’t even know where to start. And I definitely don’t have the patience. So I think wet felting will be a new one for me!

 

7. Crochet Border Around the QAYG Hexie

I could just stitch all of the little QAYG hexies together like an ordinary patchwork quilt. But the cotton sheeting I am using does stretch a little and I don’t feel that I could make a neat job of it. As I love to crochet and it is nice and quick I thought I would put a crochet border around each hexie and then either sew them or crochet them together. As the crochet will stretch a little as well they will all fit together without any stress.

I will be using 4ply white cotton yarn for my hexies, but for this demonstration I will be using black so you are able to see it more clearly. You will also need a sharp needle with an eye big enough to take the 4ply yarn and a 1.75mm crochet hook.

Using a long piece of yarn, you need to do this part with one piece, and a sharp needle with an eye big enough for your yarn, begin to do blanket stitch all round your hexie. For the blanket stitch you will put your needle in at the back side of the hexie, slide between the layers and come out right on the outside fold. The stitches must not show on the front of the hexie.

We will be working from the back side so it will look as though the hexie is floating on the crochet border. I don’t measure or calculate, life is too short…….my stitches are about 1/2 cm apart and 1/2cm deep. When you make the loop at the top don’t pull too hard we want to keep the shape of the hexie edge.

When your near the first corner go in the same hole as the last stitch and up on the other side. Do not pull the yarn too tightly round the corner.

When you have blanket stitched all the way round, finish off with a knot, slide your needle under your stitches through the layers of fabric and cut off the excess yarn.

Leaving a fairly long tail join your yarn to one side of the hexie, you can work from the back or the front, back is easier, and using double crocher (UK) crochet along one edge. When you get to the corner make 2  double crochet in this loop. One double crochet in each loop of the blanket stitch until you reach the next corner, make 2 double crochets in the corner loop and so on. On the second and third rows when you come to the corner do 2 double crochet in one stitch.

That is all you need, just 3 rounds of double crochet. Finish off with a long tail. Thread a tail of yarn on to your needle make a knot and pull through the layers of your hexie and blanket stitch so that it is neatly hidden.

Now all I need to do is make 100’s more of these lovely little QAYG hexies, sew them together and finish my quilt!!!! I hope you enjoyed my quick tutorials, if you have any questions please contact me.

 

 

6. More Embroidery on the Hexie

I didn’t want too much white going on in between the hexies when I finally put them altogether for my quilt, so decided to do a bit more embroidery. This seemed to make the little hexie flower in the middle pop, and it didn’t matter how ugly the fabric pattern was. The embroidery is very simple but does make a difference, and I think complete the hexie beautifully!

You will need: your finished QAYG hexie and the three stranded embroidery threads you used for the central flower and leaves. On my one it is green for the vine and leaves, dark blue for the flowers and yellow for the little stamens in the centre of the flowers.

On the hexie with your fabric pen, or sharp pencil, draw a wavy line around the hexie flower. Not too close to the flower, and not too close to the edge of the hexie. This will be the basis for the embroidery.

Here is where the little corner pockets on your hexie come in to play. Knot your thread and use the little pockets to hide the knot. Go into the pocket and bring your needle up on the line you have drawn. Keep all of your embroidery on the top of your hexie. Sliding your needle between the layers. We don’t want to see any embroidery threads on the back, spoiling your quilting. Using your line as a guide and 2 strands of green embroidery thread Back Stitch all the way round on your drawn line. Keep your fingers at the back of your work so you can feel if the needle goes all the way through. Keep the needle in between the layers, so none of the embroidery shows on the back side of the hexie.

 

When you get to near the end of your thread find the nearest pocket and slide your needle between the layers, open out the pocket and come up behind it, as in the photo above. do a little knot.Cut the thread and fold back the pocket to hide the knot. Do this with all the knots.

Vine finished and knots hidden.

None of the embroidery showing on the back side.

I spent an age on the internet trying to find little flowers to embroider that weren’t too heavy or complicated. I wanted something delicate and quick. The little embroidered flowers are made using Tulip Stitch, you will find a tutorial here.  I stitched them randomly on the vine, with enough gaps in between for some lovely little green leaves. I have used 2 strands of the dark blue embroidery thread. All the knots have been hidden again in the little pockets. Don’t go too close to the edge of the hexie with the embroidery as the crochet border might get caught up in it.

Next, fill the gaps in between the flowers with little Lazy Daisy leaves. Using 2 strands of the green embroidery thread I made my Lazy Daisy stitches a little bit longer so they give the effect of leaves.

For the finishing touch to the little flowers I have used 1 strand of yellow embroidery thread and put a little French Knot into the loop of each flower. That is all of the embroidery finished. Now to close up all the little pockets and cover up those horrible looking knots.

With white cotton thread sew up the little pockets without going all the way through the hexie.

The back of your hexie after all of the embroidery should look like this. Nothing showing except your lovely quilting!

In Part 7 I will show you how I crochet a border around the hexie ready for making up into a quilt.

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