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Yarn Swap V.3.0

Yes, it’s that time again.  We finish one swap and the next one starts.

I signed up for two swaps again.  I wanted to go all out, but believe it or not, I held back this time.  I was trying not to make my packages so OTT, as it’s easy for me to get carried very far away!

The first one I did is based on the Kings of Leon song Sex on Fire. My person mentioned lots of things she would like, but the only thing that hit me was that she currently liked listening to Kings of Leon.  That could well be because they have also caught my fancy of late.  Sex on Fire is actually my ring-tone at the moment, so I get to hear it every so often, and then get to sing it in my head on repeat for hours after that.  Much better than the In The Night Garden theme song any day.

So I got stuck into figuring out what to add.  I was thinking the theme might be a tad mature, but then I found a sock pattern called, Socks on Fire!  Oh my freaking goodness!!!  So, that cinched it for me.

The yarn I dyed is 100g Paton’s Patonyle, originally a caramel colour.  It’s dyed with Dylon in shades of pinks and red, which are the colours that come to mind when I think of the theme.  I would have added some orange as well, but my swappee isn’t into orange, so stuck with just the shades of reds and pinks.

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For the gift, I bought a copy of the Kings of Leon’s Only by the Night album, and made little sock stitch markers on a “Fire” fob.

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The “piece of paperwork” for the swap was the drink recipe which is actually called Sex on Fire!

It was all just meant to be!

And to top it off, because I am a dork  and only dyed 100g of wool, instead of the 150g minimum, I added in a Schoc Chocolate bar in Chili Flavour.  I had a taste sample at the Schoc store, and it is sure to spice up any one’s life.

The next one has to be some of the best, yet morbid fun I’ve had in a long time.  My swapper said in her notes that she likes a good blood splatter thriller book.  In particular, she was into the Scarletta series by Patricia Cornwell.  A bit of googling, and I came up with “Death By Knitting.”

I had a crime scene. (100g patonyle dyed in deeps reds and black.)

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Blood splatter disguised as sock stitch markers on a noose.

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A manual on murder disguised as literature, Died In the Wool, by Mary Kruger, bagged and tagged as evidence.

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The motive!  Who wouldn’t kill for some Schoc Chocolate!

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Informant information on Broken Cables, along with some other pieces of information like a police report and death certificate.

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More crime scene pictures (gotta love Google), plus a recipe for Death By Chocolate.

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And all of it, packed away in a Case File.

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That was so much fun!

I received two in return.  The first one came before the deadline and got me in a panic.  But what a lovely parcel, all tied up in string.

The first was was titled *Strawberries.*  YUM!

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It was 200g of Merino et Soie, dyed with Ashfords Hot Pink and Scarlet coloured acid dyes. (My swapper even had an extra 300g that I bought off her as I LOVE this colour.)  She sent a strawberry coffee cup (yes, I love my cup of joe!), and a strawberry huller which is a kitchen gadget I didn’t have. Perfecto!  The recipe is for Pam’s Scarlet Strawberry Cordial which is a family recipe.  And the pattern picked is Strawberry Hill by Melissa Matthay.

Because I had so much extra wool, I knit this up as well, which I blogged about here.

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But wait!  There is one more!!!!

This one is based on Little House on the Prairie.  My yarn fairy wrote up this little story to go with the swap.

It is a Saturday morning in out “Little House on the Prairie” in the height of summer. Pa is out in the fields milling the timber and I have just finished gathering up the vegetables and fruit out of the garden.  I take my basket into the kitchen and there is Ma at our kitchen table wearing her apron.  I can smell the bread baking in the oven and Ma has the preserving pot all ready and waiting.  I place the basket on the table and begin helping to peel the fruit. Every summer about this time, Ma does the preserves and places them in the pantry that Pa built. You should see it.  There is orange marmalade, cucumber relish, and bottles of pickled onions.  Ma said that after we finished the preserving, we are going across the way to visit the Price family, so I had better go and fetch the cake carrier and Ma’s shawl before Pa arrives with the horse and carriage. Clip, clop, here comes the horses, have to go now.

yarn-swap-lhotp-whole-packageIt contains:

  • The wool is dyed to reflect the colours of Ma’s preserves in the pantry.
  • An apron just like Ma’s as a said it is a mothers second skin.
  • A cake carrier for when I go visiting.
  • A pattern for a knitted piggy.
  • A package of 150g bamboo for a shawl.
  • Recipe for a Banana and Date tea loaf.

Whoa Nelly would be an appropriate exclamation for this one!

The apron is currently being used for my clothes pegs.

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And a closer pic of the yarn.

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Since I decided to not use the Malabrigo for boy’s pants for winter, I might well use this.  It goes with several of his shirts and is just lovely colours for a boy.

Thank you Joanne and Pipi!  I love the swaps you’ve put together.

So, what’s the next swap on the list?  The Magic Yarn Ball Swap!!  But you’ll just have to wait and wonder a bit for that one. 😉

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Yarn Porn

I gate crashed a knitters weekend a couple of  weekends ago with some friends from around the lower North Island.  It was put together by the amazing James from Joy of Yarn in Greytown and featured the most awesome Morag of Vintage Purls.  It was a great workshop, teaching toe up socks using Magic Loop.

Here is my little workshop sock.

sock-workshop-sock

And this is what snuck in my bag for the trip home.  From Left to Right, Rosewood, Diva, Joy, Dolly and Bluhu.  All are Limited Editions ones except Joy, which Morag makes just for James’ store.

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I came home with some Regia Bamboo as well, and started these.

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I wrote up the pattern, but have a few friends checking it over, so will post it soon.

In the mean time, here is more yarn porn.

This one is Patonyle, kettle dyed in pinks and reds.

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Patonyle again, in reds and blacks.  Both of these are supposed to be secrets, but will reserve the rest of the items associtated with these for another post.

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This one is an 8ply, called Mia from Knitworld.  Dyed with procion in Burgundy, Fuchsia, Magenta and Bubblegum.  Love how this one turned out!

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These ones are various cotton and bamboo mixtures.  A bit of random dyeing going on, if you can’t tell from the top one, which is what happens when kettle-dyeing goes VERY wrong.

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Anyway, it’s always good to find out what works and what doesn’t.

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Yarn Swap V2

The first ever Yarn Swap that Kelly organised on TNN was such a huge hit, that we all did it again.  (Actually V3 is currently in progress as well.)  I got brave and decided I would do two swaps this time, as I had so much fun with it last time.

After the last swap, I saw some fabric with images on it from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  What a perfect theme.  So I nabbed some of the fabric, plus a panel with the larger pictures on it (the butterfly, worm and leaf) and came up with the rest of my package.  These are the two fabrics I bought.tvhc-panel

tvhc-food

So, I wanted to dye my yarn to match.  It took me two tries, but this is what I ended up with.  The first batch didn’t have a proper green in it, which is such a critical colour for the theme, hence why I did a second batch.  The first batch was dyed with kool-aid though, and smelled so lovely, which is why I wanted to use kool-aid.  But never mind.

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Now, for the extra parts, I gave clay a go to make some beads.  The fruits in the story were my inspiration, so I used an air-dried clay, and came up with beads in the shape of an orange, apple, plum, strawberry and pear.  I used acrylics to paint them similar to the pictures of the fruits in the books, and then made a set of stitch markers with them.

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tnn-yarn-stitch-markers-tvhc-unpainted-strawberry

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Then for the gift, I originally wanted to do some sort of picnic basket, but instead found a nice market bag.  I made a drawstring liner for it, so if it gets dirty during veggie shopping, she can chuck it in the wash.

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Doing a search for a good recipe, I found one for A Very Tasty Caterpillar, which is a great little mini-pizza set for kids.  I also included a pattern for a apple/pear cosy (though think the tikki rainbow dress would look lovely in that wool as well) and a mini version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar book.

This is the finished set.

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And all packaged up in a picnic-like gingham paper.

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For the other swap, my swappee’s favourite movie wass Pirates of the Caribbean.  Seemed like it would make a good theme.  So dyed some wool in blues, using the kettle dyeing method, in the attempt to get some blue of the Caribbean waters.

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I made some beads, just like I did for the hungry Caterpillar theme, only this time it was a skull, bones and a replica of the medallion from the movie.  I also antiqued and varnished some letter beads, and made a stitch marker to represent a common Jack  Sparrow saying.

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I knit up another of the Scallop-edged necklace, using blue for the *water* and black beads to represent the *Black Pearl.*

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For the pattern, I added in a copy of this pattern that I blogged about.  The recipe was for Pina Colada, and I added in a bottle of rum to go with it.  I did up letter to explain the swap, done in Pirate Easel, and distressed it to give it a bit of realism.

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A few chocolate coins, and a bit of burlap, and this is what I sent.

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Just imagine finding this buried on an island in the Caribbean.

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But here is the great part: I got to RECEIVE two swaps!!!

The theme of my first swap was based on a poem:

The red rose whispers of passion
And the white rose breathes of love.
O the red rose in a falcon,
and the white rose is a dove
By John Boyle O’Reilly

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The yarn is 100g of Colour 4 Me 8ply wool that was dyed with cake gels in the colours of the roses in my swappers garden.

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I received the most gorgeous black velvet sewn bag.  The amount of work in this bag would have been enormous.  The cutting, the stitching, oh my!  The picture does it no justice, as velvet is so difficult to photograph.  But take my word, it is stunning.

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I also got a batch of homemade chocolates, in the shapes of roses.

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Kathreen’s Rose Petal Ice Cream was the recipe that was included.  I have not yet tried it yet, but hope to do so with the kids this summer

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And the  included pattern is called Crochet Rose Purse, another free download off Ravelry.

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This is how far I’ve gotten.  I have started the rose part 3 times, but obviously am not good enough at crochet to get it right.  Plus I think the rose would look better if I did it in a solid colour.  So, will get to that when I find the right shade of pink to match.

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The second one I received had the theme *Berry Juicy.*  It smelled D.I.V.I.N.E when I opened it, thanks to the Dirty Soap.  I got 125 gm of Bendigo Woolen Mills 5ply, dyed in the colours of various berries.

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The Dirty Soap and these gorgeous stitch markers, in the colours of various berries were the gifts that were included.  And if you look closely, you will see there is one for crocheting at well.

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I also received a recipe for Berry Cheesecake.  That will most definitely be made this summer, seeing as cheesecake is my favourite dessert!

The pattern is called Berry Ripple Socks (the actual name is Rainbow Ripple Socks, but changed to fit the theme) by Linda Dziubala, and is a free download off of Ravelry.  The socks were supposed to be for me, but this is what I get for not doing a gauge swatch: too small socks.  So, once I figured out that the socks would not fit, I only knit the sock long enough for KT5’s foot, who was next in line for a pair of socks.  Thank goodness she has little feet.  But you can see in the picture how nicely self striping the wool came out, and the ripple pattern down the side.

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Now to get the second sock done!

Thank you so much White-Rose and Arna.  I love both packages, and can’t wait to see what you both come up with in the next round.

Now, just in case you haven’t had enough, here are links to more yarn candy from the swap. Enjoy

Great Minds Think Alike because Crafty Wee Wifey also did The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Still Waiting on Sweet P’s Post, but here is one she received

Crazy Crafter’s Received Yarn

Evogurl’s Barbie Mariposa

Nova’s awesome swap

Kiwi Fi’s Beautiful Parcels

KnewbieKnitters Yarn

Neak’s Gorgeous Gardening Package

The Pukeko Possum goes Sushi

There are a few more, but will have to wait for people to do some more blogging.

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Christmas Decoration Swap

A few of my online friends and I do a Christmas Decoration Swap each year.  We are each assigned one person and you can make an ornament or purchase one, to send to your person.  A nice simple way of remembering your friends in the festive season.

This year, I decided to try out some needle felting.  Having never done it before, I was all thumbs to start, but it didn’t take long before I got the hang of it.  I had some wool felt that I used as the background, and needle felted on top of that.  My swappee loves purple and paisleys, so I fashioned a couple of paisleys and accented with stitching and beads.  I added an “S,” which is the first initial of my swappee.  I cut out a back piece, added some stuffing and a ribbon, and blanket stitched around the edge.  This is how it turned out.

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I did a heart of course, because I am all about hearts. Not to mention how much this person means to me.

And someone knows me well, because look at what I got in return in the post last week!

xmas-deco-swap

I am thankful for so many things, especially my dearest friends.

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I’ve been a member of The Nappy Network for almost two years now. A good friend of mine, the gorgeous Miss Kelly, decided to run a Themed Yarn Swap. WOW! Awesome beyond awesome idea. Here were her rules:

This is a themed yarn swap.
What this means is that you will need to pick a theme that you wish to build your swap package around. Your theme can be anything – a song, colour, emotion, book, quote, pattern, an era, country – whatever inspires you at that particular time.
Think laterally if need be, but you must include a note in the package explaining how each item relates to the theme

Now, you’ve picked your theme, you need to put together your swap package.
Your package must have:
* 100g hand-dyed yarn – now ideally this will be yarn you’ve dyed yourself, however HD yarn you have swapped for, or purchased from the likes of Jolly Jumbuck/Vintage Purls etc could be used if need be
* 1 piece of knitting paraphrenalia (sp) – a stitch marker, or row counter, or appropriate sized needles for the yarn, or something along those lines
* A pattern suggestion that will suit not only the yarn, but the theme as well! There is no obligation for the recipient to use this pattern – it is merely a starting point for their pattern scouring
* A recipe (this will be where the lateral thinking bit comes in I think!)
* Something SMALL (i.e, a small gift. So if it is something knit must use less than 50g yarn, if sewn something using less than 1/2m fabric, if purchased something less than $10)

Man, how cool is that. I got the info from my recipient, and put my thinking cap on. I had a mental block. Darn. WHAT TO DO! The most difficult part, is that my swap person requested no red. Oh NO!! That’s my fav colour.

After a lot of research, I found several references to Elephants. At this point, all I could think of was the joke my girls tell me, at least several times a week, like I have never heard it before.

Q: Why did the elephant paint her toenails red?

A: So that she could hide in the strawberry patch!

And guess what?  That would HAVE to include the colour red.  So I put my thinking cap back on, but I couldn’t come up with anything else, and my mind was thinking of all things elephant.  So, I changed the joke, as you do, right?

Q: Why did the elephant paint her toenails blue?

A: So that she could hide in the blueberry patch!

So, I chose my yarn.  I picked Cleckheaton Merino Spun, which is a bulky weight wool.  Big, just like an elephant!

I forgot to take pictures of the wool in a super hank, but here it is, sitting in a vinegar and water bath.  It’s the one on the left

And then I got all the dyes out.

Then the fun part!  The actually dyeing.  I’ve used Dylon Dyes, and heated them on the stove so that the colours set better.  The dye bath does have vinegar in it, as the heat opens the fibres and makes the colours deeper.

And here it it, freshly rinsed.

The colours that I used are:

  • Elephant Grey
  • Riviera Blue
  • Madonna Blue
  • Windsor Purple
  • Arabian Nights

Dyeing with grey was a huge challenge.  I did a test hank first, where I made up the dye bath with water and vinegar, and it split the colours something fierce.  As soon as I put the wool in the jar, all the different colours making up the grey were taking up at different rates.  So this time, I soaked the wool in the vinegar and water bath as usual, and made up the dye bath with just water and dye.  The dye started taking straight away on a much more even basis this way.  I did add extra vinegar after the yarn had been in the jar for awhile.

And this is how it looks in the hank.  The white streaks are the acrylic part of the wool, with is 20% of this yarn.

So, the yarn was done.  And now onto the rest.  I knew I wanted to do a bag, and also make something with elephant charms.  Of course, that assumes you can find elephant charms!  After four shops, finally found a pack with two elephants in it.  So I made up a set of five stitch markers and a row counting bracelet.

The stitch markers are made with tiger tail and threaded so that (hopefully) they are snagless.  The row counting bracelet works like an abacus, where you have a row of beads for the ones and a row of beads for the tens.  There is a little beaded ring, and you slip the beads through to one side.  This bracelet will count up to 99.

My swappe also gave a few suggestions for the gift part, of things she would like.  I read to the part about a bag, and stopped reading.  HA

I decided I wanted to do an applique elephant on the outside to tie it together with the theme.  I found this pattern, which was just perfect, and used some Michael Miller Frosted Fairy fabric from the stash for the body and ear.  I have never appliqued by machine before, and it took forever.  Faster than by hand I reckon, but a good learning experience.

For the inside, I added in a couple clasps as well, to hold the stitch markers and bracelet.  I am still feeling a bit bad I didn’t add in pockets, but I was running out of time.

I also added in the little elephant I crocheted in this post.  I miss him already, as he was my computer buddy for a week.

For the recipe, it had to be something blueberry of course!  I did some  hunting and found a recipe for Blueberries N Cream Cheesecake on Cooks.com.  A wise person would have tried it out first, but seeing as I am the only one in the house that will eat blueberries, and the fact that my bum is big already, I didn’t see the need to make a cheesecake just for me.  I did, however, download a nice blueberry image and used it as a washout on the background of the paper, then framed it in silver and laminated.

The hard thing to do was pick a pattern.  100grams of bulky wool isn’t a lot of do soemthing with.  So included The Last Hurrah Scarf off of Ravelry.  I hope it works out ok.

Lastly, I made up a card to explain the theme.  I used some cool elephant skin-print paper I found at KiwiScraps and some more downloaded blueberry images that I grouped and cut out, along with some die cut elephants and voila!

And this is what it all looks like together

And all wrapped up, set to go!

That was the so much fun.

Yet, there is even more!  I got my swap in the post yesterday.

*Jumps up and down*

It’s a Mermaid theme.  The wool is Cleckheaton Country (one of my favs), dyed with food colouring in blues and greens.

The pattern is for the Ocean Waves Scarf which is a free pattern download on Ravelry.  The recipe is for a Blue Lagoon, a lovely sounding vodka drink (thank you so much, as my allergy to Preservative 220 has caused me wine withdrawal).  I got the coolest set of stitch markers and a Coconut Bath Fizzy as well.

Thank you so much Shyrel!  I love every single bit of it!

So, Kelly, how much longer do we have to wait for the next one, huh?  😀

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