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.
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? 😀