Sunday, 24 July 2016

When Opportunity Knocks

My little classic - Gretchen
I have always been a fan of op-shops, goodwill stores, thrift shops, charity shop - whatever they are called in your area.  They are filled with bargains. One of the best bargains I ever found was a pair of Italian leather boots that lasted for 10 years.  I wore them everyday in winter and was gutted when they finally wore out.

Deb has always managed to find some bargains - and then upcycle them into some amazing projects.  Some of her projects are:-

An upcycle for your old records. You can read about it here (If the thought of using your own ABBA, Bee Gee's, Fleetwood Mac or, my personal favourite, The Greatest Hits of the Carpenters, is too painful, then pick some up at your local charity shop).

Then she was lucky enough to pick up some great yarn that she was able to loom knit into a shimmery shawl.  The link to that blog post can be found here.

Not content with one project, she was able get a further 2 projects out of her bargain yarn.

Happy Birthday to you ... 
Try as I might, I could never find any crafty items - there was always the odd ball of wool (odd being the key word), knitting needles and buttons, but nothing that jumped out at me.  Until one day, a few years ago when I was in my local spinning store.  I went  in with my Mum and Dad who were visiting.  Dad was making me a spinning wheel and we were in the store to have a look around for Dad to get a few ideas and ask a few wheel-type questions.  I had noticed an old, antique looking loom under a table on my last visit to the store but I didn't really pay too much attention - there was roving to be looked at, admired and purchased, but on this visit, I had time to have a look and, the rest, as they say is history.  (You can read about it here). The loom was an astonishing $50 and Dad fixed it up and we gave it to Deb as a birthday present.

Until a week ago, that purchase was the highlight of my 'second-hand' purchases.

Last week, my son, his girlfriend and I were having a browse through our local op-shops (my little town has 4 of them), ostensibly looking for classical sheet music.  I spied a small spinning wheel in the window and was smitten.   There was never a question as to whether or not I would buy it but once I took it to the counter, my son said 'No, let me.  I was going to come back and buy it for your birthday anyway'.
Nothing a little love and oil can't fix
Once we got her home, he oiled it and fixed the drive band and made sure she worked - so, to me, it made the gift even more special.  As all spinning wheels need a name, we decided on 'Gretchen'. Partly because I think she is of German origin (can't be sure though, we have narrowed down her origins as being from between 1850 and 2010) and the only piece of classical music that pertains to spinning is the piece 'Gretchen am Spinnerade' by Schubert.  She only has one bobbin but she spins like a charm and is a classic in every sense of the word.

Happy shopping,

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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Lucille Poncho

It's been a long time since I've had a chance to pick up a crochet hook.   We've moved house and I've been doing some study which has left little time for anything other than the usual hum drum of daily life, but this week I saw a window of opportunity and ran with it.  

My wool stash was fortunate enough to be boosted a few months ago by a sale at Bendigo Woollen Mills of their now discontinued "Bloom" range.  Bloom is a lovely graduated yarn in 8ply and I managed to pick up a few balls in a couple of colours before the stock was completely gone. 

While I would usually try and come up with my own pattern, on this occasion I was rather taken with the lovely Lucille poncho from Drops Design and thought the combination of graduated yarn and fan pattern would work a treat,

I used a size 5 crochet hook for the 8ply yarn and also went for the larger size in the poncho, mainly due to our Melbourne Winters being pretty chilly and I figure the more coverage at this time of year the better.

After only a couple of days of crocheting madly away the bulk of the poncho was complete.  The pattern is a joy to crochet.  Simple to the point of only needing to check what stitches are needed to complete the end of each row and quick so that it feels you are really getting somewhere in a short amount of time.

By far the longest part of the process was cutting and applying the fringe.  As the yarn is graduated, it took a while to check that the right shades were being placed in the correct position on the poncho.

At some point this weekend there will be a steaming and trimming of the fringe, so take this as a before photo of the back of the poncho.  The after may be a while coming!

Happy Crocheting 


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