Cotton Jersey + Muslin Baby Set

It’s funny where we get inspiration. I was at Spotlight looking for fabric to sew a teddy bear and came across the cutest printed muslin fabric. Even my hubby got excited over it and actually told me to buy it. HE told ME to buy MORE fabric. Strange but true! 

I wasn’t actually sure what to make with the muslin. I didn’t even know how much I needed. I just bought a metre and thought I’ll make some washcloths or a small wrap for my baby. I’m 25 weeks pregnant now. How time flies! She’ll be here in no time. Yikes! So many things to do still.

Anyway, I digress. I was inspired by this blanket and this baby wrap tutorials. I thought I could combine them and make my own baby blanket out of the muslin fabric and the organic cotton jersey fabric from Ecoyarns, which has been in my fabric stash for yonks. The final result is beauuuttifulll and better than expected. I’m so proud to show you my first ever baby blanket.

Muslin blanket on crib rail

Yep. That’s the name we’ve picked for our baby girl. Baby Yasmin. Do you like it?

Muslin blanket folded

Muslin blanket both sides

I used the organic cotton jersey fabric for the back and the quirky printed muslin for the front. The jersey fabric gives a good weight and warmth to the blanket. I think it’ll be a great year round blanket for Sydney’s weather.

Muslin blanket pile

To be honest, I want one for myself! It’s just so soft and squishy. Hubby and I were fighting over it on the sofa. Hahaha…

Muslin blanket in cot

If you’re thinking that I was so clever to combine the red and brown for the binding, think again. It was a big fluke! I didn’t know how much bias tape I needed and I could not decide on the colour at Spotlight. So I bought one pack each (5 metres per pack) and it was a good thing I did! When I was doing the binding, I realised I needed both packs so that’s why it’s half brown and half red. A wonderful accident!

Here’s another excellent tutorial I would like to share. As this was my first time sewing on bias tape, I was rather clueless. YouTube video tutorial from Amy Karol to the rescue! It is truly a no-swear method.

Well, it won’t be a baby set if it was just a blanket, right? Of course not. I sewed matching hats too. Ta-da…

Cotton baby hats

Aren’t they just so sweet? The organic cotton jersey fabric was the star of the show this time. You can find the clear photo tutorial and template here to sew your own baby hats.

I’m as proud of these baby hats as I am with the blanket. I overcame my fear of sewing with jersey knit fabric and even learned to use the elastic overlock stitch on my sewing machine. Yay me!

Cotton blanket and hat set

Well I hope I’ve inspired you to get sewing. Something. Anything. Instant gratification is such a good therapy for busy people like you and me. To enable you even more, I would like to remind you that Ecoyarns FINAL FABRIC CLEARANCE is still on. All fabrics are 50% off! Yessereee. A big fat 5-0. I cannot emphasize to you more how cool an opporutunity this is to stock up on organic cotton fabric. And ladies, it’s a clearance. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

Go on then. Go crazy. It’s your last chance! 

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Skeining and balling a hand-dyed yarn

Alright. So now you have a skein of yarn, dried on the line after getting really bright with jelly colours. What are you going to do with this? 

Option 1: Skein/Hank it up and store it because you already have several other projects on the needles so this has to wait. This form reduces stress on the yarn, so this is the preferred option for longer term storage. The yarn will not be overstretched when you knit your garment.

OR

Option 2: Wind it into a ball now and cast on immediately. There are many sock and shawl patterns that would work with this amount of yarn.

Over the next few weeks we will bring you a simple sock pattern step by step.

1) Skeining/Hanking

I stretch the yarn between my two hands with my finger through the loop at both ends, then rotate one hand to start twisting. At one point the yarn will start to twist on itself, at this point, hold your hands firmly at the same distance from each other and add another 2 twists to the yarn, then rapidly bring your hands together allowing the extra twist to move into the skein. Tuck one end into the loop at the other end and TA-DA! there is a skein/hank.

There should be a nice fluffy twist to the yarn. 

When I first tried this, it took me about 10 tries to get it right.

_skeining_1
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2) Winding into a Ball by hand

I asked my kids to demonstrate this. First one person holds the yarn taut with their hands/forearms.The other person gently finds the ties that hold the yarn together and very carefully unties the knots. Usually two ends are tied together for security, pick either one, but if one end clearly lies on the outside of the skein, then start winding with this. Sometimes there are 2 ends tied onto different parts of the skein, pick one that looks the least tangled.

Winding
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Start winding the yarn onto your hands, forming a figure 8 between your thumb and pinkie. When this little bundle gets slightly puffy, release your fingers, fold it in half and start winding the yarn around across the strands.

Continue winding this way until there is a sizable ball in your hands, rotating the growing ball of yarn every few times as yarn is wound onto the ball.

I know some very clever people that can make perfect spheres, egg shapes and can even leave the inside yarn tail in the middle as a center pull ball.

As you are winding, try not to pull the yarn too taut, because if the yarn is stored that way, it can lose some elasticity and give an incorrect gauge when knitting with overstretched yarn. The correct tension for your ball should feel like it gives a little when squeezed, like a juggling ball, not hard like a cricket ball.

Well, frankly handwinding is pretty tedious and boring, and there might not be a willing volunteer to hold the yarn for you. Thats ok, try the back of a chair, or flip the chair over and drape the yarn over the legs. Or invest in a swift and ball winder.

PREVIEW:

For those who are really keen to cast on those Top-down socks, Using 2.25mm needles, cast on 64 stitches and join in the round. K2 p2 for 20 rows.

Use either double pointed needles (dpns) or 2 circular needles

more pictures and instructions coming in 2 weeks as Salihan is our blogger next week!

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Jelly Dyeing Just for Fun

Salihan asked for some pretty green, pink and purple yarn to use for her expected baby and I thought: “Ah Ha!” perfect excuse to do some Jelly Dyeing.

So, I pulled out some simple kitchen items and found some jelly packets. Rummaged in the shop and pulled out the Undyed Sock yarns. This became a morning of fun for me and my kids in this Easter school holidays. Whilst the materials are safe and kids usually have lots of fun putting colours onto yarn, an adult supervisor is always recommended. 

Materials:

  • Yarn undyed 100% wool we used Tamara 100% Wool Tweed yarn 100g and Anna 100% Falkland Wool 100g
  • Bowls or dishes
  • Jars for mixing the jelly
  • Packets of Jelly: Purple (Port Wine) Pink (Bubblegum) Green (Lime) Blue (Berry Blue)
  • We used Aeroplane Jelly, any coloured jelly will work (Jelly made with natural colours will give colours that are muted)
  • Stirrer, tongs as required
  • Protective items: aprons, gloves
  • Kettle for boiling water
  • Microwave

Jelly_dye_1

Firstly, I tied the Tamara yarn in 3 places. Not too tight, or the colour will not penetrate the yarn.

I soaked the yarns in warm tap water so they are thoroughly wet. Anyone fancy a bit of yarn spaghetti? or “Pisghetti” as my 4 yo says it.

Jelly_dye_spaghetti

Empty the jelly packets into the jars and add about 100-200ml of boiling water, stir well. I tend not to be exact with water quantity as it does not affect the final result. The way you apply the colour will change the final result. More on this in a future post.

Jelly_dyeing_2

With my gloved hands, I separated the Tamara yarn into 3 bowls, then poured the 3 different colours (pink, purple and green) into the bowls and pushed the yarn into the colour mixture gently with a stirrer. Making sure the white parts of the yarn also receive some colour. 

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Place this 3 bowl extravaganza into the microwave. Turn microwave on High for 3 minutes.

Jelly_dye_microwave

If there are some white spots that you want coloured, used gloved hands or tongs to squeeze the white yarn through the colour solutions gently and repeat the 3 minutes the in the microwave. Remove yarn and bowls from microwave carefully. (Don’t scald yourself) Let them cool, then gently pick the yarn up without tangling, very gently squeeze out the excess jelly liquid then place it in plenty of warm water. The water should be bath water temperature.

Soak for 5 min or so. Gently remove, very gently wring dry (or roll in a towel) and hang to dry. Repeat the rinse process if there is remaining jelly smells or any stickiness.

Jelly_dye_tweed

See how the Tamara yarn creates a tweedy effect. This is one strand of superwash wool which take dye up faster and has a stronger intensity, and 2 strands of non superwash wool, which absorbs slightly less colour.

I then prepared the Anna yarn the same way then placed it in a bowl with some warm water. I wanted to achieve a slightly variegated effect, so I poured the colour solution into the middle of the yarn in the bowl, and did not mix it. Then placed in Microwave for 3 min. Allow to cool and rinse as for the other yarn. 

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Once the yarn is dry, wind into a ball and use for your favourite project. Happy Jelly Dyeing!

I will ask Salihan which yarn she prefers for her baby, and the other yarn is destined to be a new pair of socks. Stay in touch for step by step sock knitting instructions using the yarns you have dyed!

Jelly_dye_on_rack

General Notes:

Be careful not to scald yourself

Wear gloves for protection

Handle the yarn gently as agitation or rapid temperature changes can cause the yarn to felt.

The colour effects are dependent on amount of colour to amount of yarn and the method of application of the colour. Saturated colours require more colouring agent. More on this in a future post.

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Easter is just a hop away!

Crochet Easter Bunny

Look who’s popped over to say hello today. It’s Miss Bunny. *waves* She’s very excited because Easter is just a hop and a skip away. She was looking for chocolate Easter eggs and got stuck in the fruit bowl. Silly girl. I helped her out of course.

Crocher bunny and bear (sides)

She was looking high and low for the chocolate eggs when she felt someone following her. Who is behind you, Miss Bunny?

Crochet bear

Oh! It’s your beary good friend, Little Sleepy Bear. Hello cutie pie! Are you looking for chocolate Easter eggs too? *nods*

Crochet Bunny and bear

I hope both of you find those chocolate eggs. I’m sure there’s some around somewhere. 🙂

Crochet pattern: Crochet Spring Bunnies (It’s free!)
Yarn: EcoOrganic Cotton from Ecoyarns
Hook: 3.5mm (E)

 

Pssst…

I have pinned other great Easter craft ideas on my Easter Fun board.

Pinterest Easter Screen Shot

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest while you’re there! Have a good long weekend! 

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