Facemasks

Last week in the UK we were advised to wear a face covering when in enclosed places like shops. I’d already been thinking about making one – but this announcement spurred me on to make a big batch of masks for myself, family, friends and neighbours.

I’m really happy with the finished masks – so I thought I’d share the resources I used. Please feel free to share what’s worked for you in the comments!

I started by making one of the simple pleated masks from The Big Community Sew, but it turned out really bulky at the sides and wasn’t a good fit. I think that style would work better with a dress weight fabric and I was using quilting cotton.

Also – as I couldn’t see everyone in person to fit their masks, I wanted the ties/elastic to be in a channel rather than fixed to give the wearer more flexibility. Fixed elastic/ties would probably have helped to avoid some of the bulk on that particular style.

My final masks were made from Juliet Uzor’s tutorial and everyone seems happy with the fit!

The fabric Juliet used looks the same on both sides so if you find that confusing have a look at the video below. It’s pretty much made in the same way but the right/wrong side of fabric is a bit clearer.

I only had a small amount of elastic so I used that on mine and then used gros-grain ribbon on the others in the same was Juliet did. The ribbon ties are pretty good if you’re making masks for people you don’t live with as they make the fit more flexible.

I made mine slightly differently because I was using the machine. I cut out my circles using pinking sheers to avoid fraying and allowed a little extra for seam allowance. I also top stitched along the top and bottom edges which makes them a bit stronger and helps with keeping the shape/structure after washing.

I wore mine to do the shopping on Monday and was worried it might make breathing difficult- but it was fine!

An elderly gentleman dropped some shopping – I was within two metres of him to pick things up and was really glad that we were both wearing masks. Of course the masks don’t completely protect us – but I felt like it reduced the risk for both of us in that situation and perhaps he felt more comfortable asking me for help because I was wearing mine.

Does anyone have thoughts on gloves? Have you been wearing gloves to do the shopping? If so – what kind? I’m thinking about making some cotton gloves that I can wash with my mask, but I don’t know how effective they would be… and I might start to look like a walking patchwork quilt (which would be totally fine)!

Stay safe and well x

Rosie’s Jewellery Making Party!

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will be aware that my good friend Steph (aka Nettynot) is manager of The Bead Shop Nottingham and she occasionally lets us borrow her for a day to learn how to make jewellery!

After seeing my silver art clay necklaces and soldered stacking rings – my friend Rosie decided to hire Steph for a jewellery making birthday party.

I wanted to have a go at soldering again, but as I’ve already made rings I decided to make some organic shapes for necklaces. The necklace in the middle below is mine, and Jo from YoYo Textiles (below right) had a similar idea in mind, but went a bit rounder with her shapes. We free-styled the shapes in wire with pliers, soldered the join and then textured them by whacking them repeatedly with a hammer!

Lots of lovely little charm necklaces were made using silver art clay. I love Imy’s little stars (above left), which she made for her daughters and stamped with their initials.

And the birthday girl herself  came away with a lovely collection of stackable rings and a very pretty charm necklace. Her disc was textured by pressing lace into the clay and the star was cross-hatched with a tool. Simple things look so beautiful in silver art clay!

Thanks again for a great day Steph and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROSIE! X

Ps, Mum – if you’re reading this, the necklace at the top is your Mothers day pressie! Sorry for the delay x

Finished Rag Rug

RagRug_closeupI invited a few friends over at the weekend to celebrate the launch of my book – The Knitted Nursery Collection – but it was mostly an excuse to show off my newly finished rag rug!

I started working on this about two and a half years ago when I redecorated my living room and the room now finally feels complete!

My front door opens directly into the living room so I lose quite a bit of space to the stomping through to the kitchen area. I decided to make the rag rug circular because I thought it would make the rest of the room feel cosy and separate it from the stomping path. It works really well!

RagRug_birdseye1When I started working on it, my friend (who’s mum is an expert rag rugger) recommended that I used fleece blanket type materials so that they wouldn’t fray. I half listened to her! I used a mixture of cheap fleece blankets from Ikea alongside some cheap curtains from Ikea, some old faded curtains I already had and an old tweedy skirt. The fleece has worked brilliantly but the other bits are fraying and I seem to be constantly covered in little bits of fabric! I’m hoping it will be like using a yarn that sheds whilst knitting and then settles down when you start wearing it. Fingers crossed it will stop shedding soon!

I really like the back of it – it looks like pebbles. It was slipping all over the place when I first put it down, so I’ve sewn some non-slip backing on and it’s amazing – I’ve tried dancing on it and it doesn’t slip at all!

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Because the rag rug felt a bit like a mammoth overwhelming project, and was perhaps less relaxing than knitting – I declared Sunday night as rag rug night and it was a great way to chip away at it bit by bit.

My next Sunday project will be scanning in all of my Mum and Dad’s old photo’s so that we all have digital copies. I’ve made a start, but I think I need to make sure I do a bit every weekend – hopefully it won’t take as long as the rag rug!

Stacking Rings

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A while ago, some of us were lucky enough to be invited to The Bead Shop for a silver art clay workshop with the wonderful Nettynot. I was really happy with what I made on the day – but I failed to make a ring and ever since I’ve been really keen to solder some rings.

So last Sunday a little group of us got the chance to play with fire and acid to make rings!

There were a lot of steps to the process but overall it was a lot simpler than I thought. I started with a copper ring for practice and then moved onto the silver. I started by measuring the size of my finger, bending the wire to size around a triblet and marking where to saw with tape. Once sawed to size, I filed the ends flat and twisted it so that the ends met neatly.

Then came the fiddly bit – sawing teeny tiny pieces of solder! A tiny bit of paste goes where the ends meet and the tiny bit of solder sits on top of the join. Then I heated the ring with a blowtorch until it glowed red and the solder melted into the gap.

It mostly went to plan but one of them went a bit wonky at the join! Once they’d cooled down and been ‘pickled’ in acid, I then had to neaten them up with some filing, sanding and polishing. I also hammered some of them to create texture. I probably could’ve done a better job of the sanding as the joins are really obvious – but I quite like imperfections and was too excited about wearing them!

Thanks Nettynot for another fantastic workshop!

Christmas crackers

I say this every year- but I can’t believe how quickly the year has gone!

I’m really looking forward to Christmas day, but I also love the build up to Christmas- decorating my tree, wrapping gifts and watching The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. One of my favourite traditions in December is quite a recent one. A few of the regulars from Knit in Notts meet up for a Christmas party! We knit, we eat, we do secret Santa and we drink glogg (because Rebecka’s Swedish).

This year our Christmas festivities took place at Steph’s house so that we could admire her lovely new bathroom! My job was to bring the crackers, so I decided to make them myself.

I used cushion roll to make the centre roll- and bought the bangers from ebay. Everyone got some chocolate, a tree decoration and a Knitting Bingo card! This was an idea I saw on Pinterest. We often knit in the pub and get the same comments time and time again – perfect for bingo!

I wrapped them in brown paper which I fixed in place with washi tape, then tied the ends using a few strands of colourful yarn. They’re a bit crumpled and misshapen – but I think that adds to their charm!

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Ta-dah!

They didn’t take long to make so you’ve still got time before Christmas! What are you crafting for Christmas? x