Monthly Archives: December 2011

Feeling Crafty

Posted on 13 December, 2011

I’ve been feeling very crafty over the last few weeks.  As well as publishing my last two beret designs for this year, I’ve also tried my hand at making jewellery, stitch markers and a felted bead shawl pin!

Berets first . . . my Saltire Beret and my Snowflake Beret.

I released the Saltire Beret to celebrate St Andrew’s Day here in Scotland.  The Saltire, also known as the St Andrew’s Cross, is one of Scotland’s most recognisable symbols and according to legend is the oldest continuously used sovereign flag in the world.  I used Artesano 100% Alpaca 4ply yarn (shade 3138 Uruguay) and 520 white beads for this beret.  It was very windy the day these pics were taken and there were a few scary moments where I thought the wind was going to blow the beret right off my head.

The Snowflake Beret is another festive design with beaded snowflake motifs in the crown shaping as well as in the body of the beret.  This is J C Rennie Supersoft 4ply yarn (shade 273 Blueprint) with 950 silver beads knitted in to make the little snowflake motifs.  This is my favourite of my three festive designs.  I do love snowflakes, and have photographed them in the past for the front of a Charity Christmas card for Alzheimer Scotland.

The first new craft I have learned recently is jewellery making.  I took part in a Swarovski Jewellery Workshop at Ninvai in Glasgow.  It was a small workshop with only 3 of us taking part.  There was a great selection of beads and findings available and by the end of the 3 hour workshop, I left with a necklace, bracelet and a pair of earrings.

I’m really pleased with how this set turned out and I wore it when I went out for Christmas dinner with my Irvine knitting group.  This workshop normally costs £80, but I booked mine using a Groupon voucher and got it at a very good discount.  It’s worth keeping an eye on the Groupon and ItIsOn deals in your area.

After making this jewellery and learning what all the different findings were called, I was able to buy the pieces that I needed to make my own stitch markers.

I just love the little fruity ones . . . they’re so cute!  Making my own stitch markers is something that I have wanted to do for some time.  I’ve bought quite a few sets of stitch markers as I like a bit of ‘bling’ on my needles as I’m knitting.  I’ve been buying lots of beads recently and I’m hoping to make some more stitch markers soon and maybe even sell them online.  I had a lot of fun making these ones, and even managed to get my daughter involved too.

The final skill that I’ve learned is making felted beads that can be used on shawl pins, keyrings and so on.  I did this at a workshop run by my friend Chris at McHatties in West Kilbride.  This was another 3 hour workshop where we would learn different methods of making felted beads and also how to make the accessories to show them off.  First we felted beads by hand and then added them to a shawl pin that we made ourselves too from silver plated wire.

It’s very pretty . . . although I will have to knit a shawl now to match my bead colours.  I really like the multi-coloured fibres through the centre bead.  This is called angel hair and I fell in love with it the minute it was taken out of its packet.

Next we made beads by felting over metal skewers.  A slightly different method from the first beads, but this method does give your arms a good workout.  Rather than little individual beads, you end up with a long wand-shaped felted piece that you can then cut up.  As we were running short of time, we made a keyring with these beads.

There’s angel hair through these beads again!  I did mention that I loved this stuff, right?  This was a fantastic workshop, and even though it was supposed to be only 3 hours long, we were there for nearly 4 hours.  Cost (including all materials) was only £25.  McHattie’s are offering lots of reasonably priced workshops including jewellery making, shrug knitting and a few different felting ones.  I’m looking forward to doing more of their workshops next year.

I’ve had lots of fun learning these new crafts recently and there are a few more that I want to try too thanks to Kirstie Allsopp and her Handmade Britain programme on Channel 4.  I missed the first few episodes, but I managed to catch up online and have loved every minute of it . . . even the brawn making part!  I’m really keen to try soap making which was shown in one of her Christmas Episodes available to view here on 4OD.  I would also love to make my own Christmas cards this year too, but with less than 2 weeks until Christmas, I still have to knit myself a skirt and two Christmas gifts,  so the cards may have to wait till next year.