Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Clover Pom-Pom Maker - a Road Test and an Idea. AND a giveaway!


Can you make a pom-pom? Can you think of a hundred ways of doing it? I can remember in school in the 1970s in Australia where we would cut two cardboard rings and then start winding. The problem was the preparation time needed and the fact that you could not use a big ball of wool. 



As the space in the middle dwindled, less wool could be passed through. I know that this is not actually the end of the world (cue  the music for middle class problem #46,384) but it seems fiddly to me.



I have tried making pom-poms with a fork and that works quite well depending on what sort of yarn you are using and my long suffering husband made me a device with two giant nails in (looks like a torture device) to make more than one at a time. You can see that here and it works well but the wool tightens a lot and it can be hard to remove. Plus some hair cutting skills are required.



Now I am a gear freak so a little gadget to get the job done will get my attention every time. The next thing that I was worried about was, would it work? 



Well sometimes these things don't work as promised. The only way to find out I decided was to get pom-pomming! So that is what I did.



So what do you need? Well basically the pom-pom maker and some yarn. That is actually all. I am using the yellow one today which makes a 45 mm or 1 5/8 in pom-pom and I am using some average garden variety pink acrylic yarn. I am also going to trick things up a bit with some gold metallic crochet yarn so brace yourself!

And by the way, the pom-pom maker in the photo is a brand new one which I will be giving away at the end of February. To enter to win it, simply leave me a comment below this post.



Okay, let's take this to sea! Let's look at the anatomy of the pom-pom maker first. There are two pairs of 'arms' which lift up like this....



And then the whole thing actually comes apart. It is joined in the centre with a pin. This is an important feature because it is how you will get the finished pom-pom off.



Choose your yarn next and basically, start on one pair of arms and wind...



Do this with both arms together and then at the end, your scissors will fit down the centre of the arms to cut the pom-pom.
Keep going until the arms on that side of the pom-pom are nicely full...



Cut the yarn end and then do the same on the other side...



Pop the arms in when the wool is on them and they are out of the way. When you have finished winding both sides, you will have this....



Now cut between the arms with a small pair of scissors....



Do this on both sides.



You can sort of see a hint of the fluffy pom pom to come now. If we were to pull everything apart now, it would fall at our feet as wool confetti which is the opposite of ideal! Cut a piece of yarn and then tie the pom pom off. The yarn goes in between the arms like this...



Tie it off quite firmly but be careful not to break the yarn!
The next stage is to gently pull the unit apart (this is where that pin comes in).


Gently do this and pop your pompom out. It is not bad but to me eyes, it could do with a hair cut so trim it with a pair of sharp scissors.



One useful trick is to roll it between your hands which slightly felts the fibres and makes them fuller.



You can see now that we have a very useful pompom! My verdict? This actually does work and it works well. Some trimming is necessary which never seemed to be the case with the old way of doing things (two cardboard disks) but perhaps I was a lot less fussy in those days! Actually, this lends itself to be trimmed into lots of shapes too which is really useful if you plan to make animals.

Now I did promise something a little bit tricked up didn't I? I am having a real metallic moment and my particular crush is pale gold - go figure! I thought that I had worked through that phase in the 1980s! 
Well this is different. More tasteful. 



To achieve a multicoloured pom pom like this one, simply wind two strands at once...



How easy is that! It works with all sorts of colours and it is really great for using up bits.



Now before we get to the giveaway, what does the modern designer do with a pompom? If you are not very careful, like yoyos, they can look dated and a bit awful. Well there are some good ideas around and one which sprang to my mind was a cute fridge magnet.



I simply hot glued a magnet onto the back and hey presto! I think that these are a bit nice for Spring and I shall come along with more ideas in following posts so watch this space!



Well there we have it. This pom pom maker is well worth the outlay. Thank you to Clover for sending it to me for review. If you cannot wait for the prize draw, you can find out more about the pompom maker at  clover@stockistenquiries.co.uk



In the mean time, as promised, I have one of these packets to give away and there are two sizes of maker inside. It is a very handy size and I use these a lot so I will keep my fingers crossed for you. To enter, just leave me a comment below and I will randomly draw the prize at 5.00 pm UK time on Tuesday 28th February 2017. I do hope that it is you!



Thank you so much for dropping by and I hope that you have enjoyed this tute. See you again soon. I am off to cook dinner now!
Kisses
Debbie
xx















Friday, 3 February 2017

Spring in a Pot. The Edit.


I love winter. It is the most Hyggeligt time of the year for me but near the end of that hot chocolate high season, I find myself looking forward to spring. And that means some gardening.



I love my pot plants too and they have names and cute little homes (read: pots) and generally things that make my house an ├╝ber comfort zone. Creating 'nest warmth' my German grandmother called it.  And I cannot think of a better name for it!



Sometimes, I get sick of the look of a pot (middle class problem alert) and a cover is the best way to change it quickly. I made a cover for this one while the dark days of winter were still upon us. I used Retwisst Spaghettiyarn in a delicious black and white stripe and a single crochet stitch.



Because the yarn is quite stretchy, make the pot holder slightly smaller than the pot and it will fit snugly indeed.



What a difference! Here is the before shot....


Not very sophisticated I fear! I made this for an American magazine about three years ago for a Children's Easter basket project and it doesn't really fit with what I need in my house.  The black and white is a little bit more grown up.



And you will notice that there is a cute pink tassel there too? With a touch of pale gold! How blissful! I thought that you might like to see how I made that.



You will need some matte cotton yarn in the colour of your choice. Pale pink is having a bit of a moment and goes so well with the black and white. I have also used an Anchor Artisan Metallic in a pale gold for the wrap. You will also need a piece of strongish cardboard about 7 cm x 10 cm (2 1/2 in x 4 in). A needle, some strong pink thread and you have everything!



Begin by wrapping the yarn around the cardboard about 30 times.



Tie off the top



Cut the bottom of the tassel to release it from the card (keep that card - I guarantee that you will make more of these!).



Tie the tassel off about 1cm (3/8 in) down from the top. It can be a bit more, just make sure that it looks nice.



With the needle, thread the long ends from the top and middle tie down into the tassel and trim the bottom level. Don't even THINK about cutting them!!!

Wrap the pale gold yarn around the middle tie and then secure the end inside the wrap at the back.



Use the other strong pink thread to secure the tassel to the front of the pot.



And you have a new home for your spring pot plant! Fifty thousand style points!



Thank you for stopping by and I hope that you love making your pots over for the new season. See you next time.



Love and hugs
Debbie
xx

Friday, 27 January 2017

Fancy Pants Pot Plant Mat


That's a helluva title for a mat to live up to! Well I have had this thought in my mind for a while now that I would like to do this inlaid effect on felt. It happens a lot in the woodworking world and I wondered if it might be possible with textiles.


Turns out the answer is an emphatic yes! It does work with a few caveats. You have to use a reasonable quality wool felt and make sure that when you choose the two colours of felt that they are the same thickness. Other than that, it is actually quite easy.


I found a cute little leaf die in my never ending stash from Sizzix. It is from the magnetic Movers and Shapers range and it is fabulous because it can be moved to anywhere and because it is a single die, you cannot miss punch and ruin your mat so easily.

I also went that extra mile and crocheted a border with metallic copper thread which was the time that I decided that this was all getting a bit fancy pants. The rest is history.


You will need a couple of 30cm (12 in) squares of felt in your base colour. Mine is fairly thick and pure wool.
You also need a second contrast for the leaves. Get some perle 8 coton to match your main colour and a ball of copper metallic crochet yarn. Mine is Anchor Metallic.
I have used a PVA glue for the laminating and inlaying and of course you will need a good strong needle and a crochet hook appropriate to your yarn.


Begin by cutting two felt circles. Doesn't matter how big. A plate is good to draw around. Mine is 25cm (10 in) diameter. Put one circle aside.
Cut leaves around the edge of the other circle at random, turning the die this way and that to get the effect....



When you have finished, count the holes and make as many leaves from your second colour....



Now spread the other piece of felt with PVA glue, quite thickly and quite evenly. Lay the die cut felt circle on top and put the leaves in...



It needs to be aligned really well too. Some trimming is possible but do your best to make it perfect as you go along.
This is what you have now.....



I really love the muted grey melange felt and those green leaves. Put it somewhere warm to dry overnight and put a couple of heavy books or similar on the top to keep it nice and flat. You will see now why I said that the two felts had to be the same thickness? You don't want a step where the leaves are. 

TIP: if it is unavoidable and you really haven't been able to find the felts that you want in the same thickness, try two leaves on top of each other. The books should compress them enough to make the surface perfectly flat.

When the mat is dry, make a blanket stitch with the perle cotton right around the outside of the mat like this....





The idea is to give your scalloped crochet edge something to cling to without having to go through two layers of glued felt! Now come back with the metallic crochet yarn and make a chain 4 stitch into every second blanket stitch.....



Finally, treble 5 (US double crochet) stitches into each scallop. SS into each space in between.



*Please excuse my brilliant crochet pattern writing. Only a newbie so that shows you how easy this really is!

Fasten the yarn off and weave in the end. How cute is that! Now find a deserving potted plant to sit on your masterpiece.



Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting me. I hope that you have enjoyed this quick tute. 


And you know what? It doesn't have to be leaves. think circles, feathers or hearts. 


So long as the die can be moved around a bit or has enough clearance around it so that you don't accidentally cut your mat, it will work!

Love and hugs
Debs
xx