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June 2015

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Mmm, silky…

June 20, 2015

Lately, I've been revisiting my love of silk lace yarns and I really had forgotten just how much I love crocheting with them.  There is something divinely hypnotic about the feel of the fine smooth silk plies as they slip through your tensioning fingertips and wind themselves into chains until they've created a wearable puddle of silky stitches.  Mmmm…

I've certainly bought quite a lot of them over the last few years, mostly from the fabulous Nuremberg based dyers, DyeForYarn.  All of these have been turned into crochet shawls using my very first crochet shawl design:

I feel like I should be able to pick a favourite colour from these, but I really can't – which is exactly how I ended up buying so many!  And, trust me, these were the very tip of the iceberg of hanks that I would have liked to have bought from them 😀  There are still a few tucked away in my stash that I've yet to use, and a few more that I made into other things, but I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the shawls that these glistening beauties have made.

Dolphin in my Whirlpool was the first – a pure mulberry silk.  Ahh, what a lovely blend of whites, silvers and greys and I swear that, on several occasions, I'd find myself thinking about dolphins swimming in tight circles as my fingers and hook worked with this pretty yarn:

Just imagine my total delight when Dolphin ended up with Debra from Michigan, who wanted him to go with her on a cruise!  How perfect?

Memory of a Fearsome Tale was next – a rich and deep blue purple mulberry silk that created a bewitching, yet somehow indomitable looking shawl:

Fearsome is now living happily with a very talented photographer and all round lovely lady called Karen in the North West Essex countryside not far from me, and I don't doubt she will tame his wild ways 🙂

The yarn base changed a little for my next silky encounter and baby camel fibres were added to the mulberry silk in a heavenly hank called 'Dusty Dry Bluebells', which made for a slightly shorter, but delightfully yummy and soft shawl:

Bluebell was my first introduction to baby camel fibre and I adored it – not only does it add a softness to the silk, it also seems to enhance its sheen with its pretty halo of fibres.  I couldn't have been more pleased when Bluebell went to live in Washington state with Kirsti, who is a lover and collector of all things scarfy and wrappy and who was also delighted to discover the silk and camel mix for the first time.

I had my doubts about my next shawl because I decided to use an undyed mulberry silk called 'Ghost'.  It did seem a teeny bit potty to be using an undyed silk from a supplier who I revere for the vibrancy of the colours they create, but it turned out that Ghost was just the thing to accompany Lisa of Greenleaf Wisconsin to her wedding:

The so perfectly (though a little macabrely) named Kingfisher Pushing up Daisies in pure mulberry silk was my next choice, and what a lovely colour that I found myself admiring constantly while I worked with it:

Kingfisher went to live with Kate as a present to herself to celebrate a bonus from work.  Kate also lives fairly local to me, so it's nice to think that little Kingfisher didn't fly so far from the nest (yes, I know Kingfisher was dead so couldn't actually fly – leave it)…

So quite a long time passed until I returned to the silks; although in the meantime I confess that I was having a very jolly time encountering lots of other equally delightful yarns and many new designs.  This Spring though, still mooning over the silk and baby camel mix first encountered with Bluebell, I found myself drawn back to my stash and another silk and baby camel mix called 'St Patrick's Day Parade Gone Awry':

Now I know that a lot of people don't like green and, to be honest, I remember not liking it myself when I was younger, but ever since I discovered how fab it looks with purple (one of my favourite colours), I've been in love with it.  It also doesn't hurt that emeralds, grass and spring onions are green, because I love them too 😀  Patrick is still living at home and looking for that perfect long term relationship with someone who will love and treasure him and drape him over their shoulders on chilly nights.  

Patrick really was a perfect choice for me to make in the Spring time, but with Summer approaching, I delved into my stash and selected my last two pure mulberry silks to make summer wraps with, which I'm about to list in my Etsy shop.  First up was this golden sand like colour called 'Rose of Jericho Buried in the Sand', which is a one of a kind colourway:

This one really does make me think of hot desert climates and it's one of those colours that will go with anything, although I'd love to see it with a deep rich green silk dress, which may be a hangover from my Spring affair with the lovely Patrick…

Finally, I've just finished this lilacy dusky pink version called 'Taking a Bath of Roses', which is a beautifully subtle mix of shades:

You can see the variation of shades really clearly in the first photograph, and doesn't it go well with the chive flowers in my little herb garden?!  The DyeForYarn colours aren't usually quite as varied as this, although they all have some level of variation given that they are hand dyed.

I've thoroughly enjoyed the re-visit to my silky past over that last few months and the result seems to be that I have been finding myself keeping a rather eager eye on the new listings from the Nuremberg duo, just waiting for that perfect next colour to come into my life 🙂

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Pursed, Part Deux

June 10, 2015

Purse production has been continuing apace since my last post. What a brilliant way to showcase your favourite fabrics!  More Liberty purses were made for a lovely client who picked out her favourite prints from my collection:

Then I made another using one of my favourite Kawaii prints with Little Red Riding Hood on the front and the wolf stalking her on the back, using my favourite soft Brussels Washer Linen in a deep red as a lining – mwah-a-ha! 😮

Then I discovered Liberty's Alice in Wonderland print called 'Gallymoggers Reynard' and couldn't resist making some up in three of the colourways:

Finally, I just had to use another of my all time favourite Liberty prints – Ciara – a pretty print in gorgeously vibrant colours.  My bright pink Essex Linen and perle cotton had to come out to play with this one:

As well as indulging my fabric love, I've also been learning more about how best to make these little purses.  Because of the shape of the purse and how a sewing machine is made, it is impossible to machine stitch the little part from the end of the seam at the bottom section of the purse to the beginning of the seam for the top sections that fit into the frame.  I hated the look of this and was therefore hand stitching that little gap up on both sides before stitching the frame on.  Along with how fiddly it was to machine stitch the top sections together in the first place, this was taking ages, so now I just hand stitch the whole of the top sections of the outer and lining together and it is much quicker.  Hurrah!  See, I'm not just having fun… 😉