Hibiscus macBook

Last time I mentioned I was spinning more wool for a macBook cover.    It is based on the Hibiscus bag that I made back in the Spring time.  And is basically a much bigger version of the iPad cover I made here.

It took the best part of three bobbins of three ply, handspun wool.  Again using the zwartble/suffolk cross fleece.  It is lined with the beautifully bright, Hibiscus material, and finished off with a large ceramic button.

Within the case is a protective structure which both give form and rigidity to the cover, and is padded too, which will protect its contents that bit more.

I have gained a great sense of achievement making this.  It all went to plan, and the reciepient is pleased wiith it too, which makes Aisling Designs very happy indeed.

Busy behind the scenes part 2

I showed you back here in the summer holidays what was keeping me busy, with the preparing and spinning of the gorgeous Zwartble/Suffolk cross fleece in order to fulfill a custom order for an iPad cozy.  It is all finished now, and with its new owner who has let me know she is really pleased with it.

So here is the rest of the story.  I knitted up the cozy, and this was a sneaky peek of it before it was finished.

To finish it I had to add an internal structure to protect the iPad from knocks, and I had to find the perfect button.  A lovely warped silver button really finished off this iPad cover brilliantly. Such a feeling of satisfaction when you find the perfect item.

The iPad fitted perfectly, and the contrast of the bright pink and the grey gives an element of surprise to this lovely cover.

The internal structure gives a more rounded feel to the cover than it would have if it had simply been a slipcase.  But feels sturdy enough to withstand the wear and tear a well used iPad takes.

There was enough wool for another case to be made, but this time it is simply a slip case with no added structure.  This one is available for sale in my etsy shop.

You would think that might be the end of the tale.  But, another spawning of the original “hibiscus bag” is in the offing, this time in the form of a macbook cover.  So the story continues…

Busy behind the scenes

Not much to see in the finished article line of things at the moment, but here’s what I have been up to.  After the Hibiscus bag, I got asked to make an Ipad cozy.  Unfortunately I had run out of the grey zwartble/suffolk cross fleece I had use to create the hibiscus bag.  After a message to a good friend, I was able to get one of this years fleeces.  Much darker this year due to the lack of sun bleaching with our dismal summer!  Still a very beautiful fleece, and I was looking forward to see how it turned out.

So wash day saw some of the zwartble get washed, along with some of sorted Jacobs fleece I have also managed to acquire from our local childrens farm.

With the fine weather we have had this last couple of weeks, it was a joy to be able to sit out in the garden and card the fleece, plus all the little bits that are caught in the fleece just fell on the garden instead, so less clearing up!!

Then this last week has been spent spinning it up.  As I spin quite thin, I decided a three ply would give me the worsted Aran weight yarn I was after.  I worked out that three bobbins, holding between them around 300m of single ply yarn, then plyed together, meant that over a km of yarn passed through my fingers last week.  No wonder they were feeling nice and smooth!

On to the knitting now.  It is beautiful to knit, having seen the process all the way through from fleece to final article, a real sense of pride, as well as the yarn being lovely to knit anyway!

A second installment will follow once it is all finished.






I have been doing a little felting lately.  Well, to be more specific I have been nuno felting.  This means I have been finding sheer fabric and wet felting directly onto the fabric.  This gives more strength to the felt, but also acts as a lining when making a bag.  This first bag was using some pink and green checked material, and then using pink and green merino felt to wet felt onto it.  Add in some dyed Wensleydale wool, and hand made button, and we have a shoulder bag/pouch.

My second lot of felting was done on a slightly smaller scale, to create an iPod/Smart phone cozy.  A mohair spiral was incorporated into it, and a little needle felting to add a little interest on the flap.  Felt is such a brilliant medium for protecting preccious things like a phone.  Soft, cushioning, and this one is rather bohemian looking!

I love combining the colours, and setting out designs, along with the surprise when you have finished felting, as you never really know how it is going to turn out.

Both are now for sale in the Aisling Designs Etsy shop.


The story behind the “Hibiscus” bag

Way back, when I got my wheel about 18 months ago, a dear friend, Dawn, sent me some zwartble/suffolk cross wool.  A beautiful silvery grey colour. Some she had carded, some she left for me to card, so I had an introduction to some of the processes that go into spinning wool.  By the time I came to spin it up I had managed to get my spinning quite fine and consistent, and I was very proud of my first decent wool.I then got asked by a friend to make her a bag like the one I had made for myself for the Guild challenge this last Christmas.  She decided she liked the grey wool, so I set too.  However, it was very quickly apparent that I had spun it too fine to be used as a bag, so doubled up the wool to create the right thickness of wool.

And so, as is the way when knitting in the round I cabled, and cabled, and cabled until I ran out of wool!!  Yep, because I had to double up the yarn it didn’t go as far as I had hoped, and Dawn kindly sent some more wool, this time I had to wash it too, and the transformation was amazing.  Once it was processed, and spun, I could carry on knitting.Until we came to the finished bag!  Well, that wasn’t quite the end of the story.  About half way into making the bag I remembered a sweet little black and silver button with flower on it that had been part of my Nan’s button stash, which I knew just had to go with this bag.  I also decided a lovely bright pink and white floral lining would look good.  But do you think I could find such material?Browsing the internet, I happened across some hibiscus material in America that a lovely lady was selling in a sale.  It was perfect, and guess what… the flower on the button is also a hibiscus.  Which has subsequently given this bag the name of the Hibiscus bag. 

Decisions, decisions

Last year, for my daughters birthday I  made her a story bag.  A cloth bag filled with knitted characters from one of her favourite books, Chicken Licken.  It sparked and idea, and I decided to see if I could make some to sell, this time making the bag a little more professional looking (lined, and with a pocket for the book).  I made sure I sourced patterns that were able to made to be sold, and I had some success with these, and also great enjoyment in re-creating the characters from the books.

We had The three Billy Goats Gruff…

…Little Red Riding Hood…

…and The Three Little Pigs

But, it then came to my notice that these would be subject to safety regulations, and to remain legal they would have to be CE marked.  After the initial anger subsided that something as straightforward as a knitted toy should be regulated, I decided that I would look into what was required to obtain the CE mark.  A meeting yesterday with a lovely woman from trading standards has given me some hope, and has answered some of my questions.  But I still have to see if they would require each character to be tested, and if that is the case, this is definitely the end of Story Bags.

If they just need a sample to test I will have to create a story bag and characters for them to put through it’s paces and see what it takes to destroy them.

The simple play scene below, looks like it might be a rare sight, an even sadder sight is the knitted, but yet unsewn characters I made for a gingerbread man bag, they may never see small hands playing with them.

So, decisions to be made.  And trying not to get too emotional about it all!!