Summer flowers

A wonderful customer, who has requested many colour combinations of hair grips in the past, recently contacted me to see if I could create some more colour combinations for her.  This is such a lovely way to explore colour combinations, and I set about spinning some wool.

custom order

For some of the colours of wool, I approached a friend who dyes wool, and asked her to create some of the colours that were asked for.  Kirsty, at Wharfedale Woolworks kindly obliged me, and this enabled me to get the colours needed. rose and dark grey

Some of the colour combinations have been added to the shop, as I spun extra wool.  Others will be added when I find the time to add them!!  mint and light greyThis colour combination I think would make lovely hair grips for a bridesmaid, and can be ordered heremint and beige purple and dark greyI think this may be my favourite colour combination, olive and salmon pink.  It can be ordered right hereolive and salmonIf you would like to order any of the colours here that have not yet been added to the shop, you can order them via this listing, and just specify what colours you would like, or just drop me a line via a contact conversation on Etsy. pale pink and green

I am always open to custom orders, and love creating colour combinations especially for the individual, so if  you have your own ideas as to what colours you would like in a floral hairgrip, please do contact me. turquoise and cream

 

 

Adding to the range

I have a number of hair clips in my shop, in a variety of colours and have had a number of custom order for them, which has added to the number of colours available.  They are all made with handspun wool, and embellished with lace and crystal beads.

Some of the new colours are more summery, such as this beautiful lemon-y coloured hair grip. Available for order just here

lemon hair grip

Also some cream hair grips, which I think would be perfect for a summer wedding, or to add a touch of  glamour to an outfit.  Which can be bought here

cream hair grip

I have also had a custom order for a gorgeous blue/green combination, which I can re-produce for you if you order it here.

blue green hair clips

Creating these, then sparked some other ideas, such as a ring, based upon the same design. This is secured to an adjustable ring base, meaning it will fit many different shaped fingers.  This can be bought here

flower ring

I also had a desire to create some peacock inspired hair clips, which are available to buy here

peacock hair grips

I have an idea for some pastel coloured hair clips in pale blue and pink, but these are still in the development phase!

I am always open to colour combination suggestions, for both the hair clips and rings.  I can be contacted via Etsy to discuss any custom orders.

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.

 

 

 

 

Every cloud has a silver lining.

This is what I have been reminding myself these last couple of weeks.  About 10 days ago I hurt my little finger.  Just bent it the wrong way but gosh, did it hurt!  And it is still hurting.  I can’t crochet, as I use my little finger to create the tension in the yarn.  It tends to be hurting only when I put it under pressure, so I can still spin, and the yarn I have produced is so wonderfully soft and squishy (alpaca/merino three ply) and such subtle colour changes.  This is destined for a cushion cover for the guiild competition, but I think I will have enough fleece and fibre to make some more for sale.

My sewing machine is poorly at the moment, so all things sewing had been put on hold.  However, after a plea on facebook for a recommendation for somewhere that could do a sewing machine service, my aunt stepped in and gave me her machine that she no longer used.

Not only that but she gave me all of Grandma’s threads that she used.  Grandma was a very talented lady, and would often make gorgeous outfits for herself, as well as collages and sewn birthday cards, so I feel very honoured to have such things that were hers.  I just hope I can do them justice.

The final silver lining, after feeling that I was such a tiny fish in Etsy, and not being able to get any sales.  I was recommended to join a team, full of British sellers, and they are a wealth of knowledge for all things Etsy.  They support each other and help to promote each other.  I still don’t have any sales other than commissions from friends (which I’m not knocking in any way whatsoever, I LOVE doing commissions) but I don’t feel so alone doing what I do now.  And in the light of promoting others, here is the link for CraftBritannia’s shop of the week.

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. 

The next generation

Today was a busy day.  I spent it in the company of around 90 year 3 children at my son’s school. They are doing a topic of farming, and I had offered to go in and show them the journey that wool takes from the sheep to yarn and beyond.  Of course I couldn’t take photos whilst there, and I was far too busy anyway!  But here is my own next generation doing a spot of carding earlier in the year.

At school we looked at what fibres could be spun, including silk, cotton, flax, angorra, and alpaca and of course wool.  I had some sample of some of these and passed them around.

We looked at raw fleece, felt the lanolin in it, and the children insisted on smelling it too!  We thought about the process the fleece goes through, from washing, carding and spinning, to dyeing and being made into a product of some kind.

To get them thinking about what spinning does, they first had some newspaper cut up into similar lengths to a lock of fleece.  How could they string these together only using their hands and the paper.  All of the groups asked if they could lick it!  Only a couple of children out of the 90 figured out the twisting of it (and one of those was my own son, who kind of knew anyway!)

There was just enough time for some of the children to have a go at carding and spinning, and they kept their spun wool as a memento of the day.

There were some interesting questions, and some interesting ideas.  It was absolutely exhausting, but the response from the children was fantastic.  I just wish I had enough time for them all to have a go.

 

Handpsun, handknitted shoulder bag

Last year my local guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers had a competition amongst themselves to create a bag using at least one of the disciplines that guild promotes, ie spinning, weaving dyeing or felting.  I produced a rustic looking bag with some of my first handspun wool.

I felt very honoured that a friend liked it so much she asked me to make her one.  I am also very pleased to say that my spinning has improved tremendously since those early days, so this is the bag I am currently working on.  All the wool is spun, it is a beautiful silvery colour, which is the natural colour of the fleece of this zwartble/suffolk cross.

The main body of the bag is nearly complete, leaving the shoulder strap and the flap to complete.  I think a bold pink and white floral design fabric will make a wonderful lining, and a silvery button for the flap.

So there’s our first sneeky peek at what is being made at the moment.