21.7.14

teepee tutorial


Few years ago I put few bamboo sticks together to make a teepee for my daughter. I used old sheets and then I procrastinated to find the final solution... until last week! 
While making it ( with one of my favourite inexpensive fabric) I took few pictures of it so to make a tutorial for you.
It's very easy to make, if you don't have a sewing machine or aren't confident in sewing, just find a wider fabric (old bedlinen sheets are great) and simply garter the fabric at the top and tie it up around the poles.

This teepee was tested in the garden and indoors too, if you don't have a garden it doesn't really matter as it looks great in any home and it is easy to store away.


Material
You will need a sewing machine, scissors, pins, safety pin, iron, ironing board or table.

5 bamboo poles or other wood (180cm long, 1cm diameter).
8.5 metres of white cotton muslin (or gauze) 90cm wide
white thread
2 metres string, cotton ribbon or rope.

Total cost £20. Time, less than 3 hours.



Cut the fabric to make 5 panels 170cm long each.
Sew them together on the selvedges with a simple line stitch, then with a zig zag stitch to re-inforce it (by folding on one side then sewn with a wide zig zag stitch). 





Fold* the fabric roughly 1cm all along the top side, iron, then fold a second time (1cm) then leaving 5cm fabric aprox  fold one more time at the end.
Place the pins to secure the fabric then sew two lines leaving enough space for the safety pin and string to pass through.

*to make it as neat as possible I use the iron and press all along the fold.








Place a safety pin at the tip of your ribbon/string/rope and pass it over inside the folded upper side, garter, pull and leave roughly 20cm at each end of the string.



 
Bundle up the bamboo sticks, tie them up with rope, stand them up and spread the sticks in order to stand alone on the ground, making one opening wider ( the entrance). Push them down a bit securely in the ground.
If used inside you might want to use those anti-slippery round felts or rubber.
Place the fabric around the the top of the sticks and then tie it up securely on one or two of the sticks.

Decorate!









 







on saturday

it was supposed to rain all day, against the odds, I dragged my family to Petersham nurseries, it turned out to be a hot and sunny day. 
We sat at the tea house had a cold drink and ice-cream (too hot to eat anything), then browsed around.
I couldn't resist to bring back home this plant and this one too. 
We spent the rest of the day at the hill and then along the river where we saw herons, ate pizza at Jamie's Trattoria (!) then we went back home.  
And so the three of us were happy, I wanted to look at/for plants, A. wanted to play and roam free in the hill and D. wanted to eat pizza ;^)

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double post today, next, a tutorial to make a teepee.
 




17.7.14

one year older

it's just a day among others but it's a good excuse to treat yourself.

(Thank you for the birthdays wishes you have sent me).

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how old do you feel?







11.7.14

toe-up socks tutorial

What?! a sock tutorial in july? Yes, because it's like autumn here in UK and also few of you asked me.
So, here for you a free, nice and easy tutorial to make socks from the toe up.
A couple of remarks first: I'm not a professional knitter so don't get too fussy if you find a little mistake or two.
I knit in continental style.
My hands are pretty un-kept, I have no time for manicure, therefore excuse the appearance of my hands which are hard working and also suffer for the very hard water we have here.
This is a fun and easy way to make socks, don't get stressed and don't give up if you can't get it right at the first attempt. To make this tutorial I've used a chunky wool and 5 double pointed needles size 4.50mm, but you can use any kind of wool and needles according to the weight of the chosen wool.
To obtain the exact measures required either you follow a pattern or you make your own swatch and then measure the stitches / cm (gauge).
On my advice, in knitting (as in everything else) you have to use a bit of creativity, find ways around. 
Sometimes is good not to stick to rules (often made by pedantic knitters or people), and most of all, don't worry about perfection, embrace the dark side of imperfection and you'll probably lead a perfectly imperfect happier life. I know, because I used to be a perfectionist and I totally hated it since I was never happy with the result.
The pictures are aimed to help you, again, they are not perfect style, tone, focus etc wise. Also, it is bloody dark these days here despite the calendar says that it is summer.
No more chit chat and let's get knitting.

Material:
Five double pointed needles, marker, counter, wool of your choice ( check the label for needles size).

To cast on with 2 needles, leaving a little tail, start by passing the wool from needle 1 to needle 2, creating loops around each needle, keep them tight but not too tight (pic 1-2).





First Row in SS (stocking stitching, basically knit all around).
Knit by picking the back of the loop, in this way it's much easier to knit.
Another advantage by starting from the toes is that you don't need any sewing or grafting.




Knit all around until you reach the beginning, place a marker (to mark the beginning of each row).

On the next row you start to increase
increase 1 stitch at the beginning and end of each alternate row to shape the toes.  

To increase:
*This method is also known as bar increase, it is made by knitting into both front and back of the same stitch.
Insert the right hand needle knit-wise into the stitch to be increased, wrap the yarn around clockwise and pull it through as if you were knitting that stitch, leave the stitch on the left hand needle (pic 4), insert the right hand needle into the back of the same stitch (pic5) on the left-hand needle, wrap the yarn clockwise around the needle and pull it through. slip the stitch from the left-hand needle, you now have two stitches on the right-hand needle.


row2: knit 1, increase 1 on the next stitch, knit up to the last 2 stitches, increase 1, knit last one.

2nd needle increase as above.
row 3 : K all around.

Below two images of how to increase on the same stitch.





These two rows set the increase for the toes shaping.
Keep increasing in this way until you reach the number of stitches for the foot.
(pic 7, if you look closely you can see those lovely bars on both sides).

I did cast on 8+8 stitches and ended the toe shape with 16+16 sts.
From the end of the toe shaping, start to count the rows before you turn the heel (also known as gusset).
Write down that number so you know how many rows you knitted to make the exact number of rows in the second sock.




Making the heel with short rows:

This is the easiest method I found around (Priscilla Wild method).
No counting, no holes, no wrapping yarn.

First, put half of the total stitches in one needle (slip the stitches on needles 4 into needle 3, leave the other two at the front until the heel is shaped and you'll start to work on the ankle).

Row 1: slip the first stitch (always purl wise, slip means that you simply pass on that stitch on the needle without working it), then knit to one before the end (leaving that stitch on the left needle).
Turn.
Row 2: slip the first stitch and then purl to one before the end
Turn.
Row 3: slip the first stitch then knit to two before the end.
Turn.
Row 4: slip the first stitch and then purl to two before the end.
Turn
Then 3sts, 4sts ... until you have left at the centre the required stitches for the heel.

(pic 8-9). You will noticed gaps between the stitches.
I've left 8 stitches in the centre, these are called active sts, the other 4 stitches on each side are the side sts (pic 10).




Slip the first stitch purl-wise and then knit up to the last active stitch, knit this one and the next side stitch together, 
Now  that you have decreased one stitch you need to make (increase) one stitch.
To make one (M1): lift the bar between the worked and unworked stitches, knit into the back of the lifted loop on the left hand, knit to make one new stitch. By twisting the bar you don't get holes. 
Turn.




Above pics 11-12: K2tog


The horizontal bar between the stitches.



Picking up the bar, twist it and knit to make one stitch.


Next row:
Working purl-wise, slip first stitch, purl up to the last active stitch, purl together to the next side st, make 1.

Turn.
Keep working in this way until you have no side stitches left and you have again the same number of stitches of the upper half of the sock (in my case 16+16).
Usually it ends with a knit-wise row. 
Once you are done, divide and place back the stitches on two needles (so to have two needles at the back and two at the front). The "worst part" is done you can now knit in rounds in stockinette stitch (SS) to work the ankle.

 Purl-wise, purl two together (last active, first side).


pick up the bar purl-wise to make 1.


and twist!



Look mama, no holes, no fuss!

Keep working in SS (stockinette stitch, basically knit around), follow your pattern then cast off.
I finished the last few rows  K1 P1 to give a bit of elasticity to the border.
If you have made it till the end, give yourself a pat on the shoulder and remember to knit straight away the second sock. 
This method can also be worked with circular needles and you can knit two socks simultaneously, but I'm an old school lass and I prefer the good old five dbp needles.


Hope this tutorial is clear enough and you'll have fun knitting for your self, your family, your friend, your dog or your cat toe up socks ;^)
Would love to hear from you and have some feedback.

Happy knitting!




 



7.7.14

in my garden

I have white lavender, white geraniums and pale roses.
The garden is nor big neither special, it's an average square-ish garden 
with a neglected lawn, but I'm quite grateful to have this space outdoor.
When we moved in this house, the garden was a mess, a jungle of grass 
and weeds. I've dug the borders  two years ago and planted rosemary, lavender, 
daisies, hydrangeas, strawberries, raspberries, and a little plum tree.
Mint, sage, lemon thyme and bay are kept in pots and so the flowers like roses, 
cosmos and geranium.
The only bright colour is because of the chillies that I love to use fresh in my food.

The baby oxalis Lotte gave me is flowering.

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I really like this solution for small spaces.

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A new weaving.