Friday, 26 April 2013

Folksy Friday - Pretties for hair

 Following on from my last post about me having my long locks cut off to chin length for charity, I thought I would feature some lovely hair accessories made by fellow makers who sell on Folksy.

I will start with one of my own items.

I knit this beaded lace hair-band with my own handspun Teeswater wool

These are from fellow sellers on Folksy.  

May Crimson Anuma Cocoona
Imogen's ImaginationDena's Tinkerings

Raspberry hairclip by May Crimson
Dragonfly with beaded organza wings hairclip by Anuma Cocoona
Pale Pink Bird Fascinator by Imogen's Imagination
A Touch of Pink hair comb by Dena's Tinkerings

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Long And Short of It - Part Two

This is further to my post of 19th October 2012, which you may want to read before you read this post.

I made a sacrifice two weeks ago, a big sacrifice.

At the end of September last year, I made a decision about what I wanted to do to mark the occasion of my 40th birthday in March.  I didn't want a party and I wasn't particularly interested in presents either, its just more "stuff" to clutter up the house, and I need that like I need a hole in the head.  I decided to grow my hair even longer than usual over the Winter and then donate some of it to Little Princess Trust a charity that makes real-hair wigs for kids with Cancer.

After choosing the original style that I liked and blogging about it, I found another one that I liked more.  It was even shorter but I loved it so much more than the other one and so this is THE ONE that I chose.

I was fundraising all over Winter, even donating 25% of the item price of all items sold from my online shops between October and up to and including 31st March 2013.  I put these donations through my Just Giving Page on behalf of, and in the name of, the customers who made purchases.

I had a little problem with my usual hairdressing salon in December.  My stylist had not managed to get into work that day and so the salon owner was to cut my hair that day.  I told him that all I wanted was a 1/2 inch trim to keep it healthy as I was growing it longer than usual so I could have it cut and donate it to charity.  He told me how he didn't agree with people donating their hair to be made into wigs when there are perfectly good synthetic wigs available and he was quite nasty about it and his attitude really upset me.  He cut my hair and I left the salon with a bad taste in my mouth.  It was not the usual enjoyable, relaxing, pampering experience that I am used to.  It was only when I got home and saw myself in the long mirror that I discovered he had cut about 3 inches off the length of my hair!!!  The air turned blue, as you can imagine, because it was now very doubtful that I would be able to donate the 12" or more that I should have been able to donate.  I vowed there and then never to patronise his salon ever again, even though I had been going there for 15 years!

I put the word out that I was looking for a new regular hairdresser and I found one in the form of hubbies long term family friend, Pauline Babbington, who kindly offered to cut my hair and re-style it free of charge seeing as it for was Charity.  I decided that I wanted my husband and my two girls with me at the salon when I had my hair cut off, not only for moral support but also so that I wouldn't have to go through all that nervous anxiety on the way home of having to make a big entrance with my new look.  I set the date of the cut as 7th April 2013, as this was the first date after my 40th birthday that we could all get together.

So, this is how long my hair was the day before the cut.  It should have been touching my belt!!!

And this is the shorter style I chose to have my hair cut into after the donation. 

And now the photos of the event.

Getting it brushed out

Getting pony-tailed up into 3 pony-tails - ooohhh eeeeerrr its finally happening!

Here it goes, its getting cut off - ooooh eck! No turning back now

Before I knew it all 3 pony-tails were cut off, I was treated to a lovely relaxing wash and was being re-styled

All done!

The back.  It's short for the first time ever and look how soft and shiny it is!  
Hubby sat there whilst I had it cut with pretty much that same look on his face the whole time.

I got 2 x 8-9" pony-tails and 1 x 12" pony-tail to send off to Little Princess Trust.
That 12" pony-tail could well have been at least 14" if I hadn't had "hairdresser" problems in December.

I intend to now keep my hair short and I have been having fun drying and styling it in different ways.  I am still fundraising for them, even though I have smashed through my initial fundraising target and donations can be made via my  Just Giving Page  or by texting LOCK52 £(amount greater than £2) to 70070

If anyone is inspired by my story but is worried about going from long hair to short hair, please don't be worried about it, it's the best thing I have done in ages and I feel so good in myself and about myself.  Not only does it make you feel good doing something amazing for someone less fortunate but having all that physical and emotional weight cut off and getting a fab new modern look does wonders for your self-esteem and although my hair was healthy already, I can't believe how soft and silky it feels now.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Anemone gradient Wensleydale shawl - Design F213

Seeing as we are now in Spring/Summer I wanted to make a small, lightweight shawl that is just perfect for the season.  I found a sweet little pattern and decided to make one using my own hand-spun yarn.  It is a top-down shawl so I decided that I wanted the lightest colour at the top and so made sure that I began knitting with the lightest end of the yarn.  I also chose to use the same colour beads as on the Victorian lace shawl that took me almost 2 years to knit as the colour went perfect with this as well and they are Size 6 Toho round seed beads in shade 1076 Magenta lined grey.

I began knitting on 2nd April and finished on 4th April 2013.  Its pretty much a stocking stitch knit, with a few rows of garter stitch to add interest with "lines" or "ridges" throughout and finished off with a lace edge to which I added my beads.  I used 244 beads in total which added a little bit of much needed weight.

It was so crumpled up when it came off the needles but soaking and blocking soon sorted that out.

I am so proud of this shawl as it the first one I have made with my own hand-spun yarn.  I have made hats and things like that with my own hand-spun but this is the first shawl.

Want to know how I made the yarn for this shawl?  Just click Wensleydale Gradient Yarn

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Apricot Smoothie - Romney Fleece & Dyeing with Food Colouring

Wanting to try another breed of sheep I purchased a small amount of Romney Fleece from Philippa of Kingston Manor Farm in Canterbury.  Her flock has won awards for their fleece.  I bought approx 500g of Romney wether fleece (a wether is a castrated male) that has 15cm long staples with good crimp and a soft handle.  Romney Sheep are part of the Longwool family.

Really, really nice fleece, very soft with lots of lustre, a little yellowed in places, but not too bad.

I washed the fleece first and when dried it weighed 500g, so she must have given me quite a bit more than 500g of fleece to begin with.  I got to work combing it and was left with 375g of lovely combed nests ready to spin but I noticed that some of them were "dark cream" so I decided that I would try dyeing it at the point.  I have been reading some interesting information about dyeing fleece and fibre so I thought I would start with food dyes as I am too scared to try proper full on acid dyes yet.

I went to the local Morrisons Supermarket and purchased some natural food dyes in a range of colours, they don't have a large range but red, blue, pink, green etc, the basics.  I chose pink for this wool and dyed it in two halves.  The dye pigment in the pink food colouring is Beetroot.

I soaked the wool in 1 litre of water containing 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for about 20 minutes.  In the meantime I filled a heat resistant glass bowl about half full with warm water and added a splash of white vinegar and half a bottle of the food colouring.  I carefully lifted the wool out of its bath and gently squeezed most of the water out and then added it to the prepared bowl of dye.

The next bit is to cover the bowl and heat it in the microwave on full power for 6 minutes then you have to let it stand for 5 minuted and then heat again for a further 6 minutes and Ding!, it's done.  Remove the bowl from the microwave and leave it alone now to cool down.  Once it is cool you can remove the wool from its dye bath and squeeze out any excess fluid.  Rinse the wool in warm plain water until no dye bleeds from it.  Obviously I went through this process twice due to the amount that I was dyeing.  Leave it to dry.

I got lemons, oranges and coral pinks.  Reminds me of the sweets as a kid that were called "fruit salad".

I had to re-comb it all once it was dry as I had inadvertently felted some of it and I wanted to blend the colours.  I ended up with 336g which I spun as a sport-weight single yarn with 804m.