Saturday, 31 January 2015

T-Shirt Yarn tutorial

I am often asked how I make giant yarn to knit or crochet with using giant tools (like the ones I sell in my Etsy shop). I created a tutorial a while back to hand out to people, I'd like to share it with you here along with a few tips.

Firstly before you start making you need to gather old, no-longer-wanted, t-shirts!  (I say no longer wanted because some people are precious about old holey clothes- please check before you go snipping up someone's favourite!).

As well as your own unwanted clothes try friends and family members, I found that people were glad to get rid of children's torn or outgrown garments that were not quite good enough for charity shops.You are looking for jersey type material, it doesn't matter if they are t-shirts/long sleeves or vest tops as you only need the 'body' part to follow my tutorial.

You will also need:
  • A pair of sharp scissors
  • Some cotton thread
  • A needle. 

Here goes:

1). Cut off your t-shirt arms and hem like this:

2). Put aside the excess.

 3). Fold the t-shirt like so:

4). Cut the t-shirt through both layers as the below image shows, leave about 4cm at the top edge. The width of my lines are around 4cm, this makes a nice chunky yarn but you can go finer or thicker if you prefer, it depends on what you need it for. 

5). Lay the t-shirt out so that you have the area where the loops are joined facing you, like this:

6). Cut t-shirt as per the image below, you may not be able to see this image very well (darn stripes!) but each loop of yarn is cut to connect with the one next to it- diagonally, this is so that you are creating one long yarn:

7). Pull the yarn through your fingers, this is to create a yarn that is easier to knit or crochet with, it takes out some of the excess 'stretch' that could later cause your knitting or crochet to become loose.

8). Roll the yarn into a ball:

And that's it! Easy peasy t-shirt yarn, if you are adding yarn from multiple t-shirts together you can just sew the ends together with a few strong stitches and carry on winding onto your yarn ball.

This yarn is so good to knit and crochet with, projects just grow so quickly! I've used this sort of yarn to make a throw for a hideous arm-chair we have and I take the throw along to fairs to demonstrate what can be done, this is a picture of half way through making it:

 Though it should say 'Goodbye!' 


Thursday, 15 January 2015

My day at WindUp Steyning!

After an hour long windy bus trip to Steyning we found Penfold Hall tucked away just off the high street.
We were welcomed by Helen and her partner Nigel and made to feel so welcome, they even brought us over some hot drinks to warm us up!

My stall set up seems to take forever and I wasn't able to make it any faster despite there being two of us, jewellery stall displays are so fiddly! so many small pieces (I'd really appreciate anyone's tips on making this easier) but we got there in the end, even if it wasn't quite how I wanted it to be.

 Does anyone have any ideas for an alternative low space/weight way of displaying necklaces on a stall where people can see all the different colour options but without getting chains tangled up? (at the moment these curved/triangle necklaces are in bags and I know that isn't the best way!).

The hall soon started to fill out with a large amount of talented crafters whom had brought their projects to share and work on while having a knatter with friends and share tips and techniques. It really was a lovely atmosphere, such an array of things being made.

There were 4 other beautiful, high quality stalls in total at the meeting:
 Next to me was 'byhookcrochet' whose table was filled with beautiful colourful crochet goodies including a shawl, a lampshade and some bowls I completely fell in love with!

I bought one of her crochet bowls in grey and green to use for displaying items on my stall and I love it so much that I have commissioned her to make me a whole set, this will help with making my stall more portable instead of having solid objects (like wicker baskets) to hold things in, I will have soft squish-able and easy to pack crochet!

Next along was 'Momo' who had some stunning felt creations including these gorgeous landscape and still-life brooches:
She also had some needle felted sheep made with sussex wool of which I purchased one to keep me company on my stall whilst my reindeer and polar bear are in hibernation (they come out for christmas fairs!).
One along from Momo was Colin from 'Textile Garden'  whose partner Marguerite also runs WindUp Steyning with Helen. They have the most amazing array of habedashery and amazing button selection:

I simply could not resist these small coconut shell donkey and bear buttons:

Not sure what I will make with them yet but they'll get used at some point for sure! Textile Garden will be at Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March this year (where I will also be!) they gave me lots of helpful advice about getting stock up there for the show, thank you Colin!

Last but not least was 'Bessie May' ran by Helen, who co-runs this event, she had the most beautiful selection of yarns and patterns which really made me wish to be a more competent knitter than I am, but what with Yellow Bear Wares and my other job I just don't have the time for improving hobbies at the moment, one of my aims this year is to make time.

As you can see it was a lovely day out, I fully recommend it to anyone in the local area that would either like to join in the making or have a nice day out with their stall. There are two more planned events, one in February and one in March, then they are planning to possibly start again next Autumn, I really hope they do!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

WindUp Steyning

This Saturday 10th of January I will be setting up shop at WindUp Steyning, a monthly meet-up for like-minded crafters, knitters, stitchers and makers who fancy meeting, making, buying and sharing together in a beautiful medieval village.

I'm very much looking forward to meeting new makers in what sounds like a very welcoming community. It was an unexpected outing only confirmed yesterday so I've got to be quick to get prepared, luckily I have stock left from the christmas fairs last month!

I'll let you know how I get on!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Looking back at 2014

Hi, New year, New blog! I'm starting afresh with this whole blogging thing, my last blog was a disaster in style and in content! I'm feeling very inspired by members of the Brighton Etsy Team to make something worth reading, I have ideas of things I'd like to share all the time but I never seem to find the time, this year however it WILL be different.

In case you don't know already my name is Claire Griffiths, I run 'Yellow Bear Wares' an Etsy shop that mainly contains jewellery made by re-appropriating vintage and pre-loved knitting needles. I've been running it for nearly two years now and so far it's going well, for me anyway! I'm afraid I had quite low expectations when I started but I thought I would give it a go. I've very been surprised by the successes I've had and 2014 was a great year for me. I've managed to cut down to working 3 days a week in my 'other' employment (more about that some other time) and I seem to be concentrating on Yellow Bear Wares for the other 4 days in each week! (I must admit, one of my aims this year is to stop OVER-working, I find it hard to settle at home when I can see there are things to make and do for the business).

Some of my Yellow Bear Wares highlights for 2014 were:

Being a part of an Open House in Brighton's Artist Open House Festival:

Collaborating with Laser kings 'Designosaur' on a yarn ball and needles inspired ring:

Having a booth at my first ever Knitting show 'Unwind' in Brighton:

Being featured in many knitting and crochet related magazines:

Filming for and appearing as an 'expert' on a new tv show 'Crafty Beggars':

Appearing in the 'Super + Super' shop window demonstrating 'EXTREME' knitting for the Brighton Etsy Team's 'Craftivism' event:

Being stocked in five UK high street shops: Brigden & Bayliss, Flax, A Yarn Story, Wild and Woolly, The Slipped Stitch, one online shop: Where's Me Jumper and a yarn shop in Iceland!: Litla Prjónabúðin

Giving a talk on my ideas about ‘Tactile crafts in a digital world’ for the Brighton Etsy Team at one of their monthly events:

Being featured as one of the makers in the Brighton Etsy Pop-up shop in November:
(Image credit: Brighton Etsy Team Blog)

And those are just the highlights! I'm hoping 2015 will bring as many exciting opportunities my way and I'm going to work hard to try and make that happen.

Apologies for this being quite a long and image heavy post, it wasn't meant to be, I'm off now but I'd like to say thank you to all my customers, friends, supporters, family and all of the Brighton Etsy Team for making this year such a great one, seriously couldn't and wouldn't have done it without you!