Mixing it up

When you first start dyeing, there’s an overwhelming range of colours to choose from. As well as thinking about what kind of materials you want to be dyeing, whether you are going to need any auxiliary chemicals for the techniques you want to use, you need to think about what set of dyes you’re going to use to get you started.

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Now this is all a lot easier if you have an infinite budget and the cupboard space to match. You can just buy a bit of everything to try. Some suppliers offer ‘starter kits’ as well, with smaller amounts of a range of different dyes to get started. Many dyers will tell you though that all you need is a small select palette and you can mix the rest. So is it really worth investing in a big range of different dyes?

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Knotty Problems

Murdering skeins is a bit of a hobby of mine. I’m not sure where I developed quite such an aptitude for transforming beautiful bundles of fibre into Eldritch horrors of the knitted world but it’s about the least useful skill a crafter can have.

Sometimes it has been clumsiness or underestimating quite what a disastrous effect travelling can have on your supplies. Sometimes it has been my notorious impatience with wanting to dive into a new project. Other times, I swear I simply turn my back and when I turn around, I’m greeted with a sight that invokes the more colourful regions of the English language.

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Taking Stock

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August was supposed to be the month of working on some of my big projects, like my two large embroideries, but it seems to be the case that life is very much what happens when you’re busy trying to make plans.

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Tutorial: Making a Raddle

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When you’re a child, there’s nothing more disappointing than getting some exciting new toy, only to find that it didn’t come with any batteries, they’re some obscure size you’d never have any spares of anyway and of course, it’s holiday season so you can’t just pop down to the shops either.

The grown-up version of this is having hauled some hefty piece of crafting equipment back home, precariously tied to your car, only to find you’ve forgotten some nut, bolt or screw that means you can’t fully assemble it immediately.

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Luckily, particularly when it comes to weaving, necessity is the mother of invention and one of the true joys of adulthood is unfettered access to DIY stores and power tools. Plus, how often is it what you get to do is essentially crafting with a very heavy hammer?

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Make at 140, Plymouth

It’s an exciting bit of news to hear that there’s a new local craft shop on the scene, and even better when it’s not just a shop but home to a café with a mouth-watering menu and enough workshops to keep any craft addict happy for at least a good few months.

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Make at 140 is the latest addition to Plymouth’s craft scene, situated just between the city centre and historic harbourside. It opened its doors in November 2015 as a ‘creative space to craft, make and create’, run by Lizzy, who has a wealth of experience in button and jewellery design.

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Comparing Thread Weights

Although most of us love our local craft shops, the unfortunate reality is it is often easier to buy online. Finding brick and mortar suppliers for weaving cottons seems to be particularly challenging which is a nuisance when you’re not too familiar with the naming conventions for thread weights and have no way of seeing them or comparing them.

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To try and help with this, I’ve put together an assortment of threads, from the Güterman sewing machine thread to flat silks, along with the wraps per centimetre to give you some idea of how all the different threads compare.

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