Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Killing a dress with a penguin is a good idea (AKA blocking acrylic)

So I'd heard both sides of the story: blocking acrylic...pointless or absolutely essential. I wasn't going to bother until I came across the concept of 'killing' acrylic. The idea is to deliberately over heat acrylic and the result is a project with gorgeous drape. Now 'killing' goes against my pacifist nature but then again so does dressing my baby in one of those 1980s over-fluffy acrylic garments (usually in garish colours and sold at fund-raising events by lovely but misguided older ladies). So I gave it a try figuring I didn't have much to lose as the technique had worked very well for a much more experienced crocheter than I.

So here is Little Miss's dress before blocking:


The results are great!!
I used my 'Penguin' steamer as they are nicknamed. It's not much use as a cleaning steamer but it's great for defrosting the freezer and as I now know, for blocking/killing acrylic.

And after being 'killed' by a penguin:

The drape is much better, the fibres are much more relaxed - they don't spring up in odd places - apparently it's good to be killed by a penguin if you're an acrylic dress ;-).

Killing an acrylic project with a penguin steamer is easy. Just look at Beadknitter's blog for a tutorial on killing acrylic. I didn't pin the dress in place before killing it. I simply held the steamer about 4 inches fromt he dress, steamed it section by section and smoothed it with my hand as soon as the section was cool enough that I wouldn't burn myself. When you steam in this way, you'll know when you've steamed enough as you can see the yarn change appearance. I wouldn't go beyond this point or the acrylic (which is a plastic) might melt too much. I'm guessing that killing acrylic is basically melting the plastic enough to make it relax but not so much that the garment becomes a puddle of melted plastic.

Oh and here's a picture of Little Miss modelling - somewhat reluctantly - her dress. I decided to add a crocheted trim after killing the dress - I'm sure more organized, sensible people would have done it the other way round but the trim was an after-thought.

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Friday, 14 May 2010

Just checking

Nathan is yet again checking that Baby Sister still has 10 fingers.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

I am in shock!

I can't believe it!!! I've made some baby shoes!! Me, who fights with her sewing machine yet loves sewing. I can make curtains etc but a baboon could too. Anything that needs to fit half-decently has always been a complete disaster. Unlike my sister who can knock up fabulous garments, sofa covers etc as easily as she breathes (or so it seems to me), I cannot sew. Not proper sewing.

But thanks to this Soft baby shoe tutorial I have made some shoes for Elizabeth and what's more...THEY ACTUALLY FIT HER!!! For the next week anyway!

I did struggle a bit - I found sewing around the curves tricky. I did make a couple of mistakes too but some I could correct along the way and others aren't visible unless you go searching for them ;')
I love the result so much that I want to have another go. I have lots of patchwork fabric left over from previous projects (read: wonky patchwork quilts!) and well, Elizabeth is going to need more shoes, right?

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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

On my To-Do List...

I have just come across some great free patterns.
Posting here for safe-keeping:

Elizabeth modelling her booties

I managed to take this photo just before she kicked the booties off!

Elizabeth's booties

A very easy pattern that taught me a lot:

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Granny square crochet hook holder

OK, this ain't gonna win any awards but I was fed up on having to search around for my hooks and I am too busy doing other things to crochet a hook I dug out this granny square that I got as part of a assortment of yarn odds and ends at a charity shop and stuck my hooks in. It works great!
The granny square is quite stiff and the hooks fit in snugly. I suppose if I had more of those granny squares I could stitch them together to make the holder bigger and perhaps put a flap on it too...