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1  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / Shipping to New Zealand on: June 06, 2009 01:51:18 PM
So, that annoying person holding up the Make A Friend swap? Yeah, that's me [blush] Our fabulous and esteemed organiser has been in touch to tell me that the only viable partner for me is in New Zealand. An honorable country by any account but one I am a bit nervous about having a swap partner in, not just because of the hilarious price of postage from the UK (I can suck that up if needs be!) but one other thing - the customs laws.

From what I know they're very stringent there, and I'm worried about my partner's packages from me getting torn up en route, as well as her having to pay extra customs charges on them. I have a horrible suspicion that (for example) bath & beauty stuff wouldn't make it through, nor would handspun yarn (too many foreign naturals, chance of vegetable matter, etc) and as those are two of the things I'd be most likely to send (if my prospective partner would want them, of course!) I'm worried about not being able to come up with three big packages that are good enough. I'd hate to send sub-par things.

I will of course be looking up the specific NZ customs laws, but I'd really appreciate it if people who have shipped to NZ could tell me if there was any trouble. Thanks in advance :-)
2  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Left-handed knitting FAIL... on: May 13, 2009 04:51:16 PM
So I want to learn how to knit. I can crochet, which I hear makes learning to knit harder, *and* I'm very heavily left-handed. As in, if I do too much with my completely useless right hand my childhood stammer comes back. I know, stupid, right? This is why I crochet in a really strange way that nobody understands, too [grin]

Following instructions and trying to reverse left and right in my head is confusing me vastly. Can anyone help? Any left-handed knitters out there? Anyone know a good lefty knitting tutorial? I've bought myself a pair of 7mm needles, dug out the nasty-coloured bulky yarn I taught myself to crochet with and am raring to go...
3  U.K. AND IRELAND / ENGLAND / LONDONERS: Stand up and be counted! on: April 24, 2009 03:50:10 AM
There must be plenty of us, London's bloody huge. So why don't we know who the others are? Why don't we have regular meets to chat and craft?

A-hah! I know why! It's because I haven't pulled my finger out and done anything about it yet! But fear not, fellow denizens of the city that really never sleeps (as opposed to New York, which secretly dozes when it thinks nobody's looking) because HERE I AM!

[ahem] I think we should start by identifying ourselves and then try and organise a meet in a pub or cafe somewhere. *smiles sweetly* I'm Seph, and I'm Lewisham born and bred. A proper saarf-east Landhaner, then, though my accent these days is sadly mostly lost to the mists of time.

Who else?
4  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Blending fibres? on: April 23, 2009 03:27:58 PM
For my next yarn I've ordered two merino tops, 100g each, a 50g silk top and 10g of angelina (that sparkly stuff - I think you in the US might call it 'tinsel', but specifically for spinning). It's going to be a thick-thin single with the odd supercoil and slub for texture.

I don't want to spin it like a varigated yarn in sections, though, rather a blend of the two wools and the silk with bits of sparkle here and there. I'm pretty sure I can picture how I'm going to spin in the angelina, but what's the best method of mixing the rest in a way that looks good and stays cohesive?
5  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / The random SPINNY babble thread :-) on: April 23, 2009 06:12:16 AM
So if the soapers can have one, why can't we? [grin] I thought it might be cool to have somewhere to chat about spinning between Fridays. Also, I'm annoyed because I wanted to spin a super big skein and some rubbish winding at the start means that my bobbin is getting to the point where it's making spinning hard ALREADY, and I'm only halfway through :-(

How's everyone else's days doing?
6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Stitch And BOTCH / Bad Craft Days (like Bad Hair Days, but potentially more expensive...) on: April 22, 2009 01:07:06 PM
Today, I have:

  • Spent an hour crocheting and frogged every damn stitch
  • Somehow got my drop spindle, myself and the varigated yarn I'm working on into a giant slubby felty backspinny messy tangle
  • Done two pages of my altered journal and torn them both out
  • Spilled just over a thousand seed beads all over the hardwood living room floor
  • Pre-fizzed an entire batch of bath bombs beyond all recognition.

I think we can safely call this a FAIL.

I'm feeling rather discouraged. Cheer me up with stories of your own Bad Craft Days, please!
7  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Combined soap and bath bomb? on: April 08, 2009 02:25:11 PM
I make bath bombs, and I also do m&p soap. I've seen some lovely combinations of soap and bath bombs - my favourites being cupcake-shaped soap with icing that's a bath bomb - but so far have just not managed to get the bath bomb to stick to the soap. The way I've tried has been to pour the soap and, when it's basically hard but still a little warm kind of arrange the bath bomb mixture on top of it to harden there. This,. however, fails utterly! How would you do it?
8  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Um, the newbie spinner needs a little help here, please... on: March 11, 2009 08:57:12 AM
My drop spindle arrived today! I have christened her Ariadne (who spun the thread that led Theseus safely through the labyrinth - almost everything I own gets a name from Greek mythology in the end Roll Eyes) and she's a beaut. Trouble is, Ariadne and I don't seem to have quite grasped this spinning thing yet. In fact, we don't get it at all.

She's a top-whorl spindle. I was sure I'd ordered a bottom-whorl, but it's entirely possible that I made a mistake on the form, so top-whorl she is and I'm damn well going to learn how to use her. I read this tutorial and thought 'ok, I can do that', and then found out that I didn't really understand it. So then I watched this YouTube video and thought 'ohhh, it makes sense now!' and then went on to have exactly the same problems as before.

I'm not drafting right. I have one hand spinning the spindle and one hand running slowly up the fiber, releasing it gradually to the twist. If I let go of the spindle to let it do one big spin on its own momentum rather than constantly spinning it myself it either runs up the fiber, bunching it all round the hook, or it starts spinning the other way and undoing the twist - or, more usually, one then the other!

What I have on the spindle now is actually quite a passable art yarn - it has thick bits and thin bits, some vaguely artistic-looking slubs, and a few supercoils. I rather like it. But if I take it off the spindle, it simultaneously curls up into itself in a big tangled mess *and* untwists.

So apparently I suck at this. Anyone got any advice?  Huh
9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Quickie Craftalong: Mother's Day on: March 06, 2009 06:07:14 AM
Here in the UK Mother's Day is on March 22nd, so I thought I'd take the stress out of it by doing it early. I know it's not till May 10th for most of you, but why not take out even more stress by doing it even earlier? Share what you're making for your mothers here! I'm going to make a start today. I think my mum will get a handmade card, a set of three CD tealight holders and a beaded pentagram decoration. I'll post pics here when I'm done :-)
10  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Discussion and Questions / A few questions about loom beading on: March 04, 2009 09:19:55 AM
I have a bead loom! It's very shiny and I've had good fun with it. I do, however, have a few questions...

1. How do you finish off your pieces? Everything I've read says to tie a knot at the end, which is the obvious thing to do, but I can't seem to get the knot close/neat enough.

2. I've only done a couple of pieces, but on each of them one of my warp threads seems to kind of...be higher up than the others, and very visible. Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong that makes this happen, and how to fix it?

3. How do people make stuff on the bead loom that's bigger than their loom, if you see what I mean? Like the amulet purses and beaded belts you see everywhere?

I apologise for the noobishness of my questions [grin] I have a bunch of cool ideas for stuff to loom up, but am having trouble getting started...
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