Friday, 30 August 2013

First Go At Dyeing Yarn....

Back at the end of June me and a friend visited Woolfest in Cockermouth.

It was our first visit and as we both are avid knitters and my recent hobby of crochet has taken off it was a great day out and fulfilled all our dreams.

I've wanted to go for a few years now and so with my friend being from that 'neck of the woods' we made a day of it.  We started our journey at 8am from Lancashire and stopped off at Teabay services for a spot of breakfast and a stretch of our legs.  Unfortunately the weather was not kind to us that day and the rain joined us on the journey - all the way there!!!  We shopped till we dropped and only landed back in Lancashire about 9pm after we stopped off for something to eat on the way home.

The rain didn't dampen our spirits though.  When we arrived the event was already in swing with many many people arriving.  When we entered we were absolutely amazed by all the colours and kinds of yarns around and all the visitors from all over the world, not to mention the lovely animals in pens and in the auction mart, where we went to a talk about the lovely woolly creatures.  There were angora rabbits, alpacas, and lovely sheep aplenty. 

After a quick refreshment break, we were on a mission, armed with lists and the lovely Woolfest programme.

I bought several things including a wooden drop spindle and some roving to have a bash at spinning.  I've always wanted to spin and this seems like a good introduction to it before I go the full hog and buy a spinning wheel.  I also bought several crochet hooks and a granny square book for some inspiration and various other bits and pieces including patterns and yarns.

Amongst my purchases was 100g of some Superwash Merino with some nylon in it but with a yummy gold sparkle running through it and a few packets of Kool Aid from DJ Craft & Design.  Like with the spinning, I've always wanted to have a go at dyeing some yarn just to see what it is like.  And boy did I enjoy myself a couple of weeks ago when I decided to take the plunge and have a go!!!

Here are some pictures I took of the dyeing process.

So I started off with some undyed yarn and a couple of packets of unsweetened Kool Aid in red and orange

I soaked my yarn in a bowl of soapy water for 45 minutes

While that was soaking I then mixed up the Kool Aid in two separate jugs to a lovely colour consistency

I then squeezed as much of the water out of the soaked yarn and lay it in a microwaveable bowl and slowly poured the Kool Aid over it making sure not to mix the colours too much so they went all muddy.  I wanted to have a mixed tone but not all over colour.  Off went the yarn whizzing around the microwave in 1 minute bursts for 3 minutes.  I then waited for it to cool down before rinsing it in lukewarm water.

And then I had a marvellous ta-dah moment when the finished hank was hanging on the line in the sunshine. 
You can just make out the little sparkly flecks of gold with the lush orange and pale red/pink colour.  It is much more sparkly in real life. 

I'm so pleased with the outcome of my first go at yarn dyeing and it's spurred me on to have another go and maybe try other ways of dyeing yarns too.
Not sure what the yarn is going to be made up into yet but it will be something lush which I may keep myself or I may sell on the website.
Hope you've enjoyed reading and looking at this blog post.
I will be back next week with another post, and this time it will be the making of a Zentangle card.
Back soon
Tanya x x

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Drum Roll....

Hello and welcome to the brand new blog for Occasions & Creations.

It’s been a long time coming but lots of work has been going on behind the scenes since we decided to no longer create greetings cards. Serious thoughts were had over the Christmas period 2012 as to what we could do to extend our website and so we decided that a whole new logo and new name was the only way forward.
We wanted to not only just create cards, we wanted to step outside the box and extend our repertoire to everything else we considered possible. Therefore steps were put in place to source lots of new fabby materials and equipment and learn a few new hobbies: sewing and crochet to name a few.
A new Twitter account was set up first and then a website sourced from  Then came the busy time of creating a whole fabby new collection of handcrafted goodies. Meanwhile a Facebook account was started to try and elicit followers, likers and people to bookmark the website for the future.
Over a period of six months lots of items were created and photos were taken and descriptions written and while it has taken a long time to sort out, we are happy with the  way the website is looking and has grown over the past few months.
In order to gain some more followers on Twitter we have recently held a giveaway of a set of Christmas cards and as the interest was high we decided at the last minute not to have just one winner, but have five, with four runners up prizes.
So it only seems fair that we have a giveaway to launch our blog as well.
There are four prizes in total:  

First Prize

3 House Mouse Decoupaged Christmas Cards all measuring 8x8 inches and finished off to a high standard with a length of ribbon on the spine and gems of various colours and sizes all with white envelopes and left blank inside. This prize has a value of £12 if they were to be sold on our website. 

Second Prize:
*      2 House Mouse Decoupaged Christmas Cards measuring 8x8 inches and finished off to a high standard with a length of ribbon and gems all with white envelopes and left blank inside.  This prize has a value of £8 if they were to be sold on our website.  


Third Prize:
*      3 slimline Christmas cards measuring approximately 4x8 inches and featuring cartoony style images of a girl wrapped up for winter, a Santa, and a postbox all on a embossed backdrop of dots all with white envelopes and left blank inside.  This prize has a value of £7.50 if they were to be sold on our website. 

Fourth Prize:
*      2 slimline Christmas cards measuring approximately 4x8 inches and featuring a stencilled image in green and red pearlescent inks finished off with silver highlights to the centres of the flowers with white envelopes and left blank inside.  This prize has a value of £5.00 if they were to be sold on our website. 

So, you may be asking what you need to do to enter the giveaway. 
Well, first of all you need to be a follower of our blog by whatever means.  Google Reader has apparently changed now and there are many ways of following blogs including BlogLovin. 
You then need to leave us a message on our blog (this post) to say how you found us and what you think of our website and what is your favourite item/card/stationery.  If you have a Facebook page or a Twitter account please also invite your followers/likers to come along and join in the giveaway of over £30 worth of stock to celebrate our first blog post and the opening of the website.  The more followers of the blog the more fun we can have and in turn you will be spreading the word of our passion and love for handcrafted items and stepping away from the highstreet mass produced items.
Please let us know on your post the details of your Facebook page (if you have one, so we can pay you a visit) or leave your Twitter name and then we can in turn follow you. Let's spread the love!!!
Please pop along to our website when you have a minute and fill in the guestbook section with a little comment about how you think our website looks etc.  All comments would be welcome.  Our guestbook is looking good at the moment with lots of lovely feedback.
Our website can be found HERE
Our Facebook page can be found HERE
Our Twitter account is @OccsAndC

Entry closing date is Saturday 28th Sept 2013.

We hope to do a blog post at least once a week and this will be an update on what our website has to offer and also crafting projects and especially with our card making we will be having tutorials with step by steps and also updates on our crocheting and knitting projects as well as what life is throwing to us at the moment.
Please pop by often and don’t forget to tell all your friends about us as the more the merrier.
We would also be happy to feature you if you are a handcrafter in a blog spot and if this is something you are interested in then please get in touch with us through our contact section on our website.
Love Tanya
Occasions & Creations