Tag Archives: wool

Holey Woolly Jumper in need of mending

New craft project: Mending a woolly jumper

When should a woolly jumper be classed as ‘worn out’? Wool is an amazing natural fibre. It really is very resilient. But, whatever the fibre, wear and tear on a garment can take its toll. That’s where my jumper’s at right now – gardening, woodwork, blackberry-picking and countless other outdoor adventures have all left their marks. It was time to consider my jumper’s future.

‘… but, hang on a minute!’ I hear you ask. ‘What do you mean, a ‘jumper’?’
Oh, dear! There’s our good old English language again, confusing people!

Being from northern England, when I say ‘jumper’, I mean a long sleeved garment that you pull over your head and wear over the top of a shirt to keep warm. Depending on where you live, you may call it a ‘sweater’, or a ‘pull-over’ or even a ‘jersey’! Don’t you just love English – why have one word when you can have at least four different words for the same garment?! 🙂

My well-worn woolly jumper in need of some mending
My well-worn woolly jumper in need of some mending

You may be casting your eyes over this threadbare garment and thinking, ‘Isn’t it time that sad excuse for a sweater was recycled or maybe consigned to a dog basket?’
‘OH-H-H NO-O-O!’ I’d cry! ‘I am very attached to my red woolly jumper!’

I admit, my poor old jumper is well-worn, but I believe there’s life in that old woolly yet! So, to improve its aesthetic qualities – and to reduce its ventilation qualities 😉 – I have decided to give it a pre-winter make-over. I’m going to share the process as I go, so if you too have a well-loved woolly garment in need of some ‘ventilation reduction’, feel free to glean some tips and tricks.

I started by taking a close look at the parts of my jumper that were showing serious signs of wear. From my analysis I then came up with a to-do list.

Mending a Woolly Jumper - my to-do list
Task 1 of my new craft project: make a plan

When I examined my jumper, I found there were four holes of varying sizes and each has a ‘ladder’ run (where the knitting has come undone) that will need attention too. The lower edge of the jumper is looking quite frayed in places, so this will also need remedying.

My next task is to consider the yarns and methods I will choose to mend my woolly jumper. I have previously darned a hole in my jumper. The darn remains solidly intact, but the hole has subsequently extended to one side of the darn. For this renovation project, I am currently contemplating creating patches and am trying out some ideas to see what I prefer. I will post more on this thrifty mending project soon.

J Peggy Taylor

Touching Natural Textures

Natural textures don’t only reveal themselves to us through our eyes, I find. Sometimes they appeal to our sense of touch instead. An example of this for me is when I notice something new in the texture of tree bark. To really appreciate its beauty, I am drawn to touch it, to experience the tactile nature of the texture.

Herringbone crochet in natural undyed wool yarn
Herringbone crochet in natural undyed wool yarn

This week I have been working with what I call ‘real’ wool in a crochet project. This hand processed and handspun natural undyed wool is from the fleece of Jacob sheep. This wool yarn has a wonderful springy texture which is retained in the crocheted fabric as I work. In this particular project I am introducing a further texture in the form of a herringbone stitch pattern. The herringbone design dates a long way back into antiquity and I felt this ancient design seemed appropriate for this ruggedly natural wool yarn.

My second natural texture came as part of my recent experiments with natural ingredients for ‘tea’ type drinks. This week this led me to try out raspberry leaves. For me, natural ingredients are more likely to be found in the woods and hedgerows than in supermarkets. For raspberry leaves, I knew just where to look.

Raspberry leaf veins
The back of a raspberry leaf has a prominent pattern of veins

Picking raspberry leaves whilst balancing on the edge of a ditch makes you acutely aware of all your senses, it seems. As I stretched out carefully to reach some unblemished leaves, I was intensely aware of how soft and velvety raspberry leaves are on their dark green upper side whilst their pale, grey-green undersides are traced with prominent veins, plus one or two small thorns. Following a refreshing raspberry leaf tea taste test using a single fresh leaf, I am currently drying the remainder of my foraged leaves for future use.

Small Copper butterfly resting on the warm shingle
Small Copper butterfly resting on the warm shingle

Sometimes when searching through your photo archives for a particular shot you need for a project, you come across images you love but had almost forgotten. This shot of a Small Copper butterfly resting on the sun-warmed riverside shingle is one such image for me. I love the delicate softness of the butterfly against the stones. The stones themselves provide a wonderful variety of textures – from rough to smooth. Hiding away towards the top left of the picture I noticed a piece of rusty metal too.

I have enjoyed exploring the creativity of texture for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. I am always inspired when visiting other blogs to see how people have interpreted the challenge.

J Peggy Taylor

Introducing Oak Trees Studio

Hello and welcome to my new Oak Trees Studio blog!

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Oak Trees Studio is my new Etsy shop. I opened my shop a few weeks before Christmas as the new face of my creative endeavours.   www.etsy.com/shop/OakTreesStudio

I am something of a nature nut and I love working with natural materials so it seemed a natural progression to develop this into a seedling of a business idea. My main aim through Oak Trees Studio is to share my love  of natural materials – from wool to wood and from hemp* to hedgerow treasure  …  and hopefully start selling the hand-crafted items I produce.

For my opening collection of hand-crafted items I have created some warm winter crochet beanie hats in real Yorkshire wool.  I absolutely love this natural un-dyed wool. The wools I choose are from small scale producers and the wool is all processed by hand and hand spun in North Yorkshire.

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I develop my own original hat patterns and then I crochet the hats. Crochet is my favourite yarn craft. I learned to crochet as a child – many, many years ago – and whenever I yearn to create in yarn, usually I turn to my crochet hooks.

You may have noticed I added an asterisk * next to the word ‘hemp’ earlier. Agricultural hemp is an often-maligned member of the Cannabis sativa family. It is only a few years since it again became legal to grow agricultural hemp in the UK, though it has a long and illustrious history. This is a wonderful and very eco-friendly plant crop that I am sure to write more about in a future post. The hemp yarn I use is hand-dyed and comes in a myriad of beautiful colours.

That’s a brief peek behind the origins of Oak Trees Studio. I hope you’ll drop by again to see what else we’re up to here on the blog and you’re very welcome at Oak Trees Studio on Etsy too.

I want to sign off this post by sending my very best wishes to everyone who is taking part in the WordPress Zero to Hero in 30 days project.  What a great WordPress idea for the New Year! Thank you Michelle too!