Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Yarn treat

My Mum is always stuck for ideas for me at birthday or Christmas time, the latter The Hubs and I usually get a nice bottle of wine and some German biscuits.  But for my birthday I get money.

This year I had spotted a rather lovely project in Simply Crochet issue 25.....

This poncho.....

Whilst I like the colours, I think they could make me look a bit crazy or like mutton dressed as lamb!! So I decided to take a look at the other colour options available.

In the same magazine was an offer from Wool Warehouse for a discount on their Drops Nepal yarn used in the project, so, along I popped to their website.

After a lot of deliberating over colour selection, I came up with this......

As grey and beige make me look grey or beige, I went for the only other mid tone there was...the blue green (second left).  I chose the other colours based on darks and lights of complimentary colours plus cream to lighten it up.

I thought I had ordered the main colour plus 2 balls of each colour, but as it turned out I only ordered one of the dark purple!

I couldn't find my 7mm hook so the cowl was made using a 6.5mm.....

I'm glad I did or the cowl would have been too floppy for my liking.  When I had to change down for the main body, I did stick with the 6 mm as recommended.

I have thought that I may not go for a fringe quite as long as the one pictured if at all, but I can't decide 'til I get there.

I also need to add  more rounds and think I may also turn the poncho sideways so that the points are on my arms and the front and back run straight across as I want it long enough to cover my arms. If I make it long enough for my arms and leave the points front and back, they will be down to my knees!

It also means that by turning it sideways, it will be like a cape and I can sew the arms together ( to make an underarm seam of sorts) which might give it more shape....again we'll see!

So here is progress so far.........

Just look at that granny stripe loveliness up close...........

The Simply Crochet Poncho has 15 rounds made with 9 balls (plus 9 more for  the main colour).  To make it longer I knew I would need more yarn, so....yes, I have ordered some more.

I shall keep you abreast of progress, until then happy hooking!

Knitting Purge & 4 Ta-Dah's!!

So as I was undertaking a paper crafting purge I found some knitting bits and bobs.

I purged the free booklets, I have taken them to my Mum for her to pass onto the Craft Club as there are a number of knitters there.

I then put somewhere in view (to irritate me!) some unfinished projects.  I mentioned a couple of them here in May 2012 in the hope that it would kick my butt...but it didn't work!  For some reason this time round it has!

There was this blue-grey jumper.  Started in 2008/9, I stopped when I found I was pregnant with Little Lady ( who is now 5!).

I did come back to it and finish the knitting part, which is the bit I enjoy despite being slow.  I hate sewing up!

There was a little jumper with no neck band and in pieces.  It was a project (of 2, one pink, one blue, knitted when pregnant, I finished the pink one as my Little Lady was born).  I was busy and it was irrelevant, so the blue one never made it over the finish line.

Both came from this Sirdar booklet........

Little Lady had the one on the front cover in plain pale pink, the 'boy' one was the jumper on the right ...... 

made with this......

At some point I also knitted this waistcoat......

It came from Issue 40 of Let's Knit.......

The peplum is knitted sideways and was a lovely project, I seem to remember that I finished this quite quickly (for me!)...

..........but, predictable as ever, it wasn't sewn up despite appearing in this same post.

There is also a scarf mentioned here and only requiring 5 more pattern repeats to finish.


When I started writing this post about 2 weeks ago...it was just going to be a 'look what I've got to finish' type of effort....but something has happened and in the last 2 weeks I have argued with myself and persevered until this happened......TA-DAH!!!!!

The blue-grey cardigan now looks like this....

It is held together temporarily with a freebie from a magazine until I decide exactly what to use.

The baby boy jumper now has a neckline and is also accompanied by a hat...

........it is also destined for a new home with a friend who is expecting a little boy in early March.

My waistcoat...... I am so pleased with it, what do you think?

I'm not sure about the closure on this, but I'm thinking either a fancy hook and eye thing or some simple ribbon ties.  Any thoughts on that one?  Suggestions welcome.

Finally, the scarf. I have to say it was my first attempt at a lace pattern and although fairly successful, has got the odd mistake, which was too hard to rectify and so (unlike me!) I ignored it and carried on regardless because I wondered who would be looking that closely to notice holes in the wrong place!

I have persevered (and decided I shan't knit lace again!!), but it is finally finished...... look.......

The spare yarn from 3 of these projects plus other sundry bits I had hanging around have gone to my aunt for her to knit up some dog coats for a rescue charity, again, I just needed to get rid of it so that it doesn't get stashed for eternity.  I sat and thought..... oh..I could crochet a blanket or hat......NO!!!! GET RID!!!

During my purge I also found a yarny 'hedgehog'!  It turned out to be a fluffy yarn that I bought, pre-crafting journey, about 12 years ago.  I must have felt the pull of crafting but as I was studying for my degree and with a young family, I can imagine the commitment to 'doing' was missing even though my heart clearly felt creative.  I used to sit at swimming and knit garter stitch on HUGE needles and simply made a rectangle to sew into a cushion....this post has pushed me to source a cushion insert for this and another project, so when they arrive, I'll finish them and share with you.

So there we are, almost there and feeling good.

4 Ta-Dah's and more to come soon....will this be the year of Ta-Dah's?!!

I shall return soon with a cushion reveal or two and photographs as I get these projects finished (maybe you shouldn't hold your breath as the waistcoat has been getting finished since May 2012!)

That is the end of this knitting update, next I shall be moving on to a re-purposing project involving sequins!!

Until then, happy purging, stash-busting and ta-dah's in your world.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Birthday and Christmas presents......only the craft ones!

My birthday and Christmas are only 4 weeks apart, so a years worth of wishing comes to fruition in a short time!

My husband very wisely refers to my Amazon Wishlist for present ideas and usually picks a good selection like, a book, something practical for sewing and something unrelated to craft.

This year was no exception.  I'm still getting the subscription to Sewing World which I love.

In addition I also received a new blade for my rotary cutter.....

A French curve to help my journey towards making clothes that fit.....

He also got me a make your own knickers kit by Flo-Jo......

... from the Fluffatorium (couldn't resist showing it to you) when we visited a couple of months ago....

I also got this fabulous book.....

A quilt book which is not my style at all, but is very lovely and has sparked lots of ideas.....

And from Crafty Friend, this book......

I used an excerpt from Prima Makes to make this little rag doll for The Hubs newest cousin for Christmas.....

(Bad quality photo taken on my Hudl, in bad light on a 
hotel bed as we were rushing out to a Christening (as I remembered
 that I had forgotten to photograph of it at home!) Doh!)

It was such a lovely project that Crafty Friend thought I might like the whole book....she's not wrong!

With my birthday money I treated myself to a Zàkka book.............

And also some yarn for a special project (using Mums money)......

I also decided to get back into reading so bought myself these (using Mums money)...........

And to brighten my day (as I had LOTS of flowers for my Birthday and too few vases to put them in, Crafty Friend also bought me this lovely jug........

Look at the colours.........

The peach coloured flower reminded me of my hand embroidered runner picked up on eBay, look...............

.....and on closer inspection, the dark green leaves and red and blue flowers!

I was truly spoilt rotten.....and loved it!

Thank you, thank you, thank you lovely peeps xxx

I shall be getting on with some clear outs, updates and Ta-Dah's very soon but for now I'm off to get on with some more crafting, I'll catch up with you soon.


Monday, 19 January 2015

vintage patterns and stash

A couple of years ago I helped my sons friend move out of his family home.  His mum is a very clever lady who has fashioned their 1970s house into a throwback to the 1940s or 1950s and makes her own clothes from a library of vintage patterns she has lovingly gathered.

Add to this my holiday reading of almost the whole blog of the lovely Handmade Jane, I am inspired.

I have been scouring the Internet for vintage patterns I like.

The clothes journey started with this Colette book on dressmaking.  Many people unfamiliar with dressmaking recommended this as a good way to learn skills and construction.

I have also found modern patterns with a vintage twist in my Sewing World magazines.

And free patterns on the V&A website like this one....

Moving towards making for myself I have bought these...

Love the button back on this one (view C)....not sure about the fullness of the skirt so I might have to reduce that a bit!

On this one I particularly like the curved button closure, it reminded me of the Afternoon Blouse by Jennifer Lauren Vintage ........

I was surprised that despite being a shop size 10 on the top and 8 on the bottom, I am almost size 16 on vintage pattens, a mix of sizes on modern patterns (a good reason not to buy them!) and a perfect size 4 in Colette patterns.

Not only do I love the patterns, I adore those watercolours depicting the dresses.

I love them so much that I think I will be colour copying them and putting them in frames to adorn some blank walls in my home!

I bought a new and modern pyjama bottom pattern as I can never find comfy ones in the shop.  The pattern is teen to adult unisex so it can be for myself and The Hubs.

Hub is only 5ft 2 inches tall and very slightly built.  We have terrible trouble finding clothes to fit as there is no such thing as petite menswear.  I shall use this to transform some of his shirts that are worn at collar and cuffs into pyjama bottoms.

I do have some fabric, but it's not really suitable for dressmaking, nor is there sufficient for my size.

With this in mind, I have to tell you....I have made purchases of the fabric-y kind!!!

Calm oh pounding heart!

Our local fabric store is closing down (nooooooooo!) And all fabrics are half price....YES.... HALF PRICE!!

I went in and found this gorgeous Robert Kaufman brushed cotton, so got 4m for some pyjama bottoms for myself (pattern above...happy days!) and Little Lady.

Then there was this delightful lawn........

........ which is likely to become a tie for The Hubs and whatever else I can get out of it....oh! How about some knickers!?  I could use the pattern from my Birthday Kit (post about that coming soon!)

Then last but not least, this......

Its prairie from Dashwood studios, I thought it might make either a nice dress or a Betty Draper blouse to go with my Burdastyle Sailor Pants .

Even at 50% off it's an outlay all in one go...but (you knew there was going to be a 'but' didn't you?) it does give me something to work with as I make progress on my handmade wardrobe. (Well, that's my excuse!)

That's the update on purchases...off to do some very boring but totally necessary food shopping and I'll be back soon to share my birthday and Christmas treats.
See you soon,

P.S. in case you are interesed, the button back vintage pattern appears on The Little Tailoress blog and she too reduces the skirt by the looks of it!  Happy Days!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Reversible Pinafore Ta-Dah!

It's been a while since I had a ta-dah moment....so I thought I'd get on with it and show you!



And here it is the other way round............


Sorry it's a bit screwed up in the pictures...but as soon as it was made a Little Lady had to wear it to Nana's House for Sunday lunch!

I had to rescue it back for a photo shoot!

The inspiration came from 2 sources.  Firstly Sewing World, Issue October 2012.............

It's a great magazine and if I don't want to make the projects they most certainly inspire me.

The second was Jen over at My Make Do and Mend Year who, apart from being a thrifty gal, which is inspiring, has also thrown down the gauntlet to her stitchy followers to 'Sew your own wardrobe'!

She has decided to call it....

........and as you can see it has it's own little hashtag to boot!

Why not click on the link to join in the fun?

Anyhow, back to the pinafore.

Sewing World always has a full size pattern sheet inside...............

I don't ever cut mine as there is usually more than one project that I want to make, so I use ordinary A4 paper from my printer and trace if off, like this...........

I prefer printer paper to dressmaking paper, as I am a bit heavy handed.  It also stores well, so it's ready and waiting for next time.

I searched my stash and found a tiny piece of ric rac in the perfect yellow and 4 buttons, 2 red and 2 yellow.  Also some soft needle cord (bought about 30 years ago to make culottes!) in a coordinating green to this fabric.........


This is the lovely owl fabric Little Lady choose on a trip into our local town last year...cute isn't it?

As I didn't have enough of one or other to make a full front and back...I got a bit inventive and managed (with an invisible seam!) to make the fabric go far enough by making co-ordinating bands in the bottoms of each side...phew!

My only complaint is that the shoulder straps are a bit short....so it looks like I might have to lop them off and  pop a bit of extra length on...and re-do the button holes!  Poop.  Hopefully the joins won't detract from the overall look.

I should still have enough tiny scraps left for her to make a little bag to go with it.

To say she loves it is mild.....that's nice.  If you spend hours doing something, it is nice that it is loved.

So....this is my first piece towards a handmade wardrobe, not mine, but Little Lady's.

Not sure what the next item will be, so watch this space!

Until next time, take care,

Monday, 12 January 2015

New Year, new lounge......

That's a lie actually!

It just FEELS like a new lounge.....!

In fact it feels like 2 spaces...odd.....

Here is the before...........

Then comes the 6th January, for those of you not familiar with UK traditions, it is Twelfth Night and all Christmas Decorations must come down.

For me it is Spring Clean the Lounge Day!

I always give it a good 'do'.

This year was no exception, the sofa covers, cushion covers, quilts, blankets and blind all went in the wash, the walls, floors, skirtings, doors, handles and switches were all vacuumed and wiped. Windows, frames and sills cleaned, mirrors and furniture damp wiped and polished!  No speck of dust was left unturned!

It is then my challenge to re-arrange!

It then feels like you've moved...all fresh and new.

This is how it turned out......

(Still no covers on the sofa!!)

It smells so nice, it looks so nice.....it feels so nice!

Fresh look and fresh start.

We are all back to work and school now and a sense of normality is returning.

I am missing the madness of chaos and noise but I also love the calm of a quiet house and the time to clean, organise and appreciate my family when they return.

Hope you're getting into the swing of 2015.

See you soon,

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Santa Sack Swap 2014 - for my partner....

Here's the post, as promised, about what I sent to my swap partner over at The Fabric Laboratory.

I've never taken part in one of these before (poor Helen!), so wasn't sure what I was doing so I just kept reminding myself of the rules.

After only an email or 4 between us (as we both seem crazily busy) and after a slight delay (as we forgot to swap addresses so had no idea where we were sending our gifts!) Our parcels were posted and I waited with baited breath to see first if Helen's arrived and secondly...did she like her gifts!

As far as my gifts to her went, I had a few clues to work with.....

Helen is a Dr Who addict, she likes the colour orange, drinks coffee and eats chocolate for company whilst creating and has clear views (which I don't disagree with!) on what should be in a stocking which she blogs about here.

So I thought it would be fun to mix my craft and included crocheted, knitted and machine and hand stitched items, I set to work and came up with these......

Of course the stocking to pop it all in.......

Pattern from the Fabricworm, and one that I have used before with great success.

The fabric is from Panduro Hobby, there is a hint of blue in the not very Christmassy orange fabric and in the very Christmassy snowflake musical fabric, I hope I got away with that colour combo but I couldn't find any Christmas themed fabric that was predominantly orange.

Next up was a hand-stitched Christmas Pudding Tree Decoration, it is so simple to do and I may just have to post a tutorial on that one (although those of you with sewing experience can probably work it out).

Along the coffee theme, I made a Tardis Mug Rug and wrapped some packets of instant cappuccino in it.

I got the inspiration from a search on Pinterest and I shall post a tutorial on this one too as I couldn't find one and someone somewhere might like one! 

The reverse of it looked like this and the whole thing was basically a mini quilt with machine quilting and hand finished binding.

Next up a Zakka inspired Zipper Pouch.................

Keeping with the orange theme again, mostly handsewn but with a little Zakka embroidery wither side of the picture panel.  Hopefull a useful little puch for on-the-go projects.

Here's the lovely bright lining......

...and a 'pull' for the zip......

Here's a close up of the picture panel.....

Some special chocolates for a special lady...............

Some 'smellies', an organic bar of orange scented soap in a Spa Soap Coat...........

The coat is made from 2 colours of Rico Creative Cotton, I made it up as I went along, so another tutorial could be in order here!

I made a hole one side and a loop the other, the loop simply goes through the hole to keep the Soap from falling out of its Coat.

Finally, no self-respecting stocking would be complete without.......an orange in the toe...........

...this one had it's own orange cozy to keep it safe, it can be reused for other fruit to prevent it getting bashed and bruised in your lunch box (or handbag!) and being Rico Creative Cotton again, is fully washable should you get a juice spillage!

I made up this pattern as I went, but I seem to remember it was in a copy of Mollie Makes magazine (found a link) a couple of years ago, and, no doubt, you could get this on Pinterest or through one of the search engines.

So, there we have it!

I hope to follow up shortly with the tutorials, but there is so much going on here, lurgys galore and I have committed myself to the Make Me a Wardrobe 2015 Challenge over at My Make Do and Mend Year, click on it to follow a link to Jen and maybe you'll be inspired to sign up!

See you soon!