Monday, 30 November 2009

Yup, it’s a Christmas boy-hat

Aaargh! double pointed needles are the bane of my life. Or they would be if I didn’t avoid them at all costs!
This time it was pretty unavoidable though, because I decided to make a hat and scarf for my Uncle for Christmas.
I found some ‘masculine’ wool in a charity shop, a huge ball for £1.50 (so big, I think I’d have enough to make him a matching jumper too!)
It’s a little more chocolatey and less purple than it looks in the photos so I used a minty green as the contrast colour.
The pattern is the Wasatch Backcountry hat by Yarn and Snow on Ravelry (you’ll need to sign up for a free account to get the pattern, if you haven’t already). It’s an easy peasy pattern, but a little slow because of the 1x1 rib and the blasted dpns – having said that I worked on it Saturday evening and finished it Sunday evening.
Also, there were a few too many stitches to stay on my needles so they kept falling off the ends and I kept having to pick up stitches with a trusty crochet hook. In the end I snapped and grabbed a couple of large elastic bands to whip round the non-working sides…
…and voila! No more dropped stitches.
Here’s the finished hat (pre-blocking) I preferred it inside-out, just the scarf to make now – I’m glad I won’t need double pointed needles for that!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Christmas knitting…

I’ve been knitting again, and this time it’s serious - Christmas present serious.
I hate that last minute thing when you end up making furiously a week before Christmas (even though you wrote a list and sorted your patterns a month earlier) so this year I’ve started early.
I knitted a pair of Creative Yarn’s Diagonal Eyelet Hand Warmers and although I love them (bear in mind they haven’t been blocked yet, the buttons haven’t been sewn on and I’d had my hands in iron oxide all day, which made my fingertips orange) It annoyed me that the eyelets went in the same direction – to the left - on both the gloves. Not a big thing probably, I must just enjoy symmetry too much!
So I modified the pattern to make the eyelets go to the right. Not a big modification, I just reversed the pattern and made a few little changes.
Because I had knitted both pairs at the same time the first time round, I knitted both the second time around, so now I have two pairs to give for Christmas! Yay!
It was a very quick pattern to knit and since I used some of the pink Rowan All Seasons Cotton I got free when I subscribed to Rowan magazine but never got round to using, all the materials are from stash. It was lovely yarn to work with and knits up nicely too!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Sew,mama,sew giveaway day!


Hi chaps! I just wanted to let you know I’ll be participating in Sew,mama,sew’s giveaway day on December 2nd!

I’ve never done a giveaway before so it’s all new to me. I’ll be putting up some felty wearable goodies for you to win, but I’m not going to show you yet, it’ll be a surprise :)

I’m making something super duper special this weekend and it will be totally unique, never before seen, all singing, all dancing… well, hopefully pretty and giftworthy at least.

If you haven’t heard of giveaway day, make sure you check it out – it’s a great way to discover shiny new blogs and maybe win a little something in the process!


Monday, 23 November 2009

New things in my shop!

Hello chaps! Just thought I’d let you all know I’ve added a few new items to my shop. As well as some more large puffed brooches, I have added a few teensy ones that measure just over an inch too.

new stuff

I have also made some large chokers – just right to set off that Christmas party outfit!

I’ll be adding more things over the following days so keep checking back, and if there is something special you have in mind – a certain colour combination say – just let me know!


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Vintage skirt refashion and gathered pocket how-to…

Ok, I forgot to take a before photo – these things happen – but I didn’t change the skirt so much that you can’t guess what it looked like before.
I love old granny type skirts (having said that my gran would never wear this in a million years). Charity shops are full of them and they’re always well made, warm, but a really unflattering length. I hacked off about 6 inches from the bottom an re-hemmed it. I also added an elasticated gathered pocket. I need pockets you see, and so much of my clothing doesn’t have any, I end up carrying my bag around with me at work all the time. I believe this might be the start of a mass empocketing campaign…
Here’s a little how-to for the pocket.
I cut up a vintage embroidered tray cloth to make the pocket (did I hear a sharp intake of breath? I know, I nearly wept myself but I have hundreds of these and they are two a penny at my local Sally Army) It is about 9 1/2” wide and I cut it so I had enough unembroidered fabric to hem.
I then turned it over and ironed, pinned and sewed a casing big enough for 1/2” elastic.
I tied the elastic to a safety pin and pulled it through. I pinned the elastic to one end with a little poking out. I then sewed through all layers in line with the scalloped edge – about 1/4” in.
After trimming the end neat with the scalloped front, I gathered the elastic so the top measured 5” – just large enough for a hand.
I pinned the open end of the elastic casing and sewed through all layers and trimmed the end neat.
I pinned the pocket to the skirt and tried it on to make sure it was in the right place and sewed around the edge in line with the inner points of the scalloped edge (no fancy following the shape for me!) I sewed another line just inside to give it a little more strength.
And you’re done!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Making Christmas prezzies! Gardening bucket bag tutorial…

This is going to be a present for my Gran for Christmas. She does a lot of gardening, so I decided to make her a useful bucket bag with lots of pockets on the outside to carry all her gardening gubbins and a big space on the inside so she can carry a plant too.
With lots of giftiness going on, I thought you all might appreciate a tutorial so you can make one (or two) yourself.
There is a lot of room for customisation – I could see one of these made huge to hold laundry, small to display Interesting Things or tiny for cotton buds. You could make one in a loosely woven fabric, like hessian, with no lining to hold vegetables. Longer handles and a pocket on the inside would make it into a great shopping bag. The world’s your edible mollusc…

You will need:
Approximately 1/2 yard of hardwearing fabric for the outside – I used stash upholstery fabric,
The same for the lining – I used heavy cotton canvas
Bias binding or tape
Optional large press-stud
8” teaplate (for template)

Ready? Lets make our pattern!
base template
Decide how large you want your bucket to be. I used an 8” plate to draw a template for the base of the bag and cut this from newspaper.
Measure the circumference of the plate, mine was 26”, I then added 1/2” to this measurement for seam allowance.
side template
Decide how tall you want your bucket to be. Mine was 8”. Draw this out on paper.
pocket pattern piece
The pocket pattern piece is a little less straightforward. Draw a rectangle 12” long by 5” high and mark the centre divide line. Measure a point on this line 1/4” up from the base line, and another 1/4” above the top of the pocket. Draw a line from each bottom pocket corner to the new bottom central mark. Do the same at the top.
Now measure 1/2” in from each bottom corner and draw a line from here to the top corner. Cut it out and your pattern piece should look something like the picture above.
cut pieces
Now use your pattern pieces to cut the following:
1 side piece from outer fabric and one from lining
1 circular base piece from outer fabric and one from lining (add 1/4” seam allowance)
2 pocket pieces from outer fabric
I also cut 1 handle piece 2” wide and 30” long from outer fabric and one from lining fabric.
Phew! Now onto the pocket.
pin tape pocket
Iron bias binding or twill tape in half and pin to top edge of pockets.
sewn tape pocket
Sew and press.
iron pocket
Press 1/4” seam allowance to back of pocket piece and mark the centre line, top to bottom.
measure centre of pocket
Fold side piece in half and mark centre. Measure 1/4” from each side seam and mark. Measure the centre between these two points and align the pocket pieces.
centre pocket
Sew down the central line of the pocket piece.
sew bottom of pocket
Sew along the bottom of the pocket pieces, very close to the edge.
finished pocket
Move the sides of the pocket pieces so that they are parallel with the centre line, pin and sew. This should make the pockets bulge slightly at the top, but be flat at the bottom.
finished pockets
sew side seam
Pin right sides of side piece together, sew and press the seams flat.
pin bag bottom
Pin the base piece to the side piece. This is a bit tricky, and you will need a lot of pins, but persevere! The base should be slightly larger than it needs to be but don’t worry, you can trim it later.
sew bottom of bag
Slowly sew the side to the base, with the base on the bottom. You will need to stop often to make sure the side piece follows the curve of the base and to make sure the base piece doesn’t crease while you are sewing. The heavier your fabric, the easier this should be.
pin bottom
Do the same with the lining piece.
snip curves
Trim the seams and snip the curves. This takes ages but whatever you do, don’t miss this step or your seams won’t lie flat.
bag into lining
Insert the lining into the outer, right sides together with the outer inside-out.    
sew lining to bag
Sew the outer to the lining, being careful to leave a 5” gap. I insert pins the opposite direction to the others to remind me when to stop!
Now turn the whole bag the right way out through the hole you left open. It always seems like you’ve probably sewn it wrong until you’ve done it and can (usually) breath a sigh of relief!
topstitch top
Press the seam (being careful to press the seam straight for the opening you left) and topstitch around the top of the bag, as close to the edge as possible, closing the hole as you go.
pin handle
Pin the right sides of the handle together and sew the long edges and both ends. Cut this in half so you have two 15” handles. Using a knitting needle, turn the handles the right way out and press flat.
Turn in the exposed ends and topstitch. You could also use more of the bias binding or tape to cover the ends to match the pockets.
Position your handles. I chose to put them on the sides so that tall pointy things like trowels and secateurs can go in the pockets and not graze your knuckles. If you put them to the front and the back, it becomes more handbaggy. I need the bag to be strong, so I sewed the handles on really securely.
I’m annoyed with myself that I forgot to topstitch the handles (doh!) and I think it looks better if you do. If it still annoys me in week I’ll just have to take the handles off and redo it.
Look ma, I’m a model! Tyra would be saying, “what’s going on with your hand?… smile with your eyes… that back leg looks awkward… you’re forgetting to show off the product!”

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

My (ickle) creative space…


Yup, this is my cosy (bijou?) desk and it’s where I keep all my creative stuff – but not necessarily where I do all my creating. Sometimes things can get a little big – imagine trying to do quilting here? Everything I use a lot is on hand, but you see those curtains below the desk? That’s where I keep a lot of my Interesting Things. Stuff like old medical instruments, clock faces, keys, rusty metal, computer innards… you get the picture. There are also drawers full of art materials like paints and pastels, but they’re a bit boring.


My little cheapy sewing machine sits here all day. I’d love a huge, expensive, all singing, all dancing one but finances wont allow. And anyway, I only use two stitches and do the odd buttonhole or zip.


This is my daylight lamp – good light but it’s such an ugly, plastic grey thing I like to keep it covered with vintage tray cloths (god bless you Sally Army) The window looks down onto the chook’s run (if I crane my neck a little, I can watch them while I work)


I didn’t take too many pictures but the walls are covered in books. Hundreds of books, Amazon is my friend.


Remember these drawers? I decided I liked them just the way they were and have filled them with things that needed corralling. Like my collection of spare knitting needles and crochet hooks – many of them are vintage, and some of the hooks are made of bone.


Sewing thread – I was forever looking for that colour, you know, the one you know you have somewhere but can’t find that will match perfectly. Now I will, if I remember to put them back.


Fabric paints, needles, pins, elastic, the Precious Scissors (I buy so many pairs because mum keeps blunting them on paper, hair, ivy… now I can hide them)


I have lots of tiny drawers too, filled with handy things like press-studs and grommets.


And finally, my needle-roll I knitted ages ago. It is filled with every needle size I will ever need, while my circulars all hang from a hook to stop them getting tangled.


Well, I hope you enjoyed this tiny tour of some of my stuff. I’m working on a new tutorial which should be up in the next few days if I can get it finished – it’s been a long time since I made something new and tutorial worthy. Watch this space!