Thursday, 29 December 2011

Mum’s birthday making

I couldn’t show you this until now because I had to give it to mum for her birthday first – she might be reading this…

I realised ages ago that mum doesn’t have a workshop apron that is truly hers. It probably sounds weird, but I’m positive everyone likes to have their own apron!

I decided on a regency style, all empire line and utilitarian. Since mum’s a bit of an Austenite it needed to be fairly accurate (but I draw the line at hand-sewing unless I absolutely have to!)


I loosely followed this tutorial from Across the Ages which I found through Diary of a Seamstress. Bethany Lynn at Diary of a Seamstress is awesome. Hers is all sewn by hand as is everything she makes. Truly inspirational sewing whether you’re into Regency or not.

I used buttons to attach the straps so that I could make it convertible from cross to straight straps (In case mum got sick of the faff getting it on and off with the cross straps!) by just adding extra buttonholes to the straps. I also made it tie-back rather than button because it’s a lot easier to fasten yourself. Photographed on my mannequin but mum has a broader ribcage so it fits her better.


I used a heavy-ish linen and embroidered a little monogram for extra mine-ness.



Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas making…

Merry Christmas!

I’ve been doing lots of last-minute making. Well not last-minute as such because I budgeted the last few days for those smaller things. Honest.


A lovely chunky cabled hat for Tracey. She wears muted colours so I had to fight my urge to make it rainbow coloured! I used Lion Brand Thick and Quick in black. It doesn’t photograph particularly well but it looks lovely and warm! The pattern is Speedy Cabled Beret by Paula Chin, available on Ravelry. You need a Ravelry account to see it, but it’s a free pattern. If you don’t have a Ravelry account by now, you should!


A cute little kitten for David’s baby’s sister. It occurred to me that I was only making for the baby – how awful is that? I totally forgot he had a sibling. Ok, so I’ve only met her once, but that’s no excuse. The pattern is Crazy Kitten from Super Cute: 25 amigurumi animals by Annie Obaachen and I used half a ball of Sublime merino. It’s not the best book in the world since there are no making-up instructions and the materials list is more of a hint. Ravelry was a godsend.


An ear-warming headband for Elle. It’s hard to knit things for Elle because A) she knits herself and B) so does her grandad (he knitted the socks I’m wearing right now, they are amazing!) So I chose something that she could wear under the hat he will inevitably make her and that had a bit of lace she could appreciate. The pattern is Blue Leaf Headband by Adrienne Krey and is free from Ravelry and the yarn is Wendy Fusion.

That’s enough my stash-busting Christmas making for now!


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas cake!

I’ve never made a Christmas cake in my life, but I thought I’d give it a go…


What do you think? The cake frill is a vintage one I found in a charity shop. It’s almost a shame to use it because it’s so pretty. The snowmen are old wooden tree ornaments. I’ll let you know how it tastes!

It’s not as good as my gran’s cake though. She always uses decorations she bought in the 50’s – a church (she even flattens a path in the icing), a fir tree and a plastic ‘Merry Christmas’. If I didn’t know better I’d say it’s always the same cake every year! She doesn’t make hers anymore, it’s a Marks’ special, but she always adds her own royal icing and decorations.

If I remember before she cuts it, I’ll get a photo this year.


Monday, 5 December 2011

A box of treasures…

My great aunt sent us an interesting box recently.


It turned out it was full to brimming with old family photos.


I have no idea why my great aunt didn’t want them but she had heard from my gran we’d been researching the family tree and thought we would like them, which was really lovely of her.

I love old photos and here are a few of my favourites.

Gran wedding 4

My gran and grandad getting married in 1959. I think I’ve mentioned her wedding dress before. A few years ago we found it in a box in their garage. It’s beautiful, and she still has the head-dress and veil. My great-gran made the whole thing for her and it’s tiny. Needless to say we made her move it to a safe place in the house.

gran wedding 2

That’s my great-gran on the far right in the above photo, she was tiny, we called her our little gran. This is the only photo we have of her.

May 2

My big great-gran in the 20’s, May. I only ever had two great-grans, and they are both my mum’s grandmas. May was my grandad’s mum and she was a formidable woman who lived to 96. A lot of the photos centre around her so the bulk of them must have been her collection.

Grandma and grandad Wragg

May’s mother and father Norah and Joseph, my great, great grandparents. He died in 1912 aged 38.

May (middle) Daisy on bike

Great aunt Daisy, May’s sister, looking awesome on a motorbike. That’s May standing behind her.

Herbert, Betty, May 2

May with her husband Herbert (this is the only photo where he doesn’t look grumpy, my gran assures me he looked pretty mean in real life too) and their daughter my aunty Betty. I love that my great gran is in a full swimming costume but he’s just rolled up his trouser bottoms and hasn’t even taken off his suit jacket. He’ll be wearing braces under that jacket too, he is in all the other photos.

Isn’t family history fascinating? We’ve managed to get the tree back to about 1600 in several directions and although my mum knew most of these people I’ve never seen some of them before, and we’ve certainly never seen them young. They used to just be a list of names and dates in genes reunited but this makes them real.

There are about 100 photos in all, and it took ages to scan and identify everyone in them – some are still unidentified like this one:


Look at those amazing dresses, especially the one the little girl in the front is wearing. I wish I knew who they were.


Monday, 21 November 2011

My hook is on fire!

Not really, it’s made of metal, but if it was wood…

Remember these?


Well I finally made enough to start sewing them together to make the baby blanket for little Liam. It was supposed to be a present for the shower but since he was born in October it’s a little late. Now it’s a Christmas present!


I’ve sewn the granny squares together into strips and now I’m joining them with two rows of double crochet sandwiching a row of shell stitch.


I’m using the Attic24 colour pack of Stylecraft special DK because it’s my favourite (I have a further unopened pack in my stash, I love it that much)

Right, better get cracking – I have two more strips to join then lots and lots of edging. I’m hoping Lucy blogs her tutorial soon for the lovely edging she’s been working out.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Quick draught excluder tutorial…

Brrr…. it’s been chilly here lately and I realised that there was a particular draught coming under the front door. Mum said to just get one of those brush strip thingies, but boy are they ugly!

Instead, I decided to make an old-fashioned fabric one like my great-gran used to have (although I have a feeling hers was in the shape of a dog – awesome)

This one is going to be like a long tube with round ends and will be stuffed with reclaimed sofa cushion stuffing. I used part of an old floral curtain to make mine, but you can use any sturdy fabric you have in your stash.

draw round round thing

First you need to decide how large you want your draught excluder to be. I wanted mine to be about 6” diameter so I rummaged around the house until I found something round and approximately the right size to use as a template. I drew around this lampbase and then added a centimetre seam allowance. Cut them out.

meausre round thing

I then measured around the lampbase to determine the width of the main fabric piece. It was 14.5” At this point I also measured the door, which was 40” wide.

finished pieces

I then cut one large piece of fabric 15.5” x 41” (don’t forget your seam allowances!)

sew together lengthleave gap

Place the large piece of fabric face-to-face and sew along the long edge so you have a tube. Leave a 6” gap in the middle somewhere – this is where you will stuff it.

pin round end

Now I pinned in the ends. This is a bit tricky but easier if you pin one side, then the opposite, then the gap in between each pin. Try and make sure it is still round and even and use as many pins as will fit!

sew round

Then I sewed in both ends. Go slowly and pull the fabric slightly to avoid wrinkles.

sewn round end

The ends all sewn in.

snip round edge

Now snip those curved edges. This allows the fabric to curve properly when you turn in inside out. You can also trim the seams to remove bulk if you like.

sew up hole

I then turned the whole thing right-side out and stuffed it with my ever handy stash of old sofa stuffing. I pinned the hole and hand-sewed it closed.


Sorry for the bad photo, it was pretty dark today. This is the finished draught excluder. It’s a little bit pretty but if I’d had more time I would have made it nicer with buttons… or ribbons… or I would have raided my stash of vintage doilies… or done some embroidery. It still does it’s job though!

If you want to add embellishments, the best time is after you have cut your pattern pieces but before you sew them together.


Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bow bag showcase…

I’ve been meaning to share a few of these wonderful bow bags for a while now, but I’m seriously rubbish and disorganised.

Anyway, here they are! Click on the picture or the link below to visit the maker’s blog/flickr (if they have one)

the babe

Chic, understated and girly – this bag was made by The Babe.


These two lovely bags were made by Xperimental, check out her mammoth Flickr photoset bags and purses (in fact her entire photostream is pretty awesome!)

The top bag is also on Craftster, which you should definitely check out if you haven’t already.

Purse 1-1Purse 2-1Purse 3-2

These three were made by Amy - I love the contrasting fabric on that last bag!


Mrs P used a remnant to make this great floral version!


And last but not least, Molly from Lilly Cakes used a vintage table runner and a couple of scraps of gingham to make her version. Beautiful.

Thank you everybody who let me steal their photos for this post. Everybody else, please visit them and give them lots of love!

If you’d like to make your own bow bag the tutorial is available here.