Birthday

birthday flowers

I’ve had a week filled with lovely birthday things. I’ve been out for dinner/lunch, twice, no! three times. I’ve had lots of awesome presents and there has been gorgeous weather. Smashin’.

I got my hair cut off too, so when I went out to dinner on Saturday night (The Five Bells in Clyst Hydon- very nice) I felt all new and swooshy. I didn’t feel so new and swooshy when we went out for lunch on Sunday (The Rock Inn on Dartmoor). A roast dinner sorted me out but, crikey, I felt rough yesterday. I took loads of pictures of Haytor whilst there, which I’ll post in a day or two.

granny blanket

I also finished a blanket, one that I’m really pleased with. I especially love the border, which is the same pattern I used for my granny shawl. It’s Stylecraft Special dk.

big granny square blanket

At some point this blanket will end up in my Etsy shop. I will sort out a link when I’ve got some blankets and other things in there.

Handmade bags

Other things I managed to finish last week were two little bag/purse type things. One is for my unimpressive collection of barely used knitting needles and the other is for keeping small projects in so I can take it out and about. I used the fabric I bought in Totnes shops during the Easter hols. They both need pressing again because I made a very lacklustre job of it.

sewing time

I had all my sewing laid out on the table. I’ve made a half hearted pledge to take part in Me Made May. Since last week, I’ve worn hand made things already and I made a dress! I’ll take pictures of the dress before the end of May, I’m sure.

Green crochet wip

Another work in progress is a new shawl. I’m doing a variation of my granny shawl just to play around. I’m using Drops Baby Merino. I went on a Drops spending frenzy last weekend. They had a sale at Woolwarehouse so I went a bit bonkers.

Drops Lace.

See! Drops. I have an idea.

next project!

More Drops. I cannot wait to start this, Cherry Heart’s Victoria shawl. Pattern bought and printed, ready to start any second.

Some new fat quarters.

Some lovely presents were received, I got a bunch of fat quarters from my mother-in-law. She went to a quilting shop in Bovey Tracey. I know about this shop but I’ve not been. It’s supposed to be good.

birthday books

I got lots of fab books. Looking forward to getting stuck into those…

My new bowls

I got these bowls too. I got loads of stuff, I won’t show it all, but needless to say it’s all good gear. One of my favourites is the drawing from the photo at the top. It’s by my friend who is an artist and graphic designer. It’s a picture of me doing me crochet! I guess I should frame it, I think it’s beautiful but then so is the subject matter, obvs.

power ranger

And then the week before last, I got this wonderful bundle of stuff from Samantha at createitsamantha.co.uk We took part in the  #craftblogclub spring clean challenge on twitter. Essentially it was a craft stash swap. It was such a lovely surprise to open up the parcel and have lots of delightful things tumble out. The Power Ranger didn’t come with my new stuff; Three year old thought I should take a picture of it. I have some ideas of what I might do, I’m looking forward to playing around in the next week or two.

pretty birthday flowers

I love getting birthday flowers!

Anyway, I’m off. Got a house to tidy and a child to entertain. Can’t watch A Bug’s Life all day. Actually, we did sit down and watch the local secondary school do a live Q&A with Tim Peak on the International Space Station a couple of hours ago (via the internet). I thought it was interesting but Three year old only managed five minutes before going off to look at a Lego book.

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Crafty Bits and Bobs: Catching up on where I’m at.

crochet mandalas

I was tempted to write a post about the garden today but I’m behind on my crafty gubbins so it might be more pertinent to blog about that instead. It feels like it’s been a while too.

I think a lot of my time has been taken up with my addiction to Instagram. I’ve been taking part in a month long mission of posting crochet makes everyday. It has become an obsession and I possibly need to chill out a bit . It’s called the Lazy Daisy Jones Hook Up (#ldjhookup) I found her blog via this too and it’s a wonderful place, full of colour and inspiration. It has encouraged me to get my craft on and make some stuff rather than fart about on the computer. However, the downside is the IG addiction. One bit of tech to another but at least I’m making stuff too. And what do I care?! I flippin’ love it all.

crochet flowers

Some of the themes meant I had to whip something up quickly as I didn’t have anything around the house. Some of my pictures have been tenuous to say the least. The mandalas were made a couple of nights ago [top left is a pattern from the fabulous book, Boho Crochet and the other two are found here] and the flowers [also from Boho Crochet] were last week. It’s fun!

green mesh crochet bag

On the side, I’m making this. More another day!

new fabric

Over the Easter holidays we were in Totnes. I love the shops in Totnes, there are some truly lovely places. I only bought a few fat quarters and some buttons. I almost bought some wool but there weren’t enough balls of it for the project I have in mind. I had also intended to buy shed loads more fabric but I didn’t fall in love with as much of it as I imagined was going to happen. Come on, I was totally willing to go on a spending spree! Ugh.

green buttons

Love this Liberty print. I wanted to buy swathes of it but stuck to a small amount as I know that I’m not ready to ruin that much Liberty fabric on my dodgy sewing skills.

blue buttons

I’ve got plans for the fabrics but not the buttons.

greenish buttons

It all came from different shops. There are a few dotted around that are craft related.

red buttons

Buying these buttons meant I had to get my (Hendricks) button tin out.

my button tin

It’s only half full here but it’s usually buttony all the way to the top.

rainbow buttons

I even attempted a rainbow thing but got bored (this is only half of my buttons. I’m sad enough that the rest are bagged up into different categories: big, small, multiples, colourways etc). I tried again another day but was interupted by cat and kids. Everyone loves buttons it seems.

favourite buttons.

These are some of the fancier buttons I’ve got. I think I need to re-evaluate this mini off-shoot collection. I’ve got some more favourites/fancy ones that can be added and a few that need to be taken away. But, you know, that’s for when I’m desperate. I honestly don’t know if I’m enough of a button geek to go that far but, yeah, there’s a chance I might be.

Anyway, that’s it for now. As I said I have plans for the fabric and hopefully I’ll get me machine out this weekend. I’m also surrounded by lots of crochet squares that are being blocked for a new project. Everything is alright.

Gah, I almost forgot!  I celebrated my first Etsy sale on Sunday! I was so very happy. SO thank you to my lovely customer! It has spurred me on and I’d better get some more stuff in the shop now I know I can do this thing.  XXX

I link up here:

www.mrscraftyb.co.uk

 

 

Patchwork knitting bag.

After many years I've finally finished my patchwork knitting bag.

I’m gobsmacked that this is actually a finished item. My skewed memory tells me I started this three years ago but it may be even longer than that.

Finished! Patchwork knitting bag.

I am properly happy that it’s all done and in use. It looks so much better than I thought it would too. I was getting bored of seeing lots of little unstitched hexagons.

My finished patchwork knitting bag!

Lots of indivdually tacked hexies sat in a paper bag for over three years. Every now and again I’d get them out of the bag to look at them and that was about it. Back in they’d go and I’d do something else instead. Eventually I found that it was time to start.

planning

I laid them out and took a picture to work from so I knew the “random” order that they’d go in.

Pieced together.

Eventually I began the slowish process of stitching them together and I was happy to discover that it wasn’t really that slow to do afterall.

Hexies stitched.

With a couple of weeks of sewing little and often, I was finished with stage two.

What it looks like from the back.

I liked the crinkle of the paper as I had it on my lap, I don’t know why. With stage two finished, it dawned on me that I’d have to actually put in some effort to move on to stage three. I knew I had to do it immediately because it would otherwise sit in the cupboard for another three years.

The pattern for this is from Cath Kidston’s book, Sew!. The book has so many lovely looking things but I have to be honest, I think the instructions are rubbish! For this particular pattern it wouldn’t have hurt to have a couple of illustrations demonstrating how to insert the lining, would it?! I had a look online but only found other bloggers or reviewers who were frustrated with it too. Nothing that helped unfortunately. With that in mind, I decided to take photos of what I did. Maybe it’ll help someone else. Or maybe it’ll just remind me how I did it, in case I fancy having another go.

And I haven’t even mentioned that the instructions were just plain wrong! It said to fold the lining fabric lengthways. They don’t mean that, they mean the other way. Who wrote that?! That wasn’t the first mistake either. The other error was to do with sewing the hexies together. When joining the outer sides together it told me to sew three rather four of the hexie strips together. If I’d done that, my bag would have had a massive gaping hole at one of the sides! Jeez! Anyway, moving on…

Making the lining for a patchwork knitting bag

Here are a few pictures showing what I did. Hopefully they’ll do the trick. Do I need some words to go with them? Already feel like I’ve written loads… I suppose I ought to.

Step1: Fold lining fabric widthways.

Step2: Measure 25cm from the bottom fold and mark with a pencil. Or line up the bottom seam of the hexie fabric with the bottom fold of the lining and mark where opening near the top sits (which should work out as approx 25cm).

Step3: Sew that bit on both sides. Then press, continuing the fold to the top of the fabric. Press a seam across the top bits too.

Step by step pictures to lining a patchwork knitting bag

Step4: I snipped the corners to avoid bulk. The instructions don’t tell you to do this but the seams are bigguns.

Step5: Put the lining inside the bag, wrong side out.

Step6: Pin stuff.

Pinning the edges. Patchwork knitting bag.

Pinning stuff.

Getting out the sewing machine. Patchwork knitting bag.

Machine stitch the lining to the top of the hexies. Do this on both sides. I think I did this after slip stitching the open sides… I can’t recall. Sorry. Mind you, on that picture above, I can’t see the any stitches. I was drinking Cava at this point so it’s a bit foggy (it was the weekend!). Not sure that bit matters, it’d probably work either way.

Attaching the handle onto the patchwork knitting bag

This was a fun bit. I managed to catch the end of Adventures in Babysitting, so I sat and watched that whilst pinning the handles in place.

Slip stitches. Patchwork knitting bag.

By the time I got round to sewing the hem down I was watching Alien. I haven’t seen it in years, it is such a good film. A proper film (not like Prometheus, ugh, terrible).

A patchwork knitting bag from Cath Kidston's Sew! book.

I’ve impressed myself by finishing it, I still can’t quite believe it. It’s good, isn’t it!?! I took the pictures of the completed article at Grandma’s house.

The only thing I might change is the green fabric at the top. It’s a bit deep and makes the bag slightly too long.

A patchwork knitting bag.

Would it be that much of a bother to unstitch it and do it again? I could take the time to shorten it but I think I’m nitpicking, it’s probably OK.

Interruptions during sewing

And I did it with many interruptions. I took many photos with a child sat on my head (see odd middle picture) and the cat kept sitting on it at any given opportunity!

 

I was asked via Instagram if I would like to link up with Me, You and Magoo for Crafting is My Therapy. I’ve not done a Link up before but I think I just share this lovely badge and everyone can share a bit of creativity! Is that right?

Me You and Magoo

Catching up with old projects and starting new ones. WIPs.

Making a patchwork bag.

This is going to be a bit of a random post today. I’m chucking up pictures of where I’m at this week. There isn’t a theme as such, just things I’m tinkering about with.

hexies

I’ve had all these hexies stored away in a tatty old paper bag for about three years. I think I was knocked up when I was sewing the fabric to paper and now my boy is turning three soon. A long time.

backs of paper piecing

With spring on its way, the change in season has created a new surge in enthusiasm. I have the painstaking task of hand stitching them all together. It’s actually not that bad. Think I put it off for so long because I thought it was going to be a nasty job. I’m enjoying it!

paper piecing hexies.

I’m not going to go nuts, it’s only a bag. It’d be a definite labour of love to go bigger. I’ve got a patchwork blanket my Nanna made for me, I think she was at it for years.

not a very exciting photo

Next: a pile of Jedi appropriate fabrics. Both my boys have birthdays on the way so they will each have something Star Warsy. If I’ve got enough fabric, I’m thinking reversible robes. They can decide whether to be a Jedi or join the Dark side! Not sure how this’ll work right now but I’d better get on with it.

new sewing project.

For me, I want a summer dress. I saw a really pretty one on Instagram about a month ago, did some nosing and found out it was the Charlie Dress from Simply Sewing magazine. The pattern was spread over two issues and it was the second issue that was in the shops. I ordered the back issue of the first one and it arrived within a week. I’ve sorted the pattern pieces and dug out some ancient fabric from the depths of my fabric drawer. Fingers crossed I will actually do this. I have repeatedly got to this stage with many a dress pattern over the last few years. Then all stops. I chuck it all back in the fabric drawer and forget.  I think I’m pretty consistent like that.

Beginning something new

Also kicking about is my sweety tin. My sweety tin is a good size for keeping embroidery type projects in.

bits for hoop art.

I’m not very far ahead with this. I’ve drawn a rough sketch of what I want and now need to sort out all the little bits for it. Not sure how it’ll turn out, it’s more of an experiment at this stage. I just really enjoyed making my spring flower stitching a few weeks ago and want to play some more.

A new crochet ripple baby blanket.

Then there is an actual finished thing. A baby ripple. I’m going for the plain border. I wasn’t sure. I guess I could add something a bit snazzier but feel like I’m finished with it.

I thought that was it for WIPs but I’ve got that knitting kicking about somewhere.

It feels a bit weird to write this post as I reckon I’ve mostly been banging on about crochet for the last few months. This has actually been quite effective because traffic here has gone bonkers (relatively speaking). It’s tempting to try and force new crochet ideas upon myself to keep up with momentum. Not gonna do that though. Since I don’t get paid for blahing about my hobbies I’m going to carry on and do whatever I fancy. But it is lovely to know that people like things I do, so, thank you. I’m loving it here. x

First ten days of February.

trying knitting

It’s been a bit of a blah kind of week. I think it’s because I started knitting and haven’t been an instant expert. I see knitting everywhere at the moment and thought I should jump on the band wagon. Well, I don’t think I’ll stay on very long. I don’t think I’m enjoying it that much.

rubbish knitting

I’m tempted to unravel this pappy attempt and crochet my way to a baby blanket instead. It’s messy and has dropped stitches. There is always the fear of it coming off the needles and I have no idea of what real knitters do if they make a mistake. I mean,  do you just unravel some rows and then painstakingly reattach all those loops, without unravelling the underneath row by mistake?? What a pain in the arse! It’s happened. Twice. The first time, my nearly three year old grabbed the needles and effortlessly yoinked away the knitting by swishing around his new “light sabers.” I did it the second time because there were too many loose bits after a colour change. Ugh. Stick with it ?… Or not? I’m surprised that I’ve picked up speed when I’m doing it right and I love the click clack of the needles, but, that is about it. Hmm.

pompoms

In a bid to change the mood, I thought I’d have some fun with pompom making. Turns out this isn’t much fun either. I bought a cheap pompom maker and it keeps popping open at the crucial moment, spilling tiny threads of yarn all over my lap. Also, I think mixing up the colours was a mistake. I’m thinking of trying some mono colour balls. They’ll look better.

working

This is where I’ve been sitting this week. Surrounded by mess. I’m like some sort of creative tramp at the minute. It’s the rotten weather that does it. Although, yesterday I took the small boy for a long walk around town. I said we could go and look at the swollen, rain filled river but by the time we got there he was asleep. When we returned home, he was angry with me because we hadn’t been to the river. It’s not my fault that he missed it.

daffs in garden

Looking out the window at the spring flowers, I had an idea that might cheer me up a bit.

a snow drop with macro lense

I know I’ve used the snowdrop picture before, it’s the only goodish one I’ve got.

hyacinth

I love the smell of Hyacinths. I love the smell of daffodils too. They’re also among the prettiest flowers of the spring. They are the first signs that the winter is on the out (although they’ve been fooled as it was -1 this morning and there is frost on the grass).

planning picture

Anyway, I drew some quick sketches and off I went, cutting up bits of fabric and stitching them roughly together.

working on daffs

I’m really pleased with the results. One or two mess ups have occurred but nothing too awful. I asked Husband his opinion and apparently they are twee and granny like. Something you’d find in a charity shop, he said. Maybe that’s the result I’m after but it kind of threw me. Now I’m having doubts.

fabric hyacinths

I think this one looks the most granny like and I’m hoping that will change with the things I’ll do to it. I’d really like them to be displayed in the embroidery hoops but they’re expensive so I only have one. I’ve got another idea but i’m afraid that it’ll transform them into “twee” monstrosities. Oh well, we shall see.

drops cotton

Lastly, I have this Drops recycled cotton. Hearts on the label, must be Valentine’s or something.  80p each! I want to make a doily or two but still on the look out for the right sort of pattern. Fingers crossed I’ll find a pattern soon and get on with it. I’m getting crochet withdrawal.

A crafted, cat themed birthday present.

kitty cats.

I’ve been waiting to use this fabric for ages. Yesterday morning I snipped off a small rectangle to line a teeny purse I was making. I’ve still got loads left. I’m wondering if I could Halloweenify it somehow. I bought it at Fabricland, less than £4 a metre.

little felt cat purse

I was in a rush and have made many errors. Dodgy blanket stitches and misaligned fabric lining got to me a bit but I only had a couple of hours to hastily chuck something together. Initially, I wasn’t going to do anything but that would be mean. How could I not give my awesome friend a birthday present?! Anyway, I usually like last minute ideas the best.

small felt purse

I’m pleased with the little nose and whiskers.

stitched cat

I can’t decide if this cat is brilliant or awful. It’s freehand, can you tell? Miaow.

cat birthday card

To go with the so-bad-it’s-good present there was an card equivalent. Me, Husband and six and a half year old all had an opinion on how the card design should be. In the end I thought we were all winners and all our ideas were included.

Marceline

 

A few more crafting projects started and some summery garden stuff.

fox and raccoon crochet brooches

Okay, I think these are the only finished things this week. They’re little crochet brooches. The pattern for the raccoon is from issue 33 of Simply Crochet magazine. I made the fox so that he had a friend. Same pattern just different colours. The raccoon pattern is designed by Becky Garratt. I looked at her blog and I like it very much.

Drops Karisma selection

This is new wool for a blanket that has been “commissioned” (my Sister in Law has asked me to make it).  The colours have been taken from a tile from a victorian fireplace. I’m assuming that once the blanket is finished, it will drape beautifully somewhere beside the fire on a cold winter’s day (or something like that). It is Drops Karisma and seems ok, I’ve not used it before. I have made a tentative start but the pattern I’ve chosen might need tweaking.

collection of petal patch granny squares

Last week I started the Petal Patch blanket. I found the pattern for this on Betsy Makes and it makes a change from the standard granny without going crazy. I really like it. I have pretty much pilfered the colour scheme from Attic 24’s Harmony blanket.

petal patch granny square

I can’t decided whether to complete this first, or put it aside whilst I concentrate on the fireplace blanket. I know what I should do but I also know what I want to do. Actually, they will both be fun to make so I guess it doesn’t really matter. This Petal Patch blanket will take at least a few weeks more though as I want about 100 squares and so far I think I only have 25. I haven’t been working as fast as usual either. This is because of a hurty wrist and a yarn tangling toddler.

ardennes fabric

I bought this fabric in May, I think. It isn’t posh quality but it was less than £3 a metre, so I don’t care.

Ardennes dress fabric

I made a bag out of it first and this week I hope to make a summer skirt. If, once I’ve finished, it looks good I will post some pictures. I should probably take a picture of the bag too. I have found what looks to be a good free pattern for the skirt.

embroidered sweet peas

This isn’t my hand, it belongs to my blanket wanting Sister in Law. She is into embroidery and when she visited last Friday, she whipped it out whilst me and some other fab people did our crochet. I wanted to share it simply because I like it!

blue anagallis

Moving on from the crafting projects I am reminded that the garden is thirsty. These Anagallis are my new favourite flower. For about five years it was a Salvia, which I think is called Cambridge Blue but my Mum gave me some Anagallis seedlings after I spotted it in her garden last summer. These guys look like they need a drink.

summer garden flowers

Both the Salvia and the Anagallis are here. I expect the Salvia is feeling a bit miffed now.

garden view

Down at the bottom of the garden, the Crocosmia is just beginning to flower. It was here when we moved in. I don’t mind it too much, so it has been allowed to stay. This picture doesn’t show the Lavatera that has come up behind it but it does show the Salvia, which looks so much better in real life.

summer garden from above

I went upstairs and took a picture. Everything is looking quite nice from this angle!

Hopefully I will get the sewing machine out tonight. I’d like to make a start on that skirt.