Finding time in the holidays to do crafty things… it isn’t really happening. I’ve got some new ideas too; I’d like to play but can’t. But this is the holidys and I’m just busy. Mind you, the lovely day out I planned only took about two hours and we’ve been at home all afternoon. All the “fun” things are getting on my nerves. I’ll snap out of it and share the stuff I have managed to tinker with.
I’m trying out an idea for something. It’s slow going because I don’t actually know how to write patterns. I wonder if there is a secret that I’m not party to? I just keep trying different ways until I get it the way I want it. Is there a formula I should know about?
This sort of thing happened a lot over the weekend.
But also this! I found sparkly yarn in Poundland. I wouldn’t have known about it if it weren’t for folk talking about it on Instagram. It’s Granny Square day today so I made this granny square to put on IG.
Why wasn’t the green sparkly?!
I also made this. Aaages and aaages ago I took part in a craft destash swap on Twitter. It was very exciting to think about what parcel I might send to my crafty partner and even more exciting to receive a present of all things that appeal to me. I got this crazy yarn, as well as many other lovely things. One of the things we had to do was make something and share it on social media. I have no idea what I’ll do with the other stuff (I might have already messed up the lovely fabric I got). Have a look at the bottom of my birthday post from May to see the other things.
It’s a little purse. It’s just rows of half trebles, with a button hole. I lined it with some cheap Ikea fabric and roughly stitched it together. I don’t mind that it’s not neat, it isn’t supposed to be neat.
Remember my trip down memory lane? The basket I’m supposed to be fixing has been commandeered by the cat. Youngest thought this was great and wanted to carry her about. She wasn’t best pleased.
And this hastily put together post is pretty much all I’ve had time to do. You can even spot that I was in my pyjamas for most of it! I keep forgetting to take pictures of a blanket I finished too. I’ll do that next (as long as I don’t forget again).
Whilst I was sewing lots of felt bits recently, I had a thought that it would be nice to share how I do it. It doesn’t happen often. Some kitty cats I made were quite popular so I decided to use my design to show you how to make a brooch. Sewing felt is great, no fraying edges to worry about, it’s versatile and quite sturdy.
I’m making a cat brooch here but you can create any design. Even if your drawing is shocking, something interesting will come out of it. I do not care for the excuse that a person is not creative, it’s complete nonsense. If you want to have a go, just do it. And, since we’ve just begun the summer holidays, I can tell you that this is a fabulous project to do with the kids. Mine love doing this kind of thing. Summer holiday crafts are a must.
Keyrings work well too. Or if you can’t be bothered to source brooch backs and keyrings (get them from Etsy or Ebay), then a few inches of ribbon attached means that it can become a hangy decoration.
This is a good craft project for those who don’t have loads of supplies. A square of felt and a couple of buttons costs less than a quid. You can use buttons, cut from old clothes. You can even use fabric off the same thing if you want. Change the thread for yarn, if that’s all you’ve got. Whatever.
What you’ll need:
Paper and pen/pencil.
Felt (or thickish fabric).
Buttons for eyes.
Embroidery thread (or normal sewing thread doubled up).
Sewing needle and a pin or two.
A small amount of polyfibre fill.
Brooch back, keyring or ribbon.
Draw out the design of your choice: cat, dog, fish, fruit, flower, blah blah. Cut it out. A tip here is to go slightly bigger than you want the finished item to be. The finished thing will work up slightly smaller. Keep shaping to a minimum too, you don’t want to give yourself the headache of awkward corners, or thin poky-out bits. Simple is key.
Pin your template to both layers of felt and cut out. I do it together so that they’re both the same shape.
Cut your thread to about 40cm. If you’re using embroidery thread then you need to separate out two strands, as in the picture above. This might seem daft but a whole thickness of floss is too bulky and looks naff. Alternatively, use sewing thread doubled up. This doesn’t produce as nice a finish but it’s good enough. Tie a knot in the end (obviously). If it’s for the kids, I tie the ends of the thread together because they always yank it off the needle. Always. If that’s the case, I make the thread longer.
I start with the eyes. You can place them anywhere you like, I like to go wider (leaving room for edge stitching). Poke your needle right through his eyes! Keep knots on the back. I think three rounds per eye is good.
I recently bought a fancy pen for drawing embroidery designs. It cost about £3 from a fabric shop. The ink disappears after a few hours so you can draw your face and not worry about scruffy pen marks. If you’re not that fussed, you can free style it or see if a soft pencil works.
With the embroidery thread, you’re essentially colouring in. For the nose use a satin stitch, which is just stitches placed really close to one another. For the bit under his nose, I change to a running stitch and follow the line I drew.
You Tube is your friend when learning stitches.
I ran out of my first lot of thread at this stage. It’s best to leave maybe 8-10cm of thread at the end to give yourself a sufficient amount to tie off and weave in. It doesn’t matter about the tangle you create on the wrong side. Just as long as it is kept to the wrong side.
A little kitty face sewn! If you still have a decent amount of thread left, don’t tie it off yet as you can use it to sew the two sides together. Put this face to one side while you do the next stage.
Sewing on a brooch back is similar to sewing on the eyes. I go in and out of each hole three times at the top and three times each for the bottom holes (bottom holes!!). Make sure the brooch back is the right way up and that it’s placed towards the top middle. Make sure you sew it to the correct side of your felt/fabric too.
Almost there. Just need to sew them together.
Rethread the needle and it’s time to sew the front to the back. I use a whip stitch. I used to use a blanket stitch but it uses a tonne of thread and a whip stitch looks similar when looking straight on. Meh, you can choose. Just make sure the stitches are neatly done.
(If I was using ribbon, it’d be at this stage, near the top that I’d get it ready to stitch between the two layers).
Again, if thread needs changing, tie off the old stuff and knot in the new all inside your kitty. No one will ever know about the mess!
When there’s only a couple of inches left to sew, kitty needs to acquire some chub. I’ve got a bag of toy stuffing (bought from Amazon) but if desperate go and destroy a cushion (but perhaps you shouldn’t :/). I can’t think of what else would make a good alternative. Anyway, stuff lightly, match up the open pieces and carry on with the stitching.
To finish off, the last stitch to the back needs to be poked upwards and out again, next to another stitch as in the left photo above. Check the front to make sure you didn’t go through to the face too. Go around the stitch you popped out next to and then repeat the process a few more times. I usually aim for five times or just keep going until the thread comes to an end. lose the thread inside newly made felt cat or carefully snip off any that is showing.
It is done. Miaow.
Feel free to and look at my Etsy shop where there are a few for sale! Here are some others that I’ve made before…
By the way, if I spot any of these for sale any where else, I will be cross that you’ve pinched my ideas, so don’t do it. Thanks. Have a good summer!
Just a quick one to let you know that my Etsy shop now has stuff in it! Woohoo. It’s been a while.
All my blankets are up and I’ve added some other bits and bobs too. I’ve run out of time for today though so I will have to try and get some more up tomorrow. Now that I’ve done this, I’m starting to think maybe Folksy would have been a better option!? Oh, I don’t know. Let’s just see how this goes. I’m in absolutely no rush.
Excuse me whilst I saturate one single blog post in several pictures of the same thing. I took many photographs and enjoyed doing so. I’m spreading my joy. There also might be a “reward” at the end, in the shape of different things.
This will be on Etsy by the end of the week (I tell myself), along with many others. I need to stop hoarding.
This was such a quick and easy blanket to make. It was one of those ones where you don’t have to think. Love those ones. The only fretful moment was when I ran half a row short of the shrimp. Luckily I had a small ball (less than a handful) left from previous adventures so I didn’t have to buy a new ball just for the sake of a few metres.
I’m now wondering what other colour combinations will work well. For many years I would make all sorts of blankets, in all sorts of colour combinations but I’ve recently begun to notice a pattern emerging. I think I might be developing some sort of crochet style. It might not be a good style but I suspect there’s one there nevertheless.
Taking repeated pictures of the same thing is confusing, I hope I’m not posting the same pictures twice.
This is still me using up the significant yarn stash I have. I’ve been really good recently, I don’t think I’ve bought any yarn since May. (I’m not including the stuff I bought at the Bovey Craft Festival. Special circumstances).
Here are the details: It’s Stylecraft Special dk in Denim, Shrimp, Navy, Mustard and Sage. I used Attic 24’s Neat Ripple and I think I chained 115 to begin, just right for a baby blanket. The border is Parchment and I used it to fill in the ripples and make a sort of picot edging.
These are some other blankets that I’m planning on Etsifying this week. I’ve bagged them up and weighed them. Looking at Royal Mail yesterday was exhausting. The pricing schemes are baffling. In the past I’ve made the mistake of not charging enough for p&p and I want to avoid doing that again. It’s blinkin expensive no matter which way you do it and I worry it’ll put people off. But! I shall stop looking for excuses and just give it a go.
And on a different note, I’ve put up a picture on my facebook page to show my summer fete stall. Feel free to go and have a look. It was a very hot and sunny day, which was great (I feared rain). I had no idea what to expect, hmm, it was OK. Having shared the fete blog post locally, I had a few visitors who came over especially to see me, which was lovely. But overall, I don’t think I had stuff that made people spontaneously decide to splurge. Eeh, I don’t know! It was a learning experience and I’ve even had interest off the back of it, so that’s good. Exposure innit!? I hadn’t considered that that could happen.
And in the interests of sharing all that I do (not just the stuff that makes me feel pleased with myself), here are some cheeky pixies!
Er, yep, I made those!
I have no idea what was going on in my brain. A bit cutesy aren’t they?! At least they make me laugh and that can only be a good thing! What you must do is go and look up Pixie Day in Ottery (try wikipedia too). It’s another tradition here, in town, alongside the more famous Tar Barrels. The local kids from scouts, guides, beavers etc run around the town dressed up as pixies for Midsummer. It’s a long story but a fun one.
Anyway, I’m off to do some stitching now. The sewing machine is calling to me this week. This morning I drove to Exmouth, to go a closing down sale at a fabric shop. I spent so long choosing that I didn’t have time to go to the other fabric shop (probably a good thing; I’ve spent all my pocket money).
For four weeks I’ve been making things. OK, I know I always make things but this time I’ve been making things with a specific purpose. A month ago I was asked if I fancied having a stall at the school’s summer fete. I thought “why not?” Hopefully I’ll get to sell a few things and help towards raising money for the school. Sounds alright. I enjoyed doing a similar thing last Christmas. That was my first time doing such a thing and I found out that I really enjoyed myself!
My main concern this time is that I have no idea about the kind of things people might like at this time of year. Christmas is easy as everyone is always up for buying a new decoration (or two) for the tree. Summer? Not got a clue. I might have misjudged this but I’ve gone for a little bit of everything. It’s a learning experience and I’ll find out a lot, I’m sure.
I’ve said previously that I don’t think this is the sort of event for selling baby blankets but I’m taking some anyway. You never know. By the way, these blankets have been made over a period of a few months not just churned out in the last four weeks!
There will be loads of felt designs. They’re all my own designs. I’ve got either brooches or keyrings. I think the owls are my favourite.. or the fish. And the cats! The cherries look fabulously kitsch! I think I love them all.
I’ve got some random makes too. Leftovers from playing/experimenting. I really like the rose brooches. They’re aran alpaca with wool felt leaves. The rose is Attic 24’s May Rose.
Speaking of Attic 24, these are the May roses used on a sweet crochet heart. Have a look here for the original inspiration.
Someone has already asked that I put one of these aside for them so I do hope that that’s a good omen for the rest of them.
It would appear that I’ve got a thing about these May roses, I’ve used them for hair slides too (not many though as I know that there is another stall that’ll be there, selling hairclips and I don’t want to tread on any toes ;p ). For the crochet bows I started with a pattern from Nicki Trench’s Geek Chic Crochet but it was too big and taking far too long to make a single bow. I cheated by using less stitches and using quicker stitches too. For some reason I find trebles much easier and less fiddly than half trebles. Most of these are made using scraps that were left over from blanket making. There’s a lot of merino stuff and the pastel coloured ones are a merino yarn mixed with cashmere. It’s lovely stuff to work with.
There’s something about a pile of blankets that I love. It’s a good job too, I have a mountain of crochet blankets in my house. And that’s the ones that are here to stay. I’m not going to mention the ones I was supposed to put on Etsy six months ago.
This one will be finished by the weekend. Just in time. There are so many more things I wish I had time to make. It seems that I have just about run out of time. However, I would like to point out that this really isn’t everything that I’ve made over the last month. I might share some other things on Instagram too. There will be loads more…
You’ll just have to come and see me to find out what else there is. I might look like a misery guts but I’m honestly not (I do suffer from Bitchy Resting Face though), so if you’re at the school fete in Ottery st Mary this Saturday, come over and say hello! I think it’s 12-3pm. Thanks very much. X
I’ve been doing a load of crochet over the past couple of weeks. It’s time to put up a few pictures I reckon.
The latest blankets are a quick diamond blanket and an equally speedy crochet granny square. Both are baby sized. Both use stylecraft special dk. I like making baby blankets, they can be finished in a few days.
I have so many colour combinations and/or new stitches I want to try. The waiting would take forever if I were to make them all massive. These ones are a lovely size. My youngest boy still uses his. He can’t sleep without Blankey.
I’ve got quite a few stashed away now. I have to wait until next month before they go on Etsy though. I’m going to have a craft stall at the school summer fete. I feel that I ought to have some blankets there even though I don’t think they’ll sell. People like to buy small things for a couple of quid rather than bigger, pricier items.
If they don’t sell, I still have others that I really should get on Etsy now. I don’t know why I’m not doing it. Meh.
I’ve made these coaster type things using Rico Creative cotton in aran. I want to get some cotton dk next but I have to use up the existing stash first.
I only have scraps left, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make more than one of each colour.
These flowers are made using scraps of all different things. Some are merino, some have cashmere in them, others are less smart. Not sure what these will turn into yet. We shall see. The rose pattern is Attic 24’s May Rose and the other is by Crochet with Raymond. I really like seeing the 4ply ones next to the aran jobs. Same pattern, completely different effect.
I started making bows using a pattern from the book Geek Chic Crochet by Nicki Trench (about £3 in The Works). I soon got bored of those. They were taking too long so I started using fewer stitches to get them smaller and I used trebles so I didn’t need as many rows. I’m thinking brooches?
And that’s the sort of thing I’ve been up to. It’s not all my cup of tea but I hope it’ll appeal to others. What I’m really hankering after is a good shawl. And some embroidery. And I wouldn’t mind a snooze. :p
At the beginning of the month I made a last minute pledge to join in with Me Made May. I love the idea; encouraging sewers, knitters, crocheters to make or refashion clothes to wear during the month of May. My pledge was to bring out all the handmade items hidden in my wardrobe and wear them. I also pledged to make a dress. The only problem is that the weather has been a bit iffy and even on nice days none of my makes have been suitable.
All summery skirts, see? I wore the grey lycra maxi skirt but that was all. They’re all different: dirndle, wrap skirt, plain old elasticated waist jobs (with or without pockets!!). I guess I will wait until the sun really shines to prance about in them.
Talking of that maxi skirt, the hem really needs sorting out. I’m glad I’ve been taking part in this challenge because it has brought to my attention that the hem needs taking up an inch. It’s a bit close to the edge. I think wide hems look better. It’s a long enough skirt that I can adjust it too. I know this because I keep tripping up in it.
The other project that was brought to light was this pretty skirt. I remember getting ridculously frustrated with the machine tension. I didn’t know how to get it right. Then at the end of last summer, whilst “teaching” my friend how to sew, it twigged that I needed to adjust the bobbin tension under the plate. Honestly, I felt so dim-witted, I first started using this machine when I was 12 and I’m now in my thirties. The shame! Anyway, now that I know this, I want to unpick the skirt and sort out all the dodgy seams. This was supposed to have been done over the last few weeks… erm, maybe this weekend?!
This shawl, I am pleased with. I love it! I wore it to a wedding last weekend. I made it out of Drops Baby Merino. I think I’ll write about more about it next week. I took tonnes of pictures so I definitely have more to share. It’s a pattern by Cherry Heart called Victoria shawl.
And finally, this is the dress I made! I reckon the only reason I actually sat down and made it was because it was going to be my party frock for the wedding I went to. At the last minute I chickened out of wearing it, it didn’t feel smart enough. And it wasn’t warm enough! The pattern is from Simply Sewing magazine and it’s By Hand London‘s Charlie dress. I’m happy with how it turned out. I had to make adjustments for my weird body (I have a long body, with high waist and narrow back). I extended the bodice length and widened the front side panels to accommodate the gargantuan bosom. (Thank you to 7 year old for taking pictures of me. I felt a bit daft doing this, I have to say).
Right at the end I spotted that the bands on the bodice don’t meet. I’m putting that down to the inaccurate the extensions I made. I’m not going to complain about the zip, I’m satisfied with that although I’m sure it has issues. I’m keen to have another go with different fabric and maybe with a half circle skirt instead of the quarter one here. Stitchy stitch.
Right, that is my Me Made May experience. I can’t say that I’ve thrown myself into it with complete gusto but I did make a dress and that makes me feel alright!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
See! Drops. I have an idea.
More Drops. I cannot wait to start this, Cherry Heart’s Victoria shawl. Pattern bought and printed, ready to start any second.
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.
I got lots of fab books. Looking forward to getting stuck into those…
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.
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.
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.