Summer fete fun!

Even more felt things.

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.

Collection of crochet blankets.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!

Lots of felt brooches and keyrings.

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.

Handmade crafts

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.

Crochet hearts with roses.

Speaking of Attic 24, these are the May roses used on a sweet crochet heart. Have a look here for the original inspiration.

crochet hearts and flowers

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.

crochet roses and bows

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.

crochet hearts. Keyrings.

Puff hearts are from Planet June. Very cute.

pile of blankets

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.

Crochet ripple blanket

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…

Little crochet coasters

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

 

 

 

A first attempt at Me Made May.

Having a go at Cherry Heart's Victoria Shawl.

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.

Random handmade clothes

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.

need to redo hem

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.

skirt that needs unpicking

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?!

Cherry Heart's Victoria Shawl.

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.

Me!

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).

close up of zip and wonky bits

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!
me-made-may'16

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.

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