Friday, 21 December 2012

FO: Purses

Both kids were at school yesterday and I managed to do some sewing in the afternoon. I wanted to make something that I would get finished so had a little look for a quick project online. I decided to follow this Lil Cutie Pouches tutorial by Noodlehead after seeing a link to the tutorial on the Red Pepper Quilts blog.

I made two. The second one was better than the first and I think the reason for this was that I used a zip that was 'too long'. When I made the first one with a zip that happened to be the right size it made the ends a bit bulky but I didn't have the same effect with the second one where I had to use a long zip.

And, yes, the first one (the grey) I did manage to get my fabric upside down. Duh!

I'm also working on some Christmas quilting. I started making these at sewing group the other night. Basically it's 9 charm squares sewn in a 3x3 block. Then you cut down the centre in both directions and rotate two opposite squares by 180 degrees. Then sew it back together.

I haven't really decided what I'm doing with these. I was planning on just making simple mats with the but they're quite big on our fairly small table so I might end up making cushion covers with them. Whatever I decide on, I don't expect them done for this christmas!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Busy, busy. busy

Blimey, you can tell it's nearly Christmas by the amount of stuff there has been/is to do. I realised on Friday that I'd forgotten half the Chrostmas decorations. We'd done the tree and all the stuff that's packed in with the baubles but I'd totally forgotten about the quilted things that live in the wardrobe, including the advent calendar and the new wallhanging.

Both the kids wanted to write their own cards this year. Erin is doing really well with her writing so we basically made a list of who she wanted to write a card for and let her get on with it. Orla took a bit more supervision as she really wanted to write everything herself.

The baubles and stars they'd made using marbling inks finally dried so I added ribbon to the baubles and packed them into bags as presents.

Tonight is the fuddle for my sewing class. Basically everyone brings a bit of food to share. We're also doing secret santa so I'm looking forward to that.

It's the school fair tomorrow and donations of baking, etc are always appreciated so I've done some fudge hoping to use some for the fuddle and some for the fair. At the moment only one of the 3 trays is fully set but fingers crossed it'll be ok for tomorrow.

Then next week Erin has a party on Monday at school and Orla has one on Wednesday so that'll be more baking required.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Still here!

It has been a busy few weeks so my posting has been a bit sporadic. We've had family visiting for the last 3 weekends, including having Christmas dinner with my parents on Sunday. Along with that I've had an assignment due. It's actually due tomorrow but this course requires assignments to be posted so I had to finish it by the end of last week. It's a little odd sending assignments away to be posted, very different to the usual online submission. I even wrote the answers by hand as it's easier to sit writing by hand than be trying to type stuff on the computer with books open all over the place (the computer is in the corner so not much room to spread stuff out). It felt a little bit like being back at school.

Of course, I'd just got that assignment posted off and the course book for my next course were delivered. It doesn't start until February so it's a little annoying having it all arrive before Christmas. It's sitting there looking at me and saying "You know you should be reading me to get ahead", while I'm thinking "But there's so much stuff to do for Xmas". I have to admit, the Level 3 courses are far more work than level 2. They require more quiet reading time and the February starts are a real pain as they hit 4 school holidays (including the big 6 week holiday).

Anyway, hopefully tomorrow I'll have finished the bird for my wreath and I'll be able to show that off. Until then I'm off to browse for more Xmas craft ideas.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Sometimes One Just Isn't Enough

I often find myself saying that about biscuits! However I've noticed recently that I do the same with crafting. When I'm looking for ideas I'll do a Google image search or browse Pintrest and soon I'm wanting to make about 10 different versions of the original search item. This is what happened with the wreath!

I did a few searches for ideas for a wreath for Christmas. I found various ideas and just couldn't decide what to make. I love the ones wrapped in yarn. I also would love a felt ball one. Tbh I actually did decide to make one of those but then I worked out that it would take me hours to make all the balls and I really don't have time for it at the moment (assignment deadline looming!).

Luckily the crocheted one I made wasn't Christmassy (I've probably made that word up) in the traditional sense so I'll be able to leave it up all year round. I did need a Christmas one though. Do you remember this fabric I showed you

Well, in combination with A LOT MORE little squares, it's been turned into a lovely Christmas wreath.

I ended up in Hobbycraft looking for the polystyrene ring. My husband was supposed to pick some up for me from a craft shop in town but he forgot. When he went on Saturday, while I was at a tutorial, it turned out they hadn't even had the sizes I wanted delivered, which is how I ended up at Hobbycraft for them. I couldn't wait any longer as I had some time to make it on Sunday afternoon.

I'd decided on the biggest size they had (35cm) and at about 4pm I was cursing my decision as I cut more and more 3" squares and kept spotting more white polystyrene through the fabric. Eventually though, it looked totally covered and I love it.

It's super easy to make (just lots of cutting!) by poking the fabric in with a screwdriver. I followed the tutorial on the RosMadeMe blog.

Oh and in Hobbycraft I picked up yet another polystyrene ring so that I can make a yarn wrapped wreath too!

Pattern: Simple Leaf

As I promised the other day. Here's the pattern for the leaves I used on the wreath.

I've included photos to help explain. Let me know if it's not clear!

I have used US crochet terms throughout. Leaves were made using Rowan handknit cotton on 4mm hook.


ch 6

Sl st in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next ch, hdc in next ch, dc in next ch

Your work should now look like this!

In the next ch (this will be the one nearest the knot) make the following stitches:
tr, dc, hdc, sc, hdc, dc, tr

Do not cover the tail end of the yarn
This is what it looks like after the sc

And this is when you have done all the stitches in that ch

From the back - tail end should stick out
You will now work back along the other side of the chain.
dc in next ch, hdc in next ch, sc in next ch, sl st in last ch

It should now look like this
You now need to make an extra slip stitch (see picture below for where to make it). It is fairly obvious when you've got to this stage where the loop is but it's basically the side of the original turning chain.

Now tie the yarn off and leave a long tail. Your work should look like the pictures below.

When you start to sew in the end of your yarn make sure to take it through the back loop of that stitch that is sticking up at a funny angle.

Just like this!

Sew in the end so that it comes out at the same point as the other end

You can now use these two ends to attach the leaf to the wreath (or whatever else you're making) before weaving the ends back along the leaf to finish off.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Update: Wreath

Here's a little update on the crocheted wreath. I have done the flowers and am planning on making the bird next week at sewing (where I have access to the pattern).

Some of the flowers are done in a pattern I use regularly for flowers. I can't even remember where I got it from. Others are done in the May Rose pattern on the Atic24 blog. The leaves are my own design and I'll post a tutorial soon. I can write out the pattern but it will make more sense if I have pictures to explain a couple of parts to it.

Messing Around With The Kids

The other week I bought a bunch of craft stuff from Baker Ross. Honestly, I could spend a fortune on that site. There's so many things that look like great fun and there's a good range of stuff for younger kids. I can't show you most of the things we made as they've been wrapped up for Xmas presents for relatives but I had to show you these:

They were done with marbling inks. It's pretty simple to do, just adding a few drops to a clean bowl of water then dipping the polystyrene shapes in.

Unfortunately the kids went a bit mad with adding colour and it wasn't helped by me accidently tipping half a bottle in when the lid fell off. Consequently they were done a week ago and still aren't dry! They may have to be presents for next year at this rate.

Some did look lovely though


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

WIP Weds: Wreaths & Other Xmas Decorations

It's definitely feeling a lot closer to Christmas now. We have family visiting for the next 3 weekends. I'm making a start on more Christmas decorations but, as ever, my head is full of things I want to make that I just don't have time to do! I'm trying to be realistic with the time I have.

So, first up I whizzed this jar cozy up yesterday afternoon. I'm planning on adding some extra detail to it, perhaps a little wreath. I was going to do a wreath by crocheting around a circular curtain ring but I can't find where I've put them so may have to come up with an alternative idea.

I also grabbed a bunch of scraps and made up an Attic24 Bauble Decoration. Mine are a little different because I didn't have any beads with a big enough hole and I decided not to add the buttons as I wasn't adding the beads.

I made a second one later that evening while Alan put the kids to bed. It really is a quick make and a good way to use up scraps.

I'm not sure why but this year I have a bit of a thing for wreaths. We don't really have a very good door for wreath hanging so I'm going for indoor wreaths! These little squares are going to be used to make the gorgeous Ragtime Christmas Wreath on the (fantastic!) RosMadeMe blog.

I have a fair bit more cutting out to do and I can't put it together yet as the shop I was going to get the polystyrene ring from was out of stock until later this week. Fingers crossed they'll have some on Thursday.

In the meantime I started a crocheted wreath. This is done over a 17cm full polystyrene ring using the method Lucy described here in her May Rose Wreath Ta-dah! I haven't decided yet what I'm going to decorate it with. I'm currently thinking a few flowers grouped together on the edge and a bird hanging inside. I do have memories of sewing a hanging bird decoration last year and it was incredibly fiddly, so I may change my mind!

This is done in Stylecraft Special DK in the following colours:
Spring Green

Joining in with Tami's Amis. Check out lots more WIP posts!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

FO: Little Hug Blanket (includes pattern for squares)

Last week my husband had to work in London for a couple of days. Luckily for me, it was Thursday and Friday. Both girls are in school all day on those two days and they were fairly tired afterwards, particularly Orla. It meant both were in bed asleep by 7pm so I got two extra evenings of peaceful, free time. I managed to finish off the 20 squares I was making from leftover yarn, join them together and add a simple border.

These squares are so easy to do and give a more solid look to a blanket than a traditional granny square. So here's some (basic) instructions using US terms (brits can just substitute every dc for a UK tr):

Make ring:
ch4, sl st into first stitch to form ring

Round 1:
ch3 (counts as first dc), 3dc, *ch2, 4dc*, Repeat from * to * two more times, ch2, sl st into top of ch3 to join

Round 2 and each round thereafter:
ch3 (counts as first dc), *dc in each stitch across, in corner space make 2dc, ch2, 2dc*,  Repeat between * and * all the way round, join with sl st to top of ch3
Note: You will not end in a corner space - the number of stitches after the corner space will depend on which round you are on.

When square reaches desired size tie off and weave in ends.

I used 5 colours and made four 6" squares in each. I arranged them randomly and joined them using the slip stitch method (put them right sides together and slip stitch through the back loops i.e. the loop closest to you and the loop furthest away).

For the border I did a simple US sc in each stitch around and 3 in each corner.

Excuse the feet in the picture!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Bit More Crochet

Mainly using up leftover yarn at the moment. All the following are for the WoollyHugs cause.

One of the things I'm loving about this project is that I have a good excuse to try new squares and adjusting patterns. It's something I very rarely do for personal projects because I like to just get on with things but making things that someone is going to get so much pleasure from makes me put in more effort than usual.

First of all I decided to use this Centre Heart Square pattern. I was using DK yarn rather than Worsted so knew it would come out smaller than the 12". I managed to make it 10" by missing the last row.

I then made some 5" plain squares and some 5" squares using this Flower Granny Square pattern and some using this pattern, also called Flower Granny Square (confusing, eh?)

As you can probably tell from the above picture I've joined it all into a blanket and put a border on. Unfortunately the central square was a bit baggy and I was hoping that adding the other squares round it would pull it all out into shape nicely but it's made the other squares look odd too. It's a bit late to frog it so I'll send it in and hope someone likes my wonky, saggy blanket!

I've also made a square with the More V's Please pattern for a memory blanket. This is a 12" pattern but I followed the instructions up to and including Round 7 and then added a round of US single crochet to make it 6" square.

I've started on another plain-ish blanket made with the leftovers from the Christmas present blanket I made. 4 squares done this afternoon and I'm hoping to get 20 out of my leftovers. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

FO: Blanket No 2

Well I managed to get the blanket finished the other day. We were having a party on Sunday evening and it was the push I needed to get on with sewing the ends in and doing the border so that it could go out of the way. In the end I decided to do a fairly plain border, mainly because the other blanket has no border and I didn't want one to look lots fancier than the other.

So here it is:

I used a crab stitch (also called reverse single crochet) for the edge

I also managed to make lots of cakes for the party. I did some Apricot & Banana Muffins and some Vanilla Cupcakes:

And we carved the pumpkins to sit on the table:

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Halloween Fun

Last night we took the kids to a Halloween party. They had loads of fun, each getting a chocolate & sprinkle covered apple (there were toffee apples too but they both went for the sprinkle option) and playing games like musical bumps.

Orla had lots of fun danicng. She was really confident and wanted to be at the front of the dancefloor near the lights.

Today we headed off to Farmer Copleys for the Pumpkin Festival. It was pretty busy so we had a browse round the shop before getting a table to have some lunch. Erin was quite impressed that the chips came in a pail.

Yes, that is facepaint that wouldn't wash off

After lunch we headed out to the field to wait for the tractor to take us up to the pumpkin patch. The kids loved the bumpy trailer ride. Then they spent ages wandering round the field trying to pick their favourite pumpkin. Erin was looking for a big pumpkin that she could carry herself and it had to be clean; not easy for something that grows in a field. Orla just wanted a little pumpkin that she could carry but seemed to think it was a bit of a hot potato game. Every time she found another little pumpkin she would put the first one down and pick the 'new' one up.

There was the option of carving them while you were there but we didn't do that as I'm hoping that they'll last until our party next weekend. I said the kids can decorate theirs with some glue and glitter if I get chance to pick up some more glitter this week.