Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Crafting In Progress

When getting my stuff together for sewing group last night I pondered taking my crocheted cushion cover. All it needs is 3 buttons sewn on and it will be finished, but I decided against it as it really doesn't take long enough so I'd have had to take another project anyway and I'd rather not have too much stuff to take. So I'm going to share the picture of it with you anyway and you'll have to imagine it has buttons on to fasten it.

This is made from Rowan Handknit Cotton. I had to order more of it and luckily I had an Amazon voucher, so I ordered from the Deramores shop on there. It would have been cheaper to order direct from them because of discount vouchers floating around but I'd have had to part with actual cash and I was struggling to know what to spend my voucher on. I was really impressed to find a dispatched email in my inbox just half an hour later and the package arrived less than 24 hours after ordering. So a definite thumbs up from me!

Originally I was going to say how I wasn't very keen on the Rowan Handknit Cotton. I think I don't often use cotton yarns and so they feel odd in my hands when I do I find I tense up quite a lot when using them. Then I started making an Attic24 Happy Flower Decoration with the leftovers, a deep purple I ordered and some random balls of cotton/mostly cotton yarn I had in my yarn box. This is when I realised the Handknit Cotton is far nicer than other cottons. I'm still pondering whether to redo my flower without the pinky cotton as it seemed thinner than the others. I expect I'll end up just making more flowers and keep it anyway!

I still have the ends to weave in, the stalk/leaves to make and the additional bits but I just love the purples in it, which will go really well with the new colour in the living room. It was inspired by this one (check out the last picture)

Thursday, 23 February 2012


Well I almost haven't got this done in time but luckily (a) the deadline was put back a month to allow for more contributors to get stuff in and (b) I'm up at this time of night. Ok that second one isn't quite so lucky. Anyway, there will be yarn and fibre samples from me. If you want a sneak peek of the fibre here it is:

Head over to their site to find out how to buy one of their fantastic sample packs of indie dyed yarn or fibre.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

WIP Weds: Hexagon Blanket & Granny Square Cushion

Ok, so the Hexagon blanket is a little addictive. Perhaps because it's appealing to the mathematician in me to come up with colour combinations. You see, it's not THAT simple. The pattern calls for 39 hexagons, each consisting of 7 rounds. Now the final round of each is going to be in parchment. That leaves me needing to create 39 hexagons of 6 rounds from 4 colours, so if I exhaust colour combinations there's no way of getting an odd number.

On the other hand the pattern does assume you sew them together as a row of 6 then a row of 5, then 6, then 5, and so on ending on a 6. So I have the option of sewing them all in 6's, which would change the outline of the blanket slightly but in a way that I think would work fine.

The other option would be for me to miss some of the grey combinations as I have two shades of grey in it. I'll carry on with the current combinations and see how I feel when I lay them out to get a better idea of the look.

Since it was pancake day yesterday I just had to take a picture of them like a stack of pancakes! I'm up to 26 but all the ends are still to weave in.

As well as the hexagons i just couldn't resist starting a granny square cushion. This yarn was sent to me in a Christmas Swap on Ravelry and I just couldn't decide what to make with it. It's Rowan Handknit Cotton dk and I'd have probably made lots of little things if I'd bought it myself but as it was a gift I wanted to show it off a bit more. Luckily the colours go really well with the new colour in the living room so a cushion seemed perfect. I'm a little worried I might run out of yarn before it gets big enough to cover the cushion pads I had though so I may have an excuse to buy some more.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

FO: Heart Swap Revealed

Way back for Christmas 2010, my sister bought me A Passion For Patchwork by Lise Bergene. It's a fab book with plenty of variety and was my favourite present that year. There's quilts, wall hangings, table runners and various bags. It's one of those books where I could pretty much open it at any page and be happy to make whatever is on that page.

My original plan for the heart swap was to whip up some crocheted heart decorations but my recipient is an excellent knitter so I decided to go down the quilting route. I knew there were a few heart themed projects in the book and eventually settled on a wall hanging. The book had sequins sewn on at each point where the quilting lines crossed but I decided not to add any as I wasn't really keen on them.

So here it is!

It was all made from fabrics from my stash. Most were scraps though the blue batik fabric was a particularly large scrap and I used more of it to back it and make a hanging sleeve.

It didn't take long at all to make. It's hard to estimate how long as I did it in between other things like cooking tea. I'm hoping to make another one to go on our living room wall, which says a lot about how much I liked it cos I don't often make the same pattern twice.

Friday, 17 February 2012

WIP: New Blanket

What can I say? I've got the crocheted blanket bug.

There was a lot of yarn leftover from the Granny Ripple as not only did I guess at how many balls I'd need, I also made the total number of balls I ordered the most I could get in the same postage bracket. So, I thought I'd make another blanket from the spare yarn. I didn't want to make another matching ripple though; I like variety. Off I went to trawl patterns on Ravelry and I settled on this one on the Novamade blog. I'd tried playing around with making hexagons earlier today following the normal granny square method but with 6 sections but of course this gave me too many stitches (duh!) and so a wavy mess went in the bin. I really love the way this simple rework of the usual granny square method works out perfectly.

I've done 3 hexagons so far, except the final 7th round as I'm still pondering whether to join as I go or use my preferred slip stitch in the back loops joining method.

I know they don't look it, but they are the same size. It's just my bad photography

FO: Granny Ripple Blanket

Well, I've finished the Granny Ripple blanket after managing to fit in 11 stripes yesterday and 4 this morning. I then had 110 ends to weave in!

So here it is, 55 stripes of Stylecraft Special DK in parchment, grey, lipstick, teal and graphite. I used 2 balls each of grey, lipstick & teal, a single ball of graphite and a little over a ball of parchment.

I slightly altered the start of the pattern as I found that (a) the stitch count seemed wrong and (b) it looked a little messy just working into every 3rd stitch of the foundation chain so I worked a row of US single crochet first. I also haven't put a border on.

This is a bit longer than I would have made it because I wanted it slightly longer than 5 colour repeats so had to do 6 repeats, it could have done with being 5 1/2 really but it'll just be more snuggly.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

FO: Flower Jar Cozy

Another quick stash buster!

This was worked up in some scraps from the Neat Ripple I made. It's Jarol Heritage DK yarn. I used blue for the main body as it was the one I had most of. I started with foundation single crochet until it was long enough to wrap around the jar, then worked rounds of single crochet (UK double crochet) to cover the height of the jar. I might have done a couple more rounds but I ran out of yarn and I think it looks ok. Since I used 30 stitches per round (didn't plan it, it just happened that way) I decided to use the same stitches for the petals as the Blooming Flower Cushion by Attic24. This works over 5 stitches. I thought a petal worked over 3 stitches would make too many petals.

Better view of the flower

To add a bit more interest to it, I went on a hunt through my button jar and discovered some flower buttons and ladybird buttons. I sewed some of these onto the blue.

Here's the finished item!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

UPDATE: New Look

Well the bedroom is done! I really like it, as it feels a lot more warm and cozy than the dreary brown. Here's a couple of terrible pics (taken very late last night when we finally got finished in there)

All we need now is a new shade for the ceiling light and two table lamps. Speaking of which, we have decided we like the plum so much it's on the chimney breast in the living room too (well, it was supposed to be paired with that grey!) so the money we've saved from the extra colour will buy us 2 lamps and a shade.

I find it really interesting how the two greys make the plum look different.

Still a long way to go in the living room so excuse the mess!

Oh and before I forget, I bought this Dutalier chair way back when I was pregnant with Erin (so about 5 years ago). It was a bargain from Ebay at only £65, including a (long since departed) footstool. The covers were a little faded then and it's had 5 years of daily use since. They now have marks all over, a few holes and the foam padding is on its last legs, so I'm going to give it a face lift. I have some fabric in a lovely grey with white spots  and I'll replace the padding too. Just need to find the time and space to cut the fabric and sew it together.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A New Look

Not for the blog, but for our home. Our living room carpet has looked awful for quite some time now. It's embarrassingly grubby; the result of two children. I don't think it ever recovered from the time Erin threw up strawberry & banana smoothie all over it. However Orla isn't potty trained yet (what happened to second children 'getting things' quicker???!!! Erin had been trained for 8 months by the time she was Orla's age), so we've basically been putting up with it "because it's not worth changing before that".

Until the other day, when I looked down and realised there's a big threadbare section. It's just not going to last long enough. Luckily we had some money leftover last month so we started pondering whether to get carpet again. Eventually we decided to head up to Ikea to check out their rugs - at least that might get us through the potty training stage. Of course, the husband wasn't keen on the only cheap one that co-ordinated with the living room, so instead of a £20 rug we came home with 6 packs of laminate and a roll of underlay. Oh and a shelf.

The plan is that my husband will lay the flooring at the weekend. But wouldn't it just be wrong to lay that nice new floor when the paintwork is a bit grubby? Yes, I've bought paint for the living room. And while I'm at it, it would be terrible to paint the living room when we're so fed up of the bedroom colour, wouldn't it? Yes, I've bought paint for the bedroom too!

So, the first colour is on the bedroom. Both coats. I don't hang about. I might get stupid ideas to paint two rooms in less than 5 days but at least it gets done! Last wall is getting painted this afternoon or this evening (depending on whether the kids go to sleep this afternoon). Did I mention I'm doing this in half term?

The living room has two coats done on two walls and one on the other two, so still another coat to do on those. We also need to swap the paint we got for the chimney breast. My husband distributed the paint tubs and managed to mix up the bedroom grey with the living room grey. They're very similar in the tubs so I didn't notice until it was on the walls but I actually prefer it the wrong way round, except that the burgundy for the chimney will not go with the grey that's now on the living room walls so we're going to change it for a teal colour (as long as I can convince the husband to go for it, he's still not quite sure about that idea).

If it all goes to plan the house should be sorted by the end of the weekend.

Friday, 10 February 2012

FO: Halloween Quilt

It's done! I finally finished sewing the binding on yesterday just before my husband got home from work. I really love this quilt, though I'm yet to experience the glow in the dark thread actually glowing :-s

I absolutely adore the backing fabric for this quilt. It was a bargain from Ebay and I ended up buying far too much. When I planned the quilt I was expecting it to be wider so I calculated my backing fabric based on having to join it to cover the back. Then as I was making the blocks I decided to just make it lap quilt size and it meant the 54" wide fabric was wide enough, so I now have a nice little stash of it for more Halloween projects.

Now, do you want to see the front????

Some of the fabric is from the Eerie Alley range, others are from various sources that I've picked up at quilt shows, fabric sales and a few bits bought especially for this project. The fabric in the corners and the thread used for quilting is Glow In The Dark (or at least supposed to be...). It's been quilted with a spider's web. The quilting is far from perfect on this. I found that sewing at my usual quilting speed was causing the glow in the dark thread to get caught on a part of my machine so I had to sew slower and keep my eye out for it catching. The binding I did in random lengths of fabric leftover from the blocks, just checking to make sure there would be no joins in the corners.

CNA Heart Swap

Well, I mentioned that I made something for a Heart Swap but I can't reveal it just yet. What I can do though is show you what I received. I thought I was going to have to show you this sideways but I managed to find the Facebook settings to rotate it. It's a lovely heart made predominantly from buttons and wire.

I'm planning on hanging it in the conservatory, which is my craft space, for the moment. I'll be putting it on the door to my craft cupboard. What I really want to do is repaint our bedroom and make a quilted wall hanging, then I'll hang this from the bottom of that. In the meantime it can inspire me to get on with that plan!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Almost a FO

Well this is almost a finished object! Also made with scraps from the ripple blanket, this is going to be the front of a cushion cover. I'll make the rest of the cover with a chopped up jumper as before.

It's not been blocked yet so will look a lot neater after that.

I've also finished some bunting but that needs blocked before I photo it as it won't hang nicely at the moment.

FO: Candle Cozy

I whipped this little item up yesterday afternoon with some scraps leftover from the ripple blanket. I've had the candle in glass jar for ages and spotted it yesterday up on a high shelf and thought "I could crochet a cover for that". I started with a row of foundation single crochet rather than the usual chain as it's easier to get the right size. If you've not done foundation single crochet before then this tutorial on the Futuregirl craft blog is fantastic, with really clear pictures.The rest is just rounds of US single crochet, finishing with a round of US half double crochet.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Wonderful Weekend

Well despite both me and my husband being ill on Friday (and a little ill on Saturday) we managed to have a lovely weekend. We took it easy on Saturday, playing with the kids at home watching the snow falling outside. Feeling much better after lunch on Saturday, I spent the early evening crafting. I'm taking part in a Heart Swap on the CNA forum so I can't show the finished item. There was lots of scope for doing your own thing on this swap; it wasn't a sewing swap or a knitting swap, it was purely a "heart" swap open to your own interpretation. All I will say is I've been fancying making this item for a while now and I'm really pleased with the finished item. There will be a reveal on here when swap partners have been revealed on the forum.

I spent Saturday evening finishing off the Paloma Infinity Scarf. I've been a bit naughty with this...see, the husband bought the yarn for me to knit him a cowl and I apparently became knitting impaired LOL. I managed to start knitting with the tail end twice, then I had interchangeable needle failure (yes, I failed to tighten the points onto the cables well enough and it fell off) so the project got shoved in a bag for a while. Anyway, when I saw the Paloma pattern I decided I'd make a crocheted one instead. I was quite surprised that my husband didn't mind me making the hugely long version and here it is (ignore his somewhat grumpy look...he was trying to be "cool"  hahaha)

Sunday morning was spent making binding for THAT Halloween quilt I abandoned in the run up to Christmas. It's now sewn to the front of the quilt and I just have to hand sew it to the back. Expect a finished pic soon!

In the afternoon I took Erin to see Dick Whittington at the local town hall. I *think* she enjoyed it though she did admit part way through that she was scared because "they're using fireworks inside and you're not allowed fireworks inside". She certainly did a bit of dancing and clapping.

That evening we watched a film and I tasked my lovely husband with rethreading my overlocker (I hate that job). Then I cut up a jumper to finish my ripple cushion in a similar way to the Attic24 method here. Ok, so it's a little lie as it's not totally finished yet, I've to tidy up the ends but I couldn't wait to reveal the pics so I flipped it right way out. I need to get a cushion pad for it as the ones I had were too big.

and I did a row of US single crochet (UK double crochet) to finish off the back nicely. I didn't add buttons mainly because it's not a particularly big cushion.

Hopefully it won't be long until the granny square cushion is finished too. There's just loads of ends to weave in.

So, a very productive weekend and lots of family fun.Wonderful!

Oh and I have to share this. Ages ago I bought a wire with gold polystyrene hearts and some matching pegs to hang our Christmas cards from. Over Christmas Erin made a picture which I pegged up on it on top of the cards and it gave me a great idea. I would leave it up all year round and display pictures by both the kids.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Back to Blogland

Well, what can I say? January has been hectic. It started with me having to do an assignment for M257 due on January 5th. Of course I ended up leaving it until the last minute because of Christmas and New Year. Luckily it didn't take long! My books arrived for M359 so I've started reading Block 1. It's a lot more wordy than previous courses, which have been more practical, so I've definitely noticed the step up from Level 2 to Level 3 but it is a good course so far.

Then it was my husband's birthday. This meant a meal out with my parents, then they babysat one night so we could have a night out with friends. This involved curry, drinking and dancing. A rare treat for us as we live so far from family.

I did order some yarn just before New Year for a couple more blankets.I'm hoping to do a Vintage Vertical Stripe but before that, I've started a Granny Ripple. A few people have mentioned the foundation chain count being wrong and I too found this problem. I also wasn't keen on how the chain looked as I was doing the first row so I added in a row of (US) single crochet (UK double crochet), which has given it a neater edge. I am hoping that I won't need to put a border on.

I've done the first 16 stripes. The pattern calls for 6 repeats of 9 stripes so 54 stripes in total. I'm not doing this quickly though as I'm just picking it up every now and again to do a stripe in between other projects. I do like to have a blanket on the go.

If you're looking for a nice quick afternoon project, I can recommend these V-stitch Fingerless Gloves. I whipped these up in a couple of hours. I decided to start them using foundation single crochet rather than a foundation chain as I was using Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton DK and a 4mm hook and wanted to make sure I got the size right. I needed to add an extra repeat but wouldn't have bothered if I'd been using a yarn with more give in it. I also added an extra row of ribbing. I had to start a new ball of yarn for the final row of sc & the thumb on the second glove so if I hadn't added the extra row of ribbing 50g would have been enough.

The photo above shows a close up of the lovely stitch pattern. Very simple but very effective. I wore them on the school run this afternoon and I think my 4 year old was rather impressed with them :-)

I'm also working on a sampler quilt. I picked up a copy of Lynne Edwards' book at a market for £4 and started it ages ago but I was always quick to pick up my hook and yarn in front of the tv so the hand sewing got left abandoned. Then I needed something to take to sewing group one Monday and it gave me the push I needed to get on with it. So here it is...

It still needs the papers taken out and then I have to sew it onto the background fabric for the block. This is my long term quilt project.