Tuesday, 29 October 2013

October Round Up

I've heard other bloggers commenting on this, but honestly, where has October gone?!  It's been a busy month for me at work, rounded off by a lovely couple of days chilling out with my family up in Scotland, eating toast with rhubarb and ginger jam and teaching my mum how to crochet circles.

Removable Diary Cover // Ripple Blanket // Crocheted Poppies with Cath Fearn // Crocheted Hats for Innocent Smoothies Big Knit in aid of Age UK // Halloween Intarsia // Yoke of a Cardigan - more on this soon // Wedding Craft Blogging

What have you been making this month?


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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Handmade Monday: Halloween Intarsia

For those of you that haven't yet come across the latest twitter chat sweeping the craft blog world.  You need to check it out here!  Each month a craft challenge is set and the October challenge was to create a Halloween decoration using a craft method you haven't tried before.

Which craft method?

I have to confess, I spent most of this month thinking about what to do.  After my big ripple blanket I got stuck in a bit of a creative rut.  All I could think about was crochet!

I posted some of my ideas here.  I also thought about quilling, and origami, and clay modelling and paper cutting (especially after seeing Hayley's amazing make).  I even thought about baking an edible halloween decoration.

[1] [2] [3] [4]

Just yesterday I went round my local town to look at what materials I could buy and decided to base my decision on what was available.  This did not help and I started to get annoyed that I hadn't made a decision sooner so I could have turned to the internet for help with sourcing materials.

Slightly irritated I decided I'd have to make do with the one material I have in absolute abundance. Wool.

That was it.  I was going to have to knit.


The project

I'm not really a knitter.  I'm OK with it until I drop a stitch or, as usually happens when I try, several stitches and several rows back and then I just can't work out what to do.  It frustrates me.  I find the long needles so awkward compared to a crochet hook.  Up until last night, I had always had to ask my mum or sister to cast on for me too.

As knitting is not completely new to me I decided I needed to do something a little more advanced than I've tried before. I sat down on the sofa armed with an episode of Jonathan Creek, some red wine, some yarn and needles and Stitch and Bitch.



Slowly but surely, my project grew and with a little encouragement from Emma at Girl in Knits it began to take shape.  I was originally going to attempt a little cat picture but I quickly realised that intarsia is not easy so I opted for a more straight forward witches hat shape.

New skills

- Casting on
- Casting off a purl row
- Decreasing by knitting two together, decreasing by 
- Simple, simple intarsia

The finished product

After knitting most of the phone cover I have to confess I did add a crochet edge to the top.  I just couldn't resist reverting back to the safe familiar motion of crochet.


The finished project is far from perfect and the making involved lots of swearing as I frantically tried to pick up dropped stitches before they disappeared a few rows back, but I'm pretty proud of myself.

Check out more handmade projects at Handmade Harbour for Handmade Monday and over at #craftblogclub at Life is Peachy.

What have you been making for Halloween?


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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Weekend Inspiration: Crochet Cardigans

After seven and a half weeks of teaching I am happy to announce....

It's half-term!


Don't you love the first morning of holidays, when you've got all that time stretching out in front of you?

Over the next week, I've got two lovely relaxed weekends planned.   Just chilling out with Steve and pottering around the flat.  I'm also heading up to Scotland to visit my family during the week.  It's the first time I've seen them since the wedding so I'm more than a little bit excited!

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

I'm also getting more than a little bit excited about some good quality crochet time.  As winter fast approaches, I have plans to give my wardrobe more of a cosy feel starting with a couple of cosy cardigans.

I've started a pinboard for inspiration and I love the above designs.  I love the Peter Pan collar in number two and the quirkiness of number three.  I love the sheer look of number five and I couldn't resist including the last one...summer will always be my favourite season!

Which design do you like the best?


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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

What's On My Work-Desk? 23/10

It's hump-day of an extremely busy week at work here and I'm currently writing this from my phone as I make a large batch of spag bol.


I'm finding it tough blogging as much as I would like at the moment. I'm still crafting away in the evenings but my head is swimming with crafty ambitions that these busy weeks of work are not allowing me to fulfil.


Here's a glimpse if my desk as I link up with Stamping Ground for WOYWW.

- Notebook and spotty pencil to try and keep tabs of all my crafty ambitions.

- Tartan ribbon - I'm trying to decide what to use it for.

- My current works in progress - hats for the Innocent Big Knit in aid of Age UK. I was so excited too find out from Bunny Mummy's blog that crocheted hats are as acceptable as knitted! Most of you will know how I like a good charity crochet project.

- My crochet hook holder has hardly closed over the last couple of weeks what with ripple blankets, cardigans and monkey faces to be completed!

What is on your work-desk?


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Monday, 21 October 2013

Review: Fabric Flowers

I've been meaning to review Fabric Flowers: Twenty to Make by Kate Haxell for a while now.  It's a great wee book from the 20 to Make series.

It contains 20 simple designs for making fabric flowers using a range of fabrics and techniques.  The instructions are laid out clearly with beautiful coloured photographs.  


The materials and equipment are easy to source and the tutorials can easily be adapted to suit your own requirements or inspiration.  The designs are simple but effective and all such lovely rewarding projects.


One of the lovely things about hand-making things for our wedding was the fun I had on team projects with my mum and sisters.  By far my favourite project was our knitted and fabric flower centrepieces. Each of the 12 vases contained flowers and a butterfly made by all the ladies in my immediate family.


I remember clearly that I received this book through the post from my mum as a wee prompt to get my creative juices flowing for fabric flower designs.  We needed a good variety to create some interest and contrast with the ivory, pearlised wool we used for the knitted flowers.  Of the four fabric flower designs I made, three were adapted from tutorials from this book. 


I still glow with pride when I see pictures of our knitted/fabric centrepieces.  What a lot of hard work, love and attention went into them.  I thoroughly recommend this book for any fabric flower projects big or small!



Have you tried any of the 20 to Make series?



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Friday, 18 October 2013

Weekend Link Love 18/10

Wow!  What a week!  I made it to the weekend though and am still in one piece.  I've just had to spend a few moments catching up on twitter - with such a busy week, something had to give!

I'm really excited about this weekend.  I've got another friend coming over to stay on Saturday night and during the day tomorrow I'm going to a university reunion in Oxford.  I cannot wait to be reunited with the amazing city and lots of uni friends.


The last couple of weeks has seen lots of exciting things in the online craft world.  Here are a few of my favourites:

1. This really thought-provoking blog by Miss Beatrix about "The Circle of Craft" and the community aspects of crafting.  Really interesting stuff and definitely worth a read.


3.  This gorgeous chevron lace crochet cardigan pattern that I may or may not have been hooked on.

4.  Lynsey's lovely new crochet shop filled with beautiful crochet cowls.



What crafty goodness have you been loving this week?


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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Handmade Wedding: Thank You Bunting

It all seems a long time ago but it's only been two months since Steve and I became husband and wife, I'm gradually sharing some of the little homemade touches from our day and you can find plenty more wedding craft posts here.



One lovely idea which my mum had been shown by a neighbour was to take a photograph of the bride and groom holding "thank you bunting" that could be used on the front cover of the thank you cards.  I just thought this was such a genius idea and once I started searching around I found more and more lovely designs on Etsy.

[1] [2] [3]

I have to be honest. I wasn't convinced that Steve would completely take to the idea - I don't think he really gets bunting.  (As an aside: if anyone else's man doesn't get bunting, do get in touch. I'm still trying to work out what's not to like!)  But on the day when I produced this beautiful handmade decoration,Steve couldn't refuse to hold onto one end and smile!


My mum used beautiful blue and white fabric for the bunting.  She then hand-stitched coloured felt onto the bunting to make the letters.  I couldn't believe how professional the finish was, even Steve commented on how well-made it was. I cannot thank her enough for the exquisite job that she did. 

What lovely ideas have you seen on wedding stationery?


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Monday, 14 October 2013

Handmade Monday: Ripple Blanket

Well...you join me on a very, very exciting day!  Here is the grand reveal of my biggest crochet project to date!  I chose the colours - red, cream and grey - to tie in with the lamp which was a wedding present.  I am so pleased with it and at the moment nothing is giving me more satisfaction than cosying up under it.


Ripple Blanket: The Story



The first couple of rows took me such a long time.  I was really worried I'd bitten off more that I could chew.  I kept telling myself...at least you won't have any granny squares to join...at least you won't have any granny squares to join...


Over the next 11 days it gradually grew and grew and grew as I started to get into a rhythm.  As I hadn't planned in advance about the size of my blanket I soon ran out of wool and *had* to leave work early one day to go and buy some more.  The rippling was becoming an addiction.


By 2nd October, I decided that it was time to darn in some of the ends and to start thinking about the borders.  I eventually adapted Lucy's pattern and filled in the ends to create a rectangle edged with crisp cream.


Today I'm linking up with Handmade Harbour for Handmade Monday - I can't wait to see what everyone else is making.  At this point I'd also like to give a big should out to Hazel and Lyndsay who have also recently finished beautiful ripple blankets. 

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Friday, 11 October 2013

Weekend Inspiration: Halloween Crafts

With just twenty days until Halloween, lots of lovely Halloween crafts are starting to catch my eye. Emma (organiser of #craftblogclub) has also announced that the #craftblogclub challenge for this month is Halloween-themed but should be made using craft that is new to you.  

Here is some of Halloween craft inspiration that's been catching my eye over the past couple of weeks.


I particularly love the coffee cup sleeve which I spotted on Claire's blog a couple of weeks ago - absolutely perfect to go round a pumpkin-spiced latte now that the weather is getting that wee bit colder.  I recommended it to other members of #craftblogclub - it would be lovely to see someone make use of such a lovely pattern.

Brrrr!  It's starting to become very Autumnal here now.  The leaves are covering the parks and playgrounds and I've had the first, unfamiliar feeling of chilliness on the way to work.  Definitely time to get going on some spooky crafting! 

Will you be making anything for Halloween?



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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Tutorial: How to Make a Removable Notebook Cover

Last weekend I spent a couple of hours curled on the sofa making this removable notebook cover for my school diary.  The inspiration for this was Emma's #craftblogchallenge for September.  I decided to cover my diary to cheer myself up at work with some happy, crafty goodness.  I opted for a removable cover so hopefully I can use it year after year.


You will need:

- rectangle of fabric (enough to cover notebook + overlap)
- embroidery needle and thread
- embroidery hoop
- needle and thread for stitching fabric together
- pinking shears
- pins
- tailor's chalk


1. Place the diary on the fabric and line it up.
2. Open up the diary and cut round it with pinking sheers leaving a border of about 6cm.  Cut a v shape into the spine of the book as shown.
3. Fold over the overlap and pin into place.
4.  Check the book still closes and then stitch in place so the pin can be removed.


5.  Draw a design of your choice on the front of the fabric.
6. Take the cover off the book by folding the cover back on itself.  Using an embroidery hoop and an embroidery needle and thread, backstitch over the pattern.
7. Keep going until your design is complete.
8. Remove from hoop, place back on book and marvel at your own talent.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial, if you do end up using it or adapting it please do leave a comment.  I do love to hear about everyone's handiwork.

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Friday, 4 October 2013

Weekend Link Love 4/10

Hello and welcome to the weekend everyone!  I'm heading up to York this weekend.  I'm heading up by train straight after work and I am more than a little bit excited.  I love a good train journey for reading, relaxing and generally having a bit of a chill.


I've managed to avoid the C-word so far on this blog, but this week I am slowly, casually begin to turn my mind towards Christmas presents.  As a result two of my lovely links for this week are gift-related.

Joanna from Adventures and Tea Parties has written a lovely post about crafted gifts for guys and shared her latest additions to her shop.


I've also been really enjoying having a wee nosey at some of the happenings at Yarndale (Skipton's festival of craft) last weekend.  There are some particularly lovely photographs on Rachell's blog, Heather's blog and on Jacquie's blog.

Finally I've found the most charming embroidery hoop project on Kate's Crafts on Sea blog.  Go and have a look!

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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Crocheted Poppy for Remembrance Day

For most of us, wearing a poppy on 11th November is important.  We rightly want to show our respect for those who have given their lives in the line of duty.  We buy a poppy, make a small donation to the Royal British Legion and stop everything to reflect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Above is a picture of a lovely crocheted brooch made with beautiful Sirdar baby bamboo wool and finished up with a sparkly button and brooch badge.  

For the last 3 years, the amazing Cath Fearn has worked with her mum and a team of volunteers making these poppies, in aid of the British Legion.  I got involved helping out last year when I stumbled across Cath's poppy appeal when searching for crochet flower patterns.  This year I've just posted off a batch of crocheted poppies to her as well.


Cath works insanely hard on her poppy appeal.  In 2011 she made £2000 and in 2012 she made £5000. This year her target is a whopping £10,000.  As a result, this year her appeal is even bigger and she has involved more and more people helping her with crocheting, gluing and packaging, with all proceeds going to the British Poppy Legion.


If you want to show your respect by wearing one of Cath's crocheted poppies, you can do so through her eBay page.  If you wish to help out with the crafting of these copies you can contact her by Facebook or Twitter.

All pictures for this post were used from Cath's eBay page with kind permission from Cath herself.

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