Monthly Archives: January 2019

A Splash of Colour

As well as hosting the wonderful Yarndale festival every year, Skipton is home to some rather lovely charity shops!  Two years ago, on a break from woolly workshops,  I picked up a gorgeous green linen coat that has stayed in the back of my wardrobe until recently.  There were a couple of buttons missing and, whilst I loved the colour and the fit, I thought it looked a little ‘sad’.


I reckoned a little bit of colour was what was needed, so it was time for my fabric stash to make another outing!  I draped a few possibilities over the shoulders and left them there for a while so that I could decide which I liked best.

Once I’d picked my favourite (a lovely Liberty fabric), I had to decide how I was going to use it.  I didn’t want to overdo it, but just add a bit of colour, so thought I could redo the pockets maybe and the ties on the back of the coat.  Initially I thought about removing the pockets entirely and replacing them in the Liberty fabric, but realised that, as it was a tana lawn fabric, it wouldn’t be strong enough, so decided to simply stitch the patterned fabric directly on to the existing pockets.

I made a paper pattern template for the pockets (it turned out they were slightly different shapes) and the back ties, adding a 1cm hem all the way around, then cut out the pieces once I’d ironed the fabric first to make sure there were no creases in it and it would lie flat.

I folded over 1cm all the way around and tacked each of the pieces ready to sew onto the coat.


I pinned the pieces onto the coat then, using a green thread I slipstitched the pieces in place, one at a time.

 

 

 

Next it was time to hit the button stash to see what I had!  In the end I plumped for the plain wooden buttons as I thought the others, pretty as they were, would just be too much colour, and they didn’t really match.

 

 

Once the buttons were sewn on I gave the coat a good iron and hey presto – it’s ready for its first outing!

Baby Baby Bunting

I’ve come across all sorts when I’ve been rooting through my stash recently – lots of unfinished projects that might finally see the light of day now.

 

One thing I found was a short piece (5 pennants) of bunting that I’d made to sell a few years ago.  I really loved the colours, but unfortunately I couldn’t make use of it at home as it said ‘baby’ on it!

 

 

However, the length fitted perfectly across the front of one of the cabinets in the kitchen so I decided that I’d just turn the bunting over and sew some hearts on what would now become the front.

A quick search through my Liberty bag found a lovely blue floral print that was perfect for what I wanted.  On a scrap of paper I drew a heart freehand and cut it out to make my template.  Rather than putting the heart on all 5 pennants, I opted for just the blue ones, so I only needed 3 hearts.

 

It couldn’t have been easier to sew them on.  Once I’d pinned them in place (2 pins, 1 on either side), I used a zig zag stitch on the machine to applique them on (no tacking needed).

Hopefully you can see from the photo that the stitching doesn’t have to be perfect (neither does the cutting of the heart for that matter) as it just adds to the rustic look of the finished item.

 


I’m really pleased with the finished result, but looking at the photograph it’s made me realise it’s probably time to sort through my crockery – I can’t believe how many plates and bowls I’ve accumulated!!

 

 

 

Time For Bed Said Zebedee

When I was sorting through all the bags of wool that are currently hiding under my table the other day I came across the Attic24 Jolly Chunky Bag that I’d started to crochet last year.  I’d got as far as finishing the main bag, but still needed the handles and all the ends were waiting to be sewn in.    I was about to start when I wondered if there was anything else I could use the bag for instead.

Now, as well as her basket in the kitchen (see Project 11) Coco the Chihuahua also loves to sleep by the radiator in the front room.  Currently she uses a couple of thin cushions, but I thought this bag would make a much nicer bed for her instead, I just needed a nice comfy cushion to put inside the bag.  When it comes to bedtime, Coco chooses to sleep upstairs on a large foam bed that has frankly seen better days.  So, I decided to cut some of this foam to make the cushion for bed number 2  and make bed number 3 smaller (I hope you’re following all this!)

I drew around the base of the bag to make a paper template which I then used to draw a circle straight onto the foam.  Because the foam was quite thick (it was 8cm deep)  I had to put the scissors in vertically and ‘chop’ my way around the edge of the circle, but it wasn’t too difficult once I got started.

Now to cover the cushion I found a rather lovely blue print in my Liberty stash.  Because the sides and base of the cushion wouldn’t be visible once it was in the bag, I opted for a plain white cotton and decided to just use the Liberty fabric for the top.

I used my paper template to cut out one Liberty fabric circle for the top and 2 white circles for the base, making sure I added a 1.5cm seam allowance.  I then used a piece of wool to measure the circumference of the template as this would be the length of white fabric strip I would need to make the side of the cushion (again allowing a 1.5cm allowance).

 

Once I’d sewn the side to the top blue circle, I folded the 2 white fabric circles and positioned them so that they would overlap slightly on the base to create a gap to insert the cushion.  (I wanted to keep it nice and simple and didn’t want to have to put a zip in as I didn’t have one, but obviously that would have been an option).

Now that the 2 base pieces were sewn in place, it was simply a case of trimming the seam allowances, turning the cushion cover the right way round and inserting the cushion pad!

 

As you can see, the cushion fits nicely inside the bag, and Coco now has a comfy bed for all her front room sleeping 🙂

All that’s left is for me to try and get a decent photo of her in it!

 

I Could Have Been A Contender!

Well, I think my latest project is a serious contender for my favourite so far!

 

Mum and I went to York just before Christmas and came across this lovely book in a vintage teashop.  It’s called Granny Chic, published by Kyle Books and is packed full of what it calls “crafty recipes and inspiration for the handmade home”.  I was lucky enough to find a copy of it in my Christmas presents and have been leafing through the pages ever since deciding on what to make first!

 

 

The ‘perfectly peachy’ half pinny caught my eye straightaway as it seemed such a brilliantly simple idea – basically you use a tea towel for the main apron, add a pocket and some ties!   Duly inspired, I set to work looking through my supply of tea towels until I found the one I wanted (the one I chose had quite a lot of floral detail at one side, with the rest of the tea towel being pretty plain and I reckoned that would give me scope to use some of the floral Liberty prints in my stash).

To be honest I think playing around with different fabric and ribbon combinations was possibly the most enjoyable part of the project.  It really is up to you how decorative you choose to make your pinny and that’s what makes it truly unique.

I decided for the ties to join a selection of different fabrics together rather than use a long strip of the same print (I ended up with 5 sections in each of the ties), so this part took a little longer than it could have done.  Once the ties were complete though, I simply stitched them to each side of the front of the tea towel and turned my attention to the pocket.

Once I’d chosen the fabric for the pocket and decided how big I wanted it, I had a play around with other bits and pieces.  In the end I opted for a strip of ribbon across the bottom of the pocket, and a contrasting top, but again, just go with the flow and see what combinations you can come up with depending on what materials you have available.

Once the top and ribbon were sewn on, it was time to sew the pocket itself on to the tea towel.  I made sure I tacked the pocket on first and checked I was happy with the position before I sewed it on.  It would have been nice maybe to add some lace to the bottom of the tea towel but I didn’t have any in my stash so I couldn’t.

I made the ties long enough so that they would go around my back and then come round to the front again to be tied, but again this is something you can adapt to your preference.

Ooh, I feel like a proper Domestic Goddess now – time to bake some fruit scones I think! 🙂

 

New Year – new phone cover!

My old felt cover

 

A while ago I made myself a felt phone cover which I loved.  I knew it wouldn’t be long however before the felt started to bobble as felt is wont to do, so I thought it was finally time to make a replacement.

We spent New Year in the Highlands and I wanted something nice and easy to knit while my lovely husband was driving us around.  A new phone cover seemed the perfect little project!

 

 

Because I’d be knitting whilst the car was moving, I didn’t want a fancy pattern that I’d have to keep checking as I knew it would make me travel sick, but neither did I want plain stocking stitch or garter stitch.  In the end I plumped for moss stitch which looked lovely in the tweed DK I was using.  It took a few attempts to work out the right number of stitches to cast on mind.  The only way was to actually knit up a few rows to see how wide it would be.  Once I’d settled on 22 stitches it was plain sailing!

 

I could have just made a pouch, but decided to add a flap with a buttonhole to keep my phone secure and stop it sliding out in my bag.  I also wanted to put a buttonhole in too, so once I was back home it was time to root through my stash to find a suitable lining fabric and button.

 

You could customise the flap depending on what size or shape you wanted it, but I knitted 4 rows straight before decreasing 1 stitch at each end of the next 7 rows, then casting off the remaining 8 stitches .  The size of the button I’d chosen meant that to make my buttonhole I cast off 2 stitches in the centre of the appropriate row, then cast on two stitches at the gap to complete the following row.

 

Once the knitted was complete, I set about making the lining.  The material I’d chosen wasn’t quite long enough, so I simply joined 2 pieces together with a 1.5cm seam.  The lining needs to be just a little bit narrower than the knitted cover and I simply folded the edges over, ironed them, then pinned the lining in place.  No need for any tacking.

 

Next you need to work your way all the way around the cover attaching the lining to the knitting with neat little slip stitches.  Keep making sure that you can’t see the stitching from the front – you don’t want to get all the way to the end and realise some of your sewing is on show!

Once the lining is secure you can complete the buttonhole.  With the front of the phone cover facing you, carefully pop some small, sharp scissors through the buttonhole to the lining below and make a small cut in the fabric.  Gradually increase the size of the slit to match the knitted buttonhole.  Make sure that the button fits snugly through the hole (whilst there will be some give in the knitted fabric, there won’t be any in the lining so you’ll need to make sure the fabric is cut to the right size).  You can then work blanket stitch all the way around the button hole making sure you catch the knitted cover and the lining.  The colour thread you chose is up to you – you could go for the same colour as the cover, or maybe chose a nice contrasting colour instead.

All that’s left at this point is to sew up the seams.  You can do this as decoratively as you wish really.  I chose to work my way all around the cover in blanket stitch (starting from the bottom left, I worked up the left hand side, all the way around the flap and down the right hand side).

I went for a subtle colour choice when it came to thread, but you could be as adventurous as you like.

And there you have it – one new phone cover made from scraps of yarn and fabric.   Fingers crossed this one lasts a bit longer than the last one!

 

Frankie the Fish

For some reason I seemed to have acquired a rather large collection of jars (I think I had romantic notions of making lots of lovely jams and chutneys to give people for Christmas but somehow that never happened!)   After a bit of Googling, and a few lost hours on Pinterest, I decided to make a little crochet goldfish to keep me company in my craft room.

I came across a really excellent free guide here from Eden Reborn, which I can highly recommend.  I’ve adapted it slightly as the jar I chose was smaller than the one shown,  so there wasn’t as much room inside, hence my fish is minus a dorsal fin (but he seems to be managing okay without it so far).

The guide gives a really detailed pattern to follow, but basically it’s a case of crocheting a rectangle and a couple of oval shapes for side fins, the size of which will depend on the size of your jar and what else you want to pop in.   The rectangle becomes the fish’s body and after you’ve sewn on the fins and added a couple of beads for eyes then hey presto!  you have a little goldfish 🙂  You then need to attach a length of invisible thread to the fish as this is what you’ll use to make him ‘float’.

Basically you can be as creative as you want when it comes to decorating your fish’s new home.  When I’d made Frankie and glued his invisible thread to the underside of the lid (watching out for those awful strands of hot glue that seem to get everywhere when you use a glue gun) I decided he looked too lonely all by himself.

 

However, because my jar was on the small side, there wasn’t really much room to pop anything else in.  In the end I decided to print out a photo of a coral reef (there are loads of royalty free images available if you Google).  I popped a strip of double sided tape along the top edge so that the photo would stick to the jar (the bottom end is just held in place by all the tiny seed beads I put in).

 

Just as I was screwing the lid back on again I noticed a little jar full of the charms I’d used for the previous bottle bank project, and decided to pop one of the turtle charms in too to keep Frankie company.  I think you can just about make him out on the sea bed having a well-earned rest!

This project has got me thinking now about the potential for a whole menagerie of animals in various containers!  What do you think?