Wednesday, 20 August 2014


When I went to the Knitting Show at Earl's Court in the spring I bought a really huge ball of chunky Aran wool. I've had the idea to knit some cushion covers for myself, and our holiday seemed the perfect time for this "big for me" knit. 

This was my first cushion, and I was delighted with how it turned out. It is a 50cm cushion pad, so quite big. The pattern worked out perfectly with exactly five leaf designs on it. It may look a bit like cable knitting, but isn't, just a combination of knitting together and increasing. I am going to put the pattern for this Leaf Cushion online soon, though may knit another one in a deeper colour first.

I had enough wool left for a second cushion, and thought I would try something a bit more pictorial. I had a few problems, as originally the tree was going to be in a frame of leaves. Something went wrong and I had to unravel, which is why there is just a leaf in each corner. I was really pleased with the tree, which I planned out on a grid of paper. You can see my enormous grid below, which is actually 9 pieces of paper glued together. I had thought of writing it up as a pattern, but I am not sure that anyone else would want to follow such an enormous chart, or even how I would get it into a document. I even got a bit confused myself near the top of the tree, but thought that so long as I keep the right number of stitches, no one will be able to tell if the odd leaf is not in the place I originally planned. So this is probably going to be just for me. I may have a go at another similar cushion, as it was fun to do, and I would like to make the tree a bit more asymmetric, and knit it in a deeper colour.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Model's Own Accessories

I made this dress for my daughter before we went on holiday, and had the idea that some photos playing on the beach would be great. Somehow that isn't how they turned out. I think my little girl may be growing up before my eyes. When did that happen? These pictures were taken at the North Devon County Show. You may also notice the change of hair colour, which I agreed to in a moment of weakness, and am very much hoping will wash out before she goes back to school.

This is the pattern I used ....

... and the fabric that my sister will recognise, as I think it was a leftover from some window blinds. It was just the right width, and I like the balloon like pattern. I will probably have another go, and make the version with a different panel down the front, or the shorts version. This was quite an easy make. I made it over two days, though it could be done in one if you are a fairly quick sewer.

I slightly altered the pattern. Instead of using the shop bought bias tape that the pattern recommended, I thought it would look nicer to make my own tape from the main fabric. I had enough material to cut the tape for the front and back neck edges on the diagonal, but was running out of fabric and had to cut the tape for round the armhole straight. But it seemed to work fine. 

We then altered the shoulders to have ties, as this seemed much simpler that trying to get the lengths exactly right, and I thought would make the dress wearable for longer as she grows.  I top-stitched either side of all the seams as I thought it gave it a better finish. I would be interested to know what other sewers do about neatening seams. I don't have an overlocker, and often use a zigzag stitch to neaten, but this always takes a lot of time and thread.

But I am going to get back to some knitting next, as this seems to have become a sewing blog over the last few weeks.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Wedding Pictures

I didn't think I had any photos of my daughter being bridemaid at my niece's wedding in Ireland. But tah dah, there were some hiding on my husband's phone. The dress is really more purple than it looks here. Click Here if you want to read a bit more about the making of the dress.

And a few from the reception, where there was pottery painting, face painting, balloon modelling, and I think a lot of fun. I wasn't there as my son had some school exams, which still makes me sad. They have the coolest ever wedding video on Youtube which I will try to link to, though I am not sure if it will work. It makes me well up whenever I see it, although I am someone who cries very easily. The setting by the river is beautiful, but my favourite moment is at the beginning where my husband and daughter arrive at the hotel.

Link to YouTube

Friday, 1 August 2014

Upcycled Cushions

I am so happy with my latest sewing project. Mainly because these lovely cushions are for me, but also because I love an upcycle project.

My old cushion covers were looking very sad. I should have done the TV makeover trick of photographing them before in very poor lighting. So I had in mind to make some new cushion covers. Around the corner from my house there is an upholstery shop, that often has a bin of bargain bits outside. A few weeks ago I was having my usual look at the curtain offcuts when I saw there was a massive book of fabric samples propped against the bin. I was delighted when the shop said they did not even want anything for it, and when I got home I very carefully dismantled the book to get the samples out. 

So with most of the plain velvets pieces I have recovered my sofa cushions. Aren't the colours great. I don't think I would have used this variety of colours if I had had to buy the material. They look like jewels. I unpicked and reused the old zips and cushion pads, so this project was a complete bargain.

But I still have a huge selection of fabric pieces left. So any ideas of what I could make with them would be really welcome. Most are really thick brocades, and with quite big patterns. But none of the pieces are bigger than 30cm by 35cm.  The only idea I have had is to patchwork again, and try and make a large funky handbag. The sort of bag I like has room for a book and some knitting.

There were also a few bits of embroidered organza, and I am going to use these to make some little bags for my knitted shoes and toys.

Let me know if you have any ideas for what I could make with my hoard of fabric pieces.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

"Razzle Dazzle Em"

I promise this is going to be the last version of this dress.  I just thought I would make one more to get my value from the pattern, and this being my third version it really was a bit of a breeze. I didn't stress too much about tacking this time, but did finally work out how to insert the invisible zip properly. I remembered my techniques file from my City and Guild Fashion course, and there in it were the instructions and even a sample for an invisible zip. I must remember to use this file a bit more often.

This fabric was from the lovely Fabricland, and although my daughter doesn't really go for pink, this was a really subtle shade that we both liked. It was also quite a heavy cotton, which was very easy to sew.

So I had already planned to make this outfit, when she suddenly said that she would like to wear it in her end of year show: "Dazzle". So a bit of frantic sewing one weekend, and this time I let her win over the length, as she did have to dance in it. The show was fantastic, though quite emotional, as this is the end of primary school. 

So with the fabric I had cut off when hemming I made one of my "Land Girl Hairbands". I had forgotten how simple these are to make. The pattern is available in my Craftsy Shop, and has three versions of tie. I have temporarily reduced the price to just $1. It is really fun to make bands to go with different outfits, but they are also a fairly quick make for anyone selling hairbands at fairs.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Stanley Spider

Meet Stanley the Spider. Each year I try to make a toy mascot for the class that I have been working in at school. First there was Caterpillar Class, and they got a caterpillar and a butterfly. Next year was the rather daunting job of making a cricket for Cricket Class. And finally this year the delightful Spider Class. 

I was going to try to knit a really realistic tarantula, but I couldn't find the right wool. That may come later. So Stanley is just your average sort of spider. He is quite easy to make. The body is knitted on two needles and in one piece. I thought that buttons would make cute little feet, although you could use beads. He is hung on a long piece of elastic thread, which has a big black bead on the end. 

I was delighted that my one little ball of Rowan Fine Tweed wool (25g) was perfect to make two Stanleys, I haven't managed to take photographs of Stanley II yet, though he looks almost exactly the same.  Although I am sure other makes of wool would work well, I really liked the texture and bumpiness from using this brand.

Stanley is looking a little glum I know, and that is because he has found out that from next year the classes are going to all change and be named after biblical trees. Perhaps it is just as well, as the prospect of knitting a Firefly was worrying me. Spider Class will become Palm Class, and I will be in Olive Class. I'm not quite sure how that is going to work as far as knitting class mascots is concerned.

So farewell to my lovely Spiders, and if you want to make a similar toy you will be able to find the pattern in my shop later tonight.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Vintage Caravan Magazine

I was delighted to get an email from Anne in Australia, who had seen my caravan keyrings in Vintage Caravan Magazine. (Facebook Page is Here) One of them now holds the keys to her lovely vintage caravan, which was exactly the sort of thing I was hoping for. She sent me some photos too. Isn't it cute. I love the coordinated inside, as well as the silver and wood on the outside.

And here is my own retro girl reading the magazine! You might also notice her new dress, which I am going to write about on a separate post. I have also been scanning the pages of Vintage Caravan Magazine and daydreaming of having my own little home on wheels one day.