Sunday, 14 September 2014

Mermaid's Purse

I've been thinking about this knitting project for a while now, but needed to find the real thing so I had something to work from. And so I was delighted that I stumbled across a mermaid's purse on the beach on holiday. I photographed it, and had a really good look at its shape. 

In case you didn't know, a mermaid's purse is the egg case that surrounds the fertilized eggs of some sharks, skates, and chimaeras. And although it is not strange to find one washed up on the shore, they are also not that common, at least on the beaches where I wander. I do think there is something rather delightful (and a bit magical) about finding a mermaid's purse. 

If you want to read a bit more about them there is a really good site here with advice on identification. And you can take part in a UK survey if you find one yourself, at The Shark's Trust MERMAID'S PURSE. I am going to send them my photo, though I think mine was a Spotted Ray case. I had not realized that there were so many types of mermaid purse until I found this site, so am now wondering if I should come out with a range of knitting patterns for different types. I am sort of joking, as I suspect there may not be a huge demand for this pattern, but sometimes you just have to do something because the spirit moves you.

This is not a long pattern, and contains some icord knitting to make the horns, and short rows to get the curved shape. To get its distinctive slightly deflated shape it is also important not to overstuff it.  

I have set up a Mermaid Purse Promotion. One might look rather nice with some of my other sea creatures.  I have a selection on a shelf in my bathroon, and they make a really nice display. So if you buy this pattern on ravelry in combination with any of my other beach patterns (Spiral Shell, Starfish, Sand Dollar, Scallop Shell, Sea Urchin or Little Minnow) you get a discount of £1. Remember to buy them in one transaction, otherwise this won't work, and email me if you have any problems. The pattern is also available on Craftsy.

And finally, although I have really tried to be realistic with my mermaid's purse,  my daughter suggested that if I added an eye I would have made Sheldon J. Plankton from SpongeBob Squarepants, which was not my intention at all, but I do see what she means.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Aran Leaf Cushion Pattern

You might think that because I like making things my house is beautifully furnished. It is not, because I imagine, like other people, life gets busy and things just get in the way. But I did decide this year to get to grips with sorting out a few of the more shabby areas.

So with that in mind I have made another cushion cover from my Aran Leaf Design. I picked this lovely blue, called denim, as I have plans to reupholster one of my armchairs, and I think this will look gorgeous on it. Quite a daunting project, but I am going to give it a go.

So you can find this Aran Leaf Cushion Pattern in ravelry, or Craftsy. It is really quite an easy and quick knit. The wool is thick Aran, and it is knitted on 6mm needles. It may look a bit like cable, but is a combination of increasing and decreasing to make the leaves.

Here is the original cream version of the Leaf Cushion

I also had a lot of positive comments on my Tree Cushion and I am still working on making a chart for the pattern for this. And I have an idea for another cushion, though that is still just in my head.

Saturday, 6 September 2014


I seem to have so much new to write about at the moment, but here is the last of my holiday posts. We drove across Dartmoor near the end of our holiday in North Devon, on our way to visit Granny, who lives in South Devon. It really is beautiful, although I am not sure that the photograph above is large enough to really show how great the views are.

My daughter is still not too old to bring a cuddly toy on holiday, and Clopper was really excited to meet a real Dartmoor pony. Highlight of his holiday. These ponies live wild on the moor, but are very friendly.

The granite outcrops of rocks are called tors, and there is a tradition to hide letterboxes on them. These boxes contain an inkpad and a stamp, so we had great fun hunting around the crevices in the rocks until we found one.

Heading down from the tor I managed to catch one of those increasingly rare moments when my children were getting on.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Homespun Miniatures

This morning I heard the big thud of a parcel come through my letterbox. What could it be? I was delighted to find the latest issue of Homespun had winged its way to me from Australia, and in an article on miniature crafts, my own tiny Forget-Me-Not Fairy. Some of the other miniature crafts featured are truly amazing, and I felt quite honoured to be there amongst them.

I do love Homespun Magazine. It is just jam packed full of really beautiful patterns and projects. A really inspiring magazine. So I settle down now for a good read.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Big School Wallet

My daughter is off to secondary school in just a few days, and so we started hunting around the shops for a new wallet. There wasn't anything quite right, and I then saw Vicky Myer's 5 Wallet Tutorials. Why not have a go at making one?

My daughter was very specific about what she needed: a pocket for her phone, a space for her bus pass, and somewhere for a tiny bit of cash for emergencies and her door key. They have to hand these things in every day, so it does seem a good idea to have one wallet for everything. 

The wallet tutorials, although all excellent, had lots of pockets for cards, and as we didn't need this, I thought I would just go for it and make up my own design. So with a few mistakes along the way, she now has a bespoke Big School Wallet.

Like Vicky, I do like the idea of recycling fabric, so we used a pair of old denim shorts, and a cotton fabric you may have seen before. The zip pocket for change and the phone pocket were stitched onto the lining piece. I then made the curved pocket flap and rouleau loop and tacked these in place. The lining and blue denim outer piece, with thick interlining piece, were then sewn together inside out, leaving a hole, so the whole thing can be turned out. A few buttons and poppers and I was done. I did top stitch carefully, but didn't do a lot of measuring, so there are a few bits that are wonky. I may have another go at making another one with a bit more precision. It has inspired me a bit for my small squares of thick fabric that I wrote about here, but still have done nothing with. So off to Big School ...

Saturday, 30 August 2014


Sea Holly

These are just a few nature pictures from a coastal walk in North Devon.

Braunton Burrows - a large area of sand dunes with a really rich variety of plants and animals.

Oh dear - I shouldn't have started labelling my photos, as I have no idea what this is, but it was very pretty.

The Common Blue Butterfly - so pretty he should have a better name I think.

Upturned boats at Appledore

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Poppy Shoes

Here is one of my holiday knits. When I am on holiday I usually like to knit a from my own patterns. I am away from my computer, so it is difficult to write anything new, and it gives me a good opportunity to see if I can make any improvements. 

Did I mention that my children said that I was not allowed to knit on the beach? I rather reluctantly agreed to this as part of the deal that on their part no electronic gadgets were allowed on the beach. Rather annoying as there is nothing nicer than sitting knitting on the beach, but I still had plenty of time to knit, especially on the car journey.

So here are some new baby shoes, from my Baby Bee Pattern, which is for sale on Craftsy and ravelry. There will be some more baby shoes with other flowers on the way. I try really hard to embroider them in a way that I have not done before, so anyone buying them has a truly unique gift. I thought a bold poppy would look great on this soft grey chenille wool (I know they look blue, but they really are grey) that I used for this pair, which will be heading off to my Etsy Shop as soon as I have made a little shoe bag to put them in.