Saturday, 21 November 2015

Lavender and Crochet Bunting

That time of year has come again when lavender has been picked. I had a tiny amount from my own garden, but this was added to by the lavender from the communal gardens of the sheltered flats where my mum lives. As no one else seemed to want it she claimed the whole lot.

Both these sets of bag were made from old blouse material. The bird blouse was a favourite, although I think I prefer the traditional little pink bags.  I will explain below the reason for the rather curiously shape triangular bags.

You may have been wondering if I was going to continue with my Crochet Diary. It has been a few weeks since I did any crochet. So much crafting to do, and so little time.

I was shopping with my daughter when we saw some lovely bunting, with was made of little triangular lavender bags. It was quite expensive, and as I knew I had quite a lot of lavender this year, said I would have a go at making one. So that is the reason for the bags being triangles. The extra bags were just the ones we had left over.

But to add a bit more colour I decided to alternate with some crochet granny triangles. Not the granny squares on my to do list, I know, but I think I am confident enough now to go on to some squares.

The garden fence was not the final display place, and the bunting is now in my daughter's bedroom. It just never seems light enough these days to get a good photo indoors.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Red Fox

I'm a bit short of woolly stuff this week, so thought you might like to see my daughter's latest make from school art club. Isn't he cute? He is just made from paper and masking tape, with acrylic paint. He sits on my sewing table, and might be giving me idea for a new knit. I'm not sure you would even call him paper mache, as he is just really scrunched up paper and a lot of tape.

He reminds me of Pablo the Red Fox, which was a beautiful children's animation I used to watch with my son when he was little. Does anyone remember it? It was based on a book by Hannah Giffard Red Fox. I bought a secondhand copy of this from the discard shelf in our library, which despite being very tatty, I keep. The illustrations are so simple and beautiful.

Other news that is that I decided to reopen my Folksy Shop. I very briefly had a shop on Folksy a few years ago, which hardly got looked at and sold nothing so I just didn't renew any of the listings. 

But Folksy have a special offer this weekend, that you can list 20 items free of charge, so I thought I would give it another try. I have put my 20 best selling patterns in.

At the moment my shop is not getting many views, and I wonder if it is a bit like Etsy, where until I got a few sales it was very slow. It also looks to the casual visitor like I have had the shop a very long time with no sales, which is probably off-putting. Or perhaps Folksy is just more of a place to sell crafted items, and not patterns. I thought that at first with Etsy, and now do fairly well there with patterns and knitted items. If you have any experience of selling on Folksy good or bad, especially of selling patterns, I would love to here about it. And if you have your own shop (or fancy opening one) now is the time to restock, as the offer only runs until the end of the day. (Just thought I should add that Folksy at present is only open to sellers in the UK.)


Friday, 6 November 2015

Dutch House Wallet or Pencil Case

After our visit to Bruges this summer the beautiful houses that we photographed from the canal gave me the idea to knit a house with a step gable roof. I have called this a Dutch House, so apologies to the Belgium houses that were actually my inspiration

I started with the idea to make a model house, a bit like my Little Woollie House Pattern. Somewhere along the way I changed my mind, and decided it could become pencil case or wallet. But then thinking of our visit to the Chocolate Museum in Bruges, decided it would make a really nice gift wallet for a bar of chocolate. (You may have noticed that the chocolate is Swiss, and from my local supermarket, but I hope it gives the idea. The chocolate we bought in Bruges has long since been eaten.)

The house is knitted in red, cream and brown double knit wool. Some of the details like the black window frames and railings were embroidered on afterwards. I do enjoy stitching on knitting, which I find much easier that embroidery on cloth. 

The construction is very easy. The front and back are just sewn together. I made a black felt lining, which is just oversewn in at the mouth. This is not absolutely essential, but I thought if anyone were to use it as a pencil case, it would stop anything getting caught up in the loops of wool on the inside.

My wallet has a simple button and loop fastener. A different fastener (perhaps Velcro) would be better if it were a container for pencils. My wallet is 9cm by 30cm, and the pattern is simply the chart I used for the front section, and some instructions for the back section, and making up.

I am already working on an idea for another Dutch house which will be 3-D, and a functional object. Are you intrigued? So I have decided to put the pattern for this one on as a free pattern. It is available on ravelry, Craftsy and Loveknitting.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Seaside Chair

This rather disgraceful looking chair was bought from IKEA about 16 years ago. At first it was the chair that I had in my son's room next to his cot, so I had somewhere comfy to sit and feed him during the night. It has moved around the house, and more recently has become the chair my soon-to-be 95 year old mother likes to sit in when she visits us. It is fairly small, which suits her, and can be moved up really close to the TV. But as you can see it has become very tatty.
The covers are removable, so I decided it was time to give it a make over. The first job was to take apart the old covers. This unpicking took me a lot of work, but I thought it was the best way to make sure I had accurate pattern pieces.

The second job, which took me almost as long, was to pick a fabric. After a lot of trips to fabric shops, I decided that the best way to make the job least stressful was to pick something relatively inexpensive. There is nothing worse than having an expensive fabric to cut into, when you are not completely confident that the project is going to work. I also knew that some sections had to be gathered, so didn't want anything too thick. I also wanted something washable, as being realistic we do have quite a few spills.

Work in progress ...

I loved this rather unique seaside fabric. It doesn't really go with the living room, so the chair may live in a bedroom, and just be brought down when Granny comes to visit.

The sewing was much easier than I imagined. A professional upholsterer may have done a better job, but I think it has given the chair a new lease of life. For the seat cushion I used some heavy weight denim that I already had, as I thought it needed something a bit more hardwearing, and the seaside fabric might be a bit much over the whole chair.

Well someone is very happy and is already making herself at home on the new seaside chair!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Pumpy the Pumpkin

There is a point with children when you will probably find yourself saying, "no more cuddly toys". There is only so much love to spread around the ones that you already have. I reached this point a few years ago, but made an exceptions for Pumpy the Pumpkin.  I know this isn't a snapshot, but hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Spooky Stanley Spider

Since it is the time of year for spookiness and all things creepy, I just thought I would show you my Spooky Stanley Spider. Actually I think he is not really frightening, just a little glum.

He is very easy to make. He is knitted flat on two needles, with icord legs. His feet are black buttons, although I think beads also would work well. Link to the pattern on Craftsy is in my lefthand sidebar.

I used Rowan Fine Tweed (Pendle), and knitted two Stanleys from one 25g ball. I think other wools would work well, although you would need to adjust the needle size. I liked the rough bumpy texture of this brand. 

Friday, 16 October 2015


I don't often repeat posts, but it is that time of year again. When I showed this before there was quite a bit of interest in the game of conkers. So apologies if you have already seen this, or if you live on the other side of the world, and are looking forward to Spring.

Conkers are the fruit of the horse chestnut tree. Finding a spikey green case,  slightly split open, and removing a shiny conker from its white cushion, is one of the pleasures of Autumn. But it has been on my mind that my pattern did not include the conker case. So I have reworked the pattern adding a shell section. So now you can make a lovely little home for your conkers. The new pattern is available on ravelry and Craftsy.

The shell is knitted on just two straight needles and in two pieces: green and cream. So the only sewing up is joining the inner and outer shells. There is some short row knitting to create the curves. As you will see I have made two variations: a half shell, which is how I often find a conker on the ground, or the two halves sewn together so you can have your conker just peeping out.

The game conkers is played between two people. A hole is made in the conkers, and they are threaded on a piece of string. They take turns hitting each others conker with their own. Each player holds their conker out in front of themselves, and the other player takes a swing at it with their conker. The conker that breaks the other one is the victor. The dangers are that you can be hit by swinging conkers, which are quite hard, or being hit by flying shards of conkers when the hit is successful. Hard conkers usually win, but it is considered cheating to harden your conker artificially.  Apparently Michael Palin of Monty Python was disqualified from a conkers competition for baking his conker and soaking it in vinegar.

Then there is the whole business of scoring. A conker that defeats another is a oner, etc. But if a conker beats another conker, it also takes on that conker's score. So if a twoer beats a threer, it would become a fiver. It is that conker that takes the title, not the human swinging it! 

 Happy Autumn Conkering