Macaroons & Mini-drawstring bags

Well hellooooo!  Wow, these summer months are flying by and I don’t know about you but I seem to have been very BUSY the last few weeks!  Mostly with nice things, like going camping and visiting friends and family, but still, it all goes by so fast.

Crochet is one of my best forms of relaxing and unwinding, so whenever I’m dashing about I like to take my favourite hook and a small bag of scrap yarns with me and make some pleasing little things.  This summer I’ve been loving these gorgeous Macaroon pincusions by Lilla Björn crochet.  Named ‘cos they look like little cakeys, good enough to eat (but no calories)!  They’re made using overlay crochet, which I think gives them an intricate, almost tapestry-like appearance.  However this pattern & tutorial are brilliantly easy to follow – it’s actually much simpler than it looks!  In fact as soon as I’d gotten the hang of it, I adapted it to make a mini-drawstring bag using the same technique.  Yummy or what?!pinkcaramelsSo yummy that I made a bunch on a recent weekend with friends and then gave them all away, so I only have a couple left to show you…!minibagsI’m back home for a few weeks now, apart from a day-trip jolly to the Birmingham Festival of Quilts this weekend (and yes I am FIZZING with anticipation!) with a couple of my lovely craftsy pals.  I’ve got lots of making to do, and some exciting news to share with you about an upcoming  event: more on this VERY SOON….allmacsMeanwhile, wishing you all a delightfully sweet week 🙂

Quick Colourful hats

hatcircleI do so love a small, stash-busting project every now and then, in between a biggie, don’t you?

These fab hats are a doddle to do, perfect for using up those leftover bits of yarn and for hooking away whilst in front of the TV/DVD/Radio!hatsThe pattern, by Jenna Wingate, is really straightforward and is one of the easiest crocht-rib techniques I’ve come across.  I did the ribbed bands with a US size F (3.75mm) hook, and upped to a UK 4mm for the main body of the hat.  Also, brilliant Jenna has even worked out a range of sizes, from Very Tiny Person to adult – what a star!redhatsThe braids were much easier than I expected and only took about 20 minutes to cut, attach, and finish.  I went with the length suggested and was really pleased with how they turned out.  I reckon they look pretty smart!bluehatsYou can find the pattern either on Ravelry (search for ‘Scrap Busters Hats’, or on allfreecrochet, HERE. Perfect for winter hooking and wearing!hatparadeOh, and if by any chance you live in Herefordshire and fancy purchasing a ready-made version, I have news for you on our Christmas craft fair coming soon!

Wishing you all a cosy, colourful weekend 🙂

Spring Progress: Blue Waves Blanket

springdaffsHello all!  What a fabulous time we had last week here in the Marches – glorious sunshine, lighter evenings, and WARM enough to turn off the heating and throw off your jumper!

All this has meant I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors, but nonetheless, I HAVE been making steady progress on the Blue Waves blanket.  Yesterday I reached wave #45, so I’m more than halfway, and very pleased with the way it’s looking so far:BlueWaves45This is a lovely, rhythmic pattern to be working on right now, perfect for relaxing in front of the TV or radio in the evenings after a day in the garden.  If you’ve been toying with the idea of making a blanket, I encourage you to have a go!  Pattern & tutorial HERE at Attic24.

Wishing you all a bright and beautiful week! 🙂

 

Yes, I’m wearing a sheet

and the last time I had my photo taken in one, it had holes cut out for eyes and I was probably about seven (and there may have been a pumpkin lantern involved as well)!Sheet2

But after a bit of fiddling, I managed to sort out the fit of the sleeves on the Simplicity 2174 and I must say, I’m rather pleased.  I’m particularly happy with the fit of the skirt, I was a bit dubious about the pockets (with my tum I don’t need any extra bulk in that area!) but I think they look pretty good.  In fact I’ve grown quite attached to my ‘Charity Shop Blue’ sheet version, even though it’s only machine basted together and there are some wrinkly seams here and there.  I think you can see where…    Sheet1

So yesterday, I started working on the dress itself!  I spent hours jiggling the pattern pieces around my scanty length of fabric, but after making some sacrifices to the Goddess of Sleeves (again!),ShortSleeve I have my pieces cut out and am ready to start stitching.  I’m very excited to be finally making a dress from this fabric, I absolutely LOVE it and the contrast fabric I’ve used for the facings (which you might recognise from here) goes with it perfectly.  It’s all looking very pink in the sewing room at the moment!CuttingTimeRight, that’s enough for today, I’m off to watch the Sewing Bee prelude show now – Yay!

 

First sew of the year

For the past week I’ve been getting stuck in to making a muslin for my first sewing project of 2015, the Simplicity 2174 ‘Amazing Fit’ dress, which I’m planning to make as part of my Stashbusting Sewalong pledge.pattern&fabric

I’ve had this gorgeous piece of Jenean Morrison fabric for almost FOUR years, and always thought it wold make a fabulous smart-casual dress.  Originally I was going to go for the Colette Laurel, but shift dresses are proving a pain to fit on me since my weight gain and body-shape changes, and after two frustratingly disastrous muslins last year I gave up and the fabric went back in the stash!  It’s been there so long, I actually forgot I only had 2½ yards (WHY didn’t I buy more??), so I’m going to have to be a bit creative with my fabric layout if I want to squeeze this dress out of it!  But never fear!  I have some lovely pink remnants in my stash that I can use for the facings and pockets, haha!triallayout

Now, I’ve been reading good things about these Amazing Fit patterns over at the Curvy Sewing Collective lately, so I thought I’d give this one a go.  I must say that up until today, I was REALLY pleased with the way the fit was going.  I graded the D-sized bodice pieces from a 16 at the neck/shoulders to a 20 at the waist and have only made a few minor alterations.  I took out a small amount at the top of the side seams (so as not to repeat my Sweetheart Sundress issues!), took ½” out of the bodice length and dropped the bust apex by 3/4″.  Overall I was very happy with the fit of the bodice, and the skirt fit beautifully out of the packet, with no alterations needed – whoohoo!  I was almost beginning to think I could dispense with those pesky 1″ seam allowances when I cut the actual dress from my skimpy bit of fabric.

HOWEVER.  Today was Sleeve Day.  Oh dear.  Everything was going so well…  I always have problems with sleeves!  Too tight all round, too much gathering (which is meant to be ‘ease’) at the top, and now my amazing-fit bodice pulls across the top of the chest.  Sigh.  Tomorrow’s another day…sleevesArgh

I’m not sure I can face re-drafting and cutting another bodice for the muslin, so I’m going to try to fiddle with the seam allowances and see if I can make a bit more room in the armscye that way.  But those sleeves will have to be wider when I make the real thing!

Wish me luck 🙂  I’ll let you know how I get on soon!

 

Purple Waves Pt 1: Hot Water Bottle Cover

It’s WINTER!!  Remember I said at the end of last month that I was looking forward to a new winter crochet project?  Well, this isn’t it!  But THIS, my friends, is my test-run for a full double-bed-sized winter blanket!  Oh YEAH!!HWBC1

I’ve been inspired by all the lovely Ripple Blankets appearing on Lucy’s Attic24 blog (here and here) recently, and decided I’d like to make one for myself using lots of warm purples and pinks.  As it’s such a big project, I thought I’d better actually check my tension for once (because we know what happens when I don’t, right??).  And then I got the idea that it would be SO COSY to have a hot-water bottle cover to match my blanket!HWBC2

Doing a ‘try-out’ like this was also a great way to see how the colours worked together. Originally, I thought I’d repeat the same sequence of colours through the whole blanket, but once I started making the hottie cover I soon saw it would look much better (and be more fun to make!) if I varied them.

If you fancy making yourself a snuggly hot water bottle cover like this, all you need is the Attic24 Neat Ripple pattern.  I used a size G (UK 4mm) hook and StyleCraft special DK.  It’s basically one long piece (42 stitches x 36 rows) joined at the top & bottom to make a tube then sewn up at one end to hold the water bottle; then a rectangle (28 stitches x 16 rows) attatched to the back to make the top flap.  Obviously the size may vary depending on your tension and your hot water bottle!HWBCflap

I ‘filled in’ the top and bottom of the ripples on the rectangle-flap to make them straight (as per Lucy’s tutorial), then crocheted a border along each side as well.  I also did a border along the top edge of the main piece, then crocheted the flap to the back of this (not particularly centrally, as you can see!) and sewed a button on the front.

hwbcback

Simple and very snuggly!  I’ve now started on the blanket for real, and there is something SO very relaxing about the rhythm of hooking these lovely purple waves in the evenings, I just love sitting by the fire, wrapping myself up in these gorgeous colours…  Expect to see a ‘WhooHoo’ post on this sometime…er, next summer??

Wishing you all a very cosy weekend! 🙂

 

October harvest

Reposted from 2 Nov 2014

spindleberries2

It’s been a month of lovely autumnal walks and lots of crochet and craft projects, some of them by the fire as we’ve had our first few chilly nights!

…a storm brought down a bumper crop of chestnuts from the tree in the field behind my house, more than the squirrels could grab in one go, so for once there were some left for me – delicious!

chestnuts…I’ve been making tea cosies galore for our stall at the Christmas craft fair, but this one was a long-promised gift for my mum (with matching coasters so’s dad didn’t feel left out!).  You can find this lovely pattern with a great tutorial over at Crochet With Raymondmumscosy1…and speaking of cosy, I couldn’t resist taking a pic of my favourity hippy house on my favourite walk.  It’s nestled at the bottom of a magical wooded cwm beside the river, with woodsheds and an old caravan in the garden…honeyhouse

…spindleberries in the hedgerow by our lane!  I’m always amazed to see these growing ‘in the wild’, one of our most colourful native shrubs…spindleberries

…a big WhooHoo! moment for me this month too, as I finally finished the Crochet Turtles! Just a little sneak peek for now as they haven’t yet arrived at their new home, but expect a full report in the next week or so…

turtlesneakpeek…and finally, on the last day of the month, an outing to Llyn Cwm Mynach with a picnic by the lake.  It looks much chillier in this picture, it was actually a really mild day!cwmmynachI hope you all had a lovely October.  I’m looking forward in November to a new winter crochet project, sewing a Christmas party dress, and making lots more tea cosies!

My blog is one year old this week, and I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who comes along to read about and share in my creative adventures.  I really appreciate all your lovely comments and emails, and look forward to lots more blogging in the year to come!

Happy Celtic New Year, everyone. 🙂

 

Vintage sewing patterns treasure trove!

reposted from 27 Oct 2014

Remember last month, I mentioned that I’d spent a happy evening rummaging through a treasure trove of vintage patterns at my friend Jas’s?  Well I also took LOADS of pictures to share with you!  CHECK THESE OUT!60s&70s Along with a gorgeous batch of funky 70s wear, I also fell in love with a whole bunch of Vogue Designer originals from the 60s, and even some 40s and 50s lingerie patterns that had belonged to Jas’s mum, with all the pieces and instructions (not that they gave many!) still complete:40slingerie

We managed to find a few of these older ones on Vintage Pattern Wiki, but the daywear dress below left, with half the number missing, we couldn’t track down.  Judging from the style I reckon it must be 1950s.  Any info, anyone?50sDress&slips

Now, what about these Vogue Designers from the 1960s?  Here’s a Belinda Bellville from 1969.  She was the founder of Bellville-Sassoon, went on to design for the likes of Princess Di and was responsible for that pink number she wore on her wedding day. Think I like her 60s styles better!belindabellville

Or this Oscar de La Renta from 1968.  Look at that styling – straight out of a cult 60s movie or what??delarenta

This next one by French design house Patou, was featured in the trendy French magazineL’Art et la Mode in 1964, as shown in the repro by Paper Pursuits belowPatou1432

vogue1432inmag

Jas was obviously fond of Galitzine (inventor of the palazzo pyjamas in 1960), and has a whole bunch of her designs from the 60s and 70s.  Here are three I really love:galitzine1648galizine2123

galitzine2986

The top two are from 1968 & 69; this last one has been hard to date, but I reckon early- to mid-70s.  It just oozes that lazy-but-glitzy-but-slightly-sleazey 70s style!

And now we’re on to my favourite decade, how about these great vest ‘n’ flares combos from Simplicity?  Gotta love a pattern that calls for ostrich feather trim on your trousers!70sSimplicity

And finally, could it be that Vogue were plagarising  channelling their own classic Stan Herman design from 1975 here, famously modelled by Billie Blair – what do you think?!V1169

70shoodieI hope you’ve enjoyed these little highlights from a truly amazing vintage collection.  Many thanks to Jas for sharing them!

Now I’m off to rethink my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge yet AGAIN….

 

PS – many apologies to commentors whose comments were obliterated in the Blogmove Disaster – please do feel free to re-post!