My Mexican Sunset mandala in Simply Crochet magazine!

mexicansunset2Something very exciting (for me, anyway!) happened recently! – Remember the Mexican Sunset mandala I made back in June for Yarndale?  Well as you know, I am a worshipper at the Temple of Attic 24, so I put a link to my tutorial in the Mandala page comments on Lucy’s website.

I only just got my mandala in the post before the deadline, and it took a while before it appeared on the Pinterest board.  But in the meantime, I opened my inbox and found…Lucysemail2OOOOOHWOW!!!  Can I even say how BEYOND THRILLED I was!?!  An email from Lucy! Wanting to use MY mandala in Simply Crochet??  How emphatically can one say YES in an email??

So that was three months ago, and behold, I am reliably informed that the September issue does indeed feature the Mexican sunset mandala (along with others, obviously!).

Thank you so much, Lucy!  I’m chuffed to bits 🙂


Mini-Tutorial: Magic Roundabout Flowers

Lp&flowers1OK, as promised – Zebedee has arrived with the mini-tutorial on how to make your very own Magic Roundabout flowers!

As mentioned previously, the flower itself is from Attic 24, so click here for Lucy’s brilliant tutorial on how to make this.  I used the single-petalled flower for this tutorial, but I’ve had a go with the double-petalled one as well (see the Glastonbury Thorn for evidence!) and it works just as nicely.

So, now you have your six-petalled flower, you will be working into the BACK of this.  Begin by pulling up a loop through the back of the ‘missed’ stitch from round one of your flower (the blue round on mine)flowertute0This is a bit hard to show – here’s how it looks from the front, so hopefully you can see where you’re going!flowertute1Ch1, 1sc into this spaceflowertute2Now you will be working into the back of the sc you made between each ch3 loop on round 2 of your flower (mauve on mine).  These might be a bit tight so you may need to wiggle your hook around here until you can pick up two strands to work intoflowertute3Work 3dc (UK tr), ch3, 3dc into this stitchflowertute4

1sc into the next ‘missed’ stitch from round oneflowertute5

and continue round until you have six funky pointed leaves!  Join with a sl-st into your initial ch1flowertute6 Fasten off, and WHOOHOO!  Time to go decorate your roundabout!


The Magic Roundabout Bag

LpcoverAh… Dougal, Florence, Zebedee and Dylan… what child of the 70s doesn’t have a soft spot for these guys?? – My brother and I loved The Magic Roundabout when we were growing up, and this was one of our favourite records.  (And we loved it again on DVD as grown-ups, once we discovered all the satirical undertones and references we hadn’t picked up on as children!

So when I came to crochet this lovely roundy-round bag by Drops Design I couldn’t help but think of it as The Magic Roundabout Bag, and chose my colour scheme accordingly!bagfront1

It’s a very straightforward pattern, worked in double crochet (UK treble), that comes together in no time.  In my continuing experiment to find yarns I’m not allergic to, I used a lovely smooshy Superwash wool by Cascade, that comes in some gorgeous bright colours.  A little bit itchy on my hands, but nothing worse to report – hurrah!

I did find the instructions for the edging around the top of the bag a little unclear, so I went off on my own somewhat there, but it seems to have turned out OK.peekinside

I really wanted to make this bag a bit special, so not only did I line it with some mauve poplin, I also added a crochet-embellished button and made a crochet-trimmed ‘Secret Pocket’ to go inside.  Want to peek??secretpocket1

Yep, I got totally carried away with this one!  But I love adding all these little details, it’s what making things by hand is all about for me.  Plus it gave me a chance to practice doing some block-printing with the little block I got at the World Textile Day show.

And of course, since this is the Magic Roundabout Bag, I couldn’t resist adding some Magic Roundabout flowers as embellishments!Lp&flowers3

OK, so if I was purist I would have added perhaps a button or bead in the centre, but I wanted them to match the details of the bag so I just did a little embroidered bit in the middle.  bagside1

The flowers are basically the first part of the Attic24 double-petalled flower with the pointed ‘leaves’ worked out of the back.  They’re very simple to do, but I’ll avoid turning this into a mega-post and put a tutorial for them up separately I think!baghanging1So, what do you think – one for Florence, or more suited to Ermintrude?! 🙂

WhooHoo! 70s Sweetheart Sundress

front1Yes, Auntie Janis has been at it again!  It’s Gertie’s Sweetheart Sundress (from her New Book for Better Sewing), made with a vintage 1970s terylene that some of you may remember from my Vintage Pattern pledge post.label The fabric came from a local charity shop and was quite faded and worn in places – so much so that I never thought I’d be able to use it for anything except a lining.  But when I saw the Sweetheart Sundress pattern, I thought it might be possible to squeeze this out of the best bits.  So before you ask, yes, it was a sheet, and yes, it had gone a bit off-grain: so as well as having to jigsaw my pattern pieces around the fabric, I also had to do the old ‘thread pull’ technique in order to find a straight-ish edge to use as a grainline guide! grainlines2Overall, it came out rather well and I’m particularly pleased with my pattern-matching efforts on the back – not easy with a pattern repeat of this size, I can tell you!  As the front was ruched I didn’t bother trying to match it, and there was only enough fabric to match one seam on the skirt, so I chose the back one.  Didn’t get it quite right in the final sew, but check out my bodice-skirt alignment, not bad?!patternmatching The lining is also made from cotton sheeting, which gives the terylene a nice bit of body and feels wonderfully cool.  I don’t normally bother lining my summer dresses, but as it was such a fab vintage fabric I really wanted to make something that would be lovely to wear and last a long time. lining Gertie’s pattern came together like a dream, I am SO impressed with her book, not only are the patterns simple to use but the instructions are bang on.  One thing I will take with me for next time, if she tells you to do something a particular way (eg, ‘machine baste the skirt to the bodice’), I reckon it’s because she’s made this for herself and worked out that this is the best and easiest way to do it.  So PAY ATTENTION – Gertie knows best!

Anyway I was so thrilled that for once I didn’t have to worry about altering bust darts and armholes – yay!! – that I didn’t even bother making a toile.  MISTAKE?? – Well, not if I’d thought it through a bit better maybe!  I knew I’d lost a teeny bit of weight since I last took my measurements, but stupidly didn’t re-do them and made the dress (lining and all) using ones I took in January.  Result? – Potential obscenity charges for displaying unseemly amounts of both bra & contents!  For the moment, I’ve just put a tuck in either side at the top and will need to shorten the straps a little, so there’s a bit of ‘tweaking’ still to do. back1 However, that hasn’t stopped me from wearing it out not once but TWICE already, I absolutely love this crazy fabric paired with the retro-style pattern 🙂 sillypose So when I’ve quite finished striking silly poses, I may well make another!

Mandala Madness! Mexican Sunset mandala tutorial


The Yarndale Mandala challenge has had me hooking up all kinds of colourful wheels!  These things really are addictive.  Clockwise L-R, Attic24 Mandala, Mexican Sunset version1, Sunny flower mandala, and – TahDah! – the Mexican Sunset Mandala!  This is a mash-up of my Mexican Sunset granny square, all the above, and some bits and bobs from other mandala patterns out there.  I’m not claiming it’s totally original, but if I have inadvertently come up with an exact copy of someone else’s pattern, I promise it’s entirely by accident.mexicansunset1

To make the Mexican Sunset mandala, I used a US size F hook (UK equivalent is 3.75mm) and Rico Creative Cotton Aran in the same colours as the cushion: Tangerine, Fuchsia, Cherry, Orange, Turquoise and Cardinal.

(NB: This tutorial uses US crochet terms as this is what I’m used to using!  For conversion see

The first two rounds are worked in the same way as the Mexican Sunset granny square.  To begin, ch6 and join to make a loop, or use a magic ring.


Rnd 1: ch3 (counts as first dc);


Then work 15 dc into loop,  join with a sl-st into top of initial ch3 and fasten off.  Try to remember to work your stitches over the ‘tail’,


so that you can pull this in at the end of the round to cinch up the centre.


Rnd 2: Insert hook between two dcs from previous round and pull up a loop to join new colour


ch4 (counts as 1 dc, ch1).  Insert hook into next sp between dcs; *1dc, ch1*: tutorial6

rpt from * to * around into each sp.  Join with sl-st into 3rd ch of original ch4 and fasten offtutorial7

Rnd 3: Join a new colour in any ch1 space from previous round.tutorial8

Ch3 (counts as 1 dc), 1dc into same sp, ch1.  tutorial9

*2dc into next sp, ch1* , rpt from *to* around into each sp.  Join with sl-st into top of initial ch3.tutorial10

Rnd 4: This round is worked into the stitches of the previous round, so join a new colour by pulling up a loop through any stitch.tutorial11

Ch2 (counts as 1sc), then 1sc into every stitch and ch1 sp of previous round  tutorial12

Join with sl-st into top of initial ch2 and fasten offtutorial13

Rnd 5: OK here’s where we start to get seriously sunset-y now!  Again this is worked into the stitches of the previous round, so pull up a loop through any stitch to join a new colour.  Ch5 (counts as 1dc, ch2)tutorial14

*skip next st, 1dc, ch2 into next st* tutorial15

rpt from *to* to final st; join with sl-st into 3rd ch of initial ch5tutorial16

Rnd 6: This time you’re working into the ch2 spaces of the previous round, so join a new colour into any ch2 space.  Ch3 (counts as 1dc), 2dc into same sp.tutorial17

Work 3dc into each ch2 sp all around; join with sl-st into top of initial ch3tutorial18

Round 7: Back to working into the stitches, join a new colour into the middle st of any 3dc cluster from the previous roundtutorial19

Ch3 (counts as 1sc, ch1) *sk next st, 1sc into nxt st, ch1*.  (I know it does look a bit like I’ve done a ch2 between these first stitches, that’s just my initial chain gone a bit wonky – It is ch1, honest!)tutorial20rpt from *to* to final st, join with sl-st into 2nd ch of initial ch3tutorial21

Rnd 8: Join a new colour into any ch1 sp from the previous round. tutorial22

Ch2 (counts as 1sc), 2sc; then work 3sc into each ch1 sp all aroundtutorial23

join with sl-st into top of initial ch2tutorial24

Rnd 9: Join a new colour into the middle st of any 3sc cluster from the previous round; ch4 (counts as 1sc, ch2)tutorial25

*sk nxt st, 1sc, ch2*tutorial26

rpt from *to* to last st; join with sl-st into 2nd chain of initial ch4tutorial27

Rnd 10: Join a new colour by pulling up a loop into any ch2 sp from previous round: ch2 (counts as 1sc)tutorial28

2sc into same ch2 sp;tutorial29

then work 3sc into each ch2 sp all around.   When you come to the final stitch, you can either finish in the usual way by joining with a sl-st into the top of the initial chain, or you can use the invisible join method.  Lucy’s Attic24 mandala tutorial explains this far better than I can, so I won’t bother trying to describe what’s going on here :-0tutorial31

except that when you’re done, you should have a nice neat join, like this!tutorial32

And now allow yourself to leap around the room yelling ‘WhooHoo’, or whatever expression of delight appeals to you!mexicansunset2


Did I mention, these mandalas seriously are addictive?  You have been warned!

Happy hooking 🙂


WhooHoo! Purple Plantain T-Shirt


At last!  Some sewing has happened!  Actually this happened a couple of weeks ago but you all know how tardy I am by now…  Here I am posing by some beautiful textile art by Gill Everard in my Deer & Doe plantain T-shirt! (Follow the link to download the free pattern).

I’ve been wanting to have a go at sewing knits for ages, and was very inspired by Scruffy Badger’s lovely Dotty Plantain a while back.  I have a lot of fitting issues with tops so I was *super-chuffed* to find that this pattern worked so well for me with fairly minimal adjustments – I just added some extra width around the body and in the upper sleeves.  And speaking of sleeves, how can you RESIST a T-shirt with elbow patches??elbowpatch

I wasn’t sure old Auntie Janis (my ancient Singer Samba) was totally up to the job: I don’t own an overlocker, so I used this post from Tilly to get the stitching right.  A little practice run making a matching headband, and we were away!  I did think the whole twin-needle thing would be asking too much of Auntie J, but check this out – she did me proud!  I reckon I’m going to sew EVERYTHING with a twin needle from now on…


I absolutely LOVE this fabric, a soft cotton jersey print (in my favourite colour!) from Minerva that has washed & tumble dried OK so far.  I admit I’ve worn my Plantain to death already, and will definitely be making more.  Next time though I’ll add a couple of inches to the length to hide the old tummy bulge, and perhaps take an inch or so out of the upper chest – that neckline is just a little too low for me!

If you haven’t succumbed to the delights of the Plantain yet, I urge you to have a go!

I mean, look – funky elbow patches!  What’s not to love??elbows2



WhooHoo! Blue batik tunic

It feels like a long time since my last ‘WhooHoo’ moment, but after much pattern-adjustment and alteration, I’ve finally finished my first dressmaking project of the year!bluefishbatik2

Now, as I’ve not done any dressmaking for a while, I thought I’d begin with something *simple*.  Enter New Look 6086, a relatively straightforward tunic pattern that I’ve made before.  Only trouble is, I’ve gone up a dress size and changed shape a bit since I last made this.  Dim problem (as we say in Wales): enter Barbara Deckert’s ‘Sewing for Plus Sizes’, everything the curvy girl needs to know to make things that fit her.deckert&NewLookWell, except… having altered EVERY SINGLE seam apart from the centre back, doing an FBA, altering the length & position of the darts, changing width and length of the sleeves…

bodice alteration

…I’d trashed the pattern so much I ended up having to trace off a new one.  I wish I’d just bought another and cut it the right size in the first place!  I was so fed up fiddling with the pattern and itching to get on with making the actual top that in the end, I forgot to do a crucial little ‘petite’ adjustment above the bustline.bluefishbatik top

So as you can see, there is a bit of bagginess going on in the upper chest, but overall I’m pretty happy with this as a first sew of the year.  So much so that I wore it last weekend’s World Textile Day, hence the slightly creased look as I took the pics when I got home!bluefishbatikagain

Now if we could just have a bit more of that lovely sunshiney stuff, I can pack my jumpers away and get on with the summer wardrobe!


Jane Crowfoot ‘Wiggle’ cushion

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted Jane Crowfoot & Debbie Abrahams’s sumptuous crochet and knitting book Kaleidoscope in a couple of my recent post-picskaleidoscope2I don’t normally buy brand new books, I prefer to get mine ‘pre-loved’ from second hand shops or online dealers, but THIS book just grabbed me, from the first time I saw it on Black Sheep Wool’s website!insidekaleidoscopeA WHOLE BOOK of cushion, bag, and blanket patterns!  I had a bad case of ‘the wanties’, I can tell you…  I resisted for quite some time but I kept thinking about that colourful chevron-striped cushion on the front cover, and eventually I caved in and bought it!

But I’m SO glad I did, it’s full of lovely patterns for things I will actually make.  And when I discovered that I may potentially NOT be allergic to alpaca, I knew exactly what my first project was going to beselection of brightly coloured alpaca yarnsMy thinking was, sitting against an alpaca cushion would be a potentially less distressing way to find out whether I’m allergic to it than, say, wearing an alpaca jumper.  And if I do turn out to be allergic, it will be easier to find a new home for a cushion.  The ‘Wiggle’ cushion pattern actually calls for cotton 4ply, but I figured since the alpaca is also 4ply it would work up in a fairly similar way, but just be a bit denser.  And hairier!  This, you’ll remember, is how it looked last weekend:wigglecushion1But as you know, I’ve been hibernating this week, so this is how it looks today:wigglenearlydoneAlmost done (but look at all those ends that need sewing in)! Just 20 rows to go.  I’ve never worked crochet in rows before, so I’m rather pleased at the way this has progressed, especially as it’s worked on a teeny tiny 3mm hook and I thought it would take forever.  I’m curious about the way the chevrons have given it a kind of ‘concertina’ effect – steaming it flat should be interesting…

So I’m hoping there will be a ‘WhooHoo!’ post on this project in the next few weeks, followed by a few more as I gently work my way through those Works-In-Progress!

Have a lovely happy hooky stitchy week, whatever you’re working on 🙂