Thursday, 23 December 2010

Friday, 26 November 2010

Getting ready for Christmas

I love Christmas more than any other time of the year! I love the lights, seeing friends and family, presents (buying, wrapping, giving and receiving!) the mulled wine, Christmas markets... Need I go on? But the thing I love most is decorating! So I've been quite busy over the last month making little felt decorations for my tree.

Christmas decorations

These are ever so easy to make, all you need is a bit of felt, some buttons, ribbon and teddybear stuffing, a pair of scissors, pinking shears if you have some, tapestry thread, needles, and a mince pie. The design is from a flyer I picked up in Hobbycraft but you can also view it online here!

The edge has been finished with a blanket stitch; I got this from my Cath Kidstone Sew book but you can find simple instructions all over the internet.

Christmas decorations

This is my favourite with all the little heart shaped buttons which were only 99p for a bag which made another heart and may even make one more. Bargain! A little tip for the ribbon is if you don't have any, raid your wardrobe. What you say? Raid your wardrobe? Yes! So many of my tops have these ribbons inside to use on hangers but 9 times out of 10 I never use them for this purpose, and they always get in the way don't they? Chop them off and save for a project! Some people might call it cheap, I call it thrift.

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

The baubles and lights are just jewellery and crimping beads which I had in a tin for years! The snowflake shapes above I got from a shop in America called Michaels and they have sticky backs which is great for attaching while you sew; I'm sure most LCSs (local craft stores?) will have something similar.

All for now, have a lovely weekend :-)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

It's November and I am a terrible blogger

I am officially blaming the clocks going backwards on my lack of recent blogging. By the time I get home from work it's dark and it just isn't possible to take nice photos in the dark. I am sticking to this excuse.

I have embarked upon a new project ladies, and if there are any reading this, gentlemen. My new stash of wool arrived a few weeks ago from Masons, a lovely 17 pack of Stylecraft put together especially for anyone crocheting along with Attic 24 who has used this in her granny stripe blanket.


I'd heard lots of good things about this wool, mainly that it was very soft for a £1.25/100g ball and I'm not disappointed in the slightest. I love it a lot (too much?) and it's so nice to work with! Plus I'm used to 50g balls so this should last me an age :-)

So what to do with it? I do admit I um'd and ah'd for quite a while, asked people on Ravelry what to do, made some test pieces and finally settled on some granny hexagons [tutorial]. Oh no. Not another blanket says boyfriend. Oh yes ! This one will (I promise) be a lot smaller. I have absolutely no plan, no grand design, I'm just going to churn out enough hexagons to make something reasonably sized. Horray!

Crochet Hexagons
Crochet HexagonsCrochet HexagonsCrochet HexagonsCrochet HexagonsCrochet HexagonsCrochet Hexagons

I promise to be better at writing better things and posting more interesting pictures! When the sun is out x

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Manchester Craft Fair

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

One of the things I love about living in a Manchester is having so many events on my doorstep. We have loads of markets, my favourites being the Christmas Markets and absolutely I can't wait til November when they open! This year alone I've been to the Spring Markets where I got this little fella


a Vintage Fair in the Triagle (I love love loved this) and yesterday a last minute trip to the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Spinningfields. There were some really beautiful designs, lots of lovely jewellery, cushions, art work, paintings, knitted things - If I'd have one that £113m on the Lotto I would have walked away with a lot more than my modest purchase I tell you! More on that later. Most of the designers had little postcards to take away with their details, here are some of my favourites:

Lynsey Walters Jewellery

Suzie Johnson

Suzie Johnson

These fab tea towels were only £10 although my friend and I both agreed we could never use them for drying dishes even though the girls on the stand encouraged us that we could! She bought three in the end (it was a difficult choice!) one to frame and hang in her own kitchen and two to part with as Christmas presents; lucky friends!

Teresa Green

Ruth Green

This last little stand was my absolute favourite, no need to explain why I'm sure. Loooooooooook at the little knitted cacti pin cushion! What a fabulous idea! The pins are its needles see! OH I loved this so much, I think I might have done a little dance in the shop (which was tiny!) Just as exciting were the Christmas Tree pin cushions which had pins with those coloured pearly heads to look like lights and baubles!! Ahhhh pure loveliness.

& Made

It was pretty obvious then that my modest purchase was of course going to be:

Cactus pin cushion


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Short days and short weekends


With the days getting shorter and shorter by the time I get home from work there isn't much light left so I haven't been quite as busy making things as I'd like, but aren't the sunsets looking beautiful?

Weekends are my favourite time so on Saturday I got up nice and early (well it was about 10 o'clock, but thats early by my standards!) and decided to get the sewing machine out. I recently took a trip to Hobbycraft and came back with some lovely material, to replace the old first cushion cover I made way way back last year. Don't feel too sorry for it, it had a good life!


You will need an 8 inch zip, pins and thread. The smaller cushion which I have photographed is 12"x12".

Cut two squares measuring 13"x13".

Plain square

Draw a 1/4" guide around the edge for the seams.


Place the two squares together, right sides facing. Using the bottom seam, sew two 3" lines from across the two edges; this will leave you with an 6" gap for the zip.

This is the tricky bit. Fold the top seam of each square and press with an iron. Place with the right side facing up and position the zip underneath. You can pin and tack the zip to the fabric if you wish.


Use the zipper foot of your sewing machine and sew around the zip. This is what it will look like from the back:


And from the front:


Now you can sew up the remaining side BUT remember to open up the zip first. You will not believe how many covers I've had to un-pick because I couldn't turn it inside out!


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Patchwork cusion

I promised in an early blog post that I would start writing some tutorials, but I always seem to follow other peoples patterns so there is no need! However I've just finished making a patch work cuschion from my growing fabric stash which I wanted to share, I think it's just lovely!

Here it is, looking very comfy on my un-finished Granny Stripe. The process is a little time consuming at the beginning, setting everything up but I promise it is well worth it. I've used 5 different fabrics here:

Patch work cushion


1. Take fabric's a and b and cut a strip of each measuring 7" x 3.5" / 16cm x 8cm

2. Cut the strips in half to make squares measuring 3.5" x 3.5" / 8cm x 8cm

Patch work cushion


3. Still using fabrics a and b, cut a smaller strip measuring 5" x 2.5" / 12cm x 6cm

4. Cut these strips in half to make small 2.5" x 2.5" / 6cm x 6cm squares

Patch work cushion

5. Take fabric e and cut a square measuring 5" x 5" / 12cm x 12cm.

6. Cut in four equal smaller squares measuring 2.5" x 2.5" / 6cm x 6cm

Patch work cushion


7. Take fabric d and cut a strip measuring 14" x 7" / 32cm x 15cm

8. Cut into 4 equal pieces measuring 3.5" x 7" / 8cm x 15cm

Patch work cushion


9. Take fabric c and cut a strip measuring 14" x 7" / 32cm x 15cm

10. Cut into 8 equal squares measuring 3.5" x 3.5" / 8cm x 8cm

Patch work cushion


11. Draw a border around each piece 0.25" (1/4") / 0.25cm from the edge.

Patch work cushion

Making up the triangles:

12. Take one piece of fabric c and lay it on top of a piece of fabric d. Draw a line diagonally from the top middle to the bottom corner

Patchwork cushion

Patchwork cushion

13. Sew diagonally down the line.

Patchwork cushion

14. Fold the triangle back and press.

Patchwork cushion

15. Repeat for the opposite side.

Patchwork cushion

16. Do this for the remaining 3 sides.

Patchwork cushion

17. Stop for some cake. This step is very important!

Patchwork cushion

Making up the middle:

18. Take 3 small squares of a, b and e.

Patchwork cushion

19. Turn over and sew down the seam lines.

Patchwork cushion

Patchwork cushion

20. Repeat with the remaining middles to make a pattern like this:

b e a
e d e
a e b

Patchwork cushion

21. Sew all three strips together.

Patchwork cushion

Making up the sides:

22. Take the triangle pieces and attach the larger squares of a and b to the ends, alternating with a at the top of one piece and the bottom of the other.

Patchwork cushion

Those of you with a keen eye will notice I have sewn the ends on wrong here! I un-picked and re-sewed them but forgot to take a photo!

Final assembly:

23. Sew the remaining two triangle pieces to the middle square

Patchwork cushion

24. Then sew the sides to the middle.

Patchwork cushion

25. Almost time for a cup of tea! Now time for the back. I usually put zips on my cushions but you need an extra wide seam at the bottom which I forgot to do. I have opted for a flap instead and may put buttons on it at some point.

Patchwork cushion

26. Lightly press. Now definitely time for a brew!

Patchwork cushion

This is a modified version (only slightly) of this tutorial on I found the sizes they gave were a lot bigger as it was for a quilt and not a cushion, so I have reduced things down a little.