Wednesday, 25 July 2012

WIP Weds: Christmas Is Coming

Yikes, it's another post about Christmas in July! I decided to start quilting this printed panel to make a Christmas wall-hanging in the hopes of actually finishing it before Christmas this year. After Monday night's sewing I was hoping to have it finished in time for Friday but that's not going to happen. I *might* get the quilting done by then but I won't get time to do the binding.

I put stars on this square

Not quilted this one

Monday, 23 July 2012

Summer holiday Fun

Our summer holidays started on Wednesday, a little earlier than most people. In fact it was a little earlier than others at the school. The nursery & reception classes finished 2 days early so that the classrooms can be moved to allow building work to start on a new school building. As usual, I had a quiet first day at home pottering about. We did a platter lunch

followed by movie afternoon, complete with popcorn. There's no pictures of that because Orla decided the best thing to do with popcorn was to throw it around the living room :-/

We had a lovely day out on Friday, getting an early train into Leeds and watching Top Cat on the KidsAM offer at Vue. After some lunch we headed to Leeds City Museum, where the kids had loads of fun. Orla fell asleep shotly after so Erin & I headed to Starbucks for a drink and a sit down. After a little break in the park we met Al from work and he offered to take us to Pizza Express for tea.

After taking the kids to gymnastics on Saturday morning we headed over to Plumpton Rocks, where we had a picnic and then let the kids explore.

Of course Al had to have fun too

We then headed into Wetherby for a little bit. We had a drink and some cake in a lovely cafe; Wellingtons of Wetherby. On the way back to the car we stopped for an ice cream.

Friday, 20 July 2012

FO Friday: Squares

I have been very busy making squares for memory blankets. On Monday I had the pleasure of meeting up with some other ladies to help one of them with her crochet (the other two were knitting) and drinking coffee. Orla was very well behaved, spending most of the time eating breadsticks and counting crochet hooks!

Here's some of the finished squares:

My favourite square so far, from this pattern
The only adjustments I made was to replace the final round of sc with a round of dc to make the square up to the required 6".
Yellow Puff Granny Square
I did a few basic granny squares, but will just show one here!

A shell stitch 'square'

Shell Stitch Square
An Attic24 Neat Ripple square
I edged this using different height stitches in order to square it up.

And a Flower Granny Square, from this pattern.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

WIP Weds: Yes, I realise it's only July

so huge apologies for mentioning the C word ;-)

Yes, I have officially started getting ready for Christmas! On Monday evening I basted a quilt panel ready to start quilting as soon as I have time to sit and do some sewing. I bought it ages ago. I thought it was 2 years ago but actually it might only be about 18 months - it was massively reduced so am guessing it was getting close to Christmas when I bought it. I've never got round to making it but I'm determined to have it finished for this Christmas!

The other project I've started is a present for my Aunty. Last year I made her a scarf and she loved it so this year I'm making a granny stripe blanket. I just love this pattern by Lucy of Attic24 as it's so simple and I can do it while watching tv as it doesn't require much concentration.

I'm making it in Stylecraft Special DK, which is just a cheap acylic yarn but so lovely to work with, far better than most acylics. My Aunty loves teal so I'm using Cloud Blue, Silver, Teal, Aspen and Turquoise, in that order.

Granny Stripe blanket in progress
The colours are a bit more vivid in real life. I'm into the third colour repeat and am hoping to need 60 stripes in total. I'll then add a border.

I started the blanket with foundation single crochet rather than a chain and the a row of sc and I started with 142 stitches (it has to be a multiple of 3 plus 1). I'm hoping to have a lap sized blanket at the end of it and it seems to be working out so far.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


I don't know if you remember but ages ago I posted a picture of a chair from our living room that I was planning on recovering. Here it is before:

Well, with one thing and another it kept getting put off, despite having bought the fabric for it. This morning I was teaching a felting workshop and as we got home afterwards with no real plans for anything else, I suggested popping to Dunelm Mill for some foam for the cushions.

Now I have to admit that the old cushions are in a much worse state than above so there was no chance of me unpicking them to make a pattern. In the end I decided to basically draw around them with a bit extra for a seam allowance and cut on the fold to get both sides pretty much even.

At this point I realised I had totally overestimated the amount of fabric I'd need - seriously I measured before buying it but the fabric must have been wider than I thought (I looked at quite a few before buying so probably mixed it all up) as I've only used about half of what I bought!

So I did the sewing and then had to cut the foam, which was a trial in itself, not to mention actually getting the foam inside the fabric. After much squashing and pushing and removing and trimming and more shoving, with much help from the husband, we finally got them in. So just had to sew up the back/bottom of each cushion.

Now you might be wondering why I haven't put zips in...tbh when I started sewing them up I had that thought too. There isn't really any reason for me not to, I just did them how the previous ones were done. Of course my machine struggled to sew and it needed Mr CnC to do some squishing and pushing while I did some lining up and pushing.

After much swearing and two injured fingers (one from the machine, one from a pin)...

the chair now looks like THIS:

It's far from perfect but it looks a bit cleaner than the old cushions.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Teacher Gifts

It's coming up to the end of term so the planning of end of year teachers gifts has started. This year I've helped Erin to make a present for each of her teachers (she has 2).

Oh my word, was it hard to find the bits I needed! First of all, small but not boring plant pots. I did eventually find metal ones at Ikea but they only had the one on display left so I had to get a slightly more boring pot for the second one. Then I needed colourful sand to fill the pots with. I still haven't found any of this. I really wanted to get something in a physical shop so that Erin could choose the colour. Anyway I managed to find some brown at Ikea so made do with that.

Then I cut up an egg box to make the centre of the flowers and let Erin paint them. We cut out paper flowers for the petals. I used skewers for the stalks and covered them with Washi tape to make them more colourful.

Then card...seriously, we have drawers full of craft stuff so why did I have no card when I needed it??? I managed to find some compliment slips made from card so cut those up and let Erin write on the things she has been taught this year.

I'm going to add little tags to each one saying "Thank you for teaching me..."

I'll also do some baking as there's a few teaching assistants too. Most likely cupcakes and the kids can add srpinkles.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

WIP Weds: Granny Stripe Boutique Bag

First of all, apologies for not posting for a while. I have been really busy with my course but have now submitted my assignment so have been able to get on and blog! It was mentioned that the module I'm currently studying is one of the hardest Level 3 options, partly because of the enormous workload and they weren't wrong.

So this afternoon I just had to do a quick project to feel like I've got somewhere with my crafting. I guess you could technically say I've finished this one as I've done all the crochet but I'm planning on lining it and maybe making a fabric flower brooch for the front.

It's the Granny Stripe Boutique Bag by Tangled Happy, though I've made a few adjustments which I'll detail below. It's a very quick make and would be great gifts for kids.

So the changes I've made are as follows:
1. I wanted a bigger bag, so I increased the size. The pattern is based on 50sc stitches. This number needs to be a multiple of 3 plus an extra 2. Going by total guesswork I based my bag on 62 stitches.
2. The bag is made in the round and rather than following the pattern and whip-stitching the bottom closed at the end, I made a smaller chain and worked both sides of it. i.e. I started with ch32, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch along. Then worked my way back up the other side of the chain to give me 62 sc stitches in total. I then joined to the first sc with a sl st and continued as per the pattern.
3. I just did the pattern until the beg looked deep enough. I then fastened it off and rejoined at one end for the rounds of sc. This was mainly because each round you make moves the start of the round over by one cluster. By the time the bag was deep enough, the start of a round was in the middle of where the handle was going to go, so I knew I'd have to rejoin at some point anyway. I also ignored the stitch count for these rows and just measured to find the central stitch and couted 7 stitches either side and placed stitch markers so I'd know where to make the handles.

And a close up of the colour - I dyed this yarn using tea and Kool Aid. The pictures don't capture it very well, it's somewhere between the photos above and the one below.

I've also done a little more of the Vintage Vertical Stripe blanket I started ages ago!