Friday, 28 June 2013

Happy Birthday Little One !!

We have well and truly entered birthday season in our family, it starts with my birthday in mid June and ends with my husbands at the beginning of October - and all the children come in between!!

Expensive but fun time...., I hope you don't mind my family birthday posts :-)

So it's my baby's birthday tomorrow, it's her first one!! I made her an outfit...

I made the pattern for the dress myself, ok so it's only a simple sun-dress, but I'm pleased with it :-)

The cutest matching knickers using the pattern form the book 'Meet Me at Mikes'
(the little shoes are a gift)

The matinee cardigan is a pattern from Inside Crochet (issue 42) by Simone Francis and I used a Jenny Watson pure merino double knitting yarn in shade heather. Very yummy indeed.

And this is the cake I've made for her. It, er, it hasn't worked out as well as I would've liked it to (gloss over the wonkyness, the very lumpy-bumpy icing with added thumb prints and the fact there should be numbers on all 4 sides - in fact there should be 4 blocks altogether!!) I'm fairly confident it will taste nice - oh I do hope so....

we are keeping our fingers crossed for dry weather tomorrow for the party 

'till next time...


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Rainbow Picnic Blanket

Hello, can I first say a big thank you for all the lovely birthday wishes you have left via the comments bit - it really does mean a lot and I apologise for not responding individually this time - things are manic around here (I'm convinced somebody has pressed the fast-forward button) but I know that it's the same for most of us and I also know that you lovely lot all understand about hectic lives, so here's to trying to keep up, just about winging it and smiling through regardless :-)

So when you see the picture above with the fabby rainbow colours are you not drawn in to the yarn? Wanting it. Needing to make something?

So I find myself being unable to resist the bright, happy colours as they caught me on the first dreaded Tesco shop after our holiday. We needed supplies and hating supermarket shopping at the best of times I dragged myself down to the store and as I made my way to the bananas the magazine rack beckoned. I know the craft magazines are expensive and the 'free' yarn isn't free at all when you consider the cost of the mag but I was vulnerable with my post holiday blues so I was a prime target for the allure of the happy holiday cover and yarn gift and I did succumb.

This is the little picnic blanket I made using the expensively free yarn and the pattern in Knitting and Crochet, pattern by Jackie Carreira.

It's perfect to use for our park visits. I shove it in the bottom of the buggy and am happy to plonk it down so baby can sit and play. The yarn itself, although wonderful colours is pretty rubbish so I'm not precious about this one at all - and that kinda makes it fit for it's purpose, if you know what I mean?

I used the same design but made mine bigger which entailed buying the magazine again to get more yarn!! Yes, yes I know I'm an idiot but it would've been a super tiny blanket otherwise, and as it is it only measures 66cm x 56cm not including the tassels.

It is a quick and easy granny stripe, 10 rows before a colour change and 4 rows in white each end. I gave the second magazine to my sister who loves to crochet and knit too. I do actually love this little blanket despite my feelings of wasting money buying 2 magazines and yarn kits. 

Yes, it's a fun thing to have and very pleasing to the eye - so not such a waste really. Are you ever tempted with the free gifts on all the craft magazines? 

It's nice to have the door open and feel the summery breeze and hear the birds sing today, the sun is shining down and it's a pleasant temperature. 

I'm enjoying and appreciating this calm moment - 'cos I know things will go mad again!!

take care everyone....

'till next time...


Saturday, 15 June 2013

My week....

Hello my dears, I do hope you are all well and happy. 

It's fair to say this past week has been hectic for me. I have been on high alert dealing with all that life has thrown at me - several mini disasters that have left me and my hubby feeling quite exhausted!!

But I don't want to bring you down with all my boring old problems (they are all sortable, nothing serious and we will get through :-)

Because also this week there has been some really wonderful happenings too - and the contrast with the crappy parts only highlights the good bits more!!

My birthday yesterday brought loads of lovely pressies and cards from friends and family - all those good wishes coming in concentrated form made me feel very warm and fuzzy inside :-)

Flowers and gifts from friends, my daughter choosing a blue and white jug to add to my collection, 

and my very generous husband treating me to a set of Tulip Etimo Rose crochet hooks that I have been lusting after for ages.

How can I not feel blessed with all the love surrounding me?

The other morning baby woke at 4:15am, yikes!! - she normally sleeps straight through. However after a cuddle she settled back down to sleep, but I didn't and what did I do instead of sleep?
Yes I crocheted a tricolour block from the book 200 crochet blocks by Jan Eaton - like you do.

Actually I am rather pleased with this as I had attempted this pattern a while ago and just could not get past round 2!  But in the watery morning light I sat near the window and READ THE PATTERN PROPERLY and Ta-Da!! I conquered it, yay!!

I have only made this one but it has come out really well so I'm thinking of making some more to sew together for a small table runner / place mat type thing, what do you think???

The other amazing thing of this week was meeting for the first time a very special lady who I hope I can remain friends with. As it happens I don't live too far from the sweet and lovely Sandra and we met for coffee and chatted about our shared interests for a couple of hours. I enjoyed her company immensely and  am looking forward to meeting up again.
I'm very fortunate to have had the opportunity to connect in real life with her as well as in the blogasphere :-)

'till next time....


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Crochet Cushion with love....

Howdy ho, is it sunny where you are?? I thought the weather might be a bit better today but it's a bit overcast and slightly windy, could be worse so I can't complain.

Today I have some pictures of a cushion I've crocheted for a friend, a friend I've known for 15 years - we met at the anti-natal classes we attended with our first babies. They are teenagers now of course and both taller than their mothers!
My friend has her own gardening business. She's always so busy which of course is a good thing. She has a very artistic side as one can tell from how she decorates her house, especially at Christmas - her festive decorations are to die for!! I know when she gets commissioned to do some garden design she's in her element, her plant knowledge and eye for colour means she's able to put together wonderful border designs, full of healthy happy plants :-)

For the past couple of summers, for reasons far too depressing to talk about here, I have not felt like doing any gardening. However, things are different now and although I don't have a lot of time and by no means expert skills I have enjoyed working away to get our outside space a bit more presentable. I'd asked my friend some time ago for her help. At the same time she needed some curtains made for her front room, so we were able to swap our skills and help each other out. She bought her fabric, I bought my plants ( well she choose them, I paid for them) and we made a note of how much time we both spent working on each others projects. Spookily we'd spent a similar amount of money each and also a similar amount of time - her digging and planting, me cutting and sewing so it worked out to be a fair and very satisfying skills trade.

This is the border that I wanted planing and this picture was taken shortly after her first session. Not very exciting at this point! The cold weather at the beginning of the year wasn't good for the plants and they hibernated underground a bit longer than usual.

Since then the temperatures have improved and the sun has shone. The plants have started to grow and show their beauty and each time I look there is something else growing and blossoming and it's been a joy to watch the changes over the weeks.

As a thank you I decided on this cushion for my friend. The colours chosen to fit in with her scheme. I used stylecraft special dk yarn in cream 1005, grey 1099, silver 1203, plum 1061, grape 1067 and pale rose 1080 and the rosie posy granny square pattern from lovely Sandra's blog (I'm still so in love with this pattern)

Simple button opening. . .

and a plain back.

Not colours I usually go for but I think they work really well and I must admit I do rather like the way it's turned out!!

Spookily again, the colours are not dissimilar to the planting scheme!

I hope my friend likes her cushion, and the colours go well in her front room as I hope and have imagined they might.

This pattern is what I'm teaching at my workshop next week so if you live in the Bedford area and would like more info drop me a email (see workshop tab at top of page) I also have a very, very, very special guest attending, but if you want to know who it is, well you'll have to come to the workshop!!

'till next time....

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Sun Hats, Fun Hats and tutorial!!

Hello there you lovely lot, and welcome to my new followers!!
I have been manically busy for the last few weeks, mainly due to being away for the half term week on our family holiday. We are so lucky to have spent the week in Cala Galdana, Menorca, a lovely gentle resort that's great for families. Taking all 6 of us away (even though it was only for 7 days) was a mammoth operation and I started the packing a week before we were due to leave! There seemed to be so much to think about and remember, and, as our departure date drew closer quicker than you could say API or EHIC there was still a few things I wanted to get done.

I'd made a sun hat pattern for my baby girl a while ago but had not got round to making the hat as the weather had been quite grotty and there was no need for one. However I wanted something to take away with us to keep the sun off baby's face and shade her a bit, and there is nothing like a deadline to get me on the case! I took some photos as I went along so if you know of a small head that needs shading you might want to have a go at making one yourself :-)
First of all you will have to take some measurements. You need head circumference and a measurement from top of head to just above the ears - good luck with this, if the baby you are measuring is anything like my daughter then she will grab the tape measure from you before you even get close to getting an accurate figure!! I have given the measurements I used in the instructions so you can base it on that if you want - it is size 12 months approx.

Pattern and Cutting Out:

You will need: paper, pencil, ruler, tape measure, scissors, sellotape and then your main fabric for the hat and also some lining fabric - 100% cotton is probably best for this.

Measurement A is head circumference plus 1.5cm – mine is 48cm
Measurement B is crown height (top of head to just above ears) – mine is 13cm
Measurement C is brim width – mine is 4cm

Draw a isosceles triangle where base is measurement A ÷ 6 (mine worked out as 8cm) and height from base to tip is measurement B (mine 13cm)

Make sides curved keeping points the same (fold pattern in half to get the sides to match). The curved line comes out approx. 7mm from straight line - see picture. Add 1cm seam allowance all around and cut out pattern, cut 6 of this pattern from your main fabric and 6 in your lining fabric. These are your crown pieces.

For the brim cut a rectangle in paper measuring 4cm by the measurement A ÷ 4 (mine worked out as 12cm) and mark 3 lines evenly spaced – see picture. Cut up these lines from one long edge almost but not quite to the other long edge, leave it joined by about 1mm. Fan the cut edge out to achieve a curved edge that measures approx. 4cm longer than the joined long edge(the gaps between the sections are about 1.3cm each). As you are working on a quarter of the brim, by adding in 4cm here you will be making the total outer brim edge 16cm bigger than the total inner brim edge. Fold another piece of paper in half (I have used blue paper so you can see what I'm doing better) and put one short edge of your brim piece up to the fold. Stick this in place with some sellotape and then fan out the rest of the piece to achieve your curved edge, sticking the sections down as you go.

Add a seam allowance around this piece - 1cm on inner edge and sides and 6mm on outer edge, and then cut out. As you have done this on the fold of the paper you will then be able to open it out to give you one half of you brim. See picture below. You need to cut 2 of these in your main fabric and 2 in your lining fabric.

Ok, so pattern made - I hope my instructions are not too difficult to follow. Hopefully you have also cut out your pattern pieces in the fabric you have chosen, just to confirm you need need 6 crown sections in your main fabric and also 6 in your lining fabric and you need 2 brim pieces in your main fabric and also 2 in your lining fabric.

Making Up:

Sew your crown pieces together. I found it easier to sew 3 together for one half, 3 together for the other half and then sew these 2 halves together in one seam. Do the same for your lining pieces and the have a little try on to make sure your pattern fits ok.

Next join your brim pieces at the side seams taking 1cm seam allowance.

Press your seams open as you go. Next, with right sides together, sew your brim to your lining brim on the outer edge, taking a 6mm seam allowance. Open the seam out and from the right side top-stitch close to the seam on the lining side, like this:

Then fold the lining into the brim and press flat - you should have a ring shape brim.

Okay, so now you need to attach the brim to the crown of your hat. Pin together, matching side seams ( leave the crown lining to one side for the moment) and sew these bits together with a 1cm seam.

Next, take your crown lining and press under the 1cm seam allowance all around the edge as shown:

I chose to attach my lining to the hat by hand sewing as I think it gives a neater finish. Feel free to machine it on if you are a super-duper neat machinist! Pin it on first, matching the seams and then sew along the edge, catching the row of machine-stitching that joined the brim to the hat.

There you go, a nice neat finish to the inside of your hat!! :-)

And of course you need to embellish it, don't you?? With a bit of crochet maybe??

This little flower is a magic ring with 10 dc worked into it. Join round with a slip-stitch and *in next stitch make 5 trebles and then slip-stitch into next stitch. Repeat this (from *) 4 more times to give you 5 petals and then join round with a slip-stitch into slip-stitch of first round. Weave in you ends and sew onto your hat, yay!!

Because the pattern is already made you may as well make another one!! The crochet leaf pattern can be found here (thanks Lucy )

and so now we're ready for the beach! Let the sun shine!!

If you decide to make this I hope you enjoy it and it works out ok. Please respect my work and don't reproduce it as your own. If you show it on your blog please link back to me here, and I don't mind you using my photos if you credit me on them, except this last photo of my little one - please don't copy or pin this particular picture - thanks!!

Oh well, back to the heaps of washing that I need to get through, 

'till next time....