Thursday, 30 September 2010

October Folkfest

Over on Folksy some of us are aiming to post an item a day during the month of October. My first item is a very pretty and versatile little shoulder cape, ideal for taking off the chill!



And if you're into jewellery have a look at the stunning designs being offered by J Austen Jewellrey Design

Keep looking  as there's more to come....

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

My next projects

Have 2 projects on the needles this week:

The first is a baby jacket in a lovely lemon cotton yarn, which is really soft and a joy to knit with. I'm basing the design on this 18th century baby vest I discovered on my wanderings across the net

I've decided to make the jacket with a cross over front for extra warmth and have devised a cute little edging pattern using interupted stocking stitch checks. Have also chosen a simple cable pattern to achieve the textured effect. This is my first piece of clothing I've ever designed from scratch and I'd totally overlooked the maths involved! So the poor brain cell is not happy with me at all :-)

I've also started playing with ideas for the little yarn craft boxes - am experimenting with crochet, knitting and tunisian crochet, straight and mitred squares to see what will work the best. I'll also need to experiment with the best way to stiffen the boxes once they're made. I wonder if I can make a patchwork one that uses all the different techniques?  Am thinking they'll make quirky christmas decs, perhaps gifts too if I fill them with lavender or maybe cinnamon and maybe even gift boxes? Will really have to play over the next few weeks I think!

I also had some lovely feedback today when I went to hand in the "Mrs Beeton Scarf" and collect some craft items that were being stored for me following a craft fair. It was a real confidence boost. My "posh" business cards arrived today too so now need to consider what to do about a marketing strategy to get my name known locally

Monday, 27 September 2010

Have completed Strawberries and Cream

Have finished the pretty little Strawberries and Cream bag and dispatched it off to its new owner too :-)
 Eventually I decided to make the handle by crocheting a dc stitch over the strip of fabric, knotted at both ends. I then sewed this into the top of the bag securely. Was such a simple ideas and by using stripes of both red and cream wool I achieved quite a stylish handle. I enjoyed making this little bag so much and have received alot of good feedback about it so will be having a go at a larger version soon for my Folksy Shop.


I even made a little butterfly bag charm so that the little lady who will be having this bag for her birthday feels really grown up :-) I made sure I worked the beads into the design so that there's no way little fingers can pull them off and pop in the odd places young children seem to favour!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Take a look at my charity makes page

Have uploaded photo's and linked to knitting, crochet and cross stitch patterns for a range of items I've designed  to my Charity Makes Page for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK's blue lips appeal. My designs are also featured in their summer news letter - I'll post a link to a scan of the page once I have a copy :-)
I got involved with this because a really good friend of mine who has a similar spinal condition to me was diagnosed with PH in the summer and was very fortunate to still be with us. She's really helped me learn about my condition and has kept me sane when things have looked bleak and frustrating - so I just want to do something in return. It would be great to see some other crafters getting involved and making some of these items and perhaps even running a "Pucker up for PH Event"!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Its surprising what you can learn...

Have been admiring and puzzling over blog badges for a couple of days and saw a blog badge swap on Folksy so thought it was time to learn. There's an amazingly clear tutorial on Smile Monster's Blog which is well worth a visit if you don't know how

There are more badges to collect too - have a look at the blog badges over on the right hand tool bar >>>

Friday, 24 September 2010

Scoutle

I expect you can see the funny little men strolling up and down over on the side bar >>>>>>
Well their from an application called Scoutle. Basically the little man - mine's called BOB - wanders far and wide across the internet and finds sites that complement yours and which are close to your interests. Its free to join  - all you need to do is make a quick profile!

As a result of this Bob has found me too brilliant blog sites since last night - Haptree and Me, which is a lovely bright and cheery site with tutorials for making various craft items - the link will take you to a tut for making Easy Padded Coin Purses.

The other site is Grizzly Mountain Arts which has a fabulous range of hand carved and crafted "crafter's tools" made from a wide range of unusual (for the UK anyway) raw materials like Moose Horns, Buffalo Bones and Fossils! Its well worth a visit if only to marvel at the quality of the carving

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Conquering Strawberries and Cream

This is not a diet tip :-)..... I love Strawberries and Cream far too much to conquer them.
Its simply the name I've given to my little curved bag and am happy to report its almost there. I played around with various ideas for the side panels and spent much time "crocheting in reverse" until I stumbled upon a creative solution:
By increasing evenly across the rows and increasing the gap between the increases once per row I ended up with these pretty little fans. I was then left with another minor problem - how to shape the curved centre to the bag - so after a bit of fiddling around I hit upon the idea of crocheting straight rows across one of the straight sides of the fan, shaping the inner curve as I went....

The test was then putting it together to see if the idea worked and made up a front for this pretty little bag and this is what I ended up with, having crocheted around the "neck line" to pull it all together:


And as you can see I also played around a bit more with the idea of a flower on the front and have changed the original design slightly to turn it into a patch pocket. The back is nearly finished so onward and upward for an evening working out the handle - probably pretty little crochet beads - thank you Pam for your suggestion :-). Will also crochet a strip to form the sides of the bag to give it a little bit of depth. Have enjoyed making this one so much am considering making a much larger adult version for my Folksy Shop

Mrs Beeton as I live and breath :-)

Well here it is  - the completed Mrs Beeton Scarf - I've really fallen in love with it and am loathe to give it away.... which is probably a common feeling for so many of us crafters. But.... I do have a secret supply of some beautiful yarn I got in a sale at Hobbycraft that is for me to make something special for ME for a change... so as long as I have some eyelash yarn in my stash to co-ordinate with it, I'll soon have my own :-)  Will also be publishing the pattern as a PDF very soon so that other charity knitters can make it for their own causes.

The scarf is beautifully modelled by my daughter Lucy, who was trying very hard to look serious! :

And for those interested this is the detail of the pattern:

It makes a beautifully soft fabric with gently curving waves along the edges

Saturday, 18 September 2010

What to do next?

Have just about finished whipping up "Mrs Beeton's Scarf now and natually my mind is fast forwarding to a commission I have from a friend - to make a pretty bag for a toddler to carry her bits and pieces around in. Have been struggling for ideas as I don't often make specifically for little ones but have seen a couple of pretty bags recently that have given me some ideas....

The bag is almost like a round necked jumper - this is my rough mock up - using 3 panels instead of the 4 I saw on the original:

And another idea I've seen and adapted is a pretty little flower panel that looks like this:

 And putting them together would look something like this:



I think though I would leave the backing of the motif open, bead the centre and then back the motif with some pretty contrasting fabric. the problem for me is the handle - it would be nice to carry on the buttons and beads theme but I don't think that's ideal for a small person - so might look at making crochet beads or knitting a bobbly handle on DPNS, stuffing as I go..... would love some opinions on the idea :-)

Friday, 10 September 2010

Well Mrs Beeton's Scarf is growing - the green I'd chosen as the cuff for the shrug really didn't work and the more I looked at the peacock pattern, the more I thought the undulating bottom edge would make a fantastic wrap - so wrap it is. Once its finished, I'll post a pattern and a photo - its also proving to be a good way to use up some eyelash yarn - it makes a really pretty fringe!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Am struggling with a knitting pattern for Peacock tail lace by MRS BEETON - yep she did more than cook! and have found a great site that helps translate lace patterns from the late 19th Century into modern terminology, its called "Fitter Knitter"

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Biscornu

Have you heard of the "Biscornu Craze" that's sweeping through the cross stitch world? Instructions and pictures can be found on Biscornu Basics. Having made some in cross stitch in the past - tiny little ones as brooches mainly, using both cross stitch and black work - I tried some time back to knit one! I ended up learning to make a mitred square first and then joining them and crocheting a border and was reasonably happy with it.

But recently my thoughts have turned to crochet. I was playing with an idea I'd seen a picture of - making a granny square and using it as the basis for a "log cabin" patchwork. So I made 16 and joined them and having run out of yarn was a at a bit of a loss as to what to do next. So I made a large granny square in white, using odds and ends of the left overs from the patchwork - and again I ran out, just as I got to the start of the edging for the for the front.... So I thought it would probably make a pretty cushion cover for a little girl's bedroom.... but then the biscornu bug "bit me" and I decided to play!! As a result, I have now ready for stuffing a beautiful patchwork cushion in biscornu style! I did a "test stuff" using a standard cushion and it works beautifully.... so next step is to do battle with the sewing machine tomorrow, finish it off, write the pattern up and post it here as a freebie!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Great Free Site

Have found a great free site http://www.freepatterns.com/. Loads of free craft patterns for you to use or to learn new techniques. I found it because I was looking for instructions for Polish Star Stitch and have found loads of other great new stitch ideas too!

Another free pattern site I love is - Knitting Pattern Central there's also a link from there to a similar site for crochet

And if you're into "antique" crafting, there's a fantastic directory of patterns from the turn of the century - The Antique Pattern Library - knitting, crochet, cross stitch, embroidery, lace making, tatting and much more.

I made a lovely dress for my daughter out of a £2 remnant of black fabric, and as I'm not the world's best dress maker I thought I'd crochet the top. So we went into the antique pattern library and found a beautiful pattern for some 1920's lingerie, which had a top made of crochet flowers joined together. We then adapted the pattern and used double knit yarn to make the shoulders and neck line of the dress. Photo's will follow!