Monday, 29 October 2012

Macmillan Daffodil Tea Cosy

I started knitting this tea cosy as I liked the big oversized daffodil on the top (daffodils being my favourite type of flowers - debating if we can have them as wedding flowers, certainly bring that bill down!) But I didn't have a home in mind for it - then I noticed that my friend Heather was having a Macmillan Coffee Morning at her cafe in Windermere (Coffee Bar 7 - pop in for a friendly welcome, local knowledge and home-made soup!), so I asked if she would like a donation for a raffle prize. I thought this was an apt home for the tea cosy as it had been designed for Australia's Biggest Coffee Morning by Loani Proir.

I had a bit of a tricky start with this pattern as it seems there is a typo on the second page - it instructs you to knit on 8mm needles - after knitting for a while and having very loose knitting I decided that it must be wrong and read the 'equipment needed' at the start of the pattern, where it states you need 5mm needles and no mention of 8mm.  So I decided it must be a mistake, untravelled my knitting and started again.  When I got to the end of the pattern I felt that the tea cosy was on the short side, so I knitted 12 extra rounds on both the outside and inside pieces.  The daffodil was easy to knit up and looked very striking.  Although the tea cosy started out being a bit tricky, I was rather pleased with the end result and am please to add it to my tea cosy repertoire!

I've also knitted owl and rose garden tea cosies and a cafetiere cosy!  I've got my eye on a few that I have found on Raverly

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Pleat Detail Dress - Creative Open Workshop

Last Christmas I was given a voucher for a workshop of my choice at the Creative Open Workshop in Birmingham. As the voucher had a life of twelve months I thought that would be plenty of time to find a workshop I wanted to go to and the time to do it in!  I kept an eye on the monthly workshop list that kept being posted - numerous things caught my eye, screen printing, bag making, jewellery,dressmaking - but they never seemed to correspond with the weekends that I was up in the West Midlands!  After submitting my thesis, I decided that I needed to make an effort to book my place.  I'd picked my date of Saturday 13 October and hoped that I would be interested in the the workshop that fell on that date - it was for a Pleat Detail Dress.  Not a style of dress I would usually pick, but I decided to go for it and emailed the lovely Francine to book my place.

I already had some fabric to take, that I had bought on a whim a few months before.  If I ever buy fabric without having a project in mind, I try to buy 3 metres so that I will have plenty.  This dress only needed 2 metres and with careful cutting out, I'm not sure I even used that much! So plenty left over for another project.  The dress itself was very simple, one front piece, two back pieces and then a decorative panel for the front.  I took my time and tried to make sure that the flowers match up on each of the pieces - being guided through this dressmaking made me a lot more careful with the pining and measuring!!

Halfway through our workshop we were presented with a chocolate cupcake and a top up cup of tea, served in a beautiful tea cup - definitely my kind of workshop!  I managed to finish my dress apart from sewing the last bit of bias binding, which I did at home.  The dress fits and I was really pleased with the end result - although it definitely needed the added belt to give it a bit of shape.  As we got to keep our pattern, I'm sure I will make another in the future.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Bow Tie

This post has been sitting in my draft pile for ages - As it was a present, I didn't want to spoil the surprise.  However, I hadn't banked on Royal Mail taking nearly two weeks to deliver a first class parcel!!  Thankfully it hadn't got lost and I hadn't started to make the replacement Bow  Tie!

I wanted to make my brother something that could fit through his letter box for his birthday - after a bit of contemplation I decided on a Bow Tie.  After a bit of searching I found this fabulous step-by-step instructions and pattern by Angela Osborne.  The pattern calls for either half a metre with a back seem in the bow tie or a metre if you want to omit the back seem.  However, I think with some careful cutting of patterns you may just about get the pattern cut from a fat quarter, as I had about that much left over.

As suggested by the pattern I also made a small matching pocket handkerchief, not sure if it will get used, but at least it is there!  I can foresee me sewing up numerous versions of the bow tie for my brother's future birthdays  . . . maybe he needs a Christmas themed one! 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Baby Tank Top & Cafetiere Cosy

So the news that my friend had a baby boy in the middle of September meant that I had a perfect excuse to go and buy a baby knitting book.  Although the title of the book is a bit misleading - 'What to Knit When You Are Expecting' - there should be an astrix of *or have friends who are!!  I picked this title up in my local Works for under a fiver, bargain - I was particularly drawn in by the baby snug, which I shall endeavour to make in the future.  The only downside of the book, and I find this with ALL knitting books I own or look at, they use the MOST expensive yarn - for the tank top I was supposed to use something that cost £5 a ball, bringing the project in at over £20! Thankfully I found a Patons alternative for a total project cost of £3, with enough wool left over to probably knit another tank top!  As an added bonus this version is machine washable :-)

This project knitted up very quickly and I managed to knit correctly on double-pointed-needles without the knitting being inside out - hurrah! I was slightly apprehensive about the knitting in of the arm and neck borders.  After knitting the arm borders in, I was confident to knit the neck border and although I didn't manage to pick up the number of stitches the pattern dictated - you wouldn't know.  So as my first baby knit, I am rather pleased - I knitted size 6-12 months, so it very probable that it will be far too big for the nearly 1 month old - but plenty of wriggle room!

My other knitting project that I finished this week was a Cafetiere Cosy from a fab book called 'Purls of Wisdom' - I didn't have the right thickness of yarn, so I used two different greys to knit together and they added up to the right 'chunky' weight that was required.  I then used three of the lovely red/pink buttons that came free on the front of Mollie Makes a while ago - they look really striking and I think I shall be knitting a second one for myself . . .

I also had a nudge from a friend to finally join Ravelry and have spent an enjoyable morning queueing up projects that I want to make in the future!  I can't believe that I haven't joined before.  I also had an inspired idea in order to remember what size my double-jointed-needles are - by cutting two slits in an old postcard and then writing on the postcard what size the needles are - sorted!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Peg Bag Apron

I've been thinking about making a peg bag for ages - for the past few years my pegs have had to make do with an empty Cart D'or tub, which didn't really work as I had too many pegs and the lid wouldn't close! The only thing about making a peg bag that put me off, was the fact that I'd have to find a small coat hanger - however much I kept my eyes open for one I hadn't found one so far.

Then I came up with the idea of creating a peg bag apron.  As I had a free afternoon I decided to make my own pattern.  I used a couple of pages from the free newspapers that come through the door - I fractionally made the width of the double page spread smaller and drew a semi-circle with elongated straight bits for the back of the apron.  The front was a piece of the same size, but its corners were cut out with a circular line - this would form the openings to the pocket when sewn together.  I then cut out a rectangle for an extra pocket on the front and also a guide for the waist-band and tie.

I cut two pieces from each pattern from contrasting materials.  I decided that I wanted a detail on the front of the pocket, so used a wide zig-zag stitch on the machine to appliqué a heart on to one piece of the pocket, before sewing together both bits of the pocket, turned inside out and pressed.  I then sewed the pocket in the middle of the front piece of the apron, before sewing the inside and the outside together for both the back and the front of the apron.  I had a bit of interfacing leftover from another project, so added this to the back piece, just to give it a bit of stability.  After turning the right side out and pressing, I pinned together the back and the front of the apron, before sewing along the top and round the side.  The waist band was then pinned on, right sides facing and in line with the top edge of the apron - so that when folded up and over it created the waist band, which was then stitched in place with another line of external stitching.

After seeing what I'd been up to all afternoon, my mum requested her own - only fair as I had raided her fabric stash to make mine!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


The weekend before last felt rather odd - it was the first weekend in three years where I'd didn't feel like I should be reading something or organising the upcoming week. On the Friday I had finally finished my thesis and all I had left to do was print out and bind the 371 pages. Therefore I needed a project, so I had a Saturday trip to John Lewis to peruse its haberdashery department.

I wasn't disappointed - I got some wool for my next project and two lengths of material. One was for a birthday present - so going to have to wait until after I've given it, before I can blog about it. I also spied this lovely fabric that was just calling out to be made into pyjamas. I went with my gut instinct and bought 2 metres - as I hadn't checked to see how much my pattern needed as this wasn't technically on my list!

The pattern I used was from a book that I has picked up for £2.99 in The Works - rather good for hunting out that bargain crafty book. The only downside to the book is that their are multiple patterns printed on each of the tissue paper sheets in the patterns at the back - so I had to improvise and used baking paper to trace out the pyjama bottoms. They also only give a size small (with no measurements to let you know what that means) yet did state how much extra to add on for a medium and a large. So it was a bit of guessing game to make sure I had the right size. They were easy to sew up - however they were on the huge size and were really wide at the bottom yet they fitted at the top, so I decided to bring them in a bit on the inside seem. I then added some decorative ribbon around the bottom of each leg. As this pattern used elastic at the top I had also purchased some wide elastic whilst out - who knew there were so many different ones to choose from! In the end I went with 'pyjama elastic' as that sounded promising - however it is very soft and is probably for pyjamas when the elastic is external rather than encased within the waistband.

I'm not sure whether I will use this pattern again, as I made rather a lot of adjustments - think I may find myself a better pyjama pattern for next time. There are however some other promising patterns in the book - I've got my eye on the foldaway shopping bag!