Thursday, 30 June 2011

Giant Granny Square Blanket: update

My crochet blanket is getting larger:


The colours are a bit bright in that photo - they look more like this in real life:


It'll still be a while before it's finished... I want it to be quite a bit bigger, so we can use it on the double bed in the spare room, and it's currently taking over an hour to crochet a single round!

It's proving to be a great "end of the evening" project: simple and super-relaxing.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

30 Before 30 (ish)

I turned 29 this month, and thought it would be fun to do a "30 before 30" project - writing a list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30 and, er, doing them.

Typically, I only thought of this after my birthday and then it took me a while to think of what I wanted to put on the list (actually, I'm still not finished writing it), so I'm aiming to complete this by the end of next year (ish) instead of actually when I turn 30 next summer.

The list so far:

1) Finish my giant granny square blanket.

2) Crochet a stripey blanket - maybe plain stripes or maybe a ripple, I'm not sure which one I want to try yet (decisions, decisions...).

3) Start a patchwork quilt. I'm planning on handstitching this, so it's going to take me a while and finishing it in a year and a half is not remotely likely! Just choosing a design and fabrics and making a start on it will be enough to keep me happy.

4) Make a skirt - this is something I've been meaning to do for years. I'm always bookmarking skirt-making tutorials on craft blogs and then never getting round to trying any of them.

5) Adapt this dress to make it a bit more practical, so I can wear and enjoy it instead of just keeping it in suitcase under the bed.

6) Finish my scrapbook about my years at University. It's been almost 10 years since I first went to Uni, yet this scrapbook remains unfinished! I'll start forgetting it all soon...

7) Make some cushions to brighten up our very boring sofa.

8) Buy a ceramic pen or two and decorate some mugs (this is another thing I've wanted to try for years!).

9) Get a book with lots of fancy embroidery stitches and use it to stitch a sampler. I only know a few very basic stitches and I'd like to learn lots more.

10) Design an embroidery pattern and share it here on the blog.

11) Frame and hang all the pictures I've bought over the past couple of years (well, all the ones I have wall space for, anyway).

12) Make a crafty video (fingers crossed the boyfriend will help me out with this one!)

13) Visit all the museums near me, because it's just silly that I've lived here for almost 5 years and not been to them all yet.

14) Visit the V&A. I go to London so infrequently these days that I've not been to the V&A in years and years, which makes me sad.

15) Read 30 new books. I don't read as much as I used to (my evenings are normally spent sewing or knitting rather than reading) and when I do, I've become a bit of a re-reader. It's definitely time to try some new things!

16) Read War & Peace - I've owned a copy for almost 15 years, I really should actually read it. While I'm at it, I should reread and finish Anna Karenina too (I loved that book so much when I read it aged 15 I spent a large portion of my GCSE study leave reading it instead of revising for my exams! Eventually I put it in a box under my bed to make myself focus on my studies, and never picked it back up again).

17) Visit 10 towns or cities I've never been to before (because daytrips are fun)

18) Do a "30 things in 30 days" making challenge to get some ideas out of my sketchbooks and into reality.

19) Give up chocolate, biscuits, cake, etc for 90 days. I don't smoke or drink but I have a very sweet tooth and I'd like to try and kick the habit!

20) Clear out the two boxes in our spare room which are full of "odds and ends" that have no home (many of which have been in the same boxes since we moved in 5 years ago).

21) Learn to cook an omlette (instead of just making a big eggy mess)

22) Finish my "less 365 project". After completing a personal challenge to give away 100 things in the run up to Christmas last year, I'd caught the decluttering bug and decided to try getting rid of one thing a day for a year (giving them away or recycling / binning them as appropriate). I'm running a little behind - I'm up to about 4th June now - but I'm getting there!

... and that's as far as I've got, but I'm going to make a start anyway and think up the rest as I go along :)

Wish me luck!

[UPDATED - I've unfortunately had to abandon this project, but some of the things mentioned here are definitely still on my to do list...]

Recycled Flowers

More new flowers!


These are made with recycled felt made from old wool jumpers (sweaters) - I only had small quantities of this felt, so was only able to make one or two brooches in each colour.


The recycled felt is very thick, which results in lovely, chunky flowers. The large ones would look great on a jacket or winter coat.


I'll be adding these to my Etsy shop gradually over the next few days - if there's one you've got your eye on, let me know and I can reserve it for you.



All the flowers I've finished recently have been in my work-in-progress boxes for a while now - it's very satisfying to have finally had the time to get them finished, photographed and into my shops.

Plus: now there's lots of room in my wip boxes for some new projects :)

Monday, 27 June 2011

Pink Flowers

I added lots of pretty pink flowers to my shops over the weekend...


... a little hairclip, some headbands, and small & large brooches:


The large brooches are definitely my favourite - all those layers! Yum.

All the flowers are currently available over in my Etsy shop, and the headbands and large brooches are also available in my Folksy shop.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Sunshine Sale

Wow, it's so sunny today!

After a week of being bundled up in winter sweaters, today I'm wearing a sundress:



All that delicious stripey colour makes me so happy! :)

To celebrate the lovely weather, I'm having a mini sale - enter the code SUNSHINE at checkout to get 15% off your order from my Etsy shop today (26th June). Discount excludes shipping, but includes items already marked as on sale.

Friday, 24 June 2011

How To: Felt Scrap Bracelets

I found these bracelets in a box while having a clearout... I made them when I was about 15, using colourful felt scraps I couldn't bear to throw away.


They're super easy to make, and a great way to use up small pieces of felt.

1) Choose the colours for your bracelet - I used similar colours for each bracelet (e.g. blues for one, pinks and purples for another) but you can mix and match any colours you fancy, make a bright rainbow or perhaps choose colours to match the print of a favourite dress.

2) Cut the scraps into small squares and rectangles, all approximately the same width so you can join them up to make one long strip. If you don't mind fiddly cutting and sewing, you can cut two very narrow rectangles and sew them together with whip stitch to make one two-tone piece.

3) Arrange the pieces in the order you want.


4) Use whip stitch in a complementary thread colour to sew all the pieces together.

Start by placing one piece on top of the other, lining them up at one end. Use whip stitch to sew along this edge, then stitch along the outside of one piece until you reach the opposite end. Then repeat this, so you keep adding new pieces and stitching along alternate sides of the bracelet (as seen in the photos) until you've added enough pieces to make the bracelet the length you need.

I made my bracelets long enough to wrap around my wrist three times, overlapping by about 1-2 cm. You can measure this length before you start using a bit of yarn or string, or just test the bracelet as it grows.

5) Sew one half of a small snap fastener to one end of the bracelet, then wrap it round your wrist to see where to sew the matching half. Remove the bracelet from your wrist and sew the second half in place.

Finish your stitching as neatly as possible, but remember part of the appeal of these brooches is their slightly scruffy, higgeldy-piggeldy look, so don't worry about being too neat! If you want to make hand-washable bracelets, remember to use 100% synthetic felt, as wool and wool blend felt is likely to shrink if you wash it :)


Please feel free to borrow photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my entire tutorial on your site. Thanks!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Turquoise and Plum

New in my shops this week: lots of pretty felt flowers!

The flowers are made from thick, textured needle felt, and embellished with a cluster of seed beads in the centre. Choose from light turquoise with sparkly silver seed beads or rich plum/magenta with glossy black beads.


The flowers are available as brooches in two sizes...

... and as headbands:


You can find them in my Etsy shop and my Folksy shop.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Back on Track

After a few painful days last week, my back is now much, much better. Hurrah! Many thanks for all your well wishes xxx

Thanks to many hours sat on the sofa, my crochet blanket has got a bit bigger (each round is taking me over and hour now, which is quite scary when you add them all up!) but otherwise I've not been up to much crafty stuff this week.

However, I did get a HUGELY exciting bit of post: an advance copy of my book! Eek!


Super-Cute Felt will be published in the UK on September 8th by CICO Books (and a couple of weeks later in the USA). It's currently available for pre-order from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. The rate at which this year is flying by, it'll be September in no time.

Psst - a couple of people have asked me about buying signed copies, so I'm hoping to have some copies available for you to buy direct from me this autumn :)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Ouch!

I have somehow managed to hurt my back while yawning.

It was one of those big, early morning, stretching yawns. Something went "click" and I have been saying "ouch" a lot ever since. Very annoying!

It's getting better (slowly) but I've had to set aside much of my planned to do list for this week in favour of sitting on the sofa working my way through some of the books on my reading pile...


... and I can't be on the computer for very long, so it make take me a bit longer than usual to reply to emails, publish & respond to blog comments, etc, over the next few days.

I'm also taking a short blogging break, but *fingers crossed* I'll be back very soon :)

Monday, 13 June 2011

Pretty Paperwork

I'm working on more admin this week, but I took a break over the weekend to do some fun paperwork: cutting, sorting and sticking pictures to fill my scrapbooks.

I don't usually keep personal scrapbooks (although I've made some in the past, I'm normally happy with keeping bits of sentimental ephemera in boxes) ... but I am slightly obsessive about keeping "inspiration" scrapbooks, filled with all those images from magazines, etc, that are just too gorgeous and/or interesting to throw away.


I've been keeping these scrapbooks since my mid teens and I've filled quite a few exercise books over the years... here are just some of them:


... and you can see a few of the pages here if you're curious! I get so much of my visual inspiration online these days, the scrapbooks fill up much more slowly, but I have no plans to break the habit.

P.S. I'm still exploring my collection of mixtapes, although I have to admit that all the random memories they've been stirring up have been a teeny bit distracting when I've been working! (what is it about music that provokes such vivid memories?) Ah, being 16... *misty-eyed nostalgia*

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Our Knitting Picnic

To celebrate Knit in Public Day yesterday, our knitting club had a picnic and a yarn sale to raise funds for our charity knitting projects.


It's always a gamble planning a picnic in England, as you never know what the weather's going to be like. The forecast for today was for sunshine, and the weather was amazing for the first couple of hours. We did lots of knitting and crochet, chatted to crafty friends old and new, and drank yummy Teapigs tea kindly provided by local deli StanMan's Kitchen.

Then the heavens opened and we spent the next half an hour sheltering under one of the trees waiting for a gap in the rain so we could pack up and go home. It was a shame to have to cut the picnic short but some of us retired to a cafe afterwards for tea and cake, and seeing the non-stop rain this morning I think we were actually pretty lucky with the weather!

Here I am drinking tea while we were still enjoying the sunshine:


As well as drinking lots of tea, I bought lots of yarn. I have no idea where it's all going to go, or what I'm going to knit with it, but it was far too lovely to resist - especially this gorgeous soft green yarn (Patons Moonglow in "fern").

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Knitting in Public

Today is World Wide Knit in Public Day! Hurrah!


WWKiP Day is actually being celebrated from 11th-19th June this year (bit odd, but the more knitting the merrier, I guess!), so even if you miss the chance to knit in public today you've still got lots of time to get outside and get knitting! Click here to search for events in your area.


Innocent are also launching their Big Knit 2011 campaign this weekend. They "want to raise £160k this year for Age UK by knitting 650,000 little hats which will go on our smoothie bottles and be sold in stores in November. For every little hat knitted, we'll give 25p to Age UK to help them make winter a little warmer for older people across the UK." The knitting patterns will go up on their site next week, but you can also find them on Ravelry by searching for the Big Knit.


I always have fun knitting a few hats for this campaign (I knitted those hats a couple of years ago, and the ladies at my knitting club managed many many more last year!), it's a useful way to use up all those teeny odds and ends of leftover yarn from other projects and it's delightful seeing hat-wearing-smoothies appear in stores in the autumn. The deadline for this year's hats is 14th October, so you've got plenty of time to get knitting.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Admin Day


Today has been a day for admin and accounts - a day for pens, calculators, and spreadsheets instead of the fun stuff like felt and thread.

All very important, but quite dull. I've been keeping myself entertained by listening to old mixtapes... One of the great perks of being self-employed is being able to sing along while you work, without fear of embarrassment!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Giveaway Winner: Felt Circles


The lucky winner of all those tiny felt circles is...

bettyoctopus, who said... "Oh wow, count me in! I have a million projects I could use those for!"

Thanks to everyone who left a comment :)


In other news, I found some forgotten (and supposedly sold out) pink poppy brooches tucked away in a box this week. They're now back in my shops while stocks last, and only £5 each. Hurrah! They're available from my Etsy, Folksy and DaWanda shops.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

WIP: Giant Granny Square Blanket

My first crochet blanket is growing steadily...


I'm not following a fixed pattern, just stitching a repeating pattern of one row / two rows / one row / three rows, and mixing up the seven colours as I go along to get a nice selection.


I've not decided how large I want it to be yet... or how I'm going to finish the edge. I've got a while to go yet before I have to decide!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Flowers in Progress

A couple of floral things I'm working on at the moment...

Flowers made from recycled sweaters:


And pretty layered flowers with lots of added sparkle:

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