Tuesday, 22 February 2011


It's not goodbye, but see you in a while - I've moved to a new blog address, so come and visit me in my brand new home!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Crocheting Rainbows

The one thing that's more satisfying that hooking up a project for home, or constructing something fabulous for a gift, is contributing to a cause. Sarah London, one of my favourite crochet bloggers, has devised a project that anybody, anywhere can take part in - crocheting granny squares to be made into blankets for victims of the floods in Australia.

As usual with projects like this, it doesn't matter if you can send five squares or fifty, every little helps. For more details, and information on how to sign up, head over to Sarah's blog, where you can also find pictures of all the wonderful squares already donated.

I'm already attempting to use up some of my absolutely gigantic 'stash' on a round, stripey cushion cover, but there were still several colours just begging to be used, so I got busy making some pretty random colour combinations for my grannies.

Before I knew it, there were nine deliciously bright squares ready to be posted!

In one of her recent posts, Sarah says that two blankets have already been joined together, so I'm feverishly hitting the 'refresh' button in anticipation of seeing the creations. How exciting!

I can't urge you enough to join up - even if you only have time to send one square, it will be well received. What are you waiting for? Get hooking!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Stash Busting

Now all the hats on my list are done, and all wool has been distributed and accounted for, a quick peek around has revealed that I have one heck of a stash to use up!

The colours are bright and delicious, and I decided that they would be perfect as cushion covers and blankets. My first project is going to be a lovely, giant, round cushion cover....

Although hats are constructed by beginning with a flat circle, you only really have to do three or four rounds for a toddler-sized beanie, and so I found myself repeatedly flummoxed when I kept ending up with too many stitches, and a frilly, ripply edge. Good for a large table-cloth, not so good for a meant-to-be-pancake-flat cushion cover. Huff. After much unraveling, and lots of concentrating, I finally cracked it - I discovered the key was in Careful Counting! And so, I've Counted in bed in the mornings (with my favourite giant Whittard heart cup, there it is in the picture below!), and in front of the TV at night, Counted on my lunchbreaks, and Counted in the coffee shop before I started work. I've even Counted while trying to entertain the Boy, who helpfully likes to collect up all of my wool and carry it across to the other side of the room!

I'm halfway through Counting, so hopefully there will be a Finished Project Post coming soon (I haven't managed many of those on this blog so far, have I?!)

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Birthday Crafting

While I love, love, love, making things for our cosy little home, I honestly think there is nothing better than giving a handmade gift. Whether for a birthday or a christening, over the festive period, or just to let someone know you're thinking of them, there is nothing like opening a parcel that has been handmade with love. So when my Mum mentioned that she was thinking of buying some new cushions for the sofa in the lounge, my mind started whirring, and before I knew it, I was hooking away so quickly you could almost imagine sparks flying off of the end!

As you know from the previous post, the endless hats and scarves orders have kept me tied to my hooks over the festive period, and with my Mums birthday falling on January 15th, there wasn't a lot of time to spare. So I hooked everywhere, snatching minutes on the sofa in front of the television in the evenings, the odd half an hour in the mornings in my lovely bed before getting up, in Cafe Nero before work started, and even on the bus to work. The pile grew (oooh look - my Cath Kidston Blackberry case crept into the photo - isn't she beautiful? I got her for Christmas)....

and grew....

...and grew, until I had enough squares (sixteen 5-round grannies) to make the front of the cushion cover.

Don't they look lovely, so neat and tidy sitting in their lines! I then spent two evenings in front of the television, hooking them all together, until I had my large crocheted panel....

...and then I decided to stitch around the edge of the whole thing in cream, just to neaten it up and give it a bit of contrast.

Lucy over at Attic24 does a marvelous tutorial on using old jumpers to back crocheted cushion covers, so I decided this would be the best bet - I couldn't bare having to crochet the back as well! Her instructions are so easy to follow, and in typical Attic24 style, there were plenty of pictures for when my brain just said, "hmmmm?" It took a while, and there were a few hairy moments when I was sure the whole thing was just going to look a mess, but after a little construction....

and a lot of patience....

...it all came together!

I had bought three cushion innards, so was going to make at least another one cover, and suddenly remembered the patchwork squares I bought from eBay on a complete whim a little while ago. They'd been sitting amongst my fabric stash for months, and I decided it was the perfect time to try out some patchwork (I did actually debate on quilting, but was really running out of time by now!), so I got the machine out and started stitching them together. Luckily, they were pre-cut, so this stage didn't take long at all.

The colours looked so lovely together, and I'm sure it was fate that I had them - my parents sofa is green, and I think green and pink always look perfect side by side! The stitching only took one evening, and then I had my lovely front panel....

I chose a green and cream floral print fabric for the back, and made two pieces into an overlapping back piece. Then, I stitched the whole thing together... and..... it was finished! I have to admit, I did a little dance when I looked at the lovely patchwork and the yummy crochet side by side. The colours did look ever so good together, especially sitting on my sofa.... don't you think they look all comfy and at-home there?

Here is a close up of the front....

...and the back...

I bought the wooden heart buttons especially for the crochet jumper, and I think it was a definite wise choice. I would have had them all along, but the wool shop only had those two!

They did look better on my Mum's sofa though, and she was ever so, ever so, EVER so, pleased with them. Her face lit up when she opened them and we had a big mother-daughter-squishy hug. She said that she liked them so much more than if I had bought her some, because as well as being beautiful, I had spent time and effort making them. Then we had another hug!

Happy Birthday to my lovely, lovely Mum!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Satisfied Customers

I just wanted to pop up a quick post to let you all know what's been keeping me so busy since November. There will be something of more words and substance coming very soon, but for now I'll leave you with some lovely pictures of my latest hooky hats and their very happy owners!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A Crafty Christmas

I was late planting my Spring bulbs last year, late starting my festive crafting and, surprise surprise, am now late with my Christmas blog post. One of my new years resolutions must surely be to start everything a little earlier!

In my defence, I have been whoppingly busy with my real part-time job, an eternally energetic toddler, and the list of crochet hat-and-scarf orders (not to mention the sheer drudgery and dullness of housework, yawn).

But somehow, after a few late-ish nights and some spells of trying to untangle the Boy from several balls of wool (you've got to love a toddlers fascination with crafts!), I managed to get everything done and dusted. Phew!

I wanted to make some lovely felted tree decorations, and had great plans for applique and blanket stitching around the edges, but sadly only got as far as cutting out the shapes and deciding on the trimmings... I think I'll finish these in the new year anyway - they won't all be overly festive, and I really do think that more is more when it comes to colour and decoration in a home! Hopefully they'll appear in a post of their own very soon!

I did make some festive bunting, which stretched across the whole of one wall of the lounge, and I also decided to have a go at machine embroidery, after seeing it on Kirstie's Homemade Home. On the show, she said it was the 'crack-cocaine of crafting' - and I have to say I do tend to agree. I tried it without the embroidery foot and the thread kept getting tangled, and the reverse of my work looked terribly messy, so I ordered the foot online, and the difference was wondrous!

I added some buttons to jazz it up a bit, and was pretty pleased with the result - especially considering it was my first go!

I managed to squeeze in time to make some bows from some wired ribbon I found in the local bargain bookshop....

...and I also managed to find the time to do something I've wanted to do for absolutely aaaaages - print my own wrapping paper. I bought some plain brown paper and stamps from hobbycraft (I did want to make my own, but by now it was the week before Christmas and I was starting to panic a little!), and away I went. It's so addictive, and the fact that it's impossible to get it completely perfect only adds to the homemade charm, I think.

There were homemade white chocolate and walnut cookies, recipe courtesy of Decembers issue of Country Homes and Interiors....

....and the whole of the time there was crafting on the inside, there was snow and ice aplenty on the outside....
...but luckily I was snuggled up with the Boy, painting and making everything look lovely. I'm fortunate enough to have an art-loving toddler, so I roped him into a little sparkly painting, which turned out beautifully!

While I was browsing through Twitter, I discovered that Sarah London had posted a really easy, really lovely crochet snowflake pattern, so I got hooking, and came up with a small vertical garland to hang either side of the window.

Finally, all the crafting was finished, and it was time to decorate the tree, and enjoy all my hard work. With a little help from the Christmas chocolates, of course. Yum yum!

The angel on the top of the tree is a family hand-me-down, and has been with us since I was born - I love the idea of passing ornaments and decorations down through the family. She's wearing well considering she's almost thirty years old!

Merry Christmas, and a happy new year to you all!