Category Archives: Crafts

Another pair of fingerless gloves

I recently made another pair of fingerless gloves.  They’re so quick to make, and it’s always satisfying to finish projects quickly!

I made these for a friend’s daughter.  She’s a sports photographer in the making, and she needed gloves that would keep her hands warm but allow her to use her camera whilst she’s sat around watching horses, etc.  Hopefully these will do the job!

The yarn is an aran weight yarn, in a denim blue.  I don’t know the blend. I picked it up very cheap in Aldi one day (it was like £5 for 500g or something equally cheap!).

Gloves for Alice

Second handmade top – blue and purple

On Saturday, I had a go at my second handmade top (you can read about my first try here).  This one is sleeveless, although the shoulders are quite wide.  I made this one without a pattern, again.  I’m not trying to be clever (!), I just don’t have a big fabric shop nearby so I can’t easily buy a pattern, plus I am rubbish at following instructions so I know if I did buy one I’d struggle.

I hadn’t done my hair when I photographed the top, so you have a headless photo.  Also, I don’t think I’m really that white!

Second handmade top 1

I had to use two different fabrics for this top, because as with my first one I don’t have any big enough pieces of fabric to make a top in one fabric.  I need to buy some more fabric, but I’m on a spending fast (and I have lots of small bits of fabric that need using up!).  However, I measured really well, and the joins match up fairly well.  The chalk pencils I got for my birthday might have helped with this!

Second handmade top 2

It was fairly easy to make, and it only took a couple of hours to do.

Firstly, I measured my bust, hips and shoulders.  I’m a size 12 (UK), and my top measures 42 inches at the top, 44 inches where the blue and purple fabrics join and 46 inches at the bottom.

I folded my fabrics in half to make a centre line (almost visible in the final top above), and cut my trapezoid shapes (the purple front and backs are 21 inches at the top and 22 inches at the bottom, and the blue front and backs are 22 inches at the top and 23 inches at the bottom.  Hence, the trapezoid shapes are barely noticeable as there’s only an inch difference between top and bottom).

I decided what kind of neckline I wanted and then drew and cut it on to the front of the purple piece.  Then I shaped the back neckline and did the same.

Next I pinned and sewed the shoulders together.  Then you can check that your head fits through the hole you’ve measured!

Second handmade top 3

Then I sewed the front blue to the front purple, and the back blue to the back purple.  This is easy to do if everything is measured correctly, as you can line up your centre creases.

Then I pinned the sides and sewed them together, leaving arm holes (I left 10 inches for arms).  (In the photo below the top is right side round, but you want it inside out to sew the sides so your stitching is on the inside and not visible.)

Second handmade top 4

I left my top and bottom edges raw with the intention of binding them, which is a bugger (don’t do this for your first top unless you have experience binding, perhaps with quilting projects).  I couldn’t decide on a ribbon to hem with, so ended up making my own bias binding.  This is very easy to do, and I’ve done it for all my quilting projects, so it wasn’t new to me (there are instructions on the web if you need help).  The bias binding I made for this top is a lot narrower than I”m used to using for quilts, so it was quite fiddly to iron and to pin to the top.

Second handmade top 5

You should stitch your binding with an invisible thread, but I didn’t have any matching colours so I used white!  It meant my final stitching is visible (and it’s not perfect).

To do the sleeves, I just folded them inside twice and hemmed with a straight stitch.

Second handmade top 6

And we’re done!

I honestly can’t believe it took me six years to finally commit to a garment sewing project, as I’ve really enjoyed both the projects I’ve done so far, and they’re wearable.  The neckline on this top is puckering a little, so were I a contestant on the Sewing Bee I’d get marked down, but I’m pleased with this effort given my lack of knowledge and experience!

Glittery knitted top update

I knit really slowly, so the knitting project I started recently with the yarn I’d intended to use for a blanket hasn’t grown very much yet.  However, I wanted to show you what the yarn looks like when it’s knitted.

Knitted top, back

The glitter is quite subtle, I think.  The yarn is lovely and soft (it’s a cotton blend) and I bet it will be really comfortable to wear!

This is the back of the top and it’s a nice and simple pattern.  I just need to knit 1 row purl 1 row for 29 inches.  I can cope with that!

Charity project #17

Charity project 17
In amongst all the craft projects I’ve got started at the moment, I found time to finish a children’s scarf for charity.  I used a new stitch, and I like the pattern.  The stitch is listed as “squares in squares”, and you can find instructions here.  The steps are easy to follow.

Charity project 17 close up

This is the first charity project I’ve completed this year.  I have two other scarves on the go, along with my own projects!

My first ever home-sewn top!

Homemade top 1

(Ignore my face in this photo, I’ve woken up with a terrible cold, just to finish my ridiculously rubbish week!)

This is the craft project I mentioned yesterday that I’m super-excited to tell you about.  You read the title right; I have sewn a top!  This is something I have wanted to do for years, but I always thought it was a bit beyond my rather basic sewing machine skills.

So, what prompted this sudden change of heart?  I was watching the new series of The Great British Sewing Bee this week, and thinking about how I really wanted to sew a top myself, and I just thought that I might as well give it ago as I can do most of the things the competitors were doing for their Sewing Bee challenges.

Homemade top 7

On Wednesday I rummaged around in my fabric stash and found some pieces of fabric big enough.  I didn’t have enough of one fabric, so I’ve used a plain fabric on the back and a patterned fabric on the front.  I sort of followed the instructions on this blog, but used a t-shirt I own as a template.  I made a pattern with some paper and the measurements of the top I owned, and then used that to cut the fabric I needed.

Homemade top 6

The t-shirt I was using has a lined neckline, so I did that too (with some instruction from my Mother!).  That was probably the hardest bit of the top, as I wanted the necklines of the front and back, and the lining, to match up perfectly (they do, although I think it was luck more than talent!).

Homemade top 2

Unfortunately, as you can see from my photos, I ironed the centre line creases in really well, and I couldn’t iron them out.  Hopefully they’ll fade after I’ve washed the top!

Homemade top 3

Homemade top 4

Homemade top 5The top isn’t perfect, but I think I’ve done a really good job for a first try.  I would wear it in public, and that’s all that counts really, I reckon.  If I make this one again, I need to reshape the shoulders, but other than that I think the rest of the shape was ok.  Now I have an urge to try other patterns!

A new knitting project

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that this week I bought lots of yarn for a knitted blanket project I had in mind.  I chose Sirdar Ella yarn, because it’s beautiful and I’ve been wanting to use it for a project for ages.  The colours are gorgeous and they have little specks of glitter in them!

Sirdar Ella DK colour palette

I was going to knit squares, and then crochet them together into a giant blanket.  I had Wednesday off work, and I got started on my sample squares to test the pattern and my ideas.  Sadly, none of it worked and I gave up after a rather frustrating day.  I couldn’t get the knitting pattern to work with the crochet stitching I wanted to use, and in the end I lost patience.

I was then going to make a crochet blanket, but I already have the ripple one started, and I don’t need another crochet project.  So, I looked on Ravelry and I’ve decided to make a jumper instead.  I’m going to use the dark purple for this jumper (top left hand corner of the image above), and I’ll show it to you as it progresses.

My Mother has claimed some of the other yarns for two jumper patterns she has, and I think I’m going to use the pale pink for another jumper I have in mind.  So the yarn will get used up, but not in the way I’d originally planned!  It’s beautiful yarn, so if you’re looking for some DK for a pattern I recommend you check it out!

Sample quilt blanket finished!

Redoing the sample patchwork blanket 7

Years ago, I bought a pack of cheap fabric squares, with the intention of using them to make a quilt blanket that I could use to test out individual stitching patterns.  The plan was to stitch each square individually with a different pattern, to practice designs and different stitches.

I started it, decided I didn’t like it, and then abandoned it.  Stitching each square in a different pattern made the blanket very random and inconsistent, and I didn’t like the effect.

Redoing the sample patchwork blanket 1

I was tidying my craft box a couple of weeks ago, and as always when I got to this blanket I wondered what to do with it.  It annoyed me that it was taking up so much space in my craft box, but I didn’t want to throw it away (in recycling!).  I took the blanket out the box and brought it downstairs to sit on a dining room chair whilst I decided what to do with it.

Ultimately, I decided to unpick the stitching I’d done, machine sew the patchwork layer, wadding and back together, and be done with it.  It’s not quilted, but it’s a useable blanket and I can move on with my life!

Redoing the sample patchwork blanket 2

Redoing the sample patchwork blanket 3

Redoing the sample patchwork blanket 4

Redoing the sample patchwork blanket 5

Redoing the sample patchwork blanket 6

I’m actually saving this blanket for when I have a dog, to put on his bed.  That was always the plan, as there’s no colour theme (and originally the stitches would have all been random).  Archie’s been playing with it, but she already has three or four blankets, and doesn’t need another!

At the weekend

This weekend was a particularly lovely one.  The sun shone; I pottered about with my crochet blanket, started knitting a new scarf, had lots of tea, read, made soup and generally relaxed.  I also took a few pictures on my camera, which has been feeling neglected recently.

At the weekend 1

At the weekend 2

At the weekend 3

At the weekend 4

At the weekend 5

At the weekend 6

At the weekend 7

At the weekend 8

At the weekend 9

These are all the ends of my crochet blanket so far.  They’re going into the scarf that’s photographed further up.

At the weekend 10

I hope you had a lovely weekend too.

An update on the ripple crochet blanket

One of my goals for January was to complete 10 stripes, or 30 rows, of my crochet blanket.  I managed this, and I thought I’d show you how the ripple blanket is progressing.

Crochet blanket update

On some days I don’t like the colours – I think that the coloured stripes are too bright.  On other days, I like the combination of the cream and the colours.  It’s a bit of a hit or miss blanket I think.  Still, the ripple pattern looks great.

Crochet blanket update 2

I’ve got a lot to do before it’s finished, as it will be a big blanket.  I really want to finish it this year though!

All my charity projects in 2013

I thought it would be fun to pull together a collage of all my charity craft projects for 2013.  In 2013, I completed 15 projects.  That brings my total to 16 projects so far.

2013 charity projects

I feel like I achieved quite a lot in 2013!  Blogs are quite good for making you realise what you’ve been up to in the previous year.

I don’t know if I’m going to make any charity items this year.  I probably will end up doing so, but I haven’t got any firm plans around it.  We shall see what happens.