Friday 30 January 2015

Sewing up

Thank you for all your lovely comments on the scarf, she read them all and was really pleased. More knitting today... seldom meet a knitter who likes to sew up garments. Me, I love it. I love the thrill of the finish (you may have noticed) so I like to sew up, it feels exciting. I didn't used to though until I used this technique.

Work with the right side facing you. It makes sense doesn't it? you can see what your work will actually look like. I used to work the other side, sew really neatly then turn it out and hope it looked OK but it was mostly awful.

See in the picture the vertical rows of stocking stitch? Ignore the knobbly edge and think about inserting your needle between the V's in the first good row.

If you bury down you will see a little ladder underneath, put your needle under two of them, then draw the thread through. Pull thread and move your needle to the right hand side.

Do the same. As you work side to side, the stocking stitch will meet up in the middle and appear seamless and flat.

It is called matress stitch. If you have to incorporate a bit of ease because one piece is a bit longer than the other (yes it happens to me) Pick up one ladder on the short side and two ladders from the longer side and it will square up.

If that has all just blown your mind and you want to see a video, here is a link to a really useful tutorial to help you along.

Hope that is helpful for somebody. 
Sorry to inflict that yarn on you again! Jo x

Tuesday 27 January 2015


I am brimming with pride as I watched Big Sis put on HER scarf this morning. She finished it last night and was really proud of it. Yeah, it has a few knobbly bits in it but it is all hers.

She wanted to sleep in it but for health and safety reasons I suggested she just snuggle up to it in bed! 

The yarn is called flutterby which is a very full chenille.

My heart is swelling today. Well done Little girl, your first real knitted 'thing'. Mum xxxxx

Sunday 25 January 2015

Hooray! treasure box table

Just popping in to show you a little table I decopatch covered for Little M. She had started to have  a collection of objet d'art by her bed that was getting a bit of a trip hazard. 

I got this little box from the hall, dusted it (nearly), emptied it of candles and decopatched the top. The lid swivels to reveal a little hiding place for pens, notepads, barbie shoes, badges, hand written notes, stickers, party bag crap gifts etc.

She is thrilled with it and it was done in an hour. I was thinking of painting it but her chest of drawers is an old 1940's pine set so it looked fine.

Thanks for stopping by and always leaving such wonderful comments. 

Could I tempt you with a little look at my friends blog?  she is a fellow yarn tangler who makes beautiful things. She is a very wonderful and giggly friend too!

Love Jo x 

Thursday 22 January 2015

Live Simply

Time for a change I think with something easier on the eye.

'Live simply' is often a quote or phrase I see on my favourite blogs, I think this is one of the things that draws me to them. (sweeping statement alert) I think people who make things truly believe that they are using their time in a way that means they are living their life simply.

When I saw this stitching kit on the Minerva website I knew I wanted one for our hideaway cabin. When we are there it feels like the essence of living simply. Also, I knew you guys would love it too. So this is my Minerva make for January.

There were brilliant instructions and all the thread was already sorted onto a card. I used chain stitch, daisy stitch, french knots, stem stitch and back stitch all shown in picture tutorials in the instructions.

A most enjoyable winter project.

Thanks Minerva. Live Simply. Jo xxx

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Failure alert!

YUK! I can't wear it. Clara the dress stand can't wear it. In fact it is so unbalanced it can't even wear itself!

That varigated yarn on a garment made in sections throws the hole thing out. Slope stripes, none matching stripes, curly border (steam blocked I might add) thick stripes, thin stripes - Eeeer, horrible.

I tried to add a felt brooch but have you ever the heard the phrase, 'You can't polish a turd!' I love that phrase it makes me roar with laughter. So comment all you like, I will be going, 'DA,da,DA,Da' whilst holding my hands over my ears and laughing to myself.

Tis' resting in my charity bag and I am glad that I no longer have to look at that wool in my yarn basket. Jo XXXX

EDIT: You are all so lovely kind soulful people - I had crochet class tonight and a member offered to buy it off me she liked it so much! It was her birthday so I gave it to her as a present and said if she wanted to move the buttons, just have 3, wash it, block it again etc she was free to give it a new home. She was thrilled and so was I. I can go to bed happy now. 10pm Ahhhh.

Sunday 18 January 2015

All you need is...

A warm fire, a mug of tea, a bag of yarn, a few toasted marshmallows, some rest time and...

 ...don't forget some crochet.

Hope you had a restful weekend.

Jo x

Thursday 15 January 2015

Not sure about...

I don't use colour stranded yarn that often, I can never tell from the ball what it will look like as a finished fabric but I picked these up over a 2 years ago in a sale and after a tension square was not suitable for the pattern I had picked had to be knitted into something.

It is called King Cole Twist in DK. But I put my glasses on to check the dye lot on these two because I thought my eyes were deceiving me... the same dye lot ... you are kidding me...

So I had to keep an eye on the colour stripes and keep changing between the two balls. I did manage to get the navy and burgundy strand as the starting colour run on every border piece but that was more hard work than luck.

If you choose yarn like this or are lured into a bargain sale price as I was, I recommend you knit a top down or circular needle garment because the stripes are thicker on my front pieces than the back pieces because the rows on the fronts are, of course, shorter.

It is a bit of a curler too. Steam blocking required for this yarn. I will have to start getting tough with it!

Can I let on...I am not even sure I actually like it. I knit the two sleeves at the same time which I have never done before to try and get the yarn to match a little. I have had to start another ball to get two similar ones.

I know I fit some cliches - I wear a thumb ring, a toe ring, an ear cuff, we have an allotment, we are members of greenpeace but I don't necessarily want my knits to say these things! I have cheerily nicknamed this cardigan the 'commune cardy'

Basically what I am saying folks is: don't buy curly weird King Cole Twist double knitting in orange and sale shop wisely my friends!

I will return with the final garment next week and 
we can all pass comment then...

Thank you for your lovely comments recently. has anyone else used this yarn?

 Jo xxxxxx

Monday 12 January 2015

Standing treble

I had a great time the other night having a good old root around blogland, visiting blogs I had never been to before and generally looking for inspiration for my crochet classes which are starting again on Tuesday. I have a group I have been teaching for about a year now so I was looking for something a bit more advanced.. I found this great technique...a standing treble.

A standing dc (US) or standing treble (UK) is a technique to join another colour without starting the round with a chain 3 which is a good disguise for a treble but always noticeable especially if you always make the ch3 in the same place. You get a kind of skinny line in your work where you start each round.

I can't show you here because it would not be my work but I would like to nudge you towards the brilliant video tutorial at Moogly 

Spot the start? I have been practising, look, can you see the centre grey, orange and burgundy rounds appear continuous, isn't that fabulous? My final round was a bit of a rush and the wool kept splitting but I will be making more of these coasters to hone my skills. You can try too...

Coffee Mug Coaster (UK terms,4mm hook,DK)

Row 1: Make a slip ring. Dc12 stitches into the ring. Pull ring tight. Fasten off.

Row 2: Join new colour using St tr.* Ch1, tr, ch1* repeat to end. (13 spokes)

Row 3: Join new colour with a st tr, 1tr in the same place *ch1, 2 tr, ch1* repeat to end.(13 clusters)

Row 4: St tr, 2tr in the same space, 3tr in each chain 1 space to end (13 clusters)

Row 5: st tr, 1htr in the same place, 2htr in each stitch to make a border.

Give this technique a try and let us know how you get on. 
Jo xx

Friday 9 January 2015

Quilt progress Friday

My New Years resolution post has made me spend another hour on my quilt. It is the sewing equivalent of knitting stocking stitch. You do it when you have an odd hour here and there when you have no brain power left but feel the need to mindlessly sew. I have made 15 out of the 30 patch squares I need, they all need borders but that is another matter, slowly, slowly...

I have leaped ahead somewhat and diverted my attention to the pillowcases.It started with a little collection of scraps.

This is guerrilla patchwork at it's best, just sew them altogether in a strip. Don't worry about seam allowances and edges, just sew.

Press it and then cut the edges straight. I found my rotary cutter did a tidy job.

Then sew it to the edge of a pillow case pressing edges in and top stitching.

Have you spotted the lovely crochet edge? well here is the pattern I made up for my crochet class which starts up again in mid January.

Pillow case edging

size 30 crochet thread
1.75mm hook

First make a row of blanket stitch across the edge of your fabric where you want the edge to be attached to using embroidery thread for a different colour or your crochet cotton to match.

Row 1: Join yarn in the first blanket stitch. Ch1, make 2dc in each blanket stitch to to the end. Add 1 more dc in the last stitch to make an odd number.

Row 2: Ch3,1tr into each dc to the end, turn

Row:3 4ch, miss first 2 stitches, *1tr into next treble, 1ch, miss 1tr,* repeat from * to *. 1 tr in the last 3ch from the previous row. Turn.

Row 4: 3ch, 1tr into the first ch space, *1tr into the next tr,1tr into the next ch space* repeat from * to * to end, turn.

Row 5: Pointed edge as follows: ch1, 1dc in the first stitch, *miss 2tr, (3tr,3ch,3tr,) all in one stitch. Miss 2tr, 1dc*. Repeat to end.

Fasten off and admire!


I will have a little lie down to try it out later! work first..bye..
Jo xx

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Hooray! purple cardigan

It is a summer knit really but isn't that how us knitters work? 
Make for summer in the winter and winter in the summer. I was certainly knitting earflap hats for the kids on the beach in August!

The pattern was from Drops. It doesn't have a name yet. It is called 100-32. Not very inspiring but it it was just what I was looking for.

I threw away an aged purple Monsoon cardigan this summer and needed a replacement. I wear a purple cardigian with so many of my dresses. Until I threw the old one away I didn't realise how much I missed it.

 The sleeves are bracelet length which is useful for work but a pain for putting a coat on but it will be Summer so no worries there.

The yarn is Louisa Harding Jesse 100% Cotton. Fantastic quality and really improved my knitting tension. I think cotton knits better on metal straights than on my circular bamboo ones - but that might be just me. The yardage is small on these skeins - 89 metres for 50g so I used 8 skeins. It was in a sale but for me it was a princely sum but necessary to make this replacement garment.

Two Skeins left over, mmm what will I make? 
What do you think? I am thinking the top of a dress for one of my little girls. Jo xxxx

Monday 5 January 2015

All Done #6 Laura Ashley circa 1993

My 6th All Done post where I show how a piece of crafty stash has all been used up and is no longer using drawer space.

Every time I sat at the sewing machine in the holidays, both of the girls said "Can I have a go?" I relented and said yes every time which meant I didn't do as much of my quilt as I wanted but they both loved making their skirts.

Big Sis is very good on the machine. She gets a good speed going. 

Little M is a little bit more reckless and feels the need for speed! I truly could not take a photo of her; someone would have lost a hand!

The fabric is a piece about 1m that I have had since 1993. I was glad she liked it because it was too out of fashion for me to wear.

Once the minions had got bored and wondered off elsewhere I got down to some intermediate sewing with this pinafore to use up the red remnants and the last of my jeans fabric.

From Ottobre magazine 4/2012

I like it and seeing as this is how I judge most of my cooking... 
it looks like the picture!

Back to work tomorrow but I will be glad of the rest.
Jo xxxxxx

Friday 2 January 2015


I have enjoyed reading and ogling so many of your year end reviews this week. The colour, talent, fun and creativity is truly inspiring. I really can't do one of my own, I just make too much random stuff to make a stylish mosaic but I would like to record and share my crafting resolutions for 2015..Looking forward shall we say?

1. I want to crochet a skirt and have done for a long time.

2. I want to knit something for my bloke that is not a hat.

This is just to frighten him because he reads this blog!!!
3. I would like to finally master using double pointed needles.

4. I want to set a time target for my double bed quilt.

I am one of those people for whom resolutions stick around, they make me change my behaviour for a long time. Here are some of the New Years Resolutions that I have enjoyed in the past which have continued to influence my life.

Having an allotment

Buying food with less air miles or none at all

Wearing all my clothes in my wardrobe not just jeans

To invite someone/family/friends to eat once a month

To return to belly dancing

To start a blog

To teach crochet lessons

So do you make new years resolutions? Do they work for you?

Jo xx