Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Summery skirts for Molly

Molly was rather fond of  her anchor skirt made for last year's birthday ( see here) so when she found herself in need of some more skirts for this summer, her and her Mummy sweetly asked if I would make some more. Of course! And we got to go fabric shopping so Molly could select her own fabrics.  All fabrics are from fabric rehab and I think Molly found it tricky to select fabrics for just three skirts
 Molly's selection is fun and cheery... and not at all what I or her Mummy would have chosen. The contrast material for each skirt was also chosen by Molly.

The skirts were made just as the one last year, though this time using a half meter as that girl has grown. So half a meter of fabric and the full width to make it nice and gathered. The elastic length is Molly's waist measurement plus an inch for sewing together. The contrast band measures three or four inches and is finished as before, following oliver + s' lazy days skirt (free!) pattern
A third skirt was made - in these oh so summery flamingoes! - but the silly goose that I am forgot to take a photograph before giving it to a very eager Molly.  Enjoy the summer in your happy skirts, Molly!

Friday, 22 May 2015

A Chelsea Flower Show shawl

Though with not a floral motif in sight... This is my Chelsea Flower Show shawl as it was my sitting on a train crochet as we travelled for a delightful day at the Chelsea Flower Show. What a lucky duck. So it seemed right to be showing this shawl this week. Please don't think that I am a speedy crocheter - we went to Chelsea last year for my birthday treat from Mr R, so this shawl has taken me a year to finish. And I don't know why as it really is a gentle pattern
 My version of this shawl may look familiar - it is exactly the same as the one shown in Simply Crochet mag. Exactly... same wool, and in the same colour. Not at all original then. The pattern is Anniken Allis' Making Waves from Simply Crochet's issue 8. The wool used is Artesano 4ply Alpaca and it is a dream... oh so soft, and oh that colour (prettily named Anemone).

Whilst the pattern may have been easy, the finishing off had me flummoxed. According to the instructions, once the finished rectangle has been blocked it is simply folded in half and then starting from the outside, the two edges are crocheted together leaving an opening big enough for your head. So this together with the diagram seems to suggest that on one long edge both the right and left hand sides are crocheted together from the outside edge towards the middle, leaving a hole for a head. This I did but it resulted in the most peculiar pointy bits. I could not see what to do. Thank goodness for Mr R who took one look at the photograph in the mag - not the diagram - and said that what I needed to do was fold the rectangle in half and leave the head hole next to the folded edge and then crochet the edges together along the rest of the long edge. Um, is that any clearer I wonder? Well, I shall leave my garbled instructions just in case any one out there is thinking of making this and happens to read this, which then may make some sense to them. Unlikely, but it shall stay.

And here is a closer look at the pretty pattern and the delicious colour

Monday, 18 May 2015

Red Riding Hood cape in blue

I wanted to make a Red Riding Hood cape for a little one's spring birthday and somehow a red cape felt too wintry. Looking through the toppling piles I found a large gingham in blue, just the thing for the lining, though of course nothing suitable for the main. Madness. In all that fabric. So off to fabric rehab where I found a blue linen type fabric... sadly, I can't remember any more details for this fabric other than it is a lovely, heavy weight and lovely colour
 The pattern is the Red Riding Hood cape from oliver + s' little things to sew and is a delight. I made the larger size, for ages 5-10, and it happily fits an eight year old. I know that because P tried it on, and he was quite taken with it. But as last time (see my first, true to the original colour one here) the arm slits are positioned too low, so rather than reposition them I made them longer.

Other changes to the original pattern were to use bias binding for the button loop and I am oh so pleased with the addition of the same bias binding around the hood
I also added a row of top stitching around the edge of the whole cape. And I now want my own version.  Though I don't think this picture does this sweet cape justice... it looks far dreamier on
Happy birthday dear Chess!

Friday, 8 May 2015

My first crochet is complete

Well, not my first crochet make to be completed, but my first crochet make - as in my very first attempt. It has been a while... In fact I started it in 2011. Oops. That summer we had a holiday in France, travelling by plane and only taking hand luggage (Mr R's preferred method of travel. But with a child?)

I realised that the ban on knitting needles was going to curtail my holiday making, quickly followed by the thought that I had a lovely friend who could crochet and now would be the time to learn. So we had some sunny times sitting outside a cafe whilst knowledge and technique were imparted, me with my tongue sticking out throughout no doubt. Excited by my new ability I popped to the local bookshop and found, from their limited range, Jan Eaton's 200 crochet blocks for blankets, throws and afghans. This seemed a good title as I was obviously going to be making a blanket whilst on holiday that year. And then another pop to the delicious, yet expensive, wool shop in town where on some advice I selected a few balls of Louisa Harding's Ianthe. I had no idea quite how many balls it would take to make a blanket
 The pattern is taken from one called Granny in the middle, though with less outer rows of dc. I made a pile of these during that holiday and then rather slowly over the next few years. At some point I needed more balls of wool but it had taken me so long by then that the wool had been discontinued. The silver lining was that I managed to find some of each colour cheaply online but it did also mean that this was always going to be a small blanket.

Eventually one year the pile of grannies were blocked, seamed together and most ends dealt with. And that is how I found it languishing earlier this year. Why did I leave the fun bit for so long? So much fun finding inspiration for the border. I went straight to the delightful Dover & Madden and based my border on Vicki's tutorial of sorts for the hexagon blanket border. (Oh, those are her words, I would not be so rude as it really is a fine tutorial). I had no plan for the colour order other than to keep going until the wool ran out. If I had planned a little more I wouldn't have chosen so much white in the border. The only bit I did think about was adding the ruffle edge... I love this edging! Even though it does eat wool and had made the rest of the border a little wrinkly too.

Oh so happy to have a finished blanket even if it is only a lap blanket. Patch can still a manage to have a fair snuggle under it, but I'm sure this will change within the month even as he is growing like a weed. And actually I'm not so sure this wool would have been the ideal choice for a larger blanket as it is so heavy - must be the cotton content. Ianthe is a cotton merino blend and will therefore not be keeping any knees warm on a beach this summer. It may be allowed outside if the floor has been swept first.
 Oh yes, and colours used... bud (green), ice (white), ash (blue) and Cupid (pink). Though with this wool discontinued, I'm not sure how much use this is!

 Looking through a pile today I found this pattern... a freebie with a Love Sewing mag, and not a pattern I will use, so if anybody would like me to send it to them do let me know. Right, it is raining and I'm orf to sit under my new blanket with a magazine

Friday, 1 May 2015

A third birthday... must be time for another art smock

With a little boy's third birthday approaching and the realization that I hadn't made an art smock for a while, Jude's birthday make was rather obvious. Feeling confident that I of course would have suitable fabrics in the pile I dived in, but no. How does that happen? I have piles and wobbling piles of fabric so why is it that when I need something for a particular make I have nothing suitable? So of course I purchased more fabric... and the extra has been added to the piles.

Happily while searching I did manage to find fabric just the thing for some art smock sleeves, the brown gingham, and even more happily I had a reason to visit the delightful fabric rehab
 The last time using this pattern - from oliver + s little things to sew - I made use of an old shirt (see here) and somehow incorporating parts of an already made garment, such as hems and button placket, is trickier than starting with a new piece of fabric. And fabric rehab had a lovely choice
The only change I made to the pattern was to add buttons for the back closure rather than the suggested Velcro or press studs. Parcelled up with a Spot sticker book ready for lots of messy creativity! Happy birthday, Jude

Monday, 27 April 2015

A Harry Potter eve

Gosh, this was an age ago... I really can't remember when, other than it was the day Bloomsbury relaunched the Harry Potter books with their new covers and it was cold and wintry - we watched the snow falling which was all rather magical, being surrounded by wizards and witches.

Patch had seen the poster for the eve in our local Waterstones and was keen to go, even though at the time we hadn't read any of the Harry Potter books. So we started the first book and, armed with the first few chapters worth of knowledge, went along to Waterstones one dark wintry eve.
 Patch happily decided on the school uniform-wearing Harry, so the trousers and polo shirt stayed on from school together with a school uniform jumper (though not P's school uniform so we purchased one), some glasses from the dressing up bag (put to use here as Where's Wally), a wizard's cape (see here) which is not at all true to the Harry Potter look but still a wizard's cape and P was happy so I wasn't suggesting otherwise, and a twig -sorry wand - from the garden. I really should have ironed that cape.

The school jumper needed something to make it more fitting for an evening of Hogwarts magic, so I made a most unauthentic Hogwarts badge, and crocheted a tie which was then mostly covered up by the jumper.
For the tie I crocheted a length of suitable stripes with a few rows of decreases and then increases in the middle, folded it in half lengthwise and stitched together so the seam is in the middle on the reverse and then made a small tube for the elastic - so really a crocheted version of this Debbie Bliss knitted tie. And just in case you need to know, the most Hogwarts-like colours I could find in the local wool shop are Debbie bliss baby cashmerino in sunshine and damson. Just in case you feel you need to make a Harry Potter tie...

Friday, 24 April 2015

Mother's Day tea cosy

Mum mentioned that she would like a new tea cosy sometime before Mother's Day. I listened, remembered the gorgeous tea cosy found on Ravelry and ordered suitable wool. The tea cosy was this crochet delight by Leah of whydidn'tanyonetellme blog. And then Mum casually mentioned that what she likes is a double thickness tea cosy, and in fact if I was to make her a tea cosy she really rather likes the one I made a few years ago now, but in different colours please. Oh.

The original pattern (from a book given to me by Mum as a non too subtle hint just before her birthday one year) suggested quite different wool from that recently purchased for the job, but happily there was something similar in the book - imaginatively called Tea Cozies if anyone is wondering. A collection of odd (the sort of cosy which might be used by the Gogglebox lady. Have you noticed how she has a different cosy each week?) and slightly odder tea cosies. I used the snappy sounding Contemporary Cool pattern for the size but not for the look. With the addition of some lovely roses and leaves - as the original crochet delight - the finished cosy looked more Granny cool than contemporary cool
 The main colour is Cascade 220 Superwash in smoke blue, with a lining made up of many different blues from the basket, and roses in Drops Karisma in the suitable dark old rose.

So maybe not the cosy I intended but I love it... as does my Mum!