Category Archives: non-knitting crafts

Easter weekend

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Easter to me means chocolate. My family wasn’t religious so when I was a child it was all about the chocolate eggs. Preferably the kind filled with other chocolate like Smarties or something. But it had to be Cadbury’s, not the cheap and nasty stuff that didn’t really taste of anything!

We never did egg hunts like people do now. It’s probably a North American thing that has been adopted in recent years by the British.

This year, we bought some bars of chocolate for the five of us. The bonus was that Superstore was selling their own brand of dark chocolate bars for only $1.79.

I was fortunate to have Saturday and Sunday off. Good Friday I worked but it was a short day due to the stat. Saturday we had a potluck with friends which is always fun and we leave full of good vegan food. And today Mr Fixit and I went out for breakfast. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times we’ve done that! But we drove up to a vegan cafe on the lake and had a “bacon and egger” sandwich and a cinnamon bun followed by a stroll in the sunshine along the beach.

It’s been a cold April so we’re still wearing puffer vests when we’re out (what we Brits used to call bodywarmers or gilets).

I have been doing a bit o’ knittin’ this week, adding to the Freesia shawl. I am about halfway done.

And I have been refreshing my cross stitching skills, having fun with a bit of embroidery with, shall we say, mature content!

I used the alphabet out of that book in the photo which I have owned for about 40 years.

The bird and leaf designs are from a knitting colourwork book that I also own.

And today I made a prototype crossback apron out of cheap canvas based on the pattern in the photo. A friend lent it to me but she had already cut out the small size so I had to adjust things to where I figured the large lines would have been before she cut into the pattern.

It frays like mad, this canvas, so I just zigzagged it before hemming. I have the most gorgeous sewing-themed tapestry fabric for the ‘good’ version. I’m glad I made a practice one first.

I have had less than stellar news from the family on the other side of the pond this week. My mum has had a lot of pain in her hip that has left her barely able to walk so she is in hospital right now, and my sister has the dreaded covid! Hoping for better news by the end of the week, when hopefully my sister will test negative and mum can go home (they live in the same house).

A caterpillar on my couch

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Look at this lovely fuzziness!

I’ve had these two balls of Spindle Yarns Buttersoft in the stash for some time. I made the simple cowl pattern on the back of the ball band in 2018 with my first ball of the fluff and then couldn’t get any more.

When it came in the second time I grabbed two more balls as I regretted giving away the cowl. I’ve cast on a new one – it’s a very simple pattern – 42 stitches and knit in the round until the yarn runs out. It’s so soft!

I was tidying my sewing room tonight which is something I do when I’m not sure what I want to work on. This is why I ended up with a new knitting project!

It’s not perfect. The floor now needs vacuuming again because I was pulling stuff out. But at least the work surfaces are clear. The project sitting next to the sewing machine is my hand-stitched sashiko vest of which I should probably get up to date photos.

My other knitting project is the top down sweater. The circular yoke is almost done, at which point I’ll try it on. I am having teensy weensy reservations about the gauge and wondering whether I should have used smaller needles for a denser fabric.

No up to date photos of that either.

I did play with strips of fabric and made some fabric twine which is something I’ve seen a couple of YouTubers do. Lorrie Nunemaker and StitchesbyJulia, I think. I put on a movie last night (it was suggested by Netflix, a Ryan Reynolds one called The Adam Project) and twisted the night away! I did more today.

Interestingly it made my left wrist sore, the one which was gripping the strips, rather than my right wrist which was doing the twisting.

So pretty though.

The couch was covered in threads though. I had to vacuum afterwards!

I’d better get off the couch now. I want to go to bed but the dish fairy failed to show up so there’s a few things to wash. Take care, and keep crafting.

Weekend WIPs update

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I seem to be falling into a weekly blog habit. I don’t have a schedule but when a week has gone by without a post I get a niggling reminder in the back of my brain that it’s time to write something.

Do you like the heart? My sister’s stepson makes these, back in Blighty. She sent it to me for Christmas. They are sold to raise funds for Healing Waves in the island of Jersey, which is a charity that takes people with different challenges out into the chilly Atlantic Ocean to surf.

So what are the WIPs this week, I hear you ask!

Version 2 of the Fuck the Cold Beanie. I’m using Lion Brand Mandala for the background and cutting out some of the yarn to make the colours change a little quicker. The gold for the tree and moose is Stylecraft Special DK. Needles are 3.75mm/US5. The gauge is tighter, the stranded colourwork is neater and I’m much happier.

Granny is nearly four feet square. Still lots of yarn left in the bags!

A taster of the sashiko stitching on my denim vest. This has a long way to go but that’s OK.

A small side project inspired by the upcoming Valentine’s Day and gnomie love quilt cotton! Upcycled denim hearts which I am embellishing with fabric, ribbon, buttons etc. I spent a couple of hours faffing about in my sewing room this evening and I intend to complete all six of these before Tuesday.

We had a potluck lunch with friends today and as usual we ate enough that I didn’t need any dinner. So we just wound up our day with a turmeric tea.

I hope your weekend is going well and that you’re making time to be crafty and creative.

FOs – knitted and gnomey

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This supersized superbobbly cowl pattern is called F77 Shiba Sakura. I found it, of course, through Ravelry. It’s free at fairmountfibers.com.

The yarn is Cygnet Chunky in a deep dark blackberry. It’s a bit on the thin side for a chunky but I used it triple-stranded with 9mm needles. The cowl weighed 150g when finished.

It only took five days. The bobble instructions look a little daunting at first, but there are only four rounds with bobbles, the rest being just rib. By the end of the first round of bobbles I had it memorised.

I’ve made more gnomes, this time for Christmas. These guys are gifts for three friends. The bases are dollar store socks stuffed with wheat berries and polyfill, the usual faux fur beards, wooden beads for noses and buffalo check fleece for hats.

These stickers from a seller on Etsy arrived quickly. They are for my yarny Advent calendar. I still need to get some more small things to go in the bags.

We’re in deep fall now. Since I took this photo early one morning, the leaves have all fallen off my walnut and apricot trees. It hasn’t been particularly cold yet, but we have turned on the heating indoors. It’s been hovering around 9°C the last week, with lots of rain.

I have pulled my fleece jammies out of the closet, and the slippers, and am embracing the cosiness of the season!

I hope all is going well with you. Talk again soon!

Good morning!

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This is the second morning in a row that I have had coffee instead of tea. This could be a slippery slope! Proper coffee that I ground up, maple syrup and frothy oat milk.

I’ve had a couple of restless nights and I’m hoping the coffee will kickstart my brain. It tastes good too and feels very comforting now that the mornings are colder.

So, about yesterday’s photos. If you’re interested. I posted those just before I dashed out to work yesterday but I have more time now.

1. Knit Picks Dishie dishcloths or washcloths. A pick-it-up-when-I-feel-like-it project.

2. Gnomes! I made these no-sew, lots-of-hot-glue gnomes before work yesterday and took them to the store to put on display, just for fun. Obviously I bought the felt, faux fur and cotton fabric there. The insides are dollar store socks filled with wheat berries and polyfill. If you look carefully at the photo, you’ll see my Spring garden gnomes in the background.

3. The Festival Cardigan, complete with buttons. I’m keeping it on my couch because the temps have dropped to mid-teens outside. I love to snuggle in warm layers on a cool dark fall evening. I think this season has to be my favourite.

4. And finally, the Relaxation socks. This is a pattern I found on Ravelry. It’s written for bulky yarn but I’m using Bernat Pop in the Full Spectrum colourway and it’s working fine. This is my Strictly Sockalong 2021 project, which is a MAL run by Ali of Little Drops of Wonderful podcast. I haven’t made socks in a long time, and I don’t watch Strictly Come Dancing or even Dance with the Stars, but I do like a good makealong!

There you go, all caught up. I hope you have a wonderful day. Now I’m going to have a quick look at Ravelry and then I need to get ready for work.

Japanese rice bag: “Fox”

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My second foray into sashiko is a Japanese rice bag, which seems appropriate. I looked at the colours left in the pack of embroidery floss that I bought and they worked perfectly with this cotton fabric with foxes, hedgehogs and squirrels.

Each side of the bag is six inches square. I didn’t use a pattern this time. Having made a bag of this style once before I guessed I could do it again without a tutorial. It’s just five squares for the sides and bottom and the same in the lining fabric, plus four 2.5″ squares for the drawstring tabs.

The drawstring is a piece of craft rope from the dollar store and I added a little circle of denim around the knot to finish it off.

Even working downstairs in my sewing room has been challenging the last week because the house retains the heat from the day. Thankfully the temperatures have dropped into the 30s Celsius which, after 40+, feels so much more comfortable.

Playing with sashiko

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Upcycled denim patches, tie dye cotton
Backed with light interfacing

The thread I used was basic embroidery floss. I can see how proper sashiko thread would give a superior result, though, as it’s not plied and wouldn’t split.

Once I had built up this fabric I trimmed it to neat rectangles and made a tote bag. I was inspired by this site. I used more denim from jeans for the handles.

The patches and lining are made from the fabric left over from the tunic top I made recently. There’s a magnetic snap and D ring tab inside.

The lining before assembly
The final result

I love it!

Misc makes

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Misc makes

Spring has arrived in full, with today’s temperature reaching the low 20s. I managed to leave work early, which almost never happens, and took a book out to the deck to catch some sunshine before dinner.

I take my new phone now when I go walking because it takes good photos. These are from a couple of days ago.

I burnt the heck out of my fingers making this guy…

I got hot glue on my skin and actually had quite the blister afterwards. I feel like he could use more accessories. Or perhaps I’ll just make more using the rest of the dollar store socks and see how they turn out.

Another easy, quick project was this flowy vest (waistcoat) which is my fifth one of this style.

I like to wear these at work. They go brilliantly over a T shirt and jeans, making an outfit look more dressy and streamlined, and they take 5 minutes to make. You only need a metre of a non-fraying knit fabric. If the print goes all the way to the selvage you don’t have to trim them off. I just make sure to straighten up the cut edges.

Once the edges are neatened all you have to do is fold the fabric with selvages together, measure 8 inches down from the top and 7.5 inches in from the fold, and cut a slit from that point down for 8 inches through both layers to make armholes. Easy peasy!

I had to do a repair on this apron. My sister bought this for me years ago, it was made by a local (to her) crafter and has seen me through many a kitchen mess. But I wore a hole through part of it so dug out some stripey fabric from the stash and patched it and now it’s good to go again.

And finally (FINALLY!) a crochet work-in-progress!

A co-worker of mine is leaving soon. She hasn’t been there long but we will be sad to see her go. She mentioned (not in a gimmiepig sort of way) that she had been wondering if I’d be able to make a hat with a ponytail hole. Well, I didn’t mind having a go, not that she has any idea that I’m making it.

This Lion Brand Mandala is one of my favourite colourways. It’s called Chimera and is sort of a muted rainbow.

I am designing this on the hook and the plan is to make it double thick because she’s headed further north. I’m approximately at the halfway point. It was coming out a bit loose so I went down to a smaller hook for the rounds that will form the brim. It’ll be reversible when it’s done.

Enough distractions, I must get back to my hook. I’m on a deadline.

There’s no place like gnome

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I am really happy with these spring gnomes. From their pastel fleece hats to their flowery skirts to their variegated faux fur beards, they look pretty much as I visualised them.

I started with this…

…styrofoam cones, cotton fabric, fleece, yarn, a little faux fur trim, some felt and some blusher…oh, and a lot of hot glue sticks…

…in progress shot so you can see the braids and skirts…

…and ended up with a fun finish with some flowers attached to the mini watering can and garden tools.

Now, when I set these up on a table at work, I intend to add more accoutrements, such as a grass green fabric base, maybe some blue yarn inside the watering can, and ideally some seed packets ‘n stuff. I was hoping to find seeds at the dollar store this morning, but only managed to acquire the terracotta plant pots, watering can, tools and flowers. Why the plant pots? Well, they make a perfect sturdy base for the gnomes and they will also look very similar to the gnomes on the quilting fabric at work which will be part of the display.

After my outing to the dollar store early this morning, I hit the sewing room, finished the gnomes and then did a good tidy-up because there were bits everywhere. Then the sewing machine came out, Netflix went on (New Amsterdam) and I made these masks for Mr Fixit. He does like his batiks!

Mid-afternoon I finally had some lunch and tested out my new Vava milk steamer/frother (from Amazon on the recommendation of a friend and happy user) with some matcha powder, coconut sugar and Earth’s Own unsweetened vanilla oat ‘milk’. Yum! Two exciting packages in one week! Our new phones arrived today from Samsung. Mr Fixit and I now have a Samsung A71 each, though we need to get micro SIM cards for them and set up a data plan. What a game-changer this will be for me, who’s been limping along with (a) an ancient iPad Mini, (b) a basic Android with no data and (c) a slow Windows laptop for years. I know I know, first world problems!!

Another bit of sewing this week was an experimental mask for ds2 who usually sports a full beard and was finding the mask I’d made him at the beginning of “the disease that shall not be named” was too restrictive. I looked online and saw one that’s available commercially that I felt I could use as inspiration. I took the Sweet Red Poppy template that I use for my other masks and redrew it. The first version was huge – I had a brain fart and added seam allowances and also made it too long – but the second version is much better. It basically flattens out over the beard area rather than cupping the chin.

Sadly, I cannot return to my sewing room just yet. It’s coming up for dinnertime and we have to eat. And then we have yoga. But we will be done with that by 8pm so I think there’s a strong possibility of some napkin sewing, which is pretty mindless, and then I can move on to planning the quilt project.

Ta ta for now!