Sunday, 22 October 2017

It was meant to be...

2017 has see me make a substantial dent in my stored up craft stash. The yarn is obviously going at a slower pace than my fabric but I had a weak moment a few weeks back. It reminded me why I had been, but why I shouldn't, buy impulse bargains. 

I saw three balls of this beautifully soft alpaca in a charity shop in my lunch break for 50p a ball and I bought it. On the drive back to work I had that old feeling I used to have. I wondered why I had felt the need to buy wool with no reason. What was it for? Who was it for? What was such a paltry amount going to make anyway? etc. etc. I felt like I had slipped back into an old habit.

On my return to the office, my manager told me that he and his wife were going to have a baby which they had wanted for a long time. He even told me it was going to be a boy due in December. BINGO!

My manager keeps bees and I found these in the bottom of my button jar to finish this tiny baby sweater. I mean it was meant to be wasn't it? It did remind me however that buying random bargain bits of wool is not a thing I want to keep repeating so I reckon I just got lucky this time. The pattern is free from ravelry here. It is called Garter Yoke Cardi which is an easy top down knit.

With one ball left, I was determined not to put it in the cupboard for a few years so I made a hat in stocking stitch whilst being dive-bombed by ladybirds at the cabin. 

Next, I looked under the sofa. I found two balls of DMC denim cotton which was in a goody bag from DMC at the CHSI craft show in February. It made the perfect pebble vest. I LOVE this pattern. It knits up in two evenings and can use any combination of buttons from a jar. I like the way you can just fold your baby into it like a fajita. 

I have plenty of other knitting I need to be doing but I got a bit side-tracked with baby knits because they are so quick and easy to finish.

Thanks for dropping by. Today I am linking up with Sum of their stories for handmade Monday. Lots of inspiration in all crafts. Do pop over.

Jo xxxx

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Bra Making with KWIK SEW 3594

It has been a heavy week here with too many things happening at once meaning I have only experienced teeny pockets of sewing time, however...

I have been meaning to make another bra for a while now but have been sidetracked with finding a knicker pattern. This bra is made from KWIK SEW 3594 I know what the modifications are for a good fit so the pattern is ready to cut and sew.

This fabric is a tricot fabric with a stretch. It came in a complete bra kit from an online company called The sewing chest. The website looks a bit odd but every product I have ever had from Kelly has been fantastic and delivered on time.

The kit came with floral tricot, power net for the side band, cup lining, bows, picot elastic, shoulder elastic, back fastening and the hardware parts - all for £10.05 which I thought was jolly good value.

I added my own band elastic because I know this one is comfortable and I also underwired it with my own chanelling and some wires recycled from an old bra. 

I have all the machine settings written in my little notebook for the three step zig zag and stretch stitches required. Luckily, I did this when I made my first one.

I squeezed out a pair of matching undies too using up some knicker elastic from my stash. I am really pleased with the whole set.

I hope to delve into my underwear craft box and make up some more kits from my own stuff because I am hoarding quite a lot of supplies which people have either given me or I have recycled - see?

So more sewing to come I think. I do have another pattern to try but I haven't got the sizing right on it yet. It includes a lace edge trim because there is always something new to learn in sewing.

Jo xx

Monday, 16 October 2017

Mink and Pink

A friend bought these for me last Christmas. She is not a knitter or crocheter so you have to think they were nice choices but it has been hard to find a pattern that they will all actually fit into. 

DMC Natura is a cotton yarn with a matt finish, this one is medium weight but it comes in other gauges. It does split a bit but it has good stitch definition. 

After the triumph of Heidi's Road Trip scarf, I decided to try holding two strands together to give it a whirl myself using a 5.5mm hook. I don't have a crochet project on the go at the moment so I dived in with no plan whatsoever. Who me?

I tried to spread the colours out but wanted to definitely have a pink edge so that I could wear it with my pink cords.

I added the dangly bits which included a couple of bells and as many flowers as the last scraps of yarn allowed. I added the button on the long edge so that I could wear it in different ways using it as a hook for the scarf.

I liked the way it looked mostly pink by using only one ball to create this effect along with the mink and brown.

Success I would say. I really like it and it was fun to make. It only took two nights of crochet. You can find a similar pattern here.

Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Our Best Ice Cream recipes

 We have an ice cream maker and it has been making weekly batches of ice cream from May onwards. Here is a little round up of the best flavours we have tried.

Chocolate ice cream in June. With the last of the girls Easter Eggs. I know, they lasted that long!

Blackcurrant ripple ice cream in June. Using up the last of the fruit from last year out of the freezer before the next lot were ripe and ready to pick.

Strawberry and Rose. A flavour I thought the children would balk at but as long as the rose water is subtle it gives the strawberry flavour a real summer taste. This is a lazy recipe which uses ready made custard and is so quick. We picked 4.5 Kg of strawberries from our allotment this year.

Vanilla. The hens are not laying so we are out of eggs but I bought some specially for this. This ice cream uses four eggs with the whites whisked to volume and then the yolks and cream folded in gently but not in the machine. We are currently picking autumn raspberries and eating stewed plums.

Buying an ice cream maker was not a whim gadget purchase. It has been a great way to use up our freezer gluts of allotment fruit. Whatever I made with frozen fruit in the past, the children complained it was just soggy fruit. You can't blame them, it was true but ice cream is a great way to use it, taste it and enjoy it. Obviously we are racking up many more calories but hey ho. 

Do you make ice cream? Share your favourite flavour combinations.

Jo xxx

Sunday, 8 October 2017

A Crafty Narrative

I am spinning you a line today and combining Little M's birthday with a crafty narrative. 

At the beginning of September I had a day off. That is not a fleeting statement, I actually went on strike but I didn't tell anybody. I allowed myself a day off! Things had been getting too much on various levels of late and I simply had a day where I sat down, knitted stuff and watched day time TV.

That was the day I bought a new sewing machine. I thought I really deserved one. I had wanted one for ages. One that did automatic button holes, had a top loading bobbin, a free motion foot, embroidery stitches, a needle that rested down when it stopped, a needle threader and all the other things I knew I would enjoy using. 
I bought it, then immediately photographed my other two sewing machines which did some of these things but not actually all on the same machine and sold them on ebay to recoup half of the money towards the new one. The new machine is mighty impressive and half price at £300. You may have noticed a spike in my sewing posts of late - I can't stop making things.

We have all had to learn to use it. Big Sis, aged ten, made scrunchies and said, "it is so quiet!"

Little M, now eight, used the alphabet stitching to personalise her party bags for her crafternoon birthday party. She said the machine was: "Amazing!"

Me, I made Megan a Birthday outfit. The Louisa Dress (a pattern I don't like but the end result is always fab)from fabric sent to me by Christina from My Colourful Life. I also knocked up a polo neck in some brown jersey which completed the outfit. 

A new machine has been a brilliant decision at a time when other decisions were quite simply out of my control. Sewing does make me happy you know!

Jo xxxx

Friday, 6 October 2017

Couple of Cocos

At this time of year I normally have some kind of Corduroy-fest. I make endless items with all the cord I have bought in sales throughout the year but this year on my 2107 stash diet, I have not got much cord left. Notice I didn't use the word 'any' I do have a donated piece of this blue leftover from my Tilly dungaree skirt ear marked for something later.

I do however have have quite a bit of jersey left which is cosy enough for Autumn. I will always have time to make a Coco top from Tilly and the Buttons because it has hip room. I found the coco dress wasn't for me but I love the long sleeved top.

I made this snazzy chevron version. I bought the fabric in a sale from Girl Charlee last year but it was too thin for what I wanted it for. I am glad it was half price, it was not the quality I was expecting. Neither were the other two pieces I bought with it, in fact one lot went in the bin. However it has made a super top to go with my dungaree skirt until Big Sis said, "you look like a minion!" I will never tire of this pattern or humorous comments from my children!

Next up, I made a purple one from this left over fabric which I bought in a sale bin two years ago when I was first experimenting with having an overlocker. It has all gone now. Big Sis originally had this dress in it.

For Autumn walks they are perfect, colour coordinating with our Autumn finds.

I feel, we have turned a corner with Bruce the dog. He is walking better with a harness on and not chewing quite as many of our personal possessions.

Are you sewing, knitting, making, baking or crocheting this Autumn? 
Jo xx