Wednesday, 21 December 2011


When our boy was teething like a teething thing with his first two teeth, he was perfectly dribblicious. We’re talking two bibs and a soaked carseat before we even start the engine.
And I am appalled at how expensive bibs are - £10 a pop? You must be joking. So. To capitalise on a new-found love of snaps, and to overcome my fear of topstitch, I made some bandana-style dribblebibben in jersey, cotton drill, and jersey-and-cotton drill.

Offending teeth clearly visible in toothy grin.
Tutorial here.
Nice. Turns out he’s dried up the drool for pegs 3, 4 and 5.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

These were initially made as an advent calendar – a mammoth thing that hangs down the length of our hall. The sacks, however, work really well as gift sacks or table favours so I’ve made a few extras since.
Each sack shows a British woodland Christmas scene. Many of the animals, like the woodpecker and the stag beetle, can be found in our London garden andmost are based on photographs that my wife has taken at home or on holidays:

swap fish for tinsel...
Although we’ve yet to see a hedgehog wearing a hat:

These are fantastically portable (an emerging theme of mine), and great for using up oddments of scraps. I'll post a tutorial in the next day or so.

Update: The tutorial for the sacks has been posted at The Sewing Directory (worth a good poke about while you're there) and I'm lazy enough to send you over there, rather than faff about with Google docs. Besides, I know that as soon as I open the file I'll find hundreds of things to improve. So here it is in its imperfect glory:

Christmas countdown

Actually, Christmas started for me about three weeks ago when I dug this out from my WIP bag.

It’s a feltworks kit from Dimensions that I’ve been pecking at for the last couple of years. I think it will take a few more to be honest.

Although I’m up to the fun bit now – these little felt tokens are useless, and fiddly, and some of them are not even that pretty but there is something about them that is oddly satisfying

And I’ve even managed not to leave the floor scattered with beans and sequins (otherwise known as choke hazards). Needless to say, its not quite as portable as my usual handsewing projects...

Thursday, 24 November 2011

What a ravelation!

I’ve been trying to learn to crochet for quite some time, with mixed success. Very mixed!
Over the last couple of holidays, I’ve packed a big stack of learn to crochet books, a 4mm hook and a bag of nasty yarn from the local pound store to practice with, and got myself in a terrible cranky squeaky tangle
Recently though it has all come together, as I seem to have invited the right people to the party. 
First to arrive was Claires Bojczuk with her marvellous wee book Crochet unravelled. Not only does it use UK terminology, but she incudes illustrations for both left- and right-handed learners. (Cue tears of relief from the lefty in the corner).
Next up was The Scarlet Peacock’s Crochet courses taken by the charming and talented Catherine Hirst  (Hope the term is getting better Catherine…)
All of which means that last week,  I finally felt confident enough to buy some proper yarn. 
Yarn that doesn’t split or squeak. Yarn that is not plastic.  I went for Rowan’s Siena 4-ply100% mercerised cotton joy.

It arrived last night (in record time – thanks Deramores!), and I started to use it on the train this morning. What a revelation! 
It slips sensuously through my fingers, sits demurely on the hook, sashays perfectly into stitches with no unseemly splits, and shows beautiful stitch definition.  I may have been wearing a slightly lecherous look on yesterdays commute, which may explain why I got a seat on the tube…

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Birthday fun!

We've just had a birthday in our house - the little one turned one!

This is a big felt badge I made for the special little boy. It attaches with magnets, sewn into the big felt discs - safe to chew but too big to swallow.
Happy birthday boy!
This shows the backing disc better

It was easy to make and came together in an evening Once I'd faffed about with the sketchbook, and i think it translated pretty faithfully.

There's a project sheet here:Birthday badge tutorial

Monday, 31 October 2011

Long evenings

Daylight savings is rubbish when I'm still at my desk at work at nightfall, but pretty darn cosy when I'm at home snuggled up in my pyjamas... or with my pyjamas.

I've dug out a cushion cover I made last summer from our old flannel pyjamas. Its super-snuggly, and has a handy pocket for love notes, the tv remote, or, in my case, thread trimmings to keep safe and out of the mouths of babes.

It was a really good beginning project. I learned machine basics – how to wind bobbins, thread up, change feet and needles (oh, and not to sew over pins) and i also designed it myself.
And then had to trim the pieced squares because i got the maths wrong. (I mean, really! How difficult can squares be?) And restitch  the piecing so i could ease it in properly to make the corners (nearly) match up.  I hadn’t accounted for the fact that the fabrics are all different, and have worn differently. I had blithely and naively assumed that if I line up the edges, my magic new machine would sort out the middle bits, Actually, it needed some input from me. Who’d a thunk it?

Anyway, here’s the method, complete with seam allowances, and some piecing diagrams that would have saved me having to puzzle it all out on the bed and disturb the cat.

Tutorial here: Upcycled snuggle cushion