some bag surgery

My mum sometimes gets in the mood to knit a little.  Last time the feeling came over her she got quite interested in felting and tried to make a bag in some random orange yarn.

Felting it did work in that the stitches mushed together and it became very dense, but it didn’t shrink at all and still resembled a strange orange sack.  I wish I’d taken photos of it originally.

It was completely the wrong shape to be any use so I offered to do a bit of surgery.  I started by cutting a chunk out of the centre as the edges were nice and round at the bottom and I wanted to keep that shape.  I split the strip I cut out into two and turned it into handles, sewed in some lining and then handsewed a strip of the lining round the front.  This was mainly to hide the sewing lines from the lining but I think it look ok.

My mum made this by knitting a garter stitch base, then picking up the stitches all the way around and knitting up in the round until she ran out of yarn.  Pimps!

I’m going to be going away in London next week for Knit Nation and I’d like to try and make a new bag for myself before I go. As well as another skirt and a black jersey top.  Hmm….not sure this going to happen!

I just need to finish the second of a pair of socks I’m making my mum while I’m away so I can make her up a little package of crafting when I get back.


Here is the skirt I’ve been working on the last couple of days…

It was unbelievably easy to make – I used the basic skirt pattern I drafted using Cal Patch’s book.  The lining was cut exactly to the original pattern, and then I used the slash and spread method to make a wider pattern for the main part of the skirt.  I made facings in the main fabric, gathered the bottom and then sewed the gathers to the lining underneath.

I also added some cheeky pockets, just because now I know how to!  Pretty hidden things make me happy.

The main fabric is from Ray Stitch, organic cotton printed by Birch Fabrics.  I went all fancy and used some leftover Liberty fabric for the lining and secret pockets, and lots of red stitching.

Its a teeny bit on the big side so needs a couple of alterations, but is still wearable and perfect for twirling.  I did feel a little overdressed for the dog walk today, but heh, I liked it!

new ideas

I’ve just got back from a lovely weekend away with some knitting buddies, and three days of crafting talk has me itching to start some new things…

This is almost done, I’ve made this from my basic skirt pattern with lots of alterations including pockets, facings, linings and bubble!

I also started a giant granny square blanket, beginning with some Madelinetosh DK.  I made one last year for my Gran and it was so much fun, and lovely to have over my knees in the winter while I worked on it.  My new one though, is going to be all blues, deep purples, greys and neutrals and in some very nice yarn.

Some new things have also arrived to inspire me…


I’ve only been cutting them for a couple of weeks and I have a glut already.

This is two days worth, and the plants are only just getting going.

These juicy beasts are the result of two things – building a vegetable garden on the site of the old chicken run (chickens = amazing fertilizer), and accidentally planting out 12 courgette plants.  Two are usually more than enough for a family, but I thought that half of them were cucumbers.  I was wrong.  I will have no cucumbers this year.

To deal with this I have started making one of my favourite things ever – CHUTNEY.  I used the Courgette Chutney recipe from my most useful cookbook, Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook.  This book is amazing if have one particular ingredient and need a recipe to base it round, or if you’re not that great at labeling your seeds and end of with masses of one vegetable.

I’m going to try and leave it alone for a couple of months and then NOM it with cheese and oatcakes…

brown bunnies quilt

Firstly, don’t be fooled!  I am not some kind of strange two-days-per-project-no-matter-how-big-it-is girl.  I’ve been working on this for weeks.

After a final push to sew down the binding the last couple of days I’m calling it done.  My quilting teacher gently suggested that it might need a bit more…um….quilting, but in reality its not going to get used that much and I like the simplicity of the quilting as it is.  Any extra and it’ll ruin my nice ‘quilting lines through the points only’ look.  (I guess I could quilt round the centre squares but that would involve a whole lot more weaving in ends…)

The block is taken from a pattern in Material Obsession, a very pretty book by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.  And the fabric is two Moda jelly rolls worth, with a Moda bunnies print, in green in the centre of the blocks and in brown on the back.

I had intended to do the exact quilt in the book but as usual I got a bit carried away with one particular block, then decided to sash them all together with lots of leftover cream.  (I love an easy trick that makes a quilt bigger…)  The edging is just all the leftovers, going round and round until I ran out, it worked out nicely.

My mum’s visiting at the moment and she has given it her approval.  This block is her favourite.  My mum, “I like that one.  Its nice and restful.  That one would be nice over and over as a whole blanket.”

This is the first quilt I’ve made that I’m going to keep for myself – hurrah!  My favourite bit is the edging, in just three colours from the quilt to keep it simple, and because I ran out of burgundy early on.

I already have a patchwork top and bottom for the next one just to be layered and then its time to say goodbye to the feed dogs and try some free-motion quilting.  Yay!


This weekend I got a bit obsessive with a new sewing project – here is Macaron!

This my first time sewing a Colette pattern and I loved it.  The directions are beautifully written and I learnt so many new things.  Look!  I sewed a sleeve!!

The printed fabric is some Liberty Tana Lawn and I used some plain heavy-ish navy cotton for the shell.  I couldn’t be more happy with this if the pattern came with free cake!

I have a couple other of her dress patterns to try.  Other things about it that make me happy: it fits! there are no dodgy sewing bits! it has cheeky pockets!  Yay!

And while we were taking the photos one of our wee buddies stood and watched…

This is Penguin, the most friendly and curious of our chickens.  She was the first of our rescued ex-battery hens to get outside and taste the grass and she’s not stopped trying to eat anything green since.  (Hence the netting.)

a slightly quicker spinning project

Last night I got a bit sucked into watching some grim events unfold on the news.  After a while my fingers got too tired to knit so my spinning wheel came out along with some merino/nylon fibre from Krafty Koala, in a colourway called Waterlily.

When I first started spinning I used to really struggle with merino for some reason, it was always overspun and twisty.  The practice has paid off though and this skein is lovely and squishy.

I split the three colour sections pretty roughly, spun them in a repeating order and then navajo plied them to get stripes.  The result is 130m of aran weight yarn, and a tiny dent in my fibre stash.

I no idea what this will be become, maybe some mitts for my sister.  She ends up stealing most of my knitwear anyway, I might as well just knit with her in mind!

The plan next week is try and sew a couple of dresses, I accidentally went fabric shopping today with a very enabling friend…

a year-long Ishbel

I haven’t officially entered the Tour de Fleece as I failed miserably last year, but all the spinning as inspired me anyway.

This is Old Maiden Aunt superwash merino fibre in Moody – the colourway of the original Ishbel shawl.  I felt so lucky to get my hands on this and actually started spinning it over a year ago.  Despite working for Ysolda I don’t have an Ishbel myself, but this is soon to change!  I should have enough of this handspun for the large size, and I’m aiming to get the spinning finished in a week or so as I was more than half-way through when I stopped last time.

The singles have all been spindle spun, but I plan to turn it into a heavy laceweight 2ply on my wheel.  It does feel like cheating a bit but I really want to get it on my needles!

new dress

I decided today was the time to be brave, put the patchwork away for a while and make some new clothes, and clothes that fit me properly.

I’ve been reading Cal Patch‘s book  Design-It-Yourself Clothes and after having had great success with a skirt a couple of weeks ago it was time for the basic dress.

The thought of drafting my own pattern always seems quite daunting but each time I’m amazed by how simple it is.  I actually find it quicker to do this based on my own measurements than to fiddle about with printed paper patterns.  I’ve had better results too getting things to fit and feel comfortable.

I made this dress in a morning, and it would have been less if I hadn’t accidentally sewn right up where a zip should have been.  I trimmed and locked the seam before I noticed.  A seam ripper is definitely the next sewing accessory I need to buy!

I’m going to try and alter the neckline so its not quite so…um…busty!