Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Tiny Knitted Bunting - a Free Pattern

 I am taking part in the 100 Day Challenge over on my LoveFibres Instagram page. I have challenged myself to knit something very small, or part of something very small every day for 100 days.

I shall have to cheat a little on this as today is Day 1 and it goes right on up to 27th July. I shall be on holiday and have family staying before it ends so I intend to stockpile my progress reports so I can post them in groups when I can't commit to a daily routine.
My necessity these have to be very small items. Im thinking tiny toys, finger puppets, egg cup cozy etc (if you have any ideas, let me know!). I shall probably also knit some squares for a little blanket.
For today which was Day 1 I started on a high and knit some tiny bunting. I have put the instructions in a PDF which you can download from Dropbox HERE

The pennants are about 2" wide,  2.5" deep and take just 4 metres of yarn each.
I think the best thing about them is that they have eyelets at the top and are threaded onto bakers twine. This way, if you want a different size bunting, or a different colour combination, then you just re-thread them to suit the new location.

The next 99 days will not be so adventurous, but if you want to follow my progress, it's on my @LoveFibres Instagram page.

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Monday, 28 March 2016

Some Liberty Scrap Busting

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Hello! I hope you've had a very happy Easter break.
Despite the wet and windy weather, I spent as much time as I could digging my new allotment. I've only just taken it on and its thrown all my plans haywire. I didn't expect to reach the top of the waiting list this year, and when I got it,  it was in a serious state of neglect!
It's probably a good thing that it rained as much as it did. Otherwise I would be incredibly sore from digging by now.
When I wasn't busy digging I was having a really rather lovely play with some Liberty fabrics and paper mache shapes in my craft room.
I keep even the tiniest scraps of fabric and they were the perfect choice for these Easter eggs and bunny.
The papier mache shapes were bought from my local Hobbycraft store and I used regular PVA glue to attach the scraps. They were all odd sized pieces, and very small.  I cut down larger fabric scraps to about 1" (2.5cm). Around the top and base of the eggs they were even much smaller than that.

Once completely covered I let the eggs and bunny dry for a while and then checked them over, applying more glue if any little edges had escaped the glue treatment.
The correct name for this type of craft is decoupage.
It was lovely to work so closely with the small squares of Liberty prints, seeing all the tiny details which you sometimes miss when sewing something larger.

I also love how, quite by chance, the rabbit appears to have an eye! He hasn't,  it's just how the pattern  of the fabric falls. But it's quite uncanny that it was totally unplanned and yet happened on both sides of the rabbit!

Of course, this beautiful way of using up those small scraps of fabric isn't just restricted to Easter. You can buy all sorts of different papier mache shapes to cover - hearts, small trinket boxes, initials and a whole host of other animal shapes, both large and small.
I may end up with some Liberty print in every room at this rate!

I hope you had a Happy Easter too!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Quick and Easy Bobble Hat - A Free Pattern

As often happens, this week didn't turn out the way I planned!
I arrived back from a month in Toronto just a week ago. What a wonderful month that was! I was there to visit my new grandson and his very proud mum and dad. Oh dear! I am missing all those baby cuddles right now!
On arriving home I dived into my yarn stash with the idea of knitting something for the baby. I pulled it all out and decided that it definitely needed to be culled and organised.
My son  and his wife follow my beliefs in using natural, organic yarns where possible and in order to buy more yarn, I needed to use up some of the old stuff first.
I decided to use a bag of super chunky weight yarn to make some charity hats.
These are just a few of the ones I've made so far.

I'm going to send them to Knit For Peace. Although it's almost Spring I'm sure they will be welcomed  for refugees.
As usual I made up the pattern to suit my needs. 
I've written up the pattern to share with you. It gives instructions for three sizes:
3 - 6 yrs
6 yrs - teen
I've given instructions for both knitting in the round and knitting flat. Choose whichever is your preferred method. 
You can get the Dropbox link HERE

I was working on the pattern yesterday over a cup of tea when an interesting conversation with my adult son ensued.
He asked what I was making and I said "A hat with a pompom". He said "Oh, you mean a bobble hat" 
"Yes, I suppose I do" I replied.
So I started to wonder which name I should give to the pattern. Hat with Pompom or Bobble Hat?
In the end I decided that he was probably right, but I would love to know which term you would use. Pleased let me know. I might end up changing it!

So, a week ago I thought I was knitting baby clothes. About 7 charity hats and plenty of pattern writing later, I now have a smaller stash, and yes, I think I can justify a little baby yarn purchase, don't you!

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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

All Snuggled Up

Here is my new grandson, Oscar at 3 1/2 weeks old, all snuggled up in the entrelac baby blanket that I knitted.
Entrelac is a really easy technique that creates a textured diamond pattern. The basketweave effect is actually created by knitting squares facing in opposite directions. Once you've got the base row of triangles sorted, you only work on a few stitches at any one time (in this case, just 10 stitches) and it is nicely repetitive, in a good sort of way, so you don't have to keep referring back to the pattern. It makes an ideal project to knit whilst watching TV.

The pattern is available from Love Knitting as well as my Etsy and Craftsy shops. (links in the sidebar)
Oscar's blanket was knit in an organic double knit cotton, which sadly is no longer available, but if you want to make it using similar colours try Sublime Baby Cashmerino in Pebble, Cuddle, Gooseberry and Vanilla.
You could also go completely scrappy of course, and use up some stash!
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Sunday, 31 January 2016

And Baby Makes Three

I am super excited to say that my first grandchild has arrived!  Oscar David was born last week and I've flown over to meet him. Needless to say I think he's adorable! But then I'm sure every Nana thinks the same when their grandchildren are born.

I've been busy sewing and knitting for him for the last few months, and when I arrived he was dressed entirely in Nana made clothing.

The blanket is organic wool that I bought years ago, and my own design. The hat is organic cotton interlock from The Village Haberdashery. It's one of manyI've made! They are so quick and easy to make.

He also has several pairs of pants from the same fabric. The pattern is from an old Ottobre magazine. I'm so glad I purchased a few of these magazines when I saw them. They are going to be so useful over the next few years.

I knitted him several tops, but omitted to photograph them. Here's one I did take a picture of.

Once again its my own design and is knitted from Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton.

Every baby I knit for always gets a hat knitted from my Logan Pattern, and this one was no exception!

I made all the crib bedding from organic cotton percale sheeting from The Organic Textile Company
and finally I made him a hooded bath towel. 

Towelling is also from The Organic Textile Company

Of course, I have ideas for many more things I want to make him, but right now it's just time for cuddles and to enjoy watching my son and daughter-in-law do a wonderful job of looking after him!

Friday, 15 January 2016

10 Minutes a Day in 2016

Hi! and welcome to my first post of 2016.
This is going to be a busy year!
I have such plans for my pattern designs, both knitted and quilted, I'm going to become a grandparent for the first time and I'm going to do a lot of travelling. It's going to be a lot of fun!

Knowing what was ahead, I started to be careful what I committed to towards the end of last year. 
The usual rounds of quilt alongs and swaps needed be declined. It was hard to say no, but its no good agreeing to do something if I don't have the time to see it through.

My little grandson will be born any day now, and I've been busy making organic baby clothes, blankets, fitted crib sheets, all of which I'll show you in another post. I've been to Toronto to help his Mum and Dad get their house ready for his arrival, and I'll go again as soon as he is born.
I've managed to keep up with some of the groups I'm in, but deadlines are hard, especially when you're not even on the right side of the world.

My sewing has to be done as and when it fits into my schedule this year, but I don't want to give up on the things that are important to me, like making quilts for Siblings Together.
Last year I made several for them, including this one.

and this one.

It was whilst I was rushing around trying to complete everything I'm committed to for this month, that I had an idea. Just because I can't commit to deadlines, doesn't mean I can't still make a Siblings Together quilt or two. I just need to make it slowly, on my own, rather than as part of a group where I might let people down.
I looked at my stash of scraps. Its huge!

I keep even the tiniest pieces. I have this box full of odd size little scraps. They are so little they usually get rejected whenever I'm hunting for pieces for a specific quilt bee block.

I have this box full of squares I cut over a year ago in preparation for a postage stamp quilt. Those little pieces are just 1.5" square! The quilt of course never got started!

I have Jelly Rolls that I've never used and lots of blocks that were either experiments or just didn't make the cut when I was making previous quilts.

So my plan is to try to spend just 10 minutes a day, or an hour a week, sewing up the scrappy pieces into a scrappy quilt for Siblings Together. They will be simple blocks that take no thought or preparation - nine patches and string blocks. Anyone can find 10 minutes a day, surely. I'm not putting any pressure on myself. If it doesn't get done, or I'm away, then no worries. But when I can I shall put that 10 minutes to good use. 
A 10 minute coffee break spent chain piecing. Getting up 10 minutes early and cutting up some scraps. Doing 10 minutes sewing before I go to bed. 10 minutes sewing instead of 10 minutes on social media.

Its surprising just how much you can get done in 10 minutes. 
I chain pieced 40 postage stamp pieces into twos yesterday. 
I made them into 20 four patches today!

To keep myself accountable, to spur myself on, and hopefully to encourage someone else to do the same, I'm documenting my progress on Instagram (I'm mackandmabel). I shall be using the hashtags
#10forsiblingstogether and #10minutesaday

I'll share progress on this blog from time to time when there is more to see.
If you have scraps to spare why not join me!

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Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Best of 2015

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Well here we are at the end of 2015. I think its been a good year!
I've picked my favourite makes for the year, both quilted and knitted.
The Hazel hedgehog quilt (bottom right) was one of my first finishes of the year, and was sent to Siblings Together to be one of many made by volunteers and  handed out to children in foster care at their summer camps.
The puppy dog quilt (middle left) was made for the friends of one of my sons.
Bottom left and middle are still works in progress - My La Passacaglia (bottom left) has stalled for the time being. It is hand pieced and I just can't see well enough in the artificial light of the winter to accurately continue with it.
The Farm Girl Vintage quilt is so near to being finished, but other things have to take priority right now.
I have done a lot of paper piecing this year and the rest of the collage shows my favourites. I love that I can make something very intricate and still have accurate piecing.

These are just a few of my knitted finishes of the year. The stocking was finished an hour before midnight on Christmas eve! That was cutting it fine!!
The bunny (top right) is a free pattern. Click on the Knitting Pattern tab at the top of the page to access it.
I have also made quite a few baby items.... more than are shown!
My eldest son and his wife are expecting their first child in a matter of days. At the time I was knitting though, it seemed like tempting fate to photograph and blog about them, so we will have to wait until I'm sent a photo of him wearing them!

So, what does 2016 hold in store, I wonder?
I probably have more plans in my head than I can possibly make, but then that's a good thing, right?

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy and creative 2016!


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