Wednesday, 31 December 2014

10 Points to Gryffindor!

Every year my roller derby league, Fierce Valley Roller Girls, does a fun December intraleague game, which is usually themed, to wrap up the year. This year the theme was Harry Potter, which I was more than a little excited about (even though the refs didn't get to dress up or anything). Our junior roller derby league, Fierce Valley Roller Cubs, were also playing, and they played the first game as Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, with the adults representing Slytherin and Gryffindor.

I was approached by one of the lovely Gryffindor ladies and was asked to make a flag for them. A lot of roller derby teams will wave flags with their team name on it as part of skate out, and they wanted a bit Gryffindor one.

I was very excited, and of course said yes, though I was a bit scared as it meant a meeting with my sewing machine. I had a very clear idea in my head of how I wanted it to look, but was worried it wouldn't turn out that way, however I was actually really impressed with the finished result.

Harry Potter flag

Harry Potter flag

Harry Potter flag

Harry Potter flag

This was quite fiddly to make, but I love how it turned out, so all the stress was soon forgotten. I got 1 metre of maroon fabric from eBay (though it's very hard to find actual maroon and not flat out purple), and some gold felt and maroon thread from Hobbycraft.

It was quite a pain cutting out all the letters from felt, but sewing round them all was worse! I had to do it in about 4 sittings as it was stressing me out so much.

Then I attached a massive broom handle to the edge using a staple gun and two kinds of glue! You can see from this photo how big it actually is!

Harry Potter flag

The team were super happy with it, and I got some lovely biscuits and a card as a thank you! It was very awesome seeing them wave it about during the skate out, even though I was in ref mode and couldn't really appreciate it at the time! Here's some action shots of it on the day too!

Photos courtesy of Laura MacDonald

Photos courtesy of Laura MacDonald

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Crochet Beard

Much like my crochet brain slug, I recently decided to crochet myself a little something to go with a fancy dress outfit. My friend Julie's birthday party theme was to come dressed as something she liked. I decided to go as her husband...who has a beard. I've seen loads of patterns for knitted and crocheted beards, and always thought, why on earth! But now I have a reason.

Crochet beard

Crochet beard

Crochet beard

Crochet beard

I used this really easy and free pattern to crochet up my beard. It was super quick to make, and I love the squishy feel of the bubbly stitch.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Granny Square a Week 25-28

It seemed like the Simply Crochet Granny Square app didn't update for ages, and then it suddenly came back to life. They definitely don't post every week though, which is a little annoying, but if they did, I can only image how many granny squares I would have to make! I finished these off in December, in-between huge attacks of Christmas crafting.

Granny square a week

I should start by saying that my camera HATED this neon peachy pinky wool I was using, and the photos don't look the best. I tried taking them a number of times and it always came out the same way, so I'm sorry if they offend your eyes with their odd colour-ness.

Granny Constance.

Granny square a week

I had the most trouble with this square I've had so far. The pattern called for a stitch called a 2-dtr cluster, however it didn't tell you how to do it under the special abbreviations section. This usually means they've used it before in one of the other grannies, but when I looked I could only find it in an American version of the pattern and the one I was working on was the UK version. I wasn't sure if these would be the same, because usually UK and US terms are different, so I Googled it, hopefully used a UK version (though I think it actually ended up being the same as the US version from the app), and was done. However, it still doesn't look quite right compared to the picture, but I'm not sure if that's because I used up a tiny bit of sport weight yarn I had left, and that's made things a bit squint.

Granny Ellen.

Granny square a week

The middle of this one is a bit squint (again due to the use of the sport weight yarn I think), but I really like everything else about it. However, with 8 rounds per square, and most of them ending up quite small, I'm not sure it's one I would be making loads of to make something like a blanket.

Granny Valerie.

Granny square a week

This one is very cool, and has very few rounds so it was quick to make. I love how it turned out, and it would be a great stash buster as that last round eats a lot of yarn!

Granny Thelma.

Granny square a week

Again, this one made a super cool shape, and wasn't as complicated as the first square of this lot! This also eats a lot of yarn, but was super quick to do as it loads of huge stitches.

While I was Googling for that weirdo stitch, I did come across a few people complaining about the Simply Crochet app. A lot of the pictures they upload to show off the pattern are actually done wrong, which a lot of people on their Facebook seem less than happy about. Whoops!

My main issue this time was the inclusion of the special stitches. I would classify special stitches or abbreviations as something I wouldn't really know offhand (like a double or treble), and would expect them to be included every time. Some stitches I do recognise from previous patterns, but I still have to Google them as I can't remember them from last time I used them. I basically just want it all handed to me, and to make sure I'm using the proper stitch they are telling me to use! It doesn't matter too much with these ones, as I'm just making them for fun (and have no idea what I'll do with them after) but if I was making a blanket or something, it would be even more annoying!

Have you been using the Simply Crochet Granny a Week app? How's your experience been?

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Cross Stitch Gifts

I love making gifts for other people, and there's something so lovely and neat about cross stitch than draws me to it for gifts. Today we have a couple of gifts I made for some of my friends, one for a wedding and one for a birthday.

First up, our lovely friends Sven and Stacey got married in August, and I decided to cross stitch them a wedding day sampler. I actually finished it after the wedding, so I was able to include little things from the actually wedding day in it, like lyrics from their first dance song.

Wedding cross stitch

Wedding cross stitch

Wedding cross stitch

Wedding cross stitch

Wedding cross stitch

Wedding cross stitch

Wedding cross stitch

My second gift was for my friend Julie for her birthday. Julie is a huge Rik Mayall fan, so I decided to make her a Young One cross stitch, with a quote from Rik Mayall's character. I used this iotacons picture for the cross stitch pattern, and this amazing online tool to spell out the quote.

Young Ones Cross stitch

Young Ones Cross stitch

Young Ones Cross stitch

Young Ones Cross stitch

I love cross stitching so much. I need to do a lot more of it, as I seem to have been spending some much time recently knitting and crocheting.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Mollie Makes Crochet Collar Kit

Man I have been doing a lot of crochet lately! I thought this kit would be quite easy due my recent success, but boy was I wrong!

I sat and made this free kit on evening at my mum's, and after a couple of attempts I "finished". This is what it looked like.

Crochet necklace

Crochet necklace

I was not happy! It just looked rubbish. A couple of days later I decided to give it another bash after watching this video from the Mollie Makes team.


Crochet collar attempt two

Crochet collar attempt two

Crochet collar attempt two

Much better, I'm sure you'll agree! So it took two shots, but I finally got a lovely lace collar (and to be honest, I prefer pink anyway!).

Friday, 19 December 2014

Beta Knit Pansy Tee Kit

I have some wool that has been sitting in my wool stash for quite some time, that is destined for my first proper jumper. I have the total fear of start the jumper, because I'm convinced I'm going to do it super wrong. I decided to get myself a little practise in garment knitting, I had a bash at my Beta Knit Pansy Tee Kit which I bought last year.

Pansy tee kit

Pansy tee kit

Pansy tee kit

Pansy tee kit

Pansy tee kit

I have to say, I'm not overly happy with it overall (which makes me feel even worse for the jumper I have my eyes on). The yarn the kit used was cotton, and it was a bit of a bother to work with. Something about it made it really hard to pull tight, which meant my edges were really lose and horrible. This in turn meant my seams weren't the best either (as sewing using the not very good yarn was another issue altogether). I also ran out of yarn about 10 rows from the end of the second half, but luckily Beta Knit were lovely and sent me a free ball of yarn to finish it. Also I had no idea how to sew the "made by" label, so it's not very neat!

I did, however, discover how good the Purl Bee is for tutorials, and used them for sewing in ends, blocking, and sewing seams (I used the mattress stitch for this one and it was really good! I'll definitely be doing it again in the future!).

Overall, I'm not even sure I'll wear the tee (it's currently in my pj drawer) because it's so heavy, it drags it down out of shape. It does look roughly the same as the model picture, but I'm just sure it's a style I actually suit.

So I might need a little more practise before I attempt the jumper, but we shall see.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Embroidered Duvet

When I first started blogging, I read a post on the blog Feeling Stitchy about a stitcher going under the name giddy99, who was stitching an entire duvet set!




I believe I had done very little (if any) embroidery at the time, and was totally in awe of the vastness of the project. You can check out giddy99's Flickr set of her project here, though I'm not sure if she finished it, as the photos just seem to stop! I would love to see what it looks like now!

I've been thinking about this for a few months now, and have come to the decision that I'm going to start a duvet all my own! I want to do this for several reasons:
  1. My embroidery skills are quite basic. I read blogs like Wild Olive and I long to have a better stitch knowledge. I thought I might try and do a stitch sampler, but then I thought it might be cool to challenge myself to just use stitches in my embroidery, and what better way to practise than by embroidering loads of things! 
  2. I have a lot of thread that I need to use up! I bought one of those massive 100 skein packs when I first was learning, but now I just pick up skeins of DMC or Anchor thread, and all these random colours get very rarely used (for fear I'll run out mid massive project and not be able to get the same colour)!
  3. I have a lot of patterns I'm worried I'll never get to stitch. I've got a collection of patterns I've bought or won, in books, and in magazines like Mollie Makes. I want to make them all, but I have nowhere to put them! Now hopefully I can stitch everything! The duvet can be super random, and it doesn't matter. 
I'm still unsure if I want to stitch on the pillows, as I'm not sure how comfy that would be on someone's face! However, I did see this cute picture of a crochet trim on pillows, so I might do that instead, just so they aren't plain!




I've also been collecting free embroidery patterns I like the look of on Pinterest for a couple of months now, because blogs are always giving away lovely patterns, and again I'm always looking for an excuse to make them! You can check out the whole board here, but here are some of my favourite patterns!





















I won't be starting the duvet until the New Year (far too much Christmas crafting on the go) but I'm super excited about it! I feel like I haven't embroidered for ages! I've no idea how long this will take me to finish, but it's a project I can totally dip in and out of, just doing one pattern at a time!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Perler Bead Action

It's been a good while since I did anything with my perler beads, but here are a couple of things I made recently.

First up a cute little Pillsbury doughboy for our kitchen. You can get the free pattern here.

Pillsbury doughboy perler bead

Next up it was my friend Count's birthday a little while back, so I decided to make him a Pokemon perler bead bookmark. I used this picture for reference to make the Pokeball part, and then just made the long part by striping the same three colours all the way down.

Pokemon perler bookmark

Pokemon perler bookmark

Friday, 12 December 2014

#PaperHaul box

A little while ago, you might have started seeing crypric type tweets on the Crafty Creatives Twitter account about something called #PaperHaul. It turns out #PaperHaul is a similar monthly subscription box to the Crafty Creatives box, but is all based around lovely paper products and sexy snail mail supplies.

The lovely ladies at #PaperHaul asked if I would be interested in seeing what their new subscription box was all about, and I jumped at the chance. I bought myself a one-off Crafty Creative box a couple of years ago, and was really impressed by it, so I was excited to see what they had on offer.


#paperhaul box

#paperhaul box

The piece of card on top of the box asked you to describe the theme of this month's box. I chose "far flung" (though I'm not sure if that's an adjective) because everything this month is travel themed! So let's take a look at what's inside.

Two very cute greetings cards. I'll be saving these for a special occasion.

#paperhaul box

Three very lovely postcards, three brown paper tags, and some vehicle print washi tape. I really love the little tags, and that backpack postcard is just gorgeous.

#paperhaul box

A sheet of travel themed stickers, and two pieces of double sided travel paper.

#paperhaul box

I really like everything in this box, and it's nice to get a mix of paper products I might not usually buy for myself. I don't have a lot of travel themed items as I tend to be a bit of homebody, but I know they'll be good for making things for other people, or just decorating bits and pieces.

I'm still unsure if I would subscribe to #PaperHaul every month. Purely because the amount of crafty supplies I own is pretty ridiculous, and adding to it every month might be a bad idea, especially when we're thinking of moving house soon! Less to move is always good!

If you're interested in signing up to #PaperHaul though I would definitely recommend it. Everything is lovely quality, and who doesn't love getting a little treat through the door every month? You can find all the details for signing up for boxes on their website, with boxes costing £10 per month.

I'm really excited to see what future themes for the boxes will be, so I will be keeping an eye on their social media accounts for a sneak peak!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Pom Pom Wreath

If you've been on Pinterest looking at Christmas crafts, you will no doubt have seen loads of pom pom wreaths going about. I really loved this idea, and decided this year I would finally make one. I had a lot of little amounts of Christmassy coloured wool in my stash, and as I love using up odds and ends, I thought this would be a great way to do it.

The only thing I had to buy was the actual wreath. I just bought a metal frame from eBay, which only cost a couple of quid. I forgot to take a photo of it before I started, but here's one of it with just a couple of poms poms attached.

Something exciting is happening :)

I basically made pom poms of four different sizes using my pom pom makers, and then tied them over the sides of the wreath. I had to sew some of the bigger ones together with some spare wool, as they were swinging about a bit.

Pom Pom wreath

Pom Pom wreath

Pom Pom wreath

I plan to hang it on the door when I get around to Christmas decorating (probably this weekend!).

Pom Pom wreath

I'm very happy with how it turned out, and I used up all the remnants I had left of those colours (some of which were from when I made my granny tree skirt!).