My Sewing Case

This project has been at the back of my mind since the beginning of the year!  It started with just the idea to make some sort of a  case to hold a few essential sewing bits and bobs in.

The more I thought about it the more ideas I had that I wanted to include!  I gradually, mentally added more and more requirements to my case.

  • It had to be pretty fabric and I wanted to use a little bit of patchwork in the design, include some      embroidery.
  •  It needed to be washable as I intend it to be well used.
  • I wanted to incorporate a thread catcher.
  •  A pin cushion and a place for a couple crochet hooks were a must.
  • I wanted it to be just over A5 wide so that I could carry a downloaded pattern folded in half inside.
  • And somewhere for my little stork scissors.
  • Free standing and able to go over the arm of a chair

As the weeks went by I was gradually builting up a mental picture and then…

…Jenny from Elefantz did this amazing series of posts about the Regency ‘housewives’ or ‘hussif’ sewing cases the ladies used to carry around and I knew that when I had got everything sorted out in my head I would definitely run with this idea.

If you click here you can see the series of posts Jenny did called ‘The tale of a Hussif’, they contain so much information and history on the ‘hussif’ which makes fascinating reading and then there is the tutorial for her own beautiful hussif that she made with a pattern that you can purchase in her shop.

At this point I was really tempted to use Jenny’s tutorial, it is just so beautiful and so much easier than designing my own as by this time we were approaching the summer holidays and I knew my crafting time would drop right off through the summer. I so very nearly did but there were a couple of things on my list that had become a must in my mind, the thread catcher and being free standing in particular.

So, over the summer spare moments were grabbed here and there to design, wander the supermarket (more on that presently) and fabric shop – the best bit 🙂

Anyhow, after all of that waffling this is what I made.  I started with a patchwork for the main strip including a couple of pockets.

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It has four sections. I had to include thin strips of  fabric between the four sections to make the case deep enough to incorporate the depth of the thread catcher.  I wanted to stiffen it but still keep it washable so after looking at various pelmet stiffeners  I decided to laminate an A4 sheet of laminate with nothing in it, cut it in half and round the corners.  I then laminated these two sheets to create two thick plastic sheets. Here is when it is closed,

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and open…

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The covered elastic flips over to hold the case together but when you open the case out you bring sections one and two up and over in a upturned’ V’ and prop it against the thread catcher and pin cushion to create somewhere to hold a pattern while you are working.

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The thread catcher needed a quite a bit of thinking as the tutorial uses a Pringles tube which of course is not washable.  So this ended up as a supermarket hunt for a similar sized tub that was made of plastic that would not be brittle and crack!  I finally came across a tub of crispy onions made from a tough but squashy plastic,

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which conveniently proved to be almost the same size as a pringle tube!!  I cut out the bits I needed

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to make my washable thread catcher and it worked a treat.

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Next to the thread catcher is a little pincushion.  I used my large giant yo yo maker for this and topped it with a small yo yo and vintage button from my collection!

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I added a little heart with two pockets to hold my scissors and seam ripper, the idea came from Pinterest, here,

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and somewhere to store a couple of crochet hooks.

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somewhere for threads with a little vintage lace trim,

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and a little stitching to finish it off.

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So there you have it, my finished sewing case.  It is so useful to have the essentials neatly nearby and a lovely case for when I need to take bits with me. I loved every minute of my sewing case journey and I was pleased in the end that I had taken the time to design my own although I still have a little longing to one day use Jenny’s pattern 🙂

Happy Crafting and have a great week!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

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Problems, Lists and Knitting Again!

Firstly it’s my own fault, the problems that is. When I set up my site at the beginning of the year I started following the quick tutorial, uploaded photos and posted my first post and thought I didn’t need to learn any more… how wrong I was!!  I was doing exactly what Hubby does (and most men that I know do) and tried to do it first without reading all the instructions!  You know the feeling, oh yeah, I can do this, it’s easy 🙂

All went fine until a couple of weeks ago when I realised that I had used nearly all of my media storage space and they said I could upgrade my site  for £89 per year – no thanks!!  So it was off to ask google! I soon realised where I had gone wrong. I had just uploaded the pics straight from the camera without compressing them first.  As a result I have spent rather a lot of precious crafting time compressing photos (four times before they all compressed as I didn’t realise I needed to do the portrait images separate from the landscape images) and replacing and deleting the original pictures!

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Thankfully we do have Adobe Photoshop so I was able to compress multiple files at once .  Anyhow, all done now and lesson learnt – read all instructions first – (until next time) and I now have plenty of storage space for more posts 🙂

I am trying out knitting again as after my budgie attempts I thought I really ought to try and do a bit occasionally and maybe, just maybe, one day I will be good enough to knit a pair of socks.  I looked on Ravelry for easy patterns and came up with this pattern for simple garter stitch slippers, brilliant. I need some new ones for the summer as I am still using my slipper boots from the winter, although Josh kindly told me yesterday as he watched me knit that it will probably be winter again before I finish them!!

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The pattern said Needles: 3.5mm circular or two straight needles.  I thought ‘Great, now I can do a bit of practise with a circular needle on something easy’  but as I read on it said ‘if your’e feeling adventurous you can use a seamless CO technique’  I do not feel adventurous where knitting is concerned and I wanted the seam anyway as I think it enhances the slipper so I wouldn’t need the circular needle…but I used the circular needle anyway as practice.  What a pain that is, the thing has a life of it’s it own and twists and curls as though it’s alive, maybe the feeling is mutual and it doesn’t like me either!

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As far as the pattern goes I am getting on fine this time but only because all I have had to do is cast on 40 stitches and keep knitting!  I did manage to gain a stitch, I guess that’s better than losing one.  I really didn’t want to undo any of my hard work – I find knitting so hard to pick all the stitches back up, unlike crochet where you have only one loop to find again – so I just knit two together!   The only other slightly annoying thing is working with two strands together but mostly it has been fine.

I am using the women’s institute soft and cuddly 4 ply yarn from Hobbycraft.  It is a bit more expensive at £3.00 for 50 grams but they are usually on a buy two get one free deal and I love it so much, it has to be the softest acrylic yarn I have ever used.  There isn’t a huge range of colours yet so I went with a pale blue and cream. (I have just realised as I took this photo that one ball of yarn is soft and silky and one soft and cuddly.  With the soft and silky you get 100 grams for the same price, both gorgeously soft.)

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I am probably about halfway through the first slipper so not too bad going but I do find that I am very tense when I knit and I have to consciously make an effort to relax my shoulders. To be honest just working in garter stitch can be a bit boring so I am saving them to do when I really haven’t the concentration for anything else.

I have also been busy writing lists.  I love lists, I love crossing things off of them even more, in fact I have been known on occasion to write a couple of things I have already done on my new list, so I can cross them off!! I Hmm, rather sad I know but I always feel better when a couple of things have been crossed off.

I have an A4 notebook dedicated to my craft lists and notes.  Things to make for Abi, for Josh, for the nieces, for men, for the mums, for the home, for me soon, for me one day, gifts already made etc!  I also have this great weekly planner but things often end up getting transferred from one day to the next and the next before they get crossed out, I think I am too ambitious about what I can achieve in a day!

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But this week I  realised I do not have a wips list…What??.  I have posted on here about my wips but the list is changing so often that it is out of date in a few days but no list.  Well, of course, that had to be rectified and here it is.

WIPS LIST JULY 2015

small hexagons – on a bit of a go slow with these

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large hexagons (I have been reading too many of Ericka’s posts lately and she has got me using up my scraps with larger hexies.  Ericka has made some gorgeous hexie cushions with scraps you would never normally put together but they look amazing!  If you pop over you could join her on one of her rambles and learn a lot about British wild flowers. ).

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spinning – only about 4 more lengths to spin and then I can ply, Yay!

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crochet granny flower and owl cushions.  (Hmm, those were a bit buried and forgotten, to be honest, crocheting a back is rather boring.)

crochet patchwork blanket (here).  I’m still enjoying this.

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knitting slippers

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crochet shawl  (this is another new wip using this gorgeous pattern by Sandra over at Cherry Heart blog.  It is lace weight and so, so pretty and delicate.

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embroidery (I’m still working through the aprons for the pj cases, only 2 to go!)

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To be honest it is no as bad as I thought but my to do list is items 17 long and two need to be made for gifts this month plus stocking pressies for Abi and Josh so I’m going to say toodleoo and get crafting 🙂

Happy Crafting and have a crafty week!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Wips and Ideas…

Things have been pretty busy round here with birthday preparations but I just wanted to pop by with a few pics of my wips.  Firstly my spinning.  I have started spinning my fourth lot of yarn and I am enjoying it as much as ever.  I have chosen these two colours.

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I have already spun these two, I spun a strip of the grey followed by a strip of blue until I had spun it all.

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I have now moved onto these two colours, navy and teal.

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When they are both finished I hope to ply the two yarns together to give a multi coloured effect.  It is rather slow going only doing a little at a time but with so much else on the go it doesn’t really worry me.

I am spinning it quite fine and I am really pleased with how even I am now managing to get the yarn.

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Here it is next to some no8 crochet thread.  I am hoping there will be enough this time for a lacey shawlette.

I have hardly touched my patchwork hexies lately but they are great to have nearby to do an odd one in a spare moment.

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I am nearly halfway through my monthly challenge makes for the children,

but I’m not sure what I shall be making for Me/the Home this month.

I have made the fronts of the cushions I am making with the leftover squares from my owl and flower granny blanket and have started on the backs.

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The embroidery on the aprons for the bunny/mice Pj cases is coming along little by little.  I have to do these in daylight as my eyes are no longer good enough to do detail stitching in the evenings 😦

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But all of this has been on the back burner this week as I have been busy making bits for Abi’s 18th.  There has been a bit of crochet, including a new pattern to share with you.  I have been busy with my machine on two other gifts and also added a little hand quilting and I have some embroidery not yet started.

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I have also been trying to finish the felted picture I am making for my Mum.  Here is a little peek at one of the beginning stages.

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Now for the ideas!  Well, I have so many ideas of things I would like to make so I will just tell you about the ones I am hoping to get on with in the next few weeks.

I would love to make some more project bags (now, why ever I would need more?!!).  I can’t see a pattern that is quite what I am looking for so I shall be combining one or two styles and attempting my own pattern.

I started my spiral blanket but after several rows it got frogged, I just wasn’t happy with it, I’m not sure why, I think it just seemed a bit flat. Here is what it looked like.

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So, when I couldn’t sleep one night I lay and thought of all sorts of blankets I have seen and nearly settled for another round ripple when I had a fantastic idea, or at least I absolutely love the idea!  This is where I tease you because I want to get a bit further with it before I show you but here is the tiniest peek.

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I know, not much of a clue there but I will try and show you more soon when I have the first trial bit done. It is something I have never seen done before for a crochet blanket but I am sure someone, somewhere, has done it already.

While I was planning in my crafty notebook I came across this note from Abi…

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It made me smile.  (Nunars is a nickname I somehow acquired in our courting days!)

My other idea is for a sewing/project book.  I have seen a couple recently but they don’t have quite what I am looking for so the creative brain cells will be getting another workout on a pattern for this one 🙂

Phew, well I must get going, I have a cake to ice, one gift not even started and three more to finish, not to mention Mum’s picture to finish!

What are you up to? Are you a little crazy like me with several wips or are you more organised and like to finish one thing at a time?

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

You Continue to Inspire Me…

I love reading all your posts, I am constantly creatively inspired!!  Yesterday I needed a gift I could make in a day, a  holiday day at that, as one of Abi’s best friends, Leah, is turning eighteen. Abi is going to see her today and I wanted to make her a little something from us all.

Recently I have been particularly inspired by Ericka’s erickaeckles blog.  I have loved seeing the progress on her twin star quilts, the planning, the fabric choices, thoughts on quilting etc.

So this gift was an ideal opportunity to try proper patchwork.  I have made two very basic and simple quilts with squares and rectangles but I have always used fleece fabric as a backing and used very basic and minimal quilting.  This was the ideal opportunity to make something small but a little more adventurous.

I had a couple of A6 notebooks I picked up in Poundland the other day so I started to plan a cover for one of these.  I drew out a plan, finding a number that the height of the notebook was divisable by and drawing a grid.   I rubbed out some lines and added others to create the patchwork I wanted.

With the patchwork I used tiny scraps from my scraps bin and part of a sheet for the backing. I was really challenging myself as some squares were only 16mm wide.  I added 1cm to each square to give 1/2 cm seam allowances.  I had thought to machine them together for speed but it just wasn’t feasible with such tiny pieces!  So it was hand sewing.  I didn’t mind as I find hand sewing relaxing but I was a bit concerned about time especially with the quilting I had in mind!  There were several interruptions to help make a ‘live mouse trap’,  go to the park, give opinions on homework etc but it proved quicker and easier than I thought.

For the quilting element I was again inspired by Ericka in this post here where she mentions the baptist fan.  There is also a post with more about the baptist fan here.  It gives such a lovely effect and after reassurances that it wasn’t difficult I decided to go with that pattern.

When I did my quilting I was doing it from memory (not the best idea) but I had obviously forgotten exactly how it went and my fans are at various angles instead of neat rows but I was pleased with the effect.  I also backstitched her name onto a plain patch.

Another thing erickaeckles mentions is how the squares and colours soften as you quilt.  I had been a bit worried about one of the prints I used but I was amazed at just how much the quilting really did soften the edges and bring the whole thing together.  The bottom half is quilted the top is not yet quilted.

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I am so, so pleased with it.

It is far from perfect but I feel that I really stretched myself.  You can just see the fan stitching below.

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I felt a bit reluctant to give it away but it had her name on it so it had to go!!

Thanks to you all for your constant inspiration and this time, especially to Ericka!

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

Garden Fun and WIPs.

It is dull, damp and cold here this morning but the men in my life are happy outdoors!

Josh has lit a fire in the old bbq

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and they are busy moving 2 ton of soil to fill the veg boxes Hubby has been making!

Spice is with me indoors right now, busy investigating.

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I have been busy crafting,

tacking some hexagons while Josh had his swimming lesson

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using my second mini ball of spun yarn to make this little Easter Bunny. (sorry about the poor images, the light is so low today)

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I used this pin as a guide but made mine with a smaller head and longer body to accommodate eggs!

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I have sewn all 56 eyes onto my owls and I am so pleased with the result, I am glad that I decided to use buttons rather than yarn.

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I stitched most of those on with rather stiff fingers……

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….I had a tube of super glue leak onto my fingers!!

I have crocheted the first two square together using the new yarn colours and after my problems last week I am thinking now it may have been a blessing in disguise.

I have also had another little try at spinning using this video as guide as recommended by suzy sells sea shells. (Thanks very much for that). The video was so helpful and I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to give spinning a try.  My yarn is now about 1/3 of the thickness it was and it has answered a lot of questions for me too.  I am hoping to spin three different colours and then ply them this time for a mini project.

What have you been busy creating this week?

Happy Crafting… and if you are in the UK enjoy the Easter Hols!

Sharon xx

So Much Craftiness… and my Stray Sock Solution!!

I feel buzzing with creativity.  I have a couple of finished, lots of WIP’s and even more ideas to share with you.

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Firstly my sock solution.  As I mentioned a while ago we have a problem with odd socks in our house.  Josh uses them for target practice and Abi’s and Hubby’s are wherever they decided to take them off!

So, when I saw this pattern on pinterest I knew it was just what I needed to hang inside the airing cupboard door.

The Infamous Hanging Basket Crochet Pattern – In ENGLISH! | michellala

The pattern does not give any yarn or hook sizes so I went for some nice colourful super chunky yarn to get a good size bag.  I also added a few rows to make it a bit bigger.  I love it!  It is already full of odd socks and is used every time I do a load of washing.

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There is just one niggle and that is that on the green row where I was increasing it had pointy bits!

I have also made Josh’s stocking present for March and will try to get a photo up soon.

Josh decided at the first signs of spring that is was time for shorts again!!  I always keep his trousers from the previous school year and then make them into shorts for the following summer.  So I have converted two pairs of school trousers into shorts and also a pair of jeans and chinos because he had gone through the knees!

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Now for the WIP’s!!

I am still plodding on with my owl and flower granny blanket,  I have joined Sandra’s Cherry Heart blanket along and it is keeping me motivated. I have also made a rule that that is the only crafting I am allowed to do in the evenings until it is done!  I am getting back into the swing of it and enjoying it again now.

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I have been enjoying Memory Lane again and have been using the Knitting Nancy!!

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It has been fun to do this again after so many years.  Has anyone any idea what this yarn is??  I was given a dozen balls of it and want to do something with it but it is really unusual.  It is flat, about 3mm wide. It is slightly slippery too. It is fairly light weight.

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Then there are the pyjama cases I am making.  I am really excited about these!  I have made the mice/rabbit heads with a little bit of the top of the body.

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I have used coloured buttons to attach the arms

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and I have all of the fabric cut out for the dresses and aprons.

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I bought as good as new sheets from the chairty shop to use for the clothes.  I hope to embrioder the name on the apron waistbands and maybe something else on the apron itself.

Now my  to do list!

I have so many things I would like to make or try so here are just the ones I am hoping to start in the near future!!

A beaded spiral necklace for a gift  … This needs to be done by the Friday morning!!

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Hopefully similar to this.

Some spinning!!  I bought a drop spindle with my birthday money. I watched some tutorials yesterday and I am itching to give it a go!

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Some patchwork!  i haven’t done much before but I wanted some hand sewing to be able to just pick up.  So I have cut out some little hexagons.  actually that is not quite true, I have a bigshot so again with my birthday money (I liked big birthdays!) I treated myself to a die for 1/4″ and 1/2″ hexagons.

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I had cut out over 300 hexagons in less than half an hour!

I have Abi’s stocking pressie to do – I have plans for that.

I really need to start the blanket for Josh’s bed so he has one similar to Abi’s.

I would also like to start my dahlia banket, I think I just need to add a darker yarn to the mix, hopefully I can get that later today.

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Some more 3d needle felting is definitely on the agenda!!

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and then with my birthday yarn I would like to try some freeform crochet and make a scarf!!

WOW!!  That looks a lot!  But they are all things I really would like to do/try, we won’t even get started on the rest of the things I would like to achieve!!

Are you a lots of things on the go person like me? or do you like to finish one thing before starting the next?

I’m off to do some crafting…

Happy Crafting Folks!!

Sharon xx