Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

Knitting and Stitching Show 2014: part two

Well, it’s a week after the event and I only now find myself with the time and inspiration to write… busy bee!

So, my mum and I went to the Show with our posh LYS Twist. We went with them last year as well and, again, had a great time.

I did suffer a few disappointments however and one came very early on.

I’m sure you’ve all noticed that I’m currently obsessed with Edward’s Menagerie so the Toft stand was high on my list of must-sees.

It was actually the first one we came across as we walked into the hall. The stand looked amazing, the animals from the book were all there, fluffy alpaca goodies and the staff were crocheting.

My excitement was short lived, however, because the yarns were the same price as online and the only special offer they seemed to be running for the show was a free pom pom when you buy two balls of yarn for a hat.

I went away feeling very sad so I was glad to come across one of my favourite stands from last year – Stitch Witch

Mum and I bought loads from them last year and this year was no different, we came away with fabric, wadding and buttons and then made another purchase because Mum fell in love with an Advent calendar kit (and I decided I needed some bias binding)

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The two Halloween fabrics and the orange came from Stitch Witch and I bought the others later on at various stands.

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I’m not sure you can see them very well but I bought some sheep buttons and some festive lighting string.

The little sewing kit was a freebie for signing up for the Abakhan newsletter

I kicked myself when we found the Brother stand because I realised I’d forgotten to check the model number on my sewing machine and I wanted to look for a zipper foot.

I remembered it though and the man was really helpful talking me through how it worked (turns out that the machine actually came with a plastic zipper foot so now I’m pondering selling the other)

So good was the salesman in fact that Mum bought an overlocker! She’s been wanting one since the Sewing Bee and they had a good deal on for the show.

Another stand that was high on our list was Aceville publications. They publish some brilliant magazines, including Homemaker which is our current favourite.

We were both after subscriptions and we figured there would offers on at the Show so we waited impatiently.

We were not disappointed! As well as getting the first three issues for just £6, there were loads of freebies.

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First, you get a goodie bag with an issue of one of their magazines (Mum went for Let’s Knit and I had Crafts Beautiful), two packets of yarn balls and needles, and a packet of felt. Then you get a choice of a Debbie Bliss pattern booklet with two skeins of yarn or a couple of kits… I think one was a knitted teddy

We went for the Debbie Bliss and Mum went home with my yarn as well because it was Winter Garden which is 20% silk so I won’t use it

Also on my list was Baa Ram Ewe but we didn’t find them until quite late on. I wanted to find them to get a book that I’ve seen, hoping it would be cheaper at the Show.

Unfortunately this was disappointment number two because they didn’t have it. Apparently it was a collaboration with Rowan and the stand at the Show was focussing on their Titus yarn.

We didn’t come away empty handed though because they had kits to make Stephen West’s Daybreak Shawl. I’ve seen versions of this that I’m simply not keen on but the sample they’d knitted up was amazing.

We both bought the kits but with different colours and Mum bought a blanket pattern too.

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I actually got more than we bargained for because I ended up with an extra mini skein!

When I finally decided to buy the needles I needed at the Show (again, I couldn’t find them any cheaper than online so I was reluctant) I bought one of the ones I need for another project and the ones I need for the shawl

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This is definitely my second best buy because I’ve already made so much more progress on the project than I was with straight needles (more on that another day)

I say second best because I bought some Stylecraft Special to finish off my fox (oh, I didn’t post did I?!) and I completed the crochet on the way home and sewed her together when I got home.

Turns out though that their Show price was still more than I can get the yarn for so I stopped at a single ball.

Last year, I kicked myself for not buying Woodland Knits when we saw it so we hunted down the stand (we couldn’t remember who it was but knew they had lots of Cath Kidston) and Mum bought it for me for xmas.

We both also bought the new Cath Kidston Sewing Book which comes with a brilliant kit for a sewing pouch.

I was surprised when I checked the list of stands to find that Sirdar didn’t have one. Turns out they were well represented by Black Sheep Wools who had literally two mounds of yarn for people to dig through.

My first thought was that I wanted to just jump into it and cosy up but I decided it might have been frowned upon.

I couldn’t resist a packet of Click DK in a yummy orange and I’ve decided what I’d like to make with it, I just need to find a pattern

And Mum and I went halves on a packet of Snuggly Kisses to make blankets for expectant friends

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I bought a few little odds and ends as well, ribbon and buttons and such ( you can see them in some of the above pics and in the main one below)

We had both set ourselves a budget and only blew it a little (not including Mum’s overlocker), we both got some gifts sorted and we both came away with some real treats so a good day all round

Now I just need the time to play with it all… I wonder if the sound of my sewing machine will disturb my sleeping husband…

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Knitting and Stitching Show 2014: part one

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Just a quick peek of today’s haul… I’m off to play!

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Super simple cushion covers

I’m sure I’m not the only one to have discovered this trick but I was so amazed at how quick and easy these cushion covers are to make that I just had to share it with you!

First off, make sure you’ve got a full width of fabric because this means beautiful secure edges without having to sew a decent hem (mostly, I’ll explain later)

As you can see, one edge is patterned all the way to the edge – this is the edge to keep on view CushionCovers (2)

Measure your cushion and cut the fabric to about the same size, when you’ve sewn up the cushion will be nicely snug in the cover

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Lay your strip of fabric wrong side down and fold in the edge to be seen

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Next, fold in the edge not to be seen and measure to make sure your cover is the right size and shape

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Securely pin both edges and sew up.

Because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I sewed up one edge and then measured again to make sure the next seam went in the right place

Trim the edges with pinking shears

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Turn right side out and iron

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Ta-da!!

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Unfortunately, my second cushion wasn’t nearly so simple because the fabric was wider than necessary

However, this needn’t be an issue. Measure and trim a piece, remembering to keep the patterned edge of the fabric. Roughly sew a hem on the cut edge and repeat steps above, again remembering to keep the nice fabric edge as your edge to be seen

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Wait for it… ta-da!

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Comfy craft room now and I think they look pretty great together

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All in all, I spent about two hours creating these lovelies and that includes time to hang out some laundry, have a chat with my mummy, make a couple of cuppas and cry over the width issue

I’m sew happy (sorry I resisted once, I couldn’t do it again!)

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Crafty progress – a very good week

Despite being both poorly and busy, I’ve made a lot of crafty progress this week.

I cried off knitting group on Monday night to stay at home with hubby and my cough and sew up my Giselle cardi (I still haven’t gotten around to blocking it though)

On Tuesday night, I went with a friend to a WI talk on silver clay jewellery. It was really fascinating and only slightly ruined by a coughing fit that sent me outside to really let it out without disturbing people.

I’ve finally finished the granny square centres for a friends bag and am making good progress on the second and third rounds

Just in case that’s nonsense – the granny squares are multicoloured and I tend to do one colour (instead of one square) at a time, four centres of one colour followed by four centres of another colour and any second rounds and so on. When they’re all finished, they get a fourth and final round of the main colour before joining, lining and finishing.

I’ve also managed to resist the lure of my Cascade 220 and finally swatch and cast on a cardi for my Nanny. Progress is slow because my cold-fuddled brain can’t deal with the heavy cabling, especially after a busy day.

I’m making some good progress on a secret xmas project or two and today managed to sew some really simple cushion covers for my craft room!

So, watch out for some yummy FO pics, maybe a tutorial on the cushion covers and a couple of sob stories along the way

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Sewing progress

Just a few quick pics today (it’s almost time for The Apprentice!)

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This is the first practice piece, I started by sewing a square in the middle and then a double hem along one edge (sorry the pics aren’t great, I had to turn the flash off so the stitches would show up)

Not bad for a first attempt though, right?

Next I had to practice sewing onto a piece of crochet, which was ok but had to be sewn crochet side up so it was difficult to guide the piece properly.

This practice piece was used more than once and, as such, was unsuitable for photographing

So, here is a finished notebook (mine/practice)


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Again, this was sewn crochet side up so the stitching is far from perfect

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However, my stitching genius came up with an amazing solution – pin a piece of greaseproof paper on the other side of the crochet and then you can sew it fabric side up and guide the stitching along the lining!

It works like a charm and Mum’s notebook looks much better

DSCF2727 DSCF2728 DSCF2729 DSCF2730Still not perfect but she was really pleased with it so I’m really happy too.

Right, that took longer than planned so I’m off for telly and more crochet (and maybe some wine…)

 

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Stressful times and new adventures

Wow, last week was hard going! And this one isn’t shaping up to be much better although this afternoon is turning out a lot better than I thought.

Thankfully Steven’s back on days (YAY!), unfortunately he’s still doing 12 hour days, six days a week… but it is better… mostly

Anyway, I’m trying really hard not to dwell on the rubbish so we’ll get down to crafty business

I’m learning to sew!

Now, I’ve always been surprisingly good at hand sewing (mostly because I’m a perfectionist I think). But, with the exception of a fairly disastrous pencil case that I made in middle school, I’d never used a sewing machine.

Until a couple of weeks ago that is. Steven bought me (us?) the machine on our last trip to Hobbycraft and I’m already getting a bit obsessed.

The main reason I wanted one was a single project that I thought would make excellent xmas gifts (more on that tomorrow)

And then I started the granny square handbag and thought it was just all the more reason to need one.

So now I’m almost hunting for patterns that involve knitting/crochet AND sewing because I’m loving it so much and, after a few false starts, I think I’m getting quite good.

I’ll try and get some pics of progress so far and do another update tomorrow.

I’ve also bought some patterns to make crochet shoes! And I’m talking SHOE shoes and not indoor slipper shoes.

I’m having to combine two patterns because of the materials involved but I’m very excited and just waiting for a day to dedicate to this latest adventure.

I have a few concerns mostly about size but I think they’ll be easier to figure out as I go.

Oh and some of you may have noticed the new additions on the right?! I’m really getting into both Etsy and Ravelry so I thought I’d link to my accounts (I opened my Etsy shop yesterday with a single crochet watch but hopefully it will grow!)

Hope you all have a lovely crafty evening, I’m off out to pester my sewing genius (aka Mummy)

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The Great British Sewing Bee

Did anyone else see this awesome new show?! The first episode just finished and I love love loved it
It’s on BBC2 at 8pm on Tuesdays (I thought it was on every day this week so I’m actually really gutted now)
As the name suggests, it follows a similar pattern to the Bake Off (sorry, pun not intended!) with three tasks completed over a couple of days
This week they had to: make an A-line skirt from a pattern; alter a shop bought t-shirt; and make a day dress. And all tasks are time limited, can you imagine making a skirt from scratch in less than an afternoon
It’s almost inspiring me to learn to sew properly
And even better than all that? I completed a whole pattern repeat on the first sleeve of the cricket jumper

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Current projects

I’m currently working on four projects: a crochet jacket for myself; a secret knitting project for my boyfriend; a quilted blanket that I’ve been working on for years; and a cross stitch that may well never get finished!

I started the blanket while I was at uni, always planning that it would be a project to pick up and put down as the fancy took me. Unfortunately, I rather fear that I’m going about it the wrong way which often stops me picking it up when I’m at a loose end.

The cross stitch is a large, fully stitched image called Woodland Enchantress by Dimensions. I started it several months ago but, having just completed another large cross stitch, decided it was time for a change. Looking at it now though, I’m excited to get started in earnest. It’s so beautiful and intricate and will certainly be a challenge.

The secret knitting project is a Union Jack Slipover (very much hoping my boyfriend can be put off from reading this blog!), knitted using the intarsia technique. I found the free pattern on the Coats Crafts website and fell in love with it. I was hoping it would be a nice surprise for him for Christmas but, with the other projects I had on, I didn’t manage to finish it so it remains a secret for another little while.

I’m really excited about my crochet jacket, a pattern from the book AUSTENtatious Crochet, but I’m already having a few issues with it. Showing it to my mum the other day, I noticed that the shoulder shaping on the back is different to the front/s… I’m not sure what to do about this so I’m continuing with the sleeves while I ponder the problem.

I was in love with the book from the first time I saw it but, I have to say, I’ve been disappointed. The piece I most wanted to make was Emma’s Hood but the pattern simply didn’t work for me. I tried and tried and eventually gave up after my fourth attempt. I even e-mailed the designer who was very helpful to begin with but seemed to lose interest when she realised that she perhaps couldn’t help me.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has succesfully made the hood or something else using the five star marguerite stitch or, indeed, anyone who has more experience of crochet than I do.

Having said that, I’d love to hear from anyone who shares my love of craft!

 

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Hello and welcome!

Hi there and welcome to my new blog, all about crafting.

I’m told that I’ve always been creative and crafting rather runs in my family. My paternal grandmother used to knit us stuffed toys, I remember fighting over one with my half sister, each of us badly wanting it but insisting the other had it.

My mum likes to knit, sew and cross-stitch and she has taught me many of her skills. She taught me to knit when I was young but I was quite rubbish back then. More recently, she decided to knit a baby blanket and cardigan for my pregnant aunt. I liked the pattern so I decided to try and knit the bootees and mittens that matched.

I have to say they were rather a success, despite the fact that I wasn’t casting on properly so the mittens looked a bit uneven (one was rocket shaped and the other looked more like a bullet!)

Well, my ‘baby’ cousin is now just over three years old! In that time, I’ve knitted loads of different things for various people (although mostly myself I have to admit). I used to be able to remember all my projects but I’ve done so many now that I’ve completely lost track.

I have a strange habit (or, at least, I’m told it’s a little strange) of keeping all of the ball bands from my projects so I wonder if I could go through them and write a list…

Anyway, I also love cross stitch and started that at quite an early age too. We even did some at school, I think.

I have to admit that I don’t cross stitch as much as I might like, I’ve got so many finished pieces sitting and waiting to be framed and there simply isn’t enough wall space!

I recently taught myself to crochet (about five or six moths ago, I think) and I’m currently working on my third/fourth crochet project. The second was an absolute disaster, although I’m still not sure if it was my fault or a dodgy pattern. Being as stubborn as I am, I plan to go back to it.

I can sew and I enjoy it but it tends to take a backseat to other crafts. Unlike my mum, I don’t know how to work from a pattern so my sewing tends to be limited to joining up knitwear and repairing clothes, although I am rather good at lining knitted bags and I’m working on a quilted blanket that everyone admires.

I’m hoping this blog will be a source of information to both myself and others, a place to share ideas and experiences and a chance to connect with people that I wouldn’t otherwise meet.

I plan to write about my own experiences, both good and bad and offer advice based on those experiences and I hope that readers of my blog will offer up their own experiences to share.

I’ll also talk about my current and future projects and, hopefully, this blog will encourage me to try even more new techniques and to write about them.

I don’t plan on posting ‘how to’ guides unless requested as I believe there are many of these available which are probably better than mine would be.

So, if you have any ideas on subjects to write about or projects to try out, please share them

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