Collage

Collage
Hello and thanks for visiting my blog. I have been knitting on and off for 50 years and I recently learned to crochet. I love looking for wool bargains and making them into something useful. I mainly knit for charity. I occasionally knit for myself and family members if I find a really good pattern or if they ask nicely!!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Another shirt cushion plus curtain tie-backs...


We live in a 1930s house that is a bit of a money-pit. For most of the year I have been decorating/repairing/updating things that nobody except me seems to notice either before or after. Hey ho. However, it has all created a feeling of quiet satisfaction with our house and we talk less now about moving than we used to. Result!

My last hurrah before the cold weather arrives and just makes me want to hibernate was to add a finishing touch to the dining room. There was a bare corner loved only by the cat because that was where we kept her food bowl.

Now it looks like this:


I brought down a wicker chair from a bedroom where it was rarely used. Then I made a cushion cover from another of Hubby's discarded shirts. The colours are perfect as we have a green and cream theme going on in this room. I even turned the shirt cuffs into curtain tie-backs. There are lots of online tutorials for making phone cases from cuffs. But I wasn't able to find a tutorial for tie-backs. So these could be the world's first.

They were so simple to make. I cut off the cuff and buttoned it up around the curtain. Ta dah! That would have worked perfectly if the curtains had been lightweight. However, mine are quite thick cotton that creases easily. 

I decided that the tie-backs needed to be a bit longer. I considered various ways to add length. The curtains are floor-length so there needed to be a way to untie the tie-backs to take them off. I could have simply sewn a ribbon or more of the shirt material onto each end. I checked with Hubby whether or not he would be prepared to tie and untie knots every day. It was a NOT...which I already knew but thought it would be polite to ask.

So it was back to the drawing board and I came up with a less elegant but more practical solution. I sewed a piece of elastic to one end of each cuff. Then I snipped a little hole in the other end of the elastic and used this as a button hole.

You can just about see it here:


You can't see the elastic when the tie-backs are on. So I am very happy with how everything turned out. This room faces south and catches the sun for most of the day. It will be a lovely corner for reading a book.

The cat is currently sulking because I have moved her bowl to another part of the room. It must be a whole 5 feet away! But the cat is studiously ignoring it and sitting under the chair waiting for the food bowl to come to her. By tomorrow she will be hungry enough to realise that isn't going to happen!



Thursday, 12 October 2017

A shirt cushion cover...


I have been busy sewing today. I needed a break from knitting with 4 ply yarn that seems to last forever. The catalyst was finding a perfectly good shirt in my waste bin. Hubby has to dress well at work. He buys expensive shirts and, much to my annoyance, discards them when there is plenty of wear left in them. I usually rescue them for the local charity shop.

This time I loved the material. It was thick and strong. Hubby ... I'm resisting cracking a joke about "thick and strong" ... usually buys blue shirts. He must have found his feminine side when he bought this one because it is a lovely mix of jewel colours. Here is a close-up:


It might look like a lumberjack shirt here. But the quality was amazing. I just happened to be walking along Regent Street in London this morning and noticed a whole shop full of shirts by this designer. 

I know from experience how surprisingly difficult it is to sew with checks. This shirt made it look easy. All the colours and checks lined up perfectly at the seams. That made cutting up the shirt and sewing the cushion cover a walk in the park.

In less than an hour, I turned this rather large shirt


into this cushion cover


I found the idea on the Internet. There are many online tutorials for turning shirts into cushion covers. Most tutorials are identical; so I won't link to the tutorial I followed because that would be favoritism. But this cushion cover really is easy to make. It cost peanuts to sew and the inner cushion pad was a bargain in a bulk buy from Argos. 

Anyone who wants to make one of these could simply go to a charity shop and buy a very inexpensive shirt. Some people make "memory shirts" to remind them of someone who is no longer here.

I love how this turned out and even Hubby, who rarely comments on my craft work, is impressed. I'm planning to make a few of these for the sofa bed in our guest room. I just have to wait patiently for more shirts to become available!


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Three preemie hats...




Here are three more hats that I have just knitted from the Andycrafts pattern which is fast becoming my favourite preemie hat pattern. That's because it is small but perfectly formed. You can find it on page three if you go to the above link and download the patterns. There are some lovely patterns for preemie cardigans, hats, mittens and socks.

This is very easy to knit and knitters who shy away from knitting in-the-round will be pleased to hear that this one is knitted flat. Personally, I like to knit in-the-round but have to admit that it wouldn't be very easy to do with tiny hats. These will eventually go off to PreemiesUK. This month they especially need:

Teddies
Octopuses 
Knitted blankets 
Crochet blankets
Hats


This pattern called for 4 ply yarn. I'm on a mission to use up all my 4 ply. I have very little left but, because it goes so far, it looks like taking me the rest of the year. Watch this space...

PS: I have lost count of how many times the words "knit" and "patterns" are repeated in this post. I must try harder to think of alternatives!


Thursday, 31 August 2017

A quick welcome and fifteen minutes of fame...



My blog received a mention in a well-known women's magazine this week and I can already see from my visitor statistics that many more people than usual have looked at my blog. So, welcome to one and all and thank you for sharing my fifteen minutes of fame.

I am still bemused as to why my blog was chosen for a mention. Hopefully, you will take the time to visit the many other excellent crafting blogs listed in my right hand sidebar. The common theme is knitting and crochet. Apart from that, they are as different as the individuals who write them. 

My own personal style is to keep things simple. I originally started blogging as a way to record my creations.  Here are just a few:

small animal nests:

glove puppets:
                                                   

preemie/angel dresses:

baby dress:
                                     

hedgehog:

baby cardigans:

lap blanket:

 hat and scarf set:

There are hundreds more. You can see them in my photostream in the left hand sidebar. Some have gone to family. But most have gone to various charities that you can see listed at the top of my home page.

Gradually, my blog evolved as it gathered regular readers. I know that from the visitor statistics (an amazing 337,107 page views so far) and from the frequent comments.


My settings mean that I receive notifications and see all comments before they are published. In that way, I can't miss anything. I read every one, even if I can't always think of a witty reply. Please keep them coming!

I would especially love comments from anyone who knows me from outside the blogging world. You can either leave a comment on this blog post or contact me by email via my profile in the left hand sidebar. I thought I didn't know anybody who read this woman's magazine. Well, somebody proved me wrong and contacted me on the day of publication! 

The photo in the magazine was taken at the end of a very hot day. I'm wearing a jumper because I didn't know when the article was due for publication and a t-shirt would look a bit odd in winter. Consequently, I look about a stone heavier than I really am. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I won't repeat the photo here. If you read the magazine, you've seen it. If not, you aren't missing anything!


Sunday, 20 August 2017

A preemie blanket and two hats...



The fairly atrocious photo above definitely does not do justice to my latest knits. I finished the preemie blanket that I blogged about recently. It measures 15" square which shows up the tiny size of the preemie hats that I knitted with the remnants of the same 4 ply yarn. 

The smaller hat is for a baby angel of 20 weeks gestation. The larger hat should fit an older premature baby. The pattern came from Andycrafts. There are some lovely premature baby patterns on the website. This hat is at the bottom of page 3 if you go as far as downloading them. My items will eventually go off to PreemiesUK.

All three items above are pale blue. The photo was taken in poor light on a cloudy day in a busy city. Look how it is put to shame by the beautiful photo I took last week. This is Port Gaverne in North Cornwall, England. It is very close to Port Isaac where the tv series "Doc Martin" is filmed. 


The scenery all along that part of the coastline is spectacular. The air is clean and the daylight has a quality of its own. No wonder artists make the effort to travel there for painting holidays or even to live there permanently. I could drink in these colours all day.

The Cornish hedgerows are currently blooming with an orange shrub that I later found out is Crocosmia. You can see it in the foreground of the photo. We had plans to plant some at home until I read up about it. Apparently, it is invasive and will even travel underground to come up through concrete. I don't think my neighbours would be too pleased with me if I planted it. Luckily, I took lots of photos.


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Housekeeping...







I have just been doing a little housekeeping on my blog. It seemed like a good time to check all my links to make sure they actually lead somewhere.  Everything should be working fine now.

I also noticed that P*********t wanted me to pay to keep my blog button in my sidebar. I decided on Plan B and removed the button. Blogging can become a little cottage industry.  But this blog is really just for enjoyment and is not meant to be a money-earner. In the past I have flirted with including adverts. But it didn't feel right. So, I removed them.  I know some people downloaded my button and I think that it will probably no longer work. Sorry for that. It was good while it lasted!

I am adding my own picture of my "Keep Calm and Pick Up Stitches" design and I have set it up so that it links back to my blog. It is in my sidebar.  If anyone wants to borrow it for their blog, that is fine by me and there is no charge!!

Happy August to everyone!

                                                                                                        



Saturday, 22 July 2017

Summer knitting...




This is all I have to show for the last few weeks. 
  • A heatwave (welcome, but too hot for knitting), followed by 
  • a "meet-the-inlaws" family barbecue (a great day) followed by
  • a Cliff Richard concert (swoon, though he said he is unknown in America. So, many of my blog readers won't know why I'm swooning), followed by
  • 2 weeks of Wimbledon tennis (had to concentrate on it more this year as I was lucky enough to be given tickets for the Ladies' semi-finals), followed by 
  • a week up a ladder painting ceilings (my least favourite diy job

put the brakes on my knitting and crocheting. I managed just a few rows of a little preemie blanket most evenings (when my clingy cat would allow it)  and here it is.

I started this blanket in the heatwave. It was too hot to hold anything thicker than 4 ply wool. So I decided to use up a ball of pale blue 4 ply on a small corner-to-corner blanket. It will eventually go off to PreemiesUK

This is an easy, mindless pattern. The difficulty is in knowing when to stop increasing and start decreasing. I started with 95g of yarn. So, I intend to stop increasing when I have 50g left, just to be on the safe side. But I would also like the blanket to measure 15" x 15" which is one of PreemieUK's preferred sizes. I am currently at 14.5" and 62g of yarn left and have reached the stage of weighing my ball of wool after every couple of rows. At the moment, I wouldn't stake any money on my reaching 15".

I finished the decorating yesterday and planned to treat myself to a trip out today. But the weather had other ideas. The rain is pouring down at the moment. That is very welcome in the garden after the hot, dry summer weather; so, it isn't all bad. In fact, it is the perfect chance to catch up on blogging and other small tasks.

I am sitting at my desk now looking at thick grey clouds that are so low they are almost touching my windows. But tomorrow's weather is forecast to be dry and 21 Celsius....my all-time favourite temperature....woo hoo! Where shall I go? Decisions, decisions!