24/08/2016

Finished project | first attempt at knitted socks


I never seem to knit anything seasonally appropriate, you could say it was because I'm always behind with my works in progress (these, for example were supposed to be finished for Father's Day in June), but I prefer to think of it as being ahead as they won't be useful until winter, so August is still way ahead of time... ahem.

You definitely don't want to be wearing these in August (other than for photographic purposes, like I have of course) because they are super warm and cosy. With their ribbed pattern and cream tone they epitomise classic wellie boot socks at their best - simple, yet stylish and practical. 

The basic pattern is a vintage Bellmans Aran Knitting B1207 pattern belonging to my Mum. It's knitted flat from the top down and then seamed together. But instead of following the cable pattern I knitted rib (k4, p2) at the request of my Dad and also cast on 73 stitches rather than the recommended 53 as his current pair were too tight at the top. Because of this the top half did seem to take ages to knit and I'm not a fast knitter. Turning the heel and knitting up the stitches to join took a little bit of figuring out luckily my Mum and YouTube were on hand to advise. I also caused myself a headache by not detailing my pattern amendments very well when knitting the first sock, by the time it came for me to knit the second I'd forgotten what I'd done and my notes didn't make sense! It look me a whole evening to figure out - lesson learned for next time. 

But as usual now I've finished I'm so happy with them as is my Dad, which is the main thing! 




Wool - Sirdar Supersoft Aran, shade 0859




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16/08/2016

How to sew a tartan effect chair cushion*

Sew a set of stylish chair cushions – part 2

So far my chair cushion set has two geometric pom-pom trim cushions - find out how to make them in part one here. And this week I'm going to be sewing a tartan chair cushion because, put simply, I love tartan but struggle to find it in blue and yellow colours to match our living room! Plus I'd never really considered how to sew something to resemble tartan and found coming up with the process a fun challenge. #geek

You will need:
Fabrics - here's all the Sew Crafty ones I used
Thread
Tracing paper and pencil
Cushion pad
Ribbon
Sewing machine
Scissors 
Pins
Tape measure

How to:
1. To create your pattern draw a 38cm square onto the tracing paper. If your cushion pads are a different size to mine, just make the square a few centimeters smaller than your cushion to make it nice and fitted. Draw your tartan pattern on top. Then make a duplicate onto a second piece of tracing paper.


2. Cut the horizontal pieces out of one of your patterns and the vertical pieces out of another. 

3. This way of making your pattern doesn't include a seam allowance, so pin your pattern to your fabric and mark a 1.5cm seam allowance on each short edge and a 1cm seam allowance on each long edge and then cut out.

4. Fold and press a 1cm seam on both sides of your fabric strips. If they refuse to stay flat, hold them in place with a few pins. 

5. Cut a 41cm square of your background fabric for the front piece of your cushion.

6. Lay your front piece the right way up and start to arrange your fabric strips into your tartan pattern. To add some character, I weaved some of my pieces over and under each other. When you are happy with the arrangement pin it down.

7. Sew along both edges of all your fabric strips, staying as close to the edge as possible. 

8. The cushion backs in this tutorial are envelope style so they don't need a zip. To make them cut two fabric pieces, both 41cm wide x 30cm high. Then on one long edge of each piece pin and sew a 1.5cm seam allowance. 

9. Cut four pieces of ribbon, long enough to reach from your cushion and tie around your chair back - I tested mine against my chair and made them 25cm long.

10. Lay your two back pieces on top of each other with right sides facing up. Next lay your cushion ties in place, at this point it's a good idea to go and test against your chair again to make sure they're in the right position.


11. Finally lay your cushion front on top, right side facing down, pin and sew a 1.5cm seam allowance all the way around the edge. Then cut off the excess fabric at each corner, being careful not to cut your seam. This will make the corners sharper when you turn it out.


Turn the right way, fill with a cushion pad and you’re done! 


Here's a picture of the set so far, with the two cushions from part one, I can't wait to have all four done and on our chairs!

Look out for the final part next week.

*some of the materials for this project were supplied by Sew Crafty, but all tutorials and opinions are my own :)


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31/07/2016

Sew a set of stylish chair cushions - part 1*

How to make a set of easy to sew geometric chair cushions 


Is your dining table a bit like mine, basically storage for things that have no other home? We do eat our dinner there every night (except for Friday sofa and pizza nights, obvs) but it's usually next to a pile of unopened letters, keys and general stuff. It's definitely the unloved corner of our open plan living room and features absolutely no colour. So, for my first make as part of the Sew Crafty design team I'm going to make a set of chair cushions! Not only will they brighten up the space, but will be comfy to sit on too.

For my four chair cushions I'm planning two geometric cushions, a tartan one and a patchwork one to create a mix and match look. In this post discover how to make the two geometric cushions and in the next installments I'll show you how to make the patchwork and tartan cushions.




How to choose your fabrics 

Stick to three main colours
When selecting fabric for mix and match cushions, the easiest way to start is to choose your colour palette. Mine is dark and light blues with a pop of yellow, which are the colours found in the rest of our living room decor. 

Mix pattern sizes
For the most complementary look try mixing pattern sizes. A large pattern, medium or small pattern and a plain in your chosen colours will always work well together. Because I already have a large pattern on our sofa cushions, I've stuck to a medium pattern, a small pattern and plain fabric for my cushions. 

You will need
Fabrics, mine are all from Sew Crafty:
Cotton chambre
Dashwood flurry cotton in teal
Rustic spot linen square in natural/blue spot
Threads
Ribbon
Tracing paper
Pencil 
Tape measure
Sewing machine
Pins
Scissors
Pom pom trim
4 x large pom poms (or wool and a pom pom maker)
Cushion pads – mine are 41cm x 41cm



How to make cushion 1:
1. To create your pattern draw a 38cm square onto the tracing paper. If your cushion pads are a different size to mine, just make the square a few centimeters smaller that your cushion to make it nice and fitted. Then draw out your triangles and cut up. 


2. This way of making your pattern doesn't include a seam allowance, so pin your pattern to your fabric and mark a 1.5cm seam allowance around each piece, and then cut out.


3. Pin and sew your two smaller triangles together, leaving a 1.5cm seam allowance.


4. Pin and sew your large triangle to the two little ones, again leaving a 1.5cm seam allowance. 


5. Press your seams open, you may need to cut some of the bulk out of the seams where the points meet. 

6. The cushion backs are envelope style. Cut two fabric pieces, both 41cm wide x 33cm high. Then on one long edge of each piece pin and sew a 1.5cm seam allowance. 


7. Cut four pieces of ribbon, long enough to reach from your cushion and tie around your chair back - I tested mine against my chair and made them 30cm long. 

8.Next you'll need your four pom-poms, either shop brought or handmade. If you're using a pom-pom maker you can find my tutorial here. Make sure to leave the tails of your pom-pom fairly long.

9. Lay your two back pieces on top of each other with right sides facing up.


10. Then lay your pom-poms on each corner - again facing in, with the long tails positioned so they will get caught in your seam. Next lay your cushion ties in place, at this point it's a good idea to go and test against your chair again to make sure they're in the right position.


11. Finally lay your cushion front on top, right side facing down, pin and sew a 1.5cm seam allowance all the way around the edge.


Turn the right way and fill with a cushion pad!


How to make cushion 2:
Repeat steps 1-7 but drawing the second pattern on the tracing paper.

Skip to step 9, then lay your pom pom trim around the edge of the cushion, with the pom poms facing inwards. Be sure to position it so that the ribbon will be caught in your seam. Pin your cushion ties in place too.


Before adding your cushion front it’s a good idea to baste the pom poms in place. Use your zipper foot to make it easier.

Then pin and place the cushion front on top, right side in and sew your 1.5cm seam.



And there you have cushion two.



Even with only two out of the four done, they've made such a difference to our dining space (one day I'll paint that pine table white too). Look out for the next part!

*some of the materials for this project were supplied by Sew Crafty, but all tutorials and opinions are my own :)



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23/07/2016

Current Instagram favourites | Summer


In the last few months instagram has become my new obsession. Whether it's gorgeous flowers, cute crochet or dreamy home interior shots I'm finding my fingers have been twitching to get my next scrolling fix. So seeing as I can safely say I've done a fair bit of research, today I thought I'd share the top four instagram accounts I've been loving this summer.

Peonie Cole Textiles
Textile designer Catherine, shares the most beautiful pictures of her floral prints along with gorgeous shots of her pastel cottage and country life.


The Pastel Patch
Pastel coloured crochet and Cath Kidston goodness, need I say more?


Zoe Power
You can't help but feel cheerful when looking at the fresh flowers and sweeping blue skies that fill Zoe's feed. Plus she has a good name ;) 


Victoria's Cottage 
With an abundance of cups of tea, croissants for breakfast, summery picnics (and a cute cat) I think I'd quite like to live at Victoria's Cottage too.


I hope you've managed to enjoy the start of summer too! What are your favourite instagram accounts at the moment?






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16/07/2016

Attic 24 granny blanket | new project alert


All the colours!

You wouldn't think a colourful granny square blanket would push many people out of their comfort zone, but this is so unlike my normal projects and I LOVE IT. Usually I'm a pastels an neutrals kind of girl (case in point here) but in a bid to get some bright, happy colours into my craft room I figured a colourful crochet blanket for the sofa bed would be just the thing.

Sometimes planning a project is one of my favourite parts and I took my time looking at lots of gorgeous blankets on pinterest and instagram - stripe, ripple, hexie, let's face it they're all pretty! But I kept coming back to the giant granny square. Decision made it was time for the yarn and the perfect opportunity to get my hands on one of the Attic24 Stylecraft Special collections. After some deliberation I went for the original pack as the bright colours, particularly the shrimp, picked out some of the existing colours in my craft room. 



Because it's a bit out of my comfort zone I decided to follow the colour order Lucy uses in her stripe blanket to save me stressing about which to use next. I love how each round I add changes the feel of the blanket, it started really bright and now I've just added the first of the few pastel shades. I like it even more with each new colour. Plus they are colours I would never normally use together, so it's been one big lesson in colour so far! 



I've got plenty more rounds to go, but the square is starting to twist. Does anyone have any advice to avoid this, or will a machine wash at the end sort it out? I did read you should alternate between adding colours with the front facing then back facing, but my crochet has an obvious front and back so I'm worried this might look odd. Advice would be gratefully received! 

What are you working on at the moment?





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09/07/2016

Four simple ways I’m going to make my life better



It's time for something a little different today, I learnt a lesson this week and want to share the below as a promise to look after myself and make a few changes. Perhaps it will inspire you too.

Last week I was ill, so ill I missed a whole week of work (a first ever for me) and ended up in A&E. The doctors didn't know what was wrong and I had to wait another four days for test results. Luckily it was just a bad, rather rare virus, but whilst trying to diagnose they asked lots of questions about my diet and stress levels. I realised how run down I've been. A busy time at work, fitting blogging around a full time job and setting up an Etsy shop had me exhausted and surprisingly unhappy. I had the balance wrong. I'd been trying to fit my life around these things, rather than fitting these things around my life. 


So I promise to do these four things about it, starting right now:

1. Make more plans for the weekend. Whether it's seeing friends, getting on with the DIY project I'd been looking forward  to or a film night with the boyfriend. No more all work and no play.

2. Bake more cakes (and therefore eat more cakes). I used to really enjoy baking but now only do it when I have someone’s birthday to bake for and end up stressing as it'll be during a busy week. So every few weekends I'm going to pick a recipe and bake something yummy, just because.

3. Eat a proper lunch and take a proper lunch break. I've got into the habit of eating lunch at my desk, while this is sometimes useful to get a bit of blogging or shop planning done, more often than not I don't really get much done and I don't really eat much lunch. Not exactly a healthy set up.

4. Give myself a break and treat myself. I am my own worst critic, always feel I could have done better and consequently never treat myself to anything, not even a chocolate bar! But enough! Buy the treat. Eat the cake. Take a night off. Life is too short.

And do you know what? I'm feeling better already.

What do you do to keep your balance?




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