A moose in the hoose

So I’m a very bad blogger,  it’s official, but then I never said I was Blogger (with a capital B) just someone who tries to fit in some crafts, and writes about them a bit. I’ve been a bit better at “life” recently – feeding friends, working hard, eating ice lollies and playing with the cat. I’ve also started my first baby crafts!

Ever since I got Sarah Keen’s “Knitted wild animals” book I’ve wanted to knit the moose and I knew it could only be for MY child. We have a whole moose thing going on here. Her patterns are excellent and I think it is worth putting in the extra work to make all the pieces and sew them together because the finished article look so professional. Even the embroidering of the features went OK.

I love it. I’ve joked I’m going to withhold all other soft toys until it forms a favourite toy attachment to this one…

Moose in the garden



Moose side view

There’s lots more baby related stuff on the go at the moment (and some wedding related stuff for a friend, but I’d better not reveal that just yet) – more knitting, some sewing projects in the pipeline and time to say bye bye to the Han Cave as it becomes a nursery. Watch this space!

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July sew crazy challenge

Well, the #sewcrazychallenge this month was “Put in on” so you had to make something to wear. I don’t really have much interest in becoming a dressmaker, I just think I lack the required precision and cannot be bothered to learn how to use a pattern.  But I did feel like making a skirt out of stretchy material with no pattern at all! I used the one from the CLP blog and it WAS easy.

Just a couple of edits though (cos I can’t ever do something the totally easy way…): I had been reading about different kinds of knit (i.e. stretchy fabric) here at Tilly and the Buttons and got the idea that for my first time sewing with this type of fabric I wanted to use something that didn’t have masses of stretch to make it easier. So when I went to Franklins – my local fabric shop that looks like it hasn’t seen an internal refit since the 80s (think strip lighting and everything in grey) I bought some striped ponte di roma. It’s in a cool grey and dark purple stripe. The cat liked it anyway…

Cat "helps" with sewing, again

Cat “helps” with sewing, again

This meant that it wasn’t as stretchy as the fabric used in the tutorial, so I decided to size it up a little bit.  I really should have done that plus give myself a seam allowance, because whilst it fits, if my bum gets any bigger, or it shrinks in the wash (I forgot to prewash too!) I am in trouble.

It was my first time sewing with stretchy fabric and I bought a special needle to use, and used the stretch zigzag stitch function on my machine to do all my seams, and the straight stretch stitch to do my hem. Not sure if the hem one was the correct one, but it worked and looks OK. It wasn’t that hard, and I feel like I may have a go on some more regular jersey fabric now. It is so comfortable to wear – and the purple even matches my Birkenstocks!

Yes, it's a rare picture of me!

Yes, it’s a rare picture of me!

If you’re thinking, “well that’s nice but she looks a bit fat in it”, whilst I do have a serious cake/biscuit/chocolate addiction, actually that’s a tiny baby bump, oh yes! The ultimate WIP. So you can expect to see some baby sized makes around here from now on!


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June recap – what happened to June anyway?

It’s that time of year where work takes over my life entirely.  I work on a nature reserve and do all the school visits, in June nearly 900 pupils visited so I’ve been in a constant round of bug hunting, pond dipping (no it’s not seaweed, it’s in a pond!), bird watching etc etc. It’s hot too so by the end of every day I just want to flop, and do! I think that I may have tried to have a social life in June too, but I can’t remember.

I have been busy making things for other people in my spare (ha ha) time though. A very good friend is expecting twins soon so that was the perfect excuse to get out the knitting needles.  It was soooo nice to be knitting again, I hadn’t really done anything much for a while but was very fidgety as I didn’t want to/couldn’t start a big project for various reasons. Twins obviously means two of so it couldn’t be anything huge that I might never finish, so it’s just a couple of cute pairs of mittens in alpaca, lovely and soft.  Plaiting the cord to go through the sleeves took almost as long as a mitten! I hope the twins enjoy the fluffy goodness when they come out.



Next up, #sewcrazychallenge for June. This one was about summer (what a surprise!) and I just thought that my dedicated beach goer of a sister might be amused to see my nephew in this. I got some cheap toweling on a rare trip to town, so it’s not going to be suitable after a drenching, but in that half dried off in the sun but wet swimming costume phase that you get at the beach it will be perfect. And it’s a shark. I sized it up by 20% as the pattern is for a little toddler.

I found the applique pretty damn difficult and had a couple of practice runs where many a bad word was shouted, but overall I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I also learned that my machine is a total workhorse – it sewed though multiple layers of toweling easily. I hope they both like it, it’s going to be a birthday present for Rafi in August. It’s going to look a lot better on a person than a pointy hanger anyway…

Shark attack! Face



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May sewing challenge

So regular readers (hi mum!) will notice I skipped the April challenge. I did even buy fabric to make something but just never had time. I was pleased to see that the May challenge contained something quick, and something I’d already been intending to make!

I wasn’t planning on making the sunglasses cases initially, but then I logged into Pinterest and saw that my sister had filled hers with beach photos! I haven’t made anything for her before, so I thought I would.  I found doing the top stitching around the edge pretty difficult as it was a small space, it just seemed to bunch up.  Could be my haphazard outdoor measuring though. Luckily I have bought a cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter so hopefully those problems will be come a thing of the past. I can dream. I can also dream about not sewing patterned pieces on the wrong way up and not noticing until the end.

I used up scraps of other fabric for these. One for me, the acorns which Mr Han tried to steal, ice creams for Mum and the neatest one for tall little sis! Mine is already handily in use.

3 sunglasses cases

The thing I was going to make originally was some 3/4 PJ bottoms for me, I’d had the fabric for a while, and the acorns were planned to feature again.  Sadly this project was slightly delayed for the following reasons: too much work, and an iron so gummed up with scale it started leaking brown stuff everywhere and refused to be descaled. Thanks East Anglia’s water. Though if someone hadn’t been too lazy to go downstairs and fill it up with filtered water this might never have happened. Ahem. Anyway, they were finally done…at the beginning of June!

They were frustrating to make, and the black cotton seems to attract cat hairs from miles around. I’ve decided I shouldn’t make anything else that can be worn until I’ve learned to do some proper seam finishing, or spend more time measuring. Meh.

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Winning Ways

In this post I wrote about my determination to finish my Lizard Ridge afghan by the end of May so I could enter it in the village festival. Well, work was crazy in May and on 30th my LR was still awaiting about a third of its applied i-cord edging. And I got home from work at midnight.  On Saturday the 31st I put in the hours though and got it down roughly 12 hours before the deadline to take it to the marquee!

It's only bloody finished!

It’s only bloody finished!

I said in my previous post that I thought it deserved a rosette, but I obviously had no idea what else would be entered, and I don’t think I’ve ever won anything based on a “talent” before.  I headed down to the marquee after the judging to see the results and was very gratified to see this:

It only bloody won!

It only bloody won!

Ok, so the competition wasn’t exactly fierce, but it came first! And best in the whole craft category so I got a gold rosette too! And £20! I know what I’ll be spending that on.

I also entered the Apricot and Lavender liqueur in the homemade alcoholic drink category, the hummingbird thingy in “other craft” and a cushion I finally stitched up from the acorn printed fabric in cushions.  The cushion also got a first, but there were only two entries, ha ha ha. It was declared “very original” by the judge though.













I hope you can all excuse my excitement, really I’m most excited that I actually finished it!


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Textiles class round up – weeks 7 – 10

Oops, I haven’t been very good at updating everyone in what went on in Textiles class! I actually missed week 8 because I was on my hols on Mull, so there’s only 3 weeks to update really. I’ll combine it all into one because it was really just two projects.

Despite my previous lack of success I decided to shibori again. This time using a different technique where you stitch circles and then pull the threads tight before dyeing the fabric. I decided to dip dye the fabric two different colours, bright orange and bright pink. Not sure this one will be for me…


Once dried and undone it seems I didn’t pull all the threads tight enough, but quite a few worked nicely.  I had decided on a tropical, hummingbird theme so I drew a quick hummingbird and cut out a couple of stencils. Pretty amazed how well the drawing turned out actually! Becky our tutor mixed up an amazing dark green dye for me to screen print with.


I was inspired by these Ruby throated hummingbirds, but obviously had to go a bit more basic on details for screen printing so missed out the white bits.

ImagePhoto ATRPhoto, flickr creative commons

I did still have some pink foil left over though so I used the special glue and the heat press to add this for their throats.

Here it is all finished! I actually quite like the raw edges, it could be a scarf, or a wall hanging… And I think I know someone who would like it!


The last piece I made was another bit of dyed fabric. It was twisted into a rope and then tightly wound around something – a broom handle would be ideal but we used a bit of card covered in brown tape! Then stripes of dye are painted thickly on and allowed to soak through. I used colours inspired by the beach we explored on Mull. Then it us left to dry before being unwound. The results were pretty stunning. I did rinse it and there was a lot of fading but it is still gorgeous! Not sure what to do with this yet.

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Crossing to the dark side – making a Kindle case

At the beginning of the year, I did something I had long sworn I would not. I bought a second hand Kindle. Books should be made of paper, all readers know that…. I am a voracious reader, my dad jokes that when I was a child he had to tell me to put my book down and watch television!  I’m running out of space for proper books, and when I went to Turkey last year 50% of my luggage allowance was 7 huge books, which I read in a week. Arthritic wrists aren’t too keen on heavy books either.

Of course the Kindle needed a case and I was damned if I was going to pay lots of money for one.  I looked around at a bunch of tutorials on the web for sewing them, but none of them quite fit.  I wanted: a case to use it in, not a sleeve to keep it in. But I wanted it to be protected when not in use… This one was most useful, but I wanted to make some adjustments, mainly that I wanted it to be hard rather than padded.

This is not a tutorial (as usual I steamed on and didn’t take photos) but this is how I did it.

1. I cut up an old hard black n red notebook cover to just slightly larger than my Kindle. I joined the centre with duct tape to make it bend. Each card piece was 178mm x 125mm and the duct tape made a bend of 100mm.

2. I cut a plain piece of inner fabric 213mm x 335mm and then cut it in two. I cut a patterned outer fabric 213mm x 320mm. I did NOT cut this in two. I cut a patterned pocket piece 158mm x 213mm.

3. I put some pieces of black elastic onto the corners of one of those plain pieces – remember elastic can stretch a lot, I had to redo mine because it was too loose- then I sewed this piece to the other plain inner piece with RS together.

4. I sewed a seam down the right hand long edge of the pocket piece.

5. I pinned the WS of the pocket to the RS of the left hand side of the plain inner piece and sewed it on with a small seam allowance, about 1cm I think (?) so this seam will be hidden later.

6. I put the inner piece and patterned outer piece RS together, and sewed around with a 1.5cm seam allowance. Leave one side unstitched to insert the board.

7. Turn it RS out and insert the board, now you can see why I used mm measurements to get a snug fit. Turn under the raw edges at the side you left open. I made sure to sew on a ribbon to this side to wind around the case when closed (mine was velvet so it keeps closed, and is about 80cm long, I sealed the ends with nail varnish). You could do two shorter pieces to tie in a bow if you added one to the other side at step 6. Now top stitch all the way around to close the gap and make it all look neater. There should be just enough space for this…

8. Enjoy your reading!



The RH edge where I inserted the board could be neater, but overall I’m happy and it is very functional.


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