Saturday, 27 September 2014

Serendipity Beanie and Matching Cowl

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Serendipity Beanie
I had been looking for a slouch beanie pattern for quite some time.  Something soft, fashionable and drapey.  The other day I found it .. on my favourite craft blog - ours!

Deb and I spend our days crafting and posting the results to our blog.  It's always lovely to see her posts pop up and I can see what she has been doing.  One of our recent posts was her 'Shades of Grey Beanie'.  It was pretty much exactly what I was after and so simple to make.  I had to laugh.  My search had proved fruitless whilst Deb was knitting exactly what I was chasing.

I'm in a frenzy of last minute knitting for our honeymoon to New Zealand and I am making hats and cowls to match various items in my wardrobe.  The latest project is a sky blue beanie to match a simple cable knit jumper.  
Slouch Beanie & Matching Cowl

I scanned the pattern - Deb said that a good substitute for the yarn she used would be a cotton or bamboo blend.  BINGO - I had just the right yarn. Debbie Bliss' Prima (80% Bamboo and 20% wool - delightfully drapey).

I used her pattern but modified it ever-so-slightly to included a chunky cable design.  I also knitted with 2 balls of yarn at the same time to achieve the chunky look I was after.

Beanie Pattern

Matching Debbie Bliss
C3F - transfer 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in front of work.  Knit the next 3 stitches and then knit the 3 stitches from the cable needle.
C3B - transfer 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in back of work.  Knit the next 3 stitches and then knit the 3 stitches from the cable needle.

Using 8mm needles, cast on 50 stitches.
Row 1:  Slip 1, K15, P2, K6, P1, K6, P2, K17
Row 2:  Slip 1, K18, P6, K1, P6, K18
Row 3:  As row 1
Row 4:  As row 2
Row 5: Slip 1, K15, P2, C3F, P1, C3B, P2, K17
Row 6:  As row 2
Row 7:  As row 1
Row 8:  As row 2
Row 9:  As row 1
Row 10: As row 2
Row 11: As row 1
Row 12: As row 2
Row 13: As row 1
Row 14: As row 2
Row 15: As row 5

Rows 5-14 make up the cable pattern.

Continue in the cable pattern until work measures approx 48cm from beginning.  Cast off loosely.
Sew cast off and cast on seam together with right sides facing from one edge until just past the cable pattern.  At this point, run a gathering thread along the other edge of the cast on/cast off edge and along the side.  Pull the thread so the beanie has a slouch look.

Turn the beanie right way out and then roll up the brim of the hat and secure in place with a stitch or 2 at the back.

Cowl Pattern

Super Simple Serendipity Cowl
Using 2 strands of Debbie Bliss 'Prima' and a set of size 8.00mm circular needles, Cast on 66 stitches.

Knit 5 rows Purl
Knit 5 rows Plain (K)
Repeat 6 times.
Finish with 5 rows Purl and loosely cast off.

Weave in any loose ends and you are good to go.

Happy Knitting,

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Knitlon Crochet Bath Scrubbie

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Knitlon (also known as Craftlon or Nylon Knitting Ribbon depending on where you live) is one of those products that it's hard to know what to do with.  We've been making loom knit flowers and items for fund raising, but I've had a few rolls left over and I decided there must be something else out there other than coat hangers and toilet roll doll covers that would suit a product that reached it's peak in the 70's.

After a fruitless Google search for ideas, it struck me that it could just be the perfect medium for bath scrubbies.  It's nylon so dries quickly meaning that a wet soggy mess of yarn isn't going to be left hanging in the shower day after day.

The pattern for bath scrubbies is really very simple and ideal for beginners, once you know how to chain, slip stitch and double crochet.


Using Knitlon in the colour of your choice chain 4, slip stitch into first chain to form circle.  I used a 5.5mm crochet hook, but feel free to experiment with different sizes.

Chain 40 to form loop for hanging, slip stitch into circle.

Round 1:  Chain 2, Double crochet into circle 40 times (it can be a bit of a squeeze).  Slip stitch into first chain 2 to finish round..

Round 2:  Chain 2.  Double crochet 3 times into each stitch of Round 1.  Slip stitch into first chain 2 to finish round.

Round 3:  Chain 2.  Double crochet 3 times into each stitch of Round 2.  Slip stitch into initial chain 2 of this round, bind off leaving a 10cm length of knitlon.  Tie 10cm length of Knitlon to centre circle of scrubbie.  

I love these for a guest bathroom, or a lovely little treat for a friend.  I might just have to go and buy myself some more Knitlon I think!

Happy crocheting 


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Monday, 8 September 2014

Pompom Cowl

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Don't you love it when you have an idea, pick up some yarn and from the very start the project unfolds easily and the finished item is just as you imagined?  This is not one of those times!

I had used what I like to call "Novelty Yarn" once before when I made our Six Percent Whimsy Scarf and so when my daughter required a black scarf or cowl to match her school uniform I had no hesitation in picking up a similar yarn to make this new piece. 

Now, the instructions on the label of Petunia Pimpon called for size 10 needles and while I understand that size 10 means different things in different countries, it seemed that no equivalent needle size would work with this yarn to make the pompoms line up.  In the end I tried every needle size I owned and then went and purchased a couple more sizes, just to check those as well.

In the end I used a pair of 12 mm needles and cast on 5 stitches, continuing in stocking stitch until I had used one full ball of yarn.  I had purchased two balls of yarn, thinking that I may make a scarf and it wasn't until I went to use the second ball that I realised that the problem may have actually been the yarn and not me after all.  I know a bad workman always blames his tools, but the two balls of yarn I had were completely different, despite having the same label,  and I think I may have started off with the dodgy least that's what I'll keep telling myself every time my daughter wears her new cowl to school!

 Happy Knitting


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Monday, 1 September 2014

T-shirt Beading

Pin It There's a brand new shopping centre in Melbourne and it's filled with all sorts of wonderful things.  We generally don't head into the city very often, but so far we've managed a gorgeous high tea and a "just looking" tour of the clothing establishments held within.

Now that our youngest teen is very intent on making her own clothes, a "just looking" day is fantastic fun and rather than emptying wallets, we end up with heads filled with inspiration and there's much chatter about fabrics and colours, as well as styles and what patterns we own that would come up with something similar, but still individual enough for her.  One thing that really stood out to us on our last day in the city was the number of embellished T-shirts, something that can be easily done at home for very little cost.

What you'll need:

Plain T-shirt
Iron on interfacing
Beads (we used flat backed beads that had holes for sewing)
Tailors Chalk

Step One

Lay out the beads on the T-shirt in your chosen design and mark each bead's position with tailors chalk.

Step Two

Cut out interfacing to a size that will cover the area to be beaded.  We find the interfacing gives some stability to the cotton t-shirt fabric and make it easier to sew.  Iron interfacing to the inside of the T-shirt where the beads will sit.

Step Three

We found a fabulous youtube video from Ann Dean Frederick which gives really detailed instructions on Sewing a Bead to Fabric.  It shows perfectly how to make sure each bead is going to stay in place and how to carry the cotton from one bead to the next with the minimum of fuss.

Step Four

Sew beads in place

Step Five

Delight in wearing your newly embellished T-shirt.

Happy Sewing


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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Going Round in Circles

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Finished Jelly Roll Quilt with spiral quilting
I have spent many quilting days going round in circles and today was the same - only todays circles were good circles.

July is my birthday month and the lovely folk at Craftsy sent me an email to say that I could sign up for a free class.  Not a 'buy one, get one free' - but an actual free class.  I was delighted and went to my wish list and signed up for 'Creative Quilting with your Walking Foot' with Jacquie Gering.  It's a great class and I decided to quilt my next quilt using this method instead of free motion quilting.

The striking effects of spiral quilting
I must say, it was a relief.  It was so relaxing to follow a pre-determined line (in my case, a spiral) without having to manoeuvre  the quilt through all manner of designs.

I had originally bought 2 Jelly rolls of 'Josephine' by French General for Moda Fabrics and had used one to make my Lone Star Quilt.

Spirals instead of a
straight line.
The other I used to make the Amazing Jelly Roll quilt by 3 Dudes which was demonstrated on the Missouri Star Quilt Co website.
Ready to Quilt

It came together quite well but I was a bit dubious about quilting in straight lines as my lines weren't all that straight (again - <sigh>).  There was a lot of bias in this quilt and it needed a quilting pattern that didn't rely on highlighting the blocks and when I saw Jaquie's spiral quilting, I decided to give it a go.

I'm so glad I did.  It came together very quickly and the results were quite striking.  I couldn't recommend this class highly enough - I loved it.

It was a lot less stressful than having to come up with Free Motion Quilting design however, this is my last finished quilt top.  So it looks like it's back to piecing for a while now, which is a shame because I'm itching to do another one.

Happy Quilting,

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

50 Shades of Grey* Beanie

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I think I'm possibly the only person in the universe not to have read 50 Shades of Grey and now that the movie is being made, I think we can all assume I will also be the only person in the universe who won't see that as well.  I'm just more of a Mr Darcy kind of girl and I can't imagine I'd fall for Christian Grey (and yes I did have to use Google to confirm his name) in the same kind of way.

The plan for this project was to make a beanie and in my endeavour to use some of my yarn stash I did actually come across a few ball of Panda "Riverdale" yarn in grey.  It's  quite a drapy yarn when knitted or crocheted and I thought I'd try and use it to make a slouch style beanie.  I'd recommend substituting a cotton or bamboo blend if you can't get "Riverdale"

This is a very easy pattern that is suitable for a beginner knitter:

To fit a teen/large child

Using 8mm needles, cast on 40 stitches.
Row 1:  Knit
Continue garter stitch until work measures approx 50 cm from beginning.  Cast off loosely.
Sew cast off and cast on seam together.
Sew over 6cm of one long edge to form brim.
Gather top of beanie by loosely sewing through the garter stitch and pulling yarn to gather.
Fasten securely.

Our teen was very pleased with the result and even her older brother decided that he too would like one.  I'm calling his "50 Shades of Brown Beanie"

Happy knitting


* Disclaimer:  Only one shade of grey was featured in the making of this beanie.  By all means use 50 shades if you can find them.

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Antique Crochet

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We've recently been given a large pile of family mementos.  Our boxes of treasures contain beautiful letters written many years ago, wills (and yes it is perfectly normal to leave your automatic washing machine to someone in your will if it's the 1970's...just in case you've ever wondered!), newspaper articles, apprenticeship papers and amidst all of the things that make up a family's rich history was an envelope which caught my eye.  Across the front was written, in my husband's late grandmother's handwriting, 

"Mum crocheted this when I was about 10 years old.  I am now 85. 1991"

And there in the envelope was an amazing piece of fine crochet showing a  homestead and surrounds. Made by my husband's great grandmother, who had traveled in her youth from Sweden to country Australia, I can't even begin to imagine the homesickness and hardships she would have endured in her lifetime and to have such a glorious handmade item that a family member could remember  being made is an incredible treasure.

I have grand plans for this piece.  At the moment I'm thinking of getting it framed with the original envelope on the back of the frame to give a sense of history for generations to come.

It's got me thinking though, should I do an heirloom project for future generations?  I certainly don't have the patience for this level of crochet, but perhaps I could weave something once my skill level improves... which , to be honest, may take a while and therefore I'll have plenty of time to think about it.  I've always felt it's no good to rush these things!!!

Happy Crafting


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