Monday, 29 April 2013

Cross Stitch Lego

You may remember from my previous posts that this is the year I had set aside to learn embroidery.  I've managed to do a few small projects (you can see how they turned out here), but was looking to do something a little more substantial when my delightful niece took it upon herself to send me a cross stitch kit or two.  She runs her own cross stitch business you see and I'm thankful that she chose some designs for me as I'm quite sure I wouldn't have been able to narrow down my selection from the  range that she stocks.  You can have a look for yourself at X Squared.  Hayley must have seen my crochet Lego scarf because amongst the kits, the project that immediately jumped out at me was the Mini Block fractal she was kind enough to send.

Now I'm not the neatest person in the world and I was worried from the outset that I would really struggle to put together row after row of perfectly formed stitches.  Thankfully there is quite a bit to do prior to actually forming the first stitch, so I put my fears aside and carefully measured the centre of my fabric and sorted all of my threads.  As a beginner, I'm not sure of the tried and true methods of thread sorting, however I thought the easiest way for me would be to use a sheet of clear projector film (the sort they used to use for overhead projectors before the digital age took over - yes you'd be surprised what I have stored in my cupboards!) with holes punched and codes and colours marked with a Sharpie.

Let the stitching begin....

There's something so very Downton Abbey/Pride and Prejudice about sitting down with an embroidery hoop and thread and whiling away the hours.  Naturally I would hope for a maid or two to bring the odd cup of tea in exquisite floral teacups, but alas the relaxation of forming the stitches is usually interrupted not by a maid, but the pressing need to cook or pick up a child from wherever they may be at any given time.  I'm pleased to say that despite the interruptions and my less than perfect stitches, this is a project I'm really enjoying.  The shading looks amazing so the bricks really do look like they are in 3D - at one point my daughter asked if I was sewing stitches on top of each other to get the effect.

This project might take a while to complete, so I do encourage you to follow us on Facebook for updates and hopefully one day in the not so distant future there'll be an update with this framed and hanging on the wall.

Happy stitching 


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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Easiest Mobius Scarf

Before my wool stash was as large as it is now, I was always scrounging around looking for enough wool to knit something with.

One day, I hit upon a plan to make a cowl using 2 completely different balls of wool.
I had a ball of 8ply variegated browns and a ball of 8ply creme.  Together, they formed a ball of 16ply which would knit up in no time at all.

Using 8mm knitting needles, cast on 32 stitches using the provisional cast on of your choice.  I like the crochet cast on which is basically crocheting stitches over a knitting needle.  It is very easy to master and very quick as well.

Set up a K1, P1 rib and knit until your cowl measures 100cm.

To finish:  Undo your provisional cast on and place onto a knitting needle.  Hold your two needles at shoulder height with the working needle at the front and let the cowl drape between the two of them.  Take the needle at the back and point it in the opposite direction.  This will create a twist in the cowl.  

Cast off:  Making sure that you have the twist in your cowl, line up your knitting and knit a stitch from the front needle and the corresponding  stitch from the back needle together.   Repeat and cast off the first 'double knitted stitch'.  Continue in the usual manner.

That's it.  No doubt you will have finished it in one evening as it knits up remarkably quickly.

True mobius fans will probably be aghast at this way of making a cowl, but - at the end of the day, it's quick, easy and warm.  The 3 things needed in a cowl.

More Scarves and Cowls by FitzBirch

Keep warm and Happy Knitting,


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Disclaimer: We are all part of one big crafting community so please do not sell our patterns or claim them as your own. You are free to do what you wish with finished items but if you sell them online, please link back to us for pattern credit. Please use your own images if advertising an item for sale from our patterns.  We are not expert pattern designers and believe knitting and crochet is a wonderful art form.  Therefore, many of the ways we create things may not be according to established methods.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The rise and rise of the Onesie

Fads come and go and it seems that in our part of the world right now, the Onesie is all the rage.  I had a quick look in all of the usual places to find said Onesie for Miss 12, but they are really quite expensive and  the online ones I found were a bit too over the top to wear to a weekend ballet class, which is what my daughter had planned for her new clothing.  There was only one solution and off to the fabric shop we went in search of a not too terribly over the top animal print in fleece and a pattern.

Did someone say Zebra?

It's always a delight to go shopping with something in mind and not only be able to find it, but for it to be on special...a rare treat indeed!  

We chose McCall's pattern 6475 for its hood and pockets, but decided to leave off the booties so that our young dancer could wear normal boots to ballet.  Naturally we got sewing the minute we arrived home.  While the pattern is marked as easy, I did make the fundamental mistake of purchasing the wrong size zip and so rather than follow the pattern instructions as written, I avoided putting the zip in until the very last step to give me time to go back to the shop.  It's something I wouldn't recommend, but the end result was still pleasing... you can tell by the look on our model's face.

Happy sewing


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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Red Waistcoat for a well dressed Dave Strider

"Who is Dave Strider?" you may well ask.  After a quick online search I can tell you he's something to do with "Homestuck" - not helpful I know, but I have a son who's going to an event and he was rather desperate for a red waistcoat, which the aforementioned Dave Strider wears in a web comic of some sort.  A quick trip to the shops revealed red waistcoats aren't that easy to come by and so it was we found ourselves at the fabric store perusing patterns and fabrics as I muttered things like "I'm not great with sewing patterns", and "I'll do my best, but I can't make any guarantees". Despite this, my son put his trust in my ability (or lack thereof) and sensing my nervousness, even offered to help.

We had been lucky enough a few weeks earlier to get a message from a friend that someone was giving away free fabric in our local area.  Naturally I was quickly on the phone and amongst the free fabric was some red lining that was perfect for the waistcoat.  It really just left the pattern, front fabric and buttons to buy.  A huge bonus for a fifteen year old who's on a budget.

We chose the McCalls 2447 pattern, but opted to leave the front pocket flaps off, my thought process being that the more we had to add on, the more things could go wrong.  You can see just where my confidence level was at with this one.  I did actually do a year of sewing classes while I was at school (it was compulsory) and while I managed with ease the pot holder and pillow case, the kimono project was simply a no-go. I think it was because I really hated the fabric and so it was that I'm quite fabulous at machine sewing in a straight line thanks to my first two completed projects, curves however are a little trickier!

Thankfully, even though the pattern wasn't marked as "easy" it really was quite simple to put together and my new sewing machine has an automatic buttonholer, which I can't imagine doing this project even measures the size of the buttons to determine the correct length of the button hole and as much as I loved my old machine, which finally gave up the ghost last year, I can see just how far technology has come along.

One afternoon later and the red waistcoat is complete (although not before a trip back to the fabric shop to buy the little buckle that goes on the back)

My son was pretty pleased with how this worked out.  From a distance you can't even tell it's homemade!

Happy Sewing 


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Monday, 15 April 2013

In A Spin ..

Very recently, my Dad made me a Wool winder and a matching squirrel swift.  I was so excited that the Bobbin Winder/Spindle that he also made was pushed a bit into the background.  
Hand Made Quill Spindle

I didn't really like to admit that I was a bit daunted by it.  I have never spun before and was a bit reticent about starting - not because I didn't want to, I was just not sure that I would be able to do it.  

I mentioned at work that I was interested in spinning and one of my colleagues said how great it was and how energised you feel afterwards - but it's really hard work and you certainly work up a sweat.  
I was a bit puzzled, this was not my image of spinning at all and then realised she was talking about cycling, really fast in the gym.  As I try and run a fair bit, she assumed I meant exercise.   

No, it's the REAL spinning I'm after.  The proper 'been doing it for generations' stuff.

I purchased some Crossbred Merino wool tops.  I had no idea what I was doing or what I was ordering.  I purchased it from ebay because the description said perfect for spinning and when it arrived I had some misgivings.  The wool was lovely and soft and I thought what a shame it was going to be to mangle it all up with my first attempts at spinning.

At this point, I spent quite a bit of time watching youtube videos on how to spin.  Pinch, Draft and Draw.  Hhmm, it didn't really look easy and when I tried it, I was beyond useless.  There was no twist to the wool at all.  All the spinning videos used 2 hands and at this rate, I would need 3.  To say I was fairly discouraged is a bit of an understatement.  I didn't even know how to use the spindle I had as I could not find anything like it.  Clearly, the spindle was faulty!

I then rang Dad to say that the spindle doesn't spin, I think it's just a bobbin winder.  Between the two of us, we worked out the problem.  I was just winding the wool on - there was no twist.  The wool needed to be spun off the tip on a 45 degree angle.  I also discovered that the spindle was called a 'Quill Spindle'.  Looks like the spindle was OK after all and the problem was me - just as, deep down, I knew it would be.

I also discovered a spinning shop just up the road from me.  I marvelled at this.  Perth has very limited fibre options.  Wool shops are very few and far between so I have taken to purchasing most of my supplies online.  I arrived at the spinning shop nice and early only to discover that it didn't open until 10.30am .. Oh, the impatience of waiting for wool!   But what a shop it is - small but perfectly formed with everything the spinner could want.  I fell in love with a second hand Peacock spinning wheel but I felt quite traitorous even considering buying a wooden item when Dad makes such quality things.  After lengthy discussions with a seasoned spinner, I learned that a Quill Spindle is not the ideal way to learn how to spin - Great!  However, it was all I had and I was very grateful for it and I was determined to learn.

A new google search on Quill spinning revealed the technique.  Thanks to Dawning Dreams I was soon up and spinning.  Not very well mind you but I was producing something and having enormous fun doing so.

Second Spinning Attempt
I'm too embarrassed to include a picture of my first spinning attempt so I will include a picture of my second.  It looks like wool, feels like wool but it's very unlike the wool I am used to knitting with.  I have some way to go but I am so looking forward to where spinning may take me.

Happy Spinning,

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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Loom Knitting

Can it really  be a year since I bought my first knitting loom?  I've always been fascinated by the process of turning one long string of fibre into something much more, and I was really delighted to discover loom knitting where it all happens so easily.

While I started with plastic looms from my local craft store, I can't tell you how thrilled I was when my parents travelled across the country to deliver my very own handmade loom.  It's adjustable and provides a huge variety of sizes in one loom.

 Loom Knit Remote Holder 

My eleven year old up with this idea on the long plastic loom.  To be honest, I had no idea this piece was even happening and then one day it was finished, the remote controls were always in the right place and it matches our decor really well.  It's the perfect piece for a beginner and you can find the instructions here.

Loom Knit Socks

I've never knitted socks the conventional way, although I've always wanted to, I just didn't feel that my skill level with normal needles would do the beautiful socks yarns available any justice, but when I found some great youtube videos showing exactly how to do them on the loom, I was hooked.  You can find the links to the videos in our post .

Loom Knit Market Bag

One of my favourite loom knit projects has been for our market bag.  So simple to make and used weekly when we visit the fabulous food markets near our home, the bag was made from some yarn picked up cheaply at a local op shop (that's thrift or charity shop depending on which part of the world you live in).  Knitted on the large loom, the project details can be found at Loom Knit Market Bag and is a great gift for foodies.

Loom Knit Leg Warmers 

Our Loom Knit Leg Warmers  were the first project I tried using different stitches and I love how they turned out.  Simple stripes in e-wrap stitch with rib to start and finish in a lovely soft baby 4 ply yarn, the free pattern is available in the link. 

Loom Knit Gauntlets

One of my sons likes to attend cosplay conventions and these Legend of Zelda Gauntlets were made to match a hat I'd made from fleece.  Although these were specifically made for a costume, the pattern is very versatile and would be equally at home being made in a feminine yarn for a warm wintery set of fingerless gloves.

Loom Knit Scarf

Our very first foray into loom knitting was a scarf my daughter made for charity.  It was while making this project we discovered a wonderful tip on wrapping the wool using a hollowed out biro or drinking straw.  I can't tell you how much easier this makes the whole process and we've included the youtube video link in the post Charity Knitting

Quick Loom Knit Scarf

Quick Loom Knit Scarf

For a very quick scarf that can be made in a few hours, our Quick Loom Knit Scarf  is ideal.  Made from baby weight four ply wool, it looks like it's come straight off a set of needles with its drop stitch detailing.

Happy Loom Knitting


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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Yarn Bombing the vase of romance and courtship

Long ago, when my husband and I were celebrating our first Christmas together and well before he was actually my husband, he gave me the perfect vase.  I say perfect because it  exactly fits a dozen long stemmed red roses and all those years ago it was used quite often.  Three children and many, many years later, my perfect vase doesn't see so many roses (particularly as we're much happier these days spending our money on a dinner out than a bunch of flowers), but that's not to say I don't still love my perfect vase and the memories of all those flowers of anniversaries, engagement and sometimes just the occasional "I love you" bunch.  It does feel odd to display anything other than roses in it though, almost as if I'm betraying its early beginnings as the vase of romance and courtship.  To remedy the situation, I decided that perhaps a little yarn would help my unease and bring the vase out of the cupboard and on display a little more.

Using 4ply (baby yarn) I crocheted 8 granny squares and my pattern for these is:

Step 1
Chain (CH) 4 and slip stitch into first chain to form circle
Step 2
CH 3 (forms 1st Treble) Treble (TC) twice into circle to form a cluster.
Step 3
CH 2, TC three times into circle, repeat until four cluster are formed around the circle, CH 2 and slip stitch to join to first set of trebles
Step 4
CH 3 (forms first Treble) TR twice more into the same space as the Chain 3. CH 2, TC three times into the next chain 2 of the previous row, Repeat until 8 clusters are formed, with each cluster spaced so that two clusters occur in each of the Chain 2's of the previous row.  CH2 and slip stitch to join to first cluster.
Step 5
CH 3 (forms first Treble) TR twice more into the same space as the Chain 3 for this step. *CH 2, TC three times into the next chain 2 of the previous row. Chain 2, TC three times into the next chain of the previous row.  CH 2, TC three times into same chain 2 as previous cluster. Repeat from * until work meets CH 2 and cast off.

Single crochet to join squares together.

I'm delighted with my now less formal vase, it's perfect for everyday flowers and easily transformed if a dozen red roses do unexpectedly arrive on my doorstep.

I think I could probably get away with adding another row of granny squares to the yarn bombed vase, but in truth I wanted to keep a few squares aside for another project I'm working on and once that's complete I can envisage a little unpicking and a touch more crocheting to add the row. 

Happy Crocheting 


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Disclaimer: We are all part of one big crafting community so please do not sell our patterns or claim them as your own. You are free to do what you wish with finished items but if you sell them online, please link back to us for pattern credit. Please use your own images if advertising an item for sale from our patterns.  We are not expert pattern designers and believe knitting and crochet is a wonderful art form.  Therefore, many of the ways we create things may not be according to established methods.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Icordion Cowl

It's quite amazing what can be achieved on long, lazy afternoons when you are camping.  The first item that I packed this year was my knitting bag, so I had a lot of different yarn to play with.  However, the word lazy was integral here.  I wanted to knit, but did not want to push myself too hard - it was the holidays after all.

I thought I would knit up a quick cowl considering all the ones I make, I seem to give away as presents and I was pretty sure that by the time winter came, I would be the only one without one.  I have knitted a lot of accordion cowls recently so I knew how to knit them up without a pattern and made a start.  However,  partway into it, I had an idea.  I would 'decorate' the cowl with some icord.  The yarn I used (Araucania- Ruca) is beautiful.  Smooth to the touch, elegantly drapey but would not hold the accordion folds of the cowl so I thought I would help it along.

The same yarn is also used for our Bunker Bay Cowl.


Using circular needles for the size appropriate for your yarn, cast on between 110 and 120 stitches.
Join stitches being careful not to twist your stitches and place a stitch marker to indicate the beginning of the row.

Knit 5 rows
Purl 5 rows
Repeat 3 times.

Row 31.  Knit 10, slip next 3 stitches onto a DPN and knit approximately 24 rows of icord.  Wrap the icord around your knitting (being careful not to twist the cord), slip the stitches back onto your main knitting and continue to knit the cowl for a further 25 stitches.  Bind off 3 stitches and continue knitting in the round.
Row 32.  Knit to beginning of the bind off stitches, place a stitch marker and cast on 3 stitches using the backward loop method.  Essentially, you make a loop in your yarn, and place it on the needle backwards. (See diagram to the left)  This creates a hole in your cowl, ready for the next icord strap.
The stitch marker is in place to ensure that your next icord exactly lines up with the newly created 'hole'.
Continue for 3 more knit rows, and then 5 Purl. 
Knit 5 rows
Purl 5 rows
Repeat twice.

Row 61.  Knit to stitch marker and, once again, slip stitches to DPN's and knit an icord.  This time when you thread the icord through, you will need to cut and reattach the yarn.  Slip the stitches back onto your main knitting and knit for a further 25 stitches.  Place a stitch marker and bind off 3 stitches and continue knitting.
Row 62.  As row 32.
Continue for 3 more knit rows and then 5 purl.
Knit 5 rows
Purl 5 rows
Repeat twice.

Row 91.  As row 61.
Row 92. Knit

Bind off.  I chose the Icord bind off which finishes the cowl beautifully.

At the first stitch of your bind off, cast on 3 stitches.
Knit 3, SSK (SSK - Insert the RH needle into the first stitch on the LH needls as if to knit.  Slip this stitch.  Repeat so you have 2 slipped stitches.  Insert the LH needle through the front loops of the slipped stitches and knit them together.  The SSK slants to the left and is essential in this bind off.)
Slip 4 stitches from the RH needle to the LH needle.  Knit 3, SSK.
You are decreasing 1 stitch everytime you complete a round of the icord.
Continue to the last  4 stitches.
K2tog twice.  Slip 2 stitches from the RH needle to LH needle
K2tog and secure last stitch.

To finish.  I slip stitched the Icord to the created hole.  I was concerned that, over time, the created hole may pull and stretch so I secured them with just a few stitches.  The icord stays in place and neatens the whole cowl.

Happy Knitting,

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Disclaimer: We are all part of one big crafting community so please do not sell our patterns or claim them as your own. You are free to do what you wish with finished items but if you sell them online, please link back to us for pattern credit. Please use your own images if advertising an item for sale from our patterns.  We are not expert pattern designers and believe knitting and crochet is a wonderful art form.  Therefore, many of the ways we create things may not be according to established methods.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Stash Busting Cowls, Scarves and Capes

Looking for a gift to give and running out of time?  Or do you have an oddment of wool that is not quite enough to knit anything substantial?  Or, like me, do your fingers just itch to get something on the needles?  I find cowls are a great way to use up the remnants in your wool stash and keep your fingers nimble. In most cases, they are very quick and easy and the project can easily be finished in a day or two.

Button Cowl
Button Cowl.  This cowl knits up very, very quickly (one night in most cases) and uses 3 balls of yarn - give or take.
The pattern is simple
Cast on 120 stitches and join in the  round.
Knit 5 rows plain, then 5 rows purl until you have the desired size (or the yarn runs out - which ever comes first).
The Button Cowl was knitted in 10ply which makes a think, chunky knit and the addition of some buttons finishes it off beautifully.

The second cowl 'One Yarn Two Ways' was knitted in my cherished 'Louisa Harding Merino/Silk' using the same pattern.  The luxury feel gives a looser cowl which drapes beautifully.  It is wonderfully soft against the skin.

Using the same yarn, we knitted the Bandana Cowl using the Pattern from the Pearl Bee.

This cowl was also knitted in 'Louisa Harding Merino/Silk' in an alternate colourway.  In order to give a more 'snug' look, I only cast on 100 stitches.

Misty Morning Cowl

Our 'Misty Morning Cowl' was knitted using standard 8 ply.
It has a very simple eyelet pattern and knits up quickly and is perfect for a last minute gift.  A matching hat means that early morning walks are not so cold.

Trellis Vine Cowl

Utilising my love of vintage knits, this Trellis Vine Cowl was inspired by an 1884 lace pattern and being a big HUGE fan of Pride and Prejudice and all things romantic, I just loved knitting it up.  It was knitted in Debbie Bliss - Prima and is wonderfully soft.  The pattern can be worn either way.  One way it looks like a vine and upside down (or rightside up) it looks like interlocking hearts.

Picot Hearts Neckwarmer

The Picot Hearts neckwarmer is a snug fit cowl that has a delightful cable hearts pattern.  I used this cowl to perfect my cabling without a cable needle.  A link on how to do this is provided and it's the perfect project to get stuck into over the Easter long weekend.

Lego Brick Crochet Scarf

The  Lego Bricks crochet scarf is one of our most popular scarves.  This is wonderful for the young ones and those young at heart.  3 Primary colours was all that Deb needed for a bright and vibrant scarf.

Summer Rose Capelet

This Summer Rose Capelet was knitted for summer evening BBQ's or walks along the beach or even a garden party.  Wherever you want to wear it, it takes no time to knit up even with the addition of knitted roses.

Off to Canada Scarf

You could be headed to any cool climate with our Off To Canada scarf.  The fishermans rib pattern ensures that this is one warm scarf.

Our Mini Cable Wrap can be worn any way you choose.  It's quite a challenging project but well worth the end result.
Mini Cable Wrap
Needles in Newcastle

Needles in Newcastle is a very simple neck warmer.  You just need to use the chunkiest yarn in your stash and within hours, you will have a new cowl for your wardrobe.

Rose Medusa looks like Icord but it's actually knitted in the round and, by casting off all by 6 stitches and then casting on to knit another strand, the effect is quite stunning.
Rose Medusa Cowl

Happy Stash Busting,
Louise & Deb

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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Yoga Socks for a Ballerina

A little while ago when I was in Melbourne visiting Deb and her family, Andie mentioned that she had some wool that she was hoping to knit into some leg warmers one day.
Every Ballerina needs them, legs must be warm to dance, so I was more than happy to offer make her pair.

We were only there for a few days so I was still in the process of making them when we left. Then I came across every knitters moment of anxiety - 'NOT ENOUGH WOOL'    I kept knitting for a little bit with the horrible realisation dawning at every row that I wasn't going to make it.  It was the motoring equivalent of running out of fuel a kilometre from the nearest petrol station.  There was no extra wool available so in my moment of despair, I decided that the next best thing would be a pair of 'warm-up' yoga socks.  Fingers crossed that she would like them.

I came across a pattern - Kroy Yoga Socks by Patons in Ravelry.  This is the link to the patons website where you will need to log in.  It's free and, lets face it, you can never have too many knitting sites at hand.  The pattern calls for sock wool but I thought I would still use the 8ply that I had (it was Andie's wool after all) and reduce the amount of stitches required as she is the most petite little thing.

I knitted the socks using a two-thirds ratio.  Eg. the pattern calls for 64 stitches and I used 42.  So for every instruction, I did two-thirds.

They looked good - I was happy.  I just had to hope that Andie would like them.  A few months later, she came to visit and I rather sheepishly handed over the 'leg warmers'.

I needn't have worried - she appeared to like them and didn't take them off all afternoon.  Deb told me a couple of days later that she was still wearing them so I am sure that she didn't mind the change of plans.

AND .. Thanks to Deb's knitting loom, Andie now has the complete set as she made her a pair of Knifty Loom Knit Leg Warmers.

Just wondering if you can knit tutu's.  If anyone comes across a pattern, please let me know.

Happy knitting,

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Monday, 1 April 2013

Fat Quarter Wrap

Cheap wrapping paper always seems like such a waste to me.  My children are well past the age where it can be recycled into a crafty something involving glue, backing paper and the occasional feather  or piece of coloured aluminium foil.  These days it seems to be discarded quickly and given my local council's predilection for thrusting ever diminishing rubbish bins upon its residents (the new bin size will be 80 litres, tricky indeed for a family of five), I'm quite determined that we throw away as little a possible.  Now that we have a birthday upon us and the soon to be Miss 12 has insisted that she wants all things crafts - she takes after her mother it seems - I thought I could be environmentally friendly while using up some fat quarters and a bit of trim which she could use later. 

You will need

- A selection of fat quarters or pieces of fabric, quantity will depend on the size of the present to be wrapped.
- Ribbon or fabric trim

I chose two Willow pattern fabrics that I had picked up from one of our local discount stores a few months earlier and some trim purchased for a project a couple of years ago that was never used.

I used one piece of fabric to wrap the present with a little tape at the corners to hold in place.  The fabric was a little too small to cover the whole box, but when I used the contrasting fabric as a centre piece, it covered any bits that were showing at the back.  Tie trim in place and you're finished.


The contents of the present can't be revealed just yet, but it's something my parents picked up when they were visiting last year and we've been storing it ever since.  It's perfectly crafty and Miss soon-to-be-12 is going to love it...and if I'm lucky I might get to try it out too! 

Happy Crafting


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Drop Stitch Cowl

We were at a yarn market a couple of weeks ago and after speaking to some pretty fabulous yarn people all day long, I was struck with the...