Sunday, 31 May 2015

Handy Hand-Quilting Hold All.

Sometimes I am very thankful that people can't see the inside of my house.  I currently have a dining table filled with glorious roving and my spinning wheel set up beside it.  I have my sewing machine on my other table along with my latest quilting project.  I have my on-the-go crochet cowl on my television cabinet (it's the only free space at the moment) and a quilt that I am hand quilting on the couch.  It's a crafty persons dream - but not that desirable for a bit of a neat freak.

As I have all my craft supplies all over the place it can be somewhat frustrating keeping track of it all.  My case-in-point is when I am hand quilting.  The television goes on (ideally it's Downton Abbey), I snuggle under portions of the quilt and get sewing.  However, due to the bulk of the quilt, I am forever losing my scissors or thimble or tape or, heaven forbid - my quilting needle.  I've lost it a few times on the couch but I have perfected the art of looking for it without drawing attention to what I am doing as it would cause mayhem in my household if anyone thought I had lost a needle on the couch.  To that end, something had to be done and I decided to make myself a handy little container of sorts to keep everything in.
Pin Fabric for a Pin Cushion
Time to tidy all of this

Firstly, it would need to be a pin cushion and I believe that I have the perfect piece of fabric.  Fabric with pins on it.  Just meant to be.

I have a few preserve/jam jars and decided that I would use the jar as the container for all my bits and pieces.

Firstly, trace around the inner seal of the lid onto a piece of firm cardboard and then, using the cardboard as a template, cut the fabric appox 3/4 of an inch bigger around the edge.

Sew a running stitch around the edge of the fabric and gently pull to start the gather.  

Add the wadding into the gathered fabric and then place the piece of cardboard on top and then finish the gather quite firmly and secure in place with a few stitches.

Using a glue gun, glue the bottom of your pin cushion to the top of the inner seal.

When it is dry, place the outer part of the lid over the top and screw in place.

I also think it would make a very handy travel sewing kit but for the time being, my hand quilting needles should be safe.

Happy sewing,

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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Free Tea Cosy Patterns

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” 
― Henry JamesThe Portrait of a Lady

We love nothing more than a cup of tea in the afternoon and we've been making assorted tea cosies for a while now.  I doesn't matter if you like the full bodied flavour of English Breakfast or the citrus undertones of Earl Grey, we think you'll agree a pretty cosy really does add a certain something special to the whole tea experience.

Posy Cosy

A lovely floral cosy that's just perfect for springtime,  The cream base is knitted and the roses and leaves are crochet, giving a lovely textured effect.  Don't forget to make a delicious cake and sit on the porch in the sunshine with a good book,  to show this cosy to good effect.

Christmas Cosy

A festive and Wintry cosy that's knitted in rib and embellished with a crochet snowman, embroidered snowflakes and a pom pom on top for a touch of whimsy.  At the most hectic time of the year, who wouldn't want to sit down to a cup of tea with this Christmas themed cosy.

Mrs Potts Tea Cosy

Inspired by a 1940's pattern this knitted cosy is ideal if you are using vintage cups and sauces.  Knitted in moss stitch with an Icord Chrysanthemum it's a fabulous stash busting project and a wonderful gift for those with a passion for the past.

Loom Knit Tea Cosy

It can be hard to know what to make with a knifty/loom knitter once scarves and cowls have been mastered.  This cosy is made on the round knitter and the little floral embellishments on a flower loom kit.

Button Rose Tea Cosy

The shabby chic styling of our Button Rose Tea Cosy has made it one of the most popular on our blog.  Knitted, with a generous bouquet of crochet roses, it's sure to impress tea time guests.

Nordic Tea Cosy

If fairisle knitting is a passion then this tea cosy is the perfect accompaniment to your afternoon tea table.  Bold and stylish, a second cuppa never looked so good or inviting.

Happy crafting

Deb and Louise

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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Criss Cross Puff Crochet Headband

Try as I might, Sunday's don't tend to be the lazy days I'd like them to be,  While I'd love to get up late and lounge about the house all day, perhaps baking the occasional cake or finishing off a work in progress that's been hanging around far too long, invariably what happens is we get up early, head to the pool, come home and try and get organised for the week ahead <sigh>

Amid the hustle and bustle though, it's very rewarding to be able to choose a project and have it completed within an hour.

What you'll need:

5.5 mm crochet hook
8 ply yarn (we've used Bendigo Woollen Mills "Classic" in "Lipstick Rose" )

The stitch is Criss Cross Puff Stitch and the pattern and video is available at New Stitch a Day


Chain 64 (if you want to increase or decrease the size, add or subtract chains in multiples of two)

Foundation Row:
Single Crochet the entire chain.  When complete, slip stitch into the first Single Crochet to form circle being careful not to twist the work.

Row 2:
Crochet row using  Criss Cross Puff Stitch until 6 single crochets from the previous row remain. Single crochet six times into previous row.

Row 3:
Complete entire row using Criss Cross Puff Stitch.

Row 4:
As per Row 2

Row 5:  Reverse work and single crochet the entire row - this ensures the foundation chain matches the finishing chain.  Finish work and weave in ends.

Don't feel the need to stick to a five row headband, I think this would be very effective with a couple more rows of puffs, particularly if you're planning to make it for cooler weather.

Happy crocheting


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Sunday, 3 May 2015

Sharp-as-a-tack Pin Cushion

By far, the best accessory for my pins is a magnetic pin tray that I use ALL the time. It is so handy to quickly take out the pins and almost throw them in the direction of the tray without missing a beat when I am sewing.   The menfolk in my house are a bit paranoid about pins on the floor and welcomed this purchase eagerly (especially when I accidentally dragged all my pins off the table when I was manoeuvring a quilt - a quick swipe of the tray and they were all collected .. I just love it!)

However, I discovered the other day that nearly all my pins are blunt.  Not just a little bit blunt but very blunt - one even buckled as I tried to force it into my pin cushion.  I had read that if the inside of your pin cushion is steel wool, it will sharpen them every time you put one in or out.  The time had very obviously come to make one.


  • small packet of steel wool (available from hardware stores - just don't get the steel wool embedded with soap)
  • Fabric for the top
  • small piece of batting the same size as the fabric
  • container to house your cushion (I had an oversized tea cup that had originally contained soaps from 'The Body Shop')
  • Selection of blunt pins
The fabric I chose was a small square left over from my 'Going 'Round in Circles' quilt.


1 & 2  Gather together everything you will need.  I also chose to make a little espresso cup size cushion for my daughter.

3.  Sandwich the fabric top and batting together and baste a running stitch around the edges to gather it in.  Place your steel wool in the centre of the gather and then pull tight and secure.  You can secure it with pins or with a few running stitches - the choice is yours.

4.  Squeeze the cushion into the container.  I chose not to glue or attached the cushion so I can re-use the cup at a later date.  If you have a glue gun, a few dabs of glue in the bottom will hold it in place.

I must admit, it's a nice feeling knowing that my pins are now being sharpened AND I have been able to find a great use for a Christmas present.

Happy Sewing,

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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...