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Funky Sleeping Bag (and Hoodie!)

This month’s blog post for Minerva Crafts is two-for-the-price-of-one.

I had just enough left over from making a sleeping bag to make a hoodie for one of The Boys as well.

Click on the link to read all about both makes: – Sleeping Bag & Hoodie





Sunday Sevens #95

All these photos are in the wrong order because WordPress is playing up on my iPad and the draft hasn’t saved so I can’t fiddle with it on the iMac. Or iPhone. So bear with me and you should make sense of it all in the end.

1. The last photo from last night comes from the Beer Fest at Weyhill, Andover. No.3 Son was pogo-ing away like a good ‘un with all the big boys. They loved it and included him in their ‘dancing’. They were a bit bemused, though, when he re-enacted Marty McFly’s guitar solo in Back To The Future where he rolls around the floor on his back…..

2. Selfie at aforementioned Beer Fest.

3.  Mr H-L cleaning the pool in his pants…..

4. …..while The Boys indulge in a little Sunday morning knitting with their mother.

5. No.2 Son had archery on Friday morning at school. He loved it. It was hot but they had to wear long sleeves to protect their arms from the bow string. 

The school held a barbecue in the afternoon…but I forgot to take any photos. Can I just say that we took wine and had a very enjoyable few hours.

6. The bouquet of flowers and card that I received from the ladies as a token of appreciation for the Margot pyjama workshop that they attended. Totally unnecessary  –  but so lovely!

7. Attaching the bright yellow bias binding to the funky sleeping bag that I made for July’s blog post for the Minerva Crafts Blogger’s Network.

8. The pyjamas made by my adult students in a beginners dressmaking class.

9. The sample pair I made a few days before the workshop to familiarise myself with the instructions.

10. We used a pattern from Love At First Stitch by Tilly Walnes. A free copy of the book was included for each student to encourage them to continue their dressmaking journey.

11. Caught on camera – hubby cleaned all the French windows in the house. there are FIVE pairs!

12. Discarded fleeces from the sheep shearing. Should I pluck up the courage to ask for them?

13. A proper small holding in the next village. I’d love a few more chickens.

14. I love this lavender-lined pathway to the front door of this Georgian house. It smells wonderful and looks so pretty.

Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins. If you fancy joining in with your own Sunday Sevens, just follow the link to find out more.


Sunday Sevens #94

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series run by Nat over at Threads & Bobbins – click on the link to find out more and how you can join in.

1. The moment that Charlotte was announced as the winner in series four of the Great British Sewing Bee. So close this year, it could have been any one of the three finalists.

2. N0.1 Son treated us to a pub lunch as a belated Father’s Day treat.

3. Being a very rural school, each classroom has its own set of oft-worn wellies stored upside down on racks outside. I thought they made a pleasing picture.

4. Inspired by my cross body bags, a student made her own version. Isn’t it pretty?

5. Woody Bay steam trains – a must, if you have boys and are ever in the Barnstaple area.

6. We bought First Class tickets and travelled in relative luxury compared to the wooden benches in cattle class!

7. The plush buttoned head rests were even adorned with individual cut-work panels, which were lovely.

8. After looking at another b+b, we walked down to the local beach. Just a twelve minute stroll from the building is this secluded bay. Perfect for an evening barbecue for potential guests staying with us on a residential sewing retreat?

9. No.3 Son was straight in the sea.

10. Sunday was Sports Day in our house. Watching two Brits win the men’s single and mixed doubles finals was a nice way to spend the day with visiting tennis-mad family. I laid on a cream tea spread to enjoy, with plenty of strawberries and cream. Well, it was Wimbledon, after all. 

I went to bed and left them watching the Euro football final. I think Portugal may have won?


Last Minute Birthday Sewing

HOW expensive are goalposts?

Even though they were half price, they still cost quite a lot, so it meant No.3 Son would only have one present to open on his birthday.

Don’t get me wrong, I know one present is adequate but it’s always nice to see a little pile of gifts wrapped up with your name on. I managed to buy three secondhand children’s novels and wondered if I could make something for him as well. 

He finished these long shorts earlier in the week and decided that the best T-shirt to go with it was this red one with a picture of a camper van on the front.

Hmm, two different shades of red do not an outfit make.

Rummaging through my fabrics, I found a length of turquoise jersey left over from making this sample Coco for my stand at the school fair.

There was just enough for a boy’s T-shirt using this pattern from issue 27 of Love Sewing magazine.

I wouldn’t download and print off a pattern for anything larger, but this was just nine sheets of paper which taped together very quickly.

My French curve came in handy for grading the pattern up to Age 9.

Just three pattern pieces meant this promised to be a quick enough make to complete in the couple of hours before he came home from school.

Some remnants of blind fabric provided the perfect motif to add to the front of the T-shirt and I picked the red one to echo the colour of the shorts they were to go with.

After stabilising with some interfacing, the free motion foot made short work of the appliqué – I sewed two rounds of stitching.

Embroidery scissors were used to cut close to the stitching and remove the excess fabric to reveal the motif.

The finished appliqué.

Maybe it would have been better to place it a little higher on the chest?

Full construction details, and the free pattern, can be found in issue 27 of Love Sewing, so I won’t repeat them here. 

Suffice to say that it was quick, easy and fun to make and the finish was faultless, though I say so myself!

The overlocker (all four threads) was used exclusively for the construction, with top stitching done on the sewing machine.

Apart from the white overlock thread.  It was all I had.

I also didn’t have the requisite ribbed jersey for the neckband, but more of the fabric that I used for the body of the T-shirt worked just as well.

A slight zig zag stitch was used for the top stitching around the neckline, both for decoration and to keep the neckline lying flat.

A straightforward one centimetre hem on the bottom and sleeve hems was the final touch to bring the project in under two hours.

All wrapped up and ready to open – a free extra present for one little nine year old boy!

At precisely 4.51am, a very excited little boy bounded into our bedroom….and was sent back to bed for an hour and a half. I know. We’re mean parents.

At 6.30, Take Two. He woke up everyone in the house (No.1 Son ended up going into work early!) and we all went down to watch him unwrap his presents.

First, his T-shirt….

….then Star Wars masks and light sabres from his oldest brother….

As for the T-shirt….well, it stayed clean for all of five minutes….


Sunday Sevens #93

Better late than never, here is this week’s Sunday Sevens!

1. Is Summer ever going to come to England? Eleven degrees centigrade and it felt chilly enough to light the fire. I haven’t abandoned the flip flops just yet though.

2. Working on prototypes for a commercial commission and my table looks like this. Why can’t I be a tidy sewer?

3. We walked to the pub in the rain – again.

4. This gorgeous yarn arrived from the USA.

5. It’s going to be a laceweight, circular baby shawl – if I can ever work it out. I’ve frogged it twice already.

6. A nightshirt and pyjamas were completed in classes this week.

7. Remember the shop window with the cardboard city from a couple of weeks ago? Cardboard bird boxes have replaced them, complete with Astro turf and garden birds helping themselves to the top of the milk.

9. I started making some crochet daisies. Just because.

10. No.3 Son won Manager’s Player of the Year for his outstanding goalkeeping this season.

11. No.3 Son posing for a photo at Hauser and Wirth Gallery in Bruton.

14. At the bar inside, I just HAD to try their homemade Dill Gin.

15. My daughter in her new car. It suits her, don’t you think?

If you fancy joining in Sunday Sevens, visit Nat at Threads & Bobbins where you can find out how to take part. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be on a Sunday or seven photos…..


Crochet Baby Blanket

We’ve been invited to a Baby Shower.

No, the expectant parents are not American, they are as English as can be and yet they are having this oddly-titled premature celebration in advance of the birth.

I’m not sure what I think about this transatlantic tradition which has wheedled its way onto British soil. Is it an alternative to a Christening, or in addition to?

My initial instincts were to consider the concept rather grasping and a rather diluted (and very un-British!) attempt to ask for presents for the not-yet born. However, knowing the family well, we know this is not the case and it appears to be a great excuse for a gathering of family and friends all of whom are eager to wish them well.

What are your thoughts about ‘showers’ in general, as I have recently heard of Bridal Showers over here as well? Are any of our friends in the USA able to enlighten us on the point of them?

Anyway, this is what I had already decided to make for the baby, Baby Shower or not; a simple,hard-wearing, easy-to-wash, granny square blanket in 20% wool.


It’s pram-blanket sized, so only took a few evenings to whip up. About a third of the way in, I thought it needed something to break up the pink, so added in some grey-beige matching yarn.

granny square baby blanket

A pom pom border livens it up a bit and makes the granny clusters a little less utilitarian-looking.

crochet pom pom border

crochet blanket pom pom border

When finished, it was crying out for a flower in the centre, but I didn’t want anything raised so searched for a flat version.

I came across this flower coaster pattern in a language I didn’t recognise but, as luck would have it, a chart was included and I was able to work solely from this.

crochet flower chart

Perfect – just what I was looking for!

crochet flower coaster

The crochet flower was simply stitched into the centre with matching yarn.

crochet flower

And that’s it – simple!

crochet granny square baby blanket

I hope she likes it and, yes – she is having a girl:)


Sunday Sevens #92

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series whereby you share seven photos of your week outside the blog. Invented by Nat at Threads & Bobbins, follow the link to find out more.

1. A member of the family was hosting an Open Garden at her farm. Typically, it poured down all day but didn’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment – over £1200 was raised for a local hospice!

2. A farmyard twist on planting!

3. This old GWR sign has found a new home on the door to the outside toilet.

4. I was given a posy of flowers to take home which are still brightening my mantelpiece a week later.

5. Spurred on by fellow Instagrammers, I had a clear out of my wardrobe. I decided to donate a recent make (the keyhole top from Love Sewing) due to its immodest cleavage reveal!

6. A crochet blanket was started. Just a simple granny square one this time.

7. No.3 Son was part of a team that won the Gold medal at an inter schools championship mid-week.

8. The following day, they went on to win Silver in the area finals. District finals at Millfield School are next!

9. The owners of this field very kindly mowed a wide path through the middle of the field for dog walkers. It would appear that, instead of cattle grazing, they are encouraging a wildflower meadow to grow.

10. After a midnight emergency trip to the vet, Fifi had a tumour removed and is NOT happy that she has to wear the Cone Of Shame for ten days.

11. More crochet, this time a flat flower to embellish the centre of the aforementioned blanket.

12. After being quoted £5,200 to fit out the other end of our kitchen, I sought a cheaper alternative. This solid oak dresser cost just £96 on eBay and will be painted later in the week. Sacrilege, some might say, but there is more than enough wood in our kitchen, so Bleu Clair by Autentico has been ordered to add a splash of colour.

A quieter week than last, I had chance to catch my breath and relax a bit before family came for the weekend. They’ve just begun the journey home – right in the middle of the Glastonbury traffic, so it’s anyone’s guess as to how long it will take them!


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