Sewchet

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Sunday Sevens #110

1. I bought Mr H-L some festive pyjamas although he always swore he would never wear any. Here he is fast asleep ‘watching’ TV wearing his new PJs. This has been the scene every night since!


2. A crocheted Poinsettia brooch was whipped up in an evening and found its way into one of my Stitching Santa parcels.


3. The reason I straighten my hair – ’nuff said.


4. I went to Amsterdam for a couple of days with hubby on a business trip and had arranged to meet a blogging pal who lives there. Marianne, from marrose-ccc.com, was so lovely and we had a wonderful day going around the yarn shops in Amsterdam. More on that in a separate post.


5. Mr H-L turned 50 on Saturday, so we had a bit of a party at home with about twenty-five family and friends. This is a quick snap taken before everyone arrived as we forgot to take any photos later on! 


6. The dog’s bed was put as close to the fire as possible but, even with her coat on, Fifi decided it wasn’t close enough and sat on the hearth instead!


7. The Boys are enjoying their advent calendar again this year. Here they are secretly putting Candy Canes on car windscreens for the kids in the village to wake up to. There are less than twenty children in our village, so we could leave an anonymous treat for all of them.


8. Another day, their task was to write a letter to Father Christmas, which they did on headed paper before sending it up the chimney. Can you guess where we’re taking them next week for a few days? It’s a surprise so they have will have no idea until we get on the ‘plane.


That’s it for this week, folks! If you want to see how Sunday Sevens works or maybe have a go yourself, just visit Nat at Threads & Bobbins.


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Knitted Lace Baby Shawl

Way back in June I was contacted by a childhood friend whom I haven’t seen for thirty years and asked if I would consider knitting a shawl for her upcoming first grandchild. 

I don’t normally take commissions for something like this, but she asked so nicely and was so obviously a fan of my work that I decided to make an exception and agreed on the basis that this would be my evening project. You know, the kind that you pick up for a couple of hours every evening so your fingers have something to do whilst watching TV.

The baby was due in early October, which meant I would have to get cracking as three months is not very long in shawl-knitting terms, and I estimated that about 60 hours of handknitting would be required. I had no problem choosing the perfect yarn – the softness of Alpaca combined with the smooth quality of silk made this the obvious choice.

A laceweight yarn, the silk adds a subtle sheen and would make an incredibly light and delicate shawl.

I ordered 4 skeins in “Wedding White” as the gender of the baby was to remain a surprise, and off white would be ideal. Each 50g skein contains 439 yards of yarn so, although I hadn’t yet decided on a pattern, figured that 1700 yards should be plenty.

Look how fine the yarn is!

It all got off to a bit of a false start because I wasn’t happy with the first pattern I chose and had to unravel it and start again from scratch.

A bit more research resulted in the purchase of this lovely pattern by Sirdar – the circular design, rather than the square one.

And so the lengthy process began!

It soon became apparent that I had VASTLY underestimated the time and quantity of yarn that this beast would consume!

After 60 hours over 2 months, I was about two-thirds of the way through the main body of the shawl, and it took both boys to hold it up for me to take a photograph.

I just love how gossamer-fine it is and how you can see right through.

I also had to order another 2 skeins of yarn which took another 2 weeks to arrive before I could continue.

With the body of the shawl finished, I moved on to the pretty bit – the show-stopping lacy border, which was an absolute joy to knit after all those rounds of stockinette.

You can see the pattern beginning to develop here.

Despite being over a week overdue, the baby had now arrived…..but I still hadn’t finished the border. 

It was a baby girl!

Eventually, all the actual knitting was complete and ‘all’ I had to do was to join these two piles of knitting together.

It ended up being several evenings worth of work, starting with pegging the border evenly to the centre section and then sewing ithem together.

Wet blocking was the next step in the process, whereby all 120 points had to be pinned out to their final shape.

I commandeered The Boy’s bedroom and banished them for two days while it dried, pinned to a combination of three towels and the carpet!

When it was completely dry, I took it downstairs to try and photograph it as the contrast against the oak floor showed up the pattern more clearly.

There wasn’t enough spare floor space!

Here’s a close up of the edging after blocking – such lovely lacy detail.

By screwing it up in the middle, I managed to take a photo of the whole shawl – it really is massive!

It looks lovely here, draped over the arm of the sofa.

Off it went in the post and I waited a nerve-wracking few days before hearing that it had reached its destination safely – what a relief!

Very soon, some photos were sent to me of the shawl in use, and I have permission to share them with you on the blog.




Do you want to have the final stats of this mammoth project?

Here goes…….

– 2760 yards of yarn

– 137 hours of knitting

– 161,852 stitches

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat – only next time it will have to be for MY grandchild because it was so hard to part with after all that effort!


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Sunday Sevens #109

Time for another Sunday Sevens, a weekly blog series dreamed up by Nat at Threads & Bobbins.

1. It seems mini matchbox-sized toys are ‘in’ at the moment, so I’ve made this miniature rabbit and am working on a matching mini bear as gifts for little ones.

2. A little bit of needlefelting has been completed and will be blogged about soon. I used luxury silk tussah which shimmers in the light – beautiful!


3. A sneaky glimpse of another Stitching Santa gift, made entirely from leftover scraps of fabric and ribbon, so is a ‘free’ addition to the parcel.


4. We’ve decided to invest in some of these outdoor fairy light trees for our driveway. Why the wires are only ten metres long is beyond me though, as it means we can only do the bit by the house and I had visions of a dozen trees lining the length of the driveway.


5. Fifi has taken to climbing inside the dirty laundry basket while we’re out, comforted by our smell, I suppose. Because she’s deaf, she can’t hear when we return, so I managed to snap this image of her still curled up fast asleep. When she first did this, we couldn’t find her at all until Tess showed us where she was!


6. A nice pic of No.2 Son after his riding lesson, cuddled up to one of the stable’s many dogs.


7. Bath Christmas market! 


8. Our 22nd annual Christmas shopping trip to Bath, and my daughter and I were joined by No.1 Son’s girlfriend this year. We started with Eggs Royale and Hot Chocolate Orange for breakfast.


9. Mulled wine helped the festive shopping along…..


10. ….and Prosecco with supper in a pub finished the day off nicely.
11. The next day, the two of us popped into Shaftesbury for an hour. You’ll recognise this view of Gold Hill from the Seventie’s Hovis advert.


12. We had coffee in a hotel, where I just had to take this photo of me wearing my Stag’s head Coco dress underneath this ENORMOUS pair of antlers!


13. To top off a fab week of Christmassy stuff, hubby spoiled us both with new cars. Here’s mine – a Mercedes SLK convertible and, no, the novelty hasn’t worn off yet!!


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#Stitching Santa Progress

I’m taking part in both Stitching Santa swaps again this year and thought I’d share my progress so far and perhaps provide a little inspiration for others taking part or, indeed, anyone wishing to make some handmade gifts this Christmas.

I’ve already spent my £10 budget for the yarn swap, so am now able to concentrate on making a few small items to include in my parcel. As knitting takes far longer than sewing does, I looked for some quick makes which could be whipped up in an evening.

This first one is a mini stocking and is a free pattern by Julie Williams (aka Little Cotton Rabbits) on Ravelry. 

The charts are clear and easy to follow – a great introduction to stranded colourwork if you haven’t tried it before.


The finished stocking measures about five inches plus the hanging loop and took just a couple of hours all in.


Next up was a project from Wooly Woofers, a book by Debbie Bliss.


I bought it two years ago, more for the wonderful way the dog models were integrated into the brilliant illustrations – pure genius.


I cast on one night…..


…..and made good progress.


By the second night, and a total of about three hours knitting, the bandana was complete. Here it is after blocking.


I chose the distinctive ‘paw print’ design which was fun to watch taking shape.


Tess was a reluctant model, but I managed to get this photo of her wearing it.


There is also a ‘Scottie’ motif, if you prefer. This image is taken from the book, of a much more cooperative Yorkie. Looks like she’s being bribed with treats!


Another photo from the book showing that one size fits all dogs.


I think this one is going to be next on the list of doggy makes – perfect for Fifi.


I will share more ideas with you as I make things, so watch this space!


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Sunday Sevens 108

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series where you share some moments from outside your blog. You can find out more about how to join in at Threads & Bobbins.

1. My niece is at University so I sent her some money for her birthday (seeing as she is now a poor student!). I wanted to give her an actual present to open as well, so I knitted this bobble hat.

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2. I’ve been working on Christmas gifts this week and have started (and finished) quite a few. This will become a pointless-but-fun dog bandana. Because all dogs should have one.

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3. A couple of hours were spent on a bit of fair isle knitting in Christmassy red and white.

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4. This is the finished thing – a cute little stocking which will go into my #stitchingsanta parcel, the first thing I’ve made as yet. The pattern is a free one by Julie Williams on Ravelry and one I wanted to make last year but didn’t have time. Hopefully, I’ll have time to make some more because they are a joy to knit and quick, too.

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5. Talking of #stitchingsanta, this skein of lace weight baby merino wool is also destined for my recipient. 470 yards should be enough to knit a shawl. I was drawn in by the lovely Autumnal colours and can’t wait to see it made up.

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6. My Winter “selfish knitting” project – a Sunday jumper, for lazy days at home. (I’ve practically lived in my Stag’s head dress since I made it!)

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7. I borrowed this pattern from my sister in law and am substituting with Drops Nepal, 65% wool, 35% alpaca for softness as the recommended Debbie Bliss Cashmerino was too expensive!

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8. I waved goodbye to Mr H-L at 8am this morning, as he is off to London with a 7.5 tonne truck to clear his parent’s flat which has now sold. Sad times, but time to move on.

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9. Ending on a cheerful note – Fifi turned 14 and had a birthday haircut. She didn’t stop shivering the first day, so I nipped out and bought her a festive jumper to keep her warm. She loves it and hasn’t shivered since. And looks totally adorable, to boot!

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Stag’s Head “Coco” Dress

So this is my new favourite dress!

I decided to make a “Coco” dress by Tilly and the Buttons and I’m so glad I did – it’s the perfect ‘everyday’ dress for Autumn.

To see more photos, just click on the link to the full post on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network: – Stag’s Head “Coco” Dress

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Sunday Sevens #107

1. Woke up to another beautiful frosty morning – this is the view through the French doors from our bed.

2. We went to a Christening – the baby slept through being baptised and The Boys were given sparklers by the vicar!


3. The shawl has been sent to its new owner at last! I will do a short post on it in the next couple of weeks but, suffice to say, it was very well received, thankfully.


4. Mr H-L and I went to Clark’s Village to buy him a new piece of cabin luggage for his regular business trips to Amsterdam and, obviously, we had to have lunch whilst we were out.


5. Lunch was fabulous……..but not as amazing as my other purchases:)


6. A fun shot of one of my kids’ sewing classes – yes, we really do have that much fun!


7. Another Christmas commission was completed and sent across the pond to the USA.


8. I found time to help Mum with a commission that she was struggling to find the time to do – a personalised cushion for a baby girl. Definitely girly, but not too babyish, I think.


9. You can’t tell, but this is me having a G&T in our local pub. Fifi likes to sit on a coat on a stool and watch the world going by out of the window.


10. I had some leftover Stag’s head fabric from my Minerva Craft sponsored project and made a cute little hat and leggings for our granddaughter for Christmas. Can you tell that I’m a bit of a stickler for pattern placement?!



11. We went to stay with my brother for the weekend and missed the Remembrance service so watched it on TV instead. This is a photo of our local church in its Autumn dressing. I know – random.


Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series thought up by Nat at Threads & Bobbins, in which anyone can join. Visit her blog to find out more.