Sewchet

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#stitchingsanta 2016

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Everyone should have received an email from me by now detailing who their #stitchingsanta swap partner is – if you haven’t, check your spam folder.

Please could you all acknowledge receipt of the email, too, so that no one is disappointed on Christmas Day without a parcel to open.

I hope you enjoy finding out more about your recipient and have fun putting together a suitable parcel for them – I know I will!

Here’s a list of everyone that’s taking part, so feel free to click on the links to keep abreast of their #stitchingsanta updates and maybe make some new blogging buddies.

sewchet (that’s me!)

afterdarksewing

Thimberlina

tialys

sewsweetsally

thedartmooryarncompany

madaboutbags

applebymakes

nanacathydotcom

sew2pr0

sewingnikki

letthesewingbegin

powertoolswiththread

desertskyquilts

littleblackdogsa

jo-throughthekeyhole

themateriallady

zeensandroger

seecarmensew

annebags

thecraftycreek

clothandpaperstudio

janemakes

carenscreativecanvasandcraft

beadsandbarnacles – Pippa

Beadsandbarnacles – Nicky

thesmallsewingroom

freckledfashionista

ritasdesigns

threadsandscissors

quiltedsnail

sullen-hearts

saturdaynightstitch

Bellecitadel

rollingeyeballs

creativityandfamily

buttercupandbee

danilleajoe

thishappyhomemadelife

mollieandclaire

sosamsaid

squirrelsknittingconquests

ja_ma_ka

fabrickated

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Crochet Daisy Garland

If you follow Kate of Just Pootling blog, you’ll be familiar with her lovely crocheted garlands. As soon as I saw her Late Summer Daisy Garland, I knew that I’d have to make my own version for our newly upcycled kitchen dresser


I have lots of suitable cottons already, in a whole range of colours, so thought it would be fun to make a multi-coloured daisy garland. I followed Kate’s instructions, which can be found by following this link.

Each daisy took about twenty-five minutes to create, so I just made a few as and when I could fit them in over the course of a few weeks.

I made thirteen daisies in total – seven coloured ones and six white ones, so that every other daisy on the garland would be white.

This shows what a difference blocking makes!

I actually used spray starch and an iron to block the daisies, which is very quick and means the daisies are slightly stiff so should hold their shape without flopping.

I opted for a simple chain stitch cord on which to mount the daisies and continued crocheting, measuring as I went, until the chain was long enough.

 The daisies were spaced three inches apart with a three inch tail at either end and simply sewn on to the crocheted chain.

A hook was screwed into the dresser at either end and another in the centre, then the garland was hung.

Isn’t it pretty? The perfect finishing touch, I reckon.

My friend loves it so much that she asked me to make one for her. Why aren’t there ever enough hours in the day…..?


87 Comments

#stitchingsanta 2016!

ButtonThe last two year’s #stitchingsantas were such a roaring success, that I promised to do it all again this year and the time has come to sign up!

It’s a Secret Santa with a difference aimed at all the like-minded crafty folk here on the internet – YOU!

Whether you’re one of the lucky few whose family know and understand you so well that you receive endless perfect gifts based on your love of sewing/crochet/knitting or, like me, your wish list is met with a “What do you want one of those for….what is it anyway?” – #stitchingsanta is for you.

Can you imagine unwrapping a gorgeous skein of wool, a perfect metre of fabric, some vintage buttons or some embroidery silks? Perhaps a little handmade gift has been popped in the parcel too? All lovingly thought out with your interests in mind and guaranteed to be under your tree on Christmas morning. What a treat!

There are TWO categories to choose from – you can enter both or just one but PLEASE state your preference in your email. Choose from “Sewing” or “Crochet/Knitting”.

The idea is simple: if you would like to take part, comment below by the deadline of 31st October and I’ll send you the details of your lucky recipient.

You may already know this person as a follower of their blog but, if not, have a good look around their blog and try to put together some gifts that they would really appreciate. See my experience of previous #stichingsantas for what to expect: –

Gifted to my Secret Santa recipient 2014

Gifted to my #stitchingsanta recipient 2015

Received from my Secret Santa 2014

Blogging about Secret Santa 2014

Blogging about #stitchingsanta 2015

Received from my #stitchingsanta 2015

I will update this page with details of the blogs that are taking part so why not follow along and make some new blogging buddies!

How To Enter: –

  1. You can enter from anywhere in the world but I will try to match countries in order to keep postage costs down.
  2. State which swap(s) you would like to enter and send your email address, blog site and postal address to me at info@sewchet.com by midnight on 31st October 2016.
  3. I’ll email you the details of your recipient by 7th November.
  4. Spend a maximum of £10 (€13, $15US, $20AUS) excluding postage.
  5. Blog about your #stitchingsanta (linking back to this post) and share using the hash tag on social media.
  6. Post your parcel in time for Christmas – check last posting dates well in advance!! International dates are much earlier in December.

UK Inland: –

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I hope lots of you join in – don’t forget to share, share, SHARE with your own followers, the more the merrier, HOW exciting!

Here’s who has signed up so far: –

sewchet (that’s me!)

afterdarksewing

Thimberlina

tialys

sewsweetsally

thedartmooryarncompany

madaboutbags

applebymakes

nanacathydotcom

sew2pr0

sewingnikki

letthesewingbegin

powertoolswiththread

desertskyquilts

littleblackdogsa

jo-throughthekeyhole

themateriallady

zeensandroger

seecarmensew

annebags

thecraftycreek

clothandpaperstudio

janemakes

carenscreativecanvasandcraft

beadsandbarnacles – Pippa

Beadsandbarnacles – Nicky

thesmallsewingroom

freckledfashionista

ritasdesigns

threadsandscissors

quiltedsnail

sullen-hearts

saturdaynightstitch

Bellecitadel

rollingeyeballs

creativityandfamily

buttercupandbee

danilleajoe

thishappyhomemadelife

mollieandclaire

sosamsaid

clothandpaperstudio

ja_ma_ka

fabrickated

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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.

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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:)


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Crochet Woodland Animals

Having had a number of knitting projects lately (remember all those bobble hats?), I recently had the urge to pick up a crochet hook again.

It would have to be a quick make as I have too many things on the go to commit to another lengthy project, so I decided on a little crocheted animal from this gift box given to The Boys at Christmas – their little fingers are just not yet nimble enough to cope with something quite this fiddly.

The “Woodland Crochet” box by Kristen Rask, includes a book, hook and all the yarn needed to complete two of the animals, one of which is a sweet little fox that worked up in a couple of leisurely evenings.

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I was happy because it looked exactly like it does in the book!

woodland animals crochet book

I snapped the eyes on to the white bit instead of the orange bit so they stand out more.

crochet fox front2

The whole thing only stands about four inches high and currently languishes on top of the pianola.

crochet foxcrochet fox front

The tail acts as a stand, enabling the fox to stay balanced upright with ease.

crochet fox back

The cute little upturned mouth appears to be a smile and gives him a happy expression – always essential on a soft toy, in my opinion:)

crochet fox head

I might attempt the owl next – there’s something about owls which makes them quite endearing.

crochet owl

Of course, it’s Easter on Sunday – I wonder if I’ve got time to make the bluebird and her tiny chick?

crochet bird


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Sunday Sevens Special – Crochet for Calais Update

This week I thought I’d do a Sunday Sevens Special updating you on the progress of the Crochet for Calais appeal, which is ongoing for those of you who would like to contribute a knitted or crocheted square or two.

Lee Godwin is the nurse who travels to Calais and Lesbos delivering the finished crocheted and knitted items directly into the hands of the refugees. 

Here is what she had to say, together with some photographs that she took of the refugees with some of the handmade blankets and hats: –

“Dear friends, I am so sorry it has taken me so long to get my Lesbos photos of your hat and blanket distribution uploaded. These children were so delighted with their hats, even more so because they were able to pick which one they really wanted. The children laughed at the funny faces and dangly ears! Fabulous trauma therapy! The weather was beginning to turn and the blankets were very much appreciated – the mothers held them and admired the beautiful stitching – 2 mums cried silently in gratitude after I explained how they were made ‘especially for them by a wonderful group of ladies in England’. I will be going back to Greece in late spring to support the now orphaned children, old, infirm and disabled. A special blanket may just contribute to mending broken hearted individuals. I will happily take more. All my love and sincere gratitude darling friends xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”  

  
  

The organiser, Jane Wheelen, says: –

“I really, really cannot express my gratitude to every single person who was able to give up their time to help make so many squares that were transformed into beautiful blankets, including wonderful anonymous people who read Sheila Harvey-Larmar’s blog (Sewchet) and generously sent squares by the post bag full. When the idea popped into my head in the middle of the night I didn’t realise what a wonderful thing it would become. I have a big bag of squares here that will be transformed into further blankets. If you have the time, please, please, keep knitting and crocheting and forwarding them to me. Lee Godwin’s photos show what a difference they make to the desperate lives of such innocent but traumatised children. In a world where they have nothing, it’s important to let them know someone really cares for them and to give them something of their own.”

    

  
From Lee Godwin:-

“I would just like to offer my deepest gratitude to friends and folks who have generously donated items for Calais. I am excited to say on last count we had 200 blankets, food, warm waterproof clothes and hard wearing rain shoes. Not to mention donated money to buy food so that the children and I can make up food parcels for distribution. Your generosity is valued and appreciated more than I can ever say…..I hid food all over the car in every nook and cranny! Hee hee! We have arrived and children are fascinated about the increased police presence which I find as intimidating if not worse than ever before….but we continue! Love you all xxxxxxxxxxxxxx”

  

To read the original article, please click on the link Crochet for Calais where you will also find the address to which your squares can be sent.

A previous update can also be read here, Crochet for Calais Update in which you can see some of the blankets that readers of this blog contributed to.

As you can see, the hats and blankets that we make actually do get to the refugees quickly and are so much appreciated by both adults and children alike. If you can spare the time to knit or crochet a 12″ square (or a few), then please do as it is an ongoing effort for as long as there is a crisis.

I’m off to cast on my next square right now….!


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#stitchingsanta Reveals!

It has been totally brilliant, not to mention ridiculously exciting, to watch all your #stitchingsanta parcels coming together over the last couple of months.

I’ve loved seeing how thoughtful and creative everyone has been, really getting to know their recipient through their blog and sending the most appropriate gifts possible.

For those of you new to this concept, and for anyone considering joining in next year (yes, I’m going to organise another one!), here’s the link to show you what it’s all about – #stitchingsanta 2015.

I took part in both the knitting/crochet swap and the sewing swap but, before I show you all the amazing things I received, I thought I’d show you the final handmade gift that I included in my sewing swap parcel.

A hexagonal French ‘Cartonnage’ sewing box (pattern by Tialys on Etsy) which nearly didn’t get sent as I only finished it an hour before the deadline for Christmas post!

Cartonnage sewing box 3

It took quite a few hours of construction over a week or so to complete, the glued parts needing overnight to dry before moving on to the next bit.

Cartonnage sewing box 1

It’s a lovely pattern though, and I thoroughly enjoyed making it – I first saw it on Lucie’s blog as she was a tester for the pattern before its release and it is designed by the talented Lynn who blogs over at Tialys.

Cartonnage sewing box 2

The box made it into the parcel along with the other things which I blogged about here and was posted to the loopy-but-lovely Ali, better known by many of you as THIMBERLINA.

stitching santa

Below is the bundle of presents (blogged about here) that went off to my knitting swap recipient, Pippa, from Beads & Barnacles.

The first I knew of Pippa was when she signed up for the swap, so I spent some time looking through her blog to see what kind of things she might like before deciding on a few. There are fewer handmade items obviously, as knitting takes so much longer than sewing.

stitching santa gifts

I took a chance by not adding sender’s details on either parcel so they would be a surprise until the last moment, as I had blogged in detail about all the handmade elements in the run up to Christmas.

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Ali, bless her, hadn’t even received my parcel but had already sent me these lush quilted coasters as a ‘thank you’ for organising the swap!

coasters

The fabric she used was ace and had funny, and perfectly apt, little quotes in speech bubbles all over it. Thanks Ali – I love them!!!

coasters2

Now, onto the myriad of gorgeous things that I was gifted.

As the organiser, two people had to draw the short straw and have me as their swap partner, so neither were able to blog about their parcels.

I chose Joey, from Littleblackdogsa, to be my knitting partner as she lives in South Africa and the post can be notoriously unpredictable. It wouldn’t matter if her parcel didn’t reach me for a few months but, in fact, it arrived in plenty of time!

yarn stitching santa

The outer bag was quite badly damaged when it arrived, but the contents were intact so I put everything in the bright red bag that she sent with it and it stayed under the tree until yesterday.

Yes, you read that correctly, yesterday – Boxing night to be exact. Why? Well, it certainly wasn’t because I have masses of will power or patience (quite the opposite, in fact) but because we host Christmas for the family and I spend two days cooking, tidying and making sure everyone is having a good time. I wanted to wait until lunch was over and they were all watching a festive film in the lounge so I could open and photograph my parcels at leisure.

Boxing Day lunch

And this is what Joey sent me!

yarn stitching santa 1

Would you like to see them in more detail?

Firstly, there are two Indian cotton tea towels onto both of which Joey had crocheted a beautiful border. Far too nice to use, really, but I will.

yarn stitching santa 2

A pretty pin cushion in the shape of a pear. Can you believe I only have one pin cushion which I keep in my sewing room? This one will be used on a daily basis by the children in my sewing classes – I think they’re going to love it.

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Four fab cakes of organic cotton yarn, local to South Africa, which I am thrilled with and can’t wait to use – crochet hooks included!

yarn stitching santa 5

A length of festive cotton tape featuring the music of “Jingle Bells”, some hand sewing needles and an atmospheric South African sunset disguised as a fridge magnet.

yarn stitching santa 3

I love the little rustic angel that she included, too – I am guessing it is handmade from recycled materials?

yarn stitching santa 4

Finally, there were some sweets, a project bag and a card with a lovely message inside. Thank you so much Joey – I am thrilled with all the thoughtful gifts that you obviously spent a lot of time putting together for me!

yarn stitching santa 6

By the time I had finished opening and photographing Joey’s parcel, I was dying to open the one from my sewing swap gifter and almost forgot to take a picture of the parcels themselves!

sewing stitching santa

Teresa, the smiley one who blogs over at Navybluethreads, sent her gifts in two separate packages which arrived a day apart – I only knew there was going to be another parcel when the first one arrived labelled ‘Part 2’!

Look at all this!

There were Christmas cards and a letter – Teresa, you should be a doctor with writing like that, beautiful but illegible!!! No.1 Son and I worked it out in the end though!

sewing stitching santa 1

With the help of the newly-translated letter, this is what Teresa sent: –

Loads of amethyst-coloured knit fabric which WILL be made into the dress on the pattern that she included. She knows that I like strong colours and, being a lady of ample bosom herself, obviously knows that the wrap dress is perfect for that. I will make the long sleeved version and wear it with long boots during the Winter.

sewing stitching santa 2

I simply cannot resist any pretty vintage lace, fabric or doilies that I come across in charity shops, so when I opened these I was beside myself with excitement! I believe most of these came from Teresa’s stash so I am doubly grateful – I wouldn’t be able to part with any of mine!

sewing stitching santa 5

With my new sewing school, The Stitch Academy, in mind, she kindly sent me a publication that would be ideal for the children to use as their skills improve. The stocking pattern is brilliant, too, but I already have it so I hope she won’t mind if I pass it forward to somebody else to enjoy?

sewing stitching santa 3

Teresa even thought of The Boys – they will absolutely LOVE making these fox brooches and fishy keyrings!!

sewing stitching santa 4

So many generous and thoughtful gifts but my favourite from Teresa has to be this one – a beautifully soft infinity scarf, handknitted by the lovely lady herself, in a self-striping yarn of various jewel shades which looks exactly like it does in the photo. I just love it!

sewing stitching santa 6

What more can I say, except a huge ‘Thank You’ to Joey and Teresa for all the fabulous gifts, and a massive pat on the back to all the #stitchingsantas that signed up for this swap and made it so successful and enjoyable.

I hope you all had as much fun as I did – judging by the blog posts I have seen so far, you did and I wasn’t the only one who was more excited about this present under my tree than any of the others!

Look out for the swap again next year when I get the feeling we’ll have an even longer list of participants than the thirty-five that took part this time.

Happy New Year to you all!