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Crocheted Project Bag

Early on in the Stitching Santa, I had already decided that I was going to make a project bag for my ‘Yarny’ recipient as I knew I had lots of odd balls of yarn lying about. In effect, this was to be a ‘free’ handmade extra to add to the parcel as my £10 budget had been spent entirely on yarn.

Rooting through my leftovers to see what colours went well together, this is what I ended up with.

Quite nice and pastel-y, I thought, and the limited palette should be enough to make granny squares in a variety of colour combinations.

So, colours decided, I started on the squares and soon had a growing pile.

I used single crochet on the front to join the squares together, adding a bit of texture for interest.

I ended up with a rectangle of squares 10 wide by 3 high, and a base panel of 4 squares.

If you fancy making your own, you can use the photo below as a colour guide.

Obviously, the bag needed to be lined to prevent any knitting needles or crochet hooks slipping through. This was simply a process of cutting around the crocheted sections and adding a seam allowance.

Next, I crocheted the short edges of the bag together to form a tube.

Then the bottom panel was single-crocheted in place.

The lining was sewn by machine in the same way.

Two handles were crocheted as below with a starting chain of 75.

The handles were sewn in place by hand, before sewing in the lining.

The lining was just oversewn around the top edge only.

Here’s the finished bag: –

I added one of my labels, of course:)

It’s a good size for a jumper or something similar, so should prove quite useful to my secret recipient – let’s hope she agrees!


Sunday Sevens #145

1. No.2 Son had an Inset day, so we took him out for lunch early on in the week.

2. We were given a brace of partridges by a friend and we cooked them with apples in cider – yum!

3. A BIG parcel of fabric arrived from Minerva Crafts – happy mail indeed.

4. I made a crocheted bauble for my yarn Stitching Santa parcel…..

5. ……and stitched a reindeer one for my sewing parcel.

6. I’ve managed quite a bit of sewing for myself this week, starting off with a little purse for my small cross-body bag as my normal one is far too big to fit in.

7. I made this full length sequinned gown for a special day out on Tuesday.

8. I also made a coat to go with it but, as it’s my project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network this month, I can’t show you just yet.

9. Saturday was workshop day where a group of children made their own Christmas presents for their family. They even wrapped them up before going home, so they were ready to put straight under the tree.

10. The advent calendar I made a few years ago was brought down from the loft and dusted down. It’s an activity calendar where we do something together every night during advent.

11. New pyjamas have become a bit of a tradition in the run up to Christmas.

12. Mr H-L had some great cards for his birthday – this one was my favourite.

13. I managed to track down THAT suit in his size!!!

He hopped out of bed immediately to try it on, hence the lack of shirt.

Trouble was, ‘his size’ still didn’t fit and there isn’t a larger one available:(

14. The Dogs had great fun shredding all the wrapping paper that had been discarded on the bed.

15. One last present was some champagne saucers that we’ve been trying to find ever since we used some in a hotel on Valentines Day. They’re by LSA but have been discontinued, so I was pleased to come across some old stock in ‘Vinegar Hill’ in Bath.

Very Poirot-esque, and has put us in the mood for our day trip on the Orient Express on Tuesday, for which the sequinned dress was made. More photos on that next week, so ‘bye for now!


#Stitching Santa Update – Upcycled Cross Stitch

A couple of weeks ago I rescued this beautiful cross stitch from our local charity shop. It was mounted and framed but needed reinventing into something more usable in today’s modern life and was far too wonderful to leave there.

Only measuring a modest 5″ x 7″, I ummed and aahed about what to do with it for a while, having some brilliant suggestions on Instagram.

Ultimately, this is for one of my Stitching Santa recipients (I’m doing both sewing and yarny versions) so I wanted to make it a useful object. This lady is multi-talented across many craft disciplines, as are so many of my blogging pals, and she dabbles in cross stitch herself so I thought this would be perfect for her.

I decided to make a zipped pouch, about the size of a cosmetic bag, which could have a variety of different uses. Maybe for a portable cross stitch project, a small crochet or knitting project, or maybe as an actual cosmetic bag – it is rather swanky, after all!

So here’s a quick run-through of what I did, which might be informative if you have a similar piece of needlework that needs reinventing.

It had been spray-mounted to card and well laced across the back, so all that had to be undone. I then gave it a little steam press.

After trimming the needlework to a useable size, I used it as a template to cut two lining pieces and a back.

Iron-on interfacing was attached to the reverse of the front and back sections to stabilise the bag.

I used the covered tab method for the zip to give as neat a finish as possible (there are plenty of tutorials online on how to do this).

The zipper tabs should be about 1/4″ shorter than the width of the bag to ensure that they don’t get caught in the seam allowance when the bag is stitched together.

After inserting the zip, I topstitched close to the seam through the lining as well. This means that the fabric won’t get stuck in the zip when opening and closing.

OPEN the zip.

With lining-to-lining and front-to-back (right sides together) stitch all the way around, leaving a gap in the lining through which to turn.

Be sure not to catch the tabs in the seam as you sew.

Trim the tabs to reduce bulk.

Cut across all the corners before turning the right way out.

Close the gap in the lining either by hand or machine.

I added a coordinating leather tassel from my supplies.

The sequinned fabric is a small piece cut from a length of fabric that will become a dress later in the week. It adds a touch of glamour.

Some matching blue lining is a nice vibrant surprise when you look inside.

I hope she likes it!


Sunday Sevens #144

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing, in theory, seven photos of your life outside the blog, giving you chance to get to know the blogger a bit more. Anyone can join in so please feel free to do your own!

1. Progress report on No.1 Son’s first week in his new home.

Here he is ironically proudly displaying his ‘beautiful’ dining room in its ‘before’ state. Note the textured wallpaper, polystyrene ceiling tiles, floral curtains and clashing Seventies carpet.

2. After ripping up the carpet, they didn’t find the expected concrete floor, oh no. Underneath the carpet was a laminate floor, underneath which lay TWO layers of vinyl flooring from who-knows-when.

3. Finally, underneath all that they discovered these wonderful flagstones. Trying to work out if they’re original to the 1900 house is a tricky one. This could have been the original kitchen, in which case flags are quite likely. The other floor coverings must date back to at least the 1930’s which rules out these being concrete reproduction flags. However, you might expect floorboards like those in the adjoining living room, so it’s a bit of a mystery. Can anyone help? I suppose a conversation with the neighbours is the best route.

4. Back home, Mr H-L and I went to our local garden centre and had tea while we were there. You can’t escape the fact that Christmas is nearly here.

5. I’ve been feeling rubbish all week, culminating today on another sofa/pyjama day whilst The Boys are at football. An irritating cough has robbed me of sleep and gradually developed into a full blown cold complete with catarrh and a thumping head – and now labyrinthitis has kicked in, which basically makes my eyes think I am drunk without the joy of so much of a drop of wine passing my lips.

On the plus side (thinking positively always makes you feel less self-pitying!) I have kept my hands busy.

I cast on these Hermione Everyday socks.

6. I’ve enjoyed seeing the pattern develop and have just finished the heel flap ready to turn the heel.

7. An unexpected bonus was the fact that the yarn was a perfect match to a shawl that I was making where I lost Yarn Chicken half way through the cast off row, believe it or not. It was hand dyed yarn so I have struggled without success all year to find a suitable match. Now it’s done and just needs blocking.

8. This is going to be a crocheted pin cushion for my Yarny Stitching Santa, for a lady who also sews,

9. And there was this Topsy-Turvy doll of course, shown here with our granddaughter who seems to approve of my efforts.

10. Feeling just a tad indulgent about casting on those pink socks for myself whilst still not having made all the Christmas gifts on my list, I cast on another pair, this time for a man in the family.

11. Yesterday, I took my daughter to Bath for our annual Christmas shopping expedition. We haven’t missed a year since she was three years old – she’s twenty-six now!

We started the day in style, arriving early and having a good breakfast in The Pump Room. Don’t you just love the silver coffee pot?

12. We saw this suit and thought of Mr H-L. I would have bought it if they had it in his size. I showed him the photo later and he loved it – as I knew he would.

13. Mr H-L was visiting his daughters in Hove, one of whose girlfriends works in a greyhound stadium. He was asked to present the trophy to one of the winning dogs.

That’s about it for this week folks so, from a snot-soaked sofa in Somerset – ‘bye for now!


Topsy-Turvy Doll

This has been gifted now, so I can share with you what I made for our granddaughter’s second birthday.

Do you remember having a Topsy-Turvy doll as a little girl? I do, and I also remember absolutely loving her, so I knew I was going to have to make one for our granddaughter.

I found a free tutorial at Keepsake Crafts and pretty much followed it to the letter. This is her version, a daytime/bedtime doll: –

Although you can be more creative and do many other things like a Red Riding Hood/Wolf doll, or a Beauty/Beast doll, I decided to stick to the traditional daytime/bedtime doll.

You start off by embroidering the faces and I simply coloured in the eyes and mouth with permanent marker pen.

I wish I’d backed the faces with interfacing now, as the black embroidery thread shows through in places, but hey-ho.

When the body is assembled and stuffed, at this stage it looks a bit like Frankenstein’s experiment!

I used coordinating fabrics for each dress, originally from Ikea, I think; floral for the day dress and spotted for the nightgown and cap.

I had plenty of lace in my stash to trim both dresses.

The hair was easy enough – just a ball of yarn wrapped around a book and sewn through all layers in the centre to keep it together.

The wig is then stitched on to the head, sewing over the previous line of stitching. Easy.

The daytime doll had her hair drawn back into a neat ponytail and tied with a bright red ribbon to go with her dress.

The bedtime doll had her hair in bunches held with some red heart ribbon.

A nice touch is to create fingers with three lines of stitching.


Here she is, all finished, in her daytime mode.

Doesn’t the hair look pretty from the back?

The sleepy side has a matching bonnet to go with her nightgown.

It’s a great tutorial which includes an easy to follow pattern, so why not give it a go for a little girl you know?


Sunday Sevens #143

Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins, Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing a snapshot of life outside the blog.

1. All 34 Granny Squares are finished and starting to be crocheted together. This is going to be a gift to my yarny recipient in the Stitching Santa.

2. This cross stitch I found in a charity shop might possibly end up being reinvented into a gift for one of my Stitching Santa partners.

3. There’s a new Tailor in town! A Savile Row Tailor, no less, which is big news for Wincanton. We spent half an hour chatting to him about his work. I feel a bespoke suit coming on for Mr H-L….

4. Afterwards, a quick spot of lunch at a local pub. Even though we shared this pudding, we still couldn’t eat it all.

5. Thursday night, hubby cooked Singapore Green Banana Curry whilst I was teaching. The smell was utterly distracting.

6. Friday was a trip to Bath with a couple of girlfriends. First stop was a light breakfast in The Pump Room, serenaded once again but this time ‘just’ by a pianist on the rather spectacular Steinway grand piano.

7. Choosing a sofa in!

8. While they played silly buggers, I collected a ‘few’ samples of velvet. Should come in handy for covering buttons and the like.

9. We had a seriously good two course lunch at Thai Basil for just £7.95 a head, including Jasmine tea!

10. Although I prefer more colour, I had to admit that the silver theme in Brissi was very Christmassy.

11. On Saturday, we helped No.1 Son move into his first home with his girlfriend – in Wales:(

10. The mother in me prioritised a cosy bed to fall into after a long day humping furniture about, so the first thing I did was to organise putting the bed up, finding all the bedlinen and some makeshift bedside tables on which to put some lamps.

12. In the meantime, The Boys helped their brother by ripping up the sixty-year old carpets to reveal original floorboards in every room but one.

13. His face says it all when this gorgeous Victorian tiled floor was uncovered in the hallway!

14. Even more original features were found – every single door in the house had been covered over in the Fifties and he was lucky enough to discover that all the Victorian four-panelled doors were intact underneath.

15. On the two-hour journey home to Somerset, No.3 Son fell asleep. This photo was snapped just as his thumb fell out of his mouth. Cute!

16. Sunday morning saw me taking No.2 Son to Yeovil to spend his pocket money on Christmas decorations to decorate his corner of the dorm, as there was a bit of a competition going on at school. Thank goodness for Poundland!

See you next week folks!


How To Make Wellington Boot Bags

Remember these socks?

And these wellies?

Well now they have a welly boot bag to keep them in – click on the link to see the full blog post over at Minerva Crafts.

Tutorial: how to make welly wellington boot gumboot bag free pattern