Sewchet

Sewing, crochet, crafts, accessories, baking, tutorials,


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First Christmas Present Hot Off The Needles!

Exactly one month ago I popped into Sew Vintage in Wells, looking for nothing in particular and happy to just drool over all the lovely things on display.


Amongst all the yarns, I spotted some lovely self striping “Regia” sock yarn, designed by Arne and Carlos for Schachenmayr. There was also a pattern for knee-high socks complete with two labels to sew in to the finished socks. How cute? I couldn’t resist it, so bought both the pattern and four balls of yarn.

(I still can’t find any see-through wellies, though!).


When I got home and put on my glasses to read the pattern, I discovered that it was written for DPNS – and I only know how to use circulars. To be honest, I think I would have had a go on circulars if the instructions had been more straightforward, but they seemed overly complicated to me so I chose a pattern from “Coop Knits Socks”, by Rachel Coopey. I bought this book at Yarndale a couple of years ago and have made several different pairs from it already.


These are the “Brighton” socks and feature a stunning fair isle design in three colours. I decided to follow the pattern for construction without following the charts for the colourwork, so the style would be the same minus the fair isle – knee-high socks with a deep ribbed cuff.


That evening, I cast on using the long-tail method as usual for a nice, stretchy top.


I love my row counter which was gifted to me in a Stitching Santa parcel last year – it makes keeping track of where you are a piece of cake.


Of course, The Dogs like to be close by when Mummy’s knitting at night. 


I’ve taken these in the car with me whilst The Boys play football. I love that socks are such a portable project.

I also LOVE this yarn!

The body of the sock is in stocking stitch and just look at how different the stripes look from the deep ribbing. The combination of colours are really lovely, too, and they’re quite accurate in this photo.


I tried it on for size just before I started turning the heel and this is when I noticed just how good the yarn is.

It’s quite expensive at £5.49 a ball, meaning that this pair cost £22.00 to knit, but they feel expensive, too, and surprisingly soft for such a high wool content (75% wool, 25% polyamide). As they are destined to be a Christmas present I felt it was worth it, especially after feeling how nice they felt against the skin.


One sock down and the second one almost finished, when I made a mistake and had to frog a whole evening’s work back. Poo!


Finally finished and ready to put away for Christmas – my first present made and it’s not Easter yet!

I’ve a feeling they’ll be worn over trousers as welly socks, hence my modelling them as such.


I’m very happy with the pattern matching as it can be tricky to find the exact spot in the ball at which to start the second sock.


As with all Rachel’s socks, the fit is absolutely perfect.


The extra deep ribbing will mean that the socks will hug the leg without slipping down.


Nice neat heels – the frogging was worth the effort!




Next up, some pink ones – another Christmas present in the making, but with some much cheaper yarn. I wonder if I’ll regret it…?


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Yarn Shopping In Amsterdam

I was just catching up on some blogs when one particular post by Zeens and Roger struck a chord. Rosina has just come back from a weekend in Amsterdam and it reminded me that I never blogged about my trip there back in December, so I thought “Better late than never” – and here it is!

Mr. H-L works for a Dutch company which is based just outside Amsterdam and he travels there on a regular basis. Back in early December I decided to join him, but with plans for something a little more exciting than business. I contacted a fellow blogger, Marianne Dekkers-Roos who blogs at MaRRose, and we arranged to meet at my hotel about half an hour after our flight landed. She was already there waiting for me by the time we got to our hotel!


Marianne is just lovely – and very tall, as are all the Dutch so it would seem! After a quick coffee, we hopped into Marianne’s car and drove the short journey into Amsterdam.

I gratefully accepted Marianne’s offer of the scenic route past some of the more historic parts of the city. A dull day doesn’t show the palace off at its best, but what struck me was how it blends into the other buildings (it used to be the town hall) and isn’t sealed off from the public at all. I know it’s not a place of residence for the Dutch royal family any more, but official occasions are still held there and I would have thought security would be more of an issue.


Having been before, I didn’t take many photographs, but still admired the distinctive architecture that tells you that you can only be in The Netherlands.


The Amsterdam Light Festival had started the previous day, running until mid January. Described as “A Winter festival of light, art and water”, we were treated to some fabulous displays on our walk through the city.


As it was the 2nd of December, Christmas decorations were everywhere, but this one was particularly spectacular, spanning as it did through three floors of a shopping centre!


On to the main purpose of our visit – yarn shopping!

Of course, the first stop HAD to be the famous Stephen & Penelope’s, run by Stephen West and Maria Joseph (no, not Penelope!).

What a shop!! 

Skeins of luxury yarn in every shade imaginable and in row after row of highly organised colour. Stephen’s inimitable designs were showcased and, tempted though I was to buy this book, I knew the likelihood of my making anything from it was low.

The shop goes back around the corner as well so this is just a portion of what’s on offer.


In fact there was SO much that it was a bit overwhelming and, as I didn’t have a project in mind, I didn’t actually buy any yarn.

BIG mistake – I have regretted it ever since!!

I did, however, succumb to the charms of this beautiful book about brioche knitting. It certainly is a lovely book, although I have yet to try the brioche stitch, let alone make a scarf out of it.


I also bought these needle gauges – they were on my list before I left England. How cute?


Obviously, I needed to buy a project bag to carry them home in.


Our next stop was Hooks and Yarns which had not been open very long at the time of our visit. If you go, don’t be put off by the Dutch language website as they speak good English and are very friendly.


The style of decor was very modern – stark concrete and exposed steelwork which contrasted brilliantly against the softness and bright colours of the yarn. Resident dog behind the stair gate!


I can’t remember the names of the owners, but they were so friendly and hospitable that they insisted we stayed for coffee and we ended up chatting for over an hour!


Marianne dropped me back at my hotel later that afternoon and we said goodbye. Did I mention that she has a book on crochet coming out soon? Look out for it – it’s sure to be fantastic.


The following morning I ventured out alone whilst hubby went to another day of meetings. The local shopping mall was festooned with all things Christmassy – Sinterklass’ companion Black Pete being a Dutch tradition.

I found some crocheted stools for sale.

I wasn’t tempted, but isn’t this display a good one?


I found a quiet spot for a nice cup of tea.

Look at the selection I was offered!


This was my little haul from the shopping mall – did you spot the buttons that I put in my Stitching Santa parcel?


Back at the hotel again, I sampled a few G+Ts whilst waiting for the husband to finish work.


Finally, at the airport we had supper before our flight. See the tablet on the table? That’s how you order nowadays, apparently!


You make your selection which you can add to at anytime, and it’s brought over to you. Simple, but brilliant.

A few days at home, then we flew to Lapland…..another trip that I must get around to blogging about eventually….


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Sunday Sevens #122

1. Last Sunday, 26th March, was Mother’s Day in the UK, and I was given these beautiful tulips by my children.


2. They came in this lovely jug with a rustic heart motif on the front which, unfortunately, hasn’t photographed very well.


3. A lovely Sunday roast with the family at our local pub.


4. I’m ferrying No.1 Son to and from his physio appointments since his knee op. Progress is good and he should be able to drive again in a week or two. Luckily, his job allows him to work largely from home otherwise he would have had to take six weeks off.


5. Did you spot a dog curled up on a cushion in the photo above? Apparently, a soft velvet sofa isn’t quite good enough for our two Yorkies. They prefer to fashion individual nests out of the feather cushions. 


6. Mr. H-L choosing something appropriate from the wine menu to go with his fish pie and my blade of beef when we went out for a pub lunch midweek.


7. Friday night was my nephew’s 18th birthday and it just so happened that a band was playing in their local pub.


8. The day after the night before……pie and mash to soak up the previous evening’s excesses. 


9. I went in to buy three 50p sheets of felt and then saw this set of garden furniture in the garden centre…….


10. ………yep, quite happy with the way it now looks in our garden!


11. Mr. H-L put on his best pinny and did himself proud with a barbecue.


12. The perfect way to christen the new furniture – invite some good friends around to enjoy the barbecue with us!


13. You may have noticed the lack of anything crafty in this week’s post. In fact, progress on the socks went backwards as I had to frog a whole evening’s work back to an earlier mistake before picking up the stitches and trying again – infuriating.


Linking up with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins, Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing your week in seven-ish photos.


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Sunday Sevens #121

1. I always love a good rummage through the box marked ‘fabric scraps’ in charity shops. This week I was lucky enough to find some good quality, unused lengths of upholstery weight cotton drill…..

2. ….and some black denim, which I’m thinking of turning into a classic denim jacket for No.2 Son – for just £1.00!


3. Looking ahead to Ascot Ladies Day, I’ve pretty much decided on View B, but in navy and cream instead of black and white.


4. Midweek, we had lunch out at one of our favourite haunts, Holbrook House.


5. Usually it’s me taking the photos, but I managed to sneak on the other side of the lens as well, this time.


6. Carpaccio of venison – yum!


7. The Boy’s school presented their biennial production. This is the enitire school on stage for the finalé!


8. The teachers are good sports, too – here’s the headmaster and the reception teacher doing their bit.


9. No.3 Son’s football team won 5-4 in an exciting match. We took them out for Fish and Chips on the harbour at Weymouth.


10. Spring arrived on Saturday and the whole day was spent tidying the garden. Hubby did the first mow of the lawn and we flung open the French windows to let in the sunshine and warmth. Lovely!


11. After supper, we popped down to the pub for pudding! Even though it’s warmer now, there’s nothing quite like a cosy fire after the sun’s gone down.


Linking up with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins for Sunday Sevens – a weekly blog post showing your week in seven-ish photos.


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Cowl Neck Top – Simplicity 1716

Spring is here and brought with it the urge to make something lighter to wear in the milder weather!

Read the full blog post over at Minerva Crafts; here’s the link: –

Cowl Neck Top Simplicity 1716


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Sunday Sevens #120

Time for another Sunday Sevens – a weekly blog series showing your week in photos. Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins.


We had my four children, two step-daughters, all of their partners, and our gorgeous granddaughter to stay at the weekend, and took the obligatory annual photo as proof!

1. While most went to watch The Boys play football, I took two of them and The Baby to Sherborne for the morning – here they are outside The Abbey.


2. Of course, we had a coffee-and-cake stop in a café. Do you think she’s enjoying her first taste of a jam tart?


3. No.1 Son bought these chocolates for me. I don’t like anything sweet as a rule, but these were amazing!


4. As many of you already know, I share a birthday with my daughter. We spent the day together at our favourite place, Summer Lodge.


5. A full body and head massage was the BEST way to while away an hour and a half, followed by leisurely morning using the spa facilities.


6. Hubby also treated us to the most incredible three-course lunch. Smoked duck breast with various different forms of apple, all steeped in alcohol anyone?


7. Mr H-L and I also managed to sneak a little lunch out on our own later in the week.


8. But……most of the week was dedicated to building work and, at last – decorating. The Koi Carp wallpaper went up in the downstairs loo!


9. I also finished gilding the mirror that will add the perfect touch of bling to the already-quite-bling wallpaper.


10. Did I mention that we are having our en suite done at the same time? Oh, the dust…….


11. It’s also well under way.


12. Do you remember that I mentioned I was searching for some mirrors, specifically the frameless type from the Forties? Well, this is what I had in mind – a wall of mirrors above the sink unit. Although the en suite isn’t quite finished, I was desperate for hubby to put the mirrors up and he kindly obliged. It was no mean feat, taking over two hours to get just right, but I already love the overall effect. En suites are modern by the very concept, and the old mirrors tone the modern-ness down a bit, especially as most of them are chipped or rusty in part.


13. I’ve still managed to squeeze in a bit of sewing which is a miracle. It’s actually for a Minerva blog post and is overdue, so I must try to finish it today.


14. I’ve completed the ribbing on the socks, too, but still need to sit down and google “see-through wellies”!!


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Sunday Sevens #119

1. Progress in the downstairs loo is rapid and, in an effort to get the loo fitted in time for the weekend, we had to lay and varnish a wooden floor overnight so the plumber could get on with it the following morning. I did all the sawing to length and Mr. H-L did the actual laying of the floor.


2. Oh, and fit and paint the panelling, which meant getting up at 6am to put a second coat on before they returned at 8.30am.

It wasn’t decorated, but we did have a functional loo in time for the weekend when we had a houseful of guests.


3. Having been forewarned by the electric company that there would be a temporary disruption to services, it was an excuse to go out so I popped to Wells one morning. I often have lunch in The City Arms, an historic old former jail dating from the 1500s but, as it was only 9.30am, I went elsewhere for breakfast.


4. Un-dyed smoked haddock with poached eggs in André’s Café – delicious!


5. When in Wells I make a beeline for Sew Vintage in the Craft Quarter. It’s in a lovely old building – can you see the hand-cranked sewing machine on the wall?


6. It’s stuffed full of quirky décor and haberdashery items and I spend ages just browsing.


7. They sell mainly Tilda-type fabrics for crafts rather than for dressmaking, and yarn.


8. I came away with some lovely Regia sock yarn and a pattern for knee high socks – the first of my handmade presents for next Christmas!


9. I also made a stop at Wells Trading Post on the hunt for vintage 1940’s frameless mirrors and managed to find two that were just the job for my vision.


10. Back home, the electricity was off until about 7pm but that didn’t stop The Boys from playing by candlelight.


11. Cake fail – I made a fabulous carrot cake…..then dropped it on the coffee table. 

It might look awful, but it tasted amazing and didn’t put my lot off and they made short work of it!


12. Cheeky relaxing lunch out with the Mister at The Sparkford Inn before a busy-but-wonderful weekend entertaining family.


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