Sewchet

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Felt Owl Purse (With Secret Pocket!)

Browsing Pinterest with no particular goal in mind is usually dangerous in that it will take away hours of your life that you will never get back again.

On this occasion, however, this image caught my eye almost immediately.

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Now, owls are perennially popular and, when given a useful (not to mention cute) function, proved too irresistible a present-making opportunity for me.

I remember when my daughter was about ten she loved Polly Pocket and a large part of that enjoyment stemmed from its minuscule nature and the fact that, as it hung from a locket around her neck, it was a portable toy that could go anywhere with her, ready to play with as the urge arose. This purse had similar amusement potential.

Clicking on the image through to the original post revealed that the owl was a coin purse with – and this bit is crucial – a secret pocket!

Instantly I knew two little girls that would potentially love this, and I also had an idea for the contents of the secret pocket.

You can find the full tutorial here.

Made from scraps of felt, the only extras needed are a zip, D-ring and two buttons, all of which I already had so these were effectively ‘free’ projects.

Although if you were to count the hours spent (approx six for both) they’re probably the most expensive felt purses ever:)

The raw materials…..

 

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….the completed front and back before final construction.

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Here’s a peek at the insides.

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A combination of hand and machine sewing make for an interesting mix.

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I chose to include zips of contrasting colours, but you could match them to the felt for a more blended-in finish.

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I’m going to buy some sprung keyring clips to attach to the D-rings.

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A bit of hand embroidery makes a welcome change for someone who rarely gets the chance to indulge in such things!

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The tutorial calls for a magnetic clip to close the secret front pocket, but I literally just used my last one so improvised with a tiny piece of Velcro.

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As for the secret contents, the obvious choice was a sleeping baby owlet.

I sketched out a quick pattern and cut out the pieces from neon-coloured felt.

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At the last minute I decided to add a pair of legs, sandwiched between the front and back layers of the body.

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Another one made in opposite colours for the second purse.

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Lift the flap and……a little surprise is revealed under the wing!

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So there we are, one each for two girls that will, hopefully, derive as much fun from a tiny toy as my daughter did all those years ago.

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Sunday Sevens #169

Only a day late, but trying to get back into the swing of things with another Sunday Sevens.

1. No.3 Son and his dance partner gained medals in their latest Latin and Ballroom competition – 2nd and 4th places in Waltz and Jive respectively.

2. It’s Somerset Art Weeks at the moment and I spent a day visiting some of the exhibitions with my sister and mother. This particular exhibition was in a converted barn on a farm where there were hungry piglets feeding.

3. My sister and I asked the artist to pose for a picture in front of some of her sketches.

4. Back home we’re still getting bookings for b+b guests well into October, so I’m kept very busy with laundry/cleaning/cooking.

5. I keep expecting business to die out for the season, but if more guests give us a bottle of bubbly from their own village in Italy as a ‘Thank you”, then I don’t mind!

6. Jumper weather isn’t here just yet, but I resurrected this make from a couple of years ago which has never been worn because I wasn’t happy with the way the seams were finished – so I unpicked them all.

7. Ready to be put back together with a better method of joining this time.

8. Following on from last week’s Christmas present make of a jumper, I cast on again.

9. This will be a really striking and unusual asymmetric poncho, also destined to be a Christmas present. And if they don’t like it – I do! This one will be hard to give away.

10. I cast on another present as well, in these two colours.

12. Progress as of Sunday night is looking good.

13. I finally wrapped up and sent off The Wedding Blanket to its new owners, who have since received it and sent their thanks.

I’m really focused on Christmas presents now and feel like I’ve made some good progress this last couple of weeks – how are you getting on with yours?


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First Christmas Present! Stylecraft Jumper #9484

As usual, I plan on making a significant proportion of Christmas presents, although with better reason this year than previously.

If you read my last blog post you will remember that we have accepted an offer on our house and, predictably, the new owners would like to move in before Christmas. This presents more than one problem:

a) we host a big family Christmas every year

b) the purchase of our new place is uncertain/complicated so we will be in temporary rented accommodation

c) we need to save as much as possible for the move

Focusing on ‘c’ means handmade will need to preside, and on a budget, too. All you Makers out there will know instantly that the two, ‘handmade’ and ‘budget’, don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand as raw materials are often very expensive. That said, if I research carefully, I should be able to find some bargains – and my time is free (only when making presents!).

And so, on to my first Finished Off!

This 200g ball of Batik Swirl yarn in ‘Rainbow’ by Stylecraft cost just £8.99, and the pattern #9484 an additional £2.99. It’s an 80/20 mix of acrylic/wool so will wash well.

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Because the yarn is self-striping, it makes for a quicker knit and all that stocking stitch in the main body is pretty much a mindless task in front of the tele of an evening.

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The sleeves are a Godsend after some boring knitting and you relish the thought of a bit of cable to keep up the momentum.

Yes, I know it all looks a little weird because of the lack of symmetry in the colours, but stay with me….

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I’m pleased to say that I have mastered the art of seaming and will admit that many a jumper in the past has lain in the depths of my wardrobe, unworn, due to bad finishing.

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Not any more – how neat is this?!

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All the ends woven in….

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….and a label sewn in craft-style for good measure.

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A quick steam-block and here it is.

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Obviously, the back is different to the front, but I rather like that.

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Close up of the cabled sleeves.

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So there you are – first Christmas present in the bag, so to speak, and for the bargain price of £11.98.

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How are you getting on with your handmade gifts this year?


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Sunday Sevens #146

You may have noticed that I’ve had a break from Sunday Sevens, albeit entirely unintentional (Christmas, and all that), so here’s a heavily edited recap of things since the beginning of December.

1. We had another day trip on the Orient Express – a six hour journey through England and Wales during which we were served a seven course Christmas dinner. Wine pairings with every course was a nice extra that we hadn’t done before.

2. The friends that we went with.

3. The run up to Christmas was almost exhaustingly busy with something going on every day, including The Boy’s advent calendar in which they ‘do’ something Christmassy each day of advent. Here they are enjoying a car trip in their pyjamas to drive around looking at Christmas lights.

4. Together with one other resident, I cooked Christmas dinner for sixty villagers in the village hall.

5. No.3 Son sang a solo of my favourite carol “In The Bleak Mid Winter” before everyone sat down for dinner.

6. I managed to finish off this pair of socks for No.1 Son…..

7. ….and this cabled hat for his girlfriend’s mother.

8. After cooking lunch for my brother and his wife on Christmas Eve, we went to the carol service in our church. The Dogs drew loads of comments in their festive coats! Some friends joined us for supper afterwards and The Boys were excited to put their stockings out for Father Christmas for an early-ish night.

9. We went to church Christmas Day with The Boys and the service ended rather sombrely when the organist collapsed just before the last verse of the last carol. Being British, the congregation went on to sing unaccompanied and we all crept out silently as an ambulance was called.

A couple of family members short, Christmas dinner was a slightly quieter affair than usual – it seems I was lucky to get the ‘flu over and done with before Christmas. I didn’t feel lucky at the time, mind you!

10. Back up to full numbers on Boxing Day! Mr H-L is keeping the festive music going, in case you wondered what he was doing back there:)

11. We can ‘only’ seat 14 or 15 people comfortably around the dining table, so there was overspill into the kitchen end!

12. On the 27th, when we had a different set of guests, I invented a new solution to using up the leftovers – Christmas Dinner Pie! Literally all the remaining meat, stuffing and veg was made into a pie. It went down a treat with everyone.

13. Our last guests left on the 28th, which meant we had a couple of days to unwind before New Year’s Eve. ‘Unwinding’ in our house means PJs, games, festive films and Baileys:)

14. The Dogs were over the moon to have even more cuddle time than usual!

15. Unwinding for me also includes knitting/crochet – once I got the darning out of the way…..

16. I cast on and finished a single sock using the lovely yarn from my Stitching Santa parcel, which was immediately claimed by No.3 Son!

17. Before casting on the second sock, I cast on one for me using some Fyberspates yarn that I’ve had for a while and forgot about. After all that plain sock knitting, I was itching to do a pattern.

18. I even managed to nip up into the sewing room for a few hours and came down with this little project bag, perfect for small projects like socks. I may make some more for my online shop.

19. Just to make sure I don’t get bored (!), I started crocheting Granny squares in this Duck Egg DK. They’re going to be a blanket for a young couple that are getting married later this year.

20. Then the yarn orders started arriving…..I went on a bit of a spending spree with the money that had accumulated in my PayPal account.

21. All this sock yarn has a purpose – I want to make 2018 the year I wear only handknit socks. My New Year’s Resolution, I suppose.

Whilst I tend to knit playing socks using a self-striping yarn for other people, my own preference is for patterned socks using hand dyed yarn in luxury fibres. These are the three pairs I have knitted to date.

22. Progress on the pair currently on the needles, although I will have to knit No.2 Son’s other sock before the second one of this pair.

23. New Year’s Eve is spent with the same friends, only this was the first year we went to their house for the night, Just look at those incredible centrepieces!

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25. We took No.2 Son back to school the following Sunday, which was hard having had him at home for three weeks.

26. With both boys back at school, Mr H-L and I went out for lunch one day. Fifi was treated to a bit of pork belly at the end.

27. On Saturday, Fifi’s heart began to race and her breathing became shallow. She was fine in herself and carried on as normal for most of the day and well into the evening. We took her to bed with us as normal but, at 1.50am yesterday morning, she stopped breathing.

28. Farewell, my faithful little companion – my heart is in pieces. Whatever will I do without you.


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Stitching Santa Part 2

My second Stitching Santa parcel was a sewing one from Ali who blogs at Thimberlina and it came in the guise of a stuffed-to-the-brim red Christmas bag.

On to my second glass of Bailey’s by now, as it had taken me almost an hour to open and photograph the many contents of my first parcel from Bekki at DYC, I started by emptying the bag out onto the coffee table. Just look at that little lot, every single one individually wrapped again!

This metallic top-stitching thread is for my overlocker, but could probably be used on the sewing machine, too. I’ve never used this, so am keen to have a go.

Some embroidery thread with a lovely sheen. This won’t hang around for long as I do a surprising amount of decorative hand stitching.

I just love this little tin, although I think it will become a travel sewing kit as it’s the perfect size to throw in my bag.

I love these! They’re going to be saved for those really special projects that deserve something more than my humble labels.

Next was this bag of treasure……

See what I mean? Those turquoise buttons in the middle caught my eye straight away, as did the sparkly one on the pin. Then I spotted a familiar item from the past in the form of a matchbox.

Isn’t that a blast from the past?

Inside were the tiniest cranberry-coloured beads that will be perfect for lots of different things, the first idea that springs to mind is edging for a crocheted wine glass cover to keep the flies out.

The very next present I opened was this jar filled to the brim with numerous beads in all shapes and sizes. I have a shelf in my sewing room with all my beads and buttons stored in these Ikea jars, so this will sit right next to them.

The Boys have already claimed these, so I’ll have to think of a project to which they can be added.

This horsey print fabric was earmarked for The Boys too…..but I’m going to keep it for myself ‘cos it’s cute and will be wasted on them:)

I’m hoping there will be enough of this lovely knit fabric for a Coco, as it’s thick and perfect for Winter. There’s a good couple of metres, so I’m hopeful there will be enough – watch this space.

Time for a little hydration in between the Baileys – Ali sent me some sparkling spring water from her home county!

I’ll be on Ravelry looking for inspiration for these three little Merino beauties!

Ali made me some beautiful coasters from this very same speech-bubble fabric a couple of years ago, so I was thrilled to unwrap a hexi caddy in matching fabric. Handmade by Ali, of course, and much admired by me when I’d seen several other versions on her blog earlier in the year. This will live on the table in my sewing room, keeping all my essentials close to hand. And if I feel stressed I’ll just read out loud some of those quotes – that’s sure to cheer me up!

Several bundles of homemade bias tape is such a timesaver and will be put to good use. I remember loving the blue and white fabric when I saw it made into PJs on Ali’s blog.

Lacy trims because one can never have too many.

Two chunky zips will come in handy as I’ve never got one when I need it:/

Such a pretty doily and so intricate that I don’t think Ali made this one (please correct me if I’ve just insulted you, Ali!). I made my mother two little beaded covers that keep insects out of wine glasses for Christmas, so I totally appreciate the work that goes into these tiny stitches.

The next gift I opened made my heart skip a beat. I recall being totally inspired by the Raggedy Annie workshop that Ali attended, and here is one of the actual squares she made at said workshop! I recognise the sheep on the other side, but this side has a gorgeous pin from Wool And The Gang on it. I’d forgotten all about the workshop but, now I’ve had another read of the blog post, it will be a technique I’m trying in the New Year. You MUST head over to read Ali’s post to see what it’s all about!

Yay, my very own set of pattern weights and a bag to keep them in, too! I’ve made plenty for other people but somehow have never got around to making any for myself and end up using the weights from the kitchen scales most of the time.

As I unwrapped my final gift I had my fingers and toes crossed that it might be one of Ali’s famous peg bags – and I wasn’t disapponted! She put a sneak peek on her blog or IG and you could just make out the front opening so I was a bit excited, especially as she personalised it with hens for me. I can tell you now that it won’t be a peg bag though, it’s far too good to be shut in the broom cupboard all the time. It’s going to be used in my sewing room to keep those tiny (1″) scraps of fabric that I can’t bear to throw out. The plan is to make ‘new’ fabric from the scraps and re-purpose them into a scrappy quilt eventually.

Last but not least was the card that Ali had included which threw in the casual remark that I was right at the top of her list of sewing heroes – not too much pressure for the coming year then!

Seriously though, that is the nicest blog related compliment I’ve ever had, so ‘Thank you” Ali, and that goes for all of you wonderful, supportive Bloggers and IGers out there – what a fabulous community we are privileged to be a part of. Happy New Year to you all!!

Sheila xxx


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Stitching Santa Part One

A belated Happy Christmas to everyone!

I didn’t get chance to sit down with my iPad in the two weeks running up to Christmas as things were so hectic here, what with hosting for two separate lots of people and with present-making continuing right up to the wire. I also made the decision to wait until the last guests had gone home before opening my two Stitching Santa parcels, which meant resisting the temptation to have ‘just a little peek’ until the 28th December.

The 28th – can you imagine the willpower needed!

Anyway, when the time came, I put on a Christmas film for The Boys to ensure no interruptions, poured myself a large glass of Bailey’s and recovered the last two presents from underneath the Christmas tree.

(Well, last-but-one, as the niece’s boyfriend appeared to have gone home without my noticing that he hadn’t opened our gift.)

At this point in the proceedings, the obligatory festive red dress and sparkly cardigan had been discarded in favour of ‘lounge wear’. But not just any lounge wear, oh no – hubby bought me some Cashmere trousers to go with the waterfall jacket bought previously. So I’m sitting smug, head-to-toe in ridiculously soft Cashmere. And drinking Bailey’s.

I had already put one of my presents in the fridge as per Bekki’s instructions, so I opened her parcel first – a Yarny one from The Dartmoor Yarn Company.

Beautifully wrapped in snowflake paper and stripy cord, I had already had a quick look when I put the first gift in the fridge a week earlier.

This was the first to be opened and turned out to be fudge made by Bekki herself, which was a godsend as the fudge I had made turned out more like toffee. (I re-named it ‘Fudge Brittle’ and I think I got away with it!).

In true DYC style, Bekki had chosen a fab card and letter in with the parcel.

The very next present I unwrapped was my favourite of all – a hand dyed skein of yarn from a company local to me with which I am already familiar; Rosie’s Moments. A self-striping yarn in my favourite shade of fuchsia in what I think is a DK weight.

I have already cast on a pair of socks and it is knitting up beautifully!

One of Bekki’s famous Christmas puddings was next out of the box – isn’t it sweet?

Some wool tops in Christmassy red, green and white will turn into a felted creation or two, when I’ve got my creative head back on.

Bekki even included one of her handmade lavender scented candles – one of my favourite scents! That is going straight on my bedside table as it helps induce sleep. Not that I ever have a problem sleeping (I do love my bed; it’s currently 12.35pm!), but it will smell lovely just before lights out.

Yes Bekki, I did guess it was an egg cosy!

Three gorgeous handknit sacks each contained a tiny handmade gift.

Bell-shaped flowers crochet stitch markers…..

….knitting stitch markers, already in use on the socks……

…..and the dearest little pearl-drop angel.

Now I’d unwittingly given my input on the design of this hat, as Bekki had craftily canvassed for opinion on pom poms on her blog, which she dislikes and I love – so the pom poms won out!

Despite concerns about exploding pom poms, mine are perfectly intact, as you can see.

Even The Dogs had a gift each of identical bandanas. Fifi wears hers holly side out…..

…and Tess wears hers tree side out. They both posed obligingly for the photos:)

And here it is all together!

Thanks SO much Bekki – I love everything and you got me spot-on. The thought that has obviously gone into my parcel is immense and all those handmade extras are a joy which I will treasure.

Now to get back to those socks…….


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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.

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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?