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#stitchingsanta 2017!

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The last three 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

Gifted to my sewing #stitchingsanta 2016

Gifted to my yarn #stitchingsanta 2016

Received from my Secret Santa 2014

Blogging about Secret Santa 2014

Blogging about #stitchingsanta 2015

Received from my #stitchingsanta 2015

Received from my yarn #stitchingsanta 2016

Recieved from my sewing #stitchingsanta 2016

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 2017.
  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: –

last post

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!)

The Crafty Creek

Squirrels Knitting Conquests

Mad About Bags

The Tialys

Mollie And Claire

Power Tools With Thread

The Contented Crafter

Appleby Makes

Wendy Searle – IG: @wendywendal

The Small Sewing Room

Thimberlina

Sewing Nikki

Jo – Through The Keyhole

Let The Sewing Begin

Jana Kaiser – IG @ja_ma_ka

Pins, Needles and Thread

Little Black Dog SA

The Material Lady

The Snail Of Happiness

Julia’s Creative Year

Nana Cathy Dot Com

Lilly My Cat

Creative Chaos

 

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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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Stitching Santa Reveal #2

Having blogged about my knitting/crochet Stitching Santa parcel last week, I’ve locked myself away for half an hour to make sure I blog about my second parcel – the sewing swap.

This box of goodies arrived well in time for Christmas and came from Lynn who blogs at Tialys, with the strict instructions not to open the card in advance of Christmas Day as it contained spoilers.

When I finally got around to opening Lynn’s parcel three days after Christmas, I was greeted with this stunning project bag made from a striking cat print fabric (utterly appropriate from this Cat Lady) and it was put into service immediately for a knitting project.

Contained within were a number of individually wrapped gifts which I was glad I had to photograph as it stopped me from ripping them all open at once in excitement, after all, it had been sitting under the tree teasing me for ten days!

First up was this bundle of pretty floral cottons, so useful for the free motion embroidery that I like to do so much.

A Deer and Doe pattern was a real surprise, and a fab one at that as I’ve never sewn one of theirs.

I LOVE the Liberty print zipped pouch that Lynn made – so pretty and in all my favourite shades of pink. (It will be the make up bag that I keep in my new Mulberry handbag that Mr H-L bought me for Christmas:))

This now holds my car keys – no longer will they get lost in the depths of my handbag:)

The entrance to my studio is into the loft via a ladder so there is no doorway on which to display this – it will be nailed onto the beam at the top of the ladder instead, to welcome me very time I enter. ‘Embroidery Workshop’, Google translate informs me!

A mini photo sticker gave me a clue as to what was in the next two presents……

…….bandanas and a new collar each for Fifi and Tess!

Lynn makes and sells these in her Etsy shop, donating some of the profits to dog charities. Check out her shop if you haven’t already done so – there are some fab and funky designs in there and you’ll be helping homeless dogs at the same time!

Finally, there was a cute little drawstring pouch filled with chocolates which The Boys ‘helped’ me to eat.

I think you’ll agree that it was a very generous and thoughtful mix of gifts – thank you Lynn!


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Stitching Santa Sewing Idea

Having concentrated on my knitting Stitching Santa swap, I’ve only just started to get on with my sewing swap. Knitting and crochet take longer, so I wanted to finish those handmade items before moving onto the sewn ones, hoping that these will be a lot quicker.

This one took about an hour and I thought I’d share it with you in case anyone fancies having a go themselves. I think it makes a great little gift – I know I’d be happy with it in my Stitching Santa parcel!

I had an A5 hardback notebook in the office, just lying around begging to be made beautiful and, luckily, I found the perfect fabric for a dressmaker in my collection.

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I started by cutting a rectangle of wadding exactly the same size as the notebook.

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Any PVA adhesive will do – just spread it on lightly all over the front surface of the cover.

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Press the wadding on to the tacky glue, then turn it over and do the same with the spine and back cover.

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Cut a rectangle of fabric about two inches wider all around than the notebook and spread glue directly onto the wrong side of the fabric.

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Lay the notebook cover onto the glued surface of the fabric and press with your fingers. Turn the excess fabric inwards and stick it to the inside cover.

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Work around the notebook applying more glue as necessary, mitring the corners as you go.

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Use plenty of glue to cover the tiny bit of spine that needs covering. If you choose a PVA that dries clear, any surplus will be invisible when it dries.

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Finally, cut a decorative piece of paper to act as an end paper, covering the raw edges of the fabric to achieve a smart finish.

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And there you are – a padded notebook, ideal for any seamstress.

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I hope my Stitching Santa recipient likes it – I’m tempted to make one for myself!

 


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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 #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.