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


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


#stitchingsanta Update

Just a quick post to show you what I’ve been putting together for my #stitchingsanta swap. This is the knitting/crochet category, although I have more to show you from the sewing swap, too, in a later post.

This blog was new to me and I spent a lot of time reading through the archives, researching all about her likes and hobbies. She is a very skilled knitter and I’m hoping I haven’t embarrassed myself with my comparatively amateur offerings!

I spent my budget on something I am pretty certain she will appreciate – two skeins of utterly gorgeous 100% Superfine Alpaca 4ply yarn, perfect for socks, in a lovely shade of blue that reminds me of the sea.

Artesano yarn

Artesano yarn detail

I found a free sock pattern and printed it out as a suggestion of what to make with it.

Artesano free Tiffanie sock pattern

I knitted this berry-red cowl in a chenille yarn which is so cosy and soft to wear that I will find it hard to part with!

Knitted Rib Cowl

This fair isle headband was fun to make and the reverse side is very neat, I am proud to say, with all the yarn carried across the back tidily. It coordinates nicely with the cowl, picking out the red.

fairisle headband

I will probably add an appliquéd something to these tweedy fingerless gloves, just to liven them up a bit. Maybe in red to tie in with the cowl and headband.


I am hoping to find some bits and pieces to add to the parcel as I have a pound or two left in the budget. It will have to be clever shopping though, or more homemade things at that budget!

How are you getting on with yours?


Upcycled Scarf Into Cowl & Wristwarmers

Hmmmm, bit of a disappointment.

Having spent the larger part of a day refashioning an already beautiful scarf into a bespoke gift for someone specific aged 17, I am gently informed by her mother that she wouldn’t wear it as she doesn’t like pink.

I then offered the set to my 23 year old daughter who told me that, although she likes it, she wouldn’t wear it because…..she doesn’t like pink!

Am I alone in my love of pink in all its glorious tones and associated femininity? Or is an age thing and just not trendy ‘cool’ for anyone under forty?

Anyway, it’s up for grabs for £25-00 for the set if anyone is interested:)

So, onto the pictures.

This is the original scarf as shown in a previous post….


I removed the velvet edging and cut open the tubular scarf to make a wide piece of ‘fabric’, then cut it into a cowl sized piece and two glove size pieces.


The cowl was stitched into a tube and the raw edges overlocked.

Next I added a row of double crochet to the upper edge in deep lilac….


….and a delicate picot edging to the lower edge.


Et voilá!


Next, for the gloves, I appliquéd a pink heart (made from a felted lambswool jumper) onto the front of each glove using the same lilac yarn.


A picot edge was crocheted around the finger end of the gloves to match the border on the cowl.


I think they make a lovely set as it’s so rare to find such a gorgeous fair isle knit in such good quality.


So if you know anyone who would love to buy this, please point them in this direction – there must be someone out there who loves pink as much as I do!!!!


They would make a great Christmas gift too:)



Handmade Christmas Presents – Light At The End Of A Very Long Tunnel!

Phew! (Mops sweat from brow before it drips onto freshly laid out pile of FINISHED Christmas pressies). Yep, you heard me – finished!

Well, obviously not the ones I haven’t started yet but, taking a leaf out of Tajana’s book, I gathered together all the recently completed works of art gifts and was pleasantly surprised at my progress.

D’you want to see?

OK then………………………….TADAH!


First we have a Granny square hot water bottle cover – I’ve been itching to find someone to make one for since being inspired by the multitude of colourful hotties on Pinterest. So, if you’re reading this and think it might be for you, ssshhhh, it’s a surprise!

Crochet hot water bottle3

Crochet hot water bottle2

The buttoned flap makes the cover removable for washing after you’ve spilt your cocoa all over it, because you know you just want to snuggle up with a hot milky drink (or whisky) now, don’t you?

Crochet hot water bottle

I’ve blogged about these cowls and beanie here, but these free printables from Kym at Cobberson & Company are a lovely way to present them.


You may remember the four Egyptian cotton pillowcases in this post that I bought from a charity shop for 50p each; I used one of them to make two napkins which I then (rather painstakingly) embroidered with the initials of the recipients. They don’t read the blog otherwise it would be a bit of a giveaway really:)

Embroidered monogrammed napkins


Embroidered monogrammed napkins4

This blanket was requested specially – I hope they like it because it took over two months to make!


It’s based on the Sweet Ocean Breeze Baby Blanket by Little Monkey’s Crochet only I made it twice the size to fit a single bed or across the bottom of a double.



The stitch pattern is a joy to crochet and the pale colours made it easy to work on in the evenings whilst watching re-runs of “Morse” and “Lewis”.


I embroidered a label on a piece of satin ribbon to personalize it and make it a bit more special.


The scarf was blogged about in this post and, to be honest, it was so long ago I’d completely forgotten I’d made it!

crochet scarf4

Similarly, the poncho I made was finished a while ago but it can be added to the growing box of presents that are ready to wrap! You can find the free pattern in the original post here.

Greengate Girls Crochet Poncho

There are also jars of homemade jam and a headband that I haven’t blogged about, but they’ve got their fifteen seconds of fame in this post!

There is one Christmas present that is ready to show you but I entered it into a competition today and didn’t have time to take any photos beforehand. Anyway, here is a photo I snapped quickly yesterday as a little tease although I promise to show you the finished article when I’ve collected it. Not my design but I’ve put my own stamp on it. Any ideas as to what it might be?

crochet clock WIP

I’ve also finished making presents and gathering little treasures together for my #sewingsanta recipient which I’m quite excited about! I’ve managed to get an awful lot for the ten pound spending limit and, by making a couple of things with fabric from my stash and some unbelievable ‘as new’ charity shop finds, this girl is in for a treat!

My giftee is someone with a young family who reads my blog, but that is all I am saying apart from the fact that I’ve squeezed in a little something for the children too:)

Happy Crafting!


Crochet cowls and beanie

Just a quick post today to show you a few finished Christmas presents. I don’t think any of the intended recipients read the blog, so as long as I don’t put them on my Facebook page it shouldn’t spoil any surprises:)

First, another chunky cowl in purple fleck….

purple cowl

….and another in black fleck;

black cowl

The free pattern and tutorial can be found here.

Finally, here is the crocheted beanie in a fab ribbed design;

ribbed beanie

Personally speaking, I would have loved it in lime green like in the original pattern which can be found over at Hopeful Honey, but most people have more conservative tastes than mine:)

Next, onto the monogrammed napkins – now they really are a challenge!

How are you getting on with your handmade Christmas gifts?


Tutorial: – How To Make A Crochet Cowl In Three Hours!!

Last week I bought two skeins of Debbie Bliss “Roma” with a particular project in mind – a cosy cowl for myself.

As this only takes two skeins, I splashed out on this luxury yarn which is a beautifully soft mix of Merino and superfine Alpaca in a gorgeous shade, Duck Egg. At £8.95 per 100g ball it costs just under £18.00 to make which is well worth it considering the quality of the wool.

Even though I was writing the pattern as I went, I had the finished cowl around my neck within just three hours of hooking my first stitch. Not bad for an evening’s work, though I say so myself!

This was made possible by the use of super chunky yarn and a super sized crochet hook, the combination of which creates a loose textured cowl which drapes softly.


There are lots of patterns out there but I had a go at designing my own as I went, combining several elements into one design and tailoring it to fit me exactly.


I decided to use exclusively treble crochet (US double) to keep it simple and let the wonderful yarn take centre stage.

I also decided to make it wider at the bottom so that it would drape lower and keep my chest warm, but make it narrower at the neck for a snug fit to keep the wind out.




Apologies for the slightly scary stare – that’s what happens when I take selfies!!! Anyway, you get the idea – a really cosy cowl to keep you warm on a cold day. So, without further ado….


You will need: –

2 skeins of any super chunky yarn (I used Debbie Bliss “Roma” in Duck Egg – £8.95 each from the Wool Warehouse)

12mm crochet hook

Tension: 7 stitches and 5 rows to 10 x 10cm

Instructions: –

Ch50 and join with a slip stitch into your first chain to continue working in the round.

Round 1. Ch3, 1tr in each ch to end. Join with a sl st into your first ch3 (50 st)

Rounds 2-4. Repeat Round 1 three more times (50 st)

Round 5. Start decreasing for the neck; Ch3, 1tr into next 12 stitches, tr2tog, 1tr into next 24 stitches, tr2tog, 1tr in each st to end. Join with a sl st (48 st)

Round 6. Ch3, 1tr into next 11 stitches, tr2tog, 1tr into next 23 stitches, tr2tog, 1tr in each st to end. join with a sl st (46 st)

Round 7. Ch3, 1tr into next 10 stitches, tr2tog, 1tr into next 22 stitches, tr2tog, 1tr in each st to end. join with a sl st (44 st)

Round 8. Ch3, 1tr into next 9 stitches, tr2tog, 1tr into next 21 stitches, tr2tog, 1tr in each st to end. join with a sl st (42 st)

Round 9. Ch3, 1tr into next 8 stitches, tr2tog, 1tr into next 20 stitches, tr2tog, 1tr in each st to end. join with a sl st (40 st)

Rounds 10-16. Ch3, 1tr into each st to end. join with a sl st (40 st)

Round 17. Ch2, 1dc into each st to end. Fasten off and weave in loose ends.

Such a simple, quick pattern with only 17 rows of crochet – I think this cowl is definitely going to be made in various different shades for Christmas presents….!