Sewchet

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


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“Best In Show” Knitted Dog – West Highland Terrier

When I posted this photo on Instagram, of the “Best In Show” book of knitted dogs that I bought nearly-new for a bargain on Amazon, it had a mixed reception.


Some people thought I’d lost my marbles while others clearly saw the attraction of knitting such pointless-but-cute objects.

So, when the other one in the series one popped up at a knock-down price, obviously I snapped it up!


Almost instantly, a lovely Instagrammer from Australia contacted me and asked if I’d consider a commission for her of a West Highland Terrier, a “Westie”. 

Of course, I jumped at the chance to have a bonafide excuse to actually go ahead and make one, so agreed straight away.

Unfortunately, there is no local stockist of Rowland Kidsilk Haze, so I had the ideal opportunity to put together a larger order with an online stockist to include yarn for a poncho that I’d admired for a long time.


Armed with everything I needed, I couldn’t wait to cast on.

The fuzzy nature of the mohair would be perfect to imitate the fur of a Westie. Two strands of yarn are held together throughout.


Believe it or not, this is a finished leg!!


Whilst not complicated, you need to concentrate on the instructions especially as this one asks you to “follow instructions as for Scottish Terrier” for certain elements of the knit.

At this point, the knitting was almost completely finished but still looked absolutely nothing like a dog, let alone a Westie!

The extra bits were finished in the car whilst at a football match – they’re laid out on the dashboard.


Now to sew it all together.


A satin stitched nose, French knot eyes and collar, all made using embroidery silks, are the final touches.

And here he is!



For scale, here he is sat in the palm of my hand.

He is about 6 inches long and 4 inches high.

Not only that, but I have enough yarn left to make another one……anyone else want to commission a Westie?!!


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Sunday Sevens #132

Linking up with Natalie at Threads and Bobbins for this week’s Sunday Sevens – a weekly blog series in photos.

1. Progress on the ‘Scrappy’ blanket has been good.

Although I had to buy five more balls of yarn so it’s no longer strictly a scrappy blanket.


2. Managed a glass of red and a homemade pork pie at the pub whilst The Boys played in the playing field behind. We even sat in the garden as the rain held off. Still chilly enough for a jumper though. Well, this is 3pm in August!


3. Another day, another pub. Our local has been closed for a couple of months and is now under new management. The Boys took their light sabres to use as guns. As you do. Our walk takes us past this thatched cottage in the village.


4. A pint and a bag of crisps. It should be written into the Human Rights bill.


5. The blackberries are coming thick and fast – I’m picking over three pounds a day from our bush in the garden alone! Good job it’s thornless. The apples are from mum’s tree.


6. A rare Chinese takeaway – The Boy’s favourite treat.


7. I gave No.2 Son a ‘holiday haircut’.

8. I didn’t realise he had this much to lose!

9. Breakfast at Heathrow airport before heading off to France for the week. It took us an hour and a half to drive to the airport and just forty-five minutes to fly to Paris!


10. I love France’s café culture.


11. And food!


12. Pretty street corners of the district we stayed in – Croissy sur Seine.


13. We did the sights, after all, the last time I visited Paris was as a schoolgirl back in 1979!

L’Arc Du Triomphe


14. Tour Eiffel


15. Sacre Coeur


16. If you turn around 180 degrees, the view over Paris from the Sacre Coeur is breathtaking. Here are two of the Littlies taking a break – we walked eight miles that day!


17. The iconic Metro.


18. We walked the quick way up to the Montmartre district (for which read ‘steep’). Mr. H-L can be seen about half way up the steps struggling to keep up!


19. Montmartre is all about the artists – and they are everywhere.


20. It was fascinating to watch portraits come together before your very eyes.


21. Of course, we HAD to have chocolate and banana crepes while we were there!


22. Relaxing with the locals.


23. Lots of good food and drink (again) and good times spent with family (again).


24. Landing in London to – you guessed it – more rain!


25. Still, we’re grateful to have Fifi to come home to. I’ve vowed not to leave her again as she has needed an emergency trip to the Vet’s whilst we’ve been abroad the last two times. She has recurring mammary tumours and a heart murmur which flare up frequently. Whether she’ll survive this latest bout remains to be seen, but at least she is comfortable and happy – for now.


She’s lying on the bed beside me whilst I type this, snoring quite contentedly wrapped in bandages and her little rainbow coat.

Bless her.


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“Woolly Woofers” Knitted Dog Coat

Regular readers of the blog will recognise Fifi and Tess, a 14 year old Yorkie and 3 year old Chorkie, respectively.

Here they are in their Winter coats, all long, shaggy and warm.

Whilst we were in Spain, my mother looked after both dogs and took them for their annual haircut, and they now look just a tad different!


Trouble is, Fifi feels the cold and can always be found sat as close to the fire as possible whenever it is lit.


She has a variety of coats; here is her Winter one.


This one was a non-stretch fleecy number, made specifically to stop her licking her wound after an operation.


And who can forget this disastrous effort made in rather too much of a rush and was miles too big?


Point is that, no sooner had they had their Summer trim, the weather turned – 14 degrees and rain. For two weeks.


Poor little Fifi spent most of her time curled up in a ball in an effort to keep warm, shivering pitifully.


Of course, technically, her Rudolph coat would do the job perfectly well but, quite frankly the excuse to knit up another cute little number from Debbie Bliss’ “Woolly Woofers” in summery colours was too good an opportunity to miss.


After scrutinising the descriptions and measurements of various patterns, I settled on a ‘tube’ style coat, which would be close fitting and comfortable.

It’s called “Mod Dog” for obvious reasons, but it was the tube style that I wanted, not the Mod design.


Don’t you just love the illustrations?


I had the best part of a ball of “Rainbow” double knitting yarn left over from some project or other which would be plenty for this little coat.

Wool Warehouse stock it in a dozen different colours.


I started straight away. Well, it was howling a gale and pouring down outside, so why not?


By the next day, I had finished both the front and back pieces.


A quick trip to the garden centre later, and I had a set of 3.75mm circular needles to finish the cuffs.


How’s that for a season-appropriate colourway? 


I put the coat on Fifi as soon as it was off the needles and she wore it all night without the need to be wrapped up in a blanket. (For “blanket” read “one of Mr H-L’s jumpers”, because he’s so soft).


This morning I took some more pictures in daylight to show you.


Now she won’t look daft if we go out for a walk, whereas the Christmassy coat might draw a few questioning glances down the pub.





Isn’t it sweet? Although I’m hoping Summer will show it’s face at some point in August, at least Fifi won’t be shivering if it doesn’t.

Perhaps I could make a matching coat for Tess….?


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Sunday Sevens #123

This week’s Sunday Sevens is actually two week’s worth so may have just a few more photos than usual….

1. First week of the Easter holidays saw us spending some time on Exmoor as the warm spell continued. Mr H-L took a week off work so we decided to make the most of it while the weather was nice.


2. Tarr Steps is classified as an ancient monument and has a lovely circular walk starting and ending there that is one of the ‘must do’ walks every time we go to Exmoor.


3. One of the picturesque scenes for which the West Country is so famous.


4. This surely is the original chocolate box image?

5. The Boys had fun honing their stone-skimming skills.


6. No need to carry water bottles when you can drink water straight from the spring!


7. All that fresh air and exercise gave us an appetite for a cream tea.


8. Another day found us at a wetlands and willow centre on the Somerset levels.


9. A blustery selfie during the walk.


10. Tasty lunch back at the café afterwards.


11. Exhausted boys on the way home.


12. Closer to home, this picture was taken whilst walking the dogs in the next village. Don’t you just love the fields of yellow at this time of year?


13. Another day, another walk, this time featuring some inquisitive steers.


14. A pub lunch after the walk – it was so nice that we ate in the beer garden.


15. Plenty of opportunities to have the roof down in the last couple of weeks.


16. It’s not ALL been fun in the sun – the builders have finished the messy work so I spent a couple of mornings painting the sun room. 


17. Back to the fun stuff – another barbecue.


18. Mr H-L took us out for lunch as he was going away on business for a few days.


19. The closest I got to doing any sewing last week was hemming the mister’s new suit trousers. Like most sewers, I loathe alterations of any kind and couldn’t even be arsed to change the overlock thread, so white it is.


20. The Husband looking dapper in The New Suit. Can you see the chain hanging from his waistcoat?


21. You know the way all the pockets in new suits are sewn up and you have to unpick them, well, as I was opening the smallest one we found a pocket watch sealed inside! Has anyone else ever found this before?


22. First night on my own was craft night at mine with the girls. I didn’t do much actual knitting as I was at the stage where I needed to concentrate on decreasing, but a new pair of socks has been cast on.

23. I gave The Boys a much needed haircut!


24.


25. No.3 Son needed new football boots and chose some gold ones. No surprises there, then.


26. Whilst he was at goalkeeper training (he’s made it into the advanced squad) I took No.2 Son out to a nearby pub for pie and mash.


27. Hubby bought me a lovely gift in duty free…..


28. …..my favourite perfume.


29. Meanwhile, I had been meaning to buy another blender since ours gave up the ghost a few weeks ago. This KitchenAid one was half price – bargain!


30. Quick drink in the pub after working up a thirst playing football in the playing field behind. 


31. Progress on the socks went well as I relented and agreed to let them all watch Rogue One, the latest Star Wars film, in which I have no interest whatsoever.


32. My latest piece of sewing has been a real challenge this week. I’m making a denim-style jacket out of some sequinned, pearlescent leatherette. Yes, really!


33. I told you it was a challenge – before I’d even got to the sewing bit, I had blisters from cutting out!


34. A good friend stayed with us this weekend and we went out for Easter lunch today.


35. I was saved a job this year as the hotel put on their own Easter egg hunt after lunch and The Boys were happy to join in. I reckon the Easter Bunny would have been sweating his n**s off in this get up!


Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for a somewhat extended version of Sunday Sevens.


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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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Sunday Sevens #114

Time for another Sunday Sevens instalment – linking up with Nat over at Threads & Bobbins.

1. Mr H-L was working abroad for a few days and needed a new suit, so we went to Clark’s Village and had breakfast at Tamburino Village afterwards. No, I didn’t manage to eat it all – it was a huge breakfast!


2. Bekki, from The Dartmoor Yarn Company, set herself a UFO challenge which spurred me on to sew up the hat I made for No.1 Son before Christmas so he could finally wear it.


3. Lovin’ using the blue lidded dish I found in a charity shop a while back. This time it contains homemade smoked salmon pâté.


4. Talking of food, I’ve found my appetite is changing and I can no longer manage three meals a day (an age thing?). Mind you, with breakfasts like these, it’s not surprising I don’t want to eat again until supper time!


5. Does anyone else subscribe to The English Home? I love this magazine and immediately sat down with a coffee to enjoy reading it when it popped through the letterbox.


6. Apologies if this makes you choke on your toast, or if you’ve already seen it on IG, but I’m dressing up as Dolly Parton for my sister’s 50th next month and tried on the wig for a laugh. The fabrics and sequins have arrived and my aim is to recreate Dolly’s Glastonbury outfit, as it is a Glastonbury Festival themed party.


7. So proud of my students’ achievements – Ellie made this adorable little outfit for a baby girl, over the course of a couple of months.


8. Blocking my Teal ‘Yoga jumper’ before sewing it up and starting on the hood. This has been my Winter project this year and I’m pleased to be near the finish line as I have plans for my next project already.


9. Three day’s worth of washing in our house which they all groan about when asked to sort it out. Bearing in mind it’s all been washed and dried for them and the fact that the sum total of my laundry amounts to the pile of knickers on the floor in front of the basket, I’m damned if I’m doing it!

10. Morrison’s café has just reopened after refurbishment, so I took The Boys in there for supper one night after they helped me with the shopping. It’s a vast improvement and, after saying as much to the staff, it seems that they love it, too.


11. I finally found the right shawl pattern for the yarn that Claire hand dyed for me as part of this year’s Stitching Santa gift. It’s the Eyelet Neck Scarf by Allyson Ryan on Ravelry – and it’s free!


12. Couldn’t resist this cute pair of ankle boots from Heavenly Feet.

13. Finally, on Saturday night we went to watch Snow White, a pantomime by the Shipham Players, in which my brother-in-law is heavily involved. It was ace and the seven ‘dwarves’ stole the show as far as I was concerned – head dwarf ‘Grouchy’ being about 6′ 4″!


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Stitching Santa Reveal #1

Everyone loves a Secret Santa, don’t they? Apparently so, because 45 lovely ladies (and a man!) signed up for #stitchingsanta 2016, a themed Secret Santa for fabric and yarn lovers who blog or Instagram. 

To read all about it and to join in next year, have a look at this post.


I participated in both the sewing swap and the knitting/crochet swap, so was treated to two parcels under my tree in time for Christmas Day – although I didn’t actually find a quiet moment to myself in which to savour their opening until the 28th December!

I had a lovely pub lunch in Wells the week before Christmas with Claire who, together with regular input from her lovely black labrador, blogs at Mollie & Claire. Claire had drawn me as the lucky recipient of her knitting/crochet parcel – and Boy, was I treated!

We have even both been to Stephen and Penelope’s in Amsterdam – highly recommended to anyone who visits this wonderful city. This project bag contained all my goodies and sat under the tree for about ten days……..


……during which time a mouse had chewed itself a little doorway……


….and helped itself to the tasty fudge within!!


There was plenty to go around though, so I didn’t mind sharing with a cheeky little mouse:)

Just look at this mountain of presents!


I must admit that I went straight for the one that looked like it might contain the hand dyed yarn that Claire had not-so-subtly hinted at previously. Dyed with her own fair hands, Claire had even caked the skein for me so it is ready for use. It’s utterly gorgeous – 400m of sock yarn in the perfect shade of pink, which may become a shawl or socks. I’ll take my time deciding what to make with it as I want to make sure it gets plenty of use.


More handmade items were revealed in subsequent presents – one of Claire’s many Mandala creations is far too pretty to be used as a mat of any kind and is destined for the wall in my studio so I can enjoy it every day.


I love this slouchy beanie hat and couldn’t wait to model it, so here it is whilst I’m in my PJs!


It sparkles with silver sequins – here’s a close up.


Two little felted baubles with yet more sequins!

I rather think they’d make lovely earrings:)


What about this ceramic heart brooch? How sweet?


I can’t tell you how bloomin’ useful this stitch counter is going to be. I’ve got two of the kind that go on your needles but, as I’ve invariably got more than a few knitting/crochet projects on the go at any one time, it will save me swapping between needles.


Claire also threw in some sewing related gifts – anyone who sews will appreciate the quality of these threads.


I love the snowman ribbon!!!!


A pack of Christmas pud decorations for the tree next year.


Some pampering treats which smell divine – when are they going to invent scratch ‘n’ sniff for the internet?!


Now this really is lovely and will be used every day until it’s all gone.


Claire even included a gift for Fifi and Tess from Mollie! That’s if No.1 Son hasn’t eaten them before we get home from France, mistaking them for iced biscuits……


I even rescued all the satin ribbon, which was beautifully tied around several of the gifts, for future use.


Finally, this car decal made me smile – how true are those words?!


Thanks so much Claire – I feel thoroughly spoiled!