Sewchet

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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!


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Knitted Mermaid Blanket

This month’s blog post for Minerva Crafts is a brilliant pattern for a Mermaid’s Tail blanket. With instructions for babies, children and adult sizes, it is a quick knit using super chunky yarn.

Click on the link for the full blog post: Mermaid’s Tail Blanket


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Knitted Lace Baby Shawl

Way back in June I was contacted by a childhood friend whom I haven’t seen for thirty years and asked if I would consider knitting a shawl for her upcoming first grandchild. 

I don’t normally take commissions for something like this, but she asked so nicely and was so obviously a fan of my work that I decided to make an exception and agreed on the basis that this would be my evening project. You know, the kind that you pick up for a couple of hours every evening so your fingers have something to do whilst watching TV.

The baby was due in early October, which meant I would have to get cracking as three months is not very long in shawl-knitting terms, and I estimated that about 60 hours of handknitting would be required. I had no problem choosing the perfect yarn – the softness of Alpaca combined with the smooth quality of silk made this the obvious choice.

A laceweight yarn, the silk adds a subtle sheen and would make an incredibly light and delicate shawl.

I ordered 4 skeins in “Wedding White” as the gender of the baby was to remain a surprise, and off white would be ideal. Each 50g skein contains 439 yards of yarn so, although I hadn’t yet decided on a pattern, figured that 1700 yards should be plenty.

Look how fine the yarn is!

It all got off to a bit of a false start because I wasn’t happy with the first pattern I chose and had to unravel it and start again from scratch.

A bit more research resulted in the purchase of this lovely pattern by Sirdar – the circular design, rather than the square one.

And so the lengthy process began!

It soon became apparent that I had VASTLY underestimated the time and quantity of yarn that this beast would consume!

After 60 hours over 2 months, I was about two-thirds of the way through the main body of the shawl, and it took both boys to hold it up for me to take a photograph.

I just love how gossamer-fine it is and how you can see right through.

I also had to order another 2 skeins of yarn which took another 2 weeks to arrive before I could continue.

With the body of the shawl finished, I moved on to the pretty bit – the show-stopping lacy border, which was an absolute joy to knit after all those rounds of stockinette.

You can see the pattern beginning to develop here.

Despite being over a week overdue, the baby had now arrived…..but I still hadn’t finished the border. 

It was a baby girl!

Eventually, all the actual knitting was complete and ‘all’ I had to do was to join these two piles of knitting together.

It ended up being several evenings worth of work, starting with pegging the border evenly to the centre section and then sewing ithem together.

Wet blocking was the next step in the process, whereby all 120 points had to be pinned out to their final shape.

I commandeered The Boy’s bedroom and banished them for two days while it dried, pinned to a combination of three towels and the carpet!

When it was completely dry, I took it downstairs to try and photograph it as the contrast against the oak floor showed up the pattern more clearly.

There wasn’t enough spare floor space!

Here’s a close up of the edging after blocking – such lovely lacy detail.

By screwing it up in the middle, I managed to take a photo of the whole shawl – it really is massive!

It looks lovely here, draped over the arm of the sofa.

Off it went in the post and I waited a nerve-wracking few days before hearing that it had reached its destination safely – what a relief!

Very soon, some photos were sent to me of the shawl in use, and I have permission to share them with you on the blog.




Do you want to have the final stats of this mammoth project?

Here goes…….

– 2760 yards of yarn

– 137 hours of knitting

– 161,852 stitches

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat – only next time it will have to be for MY grandchild because it was so hard to part with after all that effort!


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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!