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Sunday Sevens #63

This week’s Sunday Sevens is quite a crafty one as I’ve been to several craft fairs as well as working on my #stitchingsanta which I hope to share this week. (Carmen Ross, did you get my email?)

If you enjoy reading everyone’s Sunday Sevens, why not join in? Visit Nat over at Threads & Bobbins to find out more.

  1. It’s been a soup kind of week, if you know what I mean. Spiced butternut squash soup this week. Warming and delicious.

butternut squash soup

2. For those of you who have been feverishly knitting/crocheting squares for the ‘Crochet for Calais’ refugees appeal, here are a few of the squares about to be made into a blanket. There is still time to make some up as more trips to the refugee camps are planned before Christmas. Click on the link for full details of how you can help.

crochet granny squares

3. Here are a few things I couldn’t resist at recent craft fairs: –

A stunning, handpainted silk cushion with the most beautiful depictions of pansies, each edged in gold.

silk painted cushion cover

Two beaded snowman tree decorations and a crocheted bauble.

crochet bauble beaded snowmen

Some locally produced Somerset honey.

Somerset honey

4. I made a sample for the girls who will be starting this cute little skirt in their next sewing lesson – the softest corduroy with ric rac trim and buttoned back split.

cord skirt

5. Readers of my blog have very kindly sent me some photos of things they’ve made following my tutorials. The Crochet Cowl Poncho is far and away the most popular post on my blog to date, with 10,536 views so far – 59 already today!

Crochet Poncho

6. Another reader sent me this photo of the One-Hour Ikea Bag made from my tutorial. Don’t you just love the crochet granny square-effect vinyl she used?

Ikea Bag Jane McAlpine

7. I made a lemon drizzle birthday cake which we took with Prosecco to have with our tea for my father-in-law’s birthday in his care home. The Boys made him a glorious, glitter-covered birthday card.


That’s it for this week, although I could have squeezed in many more photos if I’d dared. Do you like the way I’ve numbered them making it seem like there are only seven photos when there are actually fourteen?! Well, montages only count as one, don’t they?



One-Hour Poncho!

This is my first post as part of the Minerva Crafts Bloggers Network, and this is what I chose for my first make – a bold print Poncho with a cosy cowl neck, perfect for this time of year.


If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got your fingers in several pies and have lots of projects on the go at any one time, many of which are time-heavy and are completed over the course of weeks or even months.

Occasionally, just occasionally, I get impatient and don’t want to add yet another row to a seemingly unending WIP.

Once in a while I feel the need to make something quickly, to achieve something within a couple of hours, to finish something.

Well this is just such a project. In fact it is such a satisfyingly speedy make that it can be whipped up in just one hour!

No, really – look!

one hour poncho

Other than speed, the inspiration for the poncho came from browsing the huge range of fabrics available at Minerva, and happening upon this bold “Chic” print which I thought had a touch of the Parisienne about it – isn’t it fantastic?


The fabric is described as “….sweatshirt jersey fabric, a lovely heavy weight with a soft fuzzy-textured backing. The print is a fantastic bold design with the word ‘Chic’ printed randomly across the surface….great for making hoodies and comfy jackets”

Please don’t be put off by the word ‘sweatshirt’ – it’s such good quality that it looks deceptively like wool from a distance, the benefits being that it is cheaper and easier to wash.

If you like it, you’d better be quick as it’s on clearance and there are only limited stocks:)


I’m not a hoodie kind of gal, so I searched for a poncho pattern and found McCall’s 6209 which is half price at the moment, and decided to make view ‘E’ with a cowl neck to keep those chilly winds out.

poncho pattern envelope

I’ve actually got a knit poncho that looks exactly like the one illustrated and I wear it all the time in place of a jumper. It’s not substantial enough to replace a coat though, so I wanted to choose a warmer fabric which drapes loosely for comfort and the jersey does just that.

poncho pattern

I made the cowl up as per the instructions. The fabric has a lovely weight to it that stops it flopping too much.

poncho cowl neck

The top stitching around the neck edge looked so nice that I decided to stray from the directions a little and top stitch from the shoulder to the arm too, on either side of the seams.

poncho top stitching

I overlocked the raw edges before hemming them as a double-turned hem would have been too bulky in this fabric.

poncho overlocked edges

I meandered a little further from the instructions when I also decided to add some satin bias binding all around the lower hem.

This addition creates a more professional finish and the sheen of the satin adds a luxury edge to the poncho.

poncho binding detail

poncho binding

I’m so pleased with the bias binding, I wish I’d ordered more and done the armhole edges too, instead of hemming them.

poncho bias binding

So, one and a half hours later (due to the extra embellishments) all it needed was a cold, windy day to test it out and, being in good old Blighty we are not short of those!

chic poncho

I had no idea the poncho would cause such a stir though and I’ve already had loads of compliments. I suppose it is pretty unique and that in itself will draw comments.

Do you ever get the urge for a quick make?

What have you created in just a couple of hours?


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!


Tutorial: Crochet Poncho

This last week has been pretty miserable weather-wise in South Somerset. I have managed to walk the dogs on several days but mostly they put one paw on the doorstep, feel the rain and high-tail it back indoors. They’re most definitely fair-weather walkers which is a shame because I quite like walking in the rain.

On the plus side, being cosied up in front of a roaring fire has had its advantages in that I’ve been finishing some WIPs (and starting some others…) and I actually have one ready to show you complete with a tutorial!

This one was relatively straightforward – I wrote the pattern as I went and got it right first time…with no unpicking at all! Or should I say “frogging”. That’s a lovely word that I’ve only just come across but I think I’ll use it in future:)

Anyway, drum roll please…..


crochet poncho

Most of the poncho patterns out there seem to be decorative rather than functional and I wanted one that could replace a coat and scarf, so I designed this one with a toasty cowl neck that can be rolled up around my face if it gets windy.

crochet poncho3

Two rows of granny stripe in blue were added at the bottom edge for a bit more interest.

crochet poncho4

Impossible to get a decent selfie but this gives you an idea of what it looks like on;

crochet poncho5

I love it!

It crochets up really quickly and could be finished in two or three evenings so why not have a go? Here are the instructions: –


You will need: 5 x 100g super chunky yarn in Red and 1 x 100g in Blue (I used “Life Super Chunky” by Stylecraft with 25%wool)

10mm crochet hook

Tension: 6 rows and 9tr in 10x10cm


In Red, Ch50, sl st in first chain to join round

*Ch3, 1tr in each st to end. Join with a sl st into ch3* Repeat ** until your work measures 8″ (20cm) then continue on to work the Poncho


Ch3, 1tr, ch1, 2tr all into next stitch (centre back), 1tr into next 26 stitches, 2tr, ch1, 2tr all into next stitch (centre front), 1tr in each stitch to end.

Subsequent rows are all treble crochet, increasing at centre back and front as follows: 2tr, ch1, 2tr

Repeat until your arm length measures 20″ (50cm)

Change to Blue in the sl st to join the last round.

Ch3, 2tr,*sk 2, 3tr* Repeat ** to end increasing at centre back and front as before. Join with a sl st.

Repeat last row.

For the final row, work 1dc into each stitch to end. Fasten off and weave in ends.

And there you have it! A lovely warm crocheted poncho to see you through Autumn:)

crochet poncho2


A “Fruitful” Walk and How To Make Sloe Gin

It was such a perfect Autumn morning that I decided to take the dogs on The Road Walk instead of The Field Walk, with the added benefit that the road acts as a nail file thereby negating the need to get the dreaded nail clippers out (for the dogs, not me).

I use the word ‘road’ very loosely because, although they have been acquainted with tarmac at some point, the lanes between my village and the neighbouring ones rarely see a car. The total combined population of all three villages adds up to less than 400! In fact this morning we met neither vehicle nor human on a two and a half hour walk. Just the way I like it:)


I took a few snaps on my iPhone just to give you an idea.

After about a mile we took a footpath to Blackford (population 70). Look at that blue sky!


IMG_1162 IMG_1163

Back onto the lane and a pretty little corner in Maperton (population 100) caught my eye. I usually walk straight past but I thought I’d photograph it today to show you; the shady end of the cottage has been planted with vibrant orange flowers which smell heavenly as you drift by.


View from the top of the lane;


Back into my village, North Cheriton (population 208) and the way back takes us through a wooded lane….


…and past Wisteria cottage…..


…to a Blackthorn Tree! Look at those lovely sloes;


Folklore tells us not to pick the sloes until after the first frost and, as we had the first frost at the weekend, those spare dog poo bags that I always carry came in handy:)

This is my recipe for sloe gin;

Put 1lb sloes, pricked several times with a pin, into a clean jar.


Add 4oz sugar and a bottle of gin;


Shake well and put in a cool, dark place for at least two months. We store ours in the understairs cupboard.


It’s that simple.

Important things to note are: –

1. You need to shake the mixture every morning for about a week until the sugar has dissolved

2. To keep the colour a deep, dark maroon, cover with a tea-towel to stop any light getting in, otherwise it will fade to an insipid pink

My daughter gave me this lovely book of Cath Kidston stickers for Christmas one year so I used some to label the jars with a date.


Our first fire of the season was lit much to the dogs’ delight;


I pulled up an armchair and they curled up on the floor beside me whilst I did a spot of crocheting;


This one is for me….a chunky poncho in ‘berry red’;


I plan on putting a row of blue near the bottom for a bit of interest and I’m writing it up as I go so the poncho pattern will be on the blog when I’ve finished:)


Greengate Style Baby & Toddler Girls Crochet Poncho

Hello Fellow Crocheters – this one is for you!

I’ve just finished a crocheted poncho/cape for a little girl’s Christmas present and I thought I’d share it with you. It’s entirely my own original design and, as I attempted to make notes as I went, it took a little longer than it should have. I reckon you could whip one up in just a couple of evenings which is great news for those of us who get bored easily.

Greengate Girls Crochet Poncho

Based on the lovely Greengate colours, I have a huge WIP that is of the same ilk;


It’s quite simple really, just double and treble crochet with a picot edging, but the colours are so cheerful and bright.Greengate Girls Poncho4

Greengate Girls Poncho3

Greengate Girls Poncho2

This is my first attempt at writing a pattern so I hope you can work it out. The more experienced amongst you will probably be able to figure it out without referring to my instructions, but it is possibly more than a complete beginner could handle.

Anyhoo, here goes….!

Corrected pattern


This is a free pattern that you are welcome to share – but please do not copy and paste to any other site; just link back to this page. (Please also respect my efforts and do not make this design to sell elsewhere).

I’d love to see any that you’ve made yourself, so pop a link in the “comments” box if you do:)