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First Christmas Present! Stylecraft Jumper #9484

As usual, I plan on making a significant proportion of Christmas presents, although with better reason this year than previously.

If you read my last blog post you will remember that we have accepted an offer on our house and, predictably, the new owners would like to move in before Christmas. This presents more than one problem:

a) we host a big family Christmas every year

b) the purchase of our new place is uncertain/complicated so we will be in temporary rented accommodation

c) we need to save as much as possible for the move

Focusing on ‘c’ means handmade will need to preside, and on a budget, too. All you Makers out there will know instantly that the two, ‘handmade’ and ‘budget’, don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand as raw materials are often very expensive. That said, if I research carefully, I should be able to find some bargains – and my time is free (only when making presents!).

And so, on to my first Finished Off!

This 200g ball of Batik Swirl yarn in ‘Rainbow’ by Stylecraft cost just £8.99, and the pattern #9484 an additional £2.99. It’s an 80/20 mix of acrylic/wool so will wash well.


Because the yarn is self-striping, it makes for a quicker knit and all that stocking stitch in the main body is pretty much a mindless task in front of the tele of an evening.


The sleeves are a Godsend after some boring knitting and you relish the thought of a bit of cable to keep up the momentum.

Yes, I know it all looks a little weird because of the lack of symmetry in the colours, but stay with me….


I’m pleased to say that I have mastered the art of seaming and will admit that many a jumper in the past has lain in the depths of my wardrobe, unworn, due to bad finishing.


Not any more – how neat is this?!


All the ends woven in….


….and a label sewn in craft-style for good measure.


A quick steam-block and here it is.


Obviously, the back is different to the front, but I rather like that.



Close up of the cabled sleeves.


So there you are – first Christmas present in the bag, so to speak, and for the bargain price of £11.98.


How are you getting on with your handmade gifts this year?


Crochet Cushions & A Nosy Chicken!

I finished these “rainbow” cushions a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to show you, so this morning I pulled my finger out (along with the camera) and set to it.  Amber, our “Amber Star” hen, took the precise moment I was about to press the shutter to investigate the new additions to her familiar walking ground. 


Are you allowed to have favourites? I love that hen – she is sooo bold!  She has masses of character and keeps the puppy in line (who has learned that she WILL get a peck if she gets too close!).

I laid a work-in-progress blanket on the sofa to set the scene; this corner is where I put my feet up of an evening and settle down with my crochet to watch TV, while my ever-patient husband has the sport (on silent) on his iPad beside him.  He’s a keeper – he lets me watch Midsomer Murders, Poirot, Lewis (and other such stuff that he hates) on the 60″ HD TV and he watches football on a 10″ screen without complaining!

Anyway, Amber very obligingly turned around to pose for the camera. Isn’t she lovely?


I love this combination of colours (thank you Lucy at Attic 24) and used them to make two cushions, one in ‘Raindrop’ stitch and the other in ‘Ripple’.

Here is the smaller, Raindrop cushion…


…and this is the back made from a gorgeous fuchsia sweater from my stash of felted woollen jumpers.


I made a simple envelope-style back so that I could crochet a lovely contrasting trim in turquoise.  I just love the different coloured buttons.


The Ripple cushion cover is huge and I don’t actually have a large enough feather insert for it yet, so I borrowed a smaller one from another cushion just to take the photo:)


The reverse is made from part of a £3-00 charity shop find; a cream utility, pure wool, blanket with faint blue stripes running through.


I left the original label on it – I don’t know why really, I suppose to shows its vintage origins. I think it adds authenticity to it and a bit of quirky character which I like.


More contrasting trim and bright buttons…


…and here is the “Ta Dah!” moment with them both looking very cheery on my sofa (after the hen finally got bored and disappeared into the kitchen to eat the dogs’ food, much to their disgust).


Don’t you just adore crochet; it makes me feel all happy inside to see rainbow coloured cushions (and blankets) scattered around my home – and even happier knowing that I’ve made them all.