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Beach Wrap/Bikini Cover-Up

Looking ahead to the Summer holidays, I wanted to make a simple cover-up that would be quick to throw on over a swimsuit. You know those times; when you want a drink at the pool bar and don’t want to get dressed, but don’t want to sit there in a pair of bikini bottoms!

You can read all about it in my blog post over at Minerva Crafts :- Beach Wrap/Bikini Cover-Up


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DIY Alternative To The “Cone of Shame”!

Back last Summer, Fifi had some mammary tumours removed and had to wear the Cone Of Shame for ten days. She hated it for the first few days, then gradually adapted to moving and sleeping with an unwieldy plastic funnel clipped to her neck.


This week, another trip to the Vet meant either another plastic cone, bandaging or some other method to prevent her from literally licking her wounds.

I found some leftover fleecy fabric from a nightshirt that No.3 Son made, and decided to make her a comfy coat instead. Whilst she already has several coats, none of them were long enough underbelly to cover the affected area.

So, for those of you who would rather not put your own dog through the trauma of The Cone, here’s a quick way to make a lick-prevention jacket.

 Measure your dog around the widest part of her ribs, just behind the front legs, then add an inch for seam allowances.

Measure from the back of her neck towards the tail, at a point just in front of the back legs (so he/she can still wee easily!).

Cut a rectangle of fabric to these measurements.


With right sides facing, sew the short ends together with a half inch seam.


I pressed open the seam and top stitched it flat so there would be no irritation next to the skin.


Measure the distance between the front legs and cut two leg holes on the underside. The distance from the neck to the legs will determine how far back these openings are placed.


Done.

How long did that take? Five minutes at the most, but your dog will thank you for your efforts, trust me!




See? She can’t get to her wound because the coat is completely covering it.


She soon gave up trying and settled down happily. 


And we’re happy because: –

a) she won’t keep us awake with her licky sounds all night long – you’d be surprised how loud (and annoying) licking can be in the middle of the night.

b) no oozing on the (very white) duvet cover. Yes, she sleeps on our bed. She’s 14, what the hell.

c) she can actually get comfortable and sleep, which is virtually impossible when wearing a plastic cone to bed.

Failing the ability to actually sew a seam, just grab one of hubby’s old long sleeve T-shirts, cut it to the right length and make two leg holes in the appropriate place. No sewing needed:)


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Funky Sleeping Bag (and Hoodie!)

This month’s blog post for Minerva Crafts is two-for-the-price-of-one.

I had just enough left over from making a sleeping bag to make a hoodie for one of The Boys as well.

Click on the link to read all about both makes: – Sleeping Bag & Hoodie

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Personalised Christmas Sacks – A Tutorial

In case you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is just around the corner – nine days, to be precise and I’ve got a great last-minute make for you; a personalised Christmas sack for that special little person in your life.

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I’m not joking when I say last-minute as I made TWO personalised sacks yesterday afternoon, each one taking about two and a half hours from start to finish. They’d make great gifts, too, with a little something popped inside and they only cost £12.94 each to make so won’t break the bank.

This is the parcel that arrived from Minerva Crafts: –

P1060959For each sack you will need:

Trim your gingham fabric to the same size as the hessian – 39″ x 56″.

Put the offcuts to one side as you will use these for the tie and the fabric letters.

Draw a reindeer on a sheet of paper and cut out the individual elements separately.

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Cut these out of the felt squares using the picture below as a guide.

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Stitch the nose and eyes onto the felt face – I used free machine embroidery throughout to achieve a ‘scribble’ effect which works well on children’s gifts.

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Fold your hessian in half and arrange the felt pieces in the centre as shown.

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Hessian has an open weave which tends to move quite a lot, so either tack your appliqués on first or use LOTS of pins to keep them in place while you sew them on.

I loathe tacking so I opted for pin overkill instead.

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With the reindeer face stitched securely in place, it’s time to move on to personalising your sack.

You can download a suitable font or just freehand it like I did onto thin card. As I was making two sacks I had both blue and red gingham offcuts to cut the letters from. I also decided to use some paper backed fusible web to secure the letters to the hessian before stitching them.

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Arrange the letters evenly in a curve around the bottom of the reindeer, remove the paper backing and iron in place.

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Two rounds of stitching on each letter gives a good effect.

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When all your stitching is done, sew the top edge of the sack to the top edge of the lining with right sides together (sorry, no photo). Press the seam flat to create a crisp edge.

Then, lay your fabric out on a large table or on the floor and fold in half lengthwise, right sides together to create a ‘tube’.

Pin all the way around, leaving a gap in the lining where shown through which to turn. (I forgot to photograph this step on the first sack so the lining is shown in red).

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Put pins at 8″ from the top edge and 9″ from the top edge – this will be a break in the stitching to provide a channel for the tie.

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Sew all the way around the three sides with breaks in the stitching as described above.

Trim the corners and turn the sack through to the right side. Sew the lining closed at the gap through which it was turned. Press.

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With a soft pencil or tailor’s chalk, mark two parallel lines all the way around at 8″ and 9″ from the top edge of the sack. Pin through both layers of fabric. Stitch along the lines.

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For the tie, use your remaining offcuts of gingham to assemble a length that measures about 70″ x 2″.

Fold in and press 1/4″ at each short end.

Fold in and press 1/4″ along each long edge.

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Bring the folded long edges together enclosing the raw edges.

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Stitch close to the edge to finish your tie.

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Use a safety pin to thread the tie through the channel in the gap left for this purpose.

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And that’s it – finished!

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A beautiful sack which any child would be delighted to have on Christmas Day to pop all their opened presents into.

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They’re huge, too, I would have added The Boys to the photo for scale except that the sacks are a surprise for them.

You’ve still got time, so who fancies whipping up a Christmas Sack for their little boy or girl?

 

 


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Folding Travel Photo Frame And Case

I was contacted recently by Craftseller magazine in relation to their “Blogger of the Month” feature and was asked if I would like a free double page spread in their magazine.

Um, let me think a minute…..yeeees!

As part of the feature I designed a free pattern for the readers, which was to be copyright-free allowing full reproduction rights. This was harder than it initially seems, I mean, what could I design that hadn’t been done before????

I came up with the idea of a folding travel photo frame and Googled/Pinterest-ed it…….not a single result.

Not one.

No one seems to have come up with a tutorial for such a thing, unless I just didn’t type in the correct keywords. So that was it, decision made, a “Folding Travel Photo Frame And Case” was going to be the free pattern for Craftseller’s readers.

After finalising materials and method on a prototype, this is the final product: –

Travel photo frame and case

Do you like it?

You may remember the “Postcards” fabric from the “Spring In Paris” collection by Studio Voltaire that I bought earlier in the year (see this post), well I thought it would be the perfect match for a travel themed project.

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So, here goes with the tutorial!

You will need: –

  • A single fat quarter of fabric
  • Medium weight iron on interfacing
  • 1 sheet acetate
  • 1 sheet cardstock
  • 2″ length of hook and loop fastener

Cut the following: –

  • fabric: –                     2 x pieces  12″ x 3.5″

1 x piece 4.5″ x 3.5″

  • iron-on interfacing: – 2 x pieces 12″ x 3.5″

1 x piece 4.5″ x 3.5″

  • acetate: –                  1 x piece 3.5″ x 2.5″
  • cardstock: –              2 x pieces 3.5″ x 2.5″

1 x piece 2.5″ x 2″

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  1. Fuse the interfacing to the reverse of the matching fabric pieces following the manufacturers instructions.
  2. Place the acetate in the centre of the reverse of your 4.5″ x 3.5″ piece of fabric and draw around it, marking a rectangle. Remove the acetate and stay stitch the corners of the marked rectangle..
  3. Draw a second rectangle 1/4″ inside the first one and cut this section out to create a window for your photograph.

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4. Clip corners diagonally to the stay stitching.

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5. Fold to inside along the solid lines. Press.

6. Turn down a 1/4″ hem on the top edge and top stitch close to the fold. P1060346

7. Place acetate on the reverse of the window and top stitch close to the inner edge on all four sides.

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8. Turn and press a 1/4″ hem on remaining three sides of the fabric, being careful not to touch the acetate with the iron.

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It should now look like this from the right side.

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9. To make your frame, take both 12″ x 3.5″ pieces and, with right sides together, sew around three sides with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Trim corners, turn and press.

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10. With the right side up, place your window on top of the frame aligning the bottom folded edge with the bottom seam of your frame. Top stitch the window close to folded edges on three sides, leaving the top edge open to slip your photo into.

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11. Insert a 3.5″ x 2.5″ piece of card into the open, unfinished end of the frame and push right down to the bottom.

12. Sew just above the window through all layers of the frame to encase the card.

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13. Insert the second 3.5″ x 2.5″ piece of card and push down to meet the previous line of stitching.

14. Sew across the width of the frame as before, encasing the second piece of card.

15. Repeat steps 13 & 14 with the smallest 2.5″ x 2″ piece of card.

16.Turn in the raw edges of the frame opening, press and top stitch to close.

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17. Window side uppermost, stitch the loop side of the hook and loop fastener to the opposite end of the frame as shown below.

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18. Hand stitch the hook side of the fastener to the reverse of the window along the bottom edge.

19. To assemble your travel photo frame, simply fold into a triangle shape and press together the hook and loop fastener.

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20. Slide your 3″ x 2″ photo in behind the acetate.

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For the case: –

  1. Fuse interfacing to a piece of fabric measuring 16″ x 4.5″. Fold in half width-wise and sew a 1/4″ seam on the three raw edges, leaving a gap to turn.

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2. Turn and press.

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3. Top stitch close to the edge of the bottom edge.

4. Fold up from the bottom about 3.25″, so the top stitched edge stops 1.25″ from the top edge.

5. Top stitch around the side and top edges to finish.

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6. Fold your travel photo frame flat and pop inside the case.

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There you have it, a compact and portable, travel-themed folding photo frame – perfect for the traveller or person who works away from home.

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Look out for my Blogger Of The Month feature in Craftseller magazine soon!


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How To Make A Child’s Teepee Wigwam

I know it’s bad form to utter the ‘C’ word while it’s still the school Summer holidays, but my August make for the Minerva Craft Blogger Network is this beautiful Teepee, which is indeed a Christmas present for a little girl in the family.

wigwam teepee tipi play tent

I have to admit that this is not the first Christmas present I’ve made this year as I tend to make them all year round, as and when an idea springs to mind, but it’s definitely my favourite so far.

Isn’t it sweet?

teepee wigwam play tent tipi

There are LOTS of tutorials out there showing many ways to make your own wigwam, but none of them were quite what I wanted, so this is my version which is suitable for a toddler – adjust the measurements upwards to make a larger tent for older children.

It is an amalgamation of several basic designs that I’ve come across which I have then personalised to suit the recipient using various appliquéd motifs and letters.

This lovely fabric bundle arrived from Minerva: –

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The white base fabric for the teepee is a thick cotton drill which makes a nice, strong tent. I also chose two contrasting fabrics which are lighter weight cottons; a gorgeous ‘Cath Kidston’ inspired floral cotton poplin and a dusky pink polycotton.

You will need: –

  • 2 1/2m of cotton drill
  • 1m floral fabric
  • 1m plain fabric
  • selection of scraps from your stash
  • 4 x plastic overflow pipe, each measuring 2.00m x 22mm (99p each from Wickes)
  • A leather shoelace or similar

Using the large diagram as a guide, fold your 2 1/2m of white fabric in half lengthwise and cut out as shown.

Cutting layout diagram

You should now have three equally sized triangles and two half-triangles. Stitch the two half-triangles together along the long straight edge with a narrow seam to make a single triangle. (I cut mine wrong, hence the off-centre seam!)

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The bottom edges can be hemmed if you wish, although I left mine as the selvedge forms the bottom.

Cut rectangles of fabric out of the contrast floral fabric as per the two smaller diagrams, then make about 4m of bias binding using your plain fabric.

(See my tutorial here on how to make bias binding).

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Apply bias binding to one side and lower edge of the two large pieces of floral fabric – these will form your front curtains.

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To shape the sides of the curtains to match the slope of the wigwam, place a large white triangle over the curtain, bottom edges matching and raw edges up the side. Your floral fabric will poke out beyond the edge of the triangle as seen below.

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Cut off the excess floral fabric.

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Take a curtain and pin the top edge to the bottom edge of your small white triangle, wrong sides together.

Take your other curtain and pin over the top of the first curtain.

It should now look like this.

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Sew together using a flat fell seam. (This previous post shows how to make a flat fell seam.)

You can leave it plain as this type of seam leaves a nice neat finish, but I chose to decorate mine with a strip of bias binding and a row of pom pom trim from my stash.

Similar pompom trim can be bought here.

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Make the curtain tiebacks as follows.

Fold the small floral rectangles in half lengthwise and stitch a small seam along one short and the long side.

Turn and press.

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With raw edges matching, pin and baste about halfway down the unfinished sloping edge of each curtain.

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Take a large white triangle and cut a 25 x25cm square for the window the base of which should be about 58cm up from the bottom edge.

Snip diagonally into each corner by 1cm and fold in a 1cm double hem. Pin in place.

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Stitch, sewing across corners as shown.

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Cut two little curtains, each one 15 x 27cm.

Hem all four edges and trim the opening edges with more pom pom trim.

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Make two tiny curtain tiebacks: –

Fold a 10cm length of bias binding in half lengthways and stitch close to the edge.

Stitch a 1cm square piece of velcro to one end.

Pin curtain to window at top and side.

Insert tieback under curtain about 10cm up from the lower edge, velcro side uppermost as shown.

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Stitch curtain in place, catching tieback in seam as you go.

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Sew the other piece of velcro to the inside of the window.

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You can continue to decorate your teepee or just sew the sides together at this point – just scroll down to the relevant section.

I personalised this one with a name which I first printed out on card using Cooper std font in size 240pt. Separating the letters makes them easier to cut out. For best results use a craft knife.

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Fuse a piece of interfacing onto the wrong side of your contrast fabric and trace around each of the letters making sure you reverse them first.

(I have plenty in my stash, but you can buy interfacing here at Minerva.)

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Cut around each letter carefully using embroidery scissors for accuracy.

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Pin the letters in place and sew above the window using a satin stitch on your machine.

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I decorated the sides of the teepee with a mixture of appliquéd flowers and butterflies – just click the links below to download the PDF for these.

Butterflies

Flowers

Each motif was interfaced before being cut out and sewn on with satin stitch as before.

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They look quite nice on the wrong side as well!

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Now for putting the whole teepee together.

Start by sewing each of the four sections together at the side seams, wrong sides together, in a 1cm seam.

Turn so that right sides are now facing each other and sew a 4cm seam (effectively just a huge French seam) which will create the tubes through which your pipes will pass.

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Sew a small square of velcro onto the front door curtains in the same way as before, and a matching piece inside the curtain close to the seam.

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Cut the pipes to 1800mm in length and thread through the casings.

(You may have to trim an inch or two from the top of the teepee to make room for all the poles like I had to).

Tie a leather shoelace or other cording around the top of the tent to keep the poles in place.

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And that’s it!

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I had to get a photo with the chickens!

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Hopefully I haven’t ruined the surprise as I’m pretty certain this little girl’s mother doesn’t read my blog!

As this teepee only takes up about one square metre of floor space, it is ideal for indoor use and, I suspect, this one will live permanently in her bedroom as a quiet reading nook.

Teepees aren’t only for girls though – what little boy wouldn’t love his own pirate version using this pirate fabric from Minerva?

Or how about a unisex wigwam to suit a brother and sister with this gorgeous Kite print?

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Wouldn’t it look lovely draped with fairy lights and bunting?

In fact I might just go and make some bunting now……


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How To Make A Mobile Phone Case

Everyone has a mobile (cell) phone nowadays and cases get tatty pretty quickly what with all that in-out wear and tear, so here’s a quick guide to making a new one.

They use so little fabric and are quick to make that they would make a great present, especially if you personalise it like I have done, with a name and motif.

Here’s how: –

Cut out your motif leaving a little fabric around all sides.

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Iron a small pieces of interfacing to the reverse of the motif.

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Pin the motif onto the fabric you are going to make the case out of.

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Drop the feed dogs, remove the presser foot and free-machine embroider the motif to the base fabric. In this instance, I just followed the curly white lines with white thread.

(You can use Bondaweb or similar to fuse the motif to the base fabric if you would prefer the no-sew option.)

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Trim away the excess fabric from the motif, cutting close to the stitching.

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Repeat the process for the back and add any other details at this point too – I also embroidered the name of the recipient using the machine.

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Measure your ‘phone and add a seam allowance, then cut your appliquéd sections, lining and wadding to the same size.

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Sandwich a layer of wadding between the lining and main fabric and pin together. Baste through all three layers.

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With lining pieces facing out and motifs facing in, pin front to back.

Stitch around the sides and bottom, leaving the top open.

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Trim the seams and finish neatly by enclosing in a thin ribbon.

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Turn out the right way.

A strip of bias binding is then stitched all the way around the top opening edge to enclose the raw edges.

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This will be winging its way to Italy in a few weeks when I have finished the matching yarn bag.

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The wooly sheep motif is ideal for a yarn addict like Tajana, but you could easily adapt your design to suit other hobbies or passions.

Maybe a fish motif for a keen fisherman, or a cat/dog for an animal lover?

What would you choose to put on the front if you were making a phone case as a gift?