Uncategorized · crafts and hobbies · Blog Challenge

DAY #24 – Favourite Place to Craft Away

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #24

DAY #24 – Favourite Place to Craft Away

The photos below are pictures I took on a train to Edinburgh in 2019. What do you do on a long train journey? Knitting or crochet of course!

I really don’t have a favourite place to knit, I can do it anywhere! It’s portable and easy to shove in a bag, and, whilst I couldn’t do it in a car because of motion sickness, you can even knit on the go.

crafts and hobbies

Using Up The Crafty Stash

I have had a huge block of candle wax just looking at me for AGES! Time to get it used up and all the moulds and everything put away.

This is a mould I have never used before and it looks quite funky (it reminds me a bit of Sauron’s Tower from Lord of the Rings), yes the wax has chipped a bit getting it out of the mould but I’m OK with that…it will burn just as well.

I also managed to make 2 more tiny votive candles which I’ve already burned.

I am just really glad to get this little project out of the way, it’s one more thing ticked off my crafty to-do list!

knitting · 30 day blog challenge

DAY #23 – Most Useful Thing I Have Ever Made

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #23

DAY #23 – Most Useful Thing I Have Ever Made

What’s the most useful thing I have ever made? Good question! Obviously it is…WILLARD THE WHALE!!

Back by popular demand – I knitted Willard a few years ago from a free pattern leaflet (possibly with Let’s Knit magazine) and was the first toy I ever knitted (that I was happy with the finished product *coughs*).

knitted whale
WILLARD THE WHALE

I mean…look at his cute lil face.

But how is he useful I hear you ask? Well, I think the answer is obvious, and if you can’t see it, I don’t think I’m going to tell you – so there!!

knitting · crochet · crafts and hobbies

WOOL!!!

wool yarn

Head Over Heels (Stylecraft) sock yarn was half price so I had to. I HAD TO!!!

And then I saw some recycled aran wool from King Cole called Forest and thought that would be good for a Fair Isle cowl I have been wanting to do for ages, and the colours are natural looking shades (but they have been dyed). It feels soft but sturdy.

Each colour way is named after a forest and is made from 100% recycled materials.

35% wool, 20% acrylic, 20% polyamide and 25% viscose

So much for going cold sheep…

30 day blog challenge · crochet · knitting

DAY #22 – Specific items or projects I would like to try

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #22

DAY #22 – Specific items or projects I would like to try

I have only ever knitted one sock. Not one pair! Just the one! And it wasn’t as difficult as I had feared…but it took me 3 weeks to do and put me off forevermore.

I would like to actually knit a pair of socks one day! Nothing fancy, just an actual pair that fit my clown-sized feet perfectly! I have two balls of West Yorkshire Spinners 4-ply in an orange colour suspiciously the same as the jumper I am knitting.

I do hate the smallness of 4-ply though – it takes so long to make any progress!

I would also like to do mittens in the round but the charts always confuse me. Skeindeer Knits on Ravelry (you can also find her on Youtube) has a few lovely patterns I would love to try. And The Crimson Stitchery (again on Ravelry and Youtube) has some sweet sock patterns.

Thats’s after I finish all my current WIP’s!!

And of course, have a go at literally everything else there is to possibly make in the world!

Reading and Books · 30 day blog challenge

DAY #21 – Favourite Crafty Book

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #21

DAY #21 – Favourite Crafty Book

I have loads of favourite crafty books for all sorts of crafts such as knitting, crochet, sewing etc. For this post I am going to pick a book that always inspires me because I love the fabrics used and there are only a couple of projects I wouldn’t have a go at (high praise indeed!).

It is called Quilting In No Time by Emma Hardy.

There is quite a mix of home-ware projects in this book such as table mats and coasters, laundry bags, a woollen fabric pouf, hot water bottle cover, curtains, napkins, table runner, aprons etc.

I have had a go at the pincushion on the front of the book and a trivet. I did the trivet out of Christmas fabric and it looked OK, but I couldn’t get the mitred edging perfect so that will need to be unpicked at some point and maybe try again with bias binding strips.

pincushion
pin cushion

I like the look of the table runner and might have a go at a festive themed one in November/ December later this year.

crafts and hobbies · knitting

Saturday Short and Sweet

knitted scarf

I finished this knitted scarf this time last year, but I haven’t worn it much or at all really. I’m using a green one I loom knitted last year as this one here is a little stiff from being made from a wool-mix yarn (I can’t remember the brand oops).

The pattern was from a book called Knitted Scarves and Cowls: 30 Stylish Designs to Knit by Jody Long.

I used the scarf pattern from page 90 and turned it into a cowl using some buttons I had going spare (I only had two balls of yarn and didn’t want to buy any more to make a longer scarf).

It looks very autumnal and was the first wavy knitting I’ve ever done. The pattern was so easy, it was one of those that once it’s in your head, you don’t need to check the book very much so it seems to go a bit faster.

30 day blog challenge

Day #20 – Favourite Youtube Channels To Watch Whilst Crafting

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #20

Day #20 – Favourite Youtube Channels to watch whilst crafting

As I was compiling this  list I had a sudden thought. Should I list just crafty Youtubers or include Podcasts I listen to whilst I am crafting? You know what, I think I’ll do the latter!

My Top 5 Youtube Channels I like to listen to when I craft (BUT NOT SPECIFICALLY CRAFT RELATED)

5. Simple Living Alaska

I have followed Arielle and Eric from almost their first video and I can see why they have amassed such a huge following in only a couple of years. They are living in a cabin in Alaska with their 2 dogs, have a garden, some chickens, go hunting, basically it’s an Alaskan homestead. What I like about them is that they are down to Earth and make videos with a purpose…some homesteaders will make a whole video about chasing after their cow or shovelling sh*t (I’m not kidding about that last one). This channel makes videos with purpose and their photography is amazing. 

4. Ich Koche Heute (That translates into English as ‘Today I’m cooking’)

Yes, this is a German channel but don’t panic (Haben She keine Panik!!) there are English subtitles and a list of the ingredients and methods in the description box below. This is a cooking channel that looks at both German meals and international cuisine, it’s simple, good, food such as; Veggie quiche with kohlrabi and, carrots and leeks; simple cheeseburger sandwiches; Baking mini pretzel rolls with seeds etc. He also does some recipes where he bakes a giant cake version of chocolate bars – see his giant Kinder Bueno cake! Also, he has a very cute black Labrador that is always sleeping in front of the oven!

3. LiziQi 

This is probably one of the most famous Chinese bloggers out there, she lives in the mountains with her grandma and shows a traditional way of homesteading and crafting. She shows how to preserve food, grow food, I think she embroidered a dress in one video, in another she made her own inks and writing sets for Chinese calligraphy. A lot of her videos are basically cooking videos but shown from when she grows a vegetable to harvesting to cooking with it. I first found her when I saw her preserving eggs…that video had my mouth gaping wide open…she’s using WHAT to preserve it? Lol…for a contrast between western and eastern homesteading, this channel is a real eye-opener. 

2. DUST

This is a channel that promotes short sci-fi films. Some of them have quite famous names cameoing in them and some are obviously university final exam pieces – there is a real mix. And the topics are all sorts of sci-fi ones such as time travel, outer space etc. But be warned some of them are RUDE!! There is a funny video where they create a dimensional portal thing and they decide to send a man instead of a woman and instead of focusing on the mission to get to the right universe, the man thinks about something men are supposed to think about every 6 seconds or so…and my God is that video rude…short but DEFINITELY for mature audiences…but the average video is quite clever, especially one where the universe is made by a cute little alien. Something for everyone here. 

  1. April Wilkerson

She is very creative in that she is a woodworker/ carpenter with her own workshop and now a huge retail shop/ workshop. She is amazing putting together all these projects (after milling the wood, cutting it, sanding it etc. first of course) and she and her friend Anne of All Trades really got me looking at wood as a potential future material I would love to try. I have never been particularly DIY minded, I could put together an IKEA set, sure, but use a mitre saw? A band saw? Eek no! But she makes me want to have a go. And that walk- in raised bed she made? I want that most of all…I’d be terrified of driving all the heavy machinery though like !!

I do seem to watch a lot of homesteading channels!

Some other channels I like are:

Fran Meneses (Frannerd), Royalty Soaps, Sea Lemon, Baylee Jae, The Green Witch, Mandarine’s, Lumnah Acres (when they are not being so click-baity), Jeremy Jahns and Chris Stuckman for movie reviews and OMG I could go on…

But whilst I am on the subject…Chris Stuckman’s review of a film called Samurai Cop…it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages!

I think that’s enough to get you started! x

crafts and hobbies · sewing

Cross-Stitch Finished and Framed

Cross-Stitch Sampler Finished and Framed

This is the first piece of cross-stitch I have finished in several years, technically it’s not only the first of the year but of the DECADE too!

I wanted to do something different, usually I go for big and complicated pieces, this was a smaller, quicker piece and was WRITING!!

I have never done this type of sampler before, but I was looking for something, dare I say, motivational! :O

I am feeling in a bit of a permanent rut at the moment, so I thought I would get something ‘motivational’ to stitch and put it somewhere I could see it in my everyday life. I completed it over maybe 4 or 5 evenings this past week and it was actually really nice to get back to a hobby I haven’t done in a while.

I used up some Aida fabric from my stash that I had lying around for ages (still got loads left!) and some leftover threads from previous projects, so all I bought was the downloadable pattern from an Etsy shop called Stichrovia. Here is the link to the shop if you want to buy yourself something similar – I love the bigger patterns she does, like the Yin and Yang one and some of the kitchen samplers. I can’t help thinking a lot of them would be good to stitch and then sew up into cushion covers! :0

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/673748154/fortune-favours-the-bold-cross-stitch?ref=shop_home_active_28

I realise that with the colours I had, the word BOLD looks like it has American cheerleader colours…oh well!

cross stitch
pattern from an Etsy shop called Stitchrovia

A cheap frame from Wilkos and just ignore the few creases you can still see, would you believe I actually ironed this? It’s the first piece of finished cross stitch I have ever ironed in my life, since once I finish them they tend to go in a folder and get forgotten about. I think the creases would come out if I actually washed it too…but it’s not so bad if you look at it from a certain angle.

On the whole I am pleased with it, I did think about doing it in pinks and purples, which I kind of wish I had done, but I do like the bold colours too…buying a one-off pattern for a couple of pounds is definitely the way forward now, as when I buy magazines, I never seem to do (or even like) many of the patterns. And it was really easy to buy and download and print off the pattern…very simple to do and use.

The pattern was four sheets of A4 and it shrinks down to just one when you stitch it up! 🙂

30 day blog challenge · knitting

DAY #19 – Natural or Synthetic Fibres

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #19

Day #19 – Natural or Synthetic Fibres

I use both, but usually in a blend of fibres. E.g. 75 %acrylic with 25% wool.

I don’t like the scratchy feel of pure wool and I am not a huge fan of merino wool as everyone else seems to be. I am just not keen on the shiny feeling of the finished product. I know what I mean even if no-one else does!

I have never knitted something with bamboo, I think that would be interesting to see how that is made. And hemp too…that is one fibre that I can’t find in my local yarn shop, I know you can make hemp fabric which is eco-friendly but can you make hemp yarn too? I’m sure I read somewhere that you can.

I usually use acrylics in some form or other. The colours are just so vibrant and a lot of the time they are cheaper to buy. Not always. I love Stylecraft Cabaret DK, it has a sparkly ribbon bit running through it and it is so soft, although the cushion I made years ago went all fluffy with use. I started an autumn coloured jumper in the same yarn, but I will wait to finish the Christmas one I am knitting at the moment fits before carrying on with the autumn one (I did it in the same size and pattern, just different yarn).

I love the colour of natural yarn and natural dyes. There is a shop/ Youtube channel called Woolly Mammoth Fibres, she is also on Instagram if you are intersted. Anyway, this lovely lady natural dyes a range of yarns herself and is on my to buy list once I make a little room for a new stash!! The natural colours are perhaps more muted than the usual brights of acrylics, but they look amazing knitted up into Fair Isle jumpers and cardigans. You should definitely go have a look 🙂

I would like one day to make a jumper out of undid natural wool in greys, browns and creams, that would look wintery and snuggly and cosy, I think. And a pair of mittens from the same…with matching hat and cowl of course!

If only I had a flock of sheep I could spin, dye, weave and knit my own wool…that’s the dream! (Imagine if you dyed the sheep before you sheared them – that would be an awesomely coloured bright sparkly flock!!)

30 day blog challenge · crafts and hobbies

DAY #18 – Messy vs. Neat Workspace

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #18

DAY #18 – Messy vs. Neat Workspace

I don’t have much space to keep a lot of my crafty tools and materials out on show all the time. In the same breath I have to admit I love having all my crafty things around me. I guess Minimalist Hoarder could kind of describe me?!

I have a plastic set of drawers that I use for crafty purposes as well as a huge plastic tub full of wool, homemade creations, bits of fabric, kits/ sets ready to work on like a linen top that I have mostly got all cut out and ready to sew.

However, everything is sort of sorted, even though they might look like they have been chucked in the tub or drawers haphazardly – there is SOME evidence of order in the chaos! The knitted projects on the go are all in their own tote bag or wallet – patterns with fabric, crocs-stitch pattern printed off and placed in a folder with Aida fabric and threads ready to go etc.

I have a project bag I bought from a haberdashery section of a local shop quite a few years ago and that has all of my orange balls of yarn and needles and pattern for my orange jumper. Which then got chucked into my wardrobe…

craft stash fabric wool
THE STASH!!

The top drawer has needles and crochet hooks, a random embroidery hoop, Tunisian (Afghan) and extra long crochet hooks, some bag handles that I have never got around to either knitting or sewing a bag for, crap like that. Second has my main fabric stash (with some in both the top and bottom drawers) as well as interfacing, wadding, tracing paper for patterns, embroidery threads and old cross-stitch designs at the bottom. And a random tea towel. And the bottom drawer has things like resin colours, safety glasses, stamps and inks, hot glue gun…you know, the boring stuff you never use but you never know when you might need!

I think part of the mess is having so many bags of stuff around me. But that’s not such a big problem anymore as I am slowly getting through my WIP’s. At least now, there is room to shove things in a drawer and have things out of sight.

So, am I messy or neat? I think both. Of course, you have to make a mess to make anything homemade, but over the past year or year and a half or so, I have definitely got a lot tidier. Part of that is to do with a midget shift, where I just decided one day that enough was enough and to get rid of wasn’t serving me any more. Yes, we all want to make a patchwork quilt out of our fabric scraps but will we really? I got rid of all the fabric pieces that I didn’t like anymore or just simply wasn’t going to undo anything with and that freed up so much room.

Room for new fabric that is… 🙂

just ignore the kettlebell at the bottom…it’s only there for decorative purposes!
Blog Challenge · crochet · knitting

Day #17 – Using Up My Stash

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #17

Day #17 – Using up my stash

Last year, I emptied my stash. Used it up in almost its entirety. And I wasn’t alone.

A Youtube channel called The Crimson Stitchery did a stashless 2020 project to use up spare yarn. If you look at the hashtag #stashless2020 on Instagram you will see hundreds of posts of people’s makes, with tons of ideas and inspiration as to how to use up your stash. Socks, cardigans, blankets…

So many people were forced to look at their stash last year due to the pandemic and the fact that A) a lot of people couldn’t leave the house to go shopping and buy more yarn or B) with so many people losing their jobs/ being affected financially by the pandemic in some way or other, they simply couldn’t afford to spend on frivolous new purchases.

So, people looked at what they already had in their drawers and cupboards. And it was a lot, lol! And not just wool, either, loads of little pieces were sewn as well as knitted and crocheted.

Here are 5 simple ideas to use up your scraps.

5. Fabric

-Use left over scraps to make a patchwork blanket, cut out the squares as you go along until you have enough to start making either strips or squares.

-Small Christmas decorations such as mini stockings or fabric ‘paper’ chains.

-Scrunchies and knotted headbands – Pinterest has loads of ideas for sewn headbands!

4. Wool/ Yarn

-Granny Square blankets

-Hats, scarves, cowls, mittens, socks etc.

-Items for the home such as cushion covers, tea cosies, coffee pot/mug cosies, trivets out of cotton yarn

I love to crochet pumpkins out of scrap NEON wool! 🙂 can you tell the background is wallpaper and not real wood?!!!

3. T-shirt Yarn

-Make macrame wall hangings/ coasters

-Placemats

-Crochet bowls and pots

macrame wall hanging using t-shirt yarn

2. Paper

-Cards, tags, wrapping paper, stick odd bits in scrapbooks/ art journals as background – I have seen a Youtube channel called MaremiSmallArt use tags (from when you buy clothing) and use them as texture for the background of a make before she paints over them

– Discover origami

-Donate pretty paper and card you won’t use to your local primary/ elementary school

  1. Pattern books/ books/ craft magazines

-Go through and weed out any patterns you will never use and recycle/ donate, buy online patterns to avoid clutter

-I have a button badge maker and I have looked through old knitting and crochet magazines and created unique badges (that I have stuck on my knitting needle bag) out of pictures of knitted fabric

-Decide on a challenge – e.g. Make 1 item from each book/ magazine or flip through a book and pick a pattern to try blindfolded…something like that

Blog Challenge

Day #16 – How has blogging changed since 2015?

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #16

Day #16 – How has blogging changed since 2015 (when I created my first ever blog)?

I used to have a blog back in the day that was similar to this one, in many respects. I used it for general stuff and crafty stuff and things I wanted to do – it became a log of things I had done and a list of what I wanted to do. I lost the blog-mojo so I shut it down and didn’t do any blogging for a few years.

I started up that blog in mid 2015. 

And then I opened this one and I find the whole blogging industry (is that the right word?) has changed quite a bit. 

Here are a few points:

  1. Way back in 2015 there were fewer blogs with videos/ video podcasts in them. That’s a good thing, I like how we can add video content now, how we can do tutorials and podcasts or silly short form content. It adds more  to your brand and your content (lol, I haven’t added any but I am not proficient yet with video editing etc.!) More videos is a positive in my book.
  2. I haven’t seen any ‘awards’ – yay! This is a good thing! The Sunshine Blogger Award, The Liebster Blogger Award…and so on. They were like the chain letters you did as a kid (which I always hated and never did anyway!). I should point out here I am not talking about an ACTUAL award, these were just things to get more exposure for your and the nominator’s blogs. I can understand that in a way, but it got to a point where I felt I had to make a post with all this ‘research’ about some blogger I had never heard of, read a few of their posts and say something nice about them, thank them for nominating me and then I had link back to them and nominate 1 or 3 other blogs or whatever and basically it was faff that I hated. If I like your post or your blog I will tell people about it and link to it anyway, I don’t need some ‘award’ chain-letter-post to be guilted into doing it. GGRRRRRR rant over. Thank God I haven’t seen any of these in 2021!!!
  3. So many more platforms and apps to link to now. Way back in 2015, I remember there being Ravelry and Youtube you could link to if you wanted either exposure or to advertise things you sold/ made. Nowadays there are more social media sites, there’s Patreon, Kofi, PayPal, Etsy…yes of course, some of these were available back then, but it seems easier to link to sites where creators get paid to create and that is a good thing. 
  4. Ads – no banner ads! Yay! I suppose it depends on if you have a free or your own web hosted site, but there will always be ads somewhere, at least nowadays they are not so in your face. 
  5. There are still a lot of goodies out there – so far, after launching about a week ago, I have seen a lot of good posts with beautiful makes, delicious recipes to try, ideas for books to read and films to see, people recommending knitting and crochet designers, gorgeous sewing patterns…it’s amazing how one thing can inspire you and lead to so many other things. I remember one blog I used to follow (I won’t name it because I know they don’t blog anymore) introduced me to the idea of making a living solely from online work. This seems crazy to have not have thought of that at the time, but back then I don’t think I had truly realised how much potential there was to make a living from the internet and as such to not need to have a normal 9 – 5 job. The thought of passive income you made yourself at home was totally new and a novel idea…and it came from a blog about making sourdough bread and up cycling projects!

Overall I would say you have to pay for more stuff regarding blogging, but the free stuff is better than it used to be (does that make sense?!). I’m sure you used to be able to add videos on your free WordPress blog as part of your media section without having to pay for it as you do nowadays. And after having a paid WordPress platform for a while, I am surprised you have to have a paid plan for Plugins…Oh well, welcome to the 2020’s I guess!

Blogging has changed and evolved over the years, but as long as we creatives keep making and baking and creating and sharing our works, so much of it will stay the same x

30 day blog challenge · crafts and hobbies · knitting

Day #15 – Epic Fails

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #15

Day #15 – Epic Fails

Sometimes you try your best and no matter what you do or how well you follow a pattern, the finished product just doesn’t look like what you imagined in your head.

The examples below are not the worst ever…I don’t have pics for the pj shorts I sewed up last month that wouldn’t pull up one my fat thighs or the cami top I sewed a few years ago that burst when I put it on!!! 🙂

The bunny below was a free pattern/ kit with a magazine, possibly Let’s Knit I can’t remember the exact one.

I think an image here will speak louder than a hundred words. 

Pic below what it SHOULD look like. The one beneath that what it ACTUALLY turned out like…lol!

why do my creations NEVER look like they are supposed to?!!

I think it’s the dog nose that makes it weird…yeah it’s the dog nose! Or maybe the eyes…

I went on an intro to mosaic course last year before lockdown started and I managed to complete a large tile (maybe for a trivet) and 2 smaller coasters. The coasters are fine, although they all need finishing somehow on the edges as the glass shards can be quite sharp. 

It’s the big, yellow trivet that is the problem. It looks like a pirate skull, no matter which way you look at it, it looks like a face. 

It’s supposed to be a monstera deliciosa (cheese plant) leaf!!

mosaic tile
is it a monstera leaf or a pirate skull?

I’ve done worse than these two things in the past – thank goodness I dont have any pics of an Alice in Wonderland free knitted doll I tried – she looked like a zombie 🙂

I love the process a lot of the time, rather than the finished product.

Blog Challenge · crochet · knitting · Uncategorized

Day #14 – Making for Children

CRAFTY 30 DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #14

Day #14 – Making for Children

I have to say, I haven’t knitted or crocheted a lot for children in the past. 

But last year I made 2 baby blankets (and donated 2 more to charity), a baby jumper, a hat and a cardigan. 

knitted boy baby jumper
knitted baby jumper

I like doing baby blankets as they are quite small (or as big as you want really) and you can get some really nice yarn to make them out of. 

I have always liked the idea of knitting rompers and diaper covers and I have yet to knit a pair of bootees or mittens for babies. 

The blankets I just crocheted from my head, I think they were corner to corner blankets. I bought the pattern for the jumper (in picture above) from Etsy, it was OK, but some parts of the pattern could have been explained better. 

I HATE the way in some (adult or baby) patterns it just says ‘increase’ for sleeves – how? Should I use a right or left leaning increase and where should I put said increases? I had to work it out in the end and figure out sewing the top together, but I don’t think I’ll do that pattern again. Even though I quite like the finished outcome. 

The cardigan was from a knitting magazine. So was the hat. 

Baby knits are supposed to be quick…the cardigan took me almost a month!! :O

Thank goodness I don’t have any more lined up in the near future. 🙂