shiny crochet sardine

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This little guy has been swimming around in my head for a while now.

Today he finally got out.

I always thought pilchards and sardines were different fish. Actually, I never thought that before today. This is the first time I ever contemplated pilchards. But I wanted to know what to call this post so i looked them up. It seems to depend where in the world you are but generally pilchards are longer than 15cm long so this is a sardine :)

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party & preparations

I’ll be getting married in three weeks and yesterday we had a little party to celebrate! It was good and we even had a super delicious personalised chocolate and orange cake:

We decided to get married about a month ago and it was a quick ring round to book the ceremony, reception, food, etc. and then on to the more important activity of crafting various things!

First up, party bags / wedding favours. About a third of the guests are children and the reception is on a boat so a pirate theme seemed a good way to go :)

I picked up a pile of plain totes, printed a simple skull and crossbones graphic to trace around and they turned out great! I can’t show you what’s gone in them all yet, in case someone happens to read this but I’ll get some photos on the day :)

The next thing I decided to make was a fur coat. I’ve always liked the *idea* of a fur coat and they look great on other people but they make me feel like I’m playing dress-up. Well if you can’t play dress-up on your wedding day then when can you! I used this free downloadable oversized fur coat pattern from See Kate Sew

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What I liked about this pattern was that it’s just one size, a basic shape and no fastenings. This was my first time sewing with fur, first time sewing sleeves and first time adding a lining! It went quite well. I was initially worried the fur would be weird around the seams but it’s fairly short haired and is absolutely fine.

The colour is toffee. I think this will work well for the wedding but I might dye it pink afterwards…

Next weekend I’m making the dress!

We also made our wedding rings but I’ll do a whole separate post about that soon

 

darning socks

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I have lots of socks with holes in the toes. It seems a shame to throw them out just for that. Today I bought a little darning mushroom to make fixing them easier. It’s cute and painted to look like a mushroom.

I just used a regular little needle and ends of normal sewing cotton I had lying around. I wasn’t too bothered about the colours but now I quite like having one red patch and one blue patch :)

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Nice hat Angelina! (drawing with thread)

Today I went to a freestyle machine embroidery workshop in Oxford, where we learnt to draw with thread and a sewing machine.

The first challenge was attaching the right foot to the machine! A cool little springy thing. and remember to put the feed dogs down. Then put the material in a hoop and we were away – some wiggly practice:

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more!

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Then I got a bit carried away and ended up accidentally folding the corner of the material under, tangling all the threads and somehow sewing the hoop inside so I had to cut it out…

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For my final practice I drew a little bird. Here we were trying out the technique we’d use to copy a photo – drawing a simplified version of the image onto pattern paper and then sewing straight through it:

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on to the main event! choose a photo, draw a simplified version onto the pattern paper, tape to the material in the hoop and sew sew sew! Hi Angelina, nice hat :)

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rip out some bits of the paper, leave others. Decide which loops and loose threads to trim or leave long

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Then finishing off the eye and eyebrow details

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There was a bit of time left at the end so most of us decided to have a go at some simple applique

Here’s me proudly holding my applique hot air balloon

When I got home later I added some hand stitched birds to finish the scene:

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And finally here is a collection of all the creations from the day compiled by freestyletextiles (check out their Instagram through the link below for more photos)

My machine jammed and tangled a lot (I’ve had it about 15 years and I don’t think I really take care of it properly…) but to be honest all the wiggles and jumps and clumps just added to the effect. It was a really cool morning and I now feel confident enough to give it another try at home. Eleanor was a great teacher and let us take home a hoop and some other materials so we could have another try straight away.

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pink, pineapple & animal print

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I’ve been stuck at home ill the last few weeks so not up for doing much. I did though get round to fixing several issues with clothes that have been piling up for a while. here are the more exciting three:

pink darning – I’ve used this method once before and it seems to work really well to patch holes in thin materials

sequin pineapple patch – this was the perfect way to cover up some small stains on the front of a striped t-shirt

animal print patch – the final fix was a fur patch sewn on using blanket stitch in pink embroidery thread

eyeball brooch

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Below are instructions for making a bloodshot eyeball brooch for Halloween or maybe a gift for that difficult to buy for friend :) If you’d prefer to buy one ready made then you can do that from my shop: bloodshot eyeball brooch

What you’ll need:

  • small amount of white felt
  • tiny amounts of black and either blue, green, brown or other iris colour felt
  • safety pin or other brooch fastener
  • cotton thread in each of the following colours:
    • white, red, black and your chosen iris
  • white crochet cotton or thin wool
  • various needles to suit thread and wool
  • a marker pen
  • sharp scissors

1. with the marker draw two circles on the white felt of the same size (free hand or find something to draw around. I used an ink bottle) and cut out

2.  choose one to be the front and sew on veins with the red cotton thread, branching out from a central point. Machine sewing is quicker but hand sewing gives you much more control.

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3. cut a small circle from your iris coloured felt (for the iris… obviously) and an even smaller circle from the black felt for the pupil.

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4. with matching coloured cotton sew the iris over the veins on the white felt. Again, you can use a machine or hand sew.

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5. with white crochet cotton (or you could use thin wool or regular white cotton thread) sew a small patch of white on the black pupil.

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6. with black thread sew the pupil on top of the iris.

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7. for the back take the other white felt circle and sew the safety pin (non-opening side!) or other brooch back to the centre with white thread/cotton/wool.

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8. place the two white circles together and sew all around the edge with white cotton thread to finish, making sure to tuck any ends from previous sewing inside. You could also add a little stuffing to make the eyeball slightly rounded.

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9. wear and enjoy!


Copyright & Legal Stuff: I’m happy for you to sell items you make from this pattern but the images and words are mine – I worked hard writing & testing & photographing so don’t copy or distribute any part of this pattern. If you want to share it then link to this page. Thanks & happy sewing


crochet brooches (2)

visible mending

I’ve never darned anything in my life but when a hole appeared in my little grey cardigan I remembered some beautiful photos I’d seen of patches and mended clothes. A quick google hunt brought me some epic examples of visible mending and a basic intro to darning. I would have loved to use fluorescent yellow thread to patch up this hole but I didn’t have any and it seemed silly to go out and buy something new in order to not have to go out and buy a replacement cardigan.

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I didn’t have any special equipment – just a regular needle and some embroidery floss. You can get these wooden eggs or mushrooms to put the fabric over but I saw a suggestion to use a mug and that seemed to work fine. This took me the length of three episodes of American Gods so three hours or one evening. I love it. I don’t often love the results of clothing related projects but I love this. Not just that I now get to keep wearing my grey cardigan but I think this patch looks brilliant. I love it.

glittery shrug & fox dress

Another long term crochet project finally finished. The pattern is called the glittery shrug from Lion Brand crochet (free download via the link). I’m not sure why it’s called glittery because it’s not. It is nice though – quite cosy. It’s taken me over a year to complete but that’s my flittering attention span rather than the complexity of the pattern. I did have to unravel a few bits and do them again but it was generally ok.

 

Easter bunny

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Easter bunny brooch – felt with pom pom tail. Fairly simple to make if you have the right tools – a very sharp yarn needle is needed to sew on the tail and safety pin – mine is sort of flattened and triangular rather than a normal cylindrical shape so it cuts through the felt. I’m sure it’s a particular needle meant for a specific job but I don’t know what this is and can’t find anything similar in a search.

What you’ll need:

  • a sharp yarn needle (see above)
  • a regular sewing needle
  • a small amount of brown felt
  • a small amount of stuffing material
  • scissors
  • a safety pin or other brooch back
  • a small amount of white yarn for the tail
  • a small amount of coordinating yarn to attach the pin
  • brown cotton thread

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  1. cut two Matryoshka / Russian doll shapes ~5cm tall and two ear shapes as in the photo above
  2. with the white yarn make a tiny pom pom by wrapping the yarn around a fork or just your fingers, tying off and trimming
  3. use the yarn needle and coordinating yarn to sew the non-opening side of the safety pin onto one of the body pieces of felt, as shown below
  4. use the yarn needle to sew the pompom onto the other felt body piece

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5. place the two body pieces wrong sides together and sew around the edge using the smaller needle and brown cotton. sandwich the ear pieces between the body pieces and sew through all three layers as you go around.

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6. when 2/3 of the way around add a small amount of stuffing to the body and then complete sewing around

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7. Sew all around again to secure the shape, tie off and sew through the body to hide the ends

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et voila!

if that seems like too much hard work then you can always buy a brooch from me instead. Currently featuring the diamond and strawberry brooches shown below, i’ll be adding more soon. Happy Easter!

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Fish & chips brooch

Friday is fish and chip supper night!

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This was inspired by the “peas” on my pizza slice brooch. Also I was itching to make something with silver thread. My favourite part though is the little final touch of a felt lemon slice. You can tell that these are fish & chips from a restaurant rather than the chip shop because:

  1. The fish has a head
  2.  you only get four chips
  3.  the chips are huge

🙂

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Pizza slice brooch

This is my favourite brooch so far. If no one buys it then I’ll happily wear it myself instead.

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The crocheting for this was done in the same tightly packed way as for the oyster shell. It doesn’t need to hold a 3D shape like the shell but it’s good to have a solid and robust feel to the fabric. The toppings were great fun to come up with and I’m very happy with the combination of crochet thread applique mushroom, beads and button. In my mind the button is a slice of pepperoni and the green seed beads are basil because that’s my favourite topping combo but if you fancy a veggie-tastic pizza slice then the button could easily be a slice of tomato and the beads could be peas. I’ve eaten a lot of pizzas but I’ve never had peas as a topping. I think they’d work though – if sweetcorn is good then why not peas :)

Oyster shell brooch

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This is the improved version of my shell brooch from last week. It is smaller and sits properly when attached to a lapel. I used a very small hook in order to create a thick and sturdy fabric that will hold a 3D shape. It makes your hands ache but is worth it. I created uneven rings of brown, then purple, then beige. I then surface crocheted rings in contrasting cotton and metallic thread and finally added the cluster of glass beads and a drilled pearl. The back is a separate brown piece of crochet to form the outer shell and has a safety pin attachment (I’ve tried various brooch backs and they are either fiddly to operate or not very secure – safety pins are brilliantly perfect for the job). I didn’t use a pattern and just went with the flow to get the feel I had in my mind.

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If you want to try making one then my main advice would be to use a hook at least half the size that is recommended on the yarn, crochet tightly and practice crocheting around the safety pin. If all that sounds like too much hard work then you’re in luck as I decided to open an Etsy shop to sell some of the things I make. I’ve also put a few other brooches on there that I’ve been beavering away at and will blog about them soon.

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