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19 September 2014

Talking like a pirate...

Ahoy, me hearties!!! Arrr, it be 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day' today! Hoist the colours!

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Happily for me, the annual pirate day this year coincided with the release of my long planned, long promised, and way way way overdue crochet pirate! Ever since I started making crochet dolls, I have been inundated with requests for boy dolls. A combination of too many shop orders, too many toddlers to look after, too much procrastination and general laziness on my part has meant it took me over a year to get him finished. So... finally.... the first doll in my 'boys' collection is this cute pirate mate, with a removable eye patch, bandana, and his little parrot friend. Arrr, matey!

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He is based on this boy doll pattern by Lilleliis, which is excellent and easy to follow. I have added the bandana, eye patch, and parrot.

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I was going to use the same pattern as my girl dolls, but I wanted him to have thicker legs (being a boy) and a more substantial body structure, and I am very pleased with how he turned out. Yo-ho-ho!

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Weigh anchor! Hoist the mizzen!!! Till next time, me hearties!

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12 September 2014

The Great Embroidery Swap | 'Brambleberry Ridge' fabrics

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It had been quite some time since I'd done hand-embroidery, so when my friend Sarah from Piccolo Studio set a challenge for all craftesses to join her in an embroidery swap, I jumped at the chance. Now, I have DOZENS of embroidery projects in various stages of planning - from the 'pinned-to-my-Pinterest-embroidery-board-may-do-it-one-day-perhaps' to the 'pattern-traced-fabric-stretched-floss-picked-just-need-to-find-some-spare-time'. So it would make sense for me to just select one of those, right? Wrong. Now that I had the perfect excuse to spend hours browsing Pinterest embroidery boards I did just that (am I the only one who simply can't stop when on Pinterest, jumping from board to board to board? It's like eating nuts!). And I found this gorgeous pattern by Cutesy Crafts which I thought would be just the thing for my swap partner Claire from Rosie Red.

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The original pattern is for a larger hoop and there is also a rainbow along the top, but as I didn't have a hoop big enough I left the rainbow out and just focused on the girls and the dandelion puffs.

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The girls' dresses are appliqued with fusible web and then blanket stitched around the rim. The puffs are made with back-stitch and french knots, the butterflies are lazy daisies, the girls' legs and arms are back stitch, the red-haired girl's hair is french knots (adorned with lazy daisy bows), and the brunette's hair is satin stitch (done not too perfectly so it looks more realistic) and her braids are cross stitch. I finished the back of the hoop using the method I showed previously in this tutorial, and then hand-stitched some pompoms around the back to finish off. Tie a satin bow on top, and voila!

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My embroidery was a little late so it was sent along with a sweet strawberry pincushion matching one of the girls' dresses, to thank my partner for her patience. Get my pattern & tutorial for the pincushion here.

And this here is the amazing embroidered cushion I got from my swap partner Kirsty from Gracie Lou. I may have squealed when I opened up the parcel! It fits the rocking chair in Alice's room perfectly. Thank you Kirsty, we love it!

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Just before I go, you may have noticed the beautiful bundle of fabrics in one of the pictures above. It's a range called Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft and I just got my hands on some of the peach, mint, and lilac prints for my shop (though I am sorely tempted to keep them for my personal stash!!). See the full range here. So pretty!

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25 August 2014

Winter warmth ~ part 2

It's been a long and cold winter here in South Australia. But finally the cherry trees are in blossom, there are lots of new buds on my roses, and my camellia is a glorious sight to behold, heavily in bloom. Spring is definitely in the air!

Whilst we get prepared to bid farewell to winter, those of you following me from the Northern Hemisphere may have started to feel the autumn chill already. So hopefully some of the hats in this post (and my previous one) may inspire you to pull out your yarn and hooks!

I named this hat the 'Rose Beret' both because of the colour of the yarn I used and the crochet rose on it.
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The pattern is by Tvorlvka on Etsy and can be purchased here. There is also a matching capelet pattern which I loved so I bought the complete set - it's on my to-do list, it will be perfect for the cooler spring days.

The yarn is a super-soft acrylic yarn by Moda Vera Marvel (exclusive to Spotlight in Australia) which has the loveliest sheen. Unfortunately my local store has run out of this particular shade and they aren't getting any more in as they are ramping down their yarn stock for spring.

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The second hat that I wanted to share with you today is a slouchy beret - all the rage these days. The pattern is by The Velvet Acorn on Etsy and can be purchased here.

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I made this hat in a few different colours, using wool yarn from my local craft store. (I just adore the  chipmunk smile on Alice's face in the photo below. She makes one gorgeous little model - though I confess I may be just a tiny bit biased)

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If you want to make one of these for a boy, just leave the flowers out and decorate with a button instead. So versatile!

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22 June 2014

Winter warmth ~ part 1

Whilst those of you in the northern hemisphere are getting into the spirit of summer, winter is finally here in Australia. A lot milder than the winters we were used to in England, truth be told. This morning was 'cold' by South Australian standards - it's 12C and sunny! That would be a nice spring day back in London.  Anyway, it's certainly cold enough for the kidlets, so I have been getting my crochet on - Alice badly needed some new hats!

My little girl is absolutely hat crazy, I am very blessed in that regard. She is a pro at putting them on herself with no help. If her hat comes off whilst playing, she stops whatever she is doing, puts it back on, then continues from where she left off. This new beanie is definitely one of her favourites. The pattern is Cherub Cheeks by Amanda Tipton and you can purchase it here.

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I also wanted to make a scarf for her, and came across this very clever pattern for one that also doubles up as a headband. It's by The Velvet Acorn on Etsy and she has lots of other great patterns too, especially if you like the more 'chunky' look.

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The leaves on this warmer are knitted in the original pattern, but as I can't knit I crocheted the leaves. I do like the look of the original leaves better though, so maybe I need to take up knitting? Those who can knit, is it easy to learn?

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I confess I am loving winter this year. Something so cozy and comforting about snuggling under a wool blanket by a nice warm fire, eating roasted chestnuts whilst watching the rain fall outside. I had missed this.

More hats coming very soon....

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Just before I go - I apologise for the sporadic posts of late. Thank you for bearing with me, I promise I haven't lost the blogging drive!  I have recently finished my last project for Homespun magazine, my third with them and the biggest one to date (it looks awesome, I can't wait to show you). That took a huge chunk of time out of my normal sewing schedule, so I fell behind with shop orders, yada yada. I am finally back on top of things now after way too many sewing sessions into the early hours of the morning. I figure people don't stop following blogs for not posting regularly and I would rather not post 'fluff' just for the sake of posting. I hope you agree. And whilst my kids are so little and they need mummy so much, they are my top priority. But I will blink and they will be at school, and my days will hopefully get less crazy. It's my new mantra... it's not forever!

1 May 2014

Crochet market tote | 'Scrumptious' fabrics

It's been cuteness overload here lately. So I jumped at the chance when another hand-maiden asked me if I could make her a crochet market tote. Something 'grown up' for a change!

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The free pattern for this tote is by Daisy Cottage Designs and is for a children's size one. It took me a few tries to adjust the pattern for the correct sizing to fit an adult. I used a larger hook (6.5mm instead of 5.5mm), started with 15 double crochets in the magic ring (instead of 12), and added an extra 3 rows after rounds 6-23 in the original pattern. And a couple of extra rows for the handles to make them longer. The yarn I used is Passioknit Fairytales Angel, and is available at Spotlight for those in Australia. It's a perfect duck egg blue / mint colour and a very lush and soft texture as well.

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I also wanted to share a recent addition to my fabric stash - Scrumptious by Bonnie & Camille for Moda fabrics. I am a massive Bonnie & Camille fan, and this has to be one of their best to date. Both the pink and the mint colourways are gorgeous in their own right and perfectly coordinate together as well.

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I haven't had a chance to use them in a personal project yet, but I made a couple of bunting for customers.  Such a pleasure to work with such gorgeous fabric, and I can't wait to cut into more to make a patchwork cushion, or perhaps a quilt.

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