On My Bookshelf: My Crochet Doll

"My Crochet Doll" by Isabelle Kessedjian has to be one of the cutest doll making books out there. It includes the patterns for a crochet doll and an entire wardrobe for her, as well as lots of accessories.

There are outfits and accessories for the beach, for the country, for school, for sleeping, for cold and wet weather, and for baking yummy cakes. Even underwear! And a suitcase for her to pack all her clothes into when she goes on all these trips.

My friend Maria asked me to make one of these dolls for her impending arrival - she is expecting a baby girl any day now! We selected a red, blue, and yellow outfit, to suit a nautical themed nursery.

Alice saw the doll whilst I was still working on it, and declared it 'her baby'. So I now have to make her one as well, with lots of outfits so she can play dress-up.

This is a really lovely book and I am so glad to have it in my crochet library, but just a little warning for anyone contemplating on ordering it. Most of the book is taken up with all those sweet pictures and the actual pattern pages themselves have very limited explanations and no pictures to help out with the tricky bits. It is also written in UK crochet terms which didn't bother me but can confuse some people if you aren't used to them. Because of the limited explanations I wouldn't recommend this to beginners as it requires some amigurumi experience to figure out the patterns and put them together correctly. Seasoned ami-makers should be OK though!


I am going through one of those patches where I have lots of little projects on the go, all at once. Bit of a juggle-town.  I am still working on my alphabet quilt-along, and an on-point mini using cottage florals by Sevenberry and Lecien. I have also started two new projects featuring pastel hues - the first is a cake for a friend, it's a mini-quilt using block 1 of the Snapshots quilt-along hosted by the Fat Quarter Shop.

My second 'pastel' project is an Easter themed one featuring these dreamy pastel Cotton Couture solids by Michael Miller. I am still working on the design for this one - being a little indecisive but it's definitely going to have a mix of patchwork, applique, pastel ric-rac, and hand-quilting. Visit again in a few days if you wish to see the final result!

The Fat Red Bird Bib | Alphabet Quilt-along

As you may have noticed, I don't sew clothes. I don't own an overlocker, and I consider sewing clothes something only 'proper' sewists can do, way beyond my slowly-advancing-but-still-rookie sewing skills. But I completely jumped at the chance to pattern-test a bib designed by my friend Renee (owner of the clothing label By Renee Hall), who has just set up her own design business, Fat Red Bird Designs.

I really needed something like this for Alice, who at 2.5 is messier than she has ever been. Unfortunately for me she considers herself too old to wear bibs ("I not a baby mummy!"). But this is not your standard bib, it's a smock and a top at the same time - ideal for older kids when out and about. And if you make it reversible you can double the wear time.

I used Country Girls by Tasha Noel for the front fabric and the patch, and navy micro dots on white for the backing.

Thank you for the pattern Renee, and I hope you enjoyed my wonderfully basic questions such as "Are we supposed to tape the pattern pieces together?". For those who want to have a go at making one, you can purchase the pattern here.


A couple of weeks ago I came across Nadra Ridgeway's beautiful blog Ellis & Higgs. If you haven't discovered her work yet you must go and have a look, you will not be disappointed. I love the cheerful bright colours she uses, and her photography and the precision of her patchwork are simply immaculate. Nadra is currently running an Alphabet Quilt-along, which kicked off at the end of January. I am slightly late to the party but I had to join in!

{image courtesy of Ellis & Higgs}

Here are my first three blocks. I am intending to broadly follow Nadra's choice of colours for each block as the finished quilt she has designed has a beautiful balance of colours (you can get more info and see the complete quilt design here). I have seen many alphabet quilts before, but what makes this one quite special is the 3D quality to the letters, achieved by that lighter patch of fabric in the middle. Simple and clever!

Follow my quilt-along progress here and on Instagram, or better yet, join in!

On My Bookshelf: Tendre Crochet

Back in October, one night well past midnight, I was surfing on Instagram, jumping from feed to feed, looking for some crochet inspiration (as you do in the wee hours). I came across a picture of a crochet pear which stopped me in my tracks. The text under the picture was in Portuguese and there was no reference to a pattern from what I could tell. So I spent the next hour or so googling to find the designer of this sweet crochet pear. My search finally led me to this wonderful French crochet book: Tendre Crochet.

The author of the book is Sandrine Deveze, otherwise known as Tournicote...à cloche-pied. I quickly realised the book was in French, and my knowledge of the language is about as advanced as my knowledge of Swahili, but I didn't care! Surely crochet terms are universal and there is always Google Translate... Finding the book wasn't easy though - Amazon and Bookdepository didn't have it (still don't when I am writing this), but I found a copy on Ebay from a seller in the UK.

It arrived just in time for my birthday in November, and I have been making things from it ever since. I have been delaying blogging about it as I wanted to make every.single.thing.in.it (it's THAT kinda book). But with some impending deadlines and quilt-alongs coming up I have to reluctantly put it back on the shelf - for now.

I started with a pear... or three.

Then I made more. LOTS more.

In the book this pear is called Pirum Parum as Sandrine was inspired by the Pirum Parum illustration by Elisabeth Dunker.

The book is full of lots of other charming designs. This is Josephine, a sweet rabbit. With a bonnet, of course (don't all cute rabbits wear one? They should!)

And this one is called Framboise. These are the names of these creatures in the book, not names I have invented. So very wonderfully French! My son and I couldn't quite agree whether Framboise is supposed to be a puppy or a lamb. He is cute, whatever he is.

And every pear needs a house of course. With Liberty of London flags.

I really wanted to make a Gudule too but ran out of time. Check out my friend Xanthe's version on her blog Wife-made - she is totally hooked on this book as well! Loving the colours she picked.

If you were intrigued by the title of this post and thought it sounds like it should be from a series, that's because it is. This year I am aiming to stitch projects from many - if not all - the sewing titles on my bookshelf. Here's a small selection, there are quite a few more and more pre-ordered and on their way. I'm itching to get started!

Did I mention I am totally in love with my new sewing machine? I especially LOVE the 1/4" foot. How did I ever survive without one?! Currently I am working on an alphabet quilt-along (more on that tomorrow) and a patchwork project featuring these cottage florals by Sevenberry and Lecien (can't tell you more right now as it's a present!). I am also very much in love with some low volume additions to my stash - 'Maker' and 'Hello Bear' fabrics by Art Gallery Fabrics.

Until tomorrow,

Miss Cupcake & Mr Coffee | Homespun giveaway

I hooked this cute duo a few weeks ago, finally got a chance to show you. Is there anything happier in the world than a smiling cupcake and coffee cup?

The pattern is by Pepika on Etsy and can be purchased here. Easy to follow, quick to put together, and double the cuteness!


Did you get a chance to grab your free digital copy of Homespun magazine which I posted about on Sunday? If you love the magazine, I have more great news for you. The wonderful folks at Homespun have generously agreed to offer a year's subscription to one of my fans! To enter the competition pop over to my Instagram feed and follow the instructions there. Entry is open WORLDWIDE! Competition closes at noon, Friday 13 March, winner will be picked randomly and announced the same day. Good luck!

'Dwell' Mini Quilt in Milk, Sugar and Flower

Is there anyone out there who hasn't discovered Penny Rose Fabrics' new line Milk, Sugar and Flower, designed by Elea Lutz? If you haven't yet seen it you are in for a treat. I was one of the first lucky people in Australia to get my mitts on a fat quarter bundle of this gorgeous line and made this mini quilt rightaway.

Those following me on social media would have seen a picture of this mini the day before I went on holidays. It was really gloomy that day so the photos I took then weren't quite good enough for the blog. Finally today I managed to get that most elusive combination of events as far as my blog photography goes: good sunlight in the house AND no kids at home. It seems blogging gods often bless me with one, but not the other (other bloggers and photographers with young kids reading this - I am imagining you all nodding with empathy right at this moment).

It's almost impossible not to make something super-sweet from this line (those kittens and bunnies - seriously can they be any cuter?). I did squeal a little when I realised they were just the right size for the doorways of the mini quilt pattern 'Dwell' by Thimbleblossoms. I had to give them homes!

This mini is going on the big blank wall in my sewing room - it's going to look a bit lonely there hanging on its own so I will need to make more minis to keep it company.


As you know I am a regular contributor to Homespun magazine - Australia's leading sewing and craft title, which is also gathering a big following worldwide. They have generously given me permission to offer my readers a free digital copy of the magazine, so you can check it out for yourself! Just follow this link, and in the 'Name of Event Attended' field put 'Down Grapevine Lane'. Those not in Australia - you can just select any state from the pull down list, doesn't matter which one. A link to your free copy will be sent to you by email. Enjoy!

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