Monday, 5 May 2014

Busy Little Bank Holiday Bee

What a busy little bank holiday weekend I've had this week.  Crafting away, working on a few different projects, and it has been a thoroughly enjoyable four days!

First up, I've been rushing to finish two little softies for a lovely family I have been working with for the past few months.  I diagnosed the little baby boy with a hearing loss when he was just a couple of weeks old, and so have been seeing the family almost weekly for the past 4 months or so.  Over that time, my colleague and I have built up quite a friendship with the mum, and spend lots of time playing with older sister who comes along to every appointment.  Mum is such a nice mum to work with; she even treats us to sweets and cakes the few times we've squeezed her in over our lunch break.  The little man will be heading off to the cochlear implant centre soon, not to be seen by us again, and so I thought it would be nice to repay mum's kindness in the only way I know how; crochet cuddlies.  I made a little blue dinosaur for baby boy a few weeks ago, but, knowing the family had gone on holiday dawdled a bit on making something for big sister.  When mum telephoned last week to arrange the first appointment after their holiday, I knew I needed to get the second toy finished or I might not get it ready before they move on.

Fresh Stitches has been running a crochet dog club for a couple of months now and as soon as this months pattern, a cute little Maltese, came through I knew it would be just right for older sister.  I scrambled around in my yarn stash to find the right aran yarn and got to it. It's a really quick pattern, I don't think it took more than a couple of hours to complete but I'm delighted with how she turned out:

Look at those cute little loop stitch ears!  Don't they just work perfectly?!  I can't wait to give these little gifts when I see the family this week.  It's the best part of making things.

I've of course had several crochet projects on the go all at the same time!  As well as poodling along with the Crochet Club (new patterns out this week - eek!) I made another Fresh Stitches club toy, a felted Chicken and Egg.  When I first opened the box at Easter time, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed.  I'm not keen on those turn inside out type of things as I never think it works too well. But I was wrong.  This worked out rather well, and I'd definitely make one again.  The secret part of this project was the felting.  Once I'd made my pieces I was a little hesitant to chuck them in the washing machine and see how they turned out, but in for a penny, I went ahead and threw them in with some sheets and boiled the heck out of them!  Actually, I rather liked how it ended up a little fuzzy and less defined, the only problem was that the feet and beak got stuck in the drain of the washing machine and so didn't actually felt (or shrink) so they are slightly out of proportion to the rest of the body.  But hey, I guess this gives him character.  

In just a flash the chicken...

is turned inside out to become an egg!

Last of all, it definitely seems to be that time when everyone I know is having babies.  Literally, everyone.  So it's important for me to get cracking on the gifts asap! The first thing I've started is a beautiful little crochet blanket.  I love love love these colours of Rico Baby Classic DK available at The Homemakery.  The picture doesn't really do it justice  the 'orange is actually a lovely watermelon colour, and the green is a beautiful teal.  The yarn is super soft to work with, and not at all splitty.  I'm really enjoying making this blanket whereas often I get bored a tiny bit of the way through (I know we're all collectively thinking of my stripey granny blanket right now).  

Whilst on the subject, have you tried The Homemakery?  It's a lovely website and the delivery is outstanding.  I ordered around lunchtime and the package was with me before 10am the next day (and it was a Saturday, perfect).  It even included a little handwritten card and some adorable 'made with love' ribbon.  I can't praise this website/haberdashery enough.

I've also been trying out some baby bibs from Love Sewing Magazine.  It's a new one just out  in the UK, and despite some initial delivery problems (i.e. it wasn't delivered at all) I was pleased when it finally arrived and I got the chance to read it.  Now here comes the disclaimer, I know pretty much nothing at all about sewing, but to me it's seems like it's a nice modern mag full of the kind of things that I want to be able to make.  It's not totally aimed at beginners (although many of the designs are suitable for beginners) as it assumes some level of knowledge/skill already in sewing.  I decided to practice my straight line sewing by trying my hand at a couple of different baby bibs.  
 I was so impressed with myself as they turned out pretty much like the picture!  Ok, so the bandana bib is just a triangle, but it still looked like a triangle by the time I finished with it so it means I was doing something right!  I just need to work out how to neatly finish up the unstitched part left for turning the work inside out.  I am not well practised in hand sewing, and my last few attempts have been pretty bad.  Luckily, my mother in law is an extraordinary seamstress, and so I am hoping to persuade her to show me how it's done (possibly on both bibs just to be absolutely certain, tee hee).  

Do you see how the spots run right down the middle of the bandana?  The Great British Sewing Bee would be so proud!  Once sewn, I'll need to add on some poppers and they'll be all done.  I think I'll invest in some fancy pants material and make some more now I know it's within my ability to make them and for them not to look completely homemade.  I've got some John Lewis vouchers that I've been saving up for just such a task...


  1. I found this tutorial really useful when I was trying to get the hang of closing gaps in sewing projects;

    1. Thanks for the link, this is a great tutorial on the ladder stitch. I'm going to give it a go on the bibs I've already made before I have a go on my super special fabric :)

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