Category Archives: Crochet

Knitting and Stitching Show

The weekend before last I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, with my sister. We kind of decided to go on a bit of a whim – well quite last minute, which is unusual for us as I am quite lazy and like to not have plans on the weekend and my sister has 2 children, so spontaneously going out for the day alone isn’t always possible!

Shamefully although I live in Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace is a 10-minute train ride away or a 20-minute bus ride away, I’d never been before! I had no idea you can see canary wharf from the top of that hill! It wasn’t a super clear day when we arrived, but you could still make out the gherkin, the shard and canary wharf!

We’d been to another Knitting and Stitching show a couple of years ago at Olympia and I didn’t really realise Alexandra Palace would be even bigger! Even though we arrived at 11 (with the doors opening at 10), the place was already absolutely heaving! I found it a bit much to be honest and I’m not sure I’d go again. It was really difficult to get anywhere near any of the fabric stalls (of which there weren’t a huge number aimed at dress-making as opposed to quilting) and so I ended up not coming away with much even though I’d gone in with quite a long shopping list. I had wanted to get some fabric to finally make my Colette Cooper Bag (which I’ve been meaning to make for about a year!) and some fabric to make a Colette Albion Coat which will basically be a rip off of this coat I pinned ages ago:

Seasaltcornwall coatI think I’ll actually order fabric for both these makes online, though, as I’m still a relative noob with knowing what kind of fabric is what so it seems like I’m more likely to get the right kind of fabric if I can choose it knowing what it is and what it’s properties are according to a website. Any particular favourites for heavy weight bag fabric or waterproof coat fabric?

The one thing I did manage to buy was some new lining fabric for a coat refashion I’m now part-way through – I’m re-making the slightly horrible coat I bought from the Fara Workshop into something more wearable – and less holey!

Ooh, mustard yellow – something new and different for me! It was from Doughty’s and I might check out their website as this cotton was only £4 per metre but it softer than you usually get for that price.

I also got some matching thread and a thread snipper:

You can see the lining (and threads) with a swatch of the coat fabric – I think it’s going to look fab!


The only other thing I managed to get was some wool with which to knit The Boyfriend a tank top:

This was some end of line wool which was only £2 per ball and it’s really nice quality – maybe a little itchy, but since it’s a tank top, it wont really touch skin that much! I was just going to get 5 balls – as that’s how many was in each little pack – but the man convinced me to get an extra one just in case – I’d never find it again. Do you know of any good tank top patterns? I suspect I’ll have at least one ball left, so I’ll have to think of something else to do with it. Maybe a baby jumper for one of the kiddies in my life?

I did discover a couple of new-to-me pattern companies, so although I didn’t buy that much I did do some research for future possible makes! I’d not come across MIY Collection before – Wendy Ward, who designs the patterns, wrote The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking so you may have heard of her from that. I don’t think I’m in love with any of the patterns, but her focus on teaching absolute beginners to sew has got to be a good thing – the more the merrier!

I also discovered Sew Me Something, who are based in Stratford Upon Avon. They are a workshop and pattern company with a (I assume) growing number of patterns, all named after Shakespeare’s heroines. I quite like the Kate Dress and the Imogen Top and it’s a stroke of genius to name their Portia Trousers after one of the ‘breeches roles‘. I’m a bit annoyed with them, though, because in my vague daydreams I imagined myself one day making patterns (which I probably will never do, but you have to consider these things anyway!) and I thought I would name them after Shakespeare’s characters because I love Shakespeare. But they’re beaten me to it so it would look like I was copying….in this mythical future where I have the skills to pattern-draft!

One of the greatest things I discovered was Loopy Mango. It’s a US based company that makes knitting kits with GIANT WOOL and GIANT NEEDLES, and super cute branding, in my opinion.

Loopy Mango blanket(image source)

I love the fluoro pink!

Loopy Mango needles(image source)

Did you go to the Knitting and Stitching Show? Did you buy lots of things or, like me, get overwhelmed by the number of people and the sheer number of stalls? Did you make any new discoveries?

I made a Minion!

You know when I posted about making Pusheen, I mentioned that I made him as practice for a bigger crocheted thing which was a present for someone? Well, the larger thing was a Minion (from Despicable Me) for my mum, and here he is:

Minion-2I used the brilliant pattern from All About Ami. She also has a post giving more detail in how to make all of the parts of the minion, in case you get stuck (like I did!).

I started the crochet for this in February and made the body fairly quickly – you just have to go round and round and round until it’s the right size, with some increasing at the first end and some decreasing at the second end, adding in the hair before you seal it up.

The thing that takes a lot longer is all the other little bits, like on the dungarees.



I had to make the dungarees 3 times as my tension changed so they came out way too small. Twice. Then there’s the little square pocket, the 2 side pockets and the straps. The you have 2 arms, 2 thumbs, 6 fingers (though I didn’t make the fingers as I feared they would be too big and overtake the hand) and 2 feet. Then there’s the goggles.


I made the goggles slightly wrong, partly because I didn’t understand the instructions and partly because I ran out of time. We had a family gathering in May for my nephew’s second birthday, and I tried to get the minion finished for then so that I could give him to my mum in person. I didn’t quite make it, but I think having that deadline helped as once I’ve missed the deadline of her actual birthday (in March), I felt like I could really take my time! The rest of the face was pretty quick to make and didn’t cost anything as I have quite a stash of felt now after making my Sarah and Duck cushion for my nephew and the felt allotment from my honorary niece.


The goggle strap was easy – I’m not sure if you’re meant to sew it on or if the goggles are supposed to be removable, but since I’d done the front of the goggles wrong and they kept collapsing in on themselves, I didn’t think they would keep their shape if they were removable, so I sewed it all onto the head. Minion-6

I don’t think I have too much else to say about the construction as it’s all really well covered in Ami’s blog post, so instead I took a couple of silly photos.

Here’s the minion looking for Despicable Me in my DVD collection (don’t tell him it’s not there!).


And here he is in bed with my childhood teddy, Cutie. They’re best friends. Minion-4 My original plan was to make 2 minions (the tall one with 2 eyes and the shorter, fatter one with 1 eye) but making 1 took so long that I nipped that in the bud pretty early on. But I did enjoy making him, so maybe one day he’ll get a sidekick!


Book: 200 Crochet Blocks

200-Crochet-Blocks-1Having learned to crochet a couple of years ago, I’ve recently got back into the swing of it, by making an amigarumi pusheen and by making a present for someone, which is now pretty much 2 months over due, but basically finished! I have made a cushion cover using a crochet block pattern and I’m thinking that I would like to make a blanket out of blocks too, so luckily a friend of mine bought me this book a year or two ago.  I’m having the same thoughts about making a quilt – I’m yearning to make our flat nicer to live in I think, but without the ability to decorate properly as we rent.


This book is really great and tells you how to mix colours and the block designs to make lovely (if slightly dated-looking) blankets.


And then, of course, come the block designs themselves. I like the ones that are symmetrical and not too complicated looking. I like the openwork square below.


I really like the Waterlily block, below. I’m not sure how many of these I would like in a blanket – maybe just one in the middle, but I’d like to be able to make one!


There’s also a page of Christmassy blocks! I really don’t think I make things quickly enough to make something just for Christmas, but I like the tree and the snowflake!


I like all the blocks below, except possibly the steps square – not sure why.



I like all the blocks below too, and more so because they’re more in my colours (though I can see the pattern as separate from the colours used in the book, I’m still attracted to blues and greens!).


I like all of these ones too – I’m not sure how I’m ever going to be able to make a decision on which one(s) to make!


The book also shows you alternate colourways for some of the blocks, to help you design your blanket in whatever colours you like.

200-Crochet-Blocks-10For blanket inspiration, I think I’ll look to my sister. She has been crocheting a lot longer than me and even released her own amigarumi patterns for a while. She has made loads of blankets!

This one is some lovely earthy colours, which matched her living room in a previous house.

Phoebe's earthy colours blanketThis is a gigantic granny square, with a lovely bright cushion – I really like the idea of bright colours, joined together with bright white. It looks really fresh and modern. I love the gigantic granny square too, it’s a classic!

Phoebe's giant granny square

I love the colours she used here – the bright pink is particularly excellent! I’m not sure I would have had the eye to put these all together, but they look great. And there’s bright white in there too.

Phoebe's pink blanket

I think this all white blanket/ bed spread is a fairly recent one. I love the combo of the different sizes, and different designs of block but all tied together with the colour. I’m thinking of something monochrome and maybe with a pop of a bright colour, like yellow or pink.

Phoebe's white blanket 2

How lovely and clean does this look?

Phoebe's white blanketMy friend Farn, who I learned to crochet with is also excellent at making lovely things:

Farn Cath Kidston Blanket 2

Do you crochet? How do you decide on the designs and colours? I’m hoping that being able to make small things and have the small wins of finishing each square, that I will enjoy making a crocheted blanket and not lose interest and stop half way through as I have done too many times before with larger projects!

My first amigurumi – Pusheen!

I made a Pusheen!

Pusheen-1Have you heard of Pusheen? He’s a very lazy animated cat who is the subject of a Tumblr.

I used this free pattern on Ravelry to make him, and this is my first amigurumi make. I made him because I’m making a present for someone which is a crocheted amigurumi thing that’s much more complicated, so I thought I’d make a simple thing for practice.

Making the little feet and ears was a bit fiddly, but I managed it and they looked okay.

Pusheen-3I basically had to re-teach myself how to crochet as I hadn’t done any, since learning, apart from when I made my crocheted cushion cover, back in November 2013! Youtube is my friend!

He does just about manage to stand up 🙂


And look at thos cute little feet! (Nipple feet as a friend of mine has dubbed them – cue weird google searches finding my blog!)Pusheen-4Embroidering his face was probably the hardest part – it took me a few goes. The pattern calls for actual toy eyes, but I didn’t have any and as this was a practice and a kind of stash buster, I didn’t want to buy anything specifically for it.

Do you crochet? Amigurumi or otherwise? Making this and the present (which I still haven’t finished, bad!), rejuvenated my interest in crochet and I think I’ll give a blanket or another cushion cover a go – I do like the classic granny square!

Book: ReCraft

Have you ever heard of Buttonbag? They make craft kits for children. They’re stocked in John Lewis, and probably a lot of other shops, so you might have seen them around.

On their website they say:

“Buttonbag is a young innovative company breathing new life into old crafts by updating them in a fresh, contemporary way….

Our lovely craft kits are designed and made in the UK using a range of beautiful fabrics, wools and trimmings. We endeavour to source everything as close to home as possible and the vast majority of our kit components, including all our packaging, comes from the UK.

Importantly, each craft kit contains everything needed to make the finished item. Sewing kits have needles, sticking kits have glue and toys that need stuffing have stuffing.”

They have also written a book! Actually 2 books (BoyCraft has just come out and aims to get boys into making things!), but the one I’m going to talk about is called ReCraft. A friend of mine bought it for either my birthday or Christmas (I can’t remember, I’m getting old!) a few years ago and I looked through the whole book immediately and straight away had loads of ideas of things to make and re-make.


There’s some really great ideas for making toys out of old jumpers – I especially like these whales! As anyone who has known me for a while will know, I have a bit of a thing about whales! ReCraft-3There are great instructions for each project, with clear illustrations, which I think make it quite child-friendly. Also beginner friendly!

ReCraft-4There are some great ideas of things to make out of old shirts, if you happen to have any lying around. Or their super easy to pick up at charity shops.


and cushion covers
ReCraft-6There are also some non-sewing makes in the book, like these scrabble magnets or lego clock (an alternative to a vinyl record clock, perhaps a good present for a boy?).


There are several things in the home section that I definitely want to make – I’ll get around to it one day! There’s a vinyl record clock in there, like the one I made. I love the dachshund draft excluder, which is made from an old pair of men’s trousers.
ReCraft-9I also think the little owl door stops are really sweet! They’re made from an old jacket.

ReCraft-10Another make made from an old jacket is this cute little bag

ReCraft-8Having read recently on Portia’s makery blog ideas for t shirt yarn, I feel more enthusiastic than every about giving t shirt yarn knitting a go – ReCraft has a very simple idea to make a rug, which I think would be good for a first experiment, but then the world is your oyster – depending on how easily you can get hold of old t shirts!

ReCraft-11 Do you ever find that even if you don’t manage to make any projects from a particular book, you still find them inspiring? I definitely do! I think also it means I have a list of possible projects in my brain when searching charity shops for bargains! Have you used any Buttonbag kits? I’m thinking they would be good presents for the kids in my life when they’re old enough!