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Felting fun ‘Cossack’ hat

cossack-hat001Inspiration in progress – what say this should become??? Experimented with some washing machine felting yesterday and this is the resulting piece.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how soft the felted piece remained. As you can see, first of all I had to knit it up and then give it a fairly energetic whirl in the washing machine with some neutral liquid soap to get the felt effect. I could have continued with hand felting to flatten it completely, but decided instead to leave the piece as it is as I really like to see the knitted stitches in evidence.

So here you can see what my piece of mystery felt became – a sort of Cossack hat. I was really pleased with how it came out and decided to do some simple embroidery to decorate the felt crown, and to add a scattering of interesting buttons on the front area of the headband. I continued with the same colour theme of gingernut brown and deep blue throughout – for the embroidery and for the buttons. Well whoever buys this will know that it is unique! I only made one!

Frivolous accessories

frilly-scarf002Just adore this new yarn I have used for this touch of glam on a cold day – a frilly scarf to brighten up even the plainest coat or jacket and bring out the feminine in you! Pretty, frilly and surprisingly warm in spite of its airy appearance. Love these colours too! I think there will be a couple more on the way soon. Must check out the other colour combinations.

Pompoms galore tutorial

pompom-tutorial001If anyone is interested, I have just added a pompom tutorial – I have set it all up in a downloadable pdf file for you – free for the taking, and have fun with the pompoms – they are always such a cheerful addition to scarves and hats and sweaters for both children and adults alike.

You can pick up the pdf file for download by clicking on the link below …

Sewing machine out

Got the machine out and am putting together a few ideas. These lovely ‘colour keepers’ for the kids have proved to be popular in the past, but as they take quite a lot of time to make, I just hadn’t got around to creating a new bunch. Following Jay’s advice, I will be doing some of these for older users – she says that she would love one, but not necessarily with teddy bears and smurfs! So there will be a couple for her age group – and why not – for the customer who would love to have a secret scribble and doodle now and again!

So briefly – what are they? Well a sort of wallet or carrying case for coloured pens, pencils and so on – with a section for tucking away the odd doodle, and a small pack of paper to start you off. Each has a small pencil case sewn into the centre area and a set of felt tip pens. Intended for both the young and the young at heart!

Big cosy collar

knitted-collarI just made myself this big, cosy collar with a big pair of needles (size 10 European guage) and a ball of chunky wool in black with bright flecks of colour. I was supposed to follow a pattern, but I just ignored it and did my own thing! Love the results, so I thought I would share.

Big cosy collar [Tutorial]

So easy it almost knits itself!
This lovely collar looks great over a simple crew neck sweater for indoor wear, or as a cosy collar ‘cum cowl hood outdoors as a substitute for a normal scarf.

Materials required:

150 grams chunky wool (soft acrylic used for the one in the image)
Size 10 knitting needles
Darning needle & toning thread


Cast on 35 stitches
Simple plain knit stitch for 58 – 60 cms (I did a purl stitch at each end of the rows)
Cast off
Stitch together the short sides of the completed rectangle

A few earrings for you

As promised, here are some earrings, and there are more on the way. These are super chunky and great fun – not for the weak hearted! All made using upcycled stretch fabric, and then ‘garnished’ with some lovely felted cord. Dangly glass beads at the base in coordinating colours. A sure way to get noticed this winter!

Sew Pretty

Experimented with one of these sewing pouches yesterday, and I know I shouldn’t be the one to say it, but I will anyway – I love it! Shades of grey and red are high on my list of favourite colours anyway, so this combination of grey felt and red ribbon and buttons is a winner!The photograph doesn’t really do the colours justice as there is a bit of a colour cast. All the felt is made in Germany, so the piece is very much home-grown on a European level. I like the size of the little purse too which is big enough for some scissors, a couple of cotton reels and other small odds and ends for sewing. I have included a thick felt heart to stick a few pins and needles on, so all you have to do is ‘load’ the purse and take your sewing kit anywhere. Good for those crafters who do ‘craft-ins’ with like-minded crafters, or just for those who are not into sewing but like to know where to find the necessary for sewing on the occasional button or darning the odd sock. I might do a few more of these, maybe using other colours for the embellishments. I’ll check out what I have in the felt and button stash.

Well it’s a start!

Had to begin somewhere didn’t I? So here is my first, dry felted ‘bead’ – next step, the coat of many colours maybe?

Anyway, upwards and onwards – I must now set myself a new target with the felt making as I can already see the limitations of tiny felt balls which will most definitely not keep me satisfied for very long!

Travel Buddies

JesS and I have been doing quite a few things, though she tends to limit herself to flashes of inspiration for earrings. I’m the one who pulls out the sewing machine, and this is what I was up to last month…

I call them travel buddies to take along with you during your short breaks and vacations and use as shoe bags, document pouches etc. although they could very well be used for all sorts of other functions of course. As a small child, my daughter always had 2 or 3 bags like this to host her special travel companions – a favourite doll, pjs and so on.

The inspiration for these coordinated sets (4 bags per set) came from some gorgeous Liberty prints I found designed for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for an exhibition of old British quilts. Many of the prints I have used are replicas of those old quilting fabrics which I have coordinated with a block colour to create these drawstring bags and matching accessories. Once I got the “bug” I went ahead and made several sets in several different colourways – some using the Liberty prints and others using pretty Tyrolean cotton in various traditional prints. We are lucky enough to find these quite easily here and I pick up most of mine in a local market.

In most cases I have used a chunky twisted cord for the drawstring, and have added either wooden or hand crafted polymer beads to block the cord ends. Each set has a little complimentary lavender pod sachet to keep your suitcase smelling sweet!

Keeping the chocolate hot

Keep the hot chocolate hot

is what I said. There are all sorts of occasions for wanting to take a cup of hot tea or cocoa to someone outside – maybe it’s for the lads working under the car bonnet – or for the gang around the bonfire letting off fireworks – or even for the snowball fights when there’s too much fun going on to drop everything and go inside. Helps you to keep those dirty feet outside the door for a bit longer too!
So this is my solution – a thick felt holder for hot mugs so that you can take the hot drinks outside and be sure that they won’t go cold straight away. What do you think?

Made by Hand

When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.

by Giacomo Cinque
'La Sartoria Antica'
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