Robins in Love

by Helen on November 27, 2010

I did wonder whether or not this post, instead of “Robins in Love” should be entitled …. “One blogger with the attention span of a gnat who can’t resist running off and starting new projects while she still has lots of other stuff to finish!”  But that was too long to fit in the space bar!!  Anyway, I’ve been living and breathing robins – yes and even dreaming about them – as I’m in the middle of making a couple of dozen for a party in early December.  And then …. I had an idea …..
Regular readers will remember my very successful Scotties in Love cushion cover, quickly followed by Owls in Love:
shameless plug here – the pattern for the Owls is available in my Etsy Shop!
So, getting back to the main topic,  my idea was …. what about Robins in Love at Christmas time?  And instead of a heart, well it has to be mistletoe of course, with a little pearl bead for the berry.  Some red ric rac braid makes everything very cheerful too.
The crochet mistletoe was taken from one of my favourite books – 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield, but if you don’t want to crochet then I’m sure that felt leaves would look just as nice.
The free template for the robins, plus a few instructions are available to download at Bustle & Sew – I don’t think lots of details are really necessary as it’s a very straightforward project.  And if you don’t want to make your own, then I’ve listed the cushion cover I made in my Etsy shop as I don’t think I’ve room for yet another cushion on my sofa!!
Off to walk Ben now – the woods are quite magical at present, glittering with frost.  Townie husband is away on business – he called this morning to complain about the heat where he is – needless to say no sympathy was forthcoming!!


Back to School – free pattern for you

by Helen on August 19, 2010

I always feel a bit melancholy at this time of year …. summer is coming to an end and it’s still too soon to anticipate September’s burst of activity with the start of the new term and the recommencing of all our clubs, societies and other activities within the village.  I like September – it always meant an exciting new beginning in school days – new classroom, new teacher and – if I was lucky – new pencil case and stationery.  So, feeling nostalgic for those far away times, I decided to put together a funky pencil case inspired by Japanese zakka creations.

I love Japanese craft books, they are so beautifully photographed and the illustrated instructions are so clear and easy to follow.  I hope this design will appeal both to youngsters…. 


….and of course the young at heart!  If you’d like the pattern and hints for working then please click here to download the free pdf.

I’ve also found time to write up my latest bag pattern and have christened it the “Sweet Pleat Shoulder Tote”, with “Tweeded Hedgerow” and “Sweet Pea” versions.  Thank you very much indeed to everyone who took the trouble to leave suggestions for names – they were great.  I was particularly taken with the “Batson Bag” and “Bustle Bag” but sadly have learned that as a small business I need to chose a name that describes the pattern so it will show up on search engines.  Otherwise no one can find it – which means no sales!! 
So the winner and runners up are Kristen, Sudi-Laura, Ms Muffin and Serena.  Please get in touch and let me know your email addresses and I’ll send you complimentary copies of the pdf pattern. 
If anyone else would like to purchase the Sweet Pleat bag pattern, it’s now listed in my Etsy Shop.  Off now to work on August’s newsletter – out at the weekend!


What’s in a name.. or … I need help!!

by Helen on August 13, 2010

I need help! (Have done for a while actually)  But seriously, one of the reasons I have been neglecting my blog this week is that I have been totally focused on creating a new bag pattern.  I love to combine different techniques, and was looking for a way to use my new crocheting ability – limited though it is!  And I also wanted to create a bag that was roomy enough to hold the necessities of life when out and about, but which was also rather pretty.  So I started with the bag you see on the left. 
Then I took Ben out for a walk around Batson Creek and was struck by the shades of autumn appearing in the hedgerows.  The fields had all been harvested and there were ripe blackberries and sloes to be had (though the sloes will be better after the first frosts).  So I thought … soon everyone will want their new season bags – I’ll make another from the same pattern, but this time using that nice woollen tweed length I acquired from one of our local charity shops.  And this time the inserts are real Liberty pattern silk.  (thrifted again) and instead of crochet  I had a lot of fun creating the cosy applique scene as an alternative.  Both bags are lined in Kidston fabric, have zipper pockets and magnetic closures and are really easy to make – simply assembling rectangles.           
Of course creating the bags is the fun bit … now I have to write up the patterns, take some nice photos (inside and out) and think of a name for the design … which is why I need your assistance.  My mind is a blank.  If you can think of a good name, then please could you leave a comment below – and if I use your suggestion then I’ll send you a free copy of the pattern when it’s finished plus free copies to two runners-up as well .. 


Gertie’s Bloomers

by Helen on July 12, 2010

Gertie and Gus

Firstly … I must apologise to all those expecting the result of the draw to be announced today. There is a slight difficulty. If he could type then I would make Ben explain. Let it simply be said that the biscuits ready for the draw were on the side in a brown paper bag. Then they were not. They were inside the judges!! Ben will not now be receiving the new ball he had been hoping for this week as replacement biscuits will have to be purchased. (I know who pulled the bag down as Amy cannot reach!) The draw will now take place a little later in the week when supplies have been replenished.

Moving swiftly on …. this week I have been working hard on my crochet skills. I have noticed from some of the beautiful blogs around that crochet is becoming increasingly popular and that the accepted start point is granny squares made into a very attractive cushion. I am sorry to say that my rather low boredom threshold meant that after I had finally made a SQUARE (rather than a bit wonky and lopsided) granny square .. I immediately wanted to try something new. So I did. Radishes. Yes – you did read it right …. radishes!!



Others make beautiful cushions, gorgeous blankets and all manner of hats, flowers, necklaces and brooches from crochet. Me – I make radishes. I’m pleased with them though, I think they complement the carrot corsages rather nicely, and they’re now on offer in my Etsy shop.

Feeling rather confident, I then decided to apply my newly-discovered crochet skills to one of my little knitted bunnies. Last week in the charity (thrift) shop I picked up a couple of balls of pure wool yarn…




Well, I simply couldn’t leave them behind with a label like this!! I’ve never heard of Teddy Wools Ltd, and the weight is in ounces, and the UK has been metric for yarn for at least 40 years now. If anyone can shed any light on the brand, I’d love to learn more.

Anyway … didn’t they make lovely bloomers for a little girl bunny? And enough left for several more pairs. Notice the crochet edging on the bloomers. Nifty! (Oh, and spot the hole for her cottontail to peep through!)

I think poor little Gertie seems slightly embarassed to be seen in her underwear (no matter how pretty it is!) So here she is again with her older brother Gus. They’re both ready for adoption and can be found in my Etsy shop.

So if you know anyone who could give a little rabbit a kind new home …….

Will return with the results of the draw later in the week!