Thursday, November 30, 2017

PDF Pattern Sale + Your Free December 2017 Calendar

My diary says today's task is to release my December mini quilt design but we all know life doesn't go according to plan. I don't have a new pattern for you today but I do have something else which I hope you think is just as much fun. I'm sure you can all appreciate that we've been so busy helping Maddi and Michael with their new home, that our own plans have taken a backseat.
They weren't expecting to buy a house until Jan/Feb next year but they stumbled across the perfect house, in the perfect area, for the perfect price quite unexpectedly and within weeks they were home owners...... and excited little home owners at that, as I'm sure you can imagine :)
I love when things like that happen. It was obviously meant to be and they are so over the moon about this wonderful opportunity. Its important for us to do all we can to help them and what a special milestone in their lives to share.
So there's been no sewing time for me :( That's OK though. It's good to step away sometimes and recharge the designer brain. At the moment we are enjoying all the excitement this new home has brought to our most favorite couple ♥
To celebrate their excitement and instead of a new pattern, I'm running a sale for you:
From today until the end of December use the code NEWHOME20 at checkout, in either of my PDF Pattern shops and receive 20% off your purchase. Its my way of saying thank you for all the wonderful support during the past year....well every year actually.  There may be patterns you've considered purchasing and haven't, so now's the time to save some money and treat yourself.
Head over to my Big Cartel shop HERE or for instant downloads visit my Etsy shop HERE and don't forget to enter the discount code at checkout to receive your 20% discount on everything.
Madeline's move means a lot of reshuffling for us. Cohen is taking her room, I'm moving my studio into his room (YAY! finally inside the house.....I'm currently in a room off the garage) and Les is moving into my studio where he will have the space for his model railway again. Ten years ago he had it set up but moved it out to give me space to sew and run Threadbare. I'm thrilled he'll be able to do what he loves again, after such a generous sacrifice.
There's a tonne of re-painting, cleaning, moving, furniture assembly and purging before we are all settled in our new designated areas, so that's what I'll be doing for the next "however many weeks it takes to finish" :)
Luckily I have a few Christmas blog posts already scheduled so you will hear from me over December but not as much as I had originally planned and I promise 2018 will have lots of new Monthly Mini quilts to inspire you.
Before I leave I do have your free December 2017 Calendar:
To download and print your calendar just visit HERE.
I hope December is a wonderful month for you and your family. It is the greatest time of the year and even with everything we need to do, I'm looking forward to what this next month brings :) And who knows, I may even find some time to work on the Christmas mini I did have planned- no promises but fingers crossed :)

Friday, November 24, 2017

You're A Wizard Harry

Do you remember I mentioned my love/hate relationship with a Christmas present I was working on for Maddi and her boyfriend Michael? Well today I'm going to share the finished blanket with you.
Ta-da! A Harry Potter C2C crocheted blanket :)
Maddi and Michael both grew up with Harry, Hermoine and Ron and have built a massive collection of everything related to the series.... everything except a crocheted blanket :)
When I saw this pattern on Pinterest I knew how to crochet C2C but I'd never attempted a pattern with graphs and colour changing. I watched a few YouTube videos, read some articles and joined a Facebook group that generously shared lots of invaluable tips and tricks.
I chose the Golden Snitch as my first square because it looked the easiest to crochet and thankfully it wasn't too difficult. I used plastic clothes pins as my bobbins and I found the yarns didn't tangle if I attached them to the bottom of the square while they were not in use.
With my first attempt a success, I was ready to make all the squares for this blanket but it didn't always go quite as smoothly.
The centre Crest was very time consuming and I had a lot of bobbins going at once. There are two versions of this square available and of course I wanted to do the more difficult one! It really challenged me and at times it sat idle in my basket waiting patiently to be worked on.
Crocheting with black yarn at night was difficult and I had to concentrate closely on the pattern because unraveling a mistake could become very time consuming. As the images unfolded and the Crest became visible, I found myself excited and thrilled with its progress :)
With new determination, I completed a lot of the smaller squares quite quickly. As each square came to life, I fell more and more in love with the blanket and I was constantly laying out the squares to see how the blanket was progressing. I did rework a couple of the squares because I found alternate patterns in the Facebook Group files that appealed to me more.
I used a range of 8ply yarn from Spotlight because it was easy for me to grab a ball or two as I needed, but the colour range was quite limited. To achieve the true Harry Potter colour scheme, I did have to blend in a few yarns from other ranges but they all worked well together.
It's hard to pick my favorite square but I do love Dobby. This is one of the alternate squares I found in the Group files and I think its a more accurate depiction of the character. This square presented me with a new challenge- there were no written instructions. To prevent mistakes I did count and write down each row before I started which worked quite well. The Hogwarts Castle Banner at the bottom of the blanket also had no written instructions, but I did the counting and Maddi helped by doing the writing so I didn't lose my place or direction in the graph.
The top and bottom banners are both optional extras that were drafted and shared in the files by members of the Facebook Group. They finish the blanket perfectly, but they take awhile to complete. I thought that with fewer colours they would crochet up quickly but the Harry one seemed to take me forever :)
Each square is finished with a simple black border and then sewn together. I added the same border to the outer edges to tie it all together.
If you have someone who would love their own Harry Potter blanket, then I suggest you start HERE with the original free pattern. On her right sidebar, you will also find the link to her Facebook Group (Two Hearts Crochet Family) and you need to join to have access to the alternate squares and bonus banners. It's a friendly and supportive group where lots of ideas, projects and encouragement is shared.
Maddi and Michael absolutely love their blanket so it makes all the up and downs of this project worthwhile. It will be used for years to come, most likely while they are snuggled up watching Harry Potter movies for the umpteenth time ;)
It may have been smarter for me to try a few easier C2C graphgans before attempting one as complex as this, but I did learn a lot along the way. Despite my love/hate relationship with it, I do love it and seeing the joy on Maddi and Michael's faces far outweighs any obstacles I encountered along the way. That's the whole reason we make the things we do, isn't it? :)
Happy Christmas gift making :)

Friday, November 17, 2017

{Free Pattern} Geo Placemats + Blush Fabric Blog Tour

A few weeks ago, the lovely Dana from Made Everyday asked me to take part in her informal blog tour to showcase her new fabric line Blush. I was thrilled to be asked and I have designed a new free pattern to share with you here on the blog.
So here it is, my new free pattern, Geo Placemats:
Maddi and her boyfriend Michael, have just purchased their first home (YAY!) and she asked me to make some placemats for their new dining table. She fell in love with the Blush fabrics when they arrived and requested I make something simple and modern, with a burst of colour to add to the neutral surroundings of their home.......challenge accepted :)
My inspiration came from a set of serving bowls she had purchased, and I kept the design simple, adding a vertical geometric element to only one side of the placemat. Doesn't it pop beautifully against that crisp white homespun?
The piecing is very easy and its a perfect pattern for beginners to try. Its also great for gift making because you can whip up a batch of these placemats very quickly. I chose two Blush fabrics for the placemats but you could mix and match colours depending on your own home decor.
The Blush line is from Art Gallery Fabrics. They always produce beautiful quality fabrics that are gorgeous to work with and the colours are so bright and vibrant. You can see Dana's entire Blush fabric line, HERE.
I kept the quilting very simple with some vertical lines and stippling in the geometric strip. There's plenty of space to play around with lots of quilting designs, so have fun finishing your placemats in a way that makes you happy.
I did back the placemats with two other Blush fabrics but I somehow forgot to photograph them when I did this shoot. I'm a little annoyed because the backs are just as pretty and Maddi could also use the reverse side to change the look of her dining table (I will try and remember to grab a photo or two when she unpacks).
For this set, I alternated the blue and orange binding fabrics and I cut my bindings to 2" to give the placemats a narrow edging which frames them perfectly. I also think that narrow binding gives smaller projects like these placemats, a more professional and polished finish.
As Christmas is creeping closer, now's a great time to start your gift sewing and these placemats would be perfect for neighbours, teachers, friends and family members.
If you would like to make your own set of Geo Placemats, you can download the free pattern HERE and start sewing today. And don't forget to check with your local quilt shop and grab some of this gorgeous fabric line; its just stunning. ♥
I hope you enjoy sewing my new free pattern. Maddi loves her new placemats and I can't wait to see how her table looks once they are unpacked and settled into their new home :)
Thanks so much Dana for asking me to be part of your fabric blog tour. I thoroughly enjoyed working with these gorgeous fabrics; your new line is fun, modern and simply stunning :)
Happy sewing :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Scrappy Crocheted Baby Blankets

Just like my fabric baskets, my wool basket is filled to the brim with leftovers from different projects so I decided to make some scrappy crocheted baby blankets for my Etsy Handmade shop, and use up some of this ever growing yarn stash.
First up is this sweet little blanket, which I call, Flower Garden. Its made up of 49 flower squares in a combination of seven beautiful colours which all work together so well. Each flower is surrounded with a simple white border, giving it that lovely lacy appearance.
I love babies dressed and wrapped in handmade woolens, they just look so cuddly and this blanket would be perfect for special occasions; a trip to grandma's or a special outing or maybe even a naming ceremony or christening. I just love this one ♥
I finished the blanket with a simple scalloped border to keep with the lace theme and it finishes at around 36" square, so its perfect to wrap around a newborn or to use in a bassinet or pram.
If you are interested in purchasing this gorgeous Flower Garden Baby Blanket, you can find the listing in my Etsy Handmade shop, HERE.
I've also listed this Scrappy Granny Square Baby Blanket. This blanket is a little more gender neutral, if that's what you're looking for and its perfect for tummy time play or to pack in the baby bag for those chilly winds that seem to come from nowhere when you're out and about.
This blanket is made up of 36 plain Granny squares in six colours and the layout is a little more modern but I think it works well.
I finished this blanket with a plain border to keep with its simplicity. I can imagine this blanket being dragged around the house and becoming a favorite of its new little owner.
If you're interested in purchasing this Scrappy Granny Square Blanket, you can find the listing in my Etsy Handmade shop HERE.
Both blankets are super soft and snugly and because of the acrylic/nylon mix of yarn it makes them perfect for multiple washes but please follow the washing instructions included to avoid any mishaps in the laundry :)
You can view all my handmade listings in my Etsy Handmade shop HERE and own one of my items which have been crocheted with lots of love ♥
I'll be back very soon with a new free sewing pattern for you. I've been playing with the new Blush range from Dana Willard and I can't wait to share :)
Until then, happy Tuesday :)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Meet The Clauses

I'm well aware that Christmas brings out the big kid in me but I didn't realise just how much until I saw a free pattern, designed for kids (and little kids at that), which had me running to my wool stash. I could say I crocheted these for "way in the future" grandchildren but in all honesty, they're for me :) Why can't we keep the magic alive even when we're grownups? And seriously, who doesn't love Santa and Mrs. Claus anyway?
I'm not the best at amigurumi crochet but the only way to improve is to keep trying, right? My biggest problem is achieving the right amount of filling to shape them nicely. I also struggle with giving them lovely facial expressions but I think I almost nailed that with this festive couple. Aren't they adorable? ♥
I used the free patterns from Ashleigh of Sewrella but I had to make a few changes as I went along so I thought I'd list them all here, if you want to try these yourself.
Most importantly, the pattern suggested two strands of yarn and a large hook so the end project is a large cuddly toy. I used one strand and my usual hook, to achieve a smaller result so I can use them as part of my Christmas decorating.
First up was Santa. Both of these patterns are designed to be a floppy, cuddly, drag around the house kinda soft toy, so they are meant to be stuffed lightly. I still had a few issues; I think Ashleigh's lightly might be my normal and I ended up with Mrs. Claus a little "fluffier" than Santa but that's OK. The body could have used more filling but its done now and I cant undo it without ruining the crochet.
I followed the pattern closely with Santa but I did make a change to his arms. I crocheted them as the pattern stated first but to me they were thin and out of proportion to the rest of Santa. So I re-crocheted them and in round 2, I added five extra stitches to make them more proportional. I prefer them this way but if you try this pattern, you decide for yourself :)
All in all, Santa was quick and fun to crochet and I managed to finish him in a weekend. I think if I was to change anything about this little cutie, it would definitley be the amount of filling in his body and I might need to trim that beard a little more, after looking at the photo's :)
You can find Ashleigh's free pattern for Santa HERE.
Now with Mrs. Claus I did make a few changes. First up, I increased the size of the arms as I did with Santa. I also changed how I crocheted the apron. In the pattern it is crocheted as part of the body but I was unhappy with how my colour changes looked at the joins, so I crocheted my apron separate, added some straps to connect with the tie at the back and I tacked it all to the body so it wouldn't curl. I'm not sure this was a smart decision but I it looks better than my first attempt.
I also added the buttons to the apron straps and I used buttons instead of bells for the holly.
I added French Knots instead of bells for the earrings and I think I made her nose a little large but anyhoo :). The hair gave me a few issues though. Its meant to be rolled into a bun or folded over and secured into a messy bun but after following the pattern the length of hair just wasn't long enough to shape very well, so I gave Mrs. Claus a simple ponytail and added some ribbon. It looks OK but I'd suggest you cut your strands longer than the suggested 8" to achieve a bun.
You can find Ashleigh's free pattern for Mrs. Claus HERE.
Despite a few minor imperfections, I'm so thrilled with these two. They were fun to crochet and I learnt so much along the way so I'm glad I gave them a try. They are so sweet and cuddly and they keep my Christmas magic alive. One day my future grandchildren might drag them around the house but for now they will become part of our Christmas decorating and will most likely sit under our tree.
Ashleigh has lots of great free patterns, so pop on over and be inspired.
Happy crocheting :)
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