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Category Archives: Knitting

Review & resolutions

All in all, it’s been a pretty good year for Make Me Do. Some posts have been surprisingly popular while others have flown under the radar somewhat. I didn’t quite manage my posting once-a-week aim, but 37 posts out of 52 is pretty good.

Since I posted a review of 2013 at the start of last year, I felt like I should stick with tradition and review 2014. From a strictly numbers-based perspective, my most popular posts have been for my peaked baker boy hat patterns, whether that’s sewn like this one

Denim hat © Becky Skuse

Denim hat © Becky Skuse

Or knitted, like this one

Baker boy hat

Baker boy hat

I love the shape and style of these hats and I like the idea that there could be people walking around wearing a hat made from one of my patterns! You can buy both patterns here. I’d really like to make a crochet version of the hat so I think I’ll make that my first crafty resolution of 2015.

One of my favourite makes, personally, in 2014 was this laundry bag, which makes me smile every morning when I wake up…

Laundry bag

Laundry bag

I have the pattern for this bag on my ‘to post’ list so I think I’ll make that my next resolution for 2015, alongwith plenty of other patterns I’ve got ready to post.

Another popular post has been my Doggy doorstop and you can now buy the pattern here

Doggy doorstop

Doggy doorstop

Talking of cute crafty makes, I loved making this crochet amigirumi bear, which I called ‘Cookie’…

Cookie bear waving

Cookie bear waving

Cookie happily sits on a shelf next to me when I’m sat on the sofa in the evenings – he’s no trouble and always has a smile on his face.

Back to the numbers and apparently, the most popular day on my blog in 2014 was in May, when I posted the step-by-step on hairpin crochet

Hairpin Step 11

Hairpin crochet

So in 2015, I’ll try to do a few more technical guides. Any requests?

I think three resolutions is a good start, so here goes for 2015…

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2015 in Crochet, Knitting, Sewing

 

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150 Thrifty Knits

It’s been a while since I’ve knitted anything – crochet seems to have been demanding all my creative time! So it was fun recently to work on a knitting bookazine, 150 Thrifty Knits, which is on sale now:

150 Thrifty Knits bookazine

150 Thrifty Knits bookazine

My involvement was to compile the patterns inside from previous issues of Simply Knitting magazine. The most fun challenge of working on this was trying to get 150 patterns into 132 pages – not easy!

But I’m pleased to say I managed to squeeze in all sorts of patterns for every occasion, including sweet little makes for babies and kids, gift ideas for all the family, treats for yourself or a very special friend, fashion and accessories, and homewares.

At just £7.99, I think this is a real bargain. You can find out more at www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk or purchase a digital copy from within the free Simply Knitting app (see here for more).

I’m surprised how this bookazine has reignited my enthusiasm for knitting – now, where is my needle stash…

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in Knitting

 

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Creative string

Sorry for the delay in posts, we had a week’s holiday in Cornwall – beforehand we were busy packing and working, then afterwards we were busy unpacking and working. So the blog got neglected, but I have still been crafting!

We went on holiday to St Ives in Cornwall, which was typically chilly and rainy for November, but it was still beautiful and relaxing. On the most rainy day, we went to the Tate in St Ives. Their exhibitions are always interesting and usually include some pieces by Barbara Hepworth, a talented sculptor and artist who lived and created in St Ives and was made a Dame for it.

This time, there were some wonderful sculptures by Hepworth on display, using string in really interesting ways. Understandably, you’re not allowed to take photos of the art, so go here or here to see the kind of thing I mean – these aren’t the exact ones that we saw, but they’re very similar.

I love how she uses the string to imply a connectivity and tension between two objects, like the invisible strings of our own lives pull us towards the people, places and activities that we love.

People sometimes refer to yarn as ‘string’ and I kind of like the idea that modern knitters are continuing to be creative with string, like Hepworth was.

Her sculptures also reminded me of the geometric Spirograph pen drawings (like these) I used to make as a child – they were so much fun, I’d spend hours doing them!

I was also reminded of a string art picture that I made when I was around 10 or 11 – it was a kit that included a thick piece of chipboard, some black felt that went over the top and a ton of nails that you hammered into the chipboard according to a paper guide. Then you’d wrap the string around the nails in a specific way to create a picture. Mine was an owl…

Owl string art

Owl string art

When we got home, I decided to dig it out of the attic and was surprised at how well I’d made it! Here’s a close-up…

Owl close-up

Owl close-up

With my new-found perspective on string as art, I bought a special frame for it and I’m planning to give it to a special owl-loving family member for Christmas. I hope she likes the creative string art and the legacy that it comes from.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Crochet, Knitting, Other Crafts

 

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Busy, backpack and bunting

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, I’ve been too busy crafting and working to write about what I’ve been doing. More about what I’ve been working on soon – in the meantime, here’s a run-down of my recent crafting projects…

I learned Tunisian crochet recently and made this stripy sunglasses case for Simply Crochet magazine. I love the woven look of the fabric, which is thick and sturdy, and also how you can create two-tone rows. I wanted a button fastening (well I am in button club) and managed to find the perfect one – a little sunglasses button! It’s really cute and looks a bit like a little pair of eyes…

Tunisian crochet sunglasses case

Tunisian crochet sunglasses case

In sewing news, the backpack I made a while ago (see here) is appearing in Sewing World magazine this month. The original idea was to make it a children’s backpack, hence the super-cute fabric (it’s Critter Community Frames Cool, Suzy Ultman for Robert Kaufman, from Fancy Moon), but I think it’s great storage for any age. The backpack itself is just a simple rectangle shape so it’s quite straightforward to make – but in designing it, the construction was a real challenge because I wanted it to be lined and all the seams enclosed! To do that, I had to make a fair few buttonholes, which wasn’t as scary as I thought, so now I’m wondering what else can be buttonholed…

Sewn backpack

Sewn backpack

If you saw my post about pompoms here, you’ll know that I’d made a lot of them! Well, this is the project that I used them for – a long string of totally touchable bunting, for Simply Crochet magazine, using tassels, pompoms and fringing. The colours are so cheerful, they make me smile. It’s now hanging in our hallway, brightening up the space…

Tassel bunting

Tassel bunting

More makes and exciting crafty things to tell you about soon…

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Crochet, Knitting, Sewing

 

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Button club

Button club

If you read my previous post, Buttoned Up, you’ll know that everything’s gone ‘buttons’ recently. So on Tuesday this week (17th June 2014), me and some crafty friends at work held the first meeting of ‘button club’!

(Btw it also happened to be the same day that my cousin gave birth to a gorgeous son, Mitch Mcmillan, who I made this blanket for recently.)

Anyway, so, we all brought some buttons along and enjoyed looking at each other’s stashes. Here are Becca and Lizzie, who were so busy looking at buttons, they didn’t notice me get my camera out!

Becca & Lizzie looking at buttons

Becca & Lizzie looking at buttons

Not only were there some fab buttons to look at, but also some interesting ways of storing buttons. Becca had an old tin (once used for tobacco), I’ve got a really little drawer unit, and Lizzie had this nifty tin in the shape of a book (by Cath Kidston):

Button tin in the shape of a book!

Button tin in the shape of a book!

There were plenty of interesting buttons in our stashes – different materials, colours, shapes and engraved patterns. But we were all in agreement by the end that there was just one button that was the most impressive – it came from Lizzie’s stash and here she is looking proud of it:

Lizzie's amazing button

Lizzie’s beautiful button

We’ve nicknamed this the ‘naked lady’ button, for obvious reasons. I particularly like the stylish cape (if that is a cape?), even though she’s not bothered with any other clothes…

The intricacy of the design is what we all loved, especially considering that this button is only 1.5cm (½in) wide! We’ve no idea where this button has come from, so there’s no chance of getting any more, but that’s the beauty of unique buttons like this.

Do you have any ideas for what project this button would be good for? I’m thinking a cape or scarf, in honour of the lady on the button. Do you have any interesting buttons?

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2014 in Beading, Crochet, Knitting, Papercrafts, Sewing

 

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Buttoned up

I’ve just come back from our annual week’s holiday to the beautiful seaside town of St Ives in Cornwall. If you’ve never been, you really are missing out. Here’s just one of the many lovely photos we took of the town, on one of our many walks:

St Ives © Becky Skuse

St Ives © Becky Skuse

As well as beautiful views, friendly people, delicious food and great galleries, there are also some lovely crafty shops and other tempting goodies, which I spent far too much money on!

Unfortunately, my two favourite shops have closed down or moved out of the town: the bead shop (G J Beads) and vintage store Beaten Green.

However, there’s still a knitting shop (House of Bartlett), two stained glass galleries (including Jo Downs and Desiree Hope), a vintage tea room, and Poppy Treffry now has her own shop.

One of my best buys was not in any of these places though, it was in one of the gift shops…

Button earrings

Button earrings

Yes, it’s a pair of button earrings! I grinned from ear to ear when I saw them, and happily handed over a mere £2 to have them. I’ve already had several compliments on them and am now bursting with ideas for making jewellery using buttons.

I think it must be fate though, because only a few weeks ago, I joked to the gorgeous Becca (at Knit Happens) that we should start a button club and meet to compare our button stashes and undertake creative button-related challenges. We both had a good giggle, but since then, EVERYTHING has been coming up buttons!

I think it’s the universe’s way of telling me to get buttoned up… and who am I to argue?

So, button club anyone? Who’s in?

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Beading, Crochet, Embroidery, Knitting, Sewing

 

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Knitted teddy

Making teddy bears is one of my favourite crafty projects – I’ve sewn them (see this bear), knitted loads of them and I’m currently working on a crocheted bear (I’ll post again as soon as he’s finished).

I’d never made any toys or teddy bears before 2009. That was the year my eldest niece Jenny was born. At the time, I was working for a knitting magazine in Bristol and a few months before she arrived into the world, we had an adorable teddy bear pattern in the magazine – as soon as I saw it, I just knew I had to make him for our special little unborn baby.

Jenny's teddy

Jenny’s teddy

She still has this teddy (although he’s a little worse for wear nowadays!) and she called him ‘Eddy Teddy’. Making this teddy sparked a wave of knitting teddies for people and I can’t remember how many I made!

Of course, I made another teddy just like Eddy, for my youngest niece, Beth, and she called him Jacob. Although he wasn’t the original, special teddy, there were a vast number of improvements made for the mark 2 version (since I’d learned so much in the meantime) so he’s standing the test of time much better!

Anyway, I’m reminded of all this because I recently found some photos of Eddy Teddy from 2009, which I thought I’d lost. Back then, I didn’t often take photos of my makes, but because he was so special, I asked my photographer other half Jonny to take some photos of Eddy Teddy. This is what he emailed to me:

Photoshoot is going well… wait, I'm not done yet!

Photoshoot is going well… wait, I’m not done yet!

Where are you off to, little bear?

Where are you off to, little bear?

No, stop!

No, stop!

Bye! I'm really sorry, he was too fast… At least we have the photos.

Bye! Sorry, he was too fast… At least we have the photos.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2014 in Knitting

 

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