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2015 Review

I’m not usually one for looking back or making resolutions, but it seems to have become a tradition for my blog, so why the heck not…

The past year has been pretty big for me: I fulfilled one of my big dreams of opening an Etsy shop and I’ve even sold some patterns!

My blog has also had some lovely comments, I’ve posted 35 times, and I’ve uploaded over 200 photos. I also started another blog all about vegan food (littlegreenplate.wordpress.com) and I opened a shop on Ravelry dedicated to my crochet and knitting projects (and had a few sales on there as well!).

But looking back, without doubt, my most popular make continues to be this adorable doggy doorstop sewing project – even though he bounded into life in 2012, he’s still my most popular make and I think he’s my favourite, too!

Sewn doggy doorstop – sewing pattern available at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MakeMeDo

But looking at my new projects for 2015,I think this has been a really productive year, where I’ve designed and made some really good projects that I’m proud to put my name on. So these are some of my most popular projects as well as my personal favourites:

Crochet alphabet – pattern available at www.ravelry.com/stores/becky-skuse-designs

Rainbow scarf

Rainbow scarf

Crochet rainbow scarf – pattern coming soon to Simply Crochet magazine.

Flowery tablet cosy

Flowery tablet cosy

Crochet flower tablet cosy – pattern coming soon to my Etsy and Ravelry shops.

Crochet pinwheels closer

Crochet pinwheels closer

Crochet pinwheels – pattern coming soon to my Etsy and Ravelry shops.

Finished crochet popcorn tree

Finished crochet popcorn tree

Crochet popcorn tree – pattern coming soon to my Etsy and Ravelry shops.

Sparkly clutch

Sparkly clutch

Crochet and sewing sparkly purse – pattern coming soon to my Etsy and Ravelry shops.

Little dragon

Little dragon

Crochet dragon – a gift for my sister-in-law.

Crochet All Sorts

Crochet All Sorts

Crochet All Sorts – my first project for Mollie Makes magazine, the pattern is available on my Etsy shop here. I also posted a step-by-step guide to sewing up one of the sweets:

Start sewing up

Start sewing up

At the beginning of 2015, I made some crafty resolutions and I’m glad to say that I’ve achieved some of them. I’d resolved to post more technical guides and while I only posted one (above), I’m considering that a mild success.

I also resolved to post more projects, for free or a fee and I have managed to post various patterns, either for free on this blog, or for sale on my Etsy and Ravelry shops. I’d like to add more though (I’ve got 20 patterns just waiting to be sorted out!) so getting through some of these will be a key crafty resolution for 2016.

I haven’t achieved my final resolution though: to make a crocheted baker boy hat. So I think I’ll make that a rollover resolution for 2016! Is that allowed? Well, if it’s good enough for the lottery…

My final aim for the year involves this little thing in April (my wedding!) that I’m busy making things for…

In the meantime, best wishes to all of you for the year ahead 🙂

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Posted by on January 16, 2016 in Crochet, Sewing

 

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Crafty ideas on the bus

My journey to work is an hour on the bus each way, which can get a little dull. Usually, I take a crochet project or something to read with me, but the other day, I was caught out with nothing to do. Sometimes it’s nice just to look out the window and watch the world go by, but on this occasion, the bus was so busy that there were no window seats left.

So I resorted to looking through my handbag for interesting items to entertain me, and I came across a couple of crafty business cards that I’d picked up the last time I went to St Ives in Cornwall.

One was for Grace Face Boutique, www.gracefaceboutique.blogspot.co.uk:

Grace Face card

Grace Face card

They primarily make lovely vintage-style dresses using quirky printed fabrics, but there’s also adorable buttons, cute purses and inspirational notebooks – I love the one that says ‘Don’t quit your day dream’. Apparently, Emma has since closed her studio in St Ives and moved to Northampton, but it seems like she’s still brimming with creativity.

The second card was for Little Binks, www.littlebinks.co.uk:

Little Binks card

Little Binks card

They make unique handmade clothes for little ones, many of which have a seaside theme, which would just look adorable on my nieces during the summer. They use vintage and recycled fabrics for an eco-friendly edge, and there are a fair few dresses with a hint of 1970s floral bedspreads, which is oh-so cool right now. Prices are reasonable, too.

On the back of the Little Binks card, I’d written this:

Leila Shepherd

Leila Shepherd

I remember that she didn’t have a card, but I really liked her handmade lampshades, particularly one made with a map-style fabric. So I’d written down her details on the back of the other card. Her website is leilashepherd.com, although you can see many more of her creations on her Pinterest page, www.pinterest.com/leilashepherd

Finally, I found a receipt with the cards from the Poppy Treffry shop, where I got this felt flower brooch:

Felt flower

Felt flower

If you’ve not discovered Poppy yet, she creates lovely freehand embroideries. Go to www.poppytreffry.co.uk and check out her gorgeous seaside-themed goodies – I love the purses and bags, the mugs, the kits and the embroidered pictures.

Anyway, I love seeing the creativity of other crafters, and I had a lovely bus journey in the end, remembering my time in St Ives and all the inspirational makes that I saw there. Makes me wish I was in St Ives now…

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Embroidery, Sewing

 

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ABC crochet

Before Christmas, I embarked on a pretty ambitious project for me, involving charts, different yarn colours, letters and motifs.

As you might know, I put together the technical features for Simply Crochet magazine (overseen by their wonderful technical editor, Cara) – sometimes I also make a project to go with the feature and demonstrate some of the techniques talked about in the feature.

For issue 27 (out now), the subject was ‘how to use a crochet chart’ and for the project, I was really keen to do something with letters. We came up with the idea of monogram coasters, which could also be used to personalise garments, such as a pocket for a cardigan.

Crochet letter coasters

Crochet letter coasters

These are the first three letters in the alphabet that I crocheted and I’m really pleased with how they’ve turned out. I made crochet charts for the whole alphabet, which you can purchase in my Ravelry shop, here.

After making these three, I was then left with the question of what to do with them. Well, it just so happens that my cousin had a gorgeous little baby boy in June (I mentioned this here) and I thought it would be lovely to create a cube using these letters.

I’m no maths genius, but I quickly realised that I would need to make three more squares to create a cube! So I decided to make a motif to go with each letter…

For A, I thought the yarn colours were perfect for making an apple:

A is for Apple

A is for Apple

For B, I made a grey bell on a green background:

B is for bell

B is for bell

For C, I made a car:

C is for car

C is for car

Aren’t they cute?! I particularly like the car.

I must just mention that it was actually my other half who created the initial charts for these three motifs – I told him what I wanted and he made a rough chart, which I polished up afterwards. It was nice to collaborate and have him take such an interest in my makes!

After some firm blocking (to make the squares more um square), a bit of careful seaming and plenty of stuffing, here’s my finished cube:

Crochet baby cube

Crochet baby cube

As an extra touch, I added a little bell inside the stuffing so it’s a stimulating treat for the ears as well as the eyes and hands. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish it in time for it to be a Christmas gift, but it will be a New Year gift, which I think is a nice way to spread out baby Mitch’s treats (that’s my story, anyway!).

If you’re interested in crocheting your own apple, bell or car motif,and making the cube, you can find the pattern in my Ravelry shop, here.

They use a 4ply yarn (West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply in grey and apple), a 3mm hook, and double crochet stitches (US single crochet), to make ‘squares’ that measured 13cm wide and 13.5cm tall.

The possibilities for using these letter and motif charts are near-infinite. I like the idea of crocheting the car in a superchunky yarn to make a really big square for a cushion, mat or lap blanket.

If you do use these charts in your crafting, do let me know – I’d love to see how you get creative with them…

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Crochet

 

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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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Patchwork & quilting

Every now and then, it’s good to immerse yourself in a new craft – it refreshes your creative energy, which is a good thing for all your crafts. I’ve recently thrown myself into the world of patchwork and quilting, thanks to my good friend Alice and her magazine, Love Patchwork & Quilting.

Love Patchwork & Quilting issue 15

Love Patchwork & Quilting issue 15

As you’ll know, I already love sewing and fabric, but I’ve not really done much patchwork or quilting – I once made a patchwork baby blanket, but it was just plain squares and I didn’t quilt it.

Anyway, it’s been a great way to flex my creative muscle, enthusing about gorgeous fabrics and beautiful projects. And I’ve learnt so much about different patchwork techniques and designs, how to quilt, simple ways to piece together triangles and other shapes, and English paper piecing (EPP). There are also some great ideas for using up scraps, which I have plenty of from my other sewing projects.

I’ve only worked on two issues so far (issue 15, above, and issue 16, below), but it’s so much fun!

Love Patchwork & Quilting issue 16

Love Patchwork & Quilting issue 16

My head is literally buzzing with ideas – no really, you can hear it whirring! 🙂 So I’m really looking forward to the festive break (I have 2 whole weeks off!) when I can put some of those ideas into crafty practice. The only trouble is deciding which idea to work on first…

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Sewing

 

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Simple sewn mats

You might remember that we redecorated our bedroom in July, and I got busy crafting little extras to make it truly ours. Maybe you even remember this photo of our windowsill:

Bedroom temporary plant mat

Bedroom temporary plant mat

Yes, that was a spare oven mitt being used as a plant mat, to protect the wooden windowsill that I’d very carefully painted. Well, I’m happy to tell you that the oven mitt is back in its kitchen drawer, where it should be, because we’ve made a whole windowsill full of pretty, sewn mats:

Six simply sewn windowsill mats

Six simply sewn windowsill mats

The best thing about this sewing project is that all six mats were made by both me and Jonny (the other/better half). We had chosen the fabric together, I’d cut all the pieces and threaded the sewing machine – I was all ready to get started by myself when (as a joke) I asked him whether he might be interested in learning to sew by doing the first (easiest) sewing stage on the mats. To my surprise, he said: “Yeah, I’ll give it a go.” I was surprised and delighted in equal measure!

I think his willingness was, in part, due to a television programme that we’d watched the night before. The BBC do a show called The Great British Sewing Bee, which I really enjoy. Well, they did a series of three charity specials recently, for Children in Need, with celebrities – some of whom were men (some of whom were pretty good). We watched it together and I think seeing other men sewing had made it acceptable for him to do the same.

So I pinned two pieces right sides together and showed him the basics of using the machine, backstitching, sewing in a straight line, turning a corner and leaving a turning gap. And he was really good. He’s not too fond of any task that is “tedious and repetitive”, so his attention span only stretched to doing three mats before he had to have a break. But he came back and sewed the other three. He also helped me turn them all through to the right side and then I just added the wadding and did the topstitching to finish them off. Here’s one a little closer:

Side 1: beige flower fabric

Side 1: beige flower fabric

We made them so that they have a different fabric on each side and each one has a different feel. Sometimes I’m in the mood for the beige side with its delicate little white and blue flowers. Other times, I crave the visual stimulation of the blue side with its geometric patterns:

Side 2: Blue fabric

Side 2: Blue fabric

So far, we’ve got the best of both by having some of the mats on one side and some on the other side. It’s really lovely to have a few different handmade items decorating our new bedroom, but what’s makes these mats even more special is knowing that we made them together. They’re the product of a crafty romance 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2014 in Sewing

 

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More bedroom crafts

Having finished our shiny new bedroom through our DIY efforts, my attention has turned to crafty pursuits to personalise our new space.

We made our own headboard, using a piece of MDF, a spare duvet, a staple gun and a piece of faux suede fabric in dusky green. We’d never done anything like it before, but we figured it out and it looks great – and it’s v comfy for leaning against.

Bedroom headboard

Bedroom headboard

I used some of the fabric off-cuts and spare ribbon to make some thin strips to hang from the new wardrobe’s pull-out hook device (thanks Ikea!) – I’m now using the strips to hang up my earrings and brooches, which makes deciding what to wear much more fun!

Bedroom earrings store

Bedroom earrings store

Bedroom earrings store close-up

Bedroom earrings store close-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are still a few things left for me/us to craft though. I need to make mats for everything on our windowsill, to prevent my beautiful new paintwork from being ruined. For now, I’m improvising with whatever I can find around the house – yes, this is an oven mitt…

Bedroom temporary plant mat

Bedroom temporary plant mat

I also need to buy or craft a lamp for my bedside table – we used to have some fairylights strung up above the bed, but they’re not really compatible with the new headboard. So for now I’ve made a make-shift lamp using the fairylights and a spare vase. It’s not terrible, but it’s not quite right either…

Bedroom lamp

Bedroom lamp

Some of these little extras might not be finished yet, but my favourite ‘extra’ is finished and is taking pride of place on the bed – yes, it’s my soft, colourful, gorgeous rainbow granny blanket… (now all I need is some cold weather!)

Bedroom granny blanket

Bedroom granny blanket

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2014 in Crochet, Other Crafts, Sewing

 

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