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Put your heart into it

Hearts are an eternally popular symbol, but sometimes I’m a bit tired of seeing them used as just a fun design shape. It’s easy to forget what they mean: love, and living your life with warmth and kindness in your heart. With this in mind, I try to be careful how I use hearts and reserve them only for really special projects.

One such project was this heart embroidery filled with flowers, worked on crochet fabric, which I made as a decoration for our wedding:

Heart embroidery on crochet fabric

It was surprisingly simple to make by gradually building up the picture, starting with the stem stitch heart outline. Then I made the big two-tone straight stitch flowers, the chunky bullion knot blooms and the dainty satin stitch petals. I filled in the remaining areas with stems made of straight and feather stitches, and then tiny satin stitch buds. I used one of my favourite yarns, DMC Natura Just Cotton, which has some lovely, natural colours.

I wanted this heart to symbolise my love for my now-husband, which is like a warm garden full of beautiful flowers in all sorts of colours, sizes and textures, with new blooms developing all the time. I love looking at it!

It’ll have a new home once our house renovations are finished, but for now it’s hanging up with some other treasured items (including the lovely Welsh spoons gift we had, with the date of our wedding on):

Heart embroidery home

The other heart-themed project I made for our wedding was this chiffon wrap, trimmed with crocheted hearts:
(Sorry this photo is a bit rubbish – did you know that photographing white chiffon is really tricky?!)

Heart-trimmed chiffon wrap

I wanted to make a wrap to use as a cover-up in case it was cold, or if I felt a little self-conscious of showing off too much flesh! It was easy to make – I just bought 1m of chiffon (1.5m wide), folded it in half and hemmed around the edges, leaving a turning gap. I turned it through to the right side and topstitched around the edge, before sewing on the crocheted hearts by hand.

It was very simple to make, although I have to admit that I… um… totally ruined the first piece of chiffon that I bought by using a really old needle in my sewing machine. It pulled on the threads like mad – whoops! As soon as I got off my lazy rear and inserted a new needle, the second piece of chiffon ran like a dream through the machine. It was ok though, I cut up the ruined piece and used it for some other projects, which I’ll tell you about another time…

Anyway, so on our wedding day, it sat quite nicely around my arms and was handy for putting around me when it started drizzling! You can see me wearing it in this photo:

Me wearing heart-trimmed wrap

Here’s a close-up of the wrap, which featured cream hearts along each side and a blue heart at each corner:

Heart trim close-up

I used a lovely yarn to hook the hearts, Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton, which feels really soft and has a slight sheen that adds a luxurious look.

I wanted the hearts on the wrap to symbolise my love for handmade. With each stitch that I hooked, I thought about how much I love creating unique items by hand and I tried to put my heart into making each shape special – partly as a special gift to myself, but I also thought about the hearts being viewed by all our loved ones at our wedding and hoping they’d smile as they realised that of course I’d made it myself! When I finally wore the wrap on our big day, I definitely felt some of that love keeping me warm.

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Posted by on April 10, 2018 in Crochet, Embroidery, Sewing

 

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Um.. Hello?

Hello…? Is there anyone there? It’s been almost two years since my last blog post so maybe you’ve all moved on…

A lot has happened in two years. For me anyway. My Dad died… unexpectedly. And with dreadful timing. That has changed everything. Like an emotional bombshell. The person I was then has gone. It’s taken a long time to accept and rebuild the new me. There’s been sadness, anger, frustration, panic, self-doubt and despair. But throughout, I’ve clung onto tiny moments of joy that have kept me going.

One of the most important joys for me has been making things. I don’t think I’ve created my best designs in that time (!) but each make has given me a point on the horizon to aim for when I felt adrift in life.

So slowly but surely (and with the help of a wonderful therapist), I’ve made my way back to the shore of optimism. With both feet firmly back on dry land, I finally feel ready to get on with life again. And much to my own surprise, I want to blog again. Hopefully someone will be listening!

I have a lot of makes to share from the last two years, so I need to be patient and not post them all at once!

For now, I’ll leave you with this treasured picture I have, which was (lightly) coloured in by me and my Dad when he was in the hospital. It’s so full of joy…

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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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 on Ravelry here or on Etsy 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 on Ravelry here or on Etsy 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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