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Fabric flowers

Nowadays, a crafter is rarely just a sewist or a crocheter or a knitter – we may have several creative pursuits that satisfy different aspects of our personality. I love the speed and engineering element of sewing. But I also love the portability and flexibility of crochet. I’m also an enthusiastic knitter, a keen baker, a big fan of patterned paper and origami, a passionate cook, an occasional gardener, a keen puzzler, and much more.

I think it’s natural to feel yourself pulled towards a particular craft and away from others – in the past year, I’ve certainly felt pulled towards crochet and away from sewing. And I missed sewing. So I decided to take action, to give myself more sewing projects by becoming a contributor to The Sewing Directory.

I’m delighted to say that my first project is now live on the website – in fact, it’s not just one project but five! I put together a tutorial for making five different fabric flowers – you can see it here. There are so many different ways to make flowers out of fabric, it was hard to choose just five! So I took the selfish route and made the ones that I wanted.

As you might know, I’m getting married in April (this year!) so a lot of my making time is now devoted to crafting for the wedding. One of the items I’ve made is a wrap out of ivory chiffon, for me to wear on the day. I’d never sewn with chiffon before and to be honest, I totally ruined the first metre length I bought! It was only £3 per metre though so I just bought another metre. But that left me with a ruined metre, full of puckers and pulls, which I didn’t want to go to waste. So I decided to use it to make a gathered flower, which I’ll use somewhere on the day:

Chiffon flower

Chiffon flower

This became Flower 1 of 5, and I enjoyed the gathering technique so much that I made another one using a patterned green cotton fabric and attached it to a pipe cleaner stem – simple but pretty!

Flower 1 in cotton

Flower 1 in cotton

For Flower 2, I thought I’d try a simple technique that I’d seen around but never tried myself – chain piecing folded triangles of fabric. It worked really well, apart from the hole in the middle which has to be covered up – to make it a little more 3D, I stuffed the flower centre. Then I attached it to a barbecue skewer to form a stem – perfect for a little vase:

Flower 2 in pot

Flower 2 in pot

For Flower 3, I tried a technique that I’d seen during my time on Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine – it’s a clever way of joining a fabric flower shape to a piece of fusible web. The resulting appliqué flower is flat and ready to fuse onto another fabric. I decided to use it to brighten up this dress – remember it from this post?

Flower 3 on dress

Flower 3 on dress

After making this one, I felt confident enough to cut out a flower shape from another fabric and create a ready-to-fuse appliqué flower out of it. This particular flower shape is a little bit odd, but the technique is neat!

Before and after

Appliqué flower: before and after

For Flower 4, I went back to my stash and found some spare organza (also a wedding purchase) – this seemed a good choice for making flowers. This time, I cut the fabric into petals and had a little too much fun using a candle to shape them (I think maybe there’s a pyromaniac lurking in all of us):

Organza flower

Organza flower

And finally, Flower 5 is just a gathered and layered tube, which I’ve done before, but they’re so simple and satisfying to make:

Flower 5 gathered tube

Flower 5 gathered tube

I made these during the dull days of December and they really brightened up the place, without taking up much time. If you’d like to make any of these flowers, just check out my free tutorials on The Sewing Directory – and look out for some more of my free sewing projects on the website soon…

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2016 in Sewing

 

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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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Oh Christmas tree!

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when crafting turns festive and you remember how good shades of green and red look together. If you think October is too soon for all this, let me tell you this little secret: for a lot of crafters like me who also work on magazines, thoughts of Christmas start even earlier – usually July or August. I know.

Fortunately for me, I quite like Christmas. Plus, I’m lucky to have the creative freedom to only create the Christmassy makes that I like. Christmas trees are my absolute favourite aspect of the season, so I was more than happy to crochet a little tree for Simply Crochet magazine. I actually made this way back in August, but decided to spare you the C-word until now…

Finished crochet popcorn tree

Finished crochet popcorn tree

I used simple popcorn stitches to make the tree, while the little poinsettia is made using puff stitches. This sweet little shrub was a handy way to illustrate the techniques covered in my technical feature on popcorn and puff stitches.

However, it took me a little while to figure out the maths I needed to form the cone shape. I started off with not enough increases and the tree was too straight…

Crochet popcorn tree: try 1

Crochet popcorn tree: try 1

Then I ended up with too many increases and it was too flat…

Crochet popcorn tree: try 2

Crochet popcorn tree: try 2

Finally, I hit the Goldilocks spot and got the increases juuuust right.

The poinsettia flower was much more straightforward though and I’m thinking about making a garland of these to hang on this year’s actual Christmas tree…

Crochet puffs poinsettia flower

Crochet puffs poinsettia flower

After making it, I realised that if you crocheted it with a yellow yarn, it would look like a star. Two patterns in one!

If you’re interested in getting the pattern, check out the latest issue of Simply Crochet (issue 37). And be prepared for more festive makes coming soon… (sorry)

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2015 in Crochet

 

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New iPhone 6 cosy 

At the risk of opening myself up to being mugged, I have a lovely new iPhone 6! Given how much it set me back, I take its safety very seriously so I got an Air Jacket thing and screen protector for it. But that wasn’t quite enough. So I made this:  
Yes, it’s a crocheted cosy! (Well, why not?) It was very quick to make and the drawstring top makes sure the little guy stays safely protected inside. 

To start with, it was just plain but I soon realised that it needed a motif so I added this pretty green flower. It wasn’t just to make the cosy prettier but also so that I knew which way round it was in the cosy! (In case you’re thinking of mugging me, for the iPhone or the cosy, I’ve been keeping the phone’s front next to the motif. You’re welcome.)

So to come full circle, I decided to use my lovely new phone to write this post and take the photo above. I think new iPhone 6 did a pretty good job…

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Flower tablet cosy

I’ve been crocheting lots of flowers recently. They’re great little projects for making on the bus on the way to work, and they make me feel more summery even when the sun isn’t shining. I’ve got lots of little bits of leftover yarn so I made this cute little flower pattern to use them up:

Tiny crochet flowers

Tiny crochet flowers

Then my mum bought herself a tablet and I thought it would be nice to make her a tablet cosy decorated with these flowers, for Mother’s Day. All this coincided with writing a feature for Simply Crochet magazine on surface crochet, so this is what I ended up making:

Flowery tablet cosy

Flowery tablet cosy

I worked the branch in surface crochet and then attached the flowers on top in groups. It was quite time consuming and I had to make several drawings and plans, but I just love the finished cosy; it’s so pretty! (I sort of wanted to keep it for myself, but that’s just between us!).

I used a button and loop to keep the cosy safe, and added a subtle extra touch of surface crochet with a circle around the button:

Crochet tablet cosy back

Crochet tablet cosy back

I’m also crocheting some flowers for the wedding, but more about that another time…

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Crochet

 

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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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Cosy cowl

Another cosy crochet make I’ve been working on recently is this chunky cowl for issue 29 of Simply Crochet (on sale now!):

Textured scarf

Textured scarf

The challenge was to create a textured cowl using back loop and front loop crochet stitches. Once I started looking, I found that the options are almost infinite! But in the end, I chose four different textures and made them in four different colours.

From the top (in the photo), I used the beige yarn to make a chunky ridged texture, the lilac yarn was ideal for a lacy crossed double treble texture, I used the baby blue yarn to create a subtle raised texture, and then the teal green yarn was perfect for a wide ribbed texture.

I joined all four pieces together, end to end, to make one long cowl for wrapping around and around. To top it all off, I made a layered flower, placing layers of different stitches in the front and back loops. I think the flower helps to hold the layers together and adds a little touch of femininity. It’s almost like four different cowls in one!

It’s oh-so warm in the chunky yarn, but I’d also like to make a lighter version in different colours of DK cotton for those cool summer mornings.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Crochet

 

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