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Unfinished objects

All crafters have unfinished objects – those projects that you started with great enthusiasm, but for some reason it’s been abandoned, tucked away in the back of a cupboard and forgotten. I’ve got my fair share of these, usually projects that I start when I’m in between paid commissions -and then I get a commission that I need to focus on instead!

So recently when I was in between commissions and wondering what to do with my impatient hands, I realised that delving into my unfinished objects or UFO bag might result in a quick-finish project. Why have I never realised this before??

Braving the crochet UFO bag (there’s a whole separate one for sewing UFOs!), I found a couple of heads from abandoned toys, some pretty shell shapes that I made far too big, and an orange circle. I think maybe this circle was the start of a summer hat that I realised was just going to attract wasps! So I sat down to think about what I could turn it into…

I could have used it as a coaster, or continued it into a bowl or some sort of cosy. There were two shades of orange so I wanted to find a way to make something out of that feature. And then I folded it in half and realised it looked like a slice of orange! Ooh a fruity purse would be a lovely gift for someone, I thought.

With a quick dig around in my stash, I found a brown zip the right length – not the ideal colour but it’s ok. I was all ready and raring to go, and then I remembered that I had agreed to work a volunteer shift at my local charity shop. So I gathered everything up into my project bag and took it with me. The afternoon at the shop was quite quiet so in between serving customers, I adding segment lines and then sewed the zip in place. People seemed quite intrigued by what I was doing!

Orange purse finished

He’s a surprisingly roomy little purse and when he was finished and I was packing everything away, I realised it might be big enough for all my crochet notions…

Crochet notions inside

When I got home, I found that it did fit all my notions inside and all these bits and bobs helped to pad out the purse and make it look more like a piece of orange – win!

Not bad for an afternoon – UFO complete and a new little notions purse to brighten up my crafting. And yes, I’m keeping this orange guy all to myself – if only to remind me about the creative potential of all my other UFOs!

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Posted by on September 21, 2018 in Crochet, Sewing

 

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Mosaic crochet fun

I’m so lucky sometimes that I get to spend my time combining the things I enjoy to create cool stuff! My latest project ticks so many of my enjoyment boxes – it’s this mosaic crochet green and beige bath mat.

I love learning new crochet techniques (tick!) and mosaic crochet is really simple to learn (tick!), but it creates gorgeous geometric patterns that I love (tick!).

We had an extension built this year and as part of that we have a new bathroom/utility room. We had plenty of spare towels and other paraphernalia for it, but the one item we needed was a bath mat for the shower enclosure. So when I learnt mosaic crochet (as part of a feature for Simply Crochet magazine), I knew this was the perfect technique for making my own bespoke bath mat (tick!). The mosaic pattern is created at the front of the fabric with overlapping stitches, which makes the fabric pretty thick and sturdy. I used a really big yarn (Hoooked Zpagetti jersey yarn) with a really big hook (tick!) so it only took a day to make (tick!). I used green and beige to coordinate with the colours in the room.

So there we have it, I had fun and made something useful – that’s what crafting is all about!

If you’d like to have fun learning mosaic crochet and making your own bath mat, the tutorial and project are in issue 74 of Simply Crochet magazine (www.simplycrochetmag.co.uk)

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2018 in Crochet

 

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Granny square day

Apparently there was granny square day last week! How could I not know about it?? My family are always joking that I’m late to everything so it seems sort of fitting to be late to this party!

I love making granny squares and a while ago made this rainbow blanket:

I’ve shared the pattern for it in my Ravelry shop at www.ravelry.com/stores/becky-skuse-designs or in my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MakeMeDo.

If you’ve never made a granny square before then you can follow my free guide to make this square here:

Granny square light pink © Becky Skuse

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2018 in Crochet, Uncategorized

 

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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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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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101 Quick & Easy Crochet

Just wanted to quickly tell you about the latest bookazine I’ve been working on, which is out now. It’s called 101 Quick & Easy Crochet Makes. I compiled the patterns inside it from previous issues of Simply Crochet magazine.

There’s a huge amount in here – 101 patterns in fact! There’s something for everyone, including cute babies and kids makes, gifts for men, treats for yourself or a friend, fashion, accessories, homewares and gift ideas for Christmas (yes, I said the C-word!).

You can order a copy for £7.99 from www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk or purchase a digital copy from within the free Simply Crochet app (see www.simplycrochetmag.co.uk/digital for more).

101 Quick & Easy Crochet Makes

101 Quick & Easy Crochet Makes

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2014 in Crochet

 

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Make do and mend

Like a lot of crafters, I’m a big fan of the ‘make do and mend’ philosophy. I’d much rather fix something than throw it away and buy a new one. Plus, I like the challenge of working out how to fix things.

So when the lining on our linen basket tore off, I switched into my ‘make do and mend’ mode. The original lining was just a thin plastic, which had torn off before and I’d just sewn it back in place, through the wicker of the basket. But this time it broke, it had become too short to reach the bottom of the basket if I mended it. So I got to play with some fabric instead…

Linen basket inside

Linen basket inside

As you can see, I didn’t have enough of any one fabric in my stash to line the whole thing, so I used three different fabrics, which I think go together – and anyway, I like the patchwork look!

Now, figuring out what size pieces I needed was a challenge of mathematics, involving the use of a tape measure and pi – no, not apple pie (although I’m sure that would’ve helped!), but the old 3.14 pi that relates to circles.

Linen basket side

Linen basket

So if you need help lining a basket, or anything else, here’s how I did it…

First, I worked out the size of the circle to go in the bottom of the basket. For this, just measure across the inside of the basket, at the bottom, from the widest point to the widest point. This is the diameter, mine was 24cm. Draw a circle with this diameter onto some paper, plus your seam allowance all around (I used a 2cm seam allowance, so my circle was 28cm in diameter). This will be the template for the lining bottom.

Linen basket diagram 1: lining circle

Linen basket diagram 1: lining circle

Next, I worked out the height of the two side pieces I would need. For this, just measure the side of your basket, on the inside, from bottom to top. Mine was 45cm. I added a 2cm seam allowance for the bottom, making 47cm. At the top, I decided to create a 15cm fold of fabric over to the outside to help hold the lining in place. So I added 15cm to the height, plus a 2cm hemming allowance, making 17cm. The overall height of each of my side pieces is 64cm, divided into 47cm for the area inside the basket and 17cm for the fold over to the outside.

Linen basket diagram 2: measure side of basket

Linen basket diagram 2: measure side of basket

With me so far? Good, because this next bit is where pi comes in.

Next, I worked out the width of the bottom of the two side pieces. For the bottom, take the diameter measurement you took before – for me, this was 24cm – and multiply it by pi (3.14). For me, this comes to 75.36 – this is the circumference of the bottom circle of the basket. Since I wanted to have two side pieces, I needed to divide this by 2, which for me equals 37.68. I rounded up to 38cm. Then I added my 2cm seam allowance to both sides, which comes to 42cm. If you only wanted one side piece, just use the circumference measurement (such as 75cm) and add your seam allowance to both sides of that (such as 75 + 2 + 2 = 79cm).

Linen basket diagram 3: side piece bottom measurement

Linen basket diagram 3: side piece bottom measurement

Next, I worked out the width of the top of the two side pieces. Follow the same process as above, first by measuring the diameter of the top of the basket, from the widest point of the circle to the widest point on the other side. For me, this was 35cm. Multiply this by pi (3.14). For me, this comes to 109.9 – this is the circumference of the top circle of the basket. Because I was having two side pieces, I divided this by 2, which equals 54.95. I rounded up to 55cm. Then I added my 2cm seam allowance to both sides, which comes to 59cm.

Linen basket diagram 4: side piece top measurement

Linen basket diagram 4: side piece top measurement

I cut a piece of paper using all these measurements to form my side piece template (I tend to use wrapping paper because it’s so nice and roomy).

Linen basket diagram 5: side piece template

Linen basket diagram 5: side piece template

Then all I needed to do was cut my fabric, sew all the pieces together and hem the top. It’s a fairly snug fit at the top, but this is good for helping to hold it in place. Have fun lining your baskets and other items!

Linen basket side

Linen basket

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2014 in Sewing

 

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