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Loving handmade

Apologies for the lack of posts in February – making, doing and organising for the wedding has entirely taken over my life and blogging has somewhat fallen by the wayside… fear not though, I’ll be making up for it in May by telling you about everything I’ve been making for the wedding, including a sewn bridal bag, a personalised guest book, paper table confetti, a sewn bridal wrap decorated with crocheted hearts, a decorated card box and more.

Alongwith wedding crafting, I’ve also been working on (paid!) commissions for Simply Crochet and The Sewing Directory. I’m not quite sure how I’ve squeezed it all in really…anyway, my latest make for The Sewing Directory has been this canvas messenger bag:

Sewn canvas messenger bag

Sewn canvas messenger bag

I really love messenger bags – I feel secure with it worn across the body, I like the way it sits on the hip, and it’s easy to get stuff in and out. They’re the perfect bag for me!

I’ve wanted to try my hand at making one for ages, and then my current messenger bag (the one in this post, here) started fraying so I knew it was time. I pitched it to The Sewing Directory and they said yes, so I got to work and I’m really pleased with the outcome.

It wasn’t easy and took me about a week to make it, while working out the pattern at the same time, and then another week to write out the pattern in detail from my scribbled notes and draw step-by-step diagrams that someone else could follow. But it’s a pattern I’m really proud of. The bag itself has also been getting a lot of attention – people can’t believe it when I say I made it (I always love that).

If you’re interested in making your own messenger bag, pop over to The Sewing Directory for the free instructions. What I don’t mention in the instructions, though, is the extra pocket that I added to make the bag perfect for me! When I travel on the bus, I always worry about losing my bus ticket and try to keep it in the same place every time – but that place is usually inside a pocket that’s inside my zipped-up purse that’s inside my zipped-up bag. It’s a Russian doll effect that makes it tricky to get the ticket out in a hurry if I’m late and the bus is arriving just as I am (yes, that happens more times than I’d like to admit). So I gave my bag a hidden outside pocket along the side – you can see it in this photo if you look for the extra stitching near the orange flower:

Hidden outer pocket

Hidden outer pocket

It was fun trying to line up the pattern on the two pieces of fabric to get that ‘hidden’ effect and I think I did a pretty decent job. I love having a special hidden bus ticket pocket – it’s perfect for me. I also added another little pocket inside for my house key (which I can never find when I need it!). It’s these sorts of little life-improving details that makes me love handmade!

And so onto another made-to-measure treat that I crocheted for Simply Crochet – these men’s colourwork mittens:

Crochet colourwork mittens

Crochet colourwork mittens

These fine mittens are modelled above by my other half (soon to be husband!) who happily got to keep them afterwards. He really did deserve them as well because I made them to fit his hands while we were on holiday in November – he tried them on so many times for me that I think he worked almost as hard as I did to help bring them to life!

I used a simple spike stitch wave pattern to create a manly argyle look (if you squint, you can see it much better!). He loves these mittens (I just checked with him and he does) because they’re soft and warm, they have a subtle pattern and obviously the fit is perfect. He’s worn them much more than the previous rainbow-coloured mitts that I knitted for him about 10 years ago, so I think that’s a success.

If you’re interested in the pattern, it’s in issue 41 of Simply Crochet magazine, which also features the pattern for my rainbow scarf:

Rainbow scarf

Rainbow scarf

I made this one a while back and blogged about it here. It’s one of my favourite ever scarves and I wear it all the time, so it’ll be great to see what creative effects other crocheters can achieve with the pattern.

Right, I’m off back to sewing crocheted flowers onto a crocheted ribbon to decorate the front of my bridal car…

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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in Crochet, 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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Rainbow storage

Some of the greatest creations involve bringing together two good things to make one great thing. That’s how I felt recently when I saw this set of storage boxes in rainbow colours:

Rainbow storage set

Rainbow storage set

I like rainbows. I like being organised. And I like cute little storage boxes. Needless to say, it had to come home with me. It was only £7, which seemed like a reasonable price for something that’s bringing me joy every day! Oh and it’s helping to keep me organised.

I’ve filled each colourful ‘Really Useful Box’ with different sewing accessories, which had previously been either cluttering up my stash of cotton reels, lying loose at the bottom of a larger box, or just forgotten about sitting in a boring old plastic bag that was far too big.

Now each little bit of useful stuff has a colourful home to enjoy. Such as my safety pins…

Safety pins

Safety pins

I like how the contents of each box are so secure – I could take this box out with me and no matter how much my bag gets shaken up, those pins ain’t goin’ nowhere!

But the little grey clips undo very easily so you can remove the lid quickly…

Box with lid

Box with lid

The set came with boxes in eight different colours, and two boxes of each colour – for anyone good at maths, that’s 16 boxes. They originally came in a random colour arrangement, which I played with until I got a nice-looking rainbow effect from one corner to the other.

I’d like to say that I colour-coded the contents of each box, but I didn’t – it’s surprisingly hard to make a link between colours and sewing bits and bobs. So the safety pins are in the red box. If you have a cleverer suggestion for the right colour, do let me know.

Here’s a run-down of what’s in each box, in case you have a colour-coding suggestion for each one – I’m very happy to move the contents around if you have a good idea:

Red: safety pins, crewel embroidery threads
Orange: Miscellaneous, poppers and hooks & eyes
Yellow: Zips, small pieces of sticky felt
Green: Sewing machine accessories, sewing clips
Turquoise: Wide elastic, long pins
Blue: a long piece of denim ribbon, long thread ends for hand sewing
Purple: shirring elastic, empty cotton reels and thimbles
Pink: metallic threads, cards of random sewing threads

You see, how could you colour code that!

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2015 in Sewing

 

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Granny blanket

The pattern for my granny square blanket (blogged about here) is featured in the new issue of Simply Crochet (issue 30), on sale today.

Rainbow blanket

Rainbow blanket

I feel particularly proud of this one because I made it just for me, but the magazine liked it enough to feature it, and even put it on the cover! 🙂

Simply Crochet issue 30

Simply Crochet issue 30

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Rainbow scarf

I seem to have made quite a few scarves and cowls recently, but I think this one is my favourite – I haven’t been able to stop wearing it since I finished it (and I may even have worn it for a while before it was fully finished!):

Rainbow scarf

Rainbow scarf

You may recognise those colours from my granny square blanket here. When I was finished with the blanket, I had about 10g of each yarn left and I wanted to make something wearable so that I could carry a little piece of the blanket magic out and about with me.

I wanted to have a ridge in between each colour stripe, so I made each stripe separately using the treble (US dc) foundation row technique, and then joined them together using a double crochet seam and cream yarn. To finish, I added a cream border and buttons to hold the wrap shape in place. The great thing about the buttons I chose was that they fit in between the treble stitches so I can use any gap as a buttonhole!

Rainbow scarf detail

Rainbow scarf detail

It’s nice and cosy without being too hot, and I’ve had lots of nice compliments about it since I started wearing it, which is always flattering. Hope you like it, too!

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2015 in Crochet

 

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Rainbow blanket finished!

At long, long last, my rainbow blanket is finished…

Rainbow blanket

Rainbow blanket

I first had the idea to make this blanket in early May, 2013, so it’s been a pretty long time in the making. But I’m still totally in love with each and every colour of the granny squares – I could just look at them for hours…

My first blog about making these granny squares was here and it’s funny to look back at the humble beginnings of my simple but beautiful blanket.

It was too big for me to fit the whole thing into one shot, but I’ll try again over the weekend.

I just love this blanket and I’m so proud of it. At the same time, part of me is almost sad that the project is over…

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in Crochet

 

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Joining crochet motifs

It’s official: I’m halfway through my rainbow blanket. It’s this one:

Rainbow strip

Rainbow strip

There are 10 colours so that’s 100 squares, and I’ve made and joined 50. (I’m quite a slow crocheter, so it’s taking me a while.)

But I have sped up the joining process by using a different technique…

For the first 4 rows, I worked the cream yarn around the edge of each square, one at a time, slip stitching it to the adjoining square at the start and end of each half treble cluster.

But this was taking a long time, not least because of all the ends that needed weaving in.

So on row 5, I’ve done this:

Row 5 Joining

Row 5 Joining

I worked a row of half treble clusters all the way along the edge of Row 4, worked into each of the 10 different coloured squares for Row 5, and also slip stitching into the corners to keep things neat.

Then I worked around the side and top of the far-right square (the green one), and down the left side of the green square (in the gap between the green and yellow square), slip stitched into the corner and then worked back up the side of the yellow square.

Row 5 close-up

Row 5 close-up

I wasn’t sure whether it would work or look right, so I was well prepared to undo the whole thing. But I was pleasantly surprised that it worked so well. This technique is going to save me so much time when I join the next row.

I just need to keep going with my squares – I’ve got another 15 made, so there’s only 35 left to go…

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Crochet

 

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