Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Learn to Sew in 30 Minutes: Machine Sewing - a review





I have a lovely book to share with you today. It's called Learn to Sew in 30 Minutes: Machne Sewing and is by Debbie von Grabler-Crozier. Debbie regularly designs projects for magazines and websites and has a great blog Pretty Things. If you are wanting to improve your sewing skills, then I can definitely recommend your taking a look at this book. As well as containing 25 projects which build on skills learnt, there is also a useful guide to fabrics, what you need for a basic sewing kit and a wish list for extras and a guide to what's what on a sewing machine. Although I'm not a beginner, my sewing skills are quite limited, and most of what I can do has been taught to me by taking classes. So I was interested to look at the different projects and follow the progression of sewing skills. The projects are set out in 5 chapters: Knowing your Fabrics, Using Interfacing, Applique and Surface Stitching, Quilting and Patchwork and Haberdashery in Focus, finishing with one final project that pulls together many of the techniques covered. Also included at the back of the book is a pocket with a double sided actual size pattern sheet that you can use to trace some of the patterns.




I really liked the clear layout of the book, especially the Sewing 101 summary at the start of each project which explained exactly what skills you'd be learning, a list of the supplies needed to complete each project and also any new sewing terminology. I picked out four different projects to have a go at from the first three chapters of the book. I must admit that I was a little sceptical that I would be able to complete each one within 30 minutes, but I did! Each project has step by step instructions, is well illustrated with photographs and extra little tips from Debbie. It's almost as if she is sat next to you, talking you through each stage and holding your hand! 

Here are the projects I made...



First was a neck pillow. I made mine using fleece and instead of making one long tube, I divided it up into 4 roughly equal parts and once I'd filled one section with rice, I machined across so the rice would stay put. I did this because the one I already had was in one long tube and I find that the filling tends to accumulate at one end. I didn't add any letters to mine.




Next was a rope bowl. I have seen these over on Instagram and have wanted to make one for ages, so was very happy to see this project. I bought some cotton rope from Amazon and used some narrow strips of Liberty lawn fabric that I had to add some colour. It was a bit fiddly at the start (as Debbie says) but once it got a bit bigger, I was whizzing away on my machine. I wonder if it's possible to make a sunhat using this technique?





After that I made a card wallet. This was incredibly quick and easy to do. I haven't ever used snap fasteners before, so I found a cheap set (again on Amazon) and was surprised at how easy they were to use and how professional it makes your finished product. I can definitely see me making lots of these as gifts. They use hardly any fabric so are perfect for using up those precious scraps.






Lastly, I sewed a sleep mask. Having been reading quite recently about how important it is to exclude all light from your sleeping environment, I thought this would be a very useful thing to make. I have done free motion embroidery before, but even if you haven't, Debbie guides you through it.





Learn to Sew in 30 Minutes: Machine Sewing is a great book - perfect for learning many basic sewing skills. It would be a good gift for anyone wanting to learn to sew and make some really nice projects in the process. It's clearly written and each project is well explained, so I think that even a child or teenager would be able to work their way through it with some adult support and feel very pleased with what they've made. I know that I am!

Learn to Sew in 30 Minutes: Machine Sewing by Debbie von Grabler-Crozier is published by Search Press and is available now. 

ISBN: 978-1-78221-693-3

RRP: £12.99

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Is there anything more adorable ...


... than a baby in a bonnet?

WARNING: seriously cute baby photos alert!

When a friend asks if you will knit a bonnet for her baby, what do you do? Naturally I said yes and went searching on Ravelry straight away, looking for the vintage style of bonnet that I knew would appeal to mum. I eventually picked Morrie's Bonnet designed by Kelly van Niekerk. (She also designed the Puerperium cardigan which I've knit a few times now.) Yarn choice was easy. I chose Stylecraft Bambino yarn which comes in a gorgeous range of muted shades which were perfect for the vintage look I was aiming for. This DK yarn is 100% acrylic and is so soft that it almost feels a bit velvety. It's machine washable too which is important for baby clothes. It is actually exactly the same yarn as Stylecraft Bellissima, so you can interchange the two very happily. It's the yarn that I used to knit my Good Striations blanket in last year. Lots of beautiful colours to play with, including 4 new additions to the Bambino range - Bambino Prints. They work well on their own, or you could team them up with one or more of the solid colours in the range.





The pattern was very clearly written, and so quick to knit. Before I knew it, I'd finished one bonnet in Mellow Yellow and loved it so much that I cast on a second one straight away, this time in Denim Dungarees. I knit the 1-3 years size.





And here is little Dottie, completely adorable in her bonnets. I'm on the look out for a vintage cardigan pattern next. Any suggestions? xxx




Saturday, 15 February 2020

Weather Watch update


This week I've needed some mindless crochet so it seemed the perfect time to join together the first few weeks of my 2020 temperature blanket. I'm going to start at both ends - the highs at one end and the lows at the other and then meet in the middle! I'm joining them in a silvery grey colour and like how it's looking already. 




Last week's low square might just be my favourite one so far! One more week and then the first and last rows of the blanket will be complete - I'll come back then and show you how it's looking. xxx




Friday, 14 February 2020

Fibre 4 Fibres Giveaway preview 11


Thank goodness I have a planner these days to help me keep track of the days. Since I've been off work, I've found it very hard to know what day it is, but my planner says it's Friday so it's time to tell you all about this week's prize that you could win if you buy a virtual raffle ticket or two in this week's Fibre 4 Fibres gveaway in aid of Myositis UK.

There are some wonderful prizes up for grabs this Sunday. The prize includes a gorgeous OOAK skein of BFL 4 ply yarn dyed by Norah George Yarns. I discovered Tracy's yarn late last year and it is really, really lovely! So I was very happy when she agreed to donate a prize to help with my fundraising. She did more than donate just one skein though; she also gave two mini 20g skeins in the colourway 'Cuckoo Pint', some soothing hand balm with lavender, peppermint and frankincense essential oils, a Norah George Yarns pin badge and some Love Heart sweeties. Thank you so, so much Tracy for being so generous. Please take a look at Tracy's website and I'm sure you will love her yarn just as much as I do. I've added a coordinating project bag made by Three Bags Full, a skein of the much missed Natural Dye Studio's Godiva merino yarn and a loop of 20 rainbow stitch markers. 










You have the chance to win all this for a minimum donation of £2! Less than the price of a cup of coffee. Are you tempted to enter? Here's what you need to know. This giveaway will run this coming Sunday 16th February, closing at 23:55. To enter, go to my Just Giving page here and buy your virtual raffle tickets by donating £2 or more. £2 gets you 2 tickets, £3 gets you 3 tickets, £5 gets you 5 tickets and so on. You will need to leave your Instagram or Ravelry name, or tick the box that shares your details with me so that I can contact you if you're the winner and also put 'Norah' in the comments so I know which raffle you've entered. Your donations have helped me to raise over £1700 for Myositis UK so far so huge thanks for your support! xxx 

Thursday, 13 February 2020

The trials and tribulations of a feline nurse


Meow meow everyone, Flo here. Or should I say Nurse Flo, as that status is more befitting for my current situation. I've been taking care of my mum for the last week. (Well you and I both know that I look after her all the time, but this last week my care has been especially important.) I think I could quite possibly be a Sister, or may be even a Matron (ooh, Matron!) Anyhow, I digress. Back to explaining the need for extra TLC this week.

Last Thursday mum had to have another biopsy down at the hospital in London. She was very brave, despite the fact that the doctor had to give her more local anaesthetic as she could feel it when they were doing the operation. And they spent more than 20 minutes trying to get some blood too; they ended up going into the back of both hands which must have hurt judging by the bruises on them now. I know how much I hate having blood taken and I do not cooperate one little bit! 





I have insisted that she rested as much as possible this week. So I made a point of sitting on her at every opportunity, pinning her to the sofa! I sacrificed the comfort of my furry donut just for mum. She wasn't very impressed when I sat directly on top of her wound (I thought a bit of pressure was meant to stop bleeding!) but she soon forgave me! I know how to soften her up with a few head nudges and purring! 







She had a few problems showering as she had to keep the wound dry. I wasn't able to help her much as the tape kept getting stuck to my fur. So I had to let her get on with it by herself. A piece of plastic freezer bag and some micropore tape did the trick and I cheered her on from the sidelines! 




Thankfully I was relieved of my 24/7 nursing duties today, which has meant that I could just chillax in one of my favourite spots - the back of the sofa. 




Although I am still making sure that she rests each day by demanding lots of cuddles and fuss! I know that she is feeling anxious about the results of the biopsy so I'm doing my best to distract her. You see, I'm making her think that it's me that needs the attention, when actually it's all to make her look after herself and let things heal. I'm such a clever kitty!  Meow meow meow! xxx




Friday, 7 February 2020

Fibre 4 Fibres giveaway preview 10


It's that time again! I can't believe how quickly it comes round! Time to tell you all about this week's prize that you could win if you buy a virtual raffle ticket or two in this week's Fibre 4 Fibres gveaway in aid of Myositis UK.

It's a bumper prize this week especially for Valentine's Day and is bursting with all kinds of wonderful goodies! The prize includes a beautiful 'Flat Feet' sock blank in shades of pink, decorated with hearts and flowers, a gradient 4 ply yarn cake from The Noble Thread, eight 10g balls of Scheepjes Catona cotton donated by Vera and Bess, a cute kitty notions case (check out the paw print lining!) donated by Three Bags Full, a tote bag and gift tags donated by Stylecraft Yarns and some Fripperies & Bibelots Ring0s stitch markers in the 'Love Hearts' colourway. There are also some sweet wooden heart buttons, some plantable paper hearts with wild flower seeds in them and some heart sprinkles foor your Valentine's baking, all donated by Vera and Bess. Vicky is also donating a copy of her gorgeous crochet shawl pattern 'Cloud'. Last but not least, there is a box of Strawberries and Cream Lindor chocolates. Thank you so much to everyone who donated a prize. 










Photos from Vera and Bess

Photo from Vera and Bess


I told you that this week's prize was a bumper one, didn't I?! You have the chance to win all this for a minimum donation of £2! Less than the price of a cup of coffee. Are you tempted to enter? Here's what you need to know. This giveaway will run this coming Sunday 9th February, closing at 23:55. To enter, go to my Just Giving page here and buy your virtual raffle tickets by donating £2 or more. £2 gets you 2 tickets, £3 gets you 3 tickets, £5 gets you 5 tickets and so on. You will need to leave your Instagram or Ravelry name, or tick the box that shares your details with me so that I can contact you if you're the winner and also put 'Love' in the comments so I know which raffle you've entered. Your donations have helped me to raise over £1500 for Myositis UK so far so huge thanks for your support! xxx 

Monday, 3 February 2020

Yarnuary 2020 - days 25 - 31




Winding up my contributions to Yarnuary 2020. It's been fun! Hope you've enjoyed this peek into my knitting life. xxx


Day 25 - What's in your knitting bag





I could say ‘which bag?’ as I have rather a lot of knitting bags as seen in day 18’s post! But here is one of my current projects in one of my favourite ThreeBagsFull project bags. I love the little black kitty, it reminds me of Flo 🐾💗 Inside this bag is my new sock design knit in Lay Family yarn, a notebook and pen for jotting things down and a notions case, again from ThreeBagsFull. Within the notions case, there’s a tape measure, needle gauge, scissors, assorted stitchmarkers, needles, KnitPro gadget for changing needles, and a solid lotion bar for keeping my hands soft.


Day 26 - Something you've lost



I knitted these socks back in 2018 using mini balls of Opal sock yarn from my yarn Advent calendar. I don’t recall ever wearing them (apart from for the photo) but I can’t find them! If you wouldn’t mind checking your sock drawer, I’d be very grateful! 


Day 27 - Your favourite book



So hard to pick just one as I’ve always loved reading. But I’ve chosen two childhood favourites: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery and Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh. Both totally brilliant! And as you can see, both very well read! 


Day 28 - Something you regret



I do regret those years that, for whatever reason, I stopped knitting. But I’ve more than made up for it now! 


Day 29 - Your biggest dream





My biggest dream is obviously to get my health back and also to design a pattern that is popular enough to raise lots of money for Myositis UK.


Day 30 - Something you're grateful for



I’m grateful for my friends and in particular Julia, who has been the most amazing and supportive friend you could wish for since I’ve been unwell. I really don’t know how I would have got through it without her.


Day 31 - Your next project



My next project will be a blanket using Stylecraft yarn. At the moment I’m playing around with various designs and stitch patterns and having lots of fun!