Just what I needed

I have gadgets and gizmos and any amount of technology and when I sew I have an all singing, all dancing sewing machine (compared  to my original that is). But something was missing. Fumbling about taking pins from my old ‘Dennis the Menace’ tin didn’t work in the middle of sewing. I needed a pin cushion. What’s more when I was in Machynlleth recently I bought some very pretty but very over-priced pins. Then I walked around the corner and  saw the same ones in the fabric shop for less than half the price!

I had to justify my expensive heart-head pins.  So this afternoon with a few scraps of fabric, a little bit of ribbon and 2 vintage buttons from my burgeoning button box, I made one.

Pin cushion

It took just an hour …. and the pins do look pretty.

What’s in my knitting bag?

I fell in love with with these ‘Winterwonderland Mitts’ from Knit for Victory when I saw them on Pinterest. I was in the middle of my Christmas knitting but I went to Clare’s and bought the yarn anyway.

I’ve been knitting them on and off since. I knitted 3 cowls and a jacket for Dougie and did some sewing as well but now I seriously have to get back to the mitts before we run out of mitt weather!

Long, fingerless mitts.
Long, fingerless mitts.

I can’t remember the last time I knitted on 4 needles (well 5 when you count the cable needle) but I’m enjoying it. I’ve had a few hiccoughs on the way, but only because I didn’t read far enough ahead on the pattern. I’m a complete novice when it comes to following patterns on my iPad but I’ve got a list of projects longer than the mitts and growing daily, so I’m going to get used to it!

Check this out –

Another fab Pinterest idea.
Another fab Pinterest idea.

I saw this holder for DPNs on Pinterest and an abiding memory of knitting in the round was having to pick up stitches before beginning every session. It’s made with a strip of elastic with fabric pockets. Its a fantastic little tool but I would make an improvement if I make another one. The points of the needles poke their way through so I’d reinforce the folded ends, I’ll be thinking about the how in the meantime.

Well one glove down so time to stop blogging and start knitting……

Christmas Cowl


For Christmas 2012 I wanted to get back to giving some handmade presents. I don’t think I’ve done that since college days and that wasn’t for financial reasons.

Looking back, creating a stimulating learning environment in my classroom was excitement enough, then amusing and clothing two young children took over. Keeping up with two growing youngsters and keeping up with a class was more than enough excitement. There wasn’t much time for making an effort with handmade presents.

I have to admit as responsibilities in my working life grew if the idea of crafting something crossed my mind it was quickly overtaken by something else, and when the holidays came, they just went!

I love that I’ve started not only thinking about making things again but am back to always having something in hand and a whole long list of things I’d like to do.

And I can’t resist looking for more.

Oh dear, back to not having enough time, maybe I’m just programmed that way!

I didn’t start making for Christmas until we got back from our travels in Spain at the beginning of November so to make a start I needed to get on with it. When I saw the ‘Fear of Commitment Cowl’ on Pinterest I thought it would make a great present . It’s designed by Julia Weisenberger at www.cocoknits.com. I found it on All Free Knitting.

I knew this would be a quick knit, that it would look beautiful and be very wearable. I knew who to make it for too.

To make the cowl I chose Sirdar Big Softie yarn, pink for Arlene, green for Bina and cream for Bethan. I knitted on 10mm needles and t was so quick to make. Four balls of yarn and an evening’s knitting and a cowl was made. The pattern is a seeded rib, simple but effective. Big Softie is just that; chunky and comfy to wear.

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The toggled button is a great idea; it means that you can style the cowl however you want it, close and snug or worn like a collar or a shrug. We found at least five ways. I was very pleased with the results. I hope the recipients were too. I hope to hand make more presents next year, some knitted, some sewn. But one thing is certain – I’ll be starting a lot earlier this year.


Cosy Hot Water Bottle

Nanna’s Hot Water Bottle cover was looking rather bedraggled so Matt decided it had reached it’s sell-by date. When I saw the pattern for this one I knew it would make a cuddly replacement.
IMAGE_1224E9EC-4E26-42D4-9311-5069ACF10AB1I found the pattern on the ‘All about you’ website, which has some great free patterns.

The alpaca yarn would have been beautiful but was a bit too expensive and I would have had to wait for it (yawn) so I went to Clare’s shop and bought Sirdar Big Softee and knittted  with 10mm needles. Velvet ribbon is another touchy feely fabric.

Mmm much nicer than bare rubber for those cold toes. Nanna’s very pleased.


Dougie’s Puff Quilt

Dougie's Puff Quilt

The first puff quilt I made was some 30 something years ago when I was refurbishing the old family crib for my own soon to be family.

I made others for friends soon after but a quilt was one of the things Bethan wanted me to make for the new baby.

The bright green fabric was chosen to match the old nursery chair we had re-upholstered and then there were the zoo themed fabrics and a few ‘quieter’ toning ones.

They were mostly Riley Blake prints from the wonderful Prints to Polka Dots website.

There are lots of tutorials for Puff Quilts on the web, many of them on Pinterest. I didn’t take any photographs while I was making but here as some simple instructions.

You will need:

  • Backing fabric (enough to back the quilt and give a border).
  • Lightweight calico for the reverse of the puffs
  • Polyester wadding of your chosen weight.
  • Fat quarters of your chosen fabrics.

The size of the quilt can be whatever you want it to be, as can the puffs. I chose to make mine 10cm square; the quilt was made to measure for the cot.


  • Cut 10 cm squares of calico for the backing
  • Cut 11 cm squares of print fabrics
  • Cut 10 cm squares of wadding
  • Pin the squares together with a tuck in the centre of each side, making the corners match.
  • Hem 3 sides of each square with half centimetre hems
  • Fill squares with wadding
  • Hem the last side (with centre tuck)
  • Arrange the squares into your desired pattern
  • Sew squares into strips and strips together taking care not to let the seams show on the front of the quilt.
  • When the puffs are assembled cut the backing fabric to the right size allowing for your required border and seams.
  • Place the backing and the quilt together, right sides facing.
  • Sew together along the two long sides then turn to right side and press.
  • Turn the top and bottom borders and mitre the corners
  • Sew the top and bottom borders by hand.
  • If required stitch invisibly through front to back at intervals to keep the layers secure.