A Fabric Lined Basket

basket4I find myself in a permanent struggle with mess and grot and junk in my house. I am always having a sort out but most of the time it feels like two steps forward and five steps back. You probably know the kind of thing. I deal with the pile of junk in the kitchen counters but another pile of junk starts to grow on the table. I sort out one bedroom only to find that my boys have trashed another bedroom. It is bad. It’s kind of like giant triffids growing and growing, only its not triffids, it’s boy art and man shirts and wires for stuff only nobody knows what and craft gubbins, bits of Lego, old bus tickets that are apparently not rubbish. Awful. So I decided a little while ago to properly attack the kitchen. The shoe rack was bothering me most so I started there. It was so covered in coats and bags there was no room for shoes! The clue’ s in the name, people! So I bought some coat racks off Ebay and thus began my war on the kitchen.

Fast forward a few months and the piles of clutter that had colonised the top of the fridge, the piano, the dresser, the counters (and behind them and down the side of them) have been sorted out. I’ve painted the dresser, we have somewhere to hang coats and the kitchen is blue. Mostly.

I’m really happy how the dresser turned out! I don’t have any before photos, but perhaps you can imagine a grotty, old pine dresser, knobs missing, weird stains, piles of post all over it. It was the mankiest thing in the universe. Maybe. So I dealt with the mess, painted it, got some new knobs and it’s like a new dresser!basket3

I had previously tried to address the issue of post being dumped on the dresser and we had been using a old cat food box to put it in before sorting it out but I didn’t want to put a nasty old box on my pretty dresser. Fortunately I had a little basket that was just post sized! It had a calico lining already but it wasn’t very nice and as I had some Tilda fabric I decided to make a new lining. I used the original lining as a pattern. The basket handles were an issue. On the original lining the bit where the handles were had not been finished properly, so on my new, pretty lining I made binding for those sections and allowed enough so that it could be tied.basket2

I now have plans to pretty up a basket for pegs in the same way!

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How to crochet circles

Despite having been a crocheter for quite a long time, until a month or so ago, I had never attempted to devise my own patterns. It was only because I needed to make some flowers for hair bobbles for Boy 3′s nursery’ s Easter Fair and I couldn’t’ be bothered was too tired to trawl the internet for a pattern that I decided to have a go at making my own and, in doing so, realised how easy it was, providing it was something simple. It occurred to me that providing a person can do a few basic things, it is just a case of choosing the most appropriate basic things and putting them together.

One such basic thing is how to crochet circles. Lots of things start as a circle. Flowers, Hats, bowls, baskets, slippers, little amigurumi figures all begin their existence as a circle.

To begin, either make a magic ring or make 4 – 6 ch and join with a ss.

Round 1 Into the ring either 6 or 12 dcs. The number of dcs probably doesn’t matter very much, however if any of you out there in internetland are mathematicians, you will see that multiples of 6 are best :) ( Disclaimer: I am not and never have been a mathematician. I like patterns though :) )

Round 2 Turning ch, then 2 dcs into each dc. Join with ss. You will have twice as many stitches.

Round 3 Turning ch, then 1 dc into next dc, then 2 dcs into next dc. Repeat until you have got all the way round. Join with ss. Now you will have 3 times as many stitches as you started with.

Round 4  Turning ch, then dc into next 2 dcs, then 2 dcs into next dc. Repeat all the way round. Join with ss. 4 times as many stitches as in Round 1.

Round 5 Turning ch, then dc into next 3 dcs, then 2 dcs into next dc. Repeat all the way round. Join with ss. 5 times as many stitches now. See? There’s a pattern.

So you just keep on going until your crocheted circle is big enough. At the end of Round 6 you would have 6 times as many stitches as you started with in Round 1, achieved by 1 dc into 4 stitches and 2 dcs into the 5th stitch all the way around.

Once your circle is big enough it’s up to you! By keeping going 1 dc into each stitch, your circle could become a hat or slippers or a bowl or basket. For making the head of a toy, a spherical shape can be achieved by decreasing stitches in the same way, so you would decrease very 5th stitch, then every 4th, then every 3rd until you are back to 6 stitches.

Although I have talked in terms of dc, tr could be used, or htr, or a combination! With petals, your circle could become a flower for a bobble or a garland, or a doily or a coaster.

What you can make with your circle depends only on a few basic skills on your imagination and your nerve to have a go!

I’d love to see what you make!

I’m planning to post about making flowers over the next couple of weeks, so watch this space!



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Boys who Sew

boys3Boys 1 and 2 have been mithering for ages to have a go on my sewing machine. I’d thought that having all boys and no girls meant that I would never be able to sew with my children, but my boys have proved me wrong! Anyway, a few weeks ago we got our act together, decided on a project for each of them and ordered the stuff.

Boy 1 decided to make a cushion,boys6 inspired by one that I had made for their room (and which will be featured in next month’s Sewing World, I can’t wait!). He raided my fabric horde and chose all the bits himself. I helped him cut out the main cushion pieces as my scissors are not very sharp, due to Somebody using them to cut paper <rage!!!>. Boy 1 cut out the other bits himself, pinned them and sewed them on. The cushion has an envelope back, so nice and easy for a first attempt.


Boy 2 wanted to make himself a pair of trousers. We opted for trackie boys2style trousers, mainly because, apart from school trousers, they are the only kind he will wear. He chose himself some fabric but when I looked at patterns, I couldn’t believe how expensive they were! As children are an easy shape when it comes to making clothes, I decided that it would be a useful lesson to teach Boy 2 how to make a pattern from clothes that he has already.

We drew around a pair of his trackers, adding a bit extra for a seam allowance. I cut out the pieces and Boy 2 sewed them up. Being trackies and therefore baggy and having an elasticated waist, it doesn’t’t matter that his sewing is not entirely straight.

I’m very happy that I have boys who sew! It’s not that weird surely? Patrick Thingy from the GBSB must have started somewhere, and so must have all the other Savile Row tailors.

They’ve got the bug now and they want to make more things. Next they’re going to make box purse pencil cases and I’ve given them the task of making drawstring bags to contain some of the mess that’s upstairs, so useful too!

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Fabric Flower Hair Bobble

fabricflowerbobble1After I had made the crayon rolls for Boy 3′s nursery’ s Easter Fair, I had some small bits of fabric left over, so I decided to make some fabric flower hair bobbles. Having boys means this is something I don’t do very often! They were very easy to make, although I did have some trouble working out how long the fabric bits needed to be to have enough to gather into a circle, but not so much that the circle goes back on itself.

Anyway, 15 – 20 cm seems to be a good length and the strips were about 8 cm wide. I folded the strips in half lengthways, folding the short ends over, and sewed the long raw edges,  making a long narrow tube with neat ends. :)

Next I turned the tube the right way out. The easiest way to do this is by attaching a safety pin to one end and wiggling it through the tube. The safety pin pulls the rest of the tube behind it and you end up with it the right way out without tearing your hair out with frustration. Then I put in 2 rows of long stitches along on long edge to make the gathers and pulled them until the tube became a circle.

Lastly (almost!) I joined the open ends. I did this by slipping one end inside the other and sewing over them. It would probably have been neater to slip stitch the ends together, but it would also have taken longer. It’s neat enough for my liking.

All that was left to do was close the gap in the middle by handsewing across it a few times, add a button and sew the flower onto a hair elastic using strong thread.

I’m considering making some more of these. I’m a bit long in the tooth to wear a bobble but the flowers would probably work well on a bag or a purse, or maybe a skirt or a top. Watch this space!

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Crocheted Flower Hair Bobble


crochetedflower5Boy 3′s preschool’s Easter Fair is now less than a week away and I’ve pretty much finished the crayon rolls. I had a list of other things I was going to make, but off the list I have only managed to make some hair bobbles, these crocheted ones and also some fabric ones.

I’m not feeling too guilty though, I’ve got raffle prizes I’ve been saving since Christmas ;).

I’m pleased with how the crocheted flower hair bobbles have turned out, not least because this is the first time I have crocheted something from a pattern I have devised myself. I made three pink ones and three purple. The yarn was left over from another project and the button was a spare that came attached to a cardigan I bought a year or two ago. It only took me a few minutes to make, then I just added the button and sewed them onto the hair elastic.

So crochet hooks at the ready, here’s how to make it!

How to Make a Crocheted Flower Hair Bobble

I used a 4mm crochet hook and dk cotton yarn. If you are used to American terminology in crochet patterns, pleased be warned that I have used English ones here!

Round 1: 6 dc into a magic ring, join with ss or 4 ch, join with ss, 6 dc into ring, join with ss.


Round 2

Round 2: 1 ch, then 2 dc into 1st dc from previous round. *2 dc into next dc. Repeat from * 4 times. Join with ss. 12 stitches.





Round 3


Round 3: 3 ch, skip 1 dc, dc into next dc. *2 ch, skip 1 dc, dc into next dc. Repeat 4 times.






1 petal, see?

Round 4: Into 2 ch space, *1 dc, 3 tr, 1 dc. This makes 1 petal.







Repeat from * into next 2 chain space. Repeat 4 more times.

A finished flower

A finished flower

That’s it!

Add a button or a bead and attach to a hair elastic. There’s probably lots of other ways these little flowers could be used, I’d love to see what you do!



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