Very Berry Handmade Hoop Swap

Well I’ve taken part in Artist Trading Card (ATC ) swaps before but this was my first very berry handmade mini hoop swap!  The ATC swaps involve making a small credit card sized original hand crafted piece of art.  There must always be some sewing but the ATC can be a multi-media extravaganza of whatever takes your fancy.  The mini hoop swap is very similar except that the work of art is encompassed within a mini hoop of 4-5 cm in diameter and has some embroidery.

In the past my ATCs have been very diverse and they haven’t included embroidery so this was a new challenge.  There was no theme to this swap just some brief details from the recipient of my hoop as to what colours she liked.  Ali from Very Berry Handmade sorts out all the swap partners and sends off the details to everyone.  It’s a secret swap so the recipient of your art is not the person who sends one to you!

Here are some of my ATCs from previous swaps.

ATC for the Verry berry handmade spring swap

My ATC I sent to my swap person!

textile picture of Glastonbury Tor

My ATC – NightFall in Avalon

Felted scene of houses with decorations

Sparkly Mid Winter Madness!

Little card with mini patchwork quilt, some crochet and a little greetings card.

ATC My Favourite Crafts

Handmade card with green fabric Christmas tree

Sparkly tree with liberty wrapped presents

Appliqué sewing machine and quilt with a cup of coffee

“My ATC – My Craft Room!

Fabric picture of a fire, a black cat and a girl sipping cup of tea.

“Tea by the Fireside”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the mini hoop swap I took a long time to start actually making it as I just didn’t have any inspiration at all. Then one evening I was idly playing with a small square of purple fabric and it  struck me that folded into four it looked a bit like a butterfly!  So that’s how I developed my mini hoop – I sewed the ‘butterfly’ onto some linen, then placed the hoop around it to see where I wanted it to sit, then embroidered freehand the stem of a flower, the butterfly’s antennae and sewed a button for the flower head.  A little bit of silver glitter glue to enhance the butterfly’s wings and it was done!

 

 

Fabric butterfly in an embroidery hoop

My mini hoop for the swap

Sixty Million Trebles!

You may not have heard of Sixty Million Trebles or maybe even know what a treble is in this context? Neither did I till a few months ago.

It’s really simple though, a woman who loves crochet heard that there were sixty million refugees fleeing Syria without much to keep them warm.  So she had an idea. She started a Facebook group asking people to crochet (or knit) a blanket to donate to the refugees with each maker counting the Trebles  – a type of crochet stitch – in their blanket and adding a tag to state the number. The goal is to have sixty million trebles overall, each stitch representing a life.

All the blankets will be temporarily joined together to hopefully make the world’s largest blanket!  The centre of this enormous blanket will be comprised of crocheted flags of each country! Once it’s been measured as hopeful the world’s largest blanket it will be divided up back into the individual blankets and shipped out to the refugees.

So this is what I’ve been doing the past few months- crocheting a blanket and two flags. I signed up for Guyana and Singapore because they looked interesting to make but not too difficult! It’s taken me a while though as I have to have rest periods when crocheting a lot

And here is the result!

Crochet purple crochet blanket

My blanket!

Crochet flag of Singapore and Guyana and a purple crochet blanket

My flags and blanket

The idea has really taken off and people everywhere are making and sending blankets into various collection points in the UK whilst we wait to arrive at the magic Sixty Million!

So if you read this and you crochet or knit it’s not too late to join in! Just type Sixty Million Trebles into Facebook and join the group and get hooking! (or Knitting if you really can’t Crochet!)

One stitch – one life.

Planned Pooling in Crochet

Autumn coloured yarn made into a cowl

Crocheted a cowl in Red Heart ‘Autumn’ or ‘Fall’ as it’s called in USA!

 

I’ve been fascinated recently by the planned pooling technique in crochet! It’s a method of crochet which involves carefully counting and manipulating your stitches to force an Argyle type pattern.  It’s not easy! I actually used 3 diffferent hook sizes to get the patterning to work as I kept needing to use more or less yarn up in within the rows!

There is a very helpful Facebook group called Planned Pooling in Crochet with lovely, helpful members who advise and support newbie after newbie tearing their hair out and crying “it’ll never work! I just can’t do it!”   It’s  definitely worth joining if you want to try the pooling technique.  This Pooling calculator is very useful too, although it’ll mean more to you if you read through the Facebook group posts first!

I used Red Heart super saver to make this cowl as not many UK yarns will pool – the sequence of colour change in the yarns has to be just right and even some Red Heart will not pool. Fortunately the Autumn shade above pools relatively easily. I bought a few different balls of this type of yarn whilst I was about it as it took ages to find a supplier in UK!

Below is the start of another scarf using Red Heart Supersaver  in Wildflower.  I love this colourway – it’s very pretty!   The  only downside of Planned Pooling is you can’t really watch TV whilst doing it as it need concentration!! Hence it will take me a very long time to make another complete scarf and much as I’d like a  blanket in it ….. not sure the old brain could sustain the focus!😀😀😀

Yarn in purple, yellow and green making an argyle patttern

The start of a new Planned Pooling project

So if you fancy a new project and you can already crochet quite well I’d recommend Planned Pooling – but a word of warning –  once you start you just might not be able to stop! (And you might miss your favourite TV programme!) 😜

Autumn coloured yarn made into a cowl

Crocheted a cowl in Red Heart ‘Autumn’ or ‘Fall’ as it’s called in USA!

New Year means tidy the craft room!

Well it’s New Year and that means it’s time to tidy the craft room! I can no longer make anything in there as there is no room!   I can’t post a picture because it’s too awful for public viewing!  I may, once it has been restored to normality, post some before and after pics!

But for now, here here is a brief roundup of some of my recents makes and adventures!

This ribbon was on my presents from my son  – far too good to throw out!

Green ribbon

This crochet flag was finally finished!

Crocheted flag of Guyana

My crochet flag of Guyana for the Sixty Million Trebles Project

This was a post Christmas walk!

Lake with atmospheric clouds

View over the boating lake at West Kirby

This is my latest stash increase as I am addicted to crochet planned pooling!

Balls of wool

My new red heart yarn for planned pooling

This was a refreshing walk in the North Wales wind!

Llandudno Pier on dark day

Twilight on Llandudno Pier

And finally, it’s back to Patchwork class and a new project!

Fabric in shades of green and dusky pink-purple

My latest fabric selection for a new patchwork wall hanging!

Well that’s all for now! I’ll be back with some updates on the planned pooling projects once my craft room is tidy! 😏

Winter 2016 ATC Swap

A few weeks’ ago I was very excited to get the chance to take part in the http://Www.veryberryhandmade.co.uk ATC swap entitled Winter Sparkle! I’ve done a few of these now and it’s always great fun preparing my own handmade card for my partner then waiting for one to drop through the letterbox for me! This is the one I made for my partner  The tree is made from heated and fused Angelica fibres and the little presents at the bottom are scraps of liberty fabric from my stash.

Handmade card with green fabric Christmas tree

Sparkly tree with liberty wrapped presents

I posted my card out at the beginning of December as per the rules of the swap but didn’t receive anything back over the next couple of weeks.

 

 

 

On Christmas Eve morning I was having a much needed cup of tea before the family get together when the postie brought this! Ooh the excitement!!

Air mail packet

Christmas Eve post delivery

Inside was a beautifully wrapped package made so I had to remove the fastening round the two buttons to open it. This forced delay in seeing my card just added to my anticipation and I was filled with excited glee as I slowly unwound the twine.

White Envelope

Beautifully wrapped!

 

 

 

 

 

And inside? A pretty, ethereal winter scene which really did Sparkle!

Hand sewn scene of winter snow

My ATC

Sparkly fabric catching the light

See the sparkly bits!

See the sparkly trees?

Hand sewn fabric card with

The delicate stitching

I really love this card.  You don’t know who is sending you one until it arrives as it’s not a straight swap. My card was from Larissa at Stitching Notes, I have thanked her for it and it has added to my seasonal decorations at home! It came a long way overseas but receiving it on the last postal delivery before the Christmas break was almost as magical as the card!

If you fancy taking part in an ATC swap you can find details by checking the VeryberryHandmade blog by another Ali, Ali Burdon. She arranges 3 or 4 swaps each year.   You have to be quick to sign up though as the participants have to be limited to a reasonable number Ali can cope with when working it all out!

Maybe you’ll be my next swap partner? 😀

Handmade Fairy Dress

Been making lots of gifts over the last few weeks which is always fun but requires long no-crafting periods in between to let my hands recover! My favourite make was a fairy dress for my granddaughter.  I found a pattern from DaisyChainGirl for the crochet bodice and the skirt part although with the skirt you don’t really need a pattern and can add material in whatever way you want! I used a double strand fold over not a knot.

I chose red and green for a Christmas theme!

Fairy dress in red and green tulle

Finished fairy dress

Red and green fairy dress

Charlotte amongst the Christmas morning mayhem!

I’m planning to make some more in different colours for each season!

Merry Christmas!

Autumn Hygge!

Did I mention I love Autumn?! 😊    I think I might have done! I’ve also been inspired by the Danish concept of ‘Hygge’ recently, reading about it, talking about it and  making things to increase the hygge in my surroundings!

The Little Book of Hygge

My current favourite book!

 

If you haven’t heard of this yet you soon will as it seems to be a popular theme this season.  The word Hygge is pronounced ‘hoo-guh’ not ‘hig’ and there is no direct translation in English. Best we have is to say it is used to express feelings of cosines, comfort and warmth, safety….   the very kind of feeling you might have say, if you had returned from an early evening crisp autumnal walk in the country, made yourself a hot drink of steaming tea, coffee or hot chocolate and then curled up in a comfy cushioned seat reading your favourite book with candles gently illuminating the twilight! It would be even better if you had your tea in a teapot with a fairy house cosy……….   Sounds lovely doesn’t it?

Tea pot with crochet cover

Tea for two?

Your walk could also be more hyyglig  if perhaps you had warm socks in boots, a woolly hat or earband and some wrist warmers to keep out the chill, keep you snug in the cool air!

Crochet gloves - russet colour

Mohair fingerless gloves!

Brown and beige crochet Wrist warmers

If you want full gloves these fill the gap round your wrist in your  sleeve nicely!

Autumnal coloured crochet ear warmer band

If a woolly hat makes you too hot this ear warmer band is perfect – can be used as a cowl too.

 

So whilst I’ve been immersed in woolly, yarny creativity these last few weeks I was very pleased to hear from Ginny of Ginxcraft http://ginxcraft.blogspot.co.uk that I had won a knitted butterfly in her giveaway! It looks lovely with my own crochet creatures and latest fairy teapot cosy! 😀 Thank you Ginny!

Crochet and knitted creatures

Ginny’s butterfly with my crochet creatures!

So what would your perfect Hygge moment be?

Love Autumn!

I love Autumn!

Although summer is good in lots of ways it doesn’t have a starting ‘feel’ like spring and autumn do!  There is something about how the air smells in September which transports me back to ‘new term’, ‘new pencils’ type feelings of anticipation and excitement.

I do enjoy being able to shower without shivering in summer and getting dressed quickly because I don’t need layers but I adore wearing my boots, woolly hats and scarves and fingerless mittens again!

We’ve had an unexpected pleasure in our garden this Autumn too – lots of blackberries which are soooo good with meringues and clotted cream 😋

Blackberries in a hand

Handful of blackberries!

 

Another autumnal pleasure is the crunchy red brown leaves which start to cluster on the pavements or whizz round in the air on windy days! I used some decorative ones as a setting for my new fabric gift tags!

Heart shaped fabric to use as gift tag

Heart shaped fabric gift tag!

Fabric gift tag rectangular shape

Gift tag with embroidery

These hessian and linen gift tags make pretty keepsakes for the receiver of the present! They will be for sale in my Folksy  shop shortly! See sidebar for shop link

Funnily enough the weather has changed this week and it’s now sunny and warm outside – not at all autumnal – might just go and take in a few rays and embrace the end of summer (again).

Back Home from Holiday!

Back home from holiday!

Boo 🙁

My new camping blanket made from fabric called “Windy Days” came in handy and was appropriately titled!

blue green patchwork blocks blanket

new camping blanket

windy days are good for surfing!

sea and surf

gransdon catching a wave

 

not so good for watching so thank goodness for the beach tent – cosy behind the gauze flap!

mum and kids in beach tent

Inside the beach tent – Cosy!

 

 

we  are a messy group of 16 covering 3 generations on the beach and there’s always something to look for, someone to chase after, or someone taking their sunhat off (again) !

family set up on the beach

Messy beach day!

It was a lovely week though tiring.  At the end of the day it was nice to have my sweet little caravan to come home to for a cuppa!

inside of small caravan showing red seats

newly covered seats and cushions!

red covered bench seating in caravan

bench seats

 

I enjoy making things for my caravan and the awning,  especially when I use things from my stash.  However, I’m off to the Festival of Quilts next week so I might just acquire a teensy-weensy bit more fabric ….. 🙂  …….. It’s good to be back home from holiday!

Grandaughter’s First Birthday!

I’ve been busy lately preparing for my grandaughter’s first birthday party!

First there was the cake! I so enjoyed making this!

Pink and green and purple birthday cake in shape if a fairy castle

Charlotte’s Fairy House Cake

 

the two tiers were homemade – Chocolate Fudge Cake with chocolate buttercream and Madeira cake with Rose buttercream!  To cover the cake I used ready made roll out icing and decorated with sweets, sugar paste hearts, flowers and edible glitter.  It tasted gorgeous although it was very rich and sweet so a small slice was an excellent sufficiency!

Charlotte shared the party with my daughter’s friend’s 4 year old and the theme was Super Heroes.  The older children were dressed in capes etc so I made Charlotte a Fairy Costume with Super Baby on the back!

Baby girl's fairy dress in pink, blue and lemon lace.

Charlotte’s fairy dress WiP!

 

the dress in progress and the dress in use!

One year old in fairy costume with Super Baby on the back

Charlotte the Super Baby!

 

I was exhausted at the end of the week and then there was the actual party with a giant bouncy slide for adults and children! It was difficult, but I managed to have a couple of slides – fab!  Mainly though I left it to the younger people!

Giant bouncy slide

Me and my grandson!

So when I look back at these photos I will remember we did have some summer this year after all!