Creative Ideas When You’re Staying at Home

Well it’s the start of the second week at home, doing some home schooling and I thought I’d share some patterns and tutorials available online. Most of the patterns are on my wish list to buy, and make! Most of them are also from small businesses and independents, my favourite businesses to support, other links I’ve shared are available free.

Zeens and Roger Fit to Burst Mitts- beautiful lacy fingerless mitts made with 4ply yarn, and Rosina has a discount available til the end of March, so be quick! Ravelry shop link here

Cozamundo Rainbow Cushion– a super cute little cushion crocheted from DK yarn, I know I have some of this in my yarn stash!

If you fancy a simple dressmaking project, here’s a free dressmaking pattern for the Stellan T-Shirt, by French Navy Patterns. (You will need access to a printer for this one to print the pattern out.)

There are 100’s of free embroidery and cross stitch patterns on the DMC website, you’ll be spoilt for choice. This one by Holly Maguire might be the next one that I tackle…

Ann Wood’s Very Nice Mice have been on my Pinterest to-make-list for ages, they have such cute faces.

Maura, aka The Messy Brunette has just released some beautiful PDF Embroidery Patterns. I really like these flowers.

Lots of independent illustrators and designers are sharing free printable colouring in sheets, including Berylune who have just opened a colouring competition, for more details click here. It’s for grown ups too, and there’s a lovely prize!

There’s a couple of other links here for free colouring pages that I’ve come across. Rachel Mahon’s Rainbow Thank you Postie is a good one for the kids, and I think this self portrait will be fun for everyone! Viktorija Illustration

Cloud Craft (my favourite website for embroidery supplies and felt) are still shipping twice a week and also have a lovely blog full of creative ideas for children and grown ups!

Two tips for keeping creative-

Try small quick projects that are simple and easy to achieve. You get a quick sense of satisfaction with out using too much brain power! Do you have a stash of freebie kits that have come with magazines?

Don’t worry about having too many works in progress on the go. Pick them up as the mood takes you- one day you might relish the challenge of something small and intricate, the next day you might want chunky yarn that works up quickly!

In other Shirley Rainbow news, my shop is remaining open, however I’m only posting to UK addresses. Most of my shop items fit into card envelopes which are letter box friendly. I’m more than happy to gift wrap an item and send directly to the recipient (if you don’t mind my wonky wrapping skills!) As and when I get the time, I’m going to try and keep sharing things online. I love seeing what projects other people are up to, it makes me feel more connected with our lovely online crafty community. It’s going to be a strange few weeks and I feel like I need all the normality I can get.

I hope this has been helpful, love to you all and take care

Teresa

Free! Daffodil Coaster Crochet Pattern

This pattern was originally published in Take A Break Makes Magazine March 2019.

Perfect some basic crochet stitches, colour changes and the Invisible Fasten Off method and add a splash of cheery sunshine and colour to your kitchen table by making these simple coasters. Made using Aran weight cotton yarn these coasters work up quickly and are a great beginners project. The yarn recommended will be enough to make a set of four for you, and a friend!

NOTE: Aran weight yarn often recommends a 5mm hook or bigger to work with. By using a 4.5mm hook the coaster will be a firmer and sturdier piece of fabric when finished.

You will need:
4.5mm crochet hook
Rico Creative Cotton Yarn, Aran weight in
49 Green, 40 Light Green, 68 Banana, 63 Light Yellow, 72 Smoky Orange,
Scissors
Tapestry Needle
Coaster size when finished: 4” / 10cm diameter
Stitches used: (UK terms)
Chain – ch
Treble crochet – tr
Treble 2/3 together – tr2tog / tr3tog
Double crochet – dc
Slip Stitch – slst

How to make an invisible fasten off:
The invisible fasten off is a useful method for the last round of work, and as the name suggests makes the fastening off invisible! After the last stitch is worked, cut the yarn about 15cm from the crochet and pull it through the last stitch. Thread the yarn tail onto the needle and sew it through the first stitch worked. Then take the needle over the last stitch worked and pull the yarn through the middle. Pull the yarn through carefully so that it looks exactly like the top of the crochet stitches. Weave the ends in.

Method:

  1. Using Smoky Orange, ch 4. Slst into 1st ch to make a loop. Ch 3 (counts as the 1st treble in this round and throughout the pattern). 11 tr into loop. (12 stitches) Slst into the 3rd ch and fasten off.
  1. Join Banana into any stitch, ch 3. Work one tr into the same stitch. Do 2 tr into every stitch, (24 stitches) slip stitch into the 3rd chain and fasten off.
  1. Join Pale Yellow into any stitch and ch 2. Treble 2 together by pulling yarn over hook, inserting the hook into the next stitch, yarn round the hook and pull through.(3 loops on hook) Now put yarn round the hook and insert into the next stitch, yarn
    round the hook and pull through, (4loops on hook). Yarn round the hook again and pull through all 4 loops on the hook. Ch 5, then tr 3 together using the next three stitches. Repeat ch5 and tr3tog 6 more times. Chain 5 and slst into 1st ch of 1st ch5 and fasten off. (1 tr2tog cluster, 7 tr3tog clusters, 8 chain 5 spaces).
  1. Join Light Green into any ch5 space. Ch 3. 4 tr into ch5 space, ch 1. Work 5 tr into the next chain space and ch 1, 6 more times. Join with a sl st into 3rd chain and fasten off. (8 5 treble groups, 8 1ch spaces)
  1. Join green into any treble stitch. Ch 1 and dc into the same stitch. Double crochet
    into every st around, working around the chain. When you come to the last stitch
    use the invisible join method to fasten off. Sew in all ends.

If your coaster is a little curled up at the edges you can wet block it to make it lie flat. Gently wet the coaster in cool water and lay on a folded towel to dry. Shape the coaster when it’s wet and use pins if necessary to hold it into shape. Allow to dry naturally and then your coaster is ready to use, time to pop the kettle on!

Washing Instructions
Pop your coasters in a small laundry bag when you need to wash them, wash at 30°C and reshape them afterwards as with the wet clocking method. You could change the daffodil yarn colours for other spring bulb colours too!

I hope you enjoy this free pattern! If you make any coasters I’d love to see them, please tag me on social media @shirleyrainbow_tb or send me an email! Any problems or queries, please get in touch.

You are welcome to sell items made from this pattern, however please credit Teresa Bettelley at Shirley Rainbow as the designer, thank you.

The Ness Skirt by Tilly and The Buttons Pattern Review

This skirt has been a real case of slow fashion! I was given the pattern in 2018 for Christmas, along with the fabric and its taken me until this year to finish it!

The Ness Skirt by Tilly and The Buttons is a fly front skirt with pockets, designed to be made from woven fabric with some stretch.

Resting worried face…

I used a stretch needle cord from Fabric Godmother, with a large vintage style floral pattern. The fabric has a silky feel to it, which is rather luxurious, and it has plenty of stretch. I tried to place my pattern pieces carefully to make the most of the floral print and I’m fairly happy with how that has turned out. For the pocket bags I used some thin cotton I had in my fabric stash. I also used a lovely vintage button from my button jar that was the perfect colour.

This is probably one of the trickiest garments I’ve made in a long while, however due to the (as usual) excellent instructions it never felt like it was too hard. The online video tutorial on how to do the fly front zip was fantastic; as I’ve never done a fly front before I watched it once before starting, then just paused the video as I sewed along. Really helpful stuff!

I made the Ness skirt in my usual size from TATB, a size 3, and its come up a bit too big. It sits on my hips rather than waist, as intended which is a bit annoying. I don’t knowing if its my fault for not understanding the sizing (maybe there is negative ease at the waist) or whether I have stretched the fabric out a bit whilst making. It is wearable though, and also not too short to wear without tights when the weather eventually gets a bit warmer.

I’ll definitely make it again, at some point! It’s such a handy style of skirt. I don’t think I would use fabric any thicker than needle cord as it all started to get a bit too thick at points when sewing the waist band on, which my machine wasn’t too happy about. For that reason I didn’t turn the waistband under, I overlocked the edge and did a ‘stitch in the ditch’ to hold it in place. I also used the Teflon coated foot on my sewing machine to help the fabric slide better, as going against the pile was hard going too.

Slightly less worried!

The Ness Skirt was a very satisfying make, something to get stuck into after a bit of a dressmaking break. My next dressmaking project lined up is the Winslow Culottes from Helen’s Closet , really looking forward to making them!

Teresa x

Creative Fun

When you run a creative business it can be quite tricky at times to actually enjoy doing the creative side of the business! For example, when you are making a batch of 80 hand stitched badges it’s pretty easy for creative fatigue to set in. The run up to Christmas is very draining this way, and I always try to set aside some time in January for some fun, experimental creativity and making. This January didn’t go quite to that plan, with three commissions quickly lined up at the start of January- obviously that is not a bad thing! But at the end of January I was still feeling a bit dull and fed up that I hadn’t had the time to have some creative fun.

So, February then! I took one day last week to make a little project completely for fun, and I really, really enjoyed myself. Here she is…

(Quite a while back I started a Pinterest board called Little Dolls, with the vague intention of creating a little doll at some point. That’s half the problem with Pinterest though, you spend loads of time getting ideas for projects and pinning them, but never actually making them. However, I have now made a tiny, doll shaped inroad into my Pinterest wish list.)

Making her certainly got my creative juices flowing again so I made a pincushion out of English paper pieced hexagons. EPP is something I tried last year and never got around to picking up again, even though I enjoyed it. It’s a great way to use up small scraps, of which I have many.

I did a punch needle workshop last spring; its taken me until this week to actually try doing punch needle again. I rather enjoyed getting the hang of it again, I think I need to choose a more tightly twisted yarn than the DMC Natura I did use, which is loosely twisted. I love the colours though!

So I guess the moral of this blogpost is to take the time to have fun creatively, just one little project can give you the confidence to try some others!

Teresa x

FREE! Valentine’s Hoop Art Tutorial

Last year I created a tutorial for Take a Break Magazine with instructions on how to make an embroidered Valentine’s Decoration and I can now share that with you here on the blog! It’s very simple, combining stitch details and a handy bit of glue to keep everything in place.

You will need:

7” Embroidery Hoop, available in craft shops

Fabric measuring 11” x 11” (If your fabric is thin you might need 2 layers.)

Felt

Buttons, ribbon, lace and decorative trims in colours that match your background fabric.

Needle, sewing or embroidery thread in contrasting shades to the felt and buttons.

Glue

Scissors

Piece of card at least 18cm /7” square

Pencil

Instructions:

1. Start by drawing round the outside of the inner ring of the embroidery hoop onto the card and cut the card circle out.

2. Secure the back ground fabric in the hoop by laying it over the inner hoop and pushing the outer hoop down over the fabric. Tighten the screw and check the fabric feels taut.

3. Cut 2 lengths of lace and ribbon 20cm/ 8” long. Cut 7 triangles of felt that measure 4cm/ 1.5” long on each side (or as many triangles as you need). Lay the lace and felt triangles onto the hoop and adjust the position until you are happy. Secure the lace with a tiny bit of glue, letting the ends hang over the edge of the hoop. Add a dab of glue to the felt triangles to secure them in place.

4. Thread the needle and use running stitch to stitch around the lower edge of each triangle. Fasten the thread off by weaving it through the back of the stitches.

5. Lay the ribbon over the lace and top edges of the triangles. Secure each end with a tiny dab of glue. Stitch buttons onto the ribbon.

6. Using another shade of thread stitch your message on to the bunting triangles. You could do initials and a heart, or a cheeky Valentines message!

7. Push the fabric out of the hoop. Tuck the ends of the ribbon and lace under the outer hoop and push the outer hoop back into place again.

8. Cut two little hearts out of felt and a length of lace and ribbon each 15cm long. Fold the ribbon and lace in half and stitch into place on the bunting. Stitch the felt heart on top of the folded lace and ribbon and add a button to decorate.

9. To finish the back of the hoop cut the background fabric to an inch away from the hoop all the way round. Put a thin layer of glue around the inner hoop and press the fabric into pace. Doing this in small sections makes it easier.

10.Finally, put a line of glue around the edge of your card circle and press into place.

And you’re done! If you make one I’d love to see it, either tag me on Instagram or send me an email, shirleyrainbow@outlook.com. You are welcome to sell products made to this design, please credit Teresa Bettelley at Shirley Rainbow as the designer and if possible link back to the blog post.

Teresa x

Still wishing you a Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Is it too late to say that now? I said it to my hairdresser yesterday and it still felt right! It’s been a bit of a slower start to the year than I expected, the two weeks off the school routine definitely made my brain go all fluffy round the edges and its taken a while to get back into action.

Here’s a little update on the world of Shirley Rainbow. I had a great time during craft fairs in the run up to Christmas, it was, as ever, great to spend time with other stall holders who run their own small business and have a good chat between customers. Doing the fairs is also a great way to get instant feedback from customers, which I will definitely be paying attention to. I’ve also popped a couple of new embroidery pieces in my Folksy shop and updated my Lavender bag collection, the link to them is Here.

Unfortunately a shop that I stock my work in (The Shop at Sneinton Market) will be closing this January, due to many changes behind the scenes. So I’m on the look out to apply for some new bricks and mortar opportunities- any suggestions for shops would be welcome!

As usual I’ve been working on some projects in the background, just to keep me ticking over, and also to have a break from making items for my Folksy shop. I finished a very long term project over Christmas, a tiny model of a kitchen. It was very fiddly, and very rewarding, to make it, and see everything come together. Sewing tiny curtains is certainly a lot easier than full size ones. Have you ever tried making anything like this?

I started a piece of embroidery from a free pattern on the DMC website, really looking forward to framing it up over the weekend. Sewing with metallic thread is such a pain though, I did it in small sessions so my fingers didn’t hurt too much!

I have also decided that 2020 is a year to try and do a bit more dressmaking. I hardly did anything last year- a skirt and a pair of dungarees, both un-blogged as yet! For Christmas 2019 I received a beautiful piece of cord fabric and the Ness Skirt pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, which I cut out and then never got round to sewing up. I have made a start this year! I am hoping to squeeze in time to finish it very soon.

So on that note, I’d better go and actually start doing stuff,

Thanks for reading,

Teresa

Cozy at Folksy

It’s been a while since I shared a Folksy Friday with you all, and this week, as the weather turned quite chilly in the UK I thought it might be the perfect opportunity to share some of the lovely products available on Folksy that I would rate as super cozy.

So to set the scene, we definitely need some cozy socks, and these socks from look perfect. They are hand knitted with a wool blend yarn so would definitely keep your tootsies toasty. They are from SockySocks.

Being snuggled under a blanket is one of the nicest things about a chilly evening, this blanket gets to join my cozy list. It’s from The Stitching Hour.

I like these little candle holders too, they are from By Shelly Lee (heart design) and Ceramics by Rachel Lavender, and would help create a cozy atmosphere.

I also spotted these beautiful hand poured candles by Melted Glass by Steph, the detail is fabulous.

I think a cozy cushion is in order to snuggle up against, I really like the patchwork effect and mix of hand printed fabrics. From Bailey Whin.

If you need to pop out you’ll need a scarf and gloves on, this colour block scarf is so bright it will ward off any dismal feelings. I think its fab! All my favourite colours together. It’s from Holly and Evie and is made to order.

These hats from Maya Croft look so warm and snuggly. Liezl is also Folksy’s Featured Maker this week, you can read her maker interview here.

I really like the pattern of these fingerless mitts, from Dream Time Treasures.

And for really cold days these beautiful Nordic style mittens will keep the frost out. I love the pointed shape! From Fir Tree Knitwear.

Next on my cozy list is a lovely mug of tea (or coffee or hot chocolate!), this hand thrown mug looks just the thing to wrap chilly hands around. By Church St Workshops.

And finally, an alarm clock cozy, to take the edge off getting out of bed on a winter morning!! It’s from Cat Thomas.

I hope you are feeling much more cozy now, if you’d like to see more of the beautiful (-and cozy!) products available on Folksy that caught my eye I created a Pinterest board and you can view it here.

Thank you for reading!

Teresa