I’m absolutely delighted to be letting everyone know that I’m the Featured Maker on Folksy for the next two weeks! Folksy is where my online shop is based, and is a real champion of British craft and handmade products. I’ve been selling with them for four years now and find it’s a great platform.
On the Folksy blog you’ll be able to read an interview I did with Hannah Berridge of Hannah Berridge Ceramics – just click here! You might also find me popping up on their social media too to share some more about my embroidery.
I’ll also be offering a 15% off discount in my shop until 11th June with the code MAKER15. As ever, 1st class postage to UK addresses is free!
I’d love to hear if you have any comments about my interview, just pop them in the box below.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has supported Shirley Rainbow over the last four years, I really do appreciate every comment, either online or in real life, and of course every sale too!
In a very casual way I’ve been taking part in Me Made May, an online challenge to wear hand made clothes during May. As I wear something hand made most days now that’s not too much of a challenge so I thought it would be useful to pay attention to which ‘me made’ clothes I do wear and which I don’t so much.
When I first starting making more clothes a few years ago I was very inspired by the colourful printed dresses I saw online and made by other seamstresses. Perfect for sunny days out and having a lovely time! However I’ve realised that although it’s good to have a few dresses like that in my wardrobe I’m more likely to reach for t-shirts, tops and skirts or jeans, and during winter (which felt like forever this year) warm jumpers and cardigans. So instead of being seduced by pretty prints to make into dresses I’ve paid more attention to making more simple tops, fun tshirts and warm clothing, which are more practical but still make me feel like my outfit is unique.
So here’s a few of the pieces I’ve been wearing during May, as its nearly the end of the month!
A self drafted skirt made from Ponte de Roma. I made this skirt to replace the black circle skirt I made last year. It was made from cheap fabric which has pulled and bobbled and worn very badly. I did wear it a lot though, so I think I got my money’s worth! The new skirt has an elasticated waist and is super comfy and swishy.
My Moon Bag and my Sunday Funday cardi have had quite a lot of use! (Bag pattern from Make E, cardi pattern from Iron Lamb)
I made a tshirt from this lovely swan print jersey from Stoff Stil. Despite measuring several times its come up a bit big. I don’t mind that too much but the neck gapes slightly, which is annoying. Oh well!
I made this Bettine Dress (the 6th one now!) a few months ago but have only got round to wearing it recently now the weather is warmer. It’s made from a medium weight peachskin, from Guthrie and Ghani. I made the skirt long enough to wear without leggings when the weather is even warmer. And a thank you to my four year old who took this photo (do a pose Mummy!!)
This top is a Butterick 6175. I love the shape of the sleeves! The top is size 12 at the shoulder and 10 at the waist but I’m going to make a 14 at the waist next time as the waist is a bit too tight and rides up which irritates me. It’s made from some viscose I’ve had hanging about for ages. The pattern suggests the neck opening to be fastened with a hook and eye but I took this out as it just didn’t lie properly. I put a concealed zip in and now all is well.
I also made the necklace from some wooden beads I bought a while ago. They are painted with acrylic paint and I added some details with a Sharpie marker in gold. I used a crochet chain made from DMC thread and a 1.75mm crochet hook. I’ve seen loads of similar necklaces online and am really happy with how my version has turned out. I might make matching earrings!
Finally, and it’s not craft related at all, here’s a picture of my next door neighbour’s clematis that has crept over the fence. It’s gorgeous, and very welcome in my garden!
It’s been ages since I popped by on my blog. When I’m busy it’s the first thing to get neglected, which is rather sad as I really enjoy writing it. Anyway, here I am, with a quick update about what I’ve been up to and some upcoming events too.
I’ve been doing a LOT of embroidery. All of this is in preparation for Sherwood Art Week which is taking place in June. I’m really excited as I am taking part in two events- my embroidery will be on display in the Art in Shops exhibition and also an exhibition at Sherwood Methodist Church where I will be exhibiting as a real Textile Artist. I’m doing a happy dance about that, even though I’m really nervous too! I’ll be sharing lots more info on this soon.
I made a new crochet cardi- the Sunday Funday Cardi by Claudine of Iron Lamb. It’s so warm and cozy! It’s a straightforward make with only the shoulder seams to sew. I used Stylecraft Special Aran in Empire, and it took a bit less than 6 balls. I did the first sleeve probably about five times in total, as I kept going wrong and pulling it out but this is not a reflection on the pattern, it’s just my inability to count and remember the number! I’m already planning another Sunday Funday Cardi.
Other stuff I got up to in April included a mini break in Glasgow during the Easter holidays. We went with the children and had a great time despite the rain and cold. I’d really recommend going to the Science Centre and the Riverside Museum, which were both great. We booked an apartment with AirBNB which had a good view over the river. It’s a really friendly city which makes it a lot more pleasant when you are dragging tired and grumpy children home on the subway! We had a lot of museum trips in April due to the generally rubbish weather. The Space Centre in Leicester was a great day out with friends, and also Tattersall Castle in Lincolnshire. I was thrilled that both of my children had a try on a spinning wheel (and a bit jealous!); they both got to keep the little piece of yarn they made, which was taken into school for show and tell. I’m such a happy mum when my children are enjoying my interests with me!
Science Centre fun!
Our river view.
My proud mum moment!
Over the last 6 weeks I’ve been taking part in a Crochet-A-Long (CAL) hosted by Rosina of Zeens and Roger. It was called the Granny CAL, as all the projects to be made were to use granny treble stitches.
I started off with the intention of using the granny squares I made last year to finish off the jacket I started to make last year… I’m in a right old muddle and have realised that maybe making up my own patterns is not always going to work. I’ve decided a jumper is probably something I’d wear more, so I’ve taken all the squares I no longer need and turned them into a scarf.
This was actually much trickier than I thought it would be. I tried joining the squares with double crochet but it looked so wonky I pulled it out. I blocked the squares again and sewed them together which seemed to give me more control. To make the border I crocheted trebles in every stitch and a double treble at the joins between the squares which gave the border a smoother finish. I’ve added tassels to finish the scarf off. Now I just need to finish tackling the granny square jumper, it’s still a (huge) work in progress. (Yarn is Drops Karisma, 100% superwash wool)
However I have actually made a different jumper! My parents gave me some balls of Stylecraft Batik in a soft khaki green for my birthday last year. I’ve used the Cleckheaton Colour Block Jumper pattern which is a free pattern, but I only did contrasting colours for the neck and waist bands, and the cuffs. I shortened the body a bit which is a length I prefer for wearing with skirts. It worked up really quickly, even when I had to redo my second sleeve. It’s really warm and cozy. The navy cuffs etc are Stylecraft Special DK.
I think the pattern for this jumper will be really helpful when I eventually get my granny square jumper brain in gear. Eventually! Meanwhile there’s a cardi waiting to be made, as well as about eleventy billion other ideas.
This isn’t CAL related, but I wanted to share it anyway- meet my crochet snail!
He is from 75 Birds, Butterflies and Beautiful Beasties, by Leslie Stansfield. I made him in chunky yarn to supersize him. Any suggestions for his name?!
It’s been ages since I shared any dressmaking projects I’ve been working on, and now here’s three I want to share all in one go! Cue dodgy photos taken on a timer…
Last year I joined the PDF club set up by Sew Over It. As part of the membership you get to choose a free PDF pattern, and I chose the Heather Dress. One year on and I’ve finally made it!
I bought the fabric for £1.50/m in the summer from the market and cut it out in an attempt to get ahead of myself and make a winter dress early. However I’d not foreseen that I would be very busy making for Christmas craft fairs and not really have free time for dressmaking. I was also slightly put off by the fact that after cutting out the dress seemed quite complicated with three panels for front and back as well as inseam pockets. But I was wrong! The pattern pieces came together beautifully. I was so pleased as a lot of the seams seemed to be curved. One of the many things I like about SOI patterns is the amount of notches to fit the patterns together, there’s loads! It really makes it easy. The pocket was very clever and well explained too, no sewing dramas there. I used a twin needle to finish the hem and neckband, I love the finish it gives.
The fabric I’ve used is a polyester sweatshirt / double knit type fabric. It was really nice to sew with as its nice and sturdy which meant fitting the sleeves was simple and I think I’ve sewn my best neckband ever! I’m impressed with the fit too, not too tight over my square shoulders. Another reason for me to like SOI patterns as they seem to suit my shape.
I’d completely recommend the Heather Dress. It was nice to add a few unusual seam details and I really like how the pockets came together. I think a cozy sweater dress is just what I’ll be needing this week.
I’ve also recently made a new Cleo Dungarees Dress, in grey cord from Minerva Crafts. I think it’s going to be a useful addition to my wardrobe. I made matching covered buttons as I couldn’t find any dungaree clips I liked (I’m fussy), and they are a satisfying little detail.
My final project to share is a top I’ve made with scuba fabric, in a print scuba I’ve been coveting for aaaages. It’s from Fabric Godmother, who have an excellent range of scuba fabric. I bought just one metre of fabric, which is fine as I only wanted to make short sleeves and I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. I LOVE the print! The pattern is a free one I found via Pinterest from It’s Always Autumn. (Lots of lovely free dressmaking patterns and tutorials available there!) I’ve made it before for my orange sweatshirt, which is a favourite. Scuba fabric is fun to work with, I found it was best to keep it simple and not force the fabric to do too much, so I left the neckband off and did a straightforward hem instead.
Now my aim is to not to buy any more fabric but to try and use up some more of my stash of fabric, wish me luck!
Like many people I find winter months hard. The coldness, long dark evenings and grey days, and a general lack of natural bright colour. It’s all brown. Or grey. Or browny grey. I like grey as a colour paired with something bright and eye popping (most of my house and outfits fit this) but brown never gets me excited. So since the start of this winter I’ve tried to enjoy brown! I know I sound weird. On my walks to school and back and also on a trip to Manchester to celebrate my husband’s birthday, I’ve looked out for everyday things than perhaps normally I’d not pay attention to, that would cheer me up and that also might be brown. I’ve taken a few photos…
An amazing corrugated card lampshade at All Bar One in Manchester
Snowy beech hedge
Manchester Town Hall
A beautiful hand stitched pincushion which was a Christmas gift a few years ago
Gorgeous books at the British Library
My old university building, Arkwright in the centre of Nottingham
Clumber Park NT, at the end of Autumn
Random brick walls!
So I’ve changed my mind a bit about brown. I probably still prefer all the other colours out there, but during winter in the UK brown definitely gets a moment all to itself. I can see the beauty in it. And the little challenge I’ve set myself has definitely made a difference to the otherwise dreary winter days- a very good thing indeed!
My January selfish crochet project has been the Three Springs Shawl by Addydae Designs. I was inspired by Rosina over at Zeens and Roger, go and look at her BEAUTIFUL version! It’s been an absolute pleasure to make this shawl and I’m so pleased with how it has turned out, even though it has embarrassingly highlighted my inability to count to six.
I’ve used three different brands of yarn. I was a little concerned about it but decided that it would probably be fine, the yarns are all very similar.
The grey yarn is Fyberspates Coop Knits Socks Yeah! in Melanite, from Wool Warehouse.
The mixed colour yarn is the Platinum Sock Cold Lava colour way by Lovebug Yarns.
The orange border is Crocosmia Askham 4ply by Eden Cottage Yarns which I bought at Yarndale. This yarn is a blend of silk and alpaca which I think makes a nice contrast in the border.
Pattern wise, the instructions were nice and clear, and the stitch count table was very useful. The shawl is huge! Lots of counting of stitches. I used stitch markers to mark after 50 stitches which made it a lot easier when I lost count. Being huge makes it perfect for wrapping around and around my chilly neck. I’ve enough yarn left to make some mitts too, although those might have to wait until autumn. I’ve got too many other ideas that are bursting to get out before mitts need to be made!