2019- the year of Stitch

How is January going? I hope you’ve had a good start to the year. It’s been quite busy here. There’s been quite a lot going on behind the scenes: I’m working on a commission that I can’t share yet, and some other exciting stuff I can’t share yet either! However in between all that I’ve been doing a bit of embroidery and I think that 2019 should be the year I learn more about, and practice, embroidery!

I started the year with these little Drop Cloth samplers that were so much fun to do. So far I’ve only sewn one up into a pincushion. Will I ever dare stick a pin in it though?Embroidery kits are a great way to try out new stitches, and I’ve been having a look at what I might try next…

In the mean time I’ve dug out my embroidery books and have designed a simple layout to try new stitches, and also some I’ve not used for a while, in a sampler. There are so many embroidery stitches to do but it’s difficult to work out how to utilise them sometimes, so I find I use the same stitches over and over. Even if I don’t find a way to use them in other embroidery I’m enjoying giving new techniques a try. I’ve also decided, inspired by my Instagram friend Alison Sye, to time how long I spend on the embroidery. So far it’s 10 hours.

Clockwise the stitches I’ve used are

Herringbone stitch

Whipped running stitch

Laced back stitch

Running stitch with lazy daisy

Chevron stitch

Chain st

Basket Weave Stitch

Cloud filling stitch

Lazy daisy stitch worked in a grid with french knots

Laid trellis work.

Couching

Fly stitch

Fern stitch

Straight stitch

Couching

Chain stitch

I’m drawing the lines with an erasable pen so that it doesn’t get too chaotic ( I’d still like the sampler to look good!) and I will do some more blog updates on what I’ve stitched. And maybe at some point I will incorporate the lovely new stitches into some pieces for my Folksy shop!

Teresa x

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Handmade Christmas Gifts 2018

Hello everyone and a very Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a good festive break. I’ve enjoyed a bit of time offline, doing some embroidery and a bit of crochet too.

The embroidery is a drop cloth sampler pincushion kit. It’s totally different to any embroidery I’ve done before and it’s really fun making it. It’s from Beyond Measure which is a gorgeous online shop selling highly desirable haberdashery and more.

I’ve started a new cleckheaton jumper in style craft life DK in Silver Nepp which is a gorgeous yarn with multicoloured slubs throughout. However I might have made it a bit small so I might be pulling it out and starting again!

I want to share a few of the handmade gifts I made for Christmas this year; I didn’t make many as the three weeks before Christmas I’d put aside for making got ridiculously hectic with some other projects.

I knew my parents were getting a slow cooker for Christmas so I made my mum a crocheted pot holder for it. The pattern is from Emma Lamb’s book Crochet Home. I made it using DK cotton yarn which worked out to be just the right size. For some reason I didn’t take a finished picture before it I wrapped it. Here’s a work in progress photo, it was finished with a scalloped border. I then went on to make another of the pot holder patterns in Crochet Home for my godmother. I used the same DK yarn but this one came out rather on the large size! I still liked it though, so off it went!

I designed and made an embroidered tree for my sister which I loved doing. She has a beautiful collection of Christmas decorations so I hoped this would fit in well! I enjoyed it so much that you might see a limited collection of them in my shop next winter…

During a browse on Pinterest a few months ago I’d come across some little tiny dolls made from scrap fabric which were super cute, and I thought I’d like to have a go at making some as a gift. After doodling a few ideas I made a little pattern and thoroughly enjoyed making a little lady, a cat and a fish with two tiny blankets. I used some scraps of Liberty cotton, wool felt and some vintage pearl beads. The cat and lady are filled with lavender so they can be popped in a drawer with your clothes. I gave them to a friend in a little tin and I will definitely be making more of these!

One of my commissions before Christmas was to make a Christmas card with the three kings on, I’ve not made any cards for a while now so it was a nice change.

This Christmas I managed not to have too much of a melt down about actually giving people the gifts I’d made them. It seems silly when I make stuff to sell to complete strangers that giving something to someone I know well (and who usually likes me!) is so hard, but there you go! I can’t help being a bit daft.

Teresa x

Summer Shenanigans- Crochet Rope Basket

Hello there! It’s really been quite a long time since I popped by here. Everything is fine, the summer holidays have meant a bit of a slow down over here at Shirley Rainbow HQ. I’m busy behind the scenes though!

I thought I’d share a bit of a blog round up of summer shenanigans so here goes part one… Crochet Rope Basket

This was a bit of a hit on Instagram the other day, which took me by surprise! It was a really simple, and quick, make which I made up as I went along. I’d seen some similar baskets on Pinterest which were made with much chunkier rope. I had a left over ball of Bobbiny Rope from when I made my Half Moon Bag earlier this year, and I wondered if I’d be able to achieve the same kind of results with it.

The pink yarn is one I bought in Hobbycraft. I can’t remember the name of it though! It is an acrylic yarn which has a rainbow coloured cotton yarn twisted in, and it’s a DK yarn. Any similar yarn would work though, and I used a 3.5mm hook for a tight tension.

I made a chain loop of 3 chains and then 6 dc into the loop. Then I caught the Bobbiny yarn and crocheted over it, making 2 dc into each dc from the previous round.

I continued working in a spiral, increasing evenly as I went along, but I didn’t count any stitches, I just kept making sure the circle was smooth around the outside. Counting from the middle there are 9 ‘rounds’. The last round is worked with only 1dc in each stitch around.

I then did a round working only into the back loops to start the side of the basket.

The sides of the basket are worked by doing 1dc into each dc of the previous round. There are 16 rounds in total for the sides.

At the end of the 16th round I cut the bobbiny rope and folded it back, I crocheted 6dc over the folded bit to secure the end.

I then turned the basket and worked another dc round just using the pink yarn. The top of the sides are folded over to give more structure.

And that’s it! A super quick and even though I say so myself, a super cute little basket! Any further questions about how to make this just leave me a comment, thank you.

As you can see I’ve still got a little bit more rope left so I’ll be making another basket very soon! I’m going to be addicted!

Teresa x

April catch up 

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!

Crochet Time! 

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?!

January’s selfish crochet: Three Springs Shawl by Addydae Designs

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! 


Teresa xx

Shirley Rainbow HQ – craft space tour

Happy new year blog readers! I’ve had a bit of a slow start to the new year, all is well and I’ve enjoyed a bit of a break from online shenanigans.
I’ve made an attempt to get my house in order. Kitchen cupboards have been tackled but it’s slow progress and I felt very pleased when my first wholesale order of the year came in and I had to tidy my craft space. I’ve had a proper shuffle around, trying to make space for new craft supplies acquired recently and generally making the whole area work better. So as its tidy (ish) I thought I’d give you a little tour. Which sounds very grand but I can assure it isn’t! 

I have my craft space in my bedroom, which is quite big, I take up two walls of space with my desk and storage unit. I have a very laid back husband who doesn’t mind that he sleeps in what must occasionally feel like a haberdashery. Or yarn shop. Or pure crazy craft mess! I do my embroidery and dressmaking up here as well as all the boring admin, and the exciting packing up of orders. Crochet is mostly done on the sofa downstairs (with the tellybox on). 


On my desk is the vintage sewing box I bought from eBay. It came full of old sewing stuff and was a little bit bashed about. I repainted it pale blue with a tester pot and gave it a bit of varnish too. I covered the worst dents and scrapes with flowers cut from pieces of wallpaper, which I also used to line the inside. It now stores lots of sewing equipment. The big shelves have all my Shirley Rainbow stuff in, my dressmaking projects, patterns, yarn and many other bits and pieces. 


I’m definitely not a minimalist! I like to be able to look around my space for inspiration. There’s lots of books and magazines to for reference. It might look messy to the untrained eye but I can assure you that every sewing pattern I’ve downloaded has its own plastic wallet and is carefully stored! I’m planning on making some more nice labels for my drawers so I can find stuff again after my reshuffle. 


I hope you’ve enjoyed this little peep into my craft space!

Teresa x

Ps. Sorry the photos aren’t the best, it’s just so gloomy today!