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!
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!
Ps. Sorry the photos aren’t the best, it’s just so gloomy today!
Hello, just popping by with a quick post to let you know the craft fairs I will be at over next month.
Also, I will be accepting card payments at all fairs too, I have a new snazzy machine!
So if you in the Nottinghamshire area and fancy a nosey amongst lovely stalls filled with handmade goodies perfect for Christmas presents come along! And please say hi!
I know it’s a bit on the early side but here’s a little update on Christmas goings on here at Shirley Rainbow HQ. Well, my living room really! I’ve been making a few Christmas decorations recently so it’s time I spread the word. My Folksy shop has been updated with festive goodies, and there is free 1st Class UK postage on all orders.
I’ve made loads of these baubles recently, some for a craft fair at the end of November, but some have gone to my new stockist, The Focus Gallery in Nottingham. I’m so excited to have my work in an actual shop! The Focus Gallery is on Derby Road, which has a really good selection of independent shops, an excellent bakery (Tough Marys Bakehouse, where the brownies are AMAZING) and a couple of nice pubs too. It’s well worth a walk up if you are in Nottingham for Christmas shopping.
The Focus Gallery shows the work of many local artists and craftspeople, and has a great selection of jewellery, glassware and artwork, as well as some embroidery from me! The website link is here.
I will have a stall at Southwell Garden Centre Christmas Craft and Food fair on 25th and 26th of November, I will have lots of Christmas gifts and decorations for sale.
So I’m feeling (mostly) prepared for the Christmas season. I’m looking forward to doing some Christmas shopping too, hopefully with as many local, independent and small businesses as possible. It’s a fabulous feeling when someone buys from my shop, or craft stall, and I’m hoping to pass that on as much as possible.
Have a lovely weekend!