Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Recent makes and sewing plans for July

Hi!

So, as you all know by now, my blog posts can be a little sporadic. I'm not a fan of posting for the sake of it and prefer to wait until I have something to show you or have a specific topic I'd like to blog about. Today's post, as the title suggests, is all about what I've been making recently and my ever growing list of sewing plans.... becasue I'm kind, I've wittled this list down to just a couple of items :)

Here's what I've been making.........


Unfortunately, I totally forgot to take nicer photos before I posted this little critter to my niece, Nancy, but here is a little picture of the amigurumi I made a couple of weeks ago.


                                   

Believe me, he looks a lot better up close. My sister has sent a few messages telling me how many compliments this little fella has received and has been asked if I sell my handmade items. The answer to the question, for now at least, is no. It feels great to know that so many people have been impressed by my handmade gift. They genuinely thought it had been bought from a shop.... high praise indeed, I guess...? :)

Next up.......

My hand knit tunic. This was a pattern I made up myself. Well, I adapted it from a very basic pattern that was posted on Kollabora. The original pattern was for the same style top except that it had been knit in two pieces that were later sewn together. I'm not a big fan of sewing seams...at all! And why do it when you can just knit in the round..?!

This knit was pretty straight forward and would make a great first project for those venturing into the world of knitting in the round. I shall be typing up the pattern details and posting them here soon, for those of you that fancy having a go. In the meantime, here is my finished tunic.......



Boatneck neckline works really nicely on this simple tunic

Finishing the contrast panel with a crocheted edge to help stop the fabric rolling. Simple finishing touches can make all the difference to the overall look. 

Next.......

I finally got round to finishing off the Mossa stitch cushion cover I'd be working on. Buttons have been sewn on and the cushion is now on the sofa with my other crocheted creations. I do love a crocheted cushion cover! :)



Sewing, sewing and..... a bit more sewing!


So, as you might probably have guessed, I've been doing a bit of sewing recently :)

My grand plans have been a bit hampered by my migraine episodes but, being the stubborn woman that I am, I haven't let this stop me planning for the days when I feel up to a bit of making. I've spent many an hour scouring the internet for patterns and design inspiration and have purchased some beautiful books. My most prized purchase has to be the Tomoko Nakamichi pattern books I gifted myself - Pattern Magic and Pattern Magic Stretch Fabrics.

                                

I can't remember how I discovered these books but I'm so glad I did. The designs are absolutely stunning. I realise they may not be to everyone's taste but I am a HUGE fan. I am so enjoying reading these books and would love to make everything in them but think I will have to wait until I've developed my skills a bit more. Some of the designs look quite challenging but well worth the effort.

Here is the first pattern I've attempted.....





This pattern for this piece is fairly straight forward. It works on the principle of using two long pieces of fabric that are sewn together to create a long rectangle with two short side seams for the bottom and one seam at the top to create a loop that you can tie anyway you want. The book provides a few pictures for inspiration but I had fun making up my own alternatives :)

Unfortunately, you'll have to wait for pictures of me wearing the finished item. I didn't want to post a picture of myself posing in front of the mirror so I'm waiting until a friend can help me out :)

Until then, here's a sneak peek at the jersey fabric I used for the pattern. 



Sewing plans for July.....

I shall definitely be continuing to work my way through the Pattern magic books. I've also just bought myself the Madeleine skirt pattern from Victory Patterns. For this I need to buy some more denim fabric.

I also have to use this lovely lot of fabric.........


I'm thinking of using the floral fabric (a bargain find at a local fabric stash sale) for a pattern I found on the Kollabora website. It's called the Lobelia tee, which you can find here

The bumble bee fabric was purchased to make the Sophia top from Simple Sew's Sophia 2 in 1 pattern. I was going to make the whole outfit for a christening but unfortunately, due to feeling pants, I haven't been able to. 

                                      

Definitely going to have a go at this though. I had bought some denim fabric for the skirt but may end up making the whole thing in a totally different fabric altogether :) 


Right, I think it's time for a brew. Thanks for stopping by to read my blog :) 

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy week.

Until next time,

KnittyNora xx

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Sewing, sewing and .....a bit more sewing

As you may have already guessed, I have spent most of this week sewing. Trying out something a little different this time and posting a quick review of two pattern kits I had in my 'stash'. Not something I've done before but thought it might come in handy if, like me, you've never bought a prepacked sewing kit before.

Here goes......

After being a very sensible girl and reading the user manual, I was eager to get sewing with my new machine - a Singer Confidence. Cue a mad half hour of trying out all 50 stitches on a scrap of fabric and filling my bobbins ready to sew.

With my machine fully set up, I made a start on a pattern kit I bought for myself in the sales last year - the Sewing Bee sewing apron.

The pattern

The pattern is graded at intermediate level. On the whole, I thought the pattern was pretty straight forward. There was no need for any fancy stitches (everything was sewn in a straight line) and the pattern pieces were printed on one large piece of fabric that you had to cut out (again, in straight lines). So, if you can sew and cut in a straight line, you're OK 😃

The instruction booklet was very user friendly. The instructions were easy to read and follow and I was able to sew the whole thing up fairly quickly. This was a really nice project to do over an hour or so. I started one evening by ironing and cutting out my pattern pieces whilst I had a bit of time to spare. I came back to the project the next day and did all of the sewing in about an hour (although I probably took a bit longer when I factor in my tea break :) ) 

The only fiddly bit was threading the waist tie through the small channel at the top of the apron. I used a large safety pin that is fitted with a safety cap so that it wouldn't come open and stab me in the finger and/or get caught halfway (I initially used a normal safety pin.....which resulted in both of the above happening......oops!)

Pictures





                       


Final thoughts

This pattern kit was really easy to follow and I actually found it quite relaxing. The fabric pieces are nicely printed and the contemporary colour palette and pattern used are fun yet grown up. 

I really enjoyed this pattern and am really happy with the finished article. I would definitely recommend it (if they can still be purchased!) and would happily buy another Sewing Bee pattern kit again.


Pattern review...  2

The second pattern kit I tried out this week was from the people at The Makery. This kit, for a oversized purse, was given to me as a birthday present. The packaging, as you might expect from The Makery, was very contemporary, brightly coloured and made you want to open it immediately. The contents were beautifully wrapped and included everything I needed to make the purse, apart from a pair of scissors, some fabric glue, a pair of pliers (needed right at the end) and, of course, a sewing machine (although this wasn't really needed since everything could be hand sewn). 







Thoughts on the kit....

This pattern kit was...... well, a bit fiddly. The instructions weren't always the clearest and, if like me you like to think outside the box and try and be clever, you could easily find yourself having to back track and undo some of your hard work. There were one or two points in the pattern where I had to reread it several times to make sure I had got it right. Occasionally, you find that the written instructions don't give you all the detail you need and therefore you have to work out what to do next by looking at the drawings and hoping you haven't missed anything. Now, it may just have been me being a bit slow on this particular day but... I do think the instructions could do with a rethink.

The final few steps require a bit of patience, some glue and something pointy to squish (yes, that's a technical term!) the fabric into the purse clasp. Be careful not to put too much glue in the clasp channel. Even if you think you've only used a small amount, it soon spreads and can leave a bit of a sticky mess on the clasp. Nothing you can't clean up with a baby wipe....provided you've used the recommended fabric glue. 

The finished article....

The purse actually came out really well. Apparently, it looks 'really professional'...!! (Thanks husband, dearest). Obviously, I was quite chuffed with such a review. 



I must admit that I prefer a purse with places to put things like bank cards and somewhere to keep my clubcard safe (other store cards available!) but this purse would be great for a night out. It looks great, has plenty of room for your lippy and some loose change and, I'm sure, will get you lots of compliments.

Would I recommend it as a gift idea....? Yes, i think I would. Just make sure the person you're buying it for is good at following instructions, has plenty of patience and a few hours to spare :)


Final thoughts on sewing kits....

If you know someone who likes sewing, I would definitely recommend a sewing kit as a gift idea. I received two this year and both are for items that I will use and have fun making. So, be brave and try something new. And, whilst you're at it, why not buy one for yourself?! :) 



So, that's my first pattern review post done. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this as a possible future feature. 

I'm still busy with knitting and crocheting but looking to expand my sewing repertoire as I continue on my quest to be able to make all of my own clothes. It has long been an ambition of mine to be totally self sufficient where fashion is concerned and, with regards to knitwear, have stuck to this over the last few years. My improving sewing skills give me the oppurtunity to branch out into much fancier and ambitious outfits and is a new avenue for creative development which I am very excited to pursue.


Well, that's all from me for now. I am already plotting and planning my next blog post and looking forward to showing you what I'm making right now.

Come back soon to see what I've been up to!

Much love,

KnittyNora xx


Saturday, 11 June 2016

What I've been making

Hello! 

Finally finding the time to sit down and finish a blog post I started last week. I have been busy resting and enjoying the sunshine. 

I thought I'd start this post with a few pics of the projects/ideas I'm currently working on and developing. 

Current projects....







I'm also working on a gift for my middle niece, who is soon to be two, and a knitted dress for myself called the Yoshimi dress. A rough outline for the dress was posted on the Kollabora website, of which I am a HUGE fan. Being me, I decided to develop the pattern and am currently in the process of writing up the instructions so that I can share them here, via my blog, and with the lovely people over at Kollabora.

I'm really enjoying the process of writing and developing patterns and am already working on some of my own, which I hope to be able to share with you at some point in the future. Much of what I've designed is specifically written for me and therefore my very specific measurements. Armed with various books on pattern design, I'm hopeful that I shall, at some point in the future, have the time (and patience) to begin developing my patterns for a range of sizes. Stayed tuned!

Other developments of a crafty kind...

After much umming and ahhing, I finally got round to buying myself a new sewing machine. I am absolutely rubbish at buying things for myself. I have spent weeks looking at machines online and searching Ebay for a bargain (none to be found!). I mentioned that I was looking at machines on a well known supermarket website a couple of weeks ago. By the time I'd convinced myself to buy one, the one I had in mind was out of stock. Cue much annoyance with myself. 

After a little sulk, I requested stock updates for the two sewing machines I was most interested in and tried to forget about it (easier said than done). A couple of weeks later (including several hours spent on Ebay), I received a very pleasing email from said supermarket chain. Cue a frantic 5 minutes of me logging into my online account, buying my new sewing machine and booking a delivery date. Two days later and my new arrival was here. I was one very happy lady :) 

And here it is........



I've yet to use my new purchase. I've decided to be a very good girl and read the user manual very carefully before embarking on my first project (those of you that know me well will know how difficult I will find this :) ). I have several patterns that I'd love to have a go at, including a couple from the new Sewing Bee book.




I am absolutely in love with the pallazzo pants pattern featured in the book and ever so slightly tempted to make myself a jumpsuit (also featured in the book), if only to wear around the house :) 

Come and find me on twitter....please.

For those of you that didn't know, I have a twitter account :) I'm now using this to share photos of the projects I'm working on and to share my thoughts on the making process and what inspires me to make in the first place.

I would love to hear from you and hope you'll pop over and follow me. My twitter tag is @LittleMrsCrafty.

That's enough from me for now. I'm off to make myself a cuppa and to work on my Yoshimi dress. 

Wishing you all a very happy Sunday,

KnittyNora xx



Sunday, 22 May 2016

Spring cleaning my craft room

Oh, I do love a good spring clean.

Making the most of some help from my husband, I've been reorganising of my little house. After some much needed storage was added to our livingroom, we began making our way through the clutter in our spare room (also known as my craft room). We moved into our house 5 years ago and, during this time, a lot has happened. What remains are boxes full of teaching resources, books we no longer read and a collection of random odds and ends that we have no use for. Cue a major declutter of shelves and cupboards, a trip to the tip and a rather generous donation to our local charity shops.

Whilst I had to leave the heavy lifting to P, I was able to dust and clean the shelves before putting back a much reduced and reorganised book collection. I'm finally able to put my boxes full of yarn on the shelves and love how clear and organised everything is.

We still have a few bits to organise and spare furniture to dismantle before putting in the loft, but it feels like we're on our way to having the room finished.....finally!

My ever growing collection of Mollie Makes magazine
(in numerical order... obviously ! 😃)

Just a couple of crochet books so far

A few of my knitting books.....yet to be put into some kind of order 😃

I'm currently trying to make up my mind about a very important purchase......a new sewing machine! I've narrowed it down to the Singer Confidence range (after seeing some good reviews and because I'm going to use my Tesco vouchers to purchase it). I was originally looking at the 7465 but since this is currently out of stock, I've been looking at the 7470. It comes with some great features but I'm still not sure which to get. Do I wait for the more basic version or go for the upgrade which should then last me a very long time as I develop my sewing repertoire....?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Have any of you ever used or owned either of the Singer Confidence models? Any tips?

Wishing you all a lovely Sunday and hoping that, wherever you may be, you get to enjoy a little sunshine.

Best wishes

KnittyNora xx

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Adventures of the crafty kind.


Hello, it's me again! 


So, by now you'll probably be used to the fact that my posts have become rather...... well, sporadic. Due, in most part, to my complete lack of energy. This can be very frustrating at times. Most recently, I've been thinking about my blog and the content that I post. For a long time I have be wary of posting too much about my health issues because I'm not someone who likes to share for sharing's sake. I'm also not very good with sympathy... :/

Some months ago I met and made friends with the loveliest lady. She has become something of an inspiration to me and is always so encouraging of my crafty plans and projects. We regularly meet for a natter, a chai tea and to share pattern ideas and inspirations. I always leave feeling uplifted and full of confidence that the things I make are 'good enough' and well made. More about this in future posts...

For the past couple of months I have had to rest and take extra special care of myself. During this time I have been making and creating when I can. My crochet skills have continued to develop and I am really pleased with my new found skills. I have become something of a convert to crocheting. I still love a bit of knitting but have to admit that crocheting is a lot quicker and easier to transport around (very important when you're travelling to and from hospital appointments).

Below are some pictures of my most recent makes. As you will see, most are crochet projects and home furnishings.

Mossa stitch cushion cover against our new charcoal sofa

Mossa stitch in the great outdoors


My very own granny square cushion design
(This will sit alongside the Mossa cushion on the sofa)


An extra special gift for a very special lady


Here, at KnittyNora HQ, we are in the middle of some redecorating/re-imagining of our home. We have lived in our little house for 5 1/2 years now and the signs of wear and tear are becoming very obvious. Cue lots of online research for design ideas and the purchase of a few litres of paint. Thankfully, my husband has been on hand to help out and has been busy putting together shelving units (got to love IKEA!) and has made a start on the painting. It gets very frustrating that I'm unable to help with much of this work but for now I am focusing on the positives and keeping my hands busy with some crochet accessories to finish off the final look.

I shall sign off with a photo of my beautiful pooch, Buster (seen here showing off a crochet bandana I made for him). This gorgeous boy never fails to put a smile on my face 😘

Until next time, much love and best wishes,

KnittyNora xx

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The return of KnittyNora

Well, hello there :)

Yes, yes, I know it's been a while but I promise that I have a good excuse...

As ever, my health has gotten in the way of my blogging. I've tried to post on my Facebook page when I can but I'm guilty of letting things slip a little. I won't try and promise that I won't do it again because I just don't know how I'm going to feel from day to day. What I can promise is that I will try my very best to post updates here whenever I can. Deal...? 

I've posted previously about my health issues but have always felt that I didn't want to bore you all with my moans and concerns or turn this into a blog about my silly body. Instead, I'd like this blog to be about my crafting adventures and, more recently, my adventures with my gorgeous puppy, Buster. 



Buster being gorgeous


I'm not embarrassed about talking about my health issues (I have Endometriosis and severe IBS) and am happy to share my experiences with people should that wish to hear about it. In short, I don't want to inundate you lovely people with information you might not want to know.  I can say, however, that my crafting and baking have been a huge help to me when I've been feeling at my worst. There are some days when I don't have the energy to do much at all but sometimes I just pick up some wool and some knitting needles and just start making and creating. Focusing my mind on something other than medicine and hospital appointments offers a much needed sense of relief and the sense of achievement when I finish a project (no matter how small or simple) is wonderful.

Just over 5 weeks ago I had to go into hospital for an operation. Coming home to my knitting and my lovely pup (and not forgetting my husband!) made my recovery a lot more bearable.

Here are a few pictures of my most recent creations so that you can see what I've been up to whilst I've been away......

The 'shell' necklace

Knitted shell design necklace - just need to add the fastening
The pattern for this lovely necklace was a random find thanks to a fellow crafty lady that I follow online. She had posted a link to some patterns that created from small amounts of yarn (think - patterns to use up your leftovers from larger projects). I loved this necklace and started making one right away. I decided to choose the soft green colour as I thought it would look a little more grown up and would work nicely with lots of different outfits, whether it be for daytime or night time.

The Nordic cafetiere cosy


The Nordic design cafetiere cosy I made for my husband. He loves it.
 I've been promising to make something for my husband for some time now. I haven't made anything for him since the beanie hats I made for him a few years ago, when I'd first started knitting (not counting the abandoned cable knit jumper I started a few winters ago). He loves his coffee and is a big fan of Nordic and Fairisle designs. After finding some lovely Nordic pattern books in my local library, I was really happy when my husband picked out this design. He chose the red and the white (which I already had tucked away in my stash - very handy) and that was that. I'm really pleased with the results and so is he - a win all round.

Vintage inspired baby blanket in pastel shades

The vintage inspired baby blanket I've been making for a special friend

This is a quick picture taken just before I finished the blanket so that I could post about it's progress on my Facebook page. When I say 'finished' what I really mean is that I've done the knitting and now I just need to sit and weave in the ends.... for now though, I've been distracted with some new patterns. Thankfully it doesn't have to be finished for a couple of months. Plenty of time :)

Nordic inspired, knitted bunting




The pattern for this bunting came from another library find. The book, called 'fair isle and nordic knits', is full of lovely designs that are bursting with colour and perfect for practising your fair isle knitting skills. I loved this pattern as soon as I saw it and knew it would be perfect for me to work on after my operation since I could do a little bit at a time and could quickly knit up a flag when I felt up to it. I've now knit the number of flags I need and just need to decide how I'm going to join them - do I knit a cord or sew them onto a nice length of ribbon? 

Looking forward to decorating my spare room come craft room with these beauties :)

Knitted sampler 


A great project for perfecting your multi strand knitting skills
The pattern for this sampler came from the same book as the knitted bunting/flags. I love the idea of making small designs that I can hang around the house. Again, this pattern is perfect for when I'm in the mood for a short project that keeps my mind busy and is ready in no time. I've yet to decide where to hang this..... I'm thinking the hallway so that my visitors can admire it as they walk into my cosy little home.

And on the recipe front........

Besides the knitting, I've also been busy trying to create recipes for the new diet I've been put on by my IBS specialist. Basically, all my ideas of healthy, home cooked food have gone out of the window, My diet is now restricted to meat, fish, eggs, milk, butter, rice, carrots, potatoes and sugar. All I can add is salt, not even pepper! Gone are the spices and herbs and in are simple and plain dishes that many would find uninspiring. Me being me, I have to have a go at making and adapting recipes so that I can brighten up meal times. So far, I've adapted a macaroon recipe and found a fudge recipe that should satisfy my sweet cravings.

I've currently got a batch of said fudge cooling in it's tray........time for me to say goodbye and go and have a cheeky taste.


More recipes and stories of my knitting adventures to follow soon.......


KnittyNora xxxxx

Monday, 11 May 2015

It's been a while....


Hi all,


yes, it certainly has been a while since I last blogged, sorry. As I logged in for the first time, in a VERY long time I discovered a post I had started in October of last year (posted, incomplete, below). 


Being poorly really can get in the way of my making and blogging :( As far as my health is concerned, I am back and forth to the hospital as usual but now have a new gastro team in Manchester. Yes, a bit of a trek for me (minimum of 2 1/2 hour each way) but I am hopeful that they can help.


On the crafting front - I've continued to make and design things since I last spoke to you all. I managed to keep my promise to make all of the birthday gifts for my nieces and nephews last year and am continuing to make gifts for my youngest nieces and nephews this year.

Here's a pic of just a couple of things I've made: 





In other news...



Say hello to Buster 

Here is a picture of my lovely puppy, Buster, on the day we brought him home. He was just 9 weeks old when we got him from the rescue shelter. He has filled my life with so much happiness and fun over the past 6 months. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this little man. 

You'll notice that he has grown some what since we got him.................



Buster and I posing in the sun 

'It's very tiring being this cute' 

Be prepared for lots more news on Buster and his adventures :)

For now I shall head back to my knitting bag and continue with a baby blanket I'm currently making (see below). My husband is in bed at the moment after a night shift so I'm going to take Buster for a little walk soon and then make myself a well earned brew. 





Speak to you all very soon xx


Post from last October.........


Hello from me 


Hi everyone!


Yes, I know I've not been very chatty recently, but I have good reason..... as you will all be aware, I've been a poorly sick lady and, unfortunately, this has prevented me from keeping up to date with my blog. All of that aside, I wanted to stop by and say hello and let you know what I've been up to recently.....

Crafty projects.......

At the beginning of the year I made a promise to myself that I would make all of this year's presents for my nephews and nieces. I have six in total, with one niece (Nancy) being born just a few months ago. Their ages vary from newborn to 11 so I've had to plan gifts that suit their age range and, for a soon to be teenager, their lifestyle.

The younger ones were pretty easy to plan for - soft toys, clothes, bunting, etc. My eldest nephew, George, will be 12 at the end of the month. I want to make him something that he'll not only like but be proud to wear in front of his friends. This year's must have accessory for the teenage boy appears to be the slouchy hat. I found a great pattern online (cocoknits) and have just made a start on it. 

Here's a sneaky peek......