“You Made That? Gosh, How Clever!”

There is something terribly clever about crafting. I know this to be true because of the number of comments over the years which go along the lines of “You made this? Gosh, you are clever!” when told that whatever is being admired was handmade.

Certainly there is a skill with most handicrafts, I’m not for one instant suggesting that there isn’t, but when the sewing on of a button is met with the same sort of admiration, it does make one wonder…

To be honest, I think the cleverest thing about crafting is in the creation and establishment of a craft-based business, especially when it comes to dealing with the taxman! The other clever thing is in not letting the fact that now your hobby, which you enjoy, is your life and you will probably occasionally hate it, stop you from continuing.


Sometimes I wonder about setting up a chocolate shop. I like chocolate; people say I make pretty good truffles, which I enjoy making. But I’m not sure if I’d want to spend all my time making them. Mind you, a thought occurs to me: Roly’s Fudge, which I realise probably means little to those of you who haven’t been to Taunton or Barnstaple.

Roly’s make fudge in the shop and they change their menu daily, I presume on the basis either of ingredients available or mood of the makers.

Although the idea I had recently for my ideal chocolate shop is a moving one on a canal boat. Not wholly my idea, there’s a floating chocolate shop which turns up in Stockholm at Easter-time. But again, would I want to spend all my time making chocolates?


What’s the cleverest thing about crafting for you?

Baby’s First Rabbit

There’s nothing like the announcement of an imminent new arrival in a family for a happy crafter to get crafting.

Now, admittedly the imminent new arrival for our family isn’t due until January (not mine; Mark’s cousin), but I thought I’d get a head start. I have a cross-stitch sampler planned as well, but in the mean time I’ve dug out an old pattern for a rabbit.I think the pattern cover wants to suggest it’s some variety of collectable, not a toy, but I successfully made this in fleece when I was but a child, trying to replace a much-loved and sadly lost rabbit. So it works as a pattern for a soft toy.

Having found my pattern, I’ve also dug out some yellow flanneling (I think) which seems a good fabric for a newborn’s toy, with some yellow silk for lining the ears. Yellow is a good, neutral colour, given that it’s still too early to find out whether Baby’s male or female.

Rabbit Pieces

So I spent a happy afternoon pinning and cutting, and wondering how the front and back pieces are meant to fit together, and how I managed before. I’ve looked at them every which way, and still can’t work it out. Hopefully it’ll come to me while I’m sewing them together.

I’ve made it before, I can make it again – in true, Blue Peter Style: Here’s Rachel, one I made earlier (much earlier)…

Rachel Rabbit

I didn’t make the dress…

Rosebud Romance

There’s something about a new year which inspires change. I suspect it has something to do with having spent the festive period surrounded by family and family-friends all asking about your life and what are you up to now?

Rosebud Romance

I’m not sure I’d want to become a butterfly, necessarily, but with all the other changes of plans going on at the moment, this seemed an appropriate pattern to stitch. I’ve had my eye on it since last summer, when I found it in issue 295 of CrossStitcher, and now just seemed the right time. That, and birthdays after Christmas are a bit awkward. As per the suggestion, this was turned into a little bag:

Rosebud bag

I was quite surprised to find the pink fabric (I’m not sure what it is, some kind of poly-satin, I think) in my stash, and that it was so suitable for this project. Also, I so need to go back to IKEA for more of their linens.

It was nice to get my sewing machine out again. It’s reminded me that I collect so many patterns and fabrics, and then never do anything with them. Hopefully this will be the year when all that changes.

Choosing a Cushion

Well gosh, that was quick! The cross-stitch design I started last week – apparently it was a much faster design than I was expecting – and the last stitch was placed yesterday.

My plan was to back it with some lovely green-blue taffeta I bought ages ago for a dress I never made, and edge it with a bright blue ribbon (anyone wondering, Clinton’s do a wonderful range of satin ribbons for less than a quid). A quick rummage for the relevant items, though, has given me a few more options I’d completely forgotten about.

Cushion Fabrics

It’s nice to work on a decent-sized design that can be completed so quickly – big enough for it to be a proper project, but not so big that you lose interest or motivation before you’re done.

And now I just need to choose which of these fabrics and ribbons get to be the backing and border respectively. Then it can become a cushion cover and I’m one Christmas-present down, don’t want to count how many left…
How are your Christmas-making plans going?

New Patterns, New Fabrics

One of the nice things about starting a new project is the gathering of supplies.

I do like gathering supplies. A chance to go shopping with good reason, even if, perhaps, items not immediately necessary also make their way into my basket. Although, now that I have such a large collection of threads, my main supply requirement is for the fabric. I do like shopping for fabrics. My large stash of as yet unused fabrics is testament to that!

Peacock Cross-Stitch

This new project, a pattern from CrossStitcher, required blue fabric, ideally a linen, but I’m using aida, for simplicity’s sake, since it’ll be turned into a cushion cover for my mother for Christmas (so I probably won’t be doing regular updates) and I have other projects needed in the next few months. A minor problem when there’s half a dozen birthdays in the run up to and just after Christmas, to say nothing of any cards. I know I started stitching for Christmas some months ago, but I have that sinking suspicion I haven’t done nearly enough. (Isn’t that always the way?!)

But it does mean I’ll probably need more trips for suitable fabrics. Unless I find a large amount of white and various fabric-dyes. I still have quite a lot of that handy rustic stuff from IKEA.

The Last Stitch

The ending of a long project is a bittersweet moment. There’s the joy at ending, the relief that you’ve seen it through and have reached the final stitch.

But there’s also that feeling of what to do next, now that this large project which has dominated your thoughts and spare moments is at its end. Which of your no doubt extensive list gets picked next?

I’m not quite at the end of my Advent calendar project, but I’m on the home-straight. All the cross-stitch is done, each picture is numbered, and stitched onto flannel patches, ready and waiting to be sewn onto the white fleece I’ve chosen for the backing.

Advent Calendar

But now that this has been reduced to an afternoon of sitting in front of my sewing-machine, I’m planning my next projects, although I think I’m going to leave such large projects to one side until I come to make baby-afghans. (I know, none of the patterns were large, but the project itself has been long-winded.) For now, I shall settle with cushion covers, embroidered bags, pictures, and anything else (relatively) small I can think to cross-stitch, starting with Christmas presents.

And sorting out my Stitchery, so it’s actually usable.