Category Archives: Accessories

Yorkshire Yarn Excitement and Two Hats

After knitting socks without a hint of second sock syndrome, I appear to have acquired a compulsion to knit in pairs. Although not matching, these hats seemed a logical double project.

When a wool band reads “Born, Bred and Made in Yorkshire” and you are born, bred and made in Yorkshire, you know immediately you have to buy the yarn… in three different colours. I don’t think I’ve been as excited or impulsive about a yarn before. Serious warm fuzzy feelings inside and out.


Ramsdale is Yorkshire wool (all 100% of it) from Masham fleece. Not only that but each of the 12 shades are named after Yorkshire market towns or villages. I bought two red, one navy and one neutral. Also known as Settle (amazing walking), Hawes (highest market town in England, I don’t even know why I remember that fact) and Malham (location of too many Geography school trips but I can still appreciate  it’s natural beauty).

Ombre Hat b

As if hailing from North Yorkshire wasn’t enough, this yarn has great qualities… good squish, soft without pilling, not scratchy and nice to knit with.

Lateu Hat

The hats; ombre and Latu. Ombre because I was itching to try stranded colour work without committing too much (I’m not ready for a full on Fair Isle Jumper project yet) and Latu because I really liked the neat cable pattern. Both are free patterns – I’m always terribly grateful that knitters share these patterns so generously on Ravelry.

Lateu Wrist Warmers and Hat

I had did use some of the second ball of red making the hat but there was plenty left for a pair of wristwarmers. I fudged the cable pattern of Latu onto a gauge adjusted version of Anna Wilkinson’s wristwarmer pattern. These are knit flat and seamed afterwards so I knit with both ends of the yarn at the same time until I had just enough left to cast off and seam – I hate waste!

Ombre Hat a

Warm, Cosy and Reversible Neckwarmer

Many things in sewing (and knitting too) are far cheaper to buy in the shops than make yourself. This is not one of them.

Reversible Cowl b

Spotted in a fancy country life type of shop, the type that sells quilted jackets and expensive wellies, was a neck warmer. Tweed on the outside, fleece on the inside. I did a bit more investigation of these items, undoing the buttons and fully expecting a shape I’d have to make multiple iterations of to re-create at home, I was pleasantly surprised that it was a simple rectangle.

Reversible Cowl d

My pleasant surprise turned to mild elation when I looked at the £75 price tag. £75 seriously? I tried to keep my face expressionless when the tweed suit-clad assistant/shop owner sidled over to me explaining that there were 5 colours but they had been so popular there were only 3 available now. “Very nice” I muttered approvingly then nonchalantly executed my exit of the shop.

Reversible Cowl c

I have to hand it to them, the shop owner certainly knows her/his target market with that price tag. Now, I don’t want to rip off small businesses (it is an independent shop after all) and I’m all for handmade items including a fair wage for the time taken to make the item…but I am not the £75 for a neckwarmer target market.

I seized remnants of coating, cotton lawn, 4 buttons from my stash so my only cost outlay were 3 press studs to make my own version. Also because I used press studs instead of button holes, mine is reversible!

Reversible Cowl a

Stash Delve: Travel Pillow

I’ve made a nice dent in the scrap fabric box with this make.

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On my first flick through the June Burda I hastily passed over the travel pillow but on a more leisurely page turning session I had second thoughts. I don’t own a travel pillow because I hate the noise of the polystyrene balls moving so close to my ear. If I made my own, I could stuff it with regular pillow filling…

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…and I could make a pillow case for it so that I could wash out the funky aeroplane smell afterwards. Brilliant.

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And everything used was from the stash so no purchases required.

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It does zip up by the way… I was merely demonstrating the pillow case capabilities and forgot to take a photo of the back of it zipped up!!!


Oven Glove Tutorial

My sister in-law recently moved into a new place and since I had some Insul-Bright in my stash I thought I’d make her a little house warming present.

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There are many tutorials for oven gloves but this way doesn’t have exposed seams on the inside so I wanted to share. You will need the following supplies:

Heat resistant/insulated fabric (e.g. Insul bright)
Outer fabric
Inner fabric (or double up the outer fabric)
Binding fabric (wider is easier and it does not need to be cut on the bias)

The right side of heat resistant fabric can be identified by the silver reflective  piece shining through the white fluff (look along a cut edge, the silver is easier to see). The right side should face the heat source. I don’t know for sure but I suspect that this reflective layer could blunt fabric scissors so I always use my regular scissors to cut it.

Oven Glove 1

Draw (leaving a generous gap) around your hand with your thumb splayed to make a pattern template then add seam allowances (I use the standard 5/8 inch since the layers get quite thick and a wider seam allowance is easier to sew). For a pair of gloves, cut four each of the heat resistant/insulated fabric, batting, outer fabric and inner fabric by placing the pattern piece on folded fabric twice.


Oven Glove 2

Draw parallel lines on the inner and outer fabric pieces – the quickest way to do this is to use the width of a ruler.

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Next draw parallel lines perpendicular to the first set of lines.

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With the heat resistant insulating fabric right (silver) side up, place your outer fabric right side up on top. Pin these together in the gaps between one set of parallel lines.

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Sew along the lines, remove the pins then rotate to sew the perpendicular lines. Repeat for the lining fabric by placing the lining right side up on tip of a piece of batting.

Oven Glove 6

Next we need to layer it all up. Place two inner pieces (lining and batting) right sides together. On top of these place two outer pieces (outer and heat resistant) right sides together (in the photo above my batting is cream and my heat resistant fabric is white).

Oven Glove 7

The four layers will be too thick to pin. If you don’t own fancy (=expensive) sewing clips,then pegs or bulldog clips work just as well (=inexpensive).

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The next step is to sew around the edge (but not the part where your hand goes!). Since the fabric layers are quite thick, try to avoid your presser foot being fully tilted (top image) by balancing it out with some folded up scrap fabric (lower image). At the thumb, lower the needle and raise your presser foot to allow you to rotate the oven glove and sew around this tight bend.

Trim the seam allowance, clip into the thumb crook and clip curves around the fingers and thumb areas.

Reach into the layers of fabric, between the two outer fabric pieces and pull through. This will hide the raw edges giving you a clean finish on the lining pieces inside. Push out to get a nice smooth curve and the thumb fully turned (the handle of a wooden spoon or a chunky knitting needle are great, cheap tools for this job).

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The loops and bound edge will be made from binding strips 2 inches wide. From a strip, cut two 3 inch lengths (for the loops) and keep two for around the bound edge. Fold the 3 inch lengths like bias tape and press.

Oven Glove 11

Sew along the open edge. Press in half lengthways.

Oven Glove 12

Using the longer strips of binding, pin right sides together around the raw edge of the oven glove. At the outer edge of the wrist, sandwich a loop between the binding and the glove. The binding can just be folded back at the short ends, there is no need to join it to make a circle.

Oven Glove 13

Sew around the edge then trim to even up the raw edges. Press the binding up and away from the main glove.

Oven Glove 14

Fold the binding once towards the raw edges, then fold again to the inside of the oven glove. Pin (or use pegs again!) and hand sew in place.

Oven Glove 16

Repeat for a second glove and get cooking!

Oven Glove 15



Striped Scoop

I’ll spare you a whole paragraph of waffle about stashed fabric, the length of my to sew queue and the Stash Diet… yadda yadda yadda.

Scoop Tee

Let’s talk about the pattern instead: The scoop top is generously available as a free download with instructions from lovely Kristin of Skirt as Top. I went for the speedy approach: no measurements, cut out the one size pattern and skipped the pocket. The only care I took over this make was to match the stripes at the side and shoulder seams – my photographer (not my usual one, so big thanks to my cameo photographer for this) insisted that I show this stripe matching off and came up with an appropriate pose.

Scoop Tee Stripe Matching

I didn’t have any stay tape, twill tape, white ribbon or clear elastic in my stash so I used Kristin’s suggestion of cutting narrow strips of white light weight fusible interfacing to stabilise the shoulder seams. It works… not that I ever doubted Kristin’s advice!

Did you notice my button hair grips? My tutorial for this was posted yesterday on Spread Your Wings and Craft.

Contribute SYWAC

Stash Delve: Needle book

Swamped by scrap fabric (also part of my Stash Diet 2014) and embarrassed that my last stash delve was so long ago, I stopped sitting on my hands and got on with it. Just a little make to ease me back into the routine – you see if I’m honest I don’t enjoy these little makes anywhere near as much as getting stuck into a real toile-fitting-altering-maybe another toile-fashion fabric-celebrate a new outfit type of a project.


Anyway time for a new needle book with careful consideration about the issues my old needle book had:

1. Not enough ‘pages’
2. Foolish interfacing of the pages
3. Poorly clipped and turned out corners
4. Weak attachment of the loop (it bust on the first use)


And some thought on what I liked about my old needle book:

1. The button – which was re-used for this make.


Not just another cowl

I justified yet another cowl make because this one is a möbius and that’s kinda cool. The pattern is the extremely popular on Ravelry and available for free. I used the recommended Malabrigo Rasta yarn in Azules but it was so difficult to choose even after eliminating all the colourways containing pink.

Bulky mobius cowlThis yarn bombed tree in Stratford-on-Avon provided the perfect opportunity for impromptu photography of my latest cowl (which was cast off some 5 weeks ago!).

To curb my cowl addiction and to challenge myself in knitting, I’m graduating from accessories to real clothing. It may be some time before my next knitting post – I only managed two rows last weekend!

Carefully Crafted Christmas Presents: Knitting

Along with sewing some Christmas gifts, I got the knitting needles clickety clacking too.

Bandana cowls

His and hers Bandana Cowls were the first things on and off my needles way back in October. The purple one (Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica) was requested specifically for motorbiking and the green/grey (Malabrigo worsted) one just felt like the right thing to do.

Knitting1The lumpy bumpy purple yarn was perfect for Urchin by Ysolda Teague a pattern I’ve been wanting to make for my sister-in-law as she really suits this style of hat. I still had more spare yarn so I made matching wrist warmers.

Straight cowl

And a 5 hour delay at Frankfurt airport led to a spontaneously knitted present using the remaining Malabrigo yarn. I modified the bandana cowl pattern to give two straight edges but kept the decreases so that the cowl would be snug.

Carefully Crafted Christmas Presents: Sewing

My blog went awfully quiet around October and November… I got a part time job as one of Santa’s Elfs in his sewing department! Now that the recipients of these Christmas presents have unwrapped them, I can share them with you.

I made a clutch bag out of a gorgeously sparkly Asian fabric panel using this tutorial.

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A bobble trim shawl.

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PJs for my man using the free Simplicity pattern.

Man's PJs

A tool roll for the other favourite man in my life.

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And my personal favourite…

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This cute penguin glasses case for a lady who is a sucker for anything penguin. The flex frame was so fun to put together. There’s a neat tutorial by Ady with top tips for sewing bulky stuff and using the flex frame.

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Welcome to the world…

My bestest buddy just popped out a baby! I’m hoping the bundle in the photo below is her second favourite delivery of 2013!

Baby bear hatBaby bear new born hat, Cath Kidson Duck Towel, Keyring Tabs