Monthly Archives: May 2015

Pinterest Roundup May 2015

I love Pinterest! and I really enjoyed creating my last roundup of my favourite pins so I decided to do another.

Since last time I have vreated a few new boards as so many of the lovely things I found could not be contained in the boards I had created so far!

Firstly I made an embroidery inspiration board.

I think my favourite pin so far on this board has to be this little fella!

beetle embroidery

I also created a jewellery making inspiration board

I love the idea of combining crochet onto ready made jewellery just like this ring here

crochet ring


I also made my colour inspiration board which I blogged about here.

Just look at these gorgeous beach tones!

decking colour inspiration


The final two boards I created recently were to help me with my KCBW posts and are on craft photography and sustainable crafting

Other than these new boards, I have been busy pinning away onto my other inspiration boards. Here are some of my favourites

I also added analytics to my Pinterest account so I can see what all you lovely people are clicking on.

Turns out this was my most clicked and repinned pin of the month! Maybe I will have to make one to celebrate.

button bracelet


If you want to follow me on Pinterest you can find me here.

I would love to see what you guys are pinning or where you find your inspiration so let me know your usernames and top tips in the comments!


The results are in…

As part of KCBW6 I set up a poll to find out what type of blog post you like to read and would like to see more of on HsHandcrafts.

Now the poll has been up for over a week I thought it was time to take a look at the results

poll results

Its kind of unsurprising really that most of you love seeing a completed object (so do I!) So I will do my best to get these to you as quickly as I can make them.

What I am really pleased to see though is how much you guys like to see my WIPs. You may have noticed I have been trying to update you guys a bit more on this recently through the introduction of my Weekend WIPs feature. I am going to try and update you regularly on what I have been working on over the weekend. Now I cant promise that I will be able to do this every weekend as you know there are some weekends where there just isn’t time for crafting!

The thing I am most pleased with about these poll results though is that some of you like each type of blog post I include and that’s great! Whilst not every type of post is for everybody hopefully I post something for everyone and you can all enjoy reading them!


spotty trousers pins

Spring Bank Holiday Weekend WIPs

Another long weekend is over! I hope everyone made the most of it!

I don’t have a lot to show you for this weekends progress as my dropbox became full without me realising so none of my photos have uploaded but I can tell you about what I got up to and hopefully manage to retrieve a few photos along the way!

Firstly I have been making some slow progress on my knitted shawl, sadly no pictures here. However I have now completed 3 full reps of the pattern. Only 3 more to go and then onto the lace work border! This may sound like great progress but actually I am not even nearly half way as each rep is around 20 rows (I cant remember exactly) and the number of stitches increases by 2 every row so its getting slower and slower! Oh well some progress is better than none!

I also did a fair chunk of sewing as I decided to use my extra day off to have some fun so I played my keyboard and guitar for a bit and then started on some capri trousers. These are from the latest GBSB book “Fashion with Fabric”. I bought this book as soon as it came out but this is the first thing I have tried making from it. It actually seems really straight forward and easy to follow so they are coming together really quickly!

spotty trousers pins

I also spent a chunk of time sorting through my fabric and separating the good size scraps from the useless bits. I also decided to start sewing together all of my offcuts from seam allowances and rolling them up into a great big ball of yarn. I’ve not quite decided what I am going to do with it yet but I just couldn’t let it go to waste! Maybe I will crochet a rag rug.

Waterfall Clemence

Waterfall Skirt

After all that blogging about knitting and crochet last week I was really excited to get on with some sewing last weekend so I made a good start on the next item on my ‘to-sew’ list. It was the Clemence skirt from the Tilly and the Buttons’ book. I have seen a few of these popping up all over blog loand for a while now and each one is so different so I couldnt wait to put my own spin on it!

Waterfall skirt using Clemence pattern

One really great thing that I loved about making this skirt is you actually get to make your own pattern! This sounds really daunting at first but it turns out all you need is a few rectangles! You only even really need your waist measurement but your hip measurement can help get the fullness of the skirt more to your liking. It is a simple waistband cut twice and then a front piece cut on the fold and two back pieces. The length of the rectangles is simply your desired skirt length and the width is determined by some mathmatical trickery concerning your waist measurment. Although I did decided to make the width of my skirt panels a bit narrower to give a less full skirt.

Clemence pattern

I chose to make a midi skirt that would sit just a bit below the knee. However, it is now much longer than this on me as it sits quite a bit lower on my waist than I had hoped. I think I might have stretched the fabric slightly as I sewed the waistband. I thought about shortening it before hemming but I decided I actually really like this length so decided to stick with it!

The details:

Pattern: Clemence skirt from Tilly and the Buttons book: Love at first stitch

Fabric: Waterfall print quiliting cotton (unknown make) bought from Fashion Fabrics in st. Albans

Notions: YKK invisible zip in cream, Guterman thread in grey, lightweight interfacing.

Alterations: Midi length, reduced fullness from recomendation by taking 3.5 inches off the width of each pattern piece

I really love this skirt, infact I dont think theres much that I am disappointed with. The waist does not sit exactly where I planned but I am still happy with it. I was so happy that the sunny weather cam back yesterday so I got a chance to wear it straight away. In fact 4 separate people complemented me on it (yes 4!…cue smug face) and I even got asked where I had bought it from!

I think this is one I will definitely be making again!


Waterfall Clemence

Weekend WIPs – Some sewing to round up a week of knitting and crochet!

After a great week of blogging about knitting and crochet last week for KCBW6 I thought I should get back to some actual crafting at the weekend rather than just writing about it! As I had been so focused on knitting and crochet in the week I thought it would be a great chance to get some sewing done.

Unfortunately I had to be at work on Sunday (and what a busy day it was!) so I didn’t manage to get much done but I can show you the gorgeous fabric I was using and some hints as to what the finished garment will look like!

Hopefully I will have more to show you soon!


KCBW6 Day 7: Your Time, Your Place

So, that’s it we’ve reached the final day of KCBW6! I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve found loads of exciting blogs to read, gained insights into lots of other knitting and crochet blogs and even learnt a little about myself.

On day 1 I described myself as a yarn. On day 2  I told you some of the things I love. Day 3 was a day of experimenting with photography. Day 4 was a chance for me to show you my needle roll and day 5 was a chance for me to share with you my passion for sustainability! Yesterday, day 6, your chance to have your say on what type of posts you enjoy reading the most. So, here we are, day 7. Today I am going to tell you about my time and place for crafting.

Where and how do you take time out to knit and/or crochet? Maybe you don’t take time out at all and instead have your needles twirling as you try to juggle a multitude of other tasks with no ‘spare’ time to think of. Maybe you enjoy nothing more than to crochet whilst  winding down from a yoga session, chatting with some friends in a nearby cafe.
Whether social or solitary, tell readers about your crafting time and space, and where you either most enjoy (or can simply find a few snatched moments) to turn yarn into something even more beautiful.

The place I craft most often is sat at home on my sofa, snuggled up with a blanket (unfortunately this is not one of my creations but I hope it will one day be replaced with my sunburst blanket WIP).

I also do a lot of my sewing at the dining table as it is the only large space to get out my sewing machine. I hope one day to have a netter space so that I don’t have to always pack everything away!

However, my favourite place to craft has to be at my works craft club! We meet once a week at a lunchtime where we can catch up on our weeks props, eat lunch, gossip and occasionally get some crafting done! They are a great bunch of people and are always willing to help out if you are stuck with a new technique or offer advice on the best way to fix a mistake. I don’t think I would have ever managed to learn to crochet or knit without them!

KCBW6 Day 6: Polls Apart

Only 2 days left of KCBW6. I hope everyone is still having loads of fun!

Today is the day when you get to have your say rather than just listen to me rambling on and on!

I want to know what makes you want to read this blog? What do you want to see more of? As well as the poll itself which we will get to in just a minute I would love to hear your comments on the style of my posts, their length and what you think of the content. If there is anything you would like to see more of (or less of) jsut let me know. Today is your turn to speak!

So here’s my poll…I want to know what your favourite type of blog post to read is. You can tick more than one box if you just cant decide! Below the poll I have given some examples of my previous posts that fall into each category if you want to check them out!

I look forward to hearing what you think and hopefully, from now on,  I will be able to write more of the sort of posts you want to read

Seeing a work in progress

By this type of post I mean a post that describes a project I am working on right now but its not finished. The post could be just an update on how the project is going or a discussion about why it isn’t finished.

Examples of this type of post are:

Seeing a completed project

These types of post are basically a chance for you to see a porject I have finished. There will often be a roundup of the pattern and what I thought of it, including how easy it was to follow. I might also discuss the yarn I used and how well it worked with that project and any general comments about the construction or finished feel of the project.

Examples of this type of post are:

A tutorial on how to make something yourself

This could be an explanation of how to do a simple craft project or even how to do a complicated stitch pattern. I like to include these posts as I learn something new, especially if I have struggled to find a useful tutorial myself.

Examples of this type of post are:

Insights into how I choose my projects

By this I mean the sort of post detailing how my creative process works from the choice of yarn, colour or pattern.

Examples of this type of post are:

Random musings

This sort of post can be quite varied and covers everything from random crafting related thoughts that pop into my head to questions for you about how to fix a problem I’ve been having.

Examples of this type of post are:

KCBW6 Day 5: Something A Bit Different

It’s day 5 of knitting and crochet blog week!

Today we have been tasked to do something a bit different. This involves blogging in a different style to normal. Now, I usually blog about my makes and how they are progressing. sometimes I even have a finished project to share with you. So today I thought I would concentrate on the yarn itself rather than the project and in the spirit of trying something different I have created an infographic!

I love infographics they are usually really simple visual ways of getting lots of information. In my real life as a PhD student I need to take on a lot of new information and so these are a really great way of condensing all of that information into bite-size chunks.

As my work is agriculture and environment focused I thought to myself what better way to combine these interests with yarn and crafting but to tell you about wool production and its merits in terms of sustainability.

So here it is, my infographic on sustainable wool! I’d love to know what you think!

sustainable wool infographic

Needle Roll on HsHandcrafts

KCBW6 Day 4: Bags Of Fun

It’s day 4 of KCBW6 and we’re over half way! Well done to those who have made it this far and welcome to those who are just joining in. We’ve been having loads of fun already so be sure to check out the posts from the previous days and check out all of the other lovely blogs that are taking part over on the facebook event.

Today’s topic is about our craft bags!

Time to delve into that most treasured collection of tools, notions and oddments as you are asked to spill the contents of your knitting or crochet bag, caddy or other method of organisation and put your crafting unmentionables on display.

Bags of Fun - Needle Roll

My Needle Roll

Now as I am fairly new to all of this I don’t think I have too many “unmentionables” yet although my collection of craft supplies is growing rapidly! Instead I thought I would kill two birds with one stone by showing you my needle roll which is not only where I keep all my knitting and crochet supplies but its also something I crafted myself!

In fact it was my first project on my new sewing machine back in January. I went to my local fabric shop and scoured the scraps bin. They usually charge only a pound a metre for anything you find in there but as I was buying lots of other sewing supplies at the same time they threw in these lovely silver and purple fabrics for free!

There are lots of tutorials online for needle rolls so I read through a few of those and decided to just dive straight in. I cut the silver piece for the back and sewed and then alternated the purple and silver pieces for the pockets sewing in slots of different widths to hold all my supplies.

One important piece of information I had gleaned from my pre-reading was that I should sew a flap at the top to stop my needles falling out! A piece of advice that I’m really glad I took!

I’ve found my needle roll really useful and it has space for all my long needles as well as some larger pockets at the front to store my circular needles. I can also store all my crochet hooks as well as a couple of pencils some small scissors and a tape measure!

It is also the perfect size to fit in my screen printed tote bag which i use to carry my current project with me.


KCBW6 Day 3: Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers

For day 3 of knitting and crochet blogging week we are looking at photography. I have recently been trying to make my photos more appealing and have been thinking more about lighting and positioning but his was a chance for me to try some new ideas.

I scoured pinterest to get some inspiration on how to take better craft photos. I even created a new board!

As I don’t have any newly completed knitting or crochet projects (everything is currently firmly parked in UFO status) I decided to dig out something old to photograph. This little teapot was something I decided to crochet one day just for the fun of it. I haven’t used it for anything yet and I’m not really sure what I could use it for, perhaps a keyring or a necklace. Anyway the pattern is from here in case anybody wants to make one and it seemed the perfect thing to try some new craft photography techniques out on!

Crochet teapot Plain photograph - no editing

Plain photograph – no editing

The first technique I really like the idea of is playing with the background. For this I used a piece of white fabric to nestle the teapot in. I have then edited the photo using picmonkey to change the brightness and contrast to make the object stand out more from the background.

Crochet teapot - with background altered brightness and contrast

White background with altered brightness and contrast

There’s always the classic black and white

Crochet teapot - Not quite black and white - Ive left a hint of the blue in there

Not quite black and white – Ive left a hint of the blue in there

Another idea I idea I tried was to use framing and text to enhance the image. I used the same photograph as above but this time I split the image into 9 frames and then removed the image from the top corner to give space for some text.

Crochet teapot - Framed image with added text

Framed image with added text

and finally no round up of photography techniques would be complete without some bokeh!

Crochet teapot - bokeh!


I found loads of other techniques I would like to try but I just havent had time yet. I’m not sure if I will use any of these again but it was fun to see how easily you can change the feel of your photograph just by playing around with how you take and edit the photograph.