Monthly Archives: June 2015

Weekend WIPs: A whole week without craft!

So it’s Monday once again and instead of being able to tell you about all the lovely things I have been making this weekend I have to confess that I have actually gone a whole week without crafting!

Last week I had to travel with work and was away at a conference for the whole week. I had very little time to myself and so not only did I not get any time for craft but I am also completely exhausted so will probably achieve very little this week for fear of making too many silly mistakes!

Hopefully, I can catch up on all your lovely makes over the next day or too to try and fill the void!


Pinterest screengrab

Pinterest Roundup: June 2015

This month has just flown by – I’ve been really busy with work but still managed to find some time to spend on Pinterest! This month I’ve pinned some gorgeous things to my inspiration boards. You should go and check them all out but here is a quick round up of some of my favourites:

Firstly this delicious looking colour combination perfect for the summer!

added to colour combinations on HsHandcrafts Pinterest

A new colour combination to try

I’ve also discovered this Japanese embroidery style – Sashiko. I think its really beautiful and can make some plain fabric stand out with its gorgeous geometrical patterns.

Sashiko embroidery

Sashiko embroidery

I’ve also got a couple of crochet finds to share. Firstly this amazing blanket. I love how the stripes of neon add so much fun to the main grey colour!

neon stripe blanket

neon stripe blanket

and finally in honour of Mr. Dinosaur who I introduced to you last week here’s a fun project to crochet him some friends!!

Crochet dinosaurs

Crochet dinosaurs

button bracelet

Also, once again this easy bracelet DIY was my most repinned pin! Maybe I should give it a try!


mousemat made from postcards by hshandcrafts

Craft at the office

Craft doesn’t have to be restricted to at home. Sometimes it can be fun to bring a bit of craft into your workspace…just to brighten up the day!

I love to keep my workspace colourful. I do this by keeping postcards on the wall, having bright storage solutions and using coloured pens as often as possible.

I wanted to come up with some other ways to brighten up my work space so I thought I would try to make some!

I have always had issues with how to store some of the smaller items I need out on my desk such as paperclips and post-its. Then I spotted this tutorial to make origami baskets. I chose to make mine from some bright yellow lined paper I had lying around (didn’t I tell you I like my stationery to be colourful?!) They are great and can sit out of the way on my monitor stands!

origami baskets for paperclips and post its

origami baskets for paperclips and post its

I also decided to get rid of my boring old mousemat and create a new one using some postcards from the Natural History museum. They are basically stuck together using sellotape on the back and then bluetacked to the desk so they wont move around!

mousemat made from postcards

mousemat made from postcards

Ive found some other great ideas which I might also try when I get some time, such as these bookends which would be a great use of the remnants from some of my sewing projects

Fabric bookends – tutorial from design sponge

There’s also lots of ideas using washi tape such as this one to spruce up your keyboard


Weekend WIPs – the end of the ball

Earlier this week I had a very stressful time whilst knitting. Now, knitting is something that I usually find quite relaxing – but not this time. I was nearing the end of my ball of yarn and I wanted to squeeze as much out of it as possible. I was getting towards the end of my row, which is now getting quite long, and the tail of yarn was getting ever shorter. I really wanted to reach the end of the row as knitting is still fairly new to me and I am a little uncomfortable leaving a row half finished, which is something I would have to do given I didn’t have the next ball with me. Also, as I am still quite new to knitting this would be the first project where I neede to change ball part-way through! So I really wanted some help from my other friends who knit.

I asked around at my craft club for everyone’s best suggestions as to how they join a new ball and most seemed to follow the same theme. Either pick up the new yarn and begin to knit with both it and the previous one for a few stitches or to knit with it and its tail for a few stitches. This is so that it gets properly locked into the work and shouldn’t unravel. I decided to go with knitting with both new and old yarn together for a few stitches although I can see how the other method might work better if you were changing colour.

You do get a small section of you knitting that is a little thicker than the rest due to using two strands at once. However, you can hardly notice it on mine as it falls within the ribbing and so just creates one slightly heavier rib. I forgot to take pictures but trust me you can hardly tell! Later in this project I need to change colour so I might try the other method then and see how it goes so that I can compare which I like best,


The Rise and Rise of Crochet

Whilst having a mess around on Google I came across a tool called Google Trends.

This allows you to look at the number of Google searches for particular keywords across the last 10 years.

Obviously I decided to search for crafty words and typed in “knitting” and “crochet”. There was the predictable yearly increase in searches over winter and a decrease in the summer for each term. However, what surprised me is the gradual change over time. 10 years ago “knitting” was more commonly searched for than “crochet” but now this seems to be reversed.

Google trends for knitting and crochet

Not only has the number of searches for “knitting” decreased gradually over time, but the searches for “crochet” have seen a sharp increase in the last 5 years.

I wanted to check this wasn’t just a weird artefact of this particular comparison. So, I also searched for “knitting needles” and “crochet hook”. This is assuming that if more people were becoming interested in crochet they would also be searching for supplies. The same trend rears its head again! Whilst knitting needles were much more popular than crochet hooks 10 years ago they are now on pretty much an even footing!

Google trends for knitting needles and crochet hook

Can anyone explain this sudden surge in the number of people googling crochet? Maybe soon everyone will be doing it!


Making Mr Dinosaur

Meet Mr. Dinosaur

I’m always being so serious. Mostly at work, but also with my crafting. Pretty much everything I make has to have a purpose or add to my wardrobe or be the perfect gift. I cant remeber the last time I made something just because. Well, until now!

Meet Mr. Dinosaur

I was browsing through simply sewing magazine because I have already received issue three and other than my embroidery I have not yet managed to make anything from any of the issues. I saw this pattern for making a toy dinosaur from felt and thought I would give it ago. I didnt have any felt in but something jumped into my mind. I had a couple of jumpers that had gone all out of shape that I never wear any more and they were the perfect colours for a really fun dinosaur! So I thought I would go for it!

Making Mr Dinosaur

The magazine came with patterns for both a large and small dinosaur. I opted for the small one and got cutting. As this was a “just-for-fun” project I didnt even bother tracing the pattern. Throwing caution to the wind I just drew the approximate shape onto the jumper using chalk and went for it. This was a huge step out of my comfort zone which involves meticulous tracing, lining up of fabric pieces, pinning and cutting cardfully with a rotary cutter. But it worked (and I’ll share a little secret with you it was kind of fun!)

Anyway, I havent really sewn much with knits before so I didnt really know how to properly set up my machine but I just went for it. at first the fabric was getting a bit chewed up but I adjusted the tension and then there didnt seem to be much problem. It was just a simple case of sewing the spots on and then sewing the 2 main body pieces together with the spikes inbetween.

He’s a bit scruffy round the edges, especially his feet but I think he turned out quite well for a quick project just for fun! and he can now stand guard over my sewing machine when I leave it out on the dining table when I’m not supposed too!

Mr. Dinosaur on guard at my sewing machine

Mr. Dinosaur on guard at my sewing machine


Weekend WIPs: Unexpected crafting!

So my weekend plans were cancelled due to the bad weather. Normally this would be a pain but not this weekend. My fabric order had arrived last week and so I couldn’t wait to get started!

I dont want to spoil the surprise as it is for my first monthly stitch post but I can show you a sneak peak of some of my pattern tracing!

and pinning my toile (hint: there’s going to be gathers!!)

fashion with fabrics blouse toile


Sorry for being so cryptic but I’m really excited about this make as there’s so many new-to-me things to do!


Make a card for your Dad

Its just over a week til Father’s day and so all of the shops are filled with cards and gifts for Dad.

I always like to make a card so I thought I would share with you some card making ideas that can be great fun to make!

spotty overlay Spots!

Make a template of whatever shape you like and then stamps paint dots around it  making sure to overlap with the edge of the template as you go.

Another way to make this craft work if you don’t want the mess of paints is to scribble all round the edge of the template with coloured pens!










Make your own stamps and layer them up on different coloured paper.

You could even add Washi tape to give it that proper scrapbook feel!






string art String Art!

You can easily make this work for a card by punching holes into paper using a pin or a needle and then using embroidery floss to make your design. Then stick another piece of card onto the back to hide all the messy knots and loose ends.





leaf cut outsLeaf Cut outs!

This might be a better craft for the Autumn when the leaves are dried out and all beautiful colours but you could always use the same idea with different pieces of coloured card or paper.

















Now I have so many ideas I just need to decide on one and get making!


spotty trousers pins

Trouser Fitting Issues

So after making my Capri trousers I was a little annoyed about the lack of fit so I decided to investigate some potential fixes. I’m not sure if these trousers will be rescue-able but at least I will know for the next time I make the pattern.

To recap: I used my waist and hip measurements to choose the pattern size – I actually went for a size 12 on the waist and a 10 on the hip. The book itself actually included some information on fitting and explained how to measure crotch length and make adjustments for this but this all seemed fine for me. So, I naively thought that it would be a simple case of tapering from a 12 on the waist to a 10 on the hips, cut out the fabric and go! How wrong I was!!

trouser fitting issues

Once I tried on the trousers there were a number of fit issues I had not anticipated so I scoured the internet and found some potential solutions. One really good resource I found was on Coletterie but it seems like there is no end to the adjustments that can be made to trousers and in fact whole books have been written on the subject. I have outlined my main problems below but there are hundreds more!

Wrinkles around crotch

Wrinkles around crotch

Firstly the material is tight across my thighs and there are tight horizontal lines coming from the crotch

It seems that both of these issues are similar and I probably need to let out either the side seams or add some width to the inner thigh. This can be done by adding width close to the crotch and tapering down toward the knee.

So many problems here! Waist band not aligned properly at the zip, gaping back, wrinkles across the front

So many problems here!
Waist band not aligned properly at the zip, gaping back, wrinkles across the front

The second problem and probably the most obvious is the gaping waist at the back.

It seems that this could be because the waist is two big but the fact it only gapes at the centre back indicates I might need a sway back adjustment, this accounts for your back curving inwards. A quick Google seems to bring up lots of tutorials for this and on quick inspection it seems to be a similar type of this to a full bust adjustment where you slash and spread the pattern.

Another problem apparent from this photo is the excessive fabric around the lower belly
It turns out this could mean I need a flat tummy adjustment (That certainly made me feel pretty good about myself!)

fabric pulling on inside leg

fabric pulling on inside leg

Finally, there seems to be excess fabric down the inside of my legs meaning the trousers don’t hang well

I’m not sure if this could be due to all the other fitting problems and might be rectified when they are fixed or if there is indeed excess fabric here. If this is the case then I think I need to remove excess fabric from the centre of each leg at the front and back.

So, there’s quite a lot of issues to fix. I think I might need to make a toile and fix one at a time starting with the most obvious until I get a really good fit. I think there will be a lot of googling, head scratching and pinning in my future but hopefully once I have a pattern that fits well I will be able to make it time and time again! and if all else fails at least I have learnt that skirts are so much easier to fit!

shawl knitting WIP

Weekend WIPs – Some unknitting

Last week I knit whilst I was tired.

Big mistake.

When I picked my knitting up on Friday evening I noticed the most recent row on my shawl was all out of sync with the rest of the pattern.

Mistake in shawl

Beginning of hole on current row is shifted to the right

I decided it was time to learn to unknit. This was something I had tried before and failed miserably as I was dropping stitches all over the place! This time I started slowly and had my smallest crochet hook on hand to pick up dropped stitches along the way. I actually had to unknit 2 rows to get back to the root of the problem but it actually went rather well I only dropped a couple of stitches and managed to rescue them with a crochet hook (I think!)

I then knitted another 4 rows so net gain this weekend was 2 rows of knitting!! Hopefully things will start speeding up soon.

shawl knitting WIP

shawl knitting WIP detail