Monthly Archives: March 2016

Tulip Skirt

Tulip SkirtSo, this post has been a long time coming! I actually made this skirt way back in February but only got around to taking photos this weekend. So, given that you will have to excuse the odd crease as I have worn it a lot since then and on the first day I was well enough to not look a total mess and the light was good I didn’t want to waste any time cracking out the iron!

So, when I made this skirt, I had just signed up to the #VintagePledge, but I decided that I wouldn’t dive straight in to a vintage pattern. In fact, I went for the complete opposite extreme and picked a brand new one! When I saw the tulip skirt from Sew Over It had been released as a pdf pattern I knew I just had to have it. I love full-bodied skirts but I’m not sure that they really suit me all that well, I much prefer a pencil skirt. Well, the tulip skirt lies right between, the pleats add lots of fullness but the shape is maintained.

Stash Busting instead of buying new

P1010661eThis pattern calls for a fabric with a bit of body to it so that it holds the shape. Instead of rushing out to buy new fabric I decided to be good and take a look through my stash. In fact, I chose to use the same fabric as my previous make – this Megan dress. The fabric was so nice to sew and I was happy to be working with it again. I was also glad that it wouldn’t be going to waste! However, I had only just over a metre left and the pattern called for 1.8 m. I wasn’t put off though and decided to forge ahead anyway.

The pattern offers two different length options. Given my lack of fabric I opted for the shorter one but even so had to take another inch off to make it fit! I cut out the waistband facing and pocket pieces from a different fabric to reduce the amount of main fabric required.

Despite this project having lots of new-to-me elements it was actually really quick to sew. The first hurdle was the pleats in the front of the skirt. Even though I had never done pleats before these were super simple and the instructions made everything clear.


Also, pockets! Can you believe this is the first garment I have added pockets to? I think I will be adding them to everything I make in the future as they are so simple to make, yet add so much practicality . Again, the instructions were clear and I never felt like I was struggling with this new technique. The pockets are just about visible from the outside but as my lining fabric is such a nice match I don’t think it matters and the added practicality of pockets clearly outweighs any negatives they might bring!



One problem I did face with this make was the lack of an obvious right and wrong side on my fabric. This tripped me up a bit when it came to adding the pockets and sewing the side seams. I somehow managed to join the front piece with the wrong side facing out. As you can’t tell the difference on the fabric this is not a problem. It does however mean that my pleats are now going the wrong way. This does alter the look of the skirt a little but I still like it and can’t wait to make another with the pleats in the correct direction!

It seems that every time I insert an invisible zip it gets a little bit worse than the previous one. I still think my very first one on my first Delphine skirt was the best one I ever put in! This one is not terrible but you can see it in places. It doesn’t quite reach the top of the waistband but I think with this fabric it is not too noticeable. Also, I did not have a zip in navy or green to hand and so went ahead with a black one – it’s supposed to be invisible right so this shouldn’t matter!


Any ideas about the slight gaping in the fabric around my hips?


I am so pleased with my pattern matching at the side seams. It wasn’t something I was particularly working hard to achieve. I like to think it makes cutting the pattern pieces out much easier if you place the top of each piece on the same point in the pattern repeat. This means it is a nice happy coincidence that the horizontal stripes match up.


This was also the first garment I have made that has had any kind of hand stitching. The waistband facing is hand stitched. To be honest I was hoping to just turn under a little less than the seam allowance and use the same stitch-in-the-ditch technique as I used on my waterfall skirt. However, for some reason the waistband facing was shorter than the waistband in places so this was not going to work. I think this might be due to the different types of fabric I used cutting and stretching in different ways, but I’m not certain. I slip-stitched the facing to the skirt by-hand and I really like how it turned out. This makes me happy because I thought I would easily get annoyed with it. Patience is not always my strong point and with hand-stitching you need to take the time to keep it neat.


Not sure how my hair has magically change from brown to red in this photo!?

Finally, I only turned the hem up by 1/4 of an inch, pressed and then another 1/4 inch before pressing again and sewing in place. This doesn’t look quite as neat as a wider hem but given the lack of fabric and shorter length cut it was about all I could do to keep it decent!

The details:

Pattern: Tulip Skirt from Sew Over It

Fabric: Tartan and lining from Fashion n Fabrics, St. Albans

Notions: Invisible zip, Gutermann thread in navy

Alterations: Size 12 short length, Shortened by 1 inch

I love this skirt and think I will get a lot of wear out of it. It kind of reminds me of a school skirt with its pleats but definitely in a good way! I can’t wait to make another and can see it quickly becoming one of my favourite patterns. It seems pretty versatile and the different length options open up so many possibilities.


Can’t post about a skirt without an obligatory twirl photo


and this is what happens when I get dizzy from too much twirling!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Facebook.

Birthday Goodies

Not only was this weekend a long one with two bank holidays at either end it was also my birthday! This meant I didn’t have to feel quite so guilty about spending the whole time crafting!

The first three days of the four day weekend I was bundled up with a cold – the perfect excuse to not go anywhere and just lay around all day doing bits and pieces of knitting and crochet when I had the energy.

Luckily for me though, yesterday I felt much better which meant I was able to fully enjoy my birthday!

I got some lovely crafty gifts too which I wanted to share with you today.

Firstly this amazing book which I had asked for but wasn’t sure if my hinting had been noticed! After a quick flick through yesterday I can tell that it is one I will read from cover to cover a few times as well as dipping in and out of it as and when as a reference book. the writing style is amazing and I feel like the author is right there with me as I read it telling me little funny stories about knitting. So much better than I could have ever hoped for – and I cant wait to get stuck in!

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I also got myself a little present – a set of pompom makers. I really love a bobble hat but when it comes down to it making pompoms can be a bit of a chore and reminds me a little too much of summer play schemes! These things are amazing though I had a little try yesterday and was amazed with the speed at which I could whip up a pom pom and not just a little weedy one either! I should buy myself presents more often!

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We also went into town yesterday and as it was my birthday I couldn’t bypass tiger without buying just one ball of yarn. As I have been really good lately and not added any more to my stash I allowed myself the luxury but decided it could only be ONE ball. But which colour to choose? and then I saw this one and realised I didn’t have to choose just one colour when I could have them all in this one glorious ball!

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Avena Cowl


You may remember some time ago I shared with you the cowl I made my mum for her birthday. Well, I have eventually written up the pattern I created and it is available for you to download and make for yourself for free from Ravelry!

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How to name a pattern

Strangely enough the trickiest part of making this patternwas not writing the pattern itself – in fact its a pretty simple knit – but instead was coming up with a name. I always find it quite strange how so many patterns are named with girls names (I think this is more common for sewing patterns but it’s certainly still there for knitting and crochet). I obviously decided I wanted to be different and so rather than pick a girls name for my pattern I toyed with a few different ideas. Firstly I thought about place names and was all set to name this the Silverdale cowl after a little village near where my parents live but then after some searching on Ravelry I found that this two was pretty common. Instead I decided to combine two of my passions and go with plant names! and not just any pants either – I wanted to at least start with agricultural weeds – which is the thing I work on.

So here you have the Avena cowl. Avena is the generic name for oats. In particular this cowl is in tribute to wild oats and their beautiful long awned seeds. the stripes in the cowl just brought them to mind. So there you have it a beautiful cowl named after an agricultural weed – who would have thought it!2015-11-19 21.08.54

The details

Any way, enough about names. I’m sure you want to hear about the cowl itself. Avena is  an elegant cowl, with a full twist and alternating stripes of colour.

This cowl is perfect for the spring or Autumn and can be worked in any colour combinations whether two shades of the same colour for elegant style or contrasting colours for a fun addition to any outfit!

The cowl is worked in the round with a full twist to create a Möbius strip. This gives a great effect showing off both sides of the knitting.

Gauge is not particularly important and the number of stitches cast on can be easily adjusted to accommodate different sizes.2015-11-19 21.04.43

So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this pattern – any comments you have would be great or better still if you make one yourself I would love to see the pictures!!

Head on over to Ravelry to check out the pattern or go to my pattern page to find more of my patterns.

knitted easter display on hshandcrafts

Crackin’ Crafters


Insect EggsAfter my research the other week into knitted egg cosies I was fully prepared to get going on our work Easter project to decorate some eggs along the theme of the type of work we do.

For those that don’t know I am an agriculture PhD student in an agroecology department of a research institute. This means that the type of work we do, the theme around which the eggs should be decorated, is anything to do with agroecology. Essentially this is everything that is found in a wheat field, except the wheat. Not a simple task.


Together with some of my colleagues (also very crafty people!) we set to work to create a display on the theme of farmland biodiversity so we had a knitted soil together with colourful bacteria and fungi sewn on, crochet wheat and weeds and then for the main event we knitted egg cosy insects and sewed them on to the eggs so they could be suspended from above to create a 3D scene! I knitted an egg cosy to look like a greenfly or aphid. We also had a ladybird, a bee and a moth.AgEgg

We also had to come up with a team name and as egg-related puns seemed to be the theme of the day we decided to go with “Crackin’ Crafters” and created an embroidery stitch sampler to showcase our team name!

crackin crafters

We were all so proud of our display, despite its Blue Peter like appearance – and given the difficulty of the theme I thought we did really well. There were loads of amazing entries, no other knitted ones though!! It was a really fun day and a great way to make us all think differently about our work and get a it crafty!to create an egg themed display around the type of work we do.

If you want to find out more about what its like to work as a PhD student in my department you should definitely check out my friends blog about the trials and tribulations of an agriculture PhD (she’s the one who made that amazing ladybird!!)

Starting again


After another busy week I promise I have lots of lovely things to show you but just no pictures as yet…stay tuned.

Instead I thought I would share some thoughts I’ve been having about starting projects again and whether it’s a good thing to do.

Sometimes I start a project but find its just not right for me. Obviously I love the pattern and yarn/fabric otherwise I would not have chosen to make it but sometimes I just can’t get into it.

My lacy cowl was one of these projects. I started it almost a year ago but just couldn’t cope with the lace work – I really had jumped in at the deep end.

The project sat in my basket for months and months and months and I just couldn’t bring myself to work on it because I just had a mental block about how hard it was going to be.

Starting again can sometimes seem daunting

Not only did I not want to work on it, I didn’t want to stop working on it either. Now this had me in a bit of a dilemma. I really loved the pattern and yarn so couldn’t bring myself to admit defeat but equally I don’t want to waste my precious crafting time working on a project I wasn’t enjoying.

After a lot of deliberation I ripped it out, wound the yarn up and started again. Once I had got over that initial step I felt much better about it and actually wanted to start again!

Following the success of my shawl just before Christmas I decided that perhaps I could knit lace after all and maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad this time so I cast on again and got to work.

6 rows of ribbing boredom later (320 stitches per row!!) and I was so keen to start on something more exciting and in fact the lace work was much easier this time!

I am taking this one slow and have used so many stitch markers but I am determined to make it work even if it takes me a while!

lacework take 2

Do you like to complete projects once you’ve started them or are you happy to abandon a project that’s not working for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I promise there is more coming soon!!

Pattern Search: Egg Cosies

Pattern Search is my new feature to highlight a future project I hope to be working on or a type of project I would like to start thinking about. I will browse through some potential options for patterns and where I have found them from.Hopefully, it will not only give me a chance to review my options for the project but also fill you with inspiration to work on something similar.

Egg Cosies


With Easter fast approaching it is time to start thinking about all things Easter related. This year at work we have each bee asked to decorate an egg along the theme of some of the work we do. This got me to thinking about how I could decorate an egg with knitting so I started searching Ravelry for eggs. I stumbled across a phenomenon I had never encountered before and discovered that egg cosies are in fact a thing! That’s right, you can knit a tiny hat (much like the innocent smoothie one) to keep your boiled egg warm!

There are plenty of Easter themed egg cosy patterns to choose from. Here are just some of my favourites

First up is this amazing bunny rabbit egg cosy complete with jumper in a colour of your choosing. The pattern, by Julie Williams,  is available for just £2.50 and would be the perfect treat for your boiled eggs on Easter morning!





If rabbits are not your thing, this crochet shark egg cosy is sure to impress! The pattern is also available on Ravelry and would definitely be a great talking point!



If you were beginning to think that egg cosies were just a great gimmick for Easter time, think again…you can even knit yourself a Santa hat egg cosy with this free pattern!






It seems like there is a world of amazing knitting and crochet patterns for egg cosies out there that I am only just discovering but I’m not sure it is a bandwagon I will be racing to jump on anytime soon. However, I do still need to decorate an egg for my work…not sure I’ll find any egg shaped patterns that look like grasses though…back to the drawing board I think!

Have you ever made an egg cosy? Which pattern did you use? or if you used one of the patterns above I’d love to hear your thoughts on it…just let me know if the comments below!

Minerva Crafts Affiliate

Hi everyone,

Just a quick update to let you know that I have recently become an affiliate of Minerva Crafts. This means that you might see some of my posts linking to their website. They are a UK based company and delivery in the UK is free if you spend just £20 which is pretty great. They stock all kinds of fabric, haberdashery supplies and yarn.

Now I really want to be clear on this, it doesn’t mean I will start bombarding you with advertising. It just means that if I like a product I am using and want to tell you about it I will include a link to where you can buy it – and if you click through that link to buy it yourself I will get a small percentage of the profit. So, it’s a win-win situation as you get to find out about a great product and I get a little bit of money to invest in more craft supplies to hopefully make this blog even better.

I promise I will always make it fully clear when I am posting affiliate links and so you will always have the option of navigating to them by a different means but if you do fancy investing in some of the goodies I tell you about it would be really nice of you to click through from this site.

Also, just to make things really clear I have added an “Affiliates” section to my sidebar –> so you will be able to click through to browse their goodies for yourself.


Pinterest screengrab

Pinterest Inspiration: St. Patrick’s day

Happy St David’s day for yesterday!

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up on the 17th of March so now is the perfect time to get making some Ireland inspired goodies! Whether its knitting or crochet I have scoured Pinterest and found some fun makes for you to try,

St. Patricks Day – 17th March 2016


If it’s a quick make you are after this garland of shamrocks could be just the thing for you. The perfect way to show your love of everything Irish!

You can find the free tutorial over on Everything Etsy.




For a more advanced crochet make these little leprechauns are just adorable! They would make the perfect mantelpiece decoration or present.



If crochet is not really your thing – don’t worry! You can still make yourself a leprechaun if you really must. This knitted leprechaun is also available over on Alan Dart .






If decorations are not really your thing but you still want to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, why not go for a more subtle option and check out these shamrock inspired mittens by Spilly Jane. The pattern is available on Ravelry.


Do you love to get lost in the beautiful world of Pinterest? Leave your user name in the commetns below and I’ll be sure to check out your profile! If you want to see the rest of my pins you can find me here.