Christmas Gift Sewing

Whenever possible I like to make gifts for my friends which have a theme that is special for them. You can guess the theme for the following two projects which I completed today. Firstly a Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cover for which I used a pre-quilted White Polyester Cotton fabric  with an appliqued silhouette of a Cocker Spaniel.  I have used this design before (for floor mats and cushion covers) but on a much larger scale. This time I reduced the design to fit onto the side of the cover.  It was so quick and easy to sew with a fine zig-zag stitch that I am sure I will be repeating this design on other projects. The reverse of the cover  has an envelope closure but the cover is also open  at the top to facilitate filling and emptying. The only time one has to remove the cover is for laundry. I have found this to be the most convenient and comfortable design style of cover with no buttons, zips, ties or ribbons.

hot water bottle cover

The second project was a Kindle case. As I have one of these great gadgets I used my own to draft a pattern. The fabric was cut 6.5″ x 20″ long and then quilted with a 1″ trellis design. A simple lining, some topstitching, button and buttonhole and the entire project was completed within an hour.  Now I need to make another for my own Kindle which is looking sad and forlorn wit NO cover of its own!

kindle case

Winter Weather

Brrr! It is cold outside but I have ventured out,  all be it very briefly. The weather over the last few days has been cold and frosty which reminded me of afew years ago when we had a terrific Hoar Frost. I spent a most enjoyable hour walking around our village and taking photographs. Here is one of the local Pilhill Brook which is just a couple of hundred yards from my home here in the lovely Hampshire countryside.

pilhill brook 2009 + border

Latest Reindeer – Leaping

Following on from a previous post – here is the latest Reindeer silhouette applique. So far I have only applied the polyester cotton print applique to some natural-coloured 100% linen. The next step is to run a fine zig-zag stitch all around the applique before adding some narrow piping and making up the cushion cover using my favourite method of a contrast button band and reindeer button closure on the reverse.  The cover should finish as a 15″ square for a 16″ cushion pad. I like all my cushions to be plump and well-filled!

leeping reindeer

Three of a Kind – Christmas Cushions

Over the years I have made many, many Christmas cushion covers. Most have been sold when I was trading as Carousel Cottage Crafts but here are just 3 that have been left. The original patchwork block design was listed as Weathervane but I like to call it Christmas Cracker. I made the second version without referring to the instructions and therefore inadvertently put it together in a different way which necessitated the addition of some extra square pieces to make up to the correct size. The third cover is made using all Half Square Triangles and is actually hand quilted – just to prove that I can do some sewing by hand!

cracker weathervane

Christmas Cracker Weathervane

weathervane version II

Version II

christmas star hst

Christmas Star -Half Square Triangles & Hand Quilting.

Santa’s Reindeer

As many of my friends are aware – Reindeer are my theme for decorating at Christmas. I have already posted details of my favourite Reindeer head silhouette applique cushion but thought you might like to see a few more of these delightful creatures. Here is one of our chairs draped with a Blue fleece throw (handy for wrapping up when it gets REALLY chilly) with co-ordinating cushion. The throw is approximately 40 inches square and has 8 raw edge applique reindeer in lovely christmassy print cottons. There is also a twin needle stitched border in Red – just to finish it off.

reindeer throw and cushion

Fairisle Cross Stitch Heart Cushion

I am fortunate to own some specialised software for digitising Cross Stitch to be sewn using my Brother 4000D machine. Inspired by the lovely designs in “Cross-Stitch Samplers” by Marjorie Massey I spent an afternoon digitising this fairisle-theme heart design. I stitched out the design using Red thread onto a White textured damask fabric. This was then edged with jumbo red ric-rac and used as a central panel on a cushion cover. The reverse of the cover has a Red buttons closure with the overlap also edged with ric-rac trim.

fairisle cushion frontfairisle heart reverse

Christmas Bunnies

The daughter of a friend of mine has recently acquired a pair of rabbits which gave me lots of ideas of what to give as a Christmas gift. In addition to a decorated mug, I decided to add a cushion which she can display in her bedroom. The rabbits are one in Black and one in White appliqued onto an attractive floral print cotton with a Blue background. Although I lined the White Rabbit fabric with extra stabiliser I notice there is just a very slight show-through of the print but otherwise I think that they sit well on this background. I  used a light fusible wadding for the front of the cushion and quilted 1/4″ around the edges of the rabbits plus a row of echo quilting to make the bunnies stand out. The reverse of the cover has a button closure with my favourite method of print binding on the buttonhole band. The cover measures 15″ and the cushion pad is polyester filled.

rabbits cushionrabbits cushion reverse

Snood/Infinity Scarf II – Purple Blackberry Stitch

Here is the second scarf knitted in Blackberry stitch. I am really enjoying these projects and having finished the Purple have moved onto Teal.  There is a slight issue with the number of stitches knitted in the Purple scarf – not an ideal colour to be using in these  long dark evenings and I went slightly wrong by knitting extra stitches into the pattern. This has made the edges slightly “wonky” but by the time I had completed the full 60 inches the number of stitches was back to the original 68! As the scarf is folded the wonky edges don’t show – but because it is not perfect I cannot give it as a gift and will have to keep it for myself – it co-ordinates well with my Purple padded coat and jeans so – result!! The scarf is really versatile as it can be worn over the head to help keep out the draughts –  see the final photo below.

purple snood 1purple snood 2

purple snood 1b

Knitted Snood/Infinity Scarf in Mustard

I am not quite sure what went wrong but pictures seem to have disappeared from the blog. I will look into that but meantime I am pleased to report that I have finished knitting the first of the Snood/Infinity Scarves in Blackberry Stitch. This stitch is also called Trinity or Raspberry stitch. I made up my own pattern and knitted the Mustard Double Knitting yarn on 5.5mm needles.

Cast on 68 stitches and work as follows:- 1st row all purl. 2nd row, *k1,p1,k1 into 1 stitch then,  p3 together*  repeat to end. 3rd row, all purl. 4th row,  *p3 together, k1,p1,k1 into next stitch* repeat to end.

Continue these 4 rows of pattern until scarf measures 60 inches. Bring the first row up to match current row with right sides of work together. Cast off by knitting from needle and loops of cast on edge.

If you make a scarf to these instructions, please photograph and send to me – I would love to see your makes.

A New Knitting Bag

 It is only during the colder months of the year that my thoughts turn to knitting. I  have a hankering for some lovely, cosy hand-knitted scarves and snoods. I am currently working on two projects. The first is an Advocado Green Alpaca yarn  worked in double Moss stitch and the second a Bright Mustard yarn worked in Blackberry stitch. I will post pictures once they are completed. But, I digress, the point of this post is that I have been carrying my knitting around the house in a brown paper bag which has been deteriorating rapidly. I thought to myself – a bag specifically for my knitting is what I need. I had already stitched out an embroidery design in Redwork (bought from that was simply perfect for the project. Today I gathered together some remnants of fabric from my stash and below is the finished result. The bag measures approximately 15 ins wide x 16.5 ins deep. It has carrying handles and I have incorporate a special long narrow pocket into which I can slip my knitting needles. The brown paper carrier bag is no more!

knitting bag