Homewares

Fun With Pompoms.

I love pompoms.
Did I ever tell you how much I loved pompoms? No?
 

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The great thing about pompoms is they couldn’t be more simple. You can make them easily. You don’t need to be able to knit, crochet, or even sew – just wind some yarn around a piece of specifically shaped plastic or card, tie and cut.  Craft for all.
There are various ways ways of making pompoms in all sizes (see below).
So I found myself with a pile of them. I’d had an afternoon of creative ‘holiday project’ fun with my daughter, and was wondering what to do with them. 
 

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They’re perfect for brightening up any space – particularly a little one’s bedroom.
 

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Strung up and hung across the mantelpiece around the fire or against the wall?  I’ve done that before and it’s a great simple effect. (Take care, if the child is very small that they are nicely out of reach.)
 

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Then there was the new pair of curtains I’d recently made, I’d been wondering for a while if they just needed that something extra.
 

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Yep, I think they did.
 

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Such a cheap and easy way to inject some extra colour and texture. Pretty cool I reckon .
And if you’re like me and have a good few odd balls of yarn in your stash – it’s stash-busting heaven…. and pretty addictive.
 

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I even made a Christmas garland with the extras. The colours were perfect.
Go on –  make some pompoms – You’d be surprised at what you can do with them.
Stuff you can do with Pompoms
 

 

Keeping it Handmade.

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Christmas is fast approaching ( I know! Where did that year go?) It’s the end of term and time for teachers to have a well-earned break. I can’t bear to get involved in all of that competitive gift-giving – it really does bring the worst out in some folks – but I do like to show our appreciation for all the extra time and work those hardworking teachers put in. No pressure here. Something small and handmade usually does the trick. 
We’ve made cookies, we made soap…  we like to keep it varied.
This year we decided on scented candles. Now who doesn’t love one of those? Especially when they’re made with natural essential oils

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I’d never done it properly before, but I knew that I wanted to use soy wax. I’m told that soy candles are cleaner burning, longer lasting, biodegradable, and leave no nasty grey residue.
I found a great little tutorial here on Clare K Creations. Thanks for sharing this Clare.
At this time of year it just has to be those seasonal scents that instantly conjure up Christmas.
Soooo…. Out came the Sweet Orange, Bitter Orange, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Ginger and Clove essential oils.

Decorating it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want.
Smells gorgeous
Christmas in a jar!

If you’re a little stumped for some last minute christmas pressies, have some old condiment jars lying around and can get hold of some soy wax pellets and essential oils, there’s still time – have a go! It’s not difficult, it’s inexpensive and if you like making stuff – great fun.

Merry Christmas.

Modern Granny Square Blanket

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There’s nothing I like more than a special event or occasion. Weddings, births, house warming, anything that marks the beginning of a new phase of life.
In my humble opinion, special occasions require special pressies. Easier said than done, I hear you say. I agree.
Thankfully, for me, I love an excuse to get out the yarn, cloth, hooks needles, whatever just happens to be the latest making phase I’m going through, and the chance to embark on a new challenge.
What ‘s more special than something handmade – something utterly unique that no-one else has, that you just wouldn’t be able to buy, with out having to commission.  

It was a couple of lovely old friends who were tying the knot. They’d been together a while, long enough to have already established themselves as a family with two gorgeous boys of 7 and 5, and me and my little posse were thrilled to be invited to celebrate with them.

I seem to have rather an awful lot of clever, creative friends and these two are no exception. Means only one thing – they like cool stuff. Instantly the stakes are raised. Don’t get me wrong, these folk totally get ‘handcrafted’, whatever shape or form it may take, but in this case, I felt something a little more was needed. I wanted it to have a modern twist – something for both the Designer and the Artisan.

I’d been wanting to make a chunky blanket for a while. I love ’em.

I’ve been impressed by some of the beautiful patchwork ones I’d seen, spread out  across the internet, and always thought that basic granny squares was something you could do something really quite contemporary with.

1.Feathered Hues – Design seeds. 2. Ellsworth Kelly quilt – spontaneous color.  3. Colour Explosion Quilt – Sew English Rose, Folksy. 4.Bears Rainbow Blanket – The Purl Bee.

Here’s what I Did

In a wool/acrylic mix (wearability combined with washability), knitted with two strands of DK yarn. Chunky would’ve done, but the colour choice of chunky yarns is always so restricting… and for this project I wanted some full-on colour –  

a simple two row granny square.

Hundreds of them.

488 of them to be precise.
My, clever other half came up with the excellent visual effect of colours scattering from the corner – just like a mini explosion. It looks simple and random but had to be planned quite carefully, taking into account the careful mix and concentration of colours and neutrals. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work.

When all the squares were made.


they then had to be joined together,

and all the ends had to be woven in.

I can honestly say it’s probably the biggest project I’ve ever done. At times I thought I’d never finish. Anything like this is always going to be labour intensive – that’s what makes it so special. 

Three months and 2,200g of yarn later, tadahh, and what a great sense of satisfaction.

Finished off with a simple row of charcoal single crochet, thankfully I think it works.
When my young daughter saw it she said “Mum, it looks like it’s going ‘Boom”
I think that was the effect I was after…. so I called it my ‘Boom blanket’.

Here’s to Chris and Lucy.
Hope they like it 
Wishing them many more happy, cozy years.
Cheers!

Here Comes Christmas…… Fluoro Flakes

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Did anyone just mention Christmas?….. Yes it’s nearly here….. and, believe it or not,  I’m pretty organised this year, for a change…. At least i think I am.
Just one little thing though – my tree’s looking a bit bare… still. Every year i try to make new ornaments for it, but this year I’ve been too busy getting organised.
 I needed to give it a quick boost.
 Here’s what I came up with….

Funky crochet Christmas decorations, make your own 'Conran Shop' style tree decorations
… a slightly different twist on the crochet snowflake that, let’s face it, is everywhere these days. 
This one is has a more modern, slightly ‘Scandi meets Conran Shop” inspired twist and instead of traditional white is, yes, you guessed it…..fluoro. 
It still has that handmade quality and sits nice and quirkily on a real tree but also works with something more contemporary.  
Nice and simple, and those colours are fab. Crochets up in just two rounds. You can make a good few of them in one evening, easy peasy – and it’s still not too late. As a special Christmas treat I’ve included a free pattern.
 HERE’s how to make them.
Happy decorating.

Draughtbusters

We’re hunkering down for the winter here in London… and it’s getting cold… so I thought I’d share this. In these times of saving energy, colossal heating bills and (still, despite what people are saying) austerity. Someone somewhere may find it useful….
Have you seen the gaps underneath our doors?

I mean… seriously…. Look at them.
Gaping, draught-beckoning, under-door, wind-tunnelling, chasms.
…. Kind of needed to sort this.
I have a small stash of fake fur that I’ve had for years. nice stuff that is destined to become, one day, the most gorgeous coat – but in the meantime, there’s just about enough of it to spare for a more pressing little project to keep out those breezes.

So off to Jewsons I go for some pipe insulation (all will become clear – I promise). Love it there – shopping with all those builders – surreal.
So what do you do with a pile of fake fur and pipe insulation?
Here’s what. This is an idea I got from lovely blog Living a Slow and Simple Life . A fab draught excluder that slides snugly underneath your door – and (this is the important bit) stays there. It moves with your door. No getting in the way. No having to put it back in place. 
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And you know what – what a difference.
So snug that when you open the door you’re practically blown off your feet. Ok…. so I exaggerate, but trust me – it works, and particularly well with wooden floors. Our living room has never been so toasty. You needn’t use expensive fake fur. Fun fur, fleece, velour, velboa, minky or even just some unused fabric would be just as good, and for a room with a floor covering like carpet, a fabric with no pile, like cotton canvas, would be the best option.
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It’s important for the environment and for our pockets that we try to conserve as much heat and waste as little energy as possible these days so this is a great idea. It’s easy to make and works out pretty cheap. With the most basic of sewing skills and couple of hours you could do some serious draught busting. 
Click HERE for instructions.

For Mums

It’s Mothers day again over here in the Uk. I can’t believe it’s come round again. How time flies. 
Big bunches of flowers, lovely handmade cards from the little ones, having breakfast in bed or lunch down the pub – it’s all going on in this part of the world today.
But let’s spare a thought for those who don’t have mums – for whom Mothers Day is not an easy one. 
I’m dedicating this post to the mums who are no longer with us, for whatever reason.
Lets not make too much of a big deal of Mother’s day, as nice as it is for some. Let’s just appreciate the mums we have –  everyday. 
In the meantime, to all you mums out there, Happy Mothers Day.
Crochet Iris by thredHED. Rainbow flower by Iris. Keep watching, pattern to follow.

Hearts – not just for Lovers.

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It’s nice to take time to appreciate those you love but, let’s be honest, Valentines day is not everyones cup of tea. Red Roses, Chocolate Hearts, or candle-lit dinners – been there, done that, have come out the other end – now totally indifferent…….  so I’m not going to go on about love… or romance. 
Having said that, I do love the paraphernalia…. but that can be just as much fun without all the sugary stuff. 

So for those of you who are…, or who are not, doing Valentines Day, for whatever reason…. but like the odd heart or two, here’s a nice little project .
 ‘Crochet hearts’, I hear you say, ‘they’re everywhere’. 
Yes’ that’s true and they look great – but I wanted to push  it further and make something extra pretty and, in true thredHED style, 
… a little bit useful.

These little lights instantly perk up a dark corner and look pretty at the same time. Made from crocheted hearts, sewn together and reinforced to make little filigree shades for a chain of LED fairy lights (and I must stress LOW VOLTAGE LED). Use can use any fibre yarn – it’s great for using up your stash.
They can be red and racy, hot pink, or muted pastels for that vintage look….or why not mix ’em up. Which ever way you choose they do look nice…. and if you like a bit of crochet you can make them.  Here’s how – for a limited period of time, my pattern and instructions are free to download to all fans of my thredHED face book page

Click to get it HERE  

Gifts for the boys….Tidy Bag

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There’s nothing nicer than a handmade gift. I love ’em. But Boys?….. simple handmade gifts for boys (and by that I mean men) – now, that’s a tricky one, especially with the men I know. They seem to be much more discerning, more fussy than any girl. They totally get the handmade thing but with them there seems to be no messing –  they want stuff that is either really cool or really practical.
Ok. BIG birthday challenge of the above kind. Thankfully I had a small amount of this  great Riley Blake cassette-print cotton fabric.
I picked it up on a visit to friends and family in Bristol, UK from the most fabulous craft shop Flo Jo Boutique. Well worth a visit if you live in or are visiting the area. It sells  all manner of gorgeous printed fabrics, and holds some great classes and workshops – check it out.
I decided to keep it very simple with these lovely little Tidy Bags. Great for keeping their shoes/trainers or undies in when travelling, or just for great-looking, handy hanging bathroom/bedroom storage. Half a metre will give you a couple or if you have more fabric you can make as many as you like. How about a variety of sizes. You can change the size and proportions – the making process is still the same. I think an extra large one would make a great laundry bag. Perfect  – and not just for the boys – I know plenty of girls who would love it too.
They’re easy to make – a good project, particularly if you’re new to sewing. It’s made using ‘French Seams’, so it will be nicely-finished and good quality. I’ve put together an easy to follow tutorial.
You Can find it HERE. 

More Stashbusting – Modern Patchwork

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Here I am again, sorting through my stash, not wanting to throw away these scraps of fabric. It just seems so wasteful.
Time for another project….. some modern patchwork. As lovely as traditional patchwork is, it takes on a whole new lease of life when we bring in right up into the digital age. “How do you do that?”, I hear you ask…….
…….PIXELS
1. Pixel Ice-cream Plimsols, 2 & 3. AIE Fashion, 4. 3 Rings, 5. Avant Garden, 6. Socialphy
These graphic inspired textiles are currently all over the blogosphere, and are crying out to be made up as modern patchwork.
I decided to stick with something pretty simple – a cushion comprising of 9 rows of 9 squares, 81 squares in total. 
For anyone who’d like to give this a go HERE’s what I did. 

The Cheat’s Guide to Christmas Crochet Bunting

Back in August, you may remember, I did some crochet granny bunting (well just a bit). I liked it so much, I wondered if I would be able to find a Christmas version. I did – I found this  great little Crochet Granny Christmas Tree over at the fabulous Royal Sisters Blog. It’s nice and simple with a great step-by-step photo tutorial to follow.

Just what I was looking for – although it needed a little something to finish to off….

That’s more like it.
As ever, the madness of of the run-up to Christmas means that there’s never enough time for me to crochet up a stack of these. I will at some point, but in the meantime I did exactly as I did with the last lot of crochet bunting. Yes, you guessed it – another printable. Another little crochet trompe l’oeil.
It works really well…. and it means that you can have Christmas Crochet Bunting even if you’ve never crocheted in your life. Once again it’s available as a free download for thredHED Facebook page fans. Get it HERE.  As with the previous bunting, make sure you print it on a good  quality paper and a high quality media setting….or…. you could use iron-on transfer paper, even printable cloth…. for crochet-print fabric bunting. 
Happy Decorating.