Sunday, 22 November 2015

Charming Advent Pouches

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Many years ago, I made an Advent Calendar for Deb and her family when they were living in North Yorkshire.  (The original post can be found here.)

I was so happy that she loved it and, what's more, uses it every single year .. and it got me thinking.  A handmade advent calendar is a wonderful present for the little ones - but it doesn't have to be elaborate.  The little fabric pouches can be used in many different ways.

We thought we would show you a very simple way to make the pouches using charm squares (or if you would like to make your own - simply cut your fabric into 5" x 5" squares)


52 charm squares.  If you wish, the inside can be a plain fabric in which case, you would only need 26 'Christmas' squares of fabric.

Embroidery thread and needle

Fabric pen


1.  Line up your charm squares - right sides facing each other
2.  Stitch along one edge.  This is a fabulous project for chain piecing.
3.  Snip the chain between the fabric.
4.  Iron each set open
5.  Once the set is open, iron the sets in half lengthways, ready for sewing.
6.  Press closed and begin sewing from the corners.  
7.  Once you have stitched about 1.5" past the fabric join, stop, lift the needle and pull the fabric through the machine for about 1.5" - essentially making a giant stitch.  Picture 7 shows that the needles left the fabric at 'a' and didn't start sewing again until 'b'.  Finish the seam and then snip through the thread of the large stitch.  This creates the opening that the pouch will be pulled through.
8.  Using the gap that has just been created, turn the pouch inside out, press and then hand sew the small gap closed.
9.  Push one end of the pouch into the other.
10. Using a fabric pen, either draw (if you are confident and trace if you are not) the number of the bag.  Position the number towards the bottom so that the number is not distorted when the bag is closed.
11.  Using embroidery thread, chain stitch each number.

Once you get a system going, the pouches come together very quickly and then you can spend a relaxing evening in front of the television hand sewing all the numbers of advent.

If you are a bit stuck for ideas, what about - 
Action fabric for a little action man

  • Green combat fabric can be used for the little 'Action' man in your life.  It is green after all. Using a red ribbon to secure the pouches will give them a festive feel.  

Christmas 'Funk'
  • The 'hard to buy for' teen in your life might appreciate something tailored specifically for them.  What about some funky fabric in Christmas colours?

Super adorable faeries.

  • And we can't forget all the little Christmas Faeries in your life.  The fabric can be fussy cut to ensure that there is a faery on the front of each pouch.

The pouches can be used in so many ways - in a basket or a box.  They can be pegged onto Christmas twine with little pegs or you can create a 'hide 'n seek' advent by hiding one each day.  The little ones will love that.

Happy Christmas,
Louise & Deb

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Sunday, 8 November 2015

Regal Bookmarks

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Someone in our household owns a bookmark collection, but a strict "no sharing" policy seems to have arisen over the years and I've resorted to grabbing whatever small piece of paper I could find to mark my pages as I read.  I thought it was probably time to make something a little more permanent, and dare I say regal, to use in future novels.


Using 2.25mm needles and crochet cotton, cast on 12 stitches.

Row 1:  Slip first stitch onto needle and then knit remaining 11 stitches.

Repeat row 1 a further 40 times - 41 rows in total.

Cast off leaving very long piece of thread attached to make crown topper.

For the crown topper:

Using length of thread attached and 2mm crochet hook, slip stitch into last cast off stitch of knitted row.  Chain 1 and single crochet into same stitch.

*Double crochet into next cast off stitch, Triple crochet into next cast off stitch, chain 3, slip stitch into end of chain 3, Double crochet into next cast off stitch, Single crochet into next cast off stitch.  Repeat from * until row is finished.

Block the bookmark (you can find our blocking tutorial here )

Happy reading!


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Sunday, 18 October 2015

Rope Coasters and Bowls

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If you were driving along a busy Melbourne street not long ago and happened to see me huddled over a car boot feverishly grabbing large spools of trims, let me assure you that there was absolutely nothing suspicious going on, despite how odd the scene may have looked if you gave it a casual glance from your car window.  You see, it just happened that a  friend who works in fashion mentioned that she had a car boot load of things to give away that from a wholesaler that had gone out of business and well..,the rest is history.

Among the ric rac, lace and leather trims, were three  large spools of rope in natural shades of cram and khaki.  While I plan to make a few tote bags and use the rope as handles, that project definitely won't take a lot of my rope stock and so I thought a small project would be a fun and stylish way to accessorise the house now that the warmer weather is on it's way.

What you will need

Glue and paint brush or glue gun
Bowl or glass to use as a template if required.


I chose to use PVA glue and a paint brush for this project, however a glue gun would also work very well.  Just make sure that whatever glue you decide to use dries clear.

To start, glue along the edge of the rope and roll the rope firmly along the glued edge as pictured. Continue rolling and gluing rope to form either the base of your bowl, or if making coasters, cut rope and glue end once your rope roll is the size you require for a coaster.

To continue making bowl, once you have made the base to the size you require (you may wish to use a china bowl or a glass as a template), glue onto the top of the previous rope layer and continue to layer the rope to form the sides. 

Each bowl only took about twenty minutes to do and the coasters are even quicker.  I can't help but thing that will the festive season just around the corner, these might be a fabulous handmade gift.

Happy Crafting


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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Easy Eyelet Infinity Cowl

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For the last few years I've tended to crochet more than knit, but this long, tedious Melbourne Winter has seen me get out the knitting needles of an evening rather than my usual crochet hook.

This project was helped along enormously by the generous folk at Lincraft who very kindly sent us some Montego Yarn to play with.  The colourway is Rose and while the 100% wool 8ply yarn is normally knitted with size 4mm needles, I went for something a little chunkier for this project.

You will need:

Size 9mm knitting needles
3 balls Lincraft Montego 8ply yarn


Using 9mm needles cast on 31 stitches.

Rows 1 and 5(right side):   Knit
Row 2 and all wrong side rows:  Purl
Row 3:  Knit 1, *k2tog, yo, k2:  repeat from *, end k2
Row 7:  Knit 1, *k2, ssk, yo: rep from *, end k2
Row 8:

Repeat rows 7-8 until work measures 160cm (approx 63inches), block work,  sew end seams together and weave in ends

Using larger needles means this infinity scarf is completed in next to no time and the eyelets give texture and interest - perfect for adding a bit of style to your Winter wardrobe.

Happy Knitting


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Sunday, 16 August 2015

Simple Oversized Cable Cowl

Pin It It's cold!  How cold I hear you ask?  Well, it's all relative.  The mornings are dropping to 3C (37.4F) which many of you would laugh at.  But, from where I am (Perth, Western Australia) it's about as cold as it gets and that can only mean one thing - knitting!

I have some gorgeous Araucania Tepa left over from my braided cowl which knits up beautifully.  It's thick, colourful and, most importantly, warm. 
Gorgeous colour blending

I wanted a cowl that is very 'high'.  That is, it can be squished down around the neck but pulled up past the ears and even over the head when times are tough and a bitter wind is blowing from the south (or east or west - wherever the bitter wind comes from where you are ..)



K2tog - Knit 2 stitches together.  This creates a decrease that slants to the right.

Taking Shape
SSK - slip 2 stitches purlwise.  Place left hand side needle through the front of the stitches (the right hand side needle will be at the back ready to knit) and then knit the 2 stitches.  
This creates a decrease that slants to the left.

Using a set of circular 5.00mm knitting needles, cast on 176 stitches

Row 1: *P2, K4, P2, K6, P2, K6* rpt to end

Row 2:  As row 1

Row 3: *P2, K2tog, wrap yarn twice around the needle, SSK, P2, K6, P2, K6* rpt to end.

Row 4: *P2, K1, Knit into 1st wrap then  knit into 2nd wrap (to create 2 stitches), K1, P2, K6, P2, K6* rpt to end.

These 4 rows form the pattern for the cowl.

Continue until work measures the desired length - which in my case is 40cm long.

Cast off and prepare to be warm - very warm.

This cowl is very easy to knit and is one of those delightful patterns that comes together effortlessly in front of the television.

Happy Knitting,

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