An owl to keep you warm

It seems early to start thinking about Christmas, but I’ve made some gifts already. Give me a pat on the back, this is early for me! The bit that takes me forever is coming up with the ideal gift for a particular person. It’s not so easy when your family live 300 miles away and you hardly get to see them, so you’ve no idea what they really like…but I was excited to have come up with personalised hot water bottle covers for younger nieces and nephews. Well, who doesn’t like to be snuggled up under a blanket watching tv with a hottie to make it even more cosy? I got so excited I went straight out to buy the materials and made them as soon as I got home!!!

Owl hot water bottle cover. Detail. Stephanie Boon, 2012

Twit twoo!

Owls seem to be the motif of the moment don’t they? They’re everywhere! When I saw some Fair Isle effect fleece fabric I knew it would be the perfect background for a simple owl appliqué design, and as I already had some with stars on a deep blue background, well it just had to be!

I was lucky enough to see a barn owl the other day, flying towards me very low just a few feet ahead. It was flashing white against really dark rain clouds at dusk, so I could see it perfectly. Such a beautiful bird.  I guess he was going out to dinner. Wonder what was on the menu?

Anyway, to get back to the gifts; I made a pattern for the covers with a pillow case style opening at the base for the bottle to go inside. Then it was time for sewing on the appliqué designs and embroidering them before quilting and stitching together, e voila! Three hot water bottle covers, three different personalised designs, three gifts already made 🙂 Got about another thousand to do though, ha, ha!

Have you started making Christmas gifts yet?  What have you got on your list – any ideas I can pinch?!

Stephie x

 

Take one jacket…

Double-breasted women's purple velvet jacket with alterations. Stephanie Boon 2012

and give it a facelift!

To say my winter coat looks a bit scruffy is an understatement. It’s about 7 years old, too big for me, and well, very, very scruffy. I feel embarrassed wearing it and I think it’s fair to say I’ve finally worn it to death. Thrift being the order of the day, I bought this replacement velvet jacket (not a coat, but you can’t have everything!) for £7.00 in a local charity shop.

£7.00 for an old, obviously worn, H&M jacket seems somewhat overpriced, considering they’re a cheap brand in the first place. But then again I did see a summer GAP jacket in another charity shop for £12.99. On inspection there were holes on the outside of the patch-pockets and the velvet trim was very worn. I put on my ‘disgusted of Truro’ hat and marched it up to the counter. “Ooh, that’s such a lovely jacket that one”, said the volunteer behind the till. “Well it might’ve been once upon a time, but I don’t want it, it’s full of holes. And you’re asking £13.00 for it. That’s disgusting.”  “I think the best thing we can do is take off the floor until we can speak to the manager”. Really?  I think the best thing you can do is take a reality check. This is a CHARITY shop. It comes to something when the poor can’t even afford to shop there… I mean, second-hand, cheap supermarket clothes are only a £1 or so cheaper than they are to buy brand new. It’s ridiculous. But, hey ho, that’s the way it is. And if you’re lucky enough to see an ‘ok’ jacket in your size when you need one, well needs must!

Once I got it home, it was time to give it a facelift. First to go were the clanking, military style burnished silver buttons – I really don’t like the idea of rattling as I walk down the road. This in itself was quite a feat as there are 14 of them! (2 on the back, 2 on each cuff and 8 down the front.) I had a pretty, grey and cream print fat-quarter on my shelves I thought would give it a more feminine look, so decided to make the cover buttons you can see in the photo. I still had a bit left, so teamed it up with some black velvet to make the corsage. And…I’m quite pleased with the results 🙂 Surely this is what being thrifty is all about?  I really enjoyed doing the makeover, although I can’t say that for shopping for the jacket in the first place, ha, ha!

Making the corsage was the most fun part. I haven’t made them this way before (more structured), but I was inspired to give it a go after seeing a couple of gorgeous ones a friend made recently. I adapted her method to get the style I wanted and it worked really well. (Another talented friend made the scarf in the photo by the way!). As it’s coming up to Christmas I thought they’d make lovely gifts so I’ll write a tutorial with a pattern and you can have a go too! Look out for it over the next couple of days.

Now, what can I do with that old coat?

Stephie x

 

Recycled jumper

Knitting and autumn, they really do go hand in hand don’t they? This year my plan was to knit a jumper in time for my favourite season, and I’m pleased to say…mission accomplished, ta da!!!

It’s a very quick knit (even for me), being made up of just eight squares and a bit of edging around the openings. I love the texture of the recycled yarn and the ‘double stitch’ rib was a refreshing new adventure for me. Ok so not much of an adventure since you just knit into the stitch below of the knit stitches, but a bit different all the same. You stitch each square together perpendicular to the adjacent one to create even more texture and movement and voila, you have a very warm, short-sleeve pull-over perfect for woodland walks!

The only annoying thing about this project was that I used 2, yes 2, more balls of yarn than specified, meaning the cost rose by well over £10.00.  I was checking and double checking my tension, assuming it was my fault, but the finished jumper measures exactly the same as the diagram shows in the pattern book. Obviously my tension was alright then. It’s not the first time that this has happened to me with Rowan patterns and yarns, so in future I think I’ll have to add in an extra ball just in case. See the notes below for full details of the pattern and yarn I used.

I’m not sure I have another knitting project in mind (or one that I can afford anyway!), so I’m looking forward to getting back to some sewing. I’ve managed to dabble over the last couple of weeks, but what with illness and the knitting it seems to have taken a back seat.  What have you got planned for the weekend, or the coming weeks for that matter? Anything exciting? Let me know!

It’s another beautiful day here so I’m off for walk later; I can see this jumper’s going to get a lot of wear 🙂

Stephie x

 

 

Purple Rowan jumper knitted by Stephanie Boon 2012, with sycamore leaf

Autumn Knitting

 

Woodland Walk, Trelissick 2012, by Stephanie Boon

Leaves are still green

 

Rowan jumper 'Periwinkle', details. Hand Knitted by Stephanie Boon, 2012

Details

 

Stephanie Boon Sitting on Roundwood Quay, 2012 (new hand-knitted Rowan jumper)

Sitting on Roundwood Quay enjoying the autumn sunshine

 

Rowan Purelife AutumnPeriwinkle‘ by Marie Wallin.

Knitted in Renew, colourway Garage (684)

Used full 11 x 50g balls (9 specified). Finished jumper measures 58cm as specified (so tension fine).

19cm opening at top of front for neck was too small and not in the same place as the pattern photograph.  I redid it adding an extra couple of inches and picked up 44 stitches down each side (instead of the 34 specified). I used a circular needle as I didn’t want to undo the back seam again (much easier anyway!).

Stitching and knitting on an autumn day

View from St Agnes Beacon, 22 Sept 2012

A blustery climb up St Agnes Beacon

Yesterday’s weather didn’t hold. The glorious sunshine lasted just a short time before the grey clouds came rolling in.  It’s beginning to feel like we need to batten down the hatches. I love that feeling more than anything at this time of year, shutting out the world and building a nest.

When I went for a tramp up the Beacon yesterday I was glad I’d put on a woolly hat and scarf, people in the village at the bottom of the hill probably thought I was mad but by the time I got to the top it was blowing a gale and my ears were aching from the cold. Good decision. The breath of fresh air was just what I needed, seeing the change in the season before my eyes. The deep purple heather is beginning to turn a beautiful ochre and the bracken a deep sienna. So inspiring.

When I got home it was time for some knitting and a bit of stitching…

Double stitch in Rowan Purelife Renew

Heathery colours for autumn

 

Joining linen patches with whip-stitch

Practicing whip-stich to join a nine-patch

It’s windy and raining today. More hunkering down and knitting required. How about you?

Stephie x

, ,

I love birds – an embroidered wren

 

mosaic of free motion machine embroidered singing wrens, 2012

Little singing wren sketches,  2012

I spent a few hours making these sketches on Mrs Jones the sewing machine the other night. The colours in the photos aren’t particularly good, but I love the texture that they show. That one on the top left makes me laugh, he has a beak more suited to a crocodile I think! That’s because I didn’t draw the birds on the fabric first (a vintage 70’s/80’s-looking linen table cloth), I just stuck the fabric in a hoop, put it under the needle and off I went. I love the spontaneity you get doing it this way, it feels much more like ‘real’ drawing, which is the medium I feel most comfortable in most of the time. Can’t rub out that beak though, but an unpicker (seam ripper) will probably do the job!

To continue with the bird theme a little further, it was my birthday a few days ago (too old…) and I was very generously given a bird table for my garden. There are always plenty of wrens in the hedgerows, but I doubt they’ll come to the table. Still, I placed it where I can see it from the kitchen window, so I can stand with sketchbook in hand and draw the other birds to my heart’s content. In theory.  I haven’t had any winged visitors yet…

Spot The Bird Scarer

No prizes awarded!

View of garden with bird table and cat sat at thr bottom of it.

Not camouflaged quite well enough Daisy!

I love the lushness of the garden from this view point and the new bird table adds the perfect focal point. I’m a very lucky lady!

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com