Sunday, 19 July 2015

Sari Ribbon Crochet Placemats

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I've been looking at Sari Ribbon online for a while, thinking I might use it for weaving, but knowing all the while that setting up the loom is quite time consuming and lately I haven't had much free time for anything, let alone fiddling about with warps and wefts.   So I delayed purchasing any until I found some at Feltfine for the bargain price of $8.50 per 100g - how could I resist!

Sari Ribbon is the byproduct of sari manufacturing and is colourful, uneven, frayed,  and you never know quite what you are gong to get.  In other words it's utterly wonderful to work with if, like me, you aren't looking for perfection in every project, but find joy in watching yarn transform and being excited by the journey that unfolds.

To find out just what the Sari Ribbon is like to work with, I've decided on some casual Summer placemats (even though it feels like Winter will never end here in Melbourne at the moment).

You will need:

Large Crochet Hook - I used a 12mm hook for this project.
Skeins of Sari Ribbon - I found that a 100g skein makes approximately one and a half placemats.
Stitch markers


Chain 2, Slip stitch into first chain to form circle

Round 1.

Chain 1. Work 10 single crochets (SC) into circle, slip stitch into first single crochet to join.

Round 2.

Chain 1, Work 2 SC into each stitch of previous round.  Slip Stitch to finish round.

Round 3.

Chain 1, Work 1 SC into same stitch as chain, *work 2 SC into next stitch, work one SC into next stitch* repeat from * to * until round finished.  Slip Stitch into initial stitch to finish round.

Round 4.

Chain 1. Work 1 SC into same stitch as chain, *1SC, 1SC, 2SC* into stitches of previous round repeat from * to * until finished. Slip Stitch to complete round.

Round 5.

Chain 1.  Work 1 SC into same stitch as chain.
*1SC, 1SC, 1SC, 2SC* Repeat * to * into stitches of previous round until finished.  Slip Stitch to complete round,

Round 6.

Chain 1. Work 1 SC into same stitch as chain. *1SC, 1SC, 1SC 1SC, 2SC* Repeat  *to* into stitches of previous round until finished.  Slip Stitch to complete round.

Round 7. Final Round

Chain 1.  Work 1SC into same stitch as chain.  *1SC, 1SC, 1SC, 1SC, 1SC, 2SC* Repeat *to* into stitches of previous round until finished.  Slip Stitch to complete placemat.  Weave in ends.

These textural and colourful placemats are a breeze to make and perfect for outdoor dining or a casual meal.  I've decided that it's not quite the medium I'm wanting for my next project - think I might have to try some recycled sari yarn for that one.

Happy Crocheting


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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Big Dreams Table Runner

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I have big dreams for this table runner.
Our lives our undergoing a bit of a transformation at the moment.  About 18 months ago, as a newly engaged couple, Peter and I found our dream home clear across the country in Victoria.  Ever since that moment, we have been working towards the big move.

We have been planning vegetable gardens and chicken coops.  We have been looking at interior and exterior colours for the house.  New french provincial furniture has been purchased and is now sitting in storage.  I'll be able to have a craft room again but, we are doing all this planning from 3497 kms away and it is very frustrating.  We can only get so far into our plans before we have to stop and 'wait and see' when we get there.

All our wedding presents (fabulous saucepan sets, cutlery sets, glassware, sheets and crockery sets) are still in the boxes.  Peter and I (well, mainly Peter) have agreed not to open anything and save it all for the big move.  Definitely something to look forward to - but, once again, frustrating none-the-less.

The source of inspiration - a stunning, hand made
Mothers Day present from Hayley

One thing I could do though is make a start on the interior 'things'.  A few years ago, my daughter Hayley made a wonderful cross stitch sampler for me for Mothers day.  I absolutely love it and promised her that one day, I would get it framed.  Fast forward a few years and with my new french provincial furniture firmly in mind, I went to the framers and described what I wanted - a modern, french provincial, shabby chic frame .. and they delivered exactly what I was after.  I love it and it will take pride of place on my new kitchen wall.  This was the starting piece for my interior design.  

I also had a few fat quarters of fabric in a similar hue.  I had purchased them at Spotlight during a massive sale - (10 fat quarters for $10.00 - did I say massive sale?) and thought I would quickly make a table runner for my new kitchen table.  I know in the scheme of things it doesn't really rate on the planning scale alongside the practicalities of organising removalists, finding jobs and  researching climate conditions for vegetable growing but it is something that I can do now and in some small way, feel as though something is actually happening.


9 fat quarters (ideally bought on sale during a big discount)
Wadding/batting - I used a cotton wadding as it is quite thin and reduces any bulk

Choose 4 separate colours/patterns and pair them up.  One pair will be for the 4-patches and one pair will be the half square triangles.

Cut 2.5" strips from each fabric and then sew 2 different strips together.  Once they have been sewn, press them and then cut 2.5" strips to leave you with lots of little 2-patches.  Use these 2-patches to create your 4 patches.  I made a total of 22 4-patch squares.
Arrange the finished blocks to form the above layout

Next, using the remaining 2 colours, cut 4.75" strips and then cut these strips into 4.75" squares.  Place 2 different colour squares together and either draw or press a line diagonally through the middle.  Sew a scant 0.25" seam on each side of the seam line and then cut along the seam line.  This will leave you with 2 half square triangles.  
Finished 'quilt' top.

Using the alternate layout, join your squares together by joining a half square to a 4-patch to make a larger patch comprising 2 blocks of each.

To make the back of the table runner, I used 3 fatquarters, cut into 5" strips and joined.  This makes the table runner reversible.

Machine Quilting - a very pleasant way
to spend a Sunday afternoon

I chose to machine quilt the runner using a stipple stitch - mainly because it is easy and comes together very quickly and can be done in an hour or so.

I used another fat quarter, cut into 2" strips and joined together to make the binding.

Time to attach the binding - ready for hand sewing.
No messy pins for me - bobby pins make the job much
easier (and less painful)

Reversible - Very handy to have this feature on a kitchen table runner.

All-in-all, this is a very simple weekend project and I am very happy indeed to not only have made a table runner for our new farmhouse kitchen but one that matches the wonderful Mothers Day present which will always be hanging on my wall.

Happy Quilting,

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Sunday, 5 July 2015

School Holiday Friendship Bracelets

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The problem with the July school holidays in Australia is that they fall in the middle of Winter and it's a bit tricky to keep everyone amused, when it's cold and rainy outside.  A cute little craft activity can be just the thing to keep boredom at bay.

You will need:

Florist wire
Scissors to cut the wire and/or jewelers pliers and snippers 
Crochet cotton
Crochet hook


Using the florists wire make a charm by bending the wire into the desired shape, leaving wire loops at either end to attach the crochet band.  You can make letters or symbols and it's a lot of fun to experiment.

To make band

The band is made by making a crochet chain which is tied to the little loops formed in the wire charms.  Measure the length of band you require (or guess if you are making the bracelet for a friend) and allow enough length so that the bracelet can be tied loosely around the wrist.  The band is made in two sections and is of equal length on each side of the charm.

Happy school holidays

Deb and Andie

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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Garter Stitch Beginner Vest

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There is always a danger when you start a knitting project just before Summer that the hot weather will hit and the urge to create something out of wool declines at the same rate that the daily temperature increases. You can imagine then that I was pretty hopeful when I went online shopping in mid November that the "I reckon I can have this knitting finished in a week"  project I had in mind would be completed long before the hot weather came.. Oh how wrong I was!  Next year if you see me purchasing anything the slightest bit crafty in the lead up to the festive season, please remind me that my chances of setting aside any time for craft is nil and that way I can manage my expectations a whole lot better than this year.

This little knitting project is actually quick and simple.  It's just garter stitch with absolutely no shaping at all so really can take just a few days if you're able to set aside the time.

The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Stellar an 8ply  50% wool and 50% bamboo in "Moonstone".  This pattern is for a small size, however for larger sizes add approximately 10 stitches per size increase eg. for medium cast on 80 stitches.  The length is entirely up to you,  For a longer vest, simply keep knitting the back until the desired length is reached, work the neck and then knit the front sections to the same length as the back.

You will need.  

9mm knitting needles
8ply yarn
Stitch Holder
Sewing needle to finish

Cast on 70 stitches

Knit Garter stitch (eg. knit all stitches) until work measures 47cm.  To get neat edges, do not knit the first stitch in each row, but simply slip the stitch onto the working needle and then knit into the second stitch into the row.  This is a little hint Louise (my fellow blogger) mentioned in an early blog post and it really does make a difference, particularly if you are not going to be adding a band or collar to the exposed edge.

Divide for neck:  Knit 20 sts, Cast off 30 sts, place next 20 sts onto a stitch holder.  Cut yarn, leaving enough to sew in the end and start knitting again with the 20 stitches left on the knitting needle.  


Using the 20 stitches on the knitting needle, knit until work measure 47 cm (or if you are lengthening the pattern, until work is of equal length to the back).  Cast off.

Slip stitches from stitch holder onto knitting needle and knit these stitches until work measures the same as the back and other front section. Cast off.
To finish.

Sew the side seams leaving approximately 25cm unsewn on each side for the arm holes.  Weave/sew in ends.  Wear with a long or short sleeve tee, depending on the weather where you are.

Happy knitting.


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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Skip To My Loom Cowl

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I adore homespun.  I love that its varied texture is a beauty unto itself and choosing a pattern to show off the variation contained within every skein is a challenge I'm always pleased to take on.  I'm still slowly working my way through a bag of homespun Louise brought with her last time she traipsed across the country, and with my supplies are dwindling I'm finding I'm even more precious about what each beautifully coloured yarn is used for.

My original plan was to crochet a scarf with this batch of orange/grey/black homespun and indeed I'd actually gotten about half way through the project when I realised I was going to run out of yarn and other than adding striped sections to pad out the length I was in serious trouble.  Sadly the moment came when I knew I'd been defeated and the scarf was carefully wound back for inspiration to strike elsewhere, naturally with me mourning the loss of a few hours of my time.
Fast forward a few chilly days and I realised I very much wanted a new Wintry item to cope with the drop in temperature so out came my loom and the homespun and a brand new project was underway.

The pattern for the cowl is very easy and uses the video instructions from Fayme Harper except in this instance, I've skipped every second peg on the loom .  My reasoning behind skipping the pegs was to allow room for the various textures of the homespun to show, rather than crowd the details with too many stitches.

The skein of homespun contained just enough yarn for the cowl to be a total length of 1.4 metres (that's approximately 55 inches), but really it can be any length you choose your cowl to be.

Once completed, cast off and twist the cowl before sewing the ends together.

While I've used homespun for this cowl, I think it would be the perfect project for any thick yarn you have in your stash...or two strands of thinner yarn.

Happy loom knitting