Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Quilts for kindness - why you should be giving quilty hugs.

I once heard someone say that when you give a quilt your not actually giving someone something to sleep under instead your giving someone a big quilty hug. 

Which is kind of wonderful really isn't it?

I made this quilt for my friends at the craft cotton company and its going to a little boy who's poorly. All of the fabrics were from them and I especially like the spiderman print. 

I came up with the pattern myself and decided to keep things quite simple. These half square triangles work really nicely and sew up fast. It took a little while to make sure they were all pointing in the right direction though. 

The middle square has the young boys initial appliqued onto it. I used a wide zig zag to sew it on and I went over it twice to make sure its on securely. I'm really chuffed with how neat it turned out. Especially seen as I drew the B free hand because our printer wouldn't print the template I had fine.  

Its backed with a minky fabric that is the stuff of dreams. I just want to wrap myself up in it, have a cup of tea and nap the day away. Its so soft and squishy perfect for babies, or kids or......Grownups?

Quilting wise I kept things simple and just did the diagonals. To say this is the biggest quilt I've ever made it was actually the easiest to quilt. Bizarre huh?

I've got to say I really enjoyed doing this project. Its so nice to make a quilt for someone else and hopefully make them feel a bit better when their having a crappy time of it. 

Which leads me to my next bit. See here's the deal, a lot of people I know love quilting but truth be told there's only so many quilts one person/family can have. Which is why I'm suggesting that you keep quilting but try giving them away? 

There's lots of places and people who could probably do with a big quilty hug of their very own, but here's a few suggestions.

- Local hospitals. Its best checking their particular rules but our local hospital did except quilts especially in the neonatal ward. [Typically the neonatal ward looses a lot of their quilts because if a baby passes away the quilts etc are given to the family in a memory box]

- An elderly relative or neighbour. In England 22% of men and 28% of men aged 65 and over suffer from depression, imagine how lovely it would be to give them a quilt and let them know your thinking of them [You could also donate a quilt to your local care home]

- New born babies. This is something I personally do [and will be writing a proper blog post on soon]. 

- Project Linus. Project Linus are a group who donate quilts to sick children. They also donated a huge number of quilts to the victims of the Grenfell tower fire. To date they have donated 348,542 quilts to people who need them. 

And starting in issue 11 of sew inspired magazine they will be giving instructions to make a simple quilt with the hopes that people will donate it. This initiative is called quilts for kindness, the instructions will be simple enough for even beginner quilters to understand so everyone is welcome to take part.

So hopefully I've given you some ideas if you love quilting but are running out of room!

Much Love



Monday, 23 April 2018

Korbond Crafters Carry Tote

One of the problems of being crafty is the mess. Its the root of many an argument between me and Rikki. But in my defence I have a lot of stuff! And I have been making an effort to be tidier recently. But in my effort to be tidier I seemed to end up with a lot of bags, a bag for my knitting, one for my sewing, one for my writing and blogging stuff, one for my tech stuff……… You get the picture!

Then the folks at Korbond were kind enough to send me their crafters carry tote to try. Now at first I was sceptical, I mean I’ve already got my excellent “many bags” system in place. In fact I’d even mentioned that if I didn’t get on with it, Rikki could have it to store his game controllers and games in.

I should really stop making promises I can’t keep……

I started off by seeing what I could fit in it and so far its contains:

My latest knitting project [And it has a massive ball of wool]
My bullet journal
My blog notebook
Knitting accessories [stitch markers, Stitch holders etc]
Retractable tape measure
Two pairs of scissors
Video Camera and cables
Small Digital Camera and cables
Large SLR Camera
Soft tape measure
Headphones [The massive kind!]
Knitting Pattern
Secret bar of chocolate hidden at the bottom that the boys don’t know about.

In essence it pretty much holds everything that was in my other “many bags” system.

And its already more practical than my tote bags system. For one everything is separated into its own pocket. The tote has 6 outside pockets and the inside is spilt off into three sections. The largest inside section has my knitting project in it, the two smaller sections have my electronics and I use the outside pockets for storing all my notebooks and other bits. I’m not saying where the chocolate bar is hidden in case someone tells the boys!!!

Its made of a thick grey felt and looks very modern. Its not out of place in out living room which is good because it spends 80% of its time sat next to my chair so I can easily reach my things. In fact I’m wondering about getting a second one to store all Rikkis things in and then a third one for storing all of lil man’s things!

The flat base means you can plonk it down anywhere without it toppling over [a problem I was always having with my tote bags] and so far its been on a few excursions away from my chair! Its been into the garden so I’ve got something to do whilst Lil man plays football. Its been chucked in the car in case I get bored on a long car journey and it gets taken upstairs very often so I can write notes or knit in bed. Its been really useful on the days where Rikki is on nights and comes in as I’m getting out of bed in the morning. Instead of trying to gather everything up only to realise that I have my knitting but no pattern I just put everything in here and then I only have one thing to carry out of the bedroom in the morning!

The tote is fromKorbonds House of Textures collection which launches in July. I’ve seen it in person and its definitely worth a look! Think practical sewing boxes made up in fabrics that wouldn’t look out of place in a saville row tailors shop. They are absolutely gorgeous! There is also going to be some sewing type trinket boxes in the range which would be perfect for housing sentimental sewing bits, like notes from sewing friends and your grandmas thimble! Or you know as gifts for people who like sewing.

All in all I really love the whole range and I especially love this tote! Sorry Rikki looks like you’ve missed out on this one! Maybe next time!

Much Love


Friday, 20 April 2018

Vintage Knitting Patterns

My Nans come to stay with my mum this week and she came armed with this! 

OH whats that? Well its a big leather wallet filled to the brim with........


Some newer ones and lots and lots of vintage ones! I can't show you all of them because LOLZ don't have all the time in the world but here are some of my favourites!

It doesn't have a date on it but judging by the bee hive I'd say 60's maybe? I am so on board with this jumper it hurts! I'm thinking of making it in grey or red???? 

I had no idea jeager did knitting patterns ?

This pattern is designed for teenagers and I think you can tell that its old based on how wholesome the teenagers look! I also like this jumper too and its has POCKETS!!!! 

I don't have a knitting machine which is what these patterns require but this is the only pattern I could find that was dated. 1959! That's pretty old!

How cute are these baby knitting patterns, I really like the booties and I'm always trying to find new baby bootee patterns.

I also like this cardigan a lot. That collar looks perfect for keeping the cold out. I love how we are starting the warm season and I'm talking about how to stay warm.

Okay so I'm not that keen on this pattern but I'm tempted to make them up so me and Rikki can pose like the couple in the picture. I'd have to buy two dogs but I don't see that as being a hardship do you?

Also can we talk about how miffed this poor woman is that she doesn't get to hold the pug? She really wanted the pug its written all over her face and the guy knows it!!! 

I've really be enjoying looking through the patterns and I can't wait to make one up! 

Whats the oldest knitting pattern you have?

Much Love Frankie 


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Embroidered Cushions - David Bowie and Rosie the Riveter

I'm finally getting back on top of everything I want to do! 

After Lil man being ill and then being off for two weeks I haven't had much time for sewing..... Or knitting..... Or reading.......Or anything really! 

These cushions are samples I've made for my demonstration at Abakhans Hanley on Saturday the 21st of April! I'll be there demonstrating how to make hand embroidered cushions from 12-3pm.

My general idea is to show that embroidery can be modern and fun! This David Bowie one looks complicated but is actually pretty quick to sew up! Plus the random splashes of colour mean you can use all the odds and sods and smalls bits of thread left over from other embroidery projects. 

I did this kind of back on them, I think its called an envelope back? I like this style because it doesn't require zips or buttons, both of which get broken in our house because lil hands like to play with them. Also in my experience these are the quickest to whip of if a drink gets spilled or a small child throws up on it.

This one is based on the idea of Rosie the riveter because well #Girl Power!

I kept this one really simple the outline is done in one colour and then the lips and rose are in red and the leaves are in green. 

My mum is quite taken with this one so I'll probably give it to her after the demo. 

I've backed each of the embroideries with a piece of fabric so the backs can't be seen. This just protects the stitches a bit from the wear and tear of taking the cushion insert in and out. 

Speaking of cushion inserts mine are super lumpy! I didn't have any to hand so I ended up just stuffing them with what I could find! 

In other news! 

My camera just had a divvy fit and decided to give me and error code and stop working! Luckily EVERYTHING is on the Internet know so I was able to fix it myself. Turns out its just standard wear and tear. It was pretty terrifying though because It made me realise how much I actually rely on having a decent camera! It also made me realise that this camera is nearly ten years old! 

Summers trying to come through. I finished a really summery dress yesterday and all I want to do is put it on and twirl around. However its too cold so instead I'm sat in jeans and one of my me made jumpers! 

Now I just need to decided what to embroider on the day! Any suggestions?

And if you get a chance pop down and say hi!

Much Love



Thursday, 12 April 2018

Ashmead Designs Paperless English Paper Piecing

Do you ever have a moment where you think now why the hell didn't I think if that? 

I do it all the time! 

I had that exact thought when I was talking to the owner of Ashmead Designs at the CHSI Stitches show. 

The idea behind their Paperless English paper piecing is that instead of using card or paper as a template and then removing it you use their templates and leave them in. 

 I was pretty sceptical about the whole no paper thing so they were kind enough to give me a coaster sample kit to try. 

Instead of paper you use a product called Hexiform which is a fully washable template. You can buy it in a sheet or as pre-cut templates. I personally am fully on board with the whole pre-cuts idea because it saves a lot of time faffing about.  

Price wise these are more expensive than a pack of card templates on amazon. For example 60 1.5inch Hexiform templates will cost you £9.00 but 100 card ones will cost you £5.02 on amazon. 

So I guess you'd have to weigh up the pros and cons of if it would be worth paying the extra for the particular project your doing. So for a coaster its well worth being able to leave the templates in and not faff around taking them out. However for a large quilt made of hexagons it would hike up the cost quite a lot because you can't re use the templates and you'd need a lot.

I dunno if you can tell because but I'm pretty conflicted over these! I mean on the one hand I love the idea and think its brilliant! But on the other hand I'm not too keen on the extra cost [What can I say Frankie Baldwin bringing you 100% honest reviews since 2013]

I am pretty tight with money though. I mean about 4 years ago I thought buying card board templates instead of making them from old Xmas cards was a HUGE extravagance!!! But now after using some free ones from magazines I'd rather bite my own arm off than spend hours tracing!! 

So pros of hexiform! 

- You don't have to remove papers
- easy to sew
- machine washable
- holds shape of patchwork even after lots of washing [like a 3d item like a cushion]
- doesn't blunt sewing needles [like sewing through paper templates]
- Prevents shadowing [that's when you can see your seam allowance showing through under the fabric, this happens with pale fabrics and ones that are thinner]

cons of hexiform

- More expensive
- Can't reuse papers
- Needs neat stitches because its not as stiff as card

I did also wonder if it might make quilting a bit more difficult as well because the machine would have to go through a layer of batting and a layer of hexiform. But don't take my word on it because it I haven't tried quilting it. 

All in all I really enjoyed the product and I can definitely see how it would be useful! I love anything that saves time and this definitely would. 

The kit I used was for a coaster and the instructions were really clear and I;m chuffed with the finished result. I had a look at some of the other kits at the show and they all seem to have the same high standard of instructions. 

I think my takeaway would be, if you've got the extra money to spend then its definitely worth spending the extra and saving yourself the time of removing papers etc. Plus I have a sneaking suspicion that with the hexiform as base your project will say nicer for longer and last more washes! And as you can tell the pros really do out weigh the cons!

Much Love 


p.s I have some clothes to photograph but there's currently a washing machine in the space where I take my pictures so your gonna have to wait for those!

Monday, 9 April 2018

Me Made May 2018!! My Pledge!

I've signed up for Me Made May! 

I'm not sure how many years I've taken part in this challenge for? At least two I think?

The basic idea is that you challenge yourself to wear as many me made things as you can in the month of may. 

This is my pledge but you can sign up here!

'I, Frankie of and @knitwitsowls , sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '18. I endeavour to wear at least one me made item every day for the month of may and to take daily photos so I can spot the gaps in my wardrobe that need filling. AND to give my wardrobe a proper clean out and give anything I don't wear/need to charity! May 2018'

I do actually wear me made clothes most days now so maybe I should have challenged myself a bit more? But I am hoping this challenge will show me where the holes are in my wardrobe already. 

Plus my wardrobe needs a BIG clear out of RTW items and me made items [ I hate throwing me made's away but sometimes it just needs doing!]

So I'll be documenting my whole Month on Instagram [Or at least I'm going to try] and Ill be doing weekly roundups on here! 

Are you signing up?

Much Love 



Thursday, 5 April 2018

Polka Dot Tshirt - Newlook K6217

I just had politicians at my door and couldn't make them go away, made even more awkward by the fact I'm already in my pjs because #lazygirl.

Okay so this top is part of my conscious effort to try and make more of my tops and stop relying on RTW. 

The pattern is from new look k6217, is one of those multi pack patterns and has a top, trousers, skirt and kimono jacket in it. I got mine from the charity shop for 25p but you can also find it here.

So far the top is the only one I've tried and I doubt I'll make any of the others but for 25p I think I've got my monies worth. The thing that mainly drew me to the pattern was that the top is made up in woven fabric which means I can use some of the smaller pieces in my stash.

I did most of the construction on my over locker apart from the hems and the back seam. Because of the keyhole detail at the back I had to sew that on my regular machine. I actually really like the little open bit at the back and its a good excuse to use up all those pretty odd buttons I have floating around. 

The fabric was a polka dot crepe that I got from abakhans during the fill a bag sale. It sewed really nicely and O only had a small amount so it was perfect for this pattern.

The top has a grown on? [I'm pretty sure that is what you call it?] sleeve so its really easy to sew up and you don't have to faff around setting in sleeves. Perfect for a quick pattern for making up some day to day tshirts. 

I sewed the hems by over locking the edge and then folding it over twice. It turned out really neat so I'll definitely do that again. To be honest I have no idea how the instructions have you finish them because I didn't even open them!

Fit wise I cut out a size 12 and the fit is pretty good. I measured as a 14 but I always size down on the big four patterns. Technically the bust size for the size 12 is 34inches and mine is 36 but as you can see its not straining or anything.

I much prefer it tucked in! But I tend to prefer everything tucked in because it gives me a bit more a shape. 

So yeah I'd have to say this make was very successful and I think I've finally found a woven tshirt pattern that I love! 

In other news!!! 

- The washer is finally in! The man who came said the other guys must have been a load of cowboys. But more importantly my faith in my measuring skills has been restored. And I'm nearly caught up on the washing.

- Lil man bumped his head today and I'm in full panic mode checking on him every ten minutes in case he has a concussion! He's been fine all day but that never stops me panicking about him. Not helped by the fact I can hear kids shouting outside and I keep thinking its him! 

Much Love