But I only said a trim!!!

*WaRniNg* this is a short post but starts with a rant….one word…HAIRDRESSER!! or should that be two?!?!

The words “I would just like a trim” have most likely been uttered by many many women (and men) only to come out an hour later with a short, back and sides!! Ok, so it wasn’t quite that bad but let’s just say I went in for said hair cut with hair a good couple of inches of hair below my shoulders and came out with it a good 3 inches above!!!!

After a couple of days crying every time I looked in the mirror at the loss of length and curls, I calmed down and decided to pull myself together…there are far worse things to be faced with for goodness sake…so I decided to go with it and ’embellish’ my locks with something pretty…and came up with this little project involving some fabric in my stash and lace trim from something I’d picked apart…

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do you dig those funky pins??!

I love some quick and oh so easy sewing…I drafted a very simple pattern and voilà! “The Butterflies” headband was born…

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Though to be honest you can’t really see the beautiful butterflies on this leftover quilting cotton I used…never mind, it is pretty, honest!
I put in some plastic coated wire so I can ‘twist’ the headband together which looks like a big bow and bonus…it stays put!!

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Really pleased with how it turned out and I’m definitely going to make some more for summer! What do you think?
This is a great little sew for beginners as it’s so easy. If anyone would like me to blog a tutorial with measurements etc, let me know!

That’s it for now.
Kate x

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The not so accidental crochet cowl!

I originally had a ball of Rowan’s thick ‘n’ thin yarn from my lovely children for Christmas. I decided to crochet myself a cowl..so bought an extra ball or two and began. Trouble was, the yarn wasn’t really suitable for the pattern and I needed a lot more yarn! So I unravelled, chose another pattern and made this….

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It’s a beautiful yarn…exactly that…thick and then thin..it almost self patterns as you crochet. Lovely and chunky, I crocheted this up on the largest hook I had, a size 9. This created a lovely open pattern with a soft drape. Very snug!

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I found this pattern on Ravelry which, if you haven’t looked at before, you must! It’s a fab forum and library of knitting and crochet patterns..many of which are free or at a very minimal fee to purchase them. You can store your patterns in your own library…so much going on there to detail here so take a look!

The pattern I chose, ‘The Accidental Cowl’ is also available direct from Elizabeth’s blog Crochet in Color and it’s incredibly simple to follow and suitable for a beginner.

I made a few changes…I chained a few extra on the foundation round because I wanted the cowl a little longer. I also did not crochet in the round but joined the finished piece once I’d completed enough rows that gave me the width I wanted…I just kept doing rows, ending each row with a chain 3 and turn and followed Elizabeth’s instructions for the rows. It was very simple.

The yarn is so pretty and I adore the emerald green colour. I think this Rowan yarn is perfect for a beginner as it did not split at all as you work it, which is a plus in my book and works up really quickly! Bingo!

I used just under four 50 gram balls for this cowl.

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I even blocked it to finish it properly! That was simple too, though it did take about 3 days to dry as it’s so thick! I’ve had loads of compliments about it and I will make another one or certainly some for presents for next Christmas! I may try the Sirdar Big Softee next time as its much cheaper and similar to work with and comes in an array of beautiful colours.

Hope you like it too! Have any if you knitted with the Rowan thick ‘n’ thin yarn before? what did you make?

p.s. sorry about the ropey photography and subject…not easy taking selfies from far enough away!!

This is progress, I’m sure it is…

HaPpY nEw YeAr!!!!

Is this a bit late? well, that’s not unlike me…hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year…so now it’s business as usual. Many of you may already have returned to work but for me that’s tomorrow (the joys of working term time only!) and the ankle biters are back at school too! It’s been all last minute ‘hunt the PE kit’ in the house today.

Having only recently made the promise to myself (NYR) aka New Year Resolution…to knuckle down and actually make those clothes I so want to this year, I’ve not got much to show and tell, other than projects on the go or in the pipeline!

So, without further ado, here are a few….

Crochet
My adorable children, 1,2 & 3, bought me some yarn for Christmas…I’ve made a lovely chunky headband for my eldest with one of the balls of yarn and now her friend (in the Netherlands) wants one…so have chosen this Barbe à Papa of a yarn (French for Candyfloss don’t you know!) as she loves baby pink! Excuse the terrible photo quality as it’s so dark all the time…

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Almost finished it but need an extra ball of yarn for the last piece!! So annoying as my daughter’s worked with the one ball!!

But look at what I have to use to
crochet with…

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What a wonderful Christmas present!! A full set of hooks all the way up to a size 10 in a gorgeous red aluminium…my favourite to crochet with…and in a polka dot case!!! I was thrilled with this!

My Anna dress toile is making slow but good progress, but as yet I’ve no fabric for the real one…I thought I had but it wasn’t enough…boo! So I need to choose something. In the meantime, I’ve started on my Miette Wrap skirt from the lovely Tilly and The Buttons…

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It took me a while to piece the printed pattern pieces together as I’ve not done this before but it weirdly was quite enjoyable!! I’ve got some great fabric so watch this space……

I made another of Tilly’s fake fur collar for another friend, which is her free downloadable pattern available here
•**•free pattern•**• and is super easy…actually need to make mine!!!

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Again, please excuse the picture quality…even with the flash on it’s so dark in my house at the moment!

The last project in my queue is my Simplicity 2451 skirt that I’ve just found some material from my stash to use. I love this skirt! Well, at least on everyone else I’ve seen it on it looks gorgeous…I’m hoping that I’ve not got some warped sense of thinking it’ll look good on me like it does on other women…will have to see! I’ve got a suitable zip but am now considering one in a different colour for a slightly more unusual look…if you like that exposed zip in a contrast colour thing, which I do!

So, I have quite a bit to be getting on with for now…and somewhere, somehow, in between working, three school children and their homework, after school clubs, taxi service, rabbits, dog etc etc…I will make time to sew!!! Even if it’s the odd hour here or there, I’ve promised myself this year…because sewing makes me very content..yes, it can be frustrating…but learning a new skill and making something is progress…rewarding, relaxing and with a great sense of satisfaction. I’m dedicating my Friday day off work to giving myself at least an hour of sewing time…stuff the hoovering!! I’ll take over the kitchen for a bit of self indulgence.

How often do you get to sew? do you have a dedicated sewing space?

So here’s to a positive start to 2014…chin! chin!

Kate x

Make a fake fur collar!! Fluffy love!

Hello and a very HaPpY cHriStMaS!!!!

This is a short post but one that may just solve your absolute last minute Christmas present dilemma!!! Oh yeh, read on…..

Thank you to the lovely Tilly Walnes, tillyandthebuttons.com @tillybuttons for giving us this•*•*•free pattern•*•*• for her easy peasy fake (fur) collar….

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Here is Tilly’s gorgeous collar….

And here is my version….

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This was for my lovely friend Sarah…and she loved it!!!!

Here she is wearing it….

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Cute heh?

I didn’t go with the slinky lining and instead used some left over red cotton gingham from my stash as my friend loves the stuff! The pattern uses a hook and eye to close it but I went with some gorgeous polka dot red ribbon! Very Christmassy!

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This was a super easy pattern to follow with Tilly’s fab picture tutorial to follow…warning: there’s a whole lotta fluff!!
So if you’re looking for a last minute present to make, give it a go!!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 🎄
Kate xxx

Crochet fingerless mittens…try taking these babies off!

This is a very short and quick post!!! I just wanted to show you these beautiful (well, it’s only one in the photo as I had to use the camera with the other hand!) …where was I? oh yes, some beautiful crocheted fingerless mittens. This pattern is free from the lovely Made with Loops for the wonderful Brenhines Eira “Snow Queen” fingerless mittens pattern. Here is my version….

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I made them using some beautiful Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester yarn in a gorgeous mustard, and a sort of powder blue Rowan alpaca…they are just so soft and boy are they warm! These are my first attempt so I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out…I’m already thinking of the next pair!

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I’m not super speedy at crochet but these are quick to make up and easy too…fancy having a go? I think they’d make a great Christmas present if you can prize them off your own hands first!! Follow the Made With Loops link above for the pattern!!

Kate x

p.s. I’m not sure if I’ve set up my twitter and Instagram links properly but you can find me on both; Twitter @thepolkadotroom and Instagram thepolkadotroom

Pompoms!!

Well, it’s been a long time….a very long time indeed since I’ve posted on my blog. Sadly neglected. A new job has taken over the last few months and now that has to change! So, I’m back, with a simple, shortish post to get me back on my bicycle, as it were!

Not much sewing has been going on recently but look at this….

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My Tam O’Shanter!!! a very lovely, special friend made me this as a birthday present earlier this month…isn’t it divine? I squealed with delight when I opened this….and, it came with some Kate Davies matching Hare & Tortoise fingerless gloves…all a surprise and wonderful too!!!

There was an option of a pompom so my friend let me decide…so with a few wool scraps to match I treated myself to a Clover pompom maker size ‘large’ and ‘grande’ and off I went….

If you’ve not seen one before, here are a few pics of it…

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It’s very simple to use….just keep winding round these little curved arms until they’re full up…

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I sort of cheated and ended up using three colours of yarn at the same time! Once you’re finished, you ‘close’ up the arms and you’re ready to ‘snip’ the yarn…

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You then tie some yarn round the middle to secure the pompom, then gently remove both sides of the maker…fluff up the yarn, trim as required and voilà! you have one gorgeous fluffy pompom!!

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I made two; one of each size, so all I had to do was decide on the size that worked best…I initially went for the smaller of the two, then changed my mind and chose it’s bigger brother!!

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I ran out of time and light to take the ‘after’ shot of the now proper Tam (as it has it’s pompom and is no longer a beret)…so must try and do that. The photo of the complete hat is with the smaller pompom, with my smallest child modelling it!! I don’t think it is quite so neat as I didn’t trim it..oh well, it’ll do for now!

In the meantime, I’m now thinking of making some pompom garlands for the Christmas tree…as I already have the teeny tiny Clover pompom maker! Very very cute they are too! I’d definitely recommend buying one of these if pompoms are your thing…very quick and easy to use and they’re quite addictive!!!

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Bye for now

Kate x

Crochet tea light jar cover….am I the oldest teacher’s pet??

Today was the end of term for my two boys….they have been coming out of school all week laden with bags, books, cards, and more books! Most importantly they each won a class year medal…one for ‘effort’ one for ‘citizenship’ their faces when they showed me….so proud of themselves as am I!

I was given a gift by one of their teachers….a beautiful butterfly lavender! I’m a lavender lover, a lover of lavender….

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The scent is gorgeous…..

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It is always very touching to be thought of like this, especially when it’s unexpected as we’re normally the ones giving the presents!

I find this whole present idea quite a challenge. What do you give the person you’ve perhaps only met a handful of times?

I decided to buy one thing and make one thing….so the make one thing was this crochet jar cover….and it was very well received I am happy to say!

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I found the pattern and fantastic picture tutorial over on Lululoves do take a look at this blog…photography is wonderful, beautifully presented, packed full of helpful information and some brilliant tutorials! This jar cover tutorial also has a pdf version to download. Just click on the link Lululoves for her brilliant picture tutorial.

Whilst talking about crochet…for any of you new to crochet or even thinking about starting or just love reading and sharing with other like minded people about crochet, take a look at this fantastic crochet event taking place online, Crochet Camp 2013 and get involved. It’s been running since beginning of July and is ongoing, with advice, support and tutorials and projects for you to follow at your own pace; everything from basic stitches to type of yarn….There’s also a Facebook page, so take a look!! Whoops, I digress!! where was I? Oh yes, my jar cover…..

I used a Debbie Bliss cotton yarn in a sort of nude pink? for the jar cover. It is easy to use and creates a lovely finished stitch and helps to bring out the shell pattern. Unfortunately I didn’t get time to take pics with a tea light in and lit as it was broad daylight! I’m really pleased with finished result though, especially the lovely ribbon trim I had lurking around in my stash!

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It’s been another warm hot and emotional day for many children and parents whose children are leaving school to move on to secondary school. This evening brought a welcome cooler temperature and breeze and as the sun was setting the sky was amazing, a ‘beau ciel’ filled with an almost, explosion of clouds of different shapes and sizes….wonderful….can you see the one that looks like it has tentacles??

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What has today brought for you? Have you had to run the gauntlet of the end of term teacher’s presents? What are you planning for the school holidays?

Kate x

Fun, Fabs and a pretty Gathered Bag

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Mini Fabs in the garden were the order of the day today….boy has it been hot! Even the dog was drinking out of the paddling pool….sensible boy!

Fun time spent at my sister-in-laws at their biannual Village Fayre…there was a dog show, falconry displays, competition tent….best ginger cake, best rhubarb, best single rose……

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‘Tequila Sunrise’ single rose 1st prize went to my lovely sister-in-law….well done lovely lady!

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Marvellous. The WI tent, band, and even the ‘Green Barrows’ the most hilarious but talented group of men in red overalls, and Biggles goggles and headwear, charging around with green wheelbarrows in formation! Set on the village green…a brilliant afternoon.

It was my sister-in-laws birthday so I decided to make her a present, I much prefer that personal touch. She’s a cloth bag kind of girl so I chose this lovely bag to make from my local great independent fabric, wool and haberdashery shop The Owl & Sewing Cat that stocks great patterns for all sorts of home accessories and bags, clothing, children’s and baby accessories….do take a look. They also stock wool and gorgeous fabrics and supplies as well as running sewing workshops. Anyway, back to my bag. I purchased the pattern from The Owl & Sewing Cat and this is The Gathered Bag and it’s rated as an intermediate level. I chose a lovely Elephant print hot pink fabric for outside of bag and a sage stripe lining, finished with grey ribbon trim and hand made bow.

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Gathered bag lining

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Ribbon trim and hand made bow

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The finished bag!

Really pleased with this. It took me longer than I thought….largely because I started it at a Sewing evening in Lewes. A friend invited me to this monthly event of like minded sewing lovelies….each bringing along a sewing project they were working on, a pinnie, a child’s dress, hankies, cushion, and my friend was making this gorgeous Cath Kidston ‘Stitch’ pattern quilted bag….I’ve yet to see her finished item but it was looking fab! Anyway, a lovely evening, however, I’ve realised it’s easy to get distracted in a big group…so I missed cutting out a pattern piece for starters and I cut it incorrectly and spoiled the fabric….had to later seam two pieces together to get the ‘fold’ I needed back for the missing piece! Yikes! Still, I saved it, but after a discussion with my friend we both agreed that sewing is often a solitary past time, filled with concentration and thought and maybe we need to learn to talk less and focus more if we do the group thing again!!! I had to catch up the next evening as a result of my distractions!! Although we plan to start our own ‘Drop Everything & Sew!’ (think that’s what we’ll call it) evening in our home town!

Do any of you take part in group sewing nights or days?
What have you been up to this hot weekend? Any crafty projects in the making?