Thursday, 7 November 2013

Colour Inspiration - Pink and Aqua

I am loving everything aqua at the moment, from greens with the slightest hint of blue, to deep teal, to blues with the slightest hint of green. And when coupled with pink it's even better.

What's your latest colour crush?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

TAST 67-68: Fancy Hem Stitch and Slipped Detached Chain Stitch

I've decided to make my own Christmas cards this year. I like the idea of embroidering some of them so this TAST offerings has a bit of a Christmassy theme.  I've made a little Christmas tree with the Fancy Hem Stitch and Slipped Detached Chain Stitch.  The sparkly thread is Anchor metallic. I found it a bit tricky to stitch with as it sort of unravelled when pulled through the material, but I found that if I let it unravel the final effect was still OK.

For more information about TAST pay a visit to Pin Tangle.

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Knitting and Stitching Show

Last week I was lucky enough to make it to The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.  It was my first time at the show and I was beyond excited at the prospect of an entire (child-free!) day to look at stitchy goodness.  It was a pretty dreary day, but that didn't dampen my mood one bit.

I had a vague shopping list in mind, which I'm glad I did because otherwise I think that the whole thing would have been overwhelming.  That, the fact that I forgot to take more cash with me and many of the card terminals weren't working because of a lousy signal, and the fact that I refused to pay almost £2 for the privilege of taking money out of the cash machines that were dotted around saved me from spending A LOT more money than I did.

There were so many amazing, beautiful and inspiring things on show, but of course I also forgot to charge my phone so only came away with a handful of photos!  Please forgive the quality of the photos - I took them all in a hurry so that my battery would last and some of them are a bit out of focus, but here are some of my favourites:

One of the first things I came across was a display of quilts. I'm not a quilter but some of the creations were amazing, like this elephant quilt (I didn't see a maker's name).  I just love the colours in this.

Also this mini quilt "The Rose of Versailles" bu Kumiko Frydl.  From a distance it looks like pink fabric...

...but get close up and you can see that it's all been stitched!

I love this embroidered clock that I saw at the Embroiderers' Guild stand.  My picture doesn't do it justice at all (not least because it isn't quite in focus!), but it really was breathtaking. I also saw some fabulous examples of floral stumpwork, but alas no pictures :-(

One of the stands that I couldn't buy from because of a lack of cash and no card facilities was Aarti J which was filled with some of the most gorgeous trims that I have ever seen.  (Probably a good thing that I couldn't spend there.)

It was a great day out, but by the end of the day even I was starting to lose the will to look at more fabric!  I came away with a pretty good stash - several fat quarters and half metres of fabric including a good selection of Christmas fabric, fabric wax crayons, dissolvable fabric, quite a few magazine back-issues including Stitch, some linen thread yarn, buttons and brooch backs:

Did any of you get to the show?  What goodies did you pick up?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

TAST 64-66: Top Knotted Buttonhole, Buttonhole Bar and Coral Stitch

I've seen so many examples of lovely embroidered paisley so I decided to have a go.

I did not like stitching the Top Knotted Buttonhole. At all! Because of the way the thread has to twist in order to make the knot I found it impossible to get into any sort of rhythm, which is a shame as it's an interesting-looking stitch.

Buttonhole Bar and Coral Stitch were much more enjoyable - lending themselves nicely to that all-important rhythm. Do you find that a nice rhythm when stitching makes the process much easier?

To see how to work these stitches (and a whole load more) take a look at Pin Tangle's TAST page. And also have a look at the comments for embroidery inspiration.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Crocheted Flower Bookmark

This post has been republished as the original mysteriously disappeared!

Hello everyone - blog stop tourists, current readers and new visitors too! Thank you for stopping  by.  I love a bit of needlework - mainly sewing, embroidery and crochet, though lately crochet has been dominating my craft time.  So today I'm sharing a crochet tutorial for pretty flower bookmarks.  But don't rush off if you don't crochet,scroll down for a really simple, but pretty envelope packaging idea, and I've got a few things to give away too!

E-readers are great, but for me nothing compares with holding a real live book in my hands.  I came across some crocheted flower bookmarks on Pinterest and thought it was such a lovely way to mark a page.  So then of course I had to come up with my own version.  I made a few as end of year gifts for my son's teachers so hopefully there are no mistakes in the pattern! It's quick to make up and a great way to use up yarn scraps. So anyway, here's how to make one of your own:


Note - I'm using UK crochet terms, but here is a quick UK-US translation:
UK                                     US
Slip Stich (sl st)                   Slip Stitch (sl st)
Double Crochet (dc)             Single Crochet (sc)
Treble Crochet (tr)               Double Crochet (dc)


  • DK Yarn in two colours. I used James C Brett Cotton On shades C05 (pink) and C012 (green).
  • A 4mm hook
  • A button, about 15mm
  • Tapestry needle


  1. With the first colour chain (ch) 42 (image 1). Slip stitch (sl st) into 3rd chain from hook to make a small ring (image 2). Fasten off, leaving a long tail.
  2. Cut 3 10cm lengths of yarn.
  3. Fold them in half and pull the loop about half way through the back loop of first ch of the ch42 (images 3 and 4).
  4. Take the ends and pass those through the loop, then pull to form a tassel (image 5). 
  5. Trim the ends to the same length.

With the second colour:

  1. Sl st into the ring you made in step 1 of the stem. *Dc into ring, ch4* five times. Sl st into first dc (image 1).
  2. *6tr into ch4 space. Sl st into next dc. Rep from * 4 times (image 2).
  3. Turn the flower over. Ch 2. 
  4. *Dc over the post separating the two petals (image 3). Ch 6* five times (image 4).
  5. Sl st into first dc. Turn.
  6. *10tr into ch6 space. Sl st into next dc. Rep from * 4 times (image 5).
  7. Fasten off.
Using the tail from the stem, sew a button to the centre of the flower.  Weave in all remaining ends (image 6).


If you make one of these bookmarks as a gift, or if you are looking for a nice way to package a small (flattish) gift, then these easy envelopes are ideal.  Use plain or patterned paper.  You can get some free printable papers from here.  This really is so easy it hardly deserves a write-up, but the result does look nice.

  • A sheet of paper. (I've used A4)
  • Sticky tape / Washi tape / Fabric tape

  1. If using an A4 sheet, fold it in half lining up the long edges.
  2. Cut along the fold to give you two strips (image 1).
  3. Take one strip and fold it from the bottom so that there is 1-inch/2.5cm left at the top (image 2).
  4. Cut a piece of tape the same length as one of the open folded sides, not including the 1-inch/2.5cm at the top. 
  5. Position the tape so that half of it is on the paper and half of it is overhanging (image 3).
  6. Fold the tape over to the other side of the envelope to seal the opening (image 4).
  7. Repeat on the other side.
  8. Use a small piece of tape to seal the envelope shut.
(Apologies if some of the photos are a little unclear. The Washi tape I ordered did not arrive in time for this post :( and all I had was clear sticky tape!)

    OK, and now to the giveaways! I have:

    • three crocheted flower bookmarks, 
    • one kit to make your own bookmarks (containing a 4mm crochet hook, enough yarn to make 3 bookmarks, buttons, a tapestry needle and printed instructions) and 
    • a roll of Washi tape  (pictured below) 
      (image: PrettyTape)
    up for grabs.  To enter just leave a comment saying which giveaway you want to enter (it's OK to enter all 3). For an extra chance to win, like the Berry Bakewell Facebook Page then come back here and leave a comment telling me you've done that.  The giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide and will close at midnight (UK time) 22nd August.

    I hope you've enjoyed your visit, and hope to see you again :-)


    Missing Post!

    I've just noticed that the post "Crocheted Flower Bookmark" that I wrote for the Creative Crafting summer blog tour has mysteriously disappeared from this blog! Along with all the comments and viewing stats associated with it. It's as though it never existed.  I'm fairly certain that I didn't delete it and if not for the fact that there are links to it from elsewhere on the web I'd be doubting my sanity right now. It's really upsetting as a lot of work went into it and it was one of my most popular posts! Has this ever happened to anyone? Any advice about how (if) I can recover it would be gratefully received.

    And apologies for not announcing the winner of the giveaway yet, but that's a bit difficult for obvious reasons!

    TAST 62-63: Raised Cross Stitch Flower and Scroll Stitch

    Here's my attempt at the Raised Cross Stitch Flower and Scroll Stitch.  I liked both stitches - they had a nice rhythm to them.  I'm not sure I like the finished piece though. It's not quite what I imagined, but these are definitely two stitches I would like to use again.

    For more information and inspiration take a few minutes to visit Pin Tangle.

    Tuesday, 27 August 2013

    TAST 61 - Up and Down Feathered Buttonhole

    I had real trouble with this stitch at first. I just couldn't get it to sit right. So I went back to practise (stitch 3) Feather Stitch and to learn (stitch 26) Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch (I found Mary Corbett's video for UDBS really useful). After that it all went much more smoothly.

    This sampler is made up of all three stitches.

    For further details about TAST or to see the list of all the stitches so far head over to Pin Tangle.

    Monday, 19 August 2013

    Creative Connections Blog Tour Round-up

    Well, the blog tour is over, but what a fun ride. I'm glad I stepped out of my shell a bit and took part.  It was great to see so many different disciplines - sewing, art, jewellery-making, even a novelist! - in many different mediums, but also to discover what we had in common.  A pleasant surprise for me was how international the tour was.  In case you missed it here's a list of all the blogs that took part. If you're quick you might even find a giveaway or two that is still open.  And while you're at it why not check out the Creative Connections community as well?

    1 - The Old Button
    2 Loopy’s Place
    3 Sussesspindehyrne
    4 - Vicky Myers Creations
    7 - Arlene's Crafts
    8 - Personal Space Interiors
    10 - Me
    11 - Pastelesta
    12 - Lilly My Cat
    15 - Bridgit's Bell
    16 - Silent Companions

    Sunday, 4 August 2013

    TAST 56-60: Sailor's Stitch, Sailor's Edge Stitch, Woven Detached Chain Stitch, Breton Stitch and Diamond Stitch

    Long time no stitch! It's been an age since I picked up needle and thread. Lately my go-to craft has been crochet, but I've missed my embroidery, so yesterday I decided to start catching up with the TAST challenge (and I've got a lot of catching up to do!).

    As I'm so far behind I've only done a short line of each stitch.

    56. Sailor's Stitch.  
    57. Sailor's Edge Stitch.  
    58. Woven detached chain stitch.

    57. Breton Stitch.
    58. Diamond Stitch.

    I found it tricky to get the tension right with the woven detached chain stitch, but it's nothing that a little practise wouldn't cure.  I also tried to get a wavy line of Breton stitches, but it didn't quite work. I think maybe the stitches needed to be closer together.  So, five down twelve to go to get caught up! 

    It's been a while since I've seen what everyone's been up to with TAST so I'm off to Pin Tangle to have a look.

    Thursday, 1 August 2013

    The Creative Crafting Summer Blog Tour

    creative crafting summer blog tour

    Yay! The Creative Crafting Summer Blog Tour starts today.  Hop on board  and visit a different creative blog a day during August.  Sharon from The Old Button is kicking things off, so why not go and say hello?  I'm so excited to be one of the scheduled stops.  Look out for my post on 10th August.  Take a look here for all the other stops on the tour.

    By the way, there are still a few stops available, so if you have a creative blog and you'd like to take part then get in touch: thecrystallady (at) creative-crafting (dot) com.

    Friday, 26 July 2013

    Finished Friday - Crocheted Flower Hair Clips

    I've been so busy in the last couple of months that I've neglected my flower hair clips and the Folksy shop is looking a little bare. I've had several single flowers lying around for a while but hadn't gotten around to assembling the layered flower with button centre and then attaching it to a hair clip. But a recent bout of productivity spurred on by some commissions from my neighbour (I wish I had more neighbours like her!) means that I now have a few new crocheted flower hair clips to list.
    I particularly like the green and pink. 

    Which is your favourite?

    Wednesday, 26 June 2013

    Cardiff Craft and Hobby Show

    At the end of May I went to the Cardiff Craft and Hobby Show. I think that this is the second or maybe the third one, but it was my first time attending. 

    Personally I was a little disappointed. If I had been into jewellery, jewellery-making or papercrafts then I would have had a ball. But although there were a few stands selling finished stitched goods, there was less than a handful of stands selling fabric, yarn and other stitchy supplies, which is what I was really hoping to find.  Having said that I did manage to buy a few things, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise that there wasn't more to tempt me! I think the show has got a lot of potential and I'd probably go again, but I would like to see more textiles and needlecraft stands in 2014.  So if you're a supplier of stitchy goods, then there might be an opportunity for you...

    So what did I get? Some lovely May Arts chevron ribbon in three colours from Anna Marie Designs, of course a few new buttons to add to my burgeoning collection (the stripy buttons are my favourite), some plain polycotton fabric in a fabulous shade of blue and a bargain bag of crochet cotton (not pictured), which I hope to turn into as shawl for an upcoming birthday present.

    Friday, 7 June 2013

    Luck of the Draw

    About a month ago I had a small run of good luck when I won a couple of blog giveaways. Woo-hoo! First I won some pretty cards and a letterpressed poster, then I won a gorgeous sheep on Isabelle's blog.  My petit mouton is so cute and my initial has been beautifully embroidered on the back.

    I was delighted to get Isabelle's parcel, but then when I realised that she had generously included a couple of extras in the form of ribbons and buttons, I actually squealed a little bit. 

    What good luck have you had recently?

    Finished Friday

    You've probably heard of Work In Progress (WIP) Wednesday. Well, this is Finished Friday - a place to celebrate those finished projects. Yay! There's nothing quite like putting your needle or hook down and sitting back to admire your handiwork.

    My first Finished Friday is these adorable crochet baby sneakers (pattern from Mon Petit Violon), which I made for my husband's nephew's new baby boy (is there such a thing as a great-nephew-in-law?).  Aren't they sweet?  What have you finished lately?

    Thursday, 23 May 2013

    Buttoned Up

    I've never been a particular fan of buttons. No, scratch that. I've never paid much attention to buttons. They were always just things you put on a shirt - usually plain white and very unremarkable. But then some time last year while in a yarn shop I found some buttons in the most gorgeous shade of pinky-purple. So I bought a few. Just because. Then I got several packs of buttons as free gifts with craft magazines.  Then I saw a blog entry about a shop in Cardiff (that's where I live) called Claire Grove Buttons. So I paid it a visit and was smitten by the incredible array of decorative buttons on display. And I bought a few. Just because they were so pretty. And so on, and so on gradually building up a nice little collection.  My latest button acquisition (pictured second) is from Berry Nice Cushions on Folksy.  I didn't mean to buy any. I was just enjoying having a look. But then they were so cute, and the price was so reasonable, and I succumbed to temptation.

    The thing is, now that I've developed a button habit I'm not entirely sure what to do with them! I've used a few in my crochet flower hair clips and bookmarks, and although I've got loads more plain clips to use up (so loads more crochet flower/button combo opportunities) it would be nice to try using them in some other way.  I've had a quick look on Pinterest and have seen some lovely ideas, but I'm on the lookout for more. That way I can use up my button stash and also have an excuse to give in to my newest vice ;). So if you've come across any beautiful button crafts please point me to them.

    Sunday, 19 May 2013

    TAST 53 - Square Herringbone

    I was inspired by the concentric square herringbones that I saw on Annet's blog.  I decided to offset the orientation of my squares while keeping them concentric to get a sort of twisting effect.

    Go to Pin Tangle for a description of how to work the stitch.

    Wednesday, 8 May 2013

    Scrappy Trips Cushion

    I'm not much of a trend follower, but when I do decide to join in I generally don't do it in a timely manner!  And so it was with the Scrappy Trips Around The World.  It all began several months ago when one of the blogs that I follow mentioned a craze that was sweeping Instagram - #scrappytripalong. I was intrigued so I had a look and thought it was interesting, but not being a quilter that's as far as it went.

    In the meantime I had bought several cushion pads that were going cheap from IKEA, which I then left piled in a corner.  About a month ago I decided it was about time I made some cushion covers for them and the scrappy-trip-along came to mind. It looked so simple and the result looked very pretty so I dived in with gusto. But I soon learned a valuable lesson about precision! Measure accurately, cut accurately and sew accurately, otherwise none of the blocks will line up.  After a lot of unpicking, remeasuring and resewing, my scrappy-trip-along cushion was complete.

    And so, ta-dah! I really love it. So much, that I can't bring myself to let it be used as an actual cushion, so it sits on the sofa but doesn't get leant on :)

    Friday, 19 April 2013

    TAST 54 - Laced Square Herringbone

    When I first saw the Laced Square Herringbone I thought it had a star-like quality.  So I stitched a little night scene: laced square herringbone and cross-stitch stars with a crescent moon over lights from a city.  It's not really in proportion, but let's just call that artistic interpretation ;)

    As always it's well worth looking at the links in the comments to see all the different interpretations of the stitch.  I was amazed by the sheer number of variations that Chitra demonstrated.

    Sunday, 14 April 2013

    TAST 52 - Triangular Feather Stitch

    I bought one of those doodle colouring books for kids from the pound shop. You know the type - it's filled with spirals and geometric patterns to colour in. It looked like it could be a good source for embroidery pattern ideas.  Anyway I found a nice pattern with triangles which I decided to use for the triangular feather stitch.  I thought that the triangles in the pattern would echo the triangles in the stitch, but I think that maybe I should have made the whole thing bigger to accentuate the triangular shapes more.

    It was quite nice to stitch and I really like the effect.  For more details about how to work the stitch and to see how other people have interpreted it pay a visit to Pin Tangle.

    Friday, 12 April 2013

    Inspired by Pinterest - Crocheted Flower Bookmark

    I saw some lovely crocheted flower bookmarks on Pinterest and I decided to make my own version. Mine is much simpler - the flower is much less ornate and I left out the leaves - but still pretty I think. I've used DK yarn (Rico Essentials cotton) and a 4mm hook, and I sewed a button to the centre (to hide the rather messy colour change!).
    What do you think?  I made it up as I went along so I'm going to make another one and make a note of the pattern so that I can post a tutorial.

    Thursday, 21 March 2013

    TAST 51 - Raised Herringbone Band

    This band uses a combination of stitches to produce a very decorative band. It is time-consuming but I do like the finished result.

    I had planned to stitch something different but in the end I came up with this colourful Easter-inspired egg.  The satin stitch was done in Janlynn DFN threads (I don't know anything about them, size or even colour - they came in a value pack with no information, but it's a twisted thread about twice the thickness of Perle no. 8), the herringbone in Aida crochet cotton no. 20, and the weaving in Anchor metallic.

    Do head over to Pin Tangle to see how the band is worked.  It's well worth reading through the comments to see how people have interpreted the stitch. The TAST FAQ page also lists all the stitches done so far by number so you can easily look at previous examples.

    Saturday, 9 March 2013

    TAST 50 - Inverted feather stitch

    I am soooo behind with TAST! But determined that I will catch up at some point.  Here's my attempt at Inverted Feather Stitch.

    I'm happier with the idea than the execution.  I think my silhouette is a bit dodgy and as I wasn't using counted thread fabric I should have taken more time to mark out the border to get nice straight edges.  Live and learn :)

    Pay a visit to Pin Tangle to see the other offerings.

    Pretty Things

    A few weeks ago we went to the South Downs and on the way home stopped of at Winchester.  It's a pretty little city best known for its Cathedral.  On the day we visited there was a market in the city centre, where I saw this lovely embroidered bedspread.  There were a lot of other embroidered items on the stall, but restless kids meant that I didn't have a lot of time for photographs.

    This wonderful colourful book cover in a museum shop also caught my eye:

    Thursday, 7 March 2013

    Wear Flowers in Your Hair

    Last year I opened a shop on Folksy, but it was a bit of a half-hearted affair.  So at the start of this yuear I decided to make more of an effort to fill it and promote it.  It's slow going with all the other things that I've got going on, but slowly but surely I'm getting it together.

    My mum used to sell costume jewellery, some of which she made up herself, and during a clear out of her garage she found a HUGE stash of plain metal hair clips in pristine condition, which she donated to me.  Well, they were just crying out for a bit of embellishment and so I accepted the challenge to make them pretty!  I love flowers, and crocheting them so that seemed like a good place to start.  This is what I've done so far (+ a pincushion):

    What do you think of my crocheted flower hair clips?  I like them, and have actually diverted a couple from the shop for my own use (not a good business model!).  9 down, about 300 to go!

    Monday, 4 March 2013

    Make do and Mend Monday - Upcycled Denim Skirt

    I'm a woman of the large-thighed variety, so this is an unfortunate side-effect of many of my trousers:
    Rather than try to patch them up or throw them away I decided to make a skirt out of these jeans.  I can't remember where I saw the trousers-into-skirt thing, but no doubt there are hundreds of tutorials online.  I made my little upcycling project the basis of a couple of my sewing lessons.

    First step was to cut the jeans to the length of skirt that I wanted and then to cut down the inside leg seams.

    Then I took the bottoms that I'd cut off and cut a piece to match the gap, which I then pinned to the wrong side of the skirt. The piece was then top-stitched in place. Lastly, I added a length of colourful fabric to the hem to brighten the skirt up a bit. Ta dah!

    Not a great set of instructions or photos I know, but I just wanted to show you what I did.