Category Archives: Handmade

Log Cabin Blanket & Cushion

Posted on 17 January, 2016

IMG_6851I published the patterns for both my Log Cabin Blanket and my Log Cabin Cushion through Ravelry last weekend.  I would like to thank all the knitters who took the time (and yarn) to test knit this for me.  All your feedback is very much appreciated.

I really enjoyed designing both of these and I am delighted with how they have both turned out!  These are my new favourite designs (I think I say that about all my new patterns).

IMG_6727My Log Cabin Blanket is 36 inches (91.5cm) square.  For this blanket, I have gone with one of my favourite log cabins – one half of the square in light shades, the other in dark shades, and a red centre square to represent the heart of the home.

I used New Lanark Aran to knit my Log Cabin Blanket, as the Mill that produces this yarn is not far from my home. I do enjoy designing and knitting with locally made products, which makes this yarn an ideal choice for me.

IMG_6804After knitting my blanket, I had to design a matching cushion cover.  My Log Cabin Cushion fits over a 13.75 inch (35cm) square cushion pad.  For the cushion, I used New Lanark Aran again.

IMG_6794The top and bottom pieces of the back of my cushion are knitted in one shade with only the button band being a different colour.  I used red love heart buttons on my cushion; again to represent the heart of the home.

Instructions for both the blanket and the cushion are in written format (no charts). A colour photograph has been provided at each stage in the construction of the log cabin square to show how the square should look and a template has been provided too, so that you can experiment with different colours and yarns.

If you buy both my Log Cabin Blanket and my Log Cabin Cushion patterns, a £1.50 discount will be given at the Ravelry checkout.
No code needed. The discount will automatically be applied and this discount lasts throughout all of 2016.

Happy knitting everyone – I hope that 2016 is a happy and healthy year for all of you!

Log Cabin Knitting

Posted on 21 November, 2015

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Log cabin blocks are one of my favourite blocks to sew together with fabric and I have made quite a few quilts featuring them.  As I enjoy sewing these blocks so much, I’ve been thinking about knitting a log cabin blanket just like the traditional sewn/quilted versions, with one half of the block made up of light shades, the other half with dark shades, and a red centre square, to represent the heart of the home.

I’m designing/writing up my own block pattern for a more traditional themed Log Cabin Blanket. Although I was pleased with how my first swatch turned out, I felt that two of my darker colours were very similar.  After rearranging the darker shades that I had used within this first block and also adding another light shade, I was much happier with my second swatch.

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I’m using New Lanark Aran to knit my blocks.  I used their Cherry shade to knit the centre square , the three light shades are Ecru, Limestone and Lovage and the three dark shades are Pebble, Gritstone and Natural Black (in order from lightest to darkest).

One of the fun parts about putting together log cabin blocks is deciding on a layout for the finished blanket.  I’ve arranged a few different layouts for my finished blanket on my computer:

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I think this is my favourite layout so far:

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My blocks measure 8″ square, so if I knit 16 blocks, my finished blanket should measure approx 32″ square (not including any borders that I may add).

I have 10 squares knitted already, so watch this space . . . finished blanket photos coming soon!

A New Venture for Shuttermonkey Designs

Posted on 11 March, 2015

It has been quite some time since my last blog post (isn’t it always?), but I have a new venture that I would like to share today.

I have launched a new Etsy Shop to sell my handmade textile designs. To start off with, I will be selling handmade baby quilts and handknitted baby hats, and I will be following this up soon with craft bags, stitch markers, baby bunting and more.

To celebrate the launch of my new shop on Etsy, for a limited time I will be offering all my handcrafts at a special ‘introductory price’!

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The baby quilts that I am selling are made entirely with 100% cotton materials and are made up of three layers:

  1. The patchwork top layer, made using cotton designer fabrics.
  2. The wadding in the middle, which is 100% cotton from the Warm & Natural range of quilt wadding.
  3. The backing fabric, which is also 100% cotton.

These quilts are 34.5” long and 26.5” wide and are the perfect size for using in a travel cot, as a playmat or as an ‘on the go’ quilt.  The top layers have been pieced together in a modern, ‘plus themed’ layout.  The fabric that I have used for the pink quilt is from the  Posy range by Aneela Hoey and the blue quilt uses fabrics from the Lily and Will range by Bunny Hill Designs.

I will have more handmade baby quilts in a variety of colours and patterns available soon.

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The handknitted baby hats that I have for sale have been knitted using Sirdar Snuggly Baby DK yarns. Each hat has a side fastening with 2 buttons which makes the size adjustable.  The baby boy hats have a character button sewn onto the brim, while the baby girl hats have a crochet flower stitched onto the right side of them.

These hats are a newborn size and are approx. 30cm in circumference.  I will have more hats in a variety of colours added to my shop very soon.

Both the quilts and the hats can be machine washed on a cool wash cycle, and the quilts can be ironed as required.  All are ready to gift as they have already been washed with non-biological soap powder and rinsed with Fairy fabric softener.

This new venture has been something that I have wanted to try for quite some time and it is on my list of goals for 2015, along with knitting my stash and finishing all my WIPs!  Over the last year I have been focussing a lot of my time on sewing and quilting . . . but there will be some new Shuttermonkey Designs knitting patterns making their debut later this year too! xx

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Lady Grey

Posted on 25 March, 2014

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This is my recently completed Lady Grey coat from Colette Patterns.

I’ve been making this coat on and off (more off than on) since September 2013 after taking a Tailored Jacket Course at The Stitchery in Glasgow.

The description of this coat from the Colette website describes it as follows:

Short wrap coat with princess seams, perfect for between seasons. Has a very wide collar, 3/4 length sleeves that look wonderful with bracelets or long gloves, and fullness at the hem. Coat is fully lined. Closes with one internal and one external button, and includes wide self-fabric tie belt.

My coat is more of a winter coat as I have used a heavier weight fabric.

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My main coat fabric is a wool/cashmere blend and I’ve lined my coat with a grey coloured china silk.  I bought my fabrics from Mood Fabrics while I was in New York for my 40th Birthday last August.  These were a pretty big purchase for me, and it took a couple of trips before I was brave enough to actually buy the fabrics.  Any excuse to go back, eh?

Now that it’s finished, I absolutely love this coat! It’s just a shame that I didn’t finish it sooner so that I could wear it all winter long.  While at the Tailored Jacket Class, I was taught A LOT of tailoring techniques, and I mean A LOT!!  I did use these techniques when making my jacket, but a few of them I have removed/replaced.  I pad stitched both my lapels, but after a lot of humming and hawing (and weeks of the jacket lying unfinished), I re-cut my lapel pieces and added them to my coat without this pad stitching.  The lapels just didn’t sit properly with the pad stitching, and also I felt that it would look silly if I decided to add a button hole and button onto my lapel pieces later . . . you know, for buttoning up during winter to help keep the cold out.

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A couple of the things I love most about this coat are the princess seams and all the top stitching.  This is the first time I’ve sewn something with princess seams and not only do I love how the seam sits against the body, I just love that name for a seam too!  I love all the detail that the top stitching along my seams gives . . . although my poor wee sewing machine may not agree with me there.

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As you can see from the two photos above, I didn’t put buttons on my coat.  Instead I decided to go for big, stud fastenings as the buttons will never be seen underneath the belt anyway.  You can see my china silk lining in one of those photos too.  I did want to go for a nice bright pink or purple lining, but the girl from Mood advised me that that wasn’t the done thing.

IMG_0580I love this big collar, the three quarter length sleeves and the fullness of the coat below the waist.  It is a very flattering shape for me to wear and I wish I had got some photos of me wearing it on its maiden voyage out for dinner last night.

IMG_0570bIf I were to make this coat again (which won’t be anytime soon), I would make my lining slightly longer and I wouldn’t add the pockets.  My pockets are made from the china silk lining fabric and are very delicate.  I won’t be putting my phone or keys in them for fear of tearing the fabric.

In the meantime, I hope to get a little bit more wear from this jacket during the spring months before the weather gets to warm.  Oh, who am I kidding?!  I live in Scotland.  I’ll probably still be wearing this coat mid-summer knowing what our weather is like.

Feeling Crafty

Posted on 13 December, 2011

I’ve been feeling very crafty over the last few weeks.  As well as publishing my last two beret designs for this year, I’ve also tried my hand at making jewellery, stitch markers and a felted bead shawl pin!

Berets first . . . my Saltire Beret and my Snowflake Beret.

I released the Saltire Beret to celebrate St Andrew’s Day here in Scotland.  The Saltire, also known as the St Andrew’s Cross, is one of Scotland’s most recognisable symbols and according to legend is the oldest continuously used sovereign flag in the world.  I used Artesano 100% Alpaca 4ply yarn (shade 3138 Uruguay) and 520 white beads for this beret.  It was very windy the day these pics were taken and there were a few scary moments where I thought the wind was going to blow the beret right off my head.

The Snowflake Beret is another festive design with beaded snowflake motifs in the crown shaping as well as in the body of the beret.  This is J C Rennie Supersoft 4ply yarn (shade 273 Blueprint) with 950 silver beads knitted in to make the little snowflake motifs.  This is my favourite of my three festive designs.  I do love snowflakes, and have photographed them in the past for the front of a Charity Christmas card for Alzheimer Scotland.

The first new craft I have learned recently is jewellery making.  I took part in a Swarovski Jewellery Workshop at Ninvai in Glasgow.  It was a small workshop with only 3 of us taking part.  There was a great selection of beads and findings available and by the end of the 3 hour workshop, I left with a necklace, bracelet and a pair of earrings.

I’m really pleased with how this set turned out and I wore it when I went out for Christmas dinner with my Irvine knitting group.  This workshop normally costs £80, but I booked mine using a Groupon voucher and got it at a very good discount.  It’s worth keeping an eye on the Groupon and ItIsOn deals in your area.

After making this jewellery and learning what all the different findings were called, I was able to buy the pieces that I needed to make my own stitch markers.

I just love the little fruity ones . . . they’re so cute!  Making my own stitch markers is something that I have wanted to do for some time.  I’ve bought quite a few sets of stitch markers as I like a bit of ‘bling’ on my needles as I’m knitting.  I’ve been buying lots of beads recently and I’m hoping to make some more stitch markers soon and maybe even sell them online.  I had a lot of fun making these ones, and even managed to get my daughter involved too.

The final skill that I’ve learned is making felted beads that can be used on shawl pins, keyrings and so on.  I did this at a workshop run by my friend Chris at McHatties in West Kilbride.  This was another 3 hour workshop where we would learn different methods of making felted beads and also how to make the accessories to show them off.  First we felted beads by hand and then added them to a shawl pin that we made ourselves too from silver plated wire.

It’s very pretty . . . although I will have to knit a shawl now to match my bead colours.  I really like the multi-coloured fibres through the centre bead.  This is called angel hair and I fell in love with it the minute it was taken out of its packet.

Next we made beads by felting over metal skewers.  A slightly different method from the first beads, but this method does give your arms a good workout.  Rather than little individual beads, you end up with a long wand-shaped felted piece that you can then cut up.  As we were running short of time, we made a keyring with these beads.

There’s angel hair through these beads again!  I did mention that I loved this stuff, right?  This was a fantastic workshop, and even though it was supposed to be only 3 hours long, we were there for nearly 4 hours.  Cost (including all materials) was only £25.  McHattie’s are offering lots of reasonably priced workshops including jewellery making, shrug knitting and a few different felting ones.  I’m looking forward to doing more of their workshops next year.

I’ve had lots of fun learning these new crafts recently and there are a few more that I want to try too thanks to Kirstie Allsopp and her Handmade Britain programme on Channel 4.  I missed the first few episodes, but I managed to catch up online and have loved every minute of it . . . even the brawn making part!  I’m really keen to try soap making which was shown in one of her Christmas Episodes available to view here on 4OD.  I would also love to make my own Christmas cards this year too, but with less than 2 weeks until Christmas, I still have to knit myself a skirt and two Christmas gifts,  so the cards may have to wait till next year.