Saturday 30 November 2013

Free Knitting Pattern: Mohair Beanie

This was my first time knitting with such a hairy wool, and although it took some getting used to, the end result was worth it. Soft, fluffy and cosy - I can see myself wearing this for most of the winter.

Turquoise Mohair Fluffy Beanie Hat

This pattern's really simple - all you need to know is knit and pearl as well as how to decrease. Even though mohair is quite thin, I found this worked up quite fast, about 3 to 4 days in total. Also, this is quite a nice project to sit in front of a film with - no intarsia or cabling to concentrate on (hooray!).

You Will Need:
  • 300g Mohair Wool
  • 3mm Needles
  • 3.5 mm needles
  • Sts = stitches
  • K = Knit
  • P = Pearl
  • R = Row
  • K2tog = Decrease by knitting two stitches together
Note: Knit side = right side. The size here is that for an average adult, although you could make it bigger or smaller by beginning with more or less stitches when casting on. Just make sure your number of cast on stitches is a multiple of 12.


Using 3mm needles, cast on 120 sts.
R1: *K2, P2* repeat until end of row.
Keep repeating this row until your ribbing measures 1 inch long.
Change to 3.5mm needles
R1: K across
R2: P across
Work in slip stitch be repeating these two rows until your work measures 18cm from the cast on edge.
Now we can start decreasing!
R1: *K10 sts, K2tog* repeat until end of row (110)
R2: P across
R3: *K9 sts, K2tog* repeat until end of row (100)
R4: P across
R5: *K8 sts, K2tog* repeat until end of row (90)
R6: P across
R7: *K7 sts, K2tog* repeat until end of row (80)
R8: P across
R9: *K6 sts, K2tog* repeat until end of row (70)
R10: P across
R11: *K5 sts, K2tog* repeat until end of row (60)
R12: P across
R13: *K4 sts, K2tog* repeat until end of row (50)
R14: P across
R15: *K3sts, K2tog* repeat until end of row (40)
R16: P across
R17: K2 sts, K2tog* repeat until end of row (30)
R18: P across

Cut off your yarn leaving a long thread. Using a needle, thread your yarn through the remaining 30 sts and pull tight. make up the hat by putting the edges together, right sides facing, so that the ribbing meets at the bottom. Sew along the edges, right the way to the ribbing and then cut off your yarn. Turn your hat right side out, and wear.

Turquoise Mohair Fluffy Beanie Hat

You could go the extra mile by putting a pom-pom on top. Just make sure it's a big, fluffy one (when it comes to pom-poms, the fluffier the better). I was originally planning on putting some bear ears on this hat - I just though it would look good with the fluffy wool (and because bear rhymes with mohair - can't resist a rhyme). I chickened out though, I kind of figured that with this hat being such a bright colour AND being fluffy, it didn't really need to have much more going on.

 I really want to make another one of these in a baby pink, I'm just waiting to find the perfect wool.

Let me know if you try this - I'd love to know how you get on with it. If you have any questions (or spot a mistake) about the pattern, please leave me a comment and I'll do my best to help. I'd especially love to hear if you do decide to put bear ears on.

Friday 29 November 2013

What I'm Reading: The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth

Yesterday evening, I attended a talk at a local bookshop given by Mark Forsyth on his latest book - The Elements of Eloquence. I bought a ticket on a whim, so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Elements of Eloquence

It's always a joy to hear someone talk about something they love so passionately; it always inspires me to try and better myself. Mark's latest book asks why some phrases are so memorable, and others disappear from our memory rather quickly, looking at examples from Shakespeare, Churchill, Blake and many more.

The Elements of Eloquence

As a book-lover, this fascinates me and I can't believe I haven't thought more about the English language and how we use it before. I can't wait to dive into this book after everything I learnt last night. Maybe the effects will start to show on my writing here?

Anybody else reading this at the moment? What else are you reading?

Tuesday 26 November 2013

How to: Hardware Pendant Necklace

Sometimes a plain outfit can just need a simple yet statement necklace to toughen up the whole look. Jewellery made from bits and pieces from the hardware store has become a blogger essential, and goes with pretty much everything. This is my take on the look, made from interesting tools and ephemera from second hand shops.

When I came across this rather interesting piece, I knew it was destined to be hung from a necklace and finish off my outfits. It's actually an old lighter - I'm a little disappointed because I originally thought it was a whistle or a mini-telescope.

Keep an eye out for any interesting old metal objects and hang them from a long chain. You'll have a one-of-a-kind hardware necklace. You could even go the extra mile by customising your metal objects by painting a small section of them in a bright colour.

Have you ever made jewellery from any strange finds?

Monday 25 November 2013

Lets All Wear Novelty Jumpers!

Okay, I've given in. It's time to wear big, naff novelty Christmas jumpers. The problem is that when I wear them, I never look cool or ironic, just a bit sad and pathetic. So how SHOULD Christmas jumpers be worn?

This is my favourite Christmas song. Mainly because it's by The Killers (my favourite band) and also because it's pretty damn funny. But let's talk about those jumpers. I could talk here about ways to make Christmas jumpers look effortlessly cool, but I think they don't need to be. They are CHRISTMAS jumpers, so let's just embrace the silly festive feel in the air and not really care about how good we look. And let's not try to think about how much we'll cringe when we see the photos of us in crazy jumpers a few years on!

Are you wearing your Christmas jumpers yet? 

Friday 22 November 2013

Free Dalek Crochet Pattern

As you may have noticed, this year marks 50 years of Doctor Who (and if you haven't - where have you been?). Being a huge nerd, I am rather excited for the special episode tomorrow, and thought I would share this free Dalek pattern to commemorate the occasion. Enjoy!

Crochet Dalek

You Will Need:
  • 50g four-ply yarn in light brown (main colour)
  • 50g four-ply yarn in dark brown
  • 50g four-ply yarn in dark grey
  • 505 four-ply yarn in white
  • Crochet Hook: 2mm
  • Stuffing (or cotton wool)
  • 3 large beads
  • 3 cocktail sticks
  • Grey acrylic paint
  • Scraps of felt in black, blue and grey
  • Fabric Glue
  • Needle and thread
Heads up! I'm using English Crochet terminology - American Crochet terminology is slightly different. I wouldn't recommend this for young children - it involves small, sharp parts. Your finished Dalek will measure about 9cm tall.

  • R = Row
  • Ch = Chain
  • St = stitch
  • Dc = double crochet
Ready? Allons-y!

Main Body:

Start in light brown (main colour)
Ch2, 5dc in 2nd st from hook (5)
R1: 2dc in each st (10)
R2: *1dc in 1st st, 2dc in 2nd st* repeat 5 times (15)
R3: *1dc in next 2 sts, 2dc in 3rd st* repeat 5 times (20)
R4 - R9: dc around (20)
change to dark brown
R10-R11: dc around (20)
change to light brown
R12: dc around (20)
change to dark brown
R13-R14: dc around
change to light brown
R15: dc around (20)
R16: *1dc in 1st st, 2dc in 2nd st* repeat 10 times (30)
R17: *1dc in next 2sts, 2dc in 3rd st* repeat 10 times (40)
R18 - R32: dc around (40)
change to grey
R33 - R35: dc around (40)
fasten off

Crochet Dalek


Worked completely in grey
Ch 2, 5dc in 2nd ch from hook (5)
R1: 2dc in each st (10)
R2: *1dc in 1st st, 2dc in 2nd st* repeat 5 times (15)
R3: *1dc in next 2 sts, 2dc in 3rd st* repeat 5 times (20)
R4: *1dc in next 3 sts, 2dc in 4th st* repeat 5 times (25)
R5: *1dc in next 4 sts, 2dc in 5th st* repeat 5 times (30)
R6: *1dc in next 5 sts, 2dc in 6th st* repeat 5 times (35)
R7: *1dc in next 6 sts, 2dc in 7th st* repeat 5 times (40)
fasten off

Ears (or lights - what are they?):

Worked completely in white
Ch2, 5dc in 2nd st from hook
R1 - R3: dc around (5)
fasten off

Crochet Dalek

Making up:

Stuff the body of your Dalek, and then close the hole at the bottom by sewing the base into the hole. The base should stay flat, allowing your Dalek to stand upright.
Sew the ears/lights into place either side of your Dalek's head.
Cut the cocktail stocks so that they are about 3cm long, and paint grey.
Cut out 2 small circles of felt (about 1cm in diameter), one in blue (about 0.5cm in diameter), and several in grey (about 0.5cm in diameter). Glue or sew the grey ones around the botton half of the Dalek, in columns of three, as shown in photograph.
When the cocktail sticks are dry, glue one end of each of them into the inside of a bead (if your bead isn't black or grey, just colour it with a permanent marker). Put one of these to the side.
For the other two, glue a black felt circle onto each of their opposite ends. Put one of these to the side.
For the remaining cocktail stick, glue the blue circle centrally inside the black circle to create the Dalek's eye.
When dry, sew the eye stalk onto place in the middle of the head by sewing through the hole in the bead.
Sew the other two cocktail sticks onto a small rectangle of grey felt, and then sew this onto the front body of your Dalek.

Crochet Dalek

Annnnnd you're done!

Colour-wise, anything goes with Daleks, so make them in any colour you like. Or you could cast yourself as Davros and make a whole fleet of them to invade your house with!

Please let me know if you try this (love to see photos), and if you have any questions just post me a comment. Here's wishing Doctor Who a happy 50th birthday!

Thursday 21 November 2013

Fictional Fashion: Hitchcock's Vertigo

It's pretty hard for me to choose my favourite Hitchcock movie. Rear Window, North by North West, The 39 Steps... Ah, they're all so good! In Vertigo, there are so many good outfits, that it's impossible to pick just one, so here's three of the best. Enjoy!

Do classic American preppy with Midge. Pair a white shirt with a midi skirt and keep the look minimal, with only a couple of accessories.
Shirt, Skirt, Glasses

Do monochrome like Madeleine, pair an oversized white coat with all black accessories for a timeless, classic look.
Coat, Gloves, Heels

For a kooky vintage look, pair a spotty shirt with a jumper of the same colour and wear some statement hoop earrings. Perfect!
Shirt, Dress, Earrings
What is your favourite Hitchcock film or look?

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Mid-Week Treat: Christmas Stickers

Is it acceptable to talk about Christmas yet? Ah, who cares - I'm bursting with Christmas already, so I've got to let it out at some point!

Wilkos Christmas Stickers

These beauties are from Wilko's and were £1 (!) for all four sheets. They are adorable, and I'm going to be finding all kinds of ways to use these over the next month. Sticking them on envelopes, inside cards, maybe just sticking them on a plain jumper when I need a festive kick!

Wilkos Christmas Stickers

Look out for me using these in upcoming projects!

Hope your Wednesday was lovely!

Monday 18 November 2013

How to: Zip Cuff

This is inspired by some zip-bracelets that I found in Home Bargains (and perhaps Zippy). It got me thinking about whether I could make bracelets from real zips, and once an idea is planted in my mind, I have to at least try it. This is the result!

It was important to me that the zip should open and close (er, like a zip). I just really liked the idea of a zip bracelet that still functioned as a zip. You'll need to find a zip that's just the right length to fit around your wrist, so hunt around for the perfect one. Choose one in a snazzy colour too!

You'll need one set of poppers as well. Sew one to the outside of one end, and the other to the inside of the other end.

Annnd you're done! Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Wear on it's own or stack with a load of other bracelets.

Let me know if you try this! In other news, I'm in the process of changing the look of things here. Bare with me - I'm facing up to my fear of HTML.

Thursday 14 November 2013

How to: Bejewelled Collar Necklace

This is a project that I did a while ago, and thought I would post it here because I loved the way it turned out.

bejewelled collar necklace

Here's the story. I bought this necklace - I just have a thing for peter pan collars - and after only a couple of wears, it already started to tarnish. It was a sad moment because I loved the shape of it. At the same time, in the window of my local vintage shop, they had these amazing necklaces that were made out of old brooches.

bejewelled collar necklace

The two came together, and I decided to cover my tarnished necklace with bits and bobs that I'd collected over the years.

vintage jewellery selection

This is a perfect project for using up those pieces of broken jewellery, odd earrings and tiny novelties that otherwise, you wouldn't know what to do with. You could make your necklace symmetrical, but I've gone for a chintzy, anything-goes mash up.

bejewelled collar necklace

I'd recommend using blu-tac to temporarily arrange your pieces onto your necklace first. When you are happy with the arrangement, use glue to permanently attach your bits and bobs.

bejewelled collar necklace
You could do many variations on this design, maybe just one vintage brooch in the middle of your necklace. Although I think that when it comes to necklaces like this, more is definitely more!
Have any jewellery disasters ever led you to an amazing DIY solution?


Wednesday 13 November 2013

Free Knitting Pattern: The Cat in the (Beanie) Hat

See what I did there?

Grey and Black Cat Beanie Hat

Rubbish joke aside, today I'm sharing the knitting pattern for this cat beanie hat I made. Remember my post on cat hats? I've actually been working on this since then - it's embarrassing how long it takes for me to work things like this out.

I'd say the size of this hat is mediumish, but I made it a loose fit because I don't like overly tight hats that cut off the circulation to the top of your head (ouch!). If you want to make it bigger or smaller, simply add more or less stitches when casting on (just make sure your number of cast on stitches is a multiple of 10). The circumference of my finished hat is 60cm.

Ready? Lets knit!

You Will Need:
200g Grey DK Wool (Main Colour)
100g Black DK Wool (Second Colour)
50g White DK Wool (Third Colour)
Needles: 4mm
Abbreviations:Sts – stitches
K – Knit
P – Purl
Sl St – Slip Stitch
K2tog – Decrease by knitting two stitches together
Note: Knit side = right side. I'll be using English knitting terms here, which can be a bit different from the American ones.

Cast on 120 sts
Ribbing: K2, P2, continue for the rest of the row
Repeat the first row until ribbing measures 1inch

1st Row: K40sts in grey, K40sts in black, K40sts in grey (120)
2nd Row: P40sts in grey, P40sts in black, P40sts in grey (120)

This is the first two rows of the chart, continue the intarsia in sl st for the remaining 28 rows of the chart.
cat hat intarsia chart
Now the intarsia is complete, you can now shape the top of the hat.

31st Row: *K8, K2tog* repeat until end of row (108)
32nd Row: P across (108)
33rd Row: *K7, K2tog* repeat until end of row (96)
34th Row: P across (96)
35th Row: *K6, K2tog* repeat until end of row (84)
36th Row: P across (84)
37th Row: *K5, K2tog* repeat until end of row (72)
38th Row: P across (72)
39th Row: *K4, K2tog* repeat until end of row (60)
40th Row: P across (60)
41st Row: *K3, K2tog* repeat until end of row (48)
42nd Row: P across (48)
43rd Row: *K2, K2tog* repeat until end of row (36)
44th Row: P across (36)
45th Row: *K1, K2tog* repeat until end of row (24)
46th Row: P across (24)
47th Row: *K2tog* repeat until end of row (12)
48th Row: P across (12)

Leaving a long thread, cut off your yarn and thread it through the remaining 12 sts. Pull tight. With the right sides of your hat facing, place the side seams together so that the ribbing meets at the bottom. Sew the seams together, to form the back seam of your hat. Tidy up any loose ends. 
I've chosen a fairly minimalistic colour scheme for my hat, so it will go with everything, but use any colours you want! I want to make one in burgundy - what can I say? I just really like burgundy!
If you've got any questions (or spot any mistakes!) please leave me a comment and I'll try to help! Let me know if you try this - I'd love to see pictures!

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Why Not Try To DIY?

Just another quick round up of cool DIY ideas I've found on the web (okay, okay, mainly pinterest).

1. Flash Disk Notebook

Floppy Disk Notebook
I love notebooks, so it's no surprise I'm in love with this idea. I'm not even sure whether you can still buy flash disks, but I'm going to keep an eye out for some from now on.
2. Daisy Brogues
Daisy Brogues
I think what I love about these shoes is the juxtaposition between the mega-masculine brogues and the girly pretty daisies. This could easily be done with some leather offcuts cut into flower shapes and then inserted into the brogues using split pins.

3. HAMA Bead Necklace
HAMA bead necklace
Who remembers HAMA beads? They were my favourite thing when I was young, and I mainly made ponies and cats. I love this necklace, although I was never that good at coming up with my own designs!
4. Piano Bookshelf

Piano Bookshelf
I need to find a way to do this. It combines two of my favourite things: books and pianos! Something on this scale is probably beyond  my capabilities, but I'll never stop dreaming of you, perfect bookshelf!
Any ideas you've come across recently that you're desperate to try out? Let me know if you've ever tried anything similar to these!

Monday 11 November 2013

How to: Spoon Jewellery

Sometimes, I come across miniature spoons with beautiful decoration on. Decoration which is decidedly too good for spoons. When I came across some particularly beautiful ones, I came up with this tutorial for making pendants out of them, and I'm really pleased with the way they always turn out.

All you'll need is a spoon of your choice, a pair of pliers, and jewellery findings depending on what kind of spoon jewellery you want to make (pendants and charms work good, but a ring might work too).

These are a couple of spoons I like, but go with whatever takes your fancy. I love anything with a blue and white willow pattern on it (and windmills!), and the 3 wise men were just too festive to resist.

Take your pliers, and gently bend your spoon underneath the decorative top. Keep bending until the spoon breaks. Most spoons are quite easy, but occasionally you'll across a really well made one which requires a small saw to separate the pieces. Use a file to smooth any rough edges.

You can use the fancy bit for pretty much anything you want. I'll make a Christmas pendant from this one by threading a jump ring through the hole in-between the three men and attaching to a necklace. Don't throw away the spoony bit though - you can make a pendant from this too!

Hold your pliers towards the end of the handle, and wrap your handle around your pliers creating a loop. Thread a necklace through the loop and voila! A spoon pendant (because you never know when you might need a spoon, right?).

These are some I've made before. The windmill was on the top of the handle of this teeny-tiny spoon, and is particularly lovely because the sails actually rotate. Fact: I actually just had to look up what the spinny bits on a windmill are called to write that sentence. Doh!

Let me know if you try this - I'd love to see what spoons you find!