Tuesday, 25 November 2014

All quiet at runcibledays

It's been quiet for too long at runcibledays. Some things get harder to do the longer you delay - writing a long-overdue letter, making belated apologies, cleaning behind the fridge - and also blogging, it seems. The longer the silence, the more pressure to break it with something amazing.

Instead, I'm going for the 'aaah' factor with a sweet little jacket (though it's not nearly as sweet as the gorgeous baby it was made for). It's from Simply Crochet magazine, issue16, and it was a joy to make.  The background fabric is a pram blanket from way back when my babies were babies, and it still makes me smile. 

After a summer of crochet (did I mention you can crochet on the sofa? in front of the television? or while having a conversation? by the pool on holiday? - that's still very exciting to me) I was a bit afraid that sewing might also have crept into that category of hard-to-pick-up activities, and that having not stitched anything for so long, the pressure would be on to create something extraordinary. I wasn't sure how to break through the perfection-barrier, and had started dithering about rearranging my button storage. Luckily my sewing friends have come to the rescue with a reminder that some projects just won't wait.

Remember these tiny bubble dresses? They was made for my little runciblegirl when she was a baby, and were the start of my obsession with O+S patterns.

Their original patterns - the puppet show, the tea party, the swing set and of course the bubble dress - only go up to size 5T.

And my runciblegirl will turn five in the springtime...

So it's time to leave the sofa, step away from the crochet hook, and start catching up.

But first, while I'm still in baby mode, just one more 'aaah' for that cardigan...

Friday, 10 January 2014

Hook a duck (quack)

A belated Happy New Year from runcibledays!

I'm celebrating 2014 with a new sewing icon: the multi-talented Scarf Lady, from Sarah and Duck. Scarf Lady is inseparable from her grumpy carrier bag, and she has a colour-coded wool store in her loft (where the oddments live a secret life of their own). She keeps a donkey in her garden. She is terrible at remembering faces, but good at keeping up with her friends. She can knit trumpets, tree-cosies and hot air balloons.

I don't know whether to worry that I'll end up like Scarf Lady, or to see that
as an aspiration.

Anyway, although I still can't knit (too afraid of all those little stitches) my friend Carol has taught me to crochet, and I am smitten.  I love that there is only ever one stitch which can unravel, and so incidents with cats or toddlers can always be put right.

Also, it's like sewing, but I can do it from the sofa. Bliss.

And there's a whole world of beautiful wool and yarn to be discovered.

But mostly I just wanted to make a duck.

Or two.

I'm very grateful to Jo Clark who designed and shared the Duck pattern.
(I'm hoping she'll do a hot air balloon next.)

Clearly any little girl with a Duck will need a hat to match...

... and perhaps a bunny (from a pattern which came from the library, I'll give credit where it's due if I can find the book again) ...

... and a Christmas stocking, or three (based on a pattern from Deramores).

The only question is: do the children in my life really need more crocheted animals? 

And how will I know when it's time to stop?

(Although Scarf Lady wouldn't worry about a thing like that.)

Monday, 16 December 2013

All he wants for Christmas...

Christmas is go in the Runcible household: we have tinsel, fairy lights, candles, glitter, mince-pies, and mystery decorations made at pre-school. 

So why does my husband look a little bit afraid, a little bit anxious, a little bit like a man haunted by an unspeakable dread?

I think I might have the answer.

He had suggested some practical - and fairly specific - Christmas gifts:
 cycling gear, socks, books.

Could it be that he's afraid I might be baking, stitching, crafting or crocheting all of the above?

The socks must be a particular worry.

So, will I be knitting reflective bicycle clips this Christmas?

Watch this space...

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

When the going gets tough...

... the runcible house gets organised.

Tidying up is my default displacement activity.

Because even though the universe might have infinity and entropy and chaos,
at least my fabric scraps are all in order.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A truly reusable bottle bag

Do you re-use your bottle bags? I'm thinking of those nice paper ones which dress up a bottle and make it look a bit more gift-worthy. I re-use mine - it seems wasteful not to - but always with a niggling awareness that they are never quite as crisp and perfect on a second (or third, or fourth) outing. And I know it's just not so much fun getting a present in less-than-perfect packaging.

Last month, at the end of term, I had some bottles which needed to be wrapped up nicely  for teachers, and found myself with no bottle bags at all. Something must have gone badly wrong in the bottles-in v bottles-out ratio in the runcible house. Luckily I had plenty of fabric. I wish I'd taken photos, but it was a last minute scramble and they were off to school whilst the bags were still hot off the sewing machine. Instead, here's a picture of another fabric bottle bag - this time with a touch of patchwork on the side...

Fabric bags, it turns out, are so much better than paper. They feel reassuringly durable, they look a bit special, and - best of all - they are really, truly reusable. They won't crumple like paper, and, even if they get a bit creased, a moment under the iron will make them look new again.

Here's another - it turned out unintentionally Christmassy, so I'll be putting it away for a few months.

I'm hoping that they are so reusable that they will be passed on, and on, and on... and eventually one might even come back home to me (maybe even with a nice new bottle inside it).

Here's how I made them  - it was quick and easy, and used only a fat quarter of fabric and about 30" ribbon.

I started with a piece of fabric 18" by 13"...

... and snipped it in half lengthways...

... and pinned, then stitched, some ribbon on the top edges for handles. 14" for each piece of ribbon makes for a generous length. This edge will be folded over and hemmed, so the handles will be stitched again to make them secure.

I sewed the two pieces together along their bottom edges, right sides together, and pressed...

... then stitched the long sides with wrong sides together and  a narrow seam allowance, ready for French seams on the sides. This is where I added the applique panels on some of the bags, with the raw edges of the panels trimmed to match the side seams of the bag.

And I turned it inside out with right sides together to make nice French seams up the sides.

I sewed across the corners at the bottom - the blue line is 2.5", which gives a nice square base to the bag.

Then I folded the top edge twice, and stitched the hem, catching the ribbon handles to secure them.