Category Archives: Crochet

The end of an era… and the beginning of something new

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Hello friends, how have you been?

It’s been almost a year since my last post (this feels like deja vu… I’m sure I’ve said that before after some very long absences.)

Anyway, I’m just back here briefly, one last time, to let you know that I’ve decided to bring Cute as a Button to an end.

When I started this little blog nearly five years ago (how on earth is it that long already?!) I had no idea that I would find blogging so much fun or that I would meet so many wonderful people! I simply wanted a place to record some of the things I made and had no idea that other people would actually want to join me on my crafty journey too. It amazes me that even though I haven’t posted anything new for so very long, there are still visitors stopping by to look at past posts. I would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you who has taken the trouble to visit, comment on posts, follow links and just spend time here.

When I started blogging I was working part time as a teacher and found plenty of time to craft and blog. When I switched to full time work, I found it much harder to get a good work/life balance and even though the crafting still went on in the background I didn’t really have the time or energy to share it with you all. Earlier this year I got to the point I was signed off work with stress. I decided at that point that I needed to get out of teaching, at least for a while, and left the school where I had been working for five years. It was really sad to say goodbye to the place where I had spent the majority of my teaching career, but it was totally the right decision.

I wasn’t working for a couple of months and during that time I started to dream. I’ve always wanted to have a little craft shop – in my mind it’s a light, spacious place, walls lined with shelves of wool and fabric, a huge table in the middle of the room for crafting groups, cosy armchairs with piles of magazines to browse through for inspiration… Sadly, I can’t actually afford a bricks and mortar shop, but I have decided to take the plunge and open up an online shop instead – eek!

But as I started to think about all sorts of shop related things, I grew more and more dissatisfied with the name Cute as a Button. I think it did the job just fine at the beginning, but I feel like I’ve outgrown it somewhat. It sounds a bit twee and I wanted something that was more unique. I spent a lot of time toying with different ideas until I finally came up with something I loved. And because you’ve made it this far through a very long post (thanks for sticking with it!) I want you to be the first to know my new name! Are you ready? I will now be known as…

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I have tentatively begun a new blog already. It’s in the very early stages, but if you want to pop over and have a look you can find me at goslingandplumb.co.uk. I’m still getting to grips with a slightly different way of blogging, so please bear with me while I work it all out. But I’d love to see you, so feel free to pop by any time! The shop isn’t in existence yet, but I’ll keep you posted on progress…

Before I leave, let’s have a little look back at some crafty goodness! I’ve loved sharing so many different projects with you all. Some of my favourites include:

  • Timmy and Tamara Turtle

Apr 2013 turtle tales

I loved making these little guys – almost as much as I enjoyed making up stories about them! You can read the beginning of their tale here.

May 20131 riverbed blanket

I made this for a friend’s birthday, and I love the fact that she still has it in her living room!

  • Paper cutting

I’ve not done this for a while now, but remember being really pleased with how these Easter/spring pictures turned out.

I still enjoy wearing mine and am looking forward to the colder weather so I can dig it out again!

  • A multitude of cushion covers

You can read about the cushion jumper here, the cable cushion here, the granny square cushion here, but unfortunately I can’t find the post about the recycled skirt cushion cover. It must be out there somewhere…

Which are your favourites?

So that’s about it. I’m slightly sad to be saying farewell to Cute as a Button, but so very excited about Gosling & Plumb! I really hope you’ll come with me on the next part of my journey, I’m sure we have a whole lot more fun in store.

By the way, I mentioned starting to knit a pair of socks in my very first post. I still haven’t finished them.

Half term challenge

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Since going back to school after the Easter holidays I’ve been counting down the days until half term! However, despite the fact that I’ve been desperate for a holiday, I’ve made no plans at all for this week. So, in order to avoid just frittering my week away on Facebook, I’ve decided to set myself a challenge – I’m going to make (another) blanket.

I’ve been drooling over several gorgeous patterns on Pinterest and have decided to have a go at making a blanket using these blocks…
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The first five rounds are the Willow block from Jan Eaton’s 200 Crochet Blocks book (a birthday present from my parents).
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I then experimented with the outer rounds (in grey) – the one on the top is a slight adaptation of this pattern found over at Annie’s Place. It was actually her solid willow block blanket that inspired me in the first place. The one on the bottom follows the rest of the original Willow pattern. After some dithering I decided to go with the more solid block, although I really like the other one too.

I think this may be a slightly ambitious project for just a week, but it’s always good to try to do impossible things!! And after all, I have already completed the middles of eight blocks – how hard can this be?!
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And yes, I know I could finish one of the five unfinished blankets I’ve got lying around the house, but that would be the sensible, grown up thing to do, and therefore sounds like no fun at all!

I’ll keep you updated on the progress. And pop over to my Facebook page for more pics. Have a lovely week!

Growing granny blanket

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More than a year ago I came across a blanket my auntie had made for my cousin.

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It was made of knitted squares and backed with fleece.

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It was pretty weighty and hugely cosy. It’s kinda stayed in my mind since and I loved the idea of making a crochet version. In fact, I even had plans to turn a CAL blanket into something similar.

But the CAL blanket it still unfinished (along with so many other things!) and I obviously forgot about my original plans. But the idea for a chunky blanket stuck with me. So back in May last year I ordered some Stylecraft Chunky. As soon as it arrived I crocheted a very long chain and got to work on my granny stripe blanket. (I followed Lucy’s Granny Stripe tutorial to make sure that I didn’t end up with wonky edges!)

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Well, it got off to a good start and I fairly rapidly made my way through 3 or 4 balls of wool. But then I did my usual thing of putting it down and leaving it – for about 7 months!

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I only found it again as I was packing to move. Last weekend I went away with some friends and wanted something easy to take with me, something I could work on and still be sociable. The blanket seemed like the perfect option.

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So I ordered some more wool (I hadn’t ordered nearly enough the first time!) and have more than doubled the amount of rows in the last week.

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It’s going to take a while to finish. Each row takes about 15 minutes, so it’s not a quick project! But I’m hoping that my current momentum will last a while…

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…although I can sense the momentum will slow when I get to darning in the ends!

I’ll keep you updated 🙂

Today I have…

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…enjoyed working on my chunky granny blanket.

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…unpacked two more boxes of books…

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(…but it’ll still be a while before the room is properly sorted out!)

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…found two friends hiding in boxes.

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…enjoyed my favourite flowers in colourful vases.

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…curled up with a good book.

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What have you done today?

Happy flower at home

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A couple of years ago I made a beautifully happy flower, following instructions from the Lovely Lucy over at Attic24. (Read about it here and here.)

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I loved the bright colours and the pretty beads – but after I’d finished making it I had no idea what to do with it. It ended up on my notice board ‘for the time being’…and stayed there for the next 16 months! In fact, it only moved because I had to pack it up to move house.

Now, my packing process was rather haphazard – I kinda had my own sorta system, but it was mostly based on me packing my most favourite things into boxes first, then just throwing in everything else in a last minute rush!

So I came across a lot of lovely surprises as I unpacked. And the happy flower came to light at just the right time. As I undecorated after Christmas I hated how bare everything looked and decided to redecorate as I went along. The star on my front door was replaced with the happy flower.

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Please excuse the bad picture – I’m rarely home during daylight hours at the moment, so have to rely on flash which isn’t the best! Anyway, I also really like how the happy flower looks from the outside, all lit up from behind.

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So here it will stay…for the time being! I like to change my decorations through the year so it will probably be replaced at some point. But I’m glad it has a better home than my notice board now 🙂

DSCN2323P.S. It’s 3 years since I registered with WordPress – hurrah!

A new pattern revealed and help needed!

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My lovely friend’s birthday is in the week between Christmas and New Year. I always feel sorry for people who have a birthday near Christmas as they seem to end up with less presents! So I always try to make sure I give her separate presents for Christmas and her birthday.

This year I was inspired to make her a shawl. I used the Ying Hua pattern that I found on Ravelry.

I used Senses Lace by Stylecraft in two Lavender (the main colour) and Black Elder (the border). I’ve not used this yarn before, but quite liked it. The only slightly tricky bit was the fact that it’s so fluffy! The fluffy fibres knot together, making it tricky to undo when you make a mistake.

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The pattern was easy to follow and I made it in less than a month, working on it during my lunchbreaks and holiday. It was quite crumpled by the time I finished it, but blocking worked wonders! Here it is before…

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…during…

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…and after.

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The blocking especially helped on the part where the little triangles were. I was worried that it would still look ‘dented’ even after blocking, but steaming it with the iron really helped.

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I’ve not seen my friend since she opened the present, but she told me she liked it!

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And now I need some help please! I told you the other day that I’ve started a new blog. It’s all up and running, but I’m having some issues with photos. I think at some point I must have formatted the photos for this blog, so that they’re always central and at the biggest size (without being too big and distorted!). Try as I might, I can’t find how to change the settings, so the photos are always aligned to the left and only at a medium size. There doesn’t even seem to be an option to make the photos larger. Can anyone help? I’ll be eternally grateful! 😀

Made It! Winner

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As several of you may know, I’ve been entering some of my makes into the Made It! Monthly Challenge hosted by Maryanne of Woolhogs. Absolutely anything can be entered – knitting, crochet, sewing, paper craft – you name it, it’s probably appeared at some point. At the end of the month there is the chance to vote for the items you most like/admire. When voting closes a winner is selected at random to receive that month’s prize and a voter’s choice award is given to the person with the most votes.

Well, last month I entered my Cosy Cowls and was lucky enough to be picked to win the prize!

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I’ve been meaning to blog about it ever since, but school/life/Christmas meant that I just didn’t get round to it sooner. I’m now proudly displaying my ‘winner’ badge (on the bar to the right). There is still a very little time to enter for this month, or you could just wait until next month if you prefer. It’s a good bit of motivation to get something finished (although WIPs may also be entered) and it’s great seeing what other people are up to!

Christmas 2013 – garlands

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A couple of months ago I saw a pattern for this star garland in a magazine (I can’t remember which one – I buy too many!).

Crochet Star Garland

I posted it on facebook for my crochet buddy to see, but another friend saw it and requested that I make a Christmassy version for him. I didn’t really need much persuasion! I used Red Heart Miami yarn in Jeans, Light Blue and Nature. It was lovely yarn to use. The stars worked up quite quickly, especially after the first one. I made a lot of them during my lunch breaks!

The stars were quite curly around the edges, but nothing that a bit of blocking couldn’t sort out.

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And here it is in it’s new home…

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I was pleased with how it turned out and my friend likes it too – hurrah!

This is the mini garland I had over the fireplace this year. I made it a couple of years ago and have had it out at Christmasses ever since.

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It was super easy to make – simply cut out 2 star shapes from chosen fabric (probably best to use pinking shears as the raw edges will be on the outside) and start sewing them together. Sew in the string/ribbon as you go along. When 4 points of the star have been stitched fill will a little stuffing then sew up the remaining point. Repeat with as many stars as you fancy!

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2013

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Happy New Year! Don’t worry, I haven’t completely lost the plot – I know it’s actually 2014, but thought this would be a good time to do a round up of the past year. So here are my last 12 months…

January

Jan 20131

February

Feb 20136

March

Mar 20136

April

Apr 20134

May

May 20137

June

June 2013

July – I think this must have been a particularly busy month as I have no photos saved! I’m guessing some craft must have happened, but no idea what!

August

August 2013

September

Sept 20133

October

Oct 2013

November

Nov 2013

December

Dec 20131

So that was my year. I hope it was a good one for you too, and that 2014 will bring happiness and lots of craft opportunities!

Christmas 2013 – thoughtful gifts from lovely people

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I love choosing (and often making) gifts for people, and I love opening gifts too! Working in a school means that I’ve ended up with boundless supplies of chocolate and all sorts of other goodies. But I want to show you some lovely gifts from people that know me very well indeed!

This first gift was from my lovely friend Helen. She’s a crochet addict too, so is great at choosing gifts I’d like!

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The book is really cute and I’m looking forward to trying out some of the patterns. The purse is for all those odd bits and pieces that go along with crochet – scissors, darning needles, stitch markers, etc. I’ve already attached a safety pin and stitch marker to the zip (so I can easily find them) and filled it with all sorts of other things!

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Another crochet related gift was made by my wonderful friend Ness. She’s a crazily busy lady with 4 young children, so the fact that she’s spent time making me such a beautiful and useful gift makes it even more special.

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I’ve been meaning to make one of these ever since I took up crochet again – about 2 years ago! Somehow it’s just stayed at the back of my mind without becoming a reality. I love the little ribbon flower and button on the back.

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And all the different red fabrics are great.

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Here are my crochet hooks, all nestled in their little sleeping bags!

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This next item was made by a girl in my class (probably with some help from her Mum!) and it’s so cute and lovely! And it certainly makes a nice change from a box of chocolates 🙂

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For our Boxing Day Family Gathering we did secret Santa presents this year. I had a gift from my cousin – but as she lives in America I think her Mum, Debbi had a lot to do with choosing it for me!

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Debbi is a quilter and knows I’ve done some in the past (and generally like all things crafty!) so this is a perfect gift!

I had some great gifts from my parents too. They bought me a ticket to a craft fair in February – very exciting! I’m going with a couple of friends and I’m sure we’ll have a great day! They also had some family photos printed for me.

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My Granny passed away earlier this year and Mum found all sorts of old photos as she was sorting out her things. I love family history (although there are so many ancestors it all gets quite confusing!) and I’d asked for some of the photos. I love how they’re arranged. The individual portraits are my great-great-grandparents, James and Emma. The top right family photo is of them on their Diamond wedding anniversary with their 4 children. The bottom left family photo was taken on their Golden wedding anniversary and is of their 4 children + spouses and 6 grandchildren. The boy on the right of the front row is my Grandad when he was 6!

Over the years Granny wrote lots of poems. They were found in all sorts of notebooks and pieces of paper (all quite organised) which my Aunty took and typed up.

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She presented each of us with a book of poems at our Family Gathering. It was a lovely surprise and one that I’m sure we’ll all treasure.