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Archives: December 2015

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Pattern of the Week Kwik Sew 2858 - Toddlers Pants, Shorts & Waistcoat Jacket

Hello All!
We've got a POW for the small people this week in the form of Kwik Sew 2858 , Pants, Shorts & Waistcoat Jacket for Toddlers!
How adorable are these? The vest is fully lined, as well as having myriad of pockets on the pants and shorts to keep the tiny ones ready for play and action at all times! Teamed with an elasticated waist this patten is pretty spot on for toddlers. As well as having recommended fabrics along the lines of CottonsTwillsLinensChinosDenims and Corduroys, you can make these outfits rough and hard-wearing as they need to be! 
For me the clear choice for this pattern is Gaberchino. Machine washable, easy to care for, easy to sew, and comes is a great range of vivid colours!
Of course you can't go wrong with an Indigo Denim Fabric! 100% Cotton, this good old fashion favourite will certainly survive though many a play time!
Now with the vest being lined, I'd be tempted to try out our light weight Rip Stop Tear Resistant Fabric. Not only for the hardiness of it, an the challenge of testing it against a hyperactive toddler, but the colours are so bright and vivid that any child would fall madly in love with it, and you'll be able to spot them on the playground a mile off!
Do you sew for children? I so, what's your go to?
@minervafabrics on Twitter
@minervacrafts on Instagram on Facebook on Pinterest
Katie B x

Pattern of the Week McCalls 6801- Dresses with Waist Gather Detail

Our POW this week is a WOW-wee what a pattern! 
An absolutely amazing Stretch Jersey dress with a gathered midriff detailing.
The samples really don't do it justice. With two main views, this pattern is really easy to mix and match. Between long and short sleeves or a Crossover Bodice you can really mix and match for a tailored look
For the plain bodice you can really let the fabric work and our Black, Lilac & Grey Viscose & Lycra Stretch Jersey would work perfectly, creating truly unique patterns throughout the gathers 
Or, for a slightly more subtle design, our Diamonds Pattern Stretch Jersey will deliver a lovely textured effect
Now if you really want to go wild, take inspiration from the pattern sketch and work that crossover bodice with contrasts of plan jersey! The John Kaldor Roanne range has the rich colours needed to pull this off
McCalls are certainly letting you all make an impact this Christmas! That gathered bodice will hide even the mot substantial food bby at the dinner table ;) a winter winner at just £4.35 this week, so get your skates on!
Remember - Sharing is caring!
@minervafabrics on Twitter
@minervacrafts on Instagram on Facebook on Pinterest
Katie B x

Minerva Craft Club Members VIP Day!

Hi everyone,
Just a quick post today to let you know its the Minerva Craft Club Members VIP day! That means if you a member of our Craft Club, you get 20% off everything on the Minerva Crafts website (or in store too).
You can claim your discount from now until the end of Monday the 21st December (this year we have extended the offer over 3 days for you). All you need to do is add products to basket and the discount will automatically be deducted.
If your not a member of the Craft Club then this is the ideal time to sign up!
For £20 as a club member you get 10% off all your orders with us (off all products on the website, no exclusions). You also get at least 2 VIP days with 20% off all purchases throughout the year. You get a free subscription to the Minerva Crafts Swatch Club and you get emails with exclusive discounts throughout the year!
Sign up here and stat saving straight away!
Bye for now,
Vicki x

Orla Dress Pattern Hack in Triple Crepe

Have you seen this recent post on the Tilly and the Buttons blog?
The beautiful 'Orla' pattern by Tilly and the Buttons has been hacked into a dress by Vanessa (one of the team over at 'Tilly Towers'). It has been made in our beautiful Triple Crepe Fabric in the ivory shade.
Doesn't it look wonderful? I just had to share it with you to show how beautiful this fabric is when made up, and to show what a great pattern hack this is. If you already have the Orla pattern you could give this a try!
One more shot of the dress...
I love how the weight of this Crepe Fabric makes the dress hang. And even the ivory shade didn't need lining!
To find out how to make this, be sure to pop over to Tilly and the Buttons to read more!
Til next time,
Vicki x

#FabricFriday - The Possibilities of Fleece Fabric!

FLEECE FLEECE FLEECE What do you think of when Fleece Fabric is mentioned? Yes I've guessed either a fleece jacket or a throw. Beyond this there are so many interesting items that can be made either for yourself, your family or for your home.
Here at Minerva we offer a huge choice in plain fleece and patterned fleece fabrics. My favourite prints are these beautiful check print - I love all the colours in it;
My other favourite is this fun and funky rainbow stripe print - this is a definite winner if you are a colour lover!
My granddaughter Jess absolutely loves my first choice of pattern Simplicity 5105
She says the cushions would look lovely in her bedroom! I quite like the ottoman cube with the magazine pocket in the side and next to that I would put the large floor cushion. This would make a change from a bean bag but just in case there is even a pattern for a beanbag!
We are expecting a baby in our family next May and I am just adoring this next pattern...
Burda Pattern Burda Pattern 9421
Design C is the cutest ever. I love the colours they have used but think of the possibilites with combinations of different colours and designs. 
My two choices for little girls are;
Simplicity 8029
Now what Elsa loving girl would not like this? I could go on and on about the clever combinations on this pattern but just to mention two, the 'hair' on design B! and apart from two rows of sewing down the centre of the scarf on design C there is no more. Just cut cut cut into the fleece to create the fringed scarf.
and McCalls Pattern 7012
These are fabulous poncho's, hats and scarves. Best of all it is a 'learn to sew for fun' pattern. These are quite helpful when new to sewing and a brilliant sew for the more experienced as ''you'll have that made in 5 mins'' as my dear Mum used to say.
There are lots of patterns for your standard fleece jackets so I've found this pattern that's just a little different.
Any of the designs can be made in fleece but my favourite is design B. The hood and front panel are just one piece and the side panel and sleeve is also one piece. How easy is that!
My last two choices of Pattern for #FabricFriday using our beautiful Fleece Fabrics are;
The designs on the McCalls pattern are similar to the girls pattern mentioned earlier. Take a look at design A. This is simply made in stripes of two colours. These stripes of fabric are extended and 'become' the fringe. Simple but very effective.
The designs on the simplicity pattern takes scarf designs to another level. Some of these designs would look amazing placed over an otherwise plain coat. Scarf H intrigues me the most. This is done by cutting through the sides of the scarf and then would you believe using a large size crochet hook to 'make' the sides of the scarf look plaited. 
Using a little imagination Fleece can be an amazing fabric to work with. It doesn't fray and it washes and dries superbly. 
Fiona from the Sewing Directory recently did a fabulous post for our blogger network using fleece fabric, doesnt her son look adorable in this hat, scarf and mittens set?
I suppose like me you won't have much time, if any, to sew before Christmas but these are just a few ideas to start you off in the New Year. And so I'll take this opportunity to wish each and everyone of you a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Annette xx

#POW Pattern of the Week - Butterick Shaped Hem Dresses 6021

A beautiful floaty romantic dress. This sums up our pattern of the week here at Minerva this week. It is Butterick 6021;
Take a minute to really look at this design. It has a more unusual but very easy shaped hemline, comes in two lengths and has no zip!
Design A appeals to me for a holiday dress and would look really nice in chiffon fabric. The underskirt of the dress is made shorter than the outer chiffon skirt.
As you can see from the picture, piece 4 is the underskirt and piece 3 is the over skirt with the two different lengths. So you need to remember this when choosing your fabric because around the hem part of the skirt it will be quite see through. Here at Minerva we have two ranges of plain chiffon. The Cationic Chiffon and the Japanese Caress Chiffon. My favourite for this dress is the Cationic Chiffon because most colours in this fabric give a two tone effect. Here are a couple of my favourite shades;
For the lining I would definitely choose our stretch lining fabric. The anti-static properties of this top quality stretch jersey lining will prevent your chiffon from riding up. In my opinion by using a stretch lining it can be fit quite close to the body therefore the chiffon will hang much more freely.
This next fabric is quite impressive! 
This is a Large Floral Print Polyester Chiffon Fabric in Black and Dark Orange. It is bright and bold and very striking.This fabric I think I would make in the long version, it would be just stunning. 
Last but certainly not least is this gorgeous georgette fabric in black and white with an embellishment of tiny black sequins running through it.
I would certainly recommend the long version for this fabric because of the striped effect and also it verges on being suitable for evening wear.
Have you ever made this pattern? Or have I inspired you to have a go?
Share your makes with us on social media, we love to see what you have been making!
Bye for now,
Annette x

Sirdar Noah's Ark Knit-Along Part 6 - Tilly & Tommy Tigers!

Height 21cm, (8¼in) approximately when sitting down. 
F039 Sirdar Cotton DK Yarn (A) shade 508 or 515 F039 Cotton DK (B) shade 507 or 520 F039 Cotton DK (C) shade 500 1 
Pair of 3¼mm (UK10 – USA3) Knitting Needles
mm millimetres, cm centimetres, in inches, DK double knitting, M main, C contrast, inc increase, k knit, p purl, psso pass slipped stitch over, rep repeat, rem remaining, rs right side, s1 slip one stitch knitways, st(s) stitch(es), tog together, tbl through back of loop M1 – make one stitch. Pick up loop between last and next stitch and work into the back of this loop. st-st (stocking stitch) 1st Row. Knit. 2nd Row. Purl. Repeat these 2 rows.
Stripe sequence. 2 rows A and 2 rows B throughout Back and Front. 
Intarsia Method. When working with different balls of yarn the colour to be used should be twisted round the colour just used to link the colours together and avoid holes.
** Using A cast on 10 sts. 
Next Row. Inc in every st to last st, k1. 19 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. 
Working in stripe sequence as above proceed as follows:- 
Next Row. Inc in 1st st, knit to last 2 sts, inc in next st, k1. 21 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. Rep last 2 rows twice more. 25 sts. ** 
Next Row. K11, m1, k3, m1, k11. 27 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. Work 2 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. K11, m1, k5, m1, k11. 29 sts. 
Next Row. Purl.
Work 2 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. K11, m1, k7, m1, k11. 31 sts. Work 3 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. K2tog, k9, k2togtbl, k5, k2tog, k9, k2tog. 27 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. 
Next Row. K10, k2togtbl, k3, k2tog, k10. 25 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. 
Next Row. K10, k2togtbl, k1, k2tog, k10. 23 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. 
Next Row. K2tog, k8, s1, k2tog, psso, k8, k2tog. 19 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. Work 12 rows in st-st. *** 
Next Row. (K2tog) 4 times, k3, (k2tog) 4 times. 11 sts. Work 3 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. Inc in 1st st, (inc in next st) 3 times, k2, (inc in next st) 4 times, k1. 19 sts. 
Next Row. Inc in 1st st, purl to last 2 sts, inc in next st, p1. 21 sts 
Next Row. Inc in 1st st, knit to last 2 sts, inc in next st, k1. 23 sts.
Next Row. Purl. Rep last 2 rows twice more. 27 sts. Work 8 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. K7, k2togtbl, k9, k2tog, k7. 25 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. 
Next Row. K2tog, k5, k2togtbl, k7, k2tog k5, k2tog. 21 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. 
Next Row. K2tog, k4, k2togtbl, k5, k2tog, k4, k2tog. 17 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. 
Next Row. K2tog, k3, k2togtbl, k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog. 13 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. 
Next Row. (K2tog) 3 times, k1, (k2tog) 3 times. 7 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. Break off yarn and thread through rem sts. *** 
Work from ** to ** of Front. Work 12 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. K2tog, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog. 23 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. Work 4 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. K2tog, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog. 21 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. Work 4 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. K2tog, knit to last 2 sts, k2tog. 19 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. Work 6 rows in st-st. Work from *** to *** of Front to complete. 
Join side edges of head to neck and stuff. Continue to sew side edges of body and stuff as you work along to cast on edge. Close cast on edge with a running stitch. 
(Worked in the Intarsia method) Using B cast on 11 sts.
Work 6 rows in st-st. 
Cast on 4 sts at end of next 2 rows. 19 sts. 
Next Row. Inc in 1st st , knit to last st, inc in last st. 21 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. 
Join in C to work nose continue as follows:- 
Next Row. Inc in 1st st, knit 9B, 1C, 9B, inc in last st. 23 sts. 
Next Row. Purl 10B, 3C, 10B. 
Next Row. Knit 9B, 5C, 9B. 
Next Row. Purl 9B, 5C, 9B. 
Next Row. Knit 8B, 7C, 8B. 
Next Row. Cast off 8 sts in B purlways break off B yarn and fasten off. 
Continuing along same row in C inc in 1st st, p5B, inc in next st, cast off rem 8 sts purlways, in B. Break off B yarn thread yarn through last st and fasten off. 
Work on rem 9 sts for central nose section as follows:- 
With rs facing, join in A and work 2 rows in st-st. 
Using C work 2 rows in st-st. Using A work 2 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. Using C, inc in 1st st, k7, inc in last st. 11sts. 
Next Row. Using C purl. Work a further 2 rows in st-st using A. Cast off in A. 
Join 4 cast on sts to side edges of first 6 rows. Join 8 cast off sts to side edge of central nose section. Stuff. 
(Both Alike) Using B cast on 18 sts. Work 4 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. (K2tog) 9 times. 9 sts. 
Next Row. (P2tog) twice, p1, (p2tog) twice. 5 sts. 
Break off yarn and thread through rem sts.
Fold ear in half and sew side edges of ear together. 
(Both Alike) Using A cast on 12 sts. Work 34 rows in st-st. 
Change to C for hand and proceed as follows:- 
Next Row. (K2, m1) 5 times, k2. 17 sts. Work 5 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. (K2tog) 4 times, k1, (k2tog) 4 times. 9 sts. 
Next Row. (P2tog) twice, p1, (p2tog) twice. 5 sts. Break off yarn and thread through rem sts. 
 Sew side edges of hand and stuff. Continue to sew side edges of arm and stuff as you work along to cast on edge and close. 
(Both Alike) Using C cast on 10 sts. Next Row. Inc in every st to last st, k1. 19 sts. 
Next Row. Purl. 
Next Row. K8 (inc in next st) 3 times, k8. 22 sts. Work 3 rows in st-st. 
Next Row. K6, (k2tog) 5 times, k6. 17 sts.
Next Row. P6, (p2tog) 3 times, p5. 14 sts. 
Next Row. K5, (k2tog) twice, k5. 12 sts. Using B, purl. 
Using B work in st-st until leg measures 15cm, (6in). 
Cast off.
Slip stitch sole of foot together. Join side edges of foot and stuff. Continue to sew side edges of leg together for a further 6cm, (2½in), leave 1cm, (¼in), without stuffing (knee) then continue to join and stuff leg to cast off edge. Work straight stitches in C through the ‘empty’ knee section to give the leg a bend. 
Using C cast on 8 sts. 
Work 2 rows in st-st. 
Using A work 2 rows in st-st. 
Rep last 4 rows 9 times more. 
Cast off. 
Let the tail naturally curl inwards and sew together at this point. No stuffing will be required. Make a tassel and sew to cast off edge. 
Sew Ears and Muzzle to head as illustrated. Sew arms to neck edge. Sew legs to each side of cast on edge of body one stripe up. Sew tail to back of tiger to give him balance. Using C work French knots for eyes, work a straight stitch to each side of the knot. Embroider mouth and whiskers underneath nose as illustrated. Cut a few lengths of yarn to make the tuft and sew centrally to top of head.
We hope you have enjoyed knitting our favourite animals from the Ark and would love to see your finished set!
Bye for now,
Vicki x

#FabricFriday - Coat Weight Fabrics

I dont know about you fellow sewists but I'm not finding much time for sewing at the moment. However because it is so cold my mind is steering towards making something suitable for this weather. I've noticed in the shops lots of coats in large checks and here at Minerva we have the most beautiful check fabric. It is one of our most luxurious fabrics made from a blend of wool, cotton, polyester and acrylic. It has a fur like texture which softens the boldness of the design and comes in two fabulous colours.
It is a heavyweight fabric so would be suitable for a snuggly winter coat. The pattern that immediatley comes to mind is Vogue 1479.
This pattern has two different style pockets on it. The top one is a welt pocket which aren't the easiest of pockets although to be fair these seem to be quite clear instructions. The bottom pockets are lined patch pockets which are more straight forward. It is, in my opinion, very important to match the checks when sewing on the pockets as it shows on the picture of this coat. I feel that many a shop bought coat is spoilt because checks are not matched. I am sure you will feel the same. However a nice fashionable look is to have the pockets cut on the cross. This is much easier but care must be taken to match the checks of the two pockets otherwise you could end up with a lobsided look. It may be a good idea to use interfacing on the pocket, this would stop the pocket from sagging.
I've had a peep at Butterick Pattern 6107;
This in contrast to the above is a much easier sew. First of all it isn't lined but for the more experienced sewer it would be reasonably easy to adapt. A small amount of lining is required for this coat for the pockets and again either match the checks or cut them on the cross.
My personal favourite check fabric at the moment is Quebec Beige soft check coat weight. It is also available in grey, purple and red but as is usual with me I am drawn towards the browns and beiges! 
Take a look at the amazing coat that Clare made using this very fabric;
Apart from a lovely check coat I can't help but like the idea of a skirt in this fabric. My choice would be Simplicity Pattern 1500;
Design F is shown in a similar check with a brilliant frayed edge. In the past whenever I have 'frayed' the edge of a skirt or similar I have literally just frayed the edge then stitched a line of sewing at the begining of the fraying to stop it fraying any further. With this pattern you stitch on a piece of fabric as a band and then fray that. This means the fraying is all done on the straight of the grain.
My third fabric for this week is the Chevron Heavy Wool Coat Weight Fabric;
This fabric comes in three colours. Plum which is rich and warm looking, black and silver grey which has more of a striking look and here we go again my favourite brown. This is just yummy. I am just drooling over the thought of this fabric made up in Burda Pattern 6802 (currently on sale at just £2.90 for a limited time!).
This is a very loose fitting lined coat. There are just a few pieces to this pattern so if you are a beginner you could maybe try a lining for the first time. 
Take a look at the beautiful coat that Kat made for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network using the plum shade;
I love the idea of a winter skirt in this fabric too. A nice easy skirt would be McCalls Pattern 3341. A split at the back, a zip in the back seam  and no waistband all add up to easy sew. This style would flatter the above coat.
For a little bit of creativity how about Simplicity Pattern 1321 design D;
There is no 'give' in the warp or weft of this fabric so it could be used either way. So my take on version D would be to use the 'zigzags' vertically for the main sections of the skirt and use it horizontaly for the godet pieces. Take this idea a stage further and you could have the pockets on the coat in the opposite direction and probably the collar as well.
I can't help but mention this last pattern for this fabric;
I immediately look at version A. This is giving me the idea of how to use the vertical and horizontal chevron stripes! But I want to do the length of version B. Picture this with knee high boots and a long slim fitting jumper that would come to the hips. Finish it off with a broad belt and hey a superb outfit. Must dash I need to decide which colour! 
Untill next time,
Annette xx

Ollie the Owl

Within a few weeks of the Tinsel Hedgehog pattern arriving at Minerva from King Cole, another pattern arrived - this time for a beautifully cute owl! This just had to be another “Will” project, for my five year old, animal-mad grandson.

As with the Hedgehog pattern, this pattern for the Owl shows three sizes and can again be worked in any of the twelve colours of King Cole Tinsel Chunky Yarn. Which combination of size and colour would you choose? Just makes you want to get started and knit a whole family of them, doesn’t it?

Again, as for the Hedgehog I knit, I decided to go the more realistic route in my choice of colour, and as I had already used the copper tinsel, it was either going to have to be bronze (to make him into a sort of Barn Owl) or white ( he would look great as a Snowy Owl). As you can see from the picture above, I chose to go with the Snowy Owl. As a toy for a young child, using the white could have “keeping clean” issues, but if all the materials you use are washable, it should be possible to spruce him up if needed.

The materials used were as follows: 1 x 50gm ball of King Cole Tinsel Chunky in White, 1 x 25gm ball of King Cole Dollymix in White for the face panel, 1 x 25gm ball of Dollymix in Gold for the eyes, 1 x 25gm ball of Dollymix in Clerical (grey) for the beak and feet, a pair of size 5mm knitting needles (old size 6), a pair of size 3mm knitting needles (old size 11), a size 3mm crochet hook (old size 11), two shank buttons for the eyes and polyester washable toy filling.

I don’t know about other people, but I seem to have a “problem” when choosing what projects to work on next. I adore looking at knitting and crochet patterns, all the beautiful yarns, their colours and textures, etc. – and I love looking at manufactured clothing, home decor products and interior design ideas as well , as inspiration for colour and design. My problem is that I can usually see a basic idea but there will always be some aspects of it that aren’t just what I’m looking for! Do you recognise that feeling?

I always seem to be thinking:

“Well that bit’s fine, but could I alter it here?” or

“Could I create this idea but in a different material?” or

“Can I alter the size of this?” or

“Oooh, I love this product, but could I use it to create something else?” etc, etc.

So, over many years, I have adopted the attitude that even if you try out something and it doesn’t quite work, you’ve had a great learning curve along the way. At the end of the day, at least with knitting and crocheting, it’s probably only a few balls of wool that need pulling back! I now know, thanks to a great tip from a crafty friend, that all my “kinky” wool doesn’t need to be a problem either, because there is a very clever way to get rid of them. I will explain what this is, and how to do it, in another post in the near future.

All of the above preamble was really getting round to saying that, although I loved the idea of the owl, I was not really keen on the face panel as on the pattern (shown above). An idea came to mind which I’ll explain to you as we progress. I also wondered if it might be possible to give him a couple of wings as well, so I might try that too.

As I was going to play around a little, I decided that the largest owl would be the best one to make, as it gives me a bigger area to work with.

One ball of yarn (as per the pattern) is enough to knit the large body, but until I’d knitted it, I wouldn’t know how much would be left. 

 You can see on the photograph there was some, but whether it will be enough or not I’ll have to wait and see . I decided to concentrate on the owl as he was on the pattern, and think about “ wings” later.

It didn’t take long to knit the body and I decided this time, unlike with Herbie, that I would sew up and stuff the body first so that I could see what size I would be working with, in order to create my own eye pieces.

The body was knitted in stocking stitch, and in most cases you would probably sew something up so that the smooth side (ie: knit stitch side) is classed as the right side. The pattern does not actually tell you which way to sew it, but I decided I preferred the purl side on the outside – it seemed to show the tinsel effect off a little better (making it look more fluffy!) So I sewed knit sides face to face, then turned it inside out to stuff it. Also, normally, you would think that your cast on edge would be at the bottom of whatever it is you are knitting, but in this case the cast on edge is the top the head and the cast off edge is the base.

I would say the finished height of the owl is approx 25cm/10ins (it does not actually tell you the heights of the different owls on the pattern).

Next I decided to knit the owl’s feet as instructed.

Whilst I was knitting the feet for the Hedgehog, I must admit that the instructions seemed a bit strange, but stick with me, and hopefully I can make things a little clearer for you. They are exactly the same one’s for the owl’s feet. So I decided in this post I would try, with step-by-step instructions and photographs, to explain just what they mean.

Casting on and the first two rows are straightforward, but for some people Row 3 may confuse you. First of all knit 5 stitches, then knit 2 more. Cast the second of these off over the first one. Knit next stitch, then cast it off over the previous stitch. Continue like this until you have 4 stitches remaining on the left-hand needle (you will also have 1 stitch on your right-hand needle). Knit 4 stitches, which then gives you 5 stitches at the end of the row.

On the next row (Row 4 on the owl pattern), knit 5 stitches then turn your work. Using the two needle method, cast on 20 stitches, ie: put the right-hand needle into the first stitch of the 5, knitwise; wrap the yarn round the tip of the right-hand needle; bring the right-hand needle to the front of the work but instead of slipping the stitch off the left- hand needle(as you would for an ordinary knit stitch), slip the loop formed back on to the left-hand needle. Repeat 19 times to create your 20 new stitches.

ON THE OWL PATTERN THERE IS ACTUALLY A MISTAKE AS IT DOES NOT TELL YOU TO TURN YOUR WORK AGAIN, BUT YOU NEED TO DO THIS TO BE ABLE TO KNIT THE REMAINING 5 STITCHES OF THE ROW. When you have turned, knit the 5 stitches that are remaining on what is now your left-hand needle.

Work 2 knit rows and then repeat the cast off/cast on rows again.

Work another 2 knit rows, then cast off all stitches. You now have a finished foot piece which you might think looks a little strange.

When you fold the finished piece in half you can easily see how it will create a foot. Simply overstitch all around the edges to give Ollie his three toes.

Now it was time to consider what to do about the eye panels.

I really didn’t like the look of them knitted in garter stitch as per the pattern, so I wondered what they might look like if I crocheted something instead, as it is easy to create circular pieces of crochet.

I decided to use a deep yellow yarn, as Snowy owls often have vivid yellow eyes with a deep black centre. To achieve the centre I was going to add some shank buttons at a later stage.

Here are the instructions for the eye panels, with photographs of the various stages to help you:

Using the gold yarn and 3mm crochet hook, make 5 chains (ch), join with a slipstitch (s/s)

1st Row: Make 2 ch, work 8 double crochet (dc) into the centre of the ring, join with s/s (9 stitches). Make sure there is a reasonable sized hole left in the centre. You need to be able to fit the shank of the button through it when the pieces are completed.

2nd Row: Make 2 ch, work 1dc into 1st dc of previous row, then work 2 dc into each dc of previous row, join with s/s (18 stitches)

3rd Row: Make 2 ch, work as for Row 2, but do not make s/s at end of the round. (If you make this stitch in gold, it will show in the next round which is going to be white). Break off the gold yarn.

Using white yarn, continue as follows – join to beginning chain of previous row with a s/s

4th Row: Make 2 ch. Work 1 treble (tr) into each stitch of previous row, to end, joining with s/s (36 stitches)

5th Row: Make 2 ch.* Work 1 tr into each of next 2 sts, work 2 tr in next st*, repeat from * to * to end of row, join with s/s (48 stitches)

Next, make 2 ch, then work 1 tr into each of the next 4 stitches. Remove hook from the stitch and pull the loop of this last stitch until it is a reasonable size (this is only to prevent the work being pulled back until the other eye piece has been worked). Break off yarn, leaving about a 30cm tail after the loop.

Now you need to make another piece exactly like this one, including the loop at the end.

Take hold of the two eye panels, placing them back to back, wrong sides together. Put your hook through the loop of the back panel which will be on the right-hand side. Next put the hook through the top of the stitch of the front panel as shown on the photograph (this will be at the opposite end of the joining sts to the loop}. Pull the yarn of the back loop until it is closed up against the needle ready to work. Using this tail of yarn, wrap it round the needle and pull it through all the loops. Using the same piece of yarn, work 1 dc through each of the next 3 tr on both panels together. Now, put the hook through all of the following at the same time: the top ch of the turning ch on the front panel, the last tr on the back panel and, at the same time, the large loop left previously on the front panel. Put yarn round the hook and pull through all loops. At the same time pull the tail of the front panel taut. Tie together with a couple of knots. These tails can now be used to sew the panels onto the owl’s body.

This has now created a ridge on the front side of the panels which can be used to help to attach the beak.

The button eyes can now be inserted in the holes in the centre of each panel. (If the shank of the buttons will not fit easily into the holes, using a pencil or pen tip, twist this in the hole to make it a little bigger). Once they fit through they can be attached by sewing them, through the hole in the button shank, onto the back of each panel.

Place the eye panels on the front of the owl’s body (I didn’t really think there was a definite front or back to the body so either side should be ok). Play around until you are happy with their location, then pin in place - I only used 4 pins, one top and one bottom on each eye panel.

Take one of the long ends left at the end of joining the two panels together. Thread this in a wool needle and make a few stitches to attach the beak area to the body. Next, if you look carefully at your crocheted panels, you will see that there are two distinct rounds of stitches worked in white. Using the line between the two rows as a guide, and using backstitch, sew all round the eye section. Fasten off. Using the other long length of yarn, repeat for the other eye.

You should now have an owl face with attitude, even if he is still missing a beak!

This is a straightforward knitted triangle, which I knitted in grey. It doesn’t say on the pattern which way out to turn this, but I decided that it looked more like the texture of a beak if it was used with the purl side outside. Using the tail from either casting on or off, sew the decreased edges together to form a little cone-shaped piece. I did this by oversewing the edges on the right side. Again I felt this added to the textural effect.

Fill the beak with a small amount of stuffing, making sure you get some right down to the point, without poking right through the end!

Using your fingers and thumbs, I found that if I you gently coax the pointed end, you can actually create a bit of a bend, or hook, in the end of the beak.

Using the remaining yarn at the end of the beak, and using the ridge on the eye panel to help, attach it to the owl’s face.

To attach the feet I turned the owl upside down and faced the feet to the front but splayed them slightly to face outwards .When I had decided they looked alright, I then flipped them over to face backwards and pinned them to the body (they will slightly cross over one another at this point). This only needed one pin, but it just made sure it wouldn’t move whilst I was trying to sew them on. Using small overstitches I sewed along the straight edge of the foot. Then I turned the foot back towards the front of the owl and stitched along the straight edge again, then fastened it off securely. I tried to make sure that both the beak and the feet were sewn on quite securely as I had visions of Ollie being transported by his young owner using one or other of these appendages!!!

Once I had finished Ollie I decided that he could look even more cute if he did have wings. I had a little bit of yarn left, but obviously if I tried making them, I would have to have enough for two! My philosophy was that it was not going to take long to knit a piece the size I was going to need, so – just go for it! What did I really have to lose?

To keep it simple I thought that a triangular shape might work for this, like it did for the beak. A bigger triangle with the straight edge at the top, then fold it in half to create a straight edge at one side and a tapered edge at the other. I didn’t know at this point whether I would end up putting any stuffing in it or not, that could be decided later.

The instructions for the wing I decided to make are as follows:

Using the Tinsel yarn and 5mm needles (as for the main body), cast on 6 sts.

Starting with a knit row, and working in stocking stitch(1 row knit, 1 row purl), increase 1 st at each end of every row for 9 rows (24 sts).

Next Row: ** Purl

Next Row: Increase 1 st at each end of knit row**

Repeat from ** to ** 3 times (30 sts)

Work a further 9 rows in stocking stitch.

Cast off knitwise.

Once I had knitted this piece I could see there was enough yarn left to knit the other wing. Pheww!! as by now I was really quite sure that I wanted him to have wings.

I folded the wing piece in half, and as with the body, placed the knit sides together . I then stitched it along the angled side. Next, I turned it inside out and placed it at the side of the body. The decision now would be to see whether I thought it needed any stuffing inserting, or would it look alright as it was. I decided on a half-way house – it needed something but not too much. I also decided, by placing it on the side of his body, that it was probably going to be a bit wide across the top edge to sit comfortably in position. So, rather than pulling it back and re-designing the shape, I decided to try running the sewing-up thread along the top straight edge, thinking that once I had put a bit of stuffing inside, I could perhaps gather it up, thus reducing its length. I love it when a plan comes together!!! It did work- really well!

Gathering along the top of the wing piece gave it a better, more realistic shape, and with not too much stuffing it should mean that the wing would not stick out from the body at right angles!

I now needed to decide where to attach the wings to the body. As with other parts of the project, this is really down to personal preference. Play around with some pins and try them in various places. So long as they are both about the same height on each side it should be fine. I was thinking, that as with the feet and the beak, the wings may well end up being used as a means to carry him around, so the important thing is to make sure you sew them on securely.

So, there we are! One finished owl with some innovations. I must say I am extremely pleased with how he has turned out. I personally feel that the crocheted eye panels give him much more character, emphasising the roundness of an owl’s eyes. By sewing round the inner ring of stitches, it makes the outer row of crochet stand out, almost representing a frill of feathers on his face.

I am also really glad that there was enough yarn left to have a “play” and give him some wings, although he is still cute without them! If, for some reason, you did not have enough yarn left, then if you had to use another ball, I am sure that you could always find someone else who would also love a cuddly owl, or that the recipient of the first one wouldn’t mind a “family” of them! Remember, this was the largest one, the others won’t take as much.

I hope that you have enjoyed following this post, and if it encourages some of you to have a go at tweaking one or two of your own patterns, then I will be very pleased. Sometimes it only needs a small variation to make something your own and stand out from the crowd!

I look forward to bringing you another project soon,

Bye till then and happy crafting

Anne x


#POW Pattern of the Week - Vogue Men's Shirt

Just for a change I've decided to review a man's shirt pattern for this week's Pattern of the Week. 
I have chosen Vogue 8889 and for this week only there is 50% off! 
This pattern could be made into a dress shirts, a very formal shirt, an everyday shirt for wearing with a suit for work, a casual shirt or a holiday shirt. It is quite a slim fit shirt. 
View B is a very formal shirt with concealed buttons and quite nifty tucks in the shoulder area of each front. Most guys would like this in plain white and therfore I would suggest our cotton poplin fabric. This is a very easy fabric to sew and feels lovely next to the skin. The tucks in the shoulder are such a nice detail that takes away some of the plain look of a formal shirt. This style has a full placket opening on the sleeve and a two piece collar.
A lot of sewers are put off making guys shirts if they have a two piece collar but do give it a go as it's not as hard as it looks. 
Version C would look brilliant in our navy and white polycotton pinstipe fabric. Wear it with a tie for work or roll the sleeves up for a more casual look. Pricewise, especially with the half price pattern, this would work out a very reasonably priced make.
Last but not least I just love version A. The fabrics suitable for this version are endless. I could write pages and pages of ideas but I have settled on this light weight Chambray Fabric in Plain Navy and Cotton Tartan Fabric in colour  'Navy/Ivory/Red'. 
Possibilites are - check body with collar and sleevebands in navy, or plain body with check collar and sleevebands, or how about all in the check with just the yolk in navy. I love combining fabrics and this pattern is suitable for just that. 
I think I would change the fastening from concealed buttons to where the buttons are visible for version A and to do this work as follows - Cut both fronts off piece 1 and work off the instructions for the right front. For most of the seams a flat fell seam has been used.
This seam as the name suggests gives a very flat seam with no raw edges visible. However you could just sew the seam, finish off the edges and press them open. 
If I have inspired you to have a go at this pattern remember you pick up your copy at 50% off (this week only!).
Happy sewing fellow sewists,
Annette xx

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