Scrap Sunday: Personalised mismatch

It might not quite be Sunday anymore where this post gets written but that is the beauty of the www. It is still Sunday somewhere. And it really isn’t my fault. I couldn’t publish this earlier as I hadn’t handed it over yet.

Anyway, I finally made a bag for a very good friend. She didn’t get anything for her birthday this year as no one over the age of 10 did because I had been so busy with other things. So I thought, now that I have more time again, I will make her a little present for her doula “graduation”.

IMG_3561I have tried to chose fabrics in colours that she would like. Not easy as I only seem to own very bright colours (in case you haven’t noticed yet) and she loves subtle green-turquoisey colours. Seriously, this is the best I could do.

For the inside I took a different approach. I wanted to create a more personal feeling and was looking for a calendula theme in my stash. Initially I was thinking of the fabric of the dress I made last year.

IMG_2098sI think those flowers would have been perfect calendulas (not from a scientific point of view) but also far too big for the inside of a rather small bag.

So this is what I chose.IMG_3562

It really really doesn’t go at all with the outside fabrics but as I said, it was for personal reasons. Not sure, if she understood that these are meant to be calendulas but she will now 🙂

And then, as matching the fabrics didn’t matter anymore I looked for another souvenir type of fabric and decided on the strawberry fabric that will remind her of my children.

IMG_3563Mega mismatch mission completed 🙂





It’s never too late for a Christmas present – the bag story continues

As I said last week, I have been busy with quite a few bags lately.

This time, I will show you two very similar bags, one is a Christmas present for last year (so it needed to be a bit more apologetic than usual) and a smaller version as a birthday present (just in time) for my niece.



For the adult version I followed roughly a pattern from Lisa Lam’s The Bag Making Bible (not a bad book, lots of things in it, but it does lack a bit of consistency and pictures where you can actually see what is happening. Maybe not quite a Bible but a good start)

For the outside I have used waterproof coated cotton which I have once again bought at Dotsnstripes.

For the big bag’s inside I have used red and orange cotton, plus one patterned cotton hiding behind a zip 🙂

I made a laptop flap thingy on one side and three different pocket types on the other side.

IMG_3266 IMG_3265

The book suggests to use Twist Locks for the main flap but I was slightly too frightened to make holes in something that I have made myself. Thought I will leave that for next time. My initial plan was to just use a band of velcro to close it. I did change my mind halfway through though and bought some kind of button release buckle on ebay which meant that I needed a rather long and awkward looking strap to reach from flap edge to bottom bag edge. Not too great so I guess, next time I will try those square twist locks and make holes to fit them 🙂 or at least decide before cutting out and make a longer flap.IMG_3267

For my niece I made a smaller version as there is no point in dragging around a bag that is half the size of you.

Instead of a flap I decided to put in a concealed top edge zip. I was a little bit unsure which fabric to choose to conceal that zip. The waterproof outer? Might be tricky to sew neatly, will be bulky  and might be odd to fix to the bag.

The plain cotton inner? Not waterproof, slightly flimsy (in comparison) and most importantly boring.

Difficult choice so I went for a third option: a strong cotton with yet another pattern. And as I was already adding patterns, I thought I might as well use another fabric for that inner top edge and made this in another one of the waterproof coated cottons.


Inside, I added three pockets in total, one with zip and the patterned cotton (same as for the zip) on the inside of the pocket.


I honestly love using a pretty fabric secretly hiding behind a zip. It makes it so more special, no?

I am very pleased with both results, they look amazing and I can’t wait to finally make one for myself – after all this is why I initially bought that fabric in the first place a few months ago 🙂

It is just hard to say which one I prefer… which one would you choose?


just a little something

just a little something

just a little something

Last Wednesday was the last day of the summer term in nursery and therefore my first last day as a mum and I had no idea how to thank the teachers.

Chocolate? The key worker has allergies and can’t have chocolate, a few of the others were fasting.

Flowers? It had over 30C so they would have been withered before even getting there.

So, I needed to knit something…  just a little something as I didn’t want to overdo it.

The pressure was on, just a few days to go and all of a sudden I had plenty of ideas. So I made


a bookmark

a book mark for the teacher who is in charge of the library. She was really touched as it was so “thoughtful”. I found it a bit too bulky to be actually useful to be honest and would have already better ideas… I guess for next year.

a phone case

a phone case

a phone case for the one who is really strict about the no-phones-in-the-classroom-rule. She was really pleased as apparently she keeps dropping her own phone.


hairband with little arrows

a hairband for the key worker who has just really nice long hair and has often some kind of elaborate hair styling. And she was actually wearing a dress in a matching colour on that last day. And maybe I can make a matching scarf next year as it will be the final one for my daughter.

a small bag with i-cord and buttons

a small bag with i-cord and buttons

and a small bag for the head teacher as she doing her rounds with a small shoulder bag and I had already thought in the past that I should knit one for her. It is about the same size as her usual one, so it should really suit her needs.

In fact, I am really pleased how all these little somethings turned out. They are the perfect size for these kind of occasions and can be really personalized.

In fact I made a few other hairbands, both for girls and women.

I will definitely continue to experiment with hairbands, so far I did a few narrow cotton ones with a bit of lace to make them more interesting, a very simple red one with a knot and a similar but more girly one with a proper bow (I will try a flower version too), a few wide cotton ones with lace and a woolen one that should cover the ears as well. I guess that one could actually be even wider.

The other thing that keeps me busy knitwise these days is the fact that I will be giving knitting lessons for beginners starting from September. I am currently preparing samples and hand-outs. My students will be people who use the services of the Children Centers in the Borough, so I guess mainly mothers of young children like me.

Hairbands and little bags for their children will actually be the perfect projects for them. But I am still thinking of something a bit more suitable for little boys…. they all like bags but it would be nice to have something more boyish too. So any ideas of very simple and quick knits for little  boys are welcome.



bags, bags, bags

As it has mainly been about my children knits so far, I would like to finally talk a bit about my bags.

But before I do so, I want to show you my last “custom order”. After finishing a hooded vest for the shop I asked my daughter if I should make one for her as well or rather a dress and she said: Both. I then made the second mistake of letting her choose the colours out of my stash…. and she chose all of them. Some of them really don’t go together so I first wanted to ignore it but then  I shouldn’t have asked her if I am not prepared to follow her wishes. And actually it turned out to be really great. It was only a matter of how to order the stripes.

I want them all

I want them all

I also love her strawberry skirt… I made it because she is just so thin that the ones that fit around her waist are too short.

And here the two vests together, they are both the same size except that the models wearing them aren’t

But now back to the actual subject: bags

I have been knitting a few bags in the past, they are easy and quick and ideal presents for more normal occasions where you do not want to overdo it.

But I haven’t knitted a bag for myself yet, I have to admit. I always have to think practical, I have a huge bag (in fact, apparently not huge enough and therefore completely broken) in which I have to carry half of the household. And as I live in the UK, I also have to have a waterproof one. I have a few really nice bags but in the end, I always use the same for my everyday life. I have always been like that and I guess I will never really change… So no cute knitted bags for me but it doesn’t stop me from producing them.

So here are a few examples of what I have done in the past.

I made these sets of bags for children a long time ago. The shoulder bags were just an excuse to use up some left over yarn and both my children loved them.  They are tiny so only really to play with.

The bedside bags (with the intarsia) have open end strings so you can tie them to your bed and keep important little things in there.  You could also tie the strings together and use them as a shoulder bag. I think if I made them again, I might make them with a cotton lining.

For the following water bottle bag I have used the  Bishi – pattern by Georgie Hallam. It is really nice and I like the whole combination with the dress (also made by me)

I have also made a few really small gifts for grown ups like a smart phone or a passport holder. Apparently the smart phone holder is also ideal to keep a dummy safe over day time.

Bags are also a great way of personalising the present. I made the following one for my mum who uses quite often cotton bags. I have actually made a mistake in the pattern repeats which I only discovered once I had all ends woven in and cut. So it became “the design”.

cotton bag

cotton bag

I have sewn the whole bag using greenish- turquoise heavy cotton and added one knitted side with a bit of a lace pattern so the green could shine through.

I have used this design of one knitted lace side also in the following folder-holder for my sister. The back of the holder is a heavy burgundy cotton and the front has actually three layers: burgundy fabric, yellow fabric and knitted red-orange-yellow with a few eyelets to let the yellow fabric come through. I have decided on a middle layer as the yellow background looks much nicer than the burgundy.

folder holder

folder holder