english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Christmas Making

Sewaholic Stanley Tree

Happy Christmas all; I hope you’ve had some time at home relaxing. I’ve been doing quite a bit of gift making over the last week or so, and am now planning to get back to selfish sewing/knitting. I’ve already made a decent start on a Lesley sweater & I have a load of sewing patterns printed.

I actually finished the last of my Christmas gift making this morning. I was planning to make my Dad a tie but ran out of time before Christmas. I showed him the pattern pieces on Christmas Day (as proof a tie was in progress!) and finished making the tie today.

Handmade Tie using Purl Soho free pattern

I used the free Purl Soho tie pattern and fabric from Guthrie & Ghani, with scraps of Liberty fabric for the lining. This was my first attempt making a tie and I really enjoyed it – It’s all pressing and hand-sewing, so quite an enjoyable project while watching a movie.

Handmade Tie using Purl Soho free pattern

Handmade Tie using Purl Soho free pattern

The other gift sewing I did, was making a copse of Sewaholic Stanley Trees, another great free pattern. I made one tree using the larger version, and five using the smaller version of the pattern.

Sewaholic Stanley Tree

I found that I needed less fabric than is listed in the pattern. I managed to make one large, and three small trees from two metres of fabric. All of the Christmas fabric I used was also purchased from Guthrie & Ghani.

Sewaholic Stanley Tree

I thought the trees would be really quick to make, but they took longer than I expected as they involved quite a bit of hand (as well as machine) sewing, to seal the underside and attach any decorations. For decorations I made bows from ribbon in my stash, and attached either bells or tiny baubles from Ikea.

Sewaholic Stanley Tree

The most involved gift project this year was a scarf for my Mom. I used the Pianissimo scarf pattern by Thien-Kieu Lam from the Autumn edition of Pom Pom Quarterly (which is a brilliant issue). I made Version Two of the pattern (I’ve also made Version One for myself), shortening it slightly since – as written – it would be very long. The pattern uses an easily memorised cable pattern to create a really interesting effect.

Pianissimo Scarf

The photos don’t do the pattern or yarn justice. I used West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious DK yarn in the Garnet colourway. The yarn is 70% Falkland Wool and 30% British Alpaca. It was lovely to knit with and resulted in a really drapey scarf.

Pianissimo Scarf

The other gift I knitted was a little decoration as part of the #Christmasdecswap2015 organised by Marilla Walker. I was swapping with Ingrid and made her a Tiny Sweater using the free pattern by Malia Mather. A bit like my Dad’s tie, I finished it very late, but Ingrid can hopefully put it on the tree next year!

Tiny Sweater for #Christmasdecswap2015

I’ve made Christmas cards for a few years (some previous years here: 2014 / 2012 / 2012), so got the lino printing supplies out from under the bed and created an angel lino block for this year’s cards. Multi-colour prints are time consuming to create, so I used metallic pens to add colour.

Lino Print Handmade Christmas Card

Lino Print Handmade Christmas Card


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Craft Fair Makes

I had my last craft fair of the year last Sunday at the MAC. I lucked out as I got a nice pitch which came with its own bench (good for wrapping items on as well as sitting) & was in the perfect position for watching what was happening in the centre.

Craft Fair Stall at MAC Christmas 2013
I made a few new items especially for the stall. I had a few items left over and finally managed to time it right to get enough natural light to take some photos today. The worst thing about winter is definitely the limited opportunities for getting enough natural light to take photos!

Small Mouse Lavender Bag:
The little mouse design on this lavender bag was printed using a small stamp I carved in lino. I stuffed it with a combination of lavender & polyester stuffing to get a nice shape.
Lino Printed Mouse Lavender Bag
Lino Printed Mouse Lavender Bag

Tweed Door Stop:
I used the same little mouse design to decorate door stops I made up in a lovely pink tweed fabric.
Door Stop with Lino Printed Mouse
Door Stop with Lino Printed Mouse

And as it was a Christmas craft fair I had to make some Christmas items!

Robin Stamp:
These little stamps are carved out of lino & then attached to a plastic base.
Handmade Robin Lino Stamp
Handmade Robin Lino Stamp

Heart Bauble with Robin Design:
I used one of the robin stamps myself to decorate these heart-shaped baubles, made in cotton & decorated with a Christmas ribbon.
Lino Printed Robin Heart Bauble
Lino Printed Robin Heart Bauble


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Christmas Craft Stall

Phew! I’ve had a busy few weeks. Amongst other things I’ve travelled abroad for work, prepared stock for the two Christmas craft fair stalls I have booked, and am currently on holiday in Spain. The day before me and Phil left for our holiday was the first of the Christmas craft fairs where I have a stall booked. Here’s my stall, looking busy!

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

I tried to broaden my repertoire a little for this fair, so amongst the items I regularly sell on Etsy (such as panda toys & door mats) were…

Fabric baubles with a lino printed robin design (printed by hand)

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Handmade lino stamps featuring the same robin design

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Handmade doorstops in a lovely pink tweed fabric. The doorstop on the left features a mouse design printed from a lino stamp I made.

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

Mini sewing kits including handmade pin-cushions and handmade clay buttons

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

And some cloud cushions.

Christmas Craft Fair November 2013

P.S. If you’re ever in Seville make sure to visit Calle Francos (not far from the ‘Flying Waffle’) which has a number of fabric shops (both expensive & very reasonable). I picked up the fabric below on sale for 2 euros per metre from Almacenes Velasco.

Fabric - From Seville


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Literary Festival Lino Poster

A friend who has been involved in organising a literary festival asked if I’d like to create a lino-print poster for the event. This is what I came up with. All of the elements of the image (excluding the date) were printed from lino blocks but were then compiled together in Photoshop and the colours adjusted to match the colour scheme used in the official event advertising.
Book to the Future Literary Festival Poster


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The Little Tramp

Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp

I love silent movies and the movies of Charlie Chaplin so decided to have a go at creating a plush Chaplin or two. Here is my first, a solid plush with an image of Chaplin – screen printed by hand – on the front. For the reverse I couldn’t decide on a suitable fabric from my stash so printed my own, carving lino cut stamps of a bowler hat and cane and using these to hand print some plain cotton.

Note the lovely flowers I treated myself to in the first shot below:)

Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp
Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp
Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp

These Chaplins are available to buy from my Etsy store.


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Fritillaria Easter Card

I was a bit slow making Easter cards this year, but finally got around to making some – just in time! I opted for a fritillaria design. The fritillaria image is a linocut print, which I’ve tidied up & added text to in Adobe Illustrator.
Home-made Fritillaria Easter Card