Bootcamp in the Snow!

Work up a sweat at Chill Factore

 

Snow and boot camp!! When the invitation came through to visit this new exercise class the comedy value was too enormous to resist!

Unfortunately I was shampooing a poodle on the proposed date, so asked one of our regular guest bloggers – Charlie (she’s training for the London Marathon) to pop on an extra vest and try it out.

 

Over to you Charlie ……

Charlie

 

I’ve done a lot of things when it comes to exercise!

Running, gym classes, spin, weights, circuits.

I’ve even tried a little ice skating and Cross Fit.

But Chill Factore are offering something a little bit different, that even I thought twice about before agreeing to. Bootcamp in the snow.

 

And it’s exactly what it sounds like. A full hour of bootcamp or circuit style exercises in the snow, at an ambient temperature of around -2°C. The lower temperature means that you burn more calories (read more about that here).

Ever curious, I set off to find out what this fitness session was really like.

I have to admit, I’ve never been to Chill Factore before, despite living almost on it’s doorstep. Perhaps that’s the reason, familiarity and knowing it’s ‘just there’ mean it’s the last place you stop by.

 

Chill Factore

 

I didn’t realise it has it’s own restaurant, a gelato bar, pub and coffee shop – let alone the various sports shops on site. Just turning up was a bit of a revelation.

After heading to the reception desk and collecting my ticket, it was time to get kitted up. You can, of course, do the session in your own gear – but included in the price of your ticket is a pair of ski pants, a jacket and a pair of snow boots – the latter essential for running about in the snow.

Trying on a couple of pants for size (I have a rather curvy figure which means that I did have one or two issues with the unisex nature of the ski pants) I was soon kitted up and headed out onto the snow.

 

Bootcamp in the snow

 

The trainer, Gary Novak, soon had us all warming up on the snow. From star jumps to holding plank and side plank, our ski gear soon got very warm and we were very red faced, despite the temperature around us.

Once our cheeks were rosy, he set up the circuits – polar bear wrestling, snow angels, press ups in the snow and punching the penguin were all on the agenda.

Penguin boxing!

Paired up, we were given one minute on each exercise, 20 seconds to move to the next station – there were seven stations in all.

Whilst this sounds like hard work, I can honestly say it was a lot of fun. Running about on the snow, pushing a tyre with your partner seated in it, using boxing gloves to punch a foam penguin on the nose – there was laughter, sweating (and maybe a little swearing). I absolutely loved it.

If you fancy something a bit different, or just something where you can laugh just as much as you exercise, this is by far the class for you. A great group and a great trainer, mean it’s a whole heap of fun and before you know it, your hour is up and it’s time to head home.

Just try not to stop off at the Hot Choc Hut on the way home.

For more information about Bootcamp in the Snow visit chillfactore.com/bootcampinthesnow

(cost = £8.00 or book six sessions and pay just £40.00)

 

Charlie x

 

Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes

Charlie writes her own personal blog – Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking and is also programme secretary for the Manchester WI.

 

Other articles by Charlie:

Felt Christmas tree decorations

How to jazz up an old jumper

Rorschach Print T-Shirt

Easy Fabric Brooch Turotial

Yarnbombing

Craftivism

Woman’s Weekly Live

Film Review – Now is Good

Craft events this Autumn

Christmas Crafting – top tips

Garter Stitch Mug Cosy Pattern

Top Tips for a Homemade Christmas

New Year – get crafting

Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Felt Christmas tree decorations

Easy tutorial for Christmas decorations

 

My Christmas tree is like a map of my life. I’ve got ornaments inherited from my parents, baubles and nik-naks picked up from holidays and momentos from talented designers and makers snaffled from countless markets.

And of course I’ve got the occasional piece made by yours truly!

We asked our regular craft blogger Charlie to put together a ‘how-to’ easy tutorial for a little something to hang on your tree this Christmas.

 

Over to you Charlie ……

Charlie

 

It’s time for our last tutorial of the year.

I’ve chosen something perfectly festive for you -  it’s a great one to do with the kids if you get the opportunity. One for those long days when they’re off school and are getting a little giddy and counting sleeps until Santa visits.

This tutorial features a Christmas tree, but there are lots of possibilities –  stars, bells, holly, snowmen, elves, stockings, even Santa himself if you’re feeling ambitious.

 

And to add a lovely Christmassy scent, I added a cinnamon stick for the trunk. You could easily pop in a couple of cloves, or some toy stuffing scented with pine oil – perfect if like me you have an artificial tree.

 

You will need

 

  • Felt in a suitable colour
  • Ribbon
  • Buttons
  • Fabric glue or needle and thread
  • Glitter or sparkly thread

 

 

Felt Christmas Tree decoration

 

  • To start with, choose your shape, draw it on some card and cut it out. Now you have yourself a reusable template.
  • Using your template, trace the shape onto the felt, and cut it out. For each ornament you will need two pieces.
  • Match up the pieces, and select a suitable piece of cinnamon for your trunk – but don’t stick it together yet!
  • Selecting one side, decorate it. I used ribbon and sparkly crochet thread for the ‘tinsel’ and buttons for the baubles.
  • Stitch or glue these into place – you may find stitching the buttons a little more secure.
  • Once dry or once the stitching is secure, add the ribbon or thread to hang it up with. Again, stitch or glue into place.
  • I used a gold button to cover the stitching and in place of a star.
  •  Finally, match up the back piece and the cinnamon stick and glue or stitch into place.

 

 

Felt Christmas Tree decoration

 

Ta-da! There you have it, one homemade decoration for your Christmas tree. Have a go, crack out the glitter and experiment.

And don’t forget to let me know how you get on!

 

Charlie x

 

Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes

Charlie writes her own personal blog – Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking and is also programme secretary for the Manchester WI.

 

Other articles by Charlie:

How to jazz up an old jumper

Rorschach Print T-Shirt

Easy Fabric Brooch Turotial

Yarnbombing

Craftivism

Woman’s Weekly Live

Film Review – Now is Good

Craft events this Autumn

Christmas Crafting – top tips

Garter Stitch Mug Cosy Pattern

Top Tips for a Homemade Christmas

New Year – get crafting

Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Only Sharukh Khan Reviewed

An evening of Bollywood at Z-Arts

 

Four starsWe sent regular guest blogger Charlie over to Z-Arts to check out a play which promised energy, comedy, drama and a little bit of Bollywood!

 

Over to you Charlie ……

Charlie

 

How many times have you received an email of theatre listings and dismissed a play because you don’t think it sounded like your kind of thing?

I’ve done it. A lot. And I’ll admit that when the invite for this play appeared I wasn’t sure.

What do I know about Sharukh Khan? Or Bollywood for that matter?

To be honest, getting me to sit still long enough to watch a bog standard blockbuster is hard enough, ask my husband.

We’ll end up at the cinema maybe twice a year, simply because I can’t make a decision or sit still in my seat. And let’s not even touch on the popcorn arguments.

So I worried a little when we arrived at Z-Arts in Hulme. Was I going to feel a bit lost and out of place?

 

If Only Shahrukh Khan.

In truth, this story is about people, nothing else. Yes Sharukh Khan is the lynch pin, but he could have just as easily been any screen idol. And my lack of Bollywood insight in the end meant nothing really.

As the audience you are members of the SRK fan club and privy to the lives of Rose, Kasi and Pindy, three sisters, of circumstances rather than blood, and their lives in and around the club. Their love for the idol is clear and in some ways he and the club become the one thing that keeps them going, their weekly hour of SRK trivia, film and song.

Comedy, tragedy, it’s all here, a little black humour, a touch of sadness. Their backgrounds are far from gentle and it’s perhaps this that pulls at you the most and gives real depth to the play. They each hold onto secrets, from you the audience and from each other.

You’re pulled into those secrets, into their lives and the little twists in the play only make you feel for them more as time goes on. And when Opiyo, the young man looking for his mother appears, you can only watch and wait and guess as to what the outcome will be. And it’s still not what you expect.

What both my guest and I loved the most, however, was the intimacy of the play. The stage is very close, the theatre small. It draws you in easily with the minimum of set and props. Just enough to make you think you are visiting every week, sitting in their living room, talking about Sharukh Khan.

 

If Only Shahrukh Khan

 

RASA and Z-Arts have done a fantastic job bringing this show together and the sisters, played by Pooja Ghai, Rani Moorthy and Bharti Patel have a great chemistry. In the comedic scenes you can see the friendship behind it, the real humour sparkles through. Takunda Kramer’s part as Opiyo is a strong one, given he is bringing conflict to the safe family group. His character stirs up old wounds, old feelings.

Running until 15 November, If Only Sharukh Khan is on at the Z-Arts Centre in Hulme, with matinees on Wednesday and Saturdays.

Why not challenge that ‘it’s not for me’ mentality.

For more information and to book tickets please visit z-arts.org

 

Charlie x

 

Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes, Z-Arts

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to jazz up an old jumper

There’s life in your old clothes yet

 

I’m on the cusp of turning on the heating! Which means it’s time to root out all my cardigans and jumpers. If you’re a bit bored of your woollies, then here’s a great idea for how to jazz up your jumpers and cardigans.

Our resident crafty guest blogger Charlie has dived for her button box with this quick and easy upcycling tutorial.

 

Over to you Charlie ……
Charlie

It looks like summer has deserted us, and we need to dig out our autumn wardrobe – jumpers, cardigans, all those light woolies, ready for the cooler days.

Whilst I’d all love to spend money on new knits, I’m still feeling the pinch, but I want to get the embellished look that’s in all the shops.

I just don’t want to spend £30.00 on a new cardigan, so I’ve raided my craft box and picked two knits from the wardrobe.

 

I’m going to show you how to give an old jumper and an old cardigan a new lease of life, for a fraction of the cost.

And more importantly, nobody else will have one quite the same.

 

 You will need

 

  • A knit, or top that needs updating – it can be old, but should still be in good condition
  • Needle and matching colour thread
  • Embellishments – I’ve used matching buttons, but beads or sequins would work just as well.
  • Clear some space at the kitchen table, dining table or living room floor. You need to start by laying the garment out flat.

 

How to jazz up a jumper

 

As you can see I have lots of blue buttons, of different sizes, different shapes and different tones of blue. I want to position these on the shoulders – a key look this season.

  • Split the coloured buttons as evenly as possible into two. I have some that are the same button, so I’ll keep the split as even as possible, but I’m happy for it to be asymmetrical.
  •  Position the embellishments – in my case, I’ve positioned some of the larger buttons around the shoulder line in a triangle. As you are positioning them, this is a rough guide.
  • Then, grab your phone and take a photo. This will help you remember where you’ve positioned your buttons for later. If you don’t mind it being more freestyle, then don’t worry about this bit.
  • Start sewing. If you prefer, you could just tack the buttons in place with a couple of stitches first, but I dived straight in.
  • Keep going, referring back to your photograph if you need to, or change things as you go, it’s your design.
  • When you’re happy with the results – then you’re done.

 

How to jazz up a jumper

 

There are lots of variations you can do, this is with an old cardigan and some contrasting colours.

 

 Cardigan with button embellishments

 

 Cardigan with button embellishments

 

Wear it, buy yourself a pint and enjoy – and don’t forget to let us know if you have a go!

 

Charlie x

 

Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes

Charlie writes her own personal blog – Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking and is also programme secretary for the Manchester WI.

 

Other articles by Charlie:

Rorschach Print T-Shirt

Easy Fabric Brooch Turotial

Yarnbombing

Craftivism

Woman’s Weekly Live

Film Review – Now is Good

Craft events this Autumn

Christmas Crafting – top tips

Garter Stitch Mug Cosy Pattern

Top Tips for a Homemade Christmas

New Year – get crafting

Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer in Spinningfields

Whats on – things are popping up all over!

 

If you’ve not been down to Spinningfields lately – you’re in for a big surprise!

The home of all things ‘pop-up’ has been busy. We were invited to the launch of the Aperol Spritz marquee and so sent regular blogger Charlie along with her camera to catch the summer spirit of Spinningfields.

 

Spinningfields

 

Long Bar

 

With it’s modern metal exoskeleton and soundtrack of Balearic and soulful grooves – this bar is a partnership with Living Ventures (Oast House, Australasia and Alchemist). Click here for more information.

 

The Long Bar

 

The Long Bar

 

IN Bloom

 

This is quite literally a living bar! With it’s nice covering of ivy it’s a fusion of nature and urban jungle. IN Bloom is run by Fluid Bars and boasts herbs grown on site for the cocktails and locally sourced ales!

You’ll see from the photos that Charlie is busy yarnbombing IN Bloom – covering it with small knitted flowers!

Click here for more information on IN Bloom.

 

IN Bloom

 

Yarn Bombed flower

 

 

Aperol Spritz

 

For a very short period  (24th June – 7th July) there’s also a massive Wimbledon themed Aperol Spritz marquee.

Aperol Spritz – all the rage on the continent – 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, 1 part Soda and lots of ice! Just the ticket!

 

Spinningfields

 

Spinningfields

 

Spinningfields

 

 

Screenfields

 

The big screen is back in action – but this time with a difference. At the beginning of the week Spinningfields announces two films – you vote for your favourite via Facebook and Twitter, then come Thursday the winner is shown on the big screen.

The big screen has been focused on Wimbledon for the last couple of weeks, but next week it should be back in action. And with fantastic weather promised, what could be better! For more information click here.

 

SpinFest

 

Summer Sessions – this summer, Spinningfields and The Oast House have extended their musical offering to the SpinFest stage with its Summer Sessions every other Wednesday from 7pm.

  • 17th July – Indie Sessions Featuring The Ragamuffins
  • 31st July – SKA Sessions Featuring Baked A LA SKA

 

Comedy Sessions – This summer The Courtyard will host The Comedy Club. Every other Wednesday from 7pm.

  • 10th July – Courtyard Comedy Club, hosted by Jonathan Mayor
  • 24th July – Bogan Bingo

 

American Vintage (28th July) is a free day time music festival celebrating city life! With an eye watering programme of acts from rock n roll, swing and soul, it sounds like a great way to spend the day.

 

So if you haven’t been down to Spinningfields recently – pop down and help yourself to a slice of the action!

 

alstaples's Spinningfields album on Photobucket

 

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rorschach print t-shirt tutorial

Do people analyse what you wear?

 

When our regular crafty blogger Charlie mentioned that this month she’d be doing a Rorschach print t-shirt tutorial, I confess I had to Google it so I didn’t look like a numpty!

And so this morning has seen me doing a bit of introspective self analysis! Rorschach is the ink blot test, where the doctor asks you to look at a series of ink blots and tell them what you can see?

Rorschach blot 01

 

I’m not quite sure what it says about me – that when I look at the first one, I don’t see a bat or a butterfly – I see Basil Brush doing Bohemian Rhapsody!

 

 

In these days of thrift and economy, we’re all for giving something a bit old and faded a bit of a schuzz!

 

Over to you Charlie ……

Charlie

 

If you’re anything like me, then lurking in the bottom of your wardrobe or back of a drawer, is a t-shirt that somehow has stained – ketchup, tea, curry – you’ve tried ever stain remover on the market and you still can’t get it out.

The only option is to turn it into cleaning rags, or wear it around the house – even though you’ve only had it five minutes.

This tutorial should help you find a way to re-use that top before you get rid of it.

 

Or if you prefer, personalise a new one. It’s an easy way to play with your wardrobe and create something uniquely yours.

 

You will need

 

  • T-shirt
  • Fabric paint in a colour of your choice
  • Plastic carrier bag
  • Coat hanger

 

Read the instructions

 

Before you start, please read the instructions on your fabric paint. The tutorial here was done using standard Dylon fabric paint, which needs ironing to fix it. Yours may differ slightly and so please check before you start the project.

 

Preparation

 

Cut up your carrier bag – you’ll need to leave the handles in place for later, so cut along the seam of the bag. Obviously it’s preferable to use one that’s already heading for the recycle bin.

Put your t-shirt on the hanger, then loop the handle of the carrier bag over the hook, and push it in between the front and back of the t-shirt.

It’s there to prevent the paint staining through to the back of the t-shirt, so it should sit nice and flat between the two.

 

Rorchach tutorial

 

Create your design

 

Dab/drip/dribble paint across the front of the t-shirt. Feel free to experiment and use more than one colour.

Carefully fold it in half down the centre of the shirt.

Press down firmly, making sure the plastic is still protecting the back of the shirt.

Unfold the shirt and hang it up to dry.

 

This is your print. I know, how easy was that?

 

Rorchach tutorial

 

 

Fixing it forever

 

Once dry, fix according to instructions – with this paint I used a very hot iron and a dry cloth.

Wash and wear!

 

Rorschach t-shirt

 

It’s a super little project to inject life into your wardrobe. Don’t just stop with a t-shirt, put a print on the back of an old shirt to give it a new life, or a jacket.

Have a go and please, let me know how yours turn out.

 

alstaples's Rorschach Print t-shirt album on Photobucket

 

 

Charlie x

 

Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes

This is not a sponsored blog post

 

Charlie writes her own personal blog – Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking and is also programme secretary for the Manchester WI.

 

Other articles by Charlie:

Easy Fabric Brooch Turotial

Yarnbombing

Craftivism

Woman’s Weekly Live

Film Review – Now is Good

Craft events this Autumn

Christmas Crafting – top tips

Garter Stitch Mug Cosy Pattern

Top Tips for a Homemade Christmas

New Year – get crafting

Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy fabric brooch tutorial

Become a sewing Queen Bee!

 

With the arrival of the Great British Sewing Bee on our screens, it’s unsurprising that sewing is enjoying a bit of a revival – following in the footsteps of baking.

 

Fabric Brooch

 

 

Charlie

 

But sewing can be a bit daunting if you’ve never done it before, particularly the idea of sewing your own clothes or home furnishings.

So we’ve enlisted the help of our regular crafting guest blogger Charlie.

We tasked her to come up with something simple to start, and this is what she came up with – inspired by a good friend, this tutorial uses a simple Suffolk puff to create a little pin brooch.

.

.

Over to you Charlie ……

 

You will need

 

Fabric – you can use anything you like. Denim and twill may be a little stiff for your needle, but are still useable in this project. If it’s your first project, scraps of cotton, polyester, viscose or polycotton would be ideal.

Buttons – the only requirement for your buttons are that they should match your fabric. I’ve used one larger and one smaller.

A suitable needle (it should fit through the holes on your button and comfortably through your fabric)

Thread (matching your fabric)

Card for your templates – I used an old cereal box

A marker pen (a felt tip is fine)

A safety pin or fastener for the back of your brooch

 

Create your templates

 

To create the templates I used a saucer (diameter of 20cm) and a tub from the kitchen (diameter of 10 cm). I drew around them onto the card and cut them out.

Your circles don’t have to be perfect and feel free to use anything you have to hand. A little smaller or larger is fine.  And of course, you can use these again.

 

Brooch tutorial 1

 

 

Trace and cut out the fabric

 

Using your template draw onto the wrong side of the fabric and cut out your circles. Please don’t worry about pen or felt tip marks. These will be hidden on the finished project.

 

Sew

 

Using your needle and thread, sew a running stitch around the outside of your circle. Again, this doesn’t have to be overly neat, but keep the stitch 2mm or so from the edge to avoid fraying of the fabric.

 

Brooch tutorial 2

 

 

Create the puff

 

Using the needle and the knotted end of the thread, pull the circle together, with the wrong side on the inside of the puff. Tie this off.

 

DSCN1665

 

 

Do the same again for your second circle.

 

Suffolk Puff

 

You should now have two completed Suffolk puffs. These can be used for all sorts of things – decorating necklines, cushions, but for this, we’re going to turn them into a brooch.

 

Buttons

 

If you haven’t already, select your buttons, and thread some more cotton onto your needle. Starting from the smooth side of your puff (this will be the back and where your fastener will go), sew the through the two puffs and button or buttons to fix it all together. Dependent on your fabric, this may be quite stiff, so take your time.

 

Suffolk Puff Brooch

 

 

DSCN1678

 

 

Finishing

 

Knot off your thread, but before you snip the end, find your safety pin or fastening for the back of your pin and sew this on too.

Knot off again and snip the thread.

Alternatively, use some felt and sew this to the back of the brooch for security.

 

Suffolk Puff Brooch tutorial

 

DSCN1685

 

 

DSCN1683

 

 

And there you have it. One brooch.

If you’re feeling daunted still, try with one puff and one button. It’s just as effective!

 

Suffolk Puff Brooch

 

 

Good luck!

 

Charlie x

 

Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes

This is not a sponsored blog post

 

Charlie writes her own personal blog – Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking and is also programme secretary for the Manchester WI.

 

Other articles by Charlie:

Yarnbombing

Craftivism

Woman’s Weekly Live

Film Review – Now is Good

Craft events this Autumn

Christmas Crafting – top tips

Garter Stitch Mug Cosy Pattern

Top Tips for a Homemade Christmas

New Year – get crafting

Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Stitches & Hobbycrafts Show

 If you like craft – you’re going to love this!

 

For a serious craft addict like our regular craft blogger Charlie – The Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts show at Event City is the closest thing to heaven on earth. See what happened when we released her on a mountain of yarn and a load of beads!

 

Keep Smiling  through patchwork garland

 

Over to you Charlie ……

Charlie

 

It’s that time of year again – when the Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts show visits Event City.

As with last year it’s a cornucopia of craft – from crochet to Zentangle, if it exists, it’s under this one, very large roof.

On my visit on Thursday I was pleased to see the usual suspects, big piles of knitting yarn to wade through (literally), every kind of glitter imaginable, beads, fabric and paper.

 

 

Big pile of wool

 

Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show Manchester Feb 13

 

 

As ever though, it’s the extras that make the event special. There are regular fashion shows under the title ‘Creativity on the Catwalk, that take place three times a day and featuring creative work from Liverpool Community College, and Inkberrow Design Centre, among others.

 

Fashion show Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show Manchester Feb 13

 

The knitting lounge is a lovely feature and perfect to rest your weary legs. Take the opportunity to grab a pair of needles and knit a part of the longest knitting chain with the UK Handknitters Association and the WI, or knit a little heart bag for the Kids Company Heartsease project. These bags are used to bring joy to children across the UK who are “… are not properly cared for”.

If you’re not a knitter, head to the Sewing Machine Clinic – with machines for you to use there and then, it’s a fantastic opportunity to learn something new – rather than the trial and error I’ve put into use before.

 

Embroidery

 

Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show Manchester Feb 13

 

Rolls of material

 

 

Away from the craft you really shouldn’t miss the Jane Austen display. With garments from Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow, Mansfield Park with Billie Piper and for me, a fan of Sense and Sensibility, being able to stand a mere metre away from the outfit of Alan Rickman’s ‘Colonel Brandon’ outfit was enough to make my mind wander off to a more romantic place for a few moments.

 

Alan Rickman's costume, Colonel Brandon Sense & Sensibility

 

Emma Thompson's costume Sense & Sensibility

 

Returning to knitting for a moment, even if you don’t knit yourself, the international knitting project Above and Below the Waves, in support of the RNLI, is just mind blowing. With work from adults and children alike and from across the world, you really should take the time to wander through the archway into an undersea paradise of yarn.

 

RNLI Knitting project Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show Manchester Feb 13

 

There’s still more to see such as the Madeira Competition offering ‘Glimpses of Blighty’ completed in exquisite embroidery, Smocking Treasures from the WI and a whole host of talks and workshops for you to visit and take part in.

 

 

Craft collage

 

 

With tickets on offer from as little £8 on the door (and other online offers), it’s well worth buying a ticket and heading over when the show rolls back into town 12th – 14th September 2013.

 

Charlie x

 

Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes, Kerry Howarth

This is not a sponsored blog post

 

Charlie writes her own personal blog – Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking and is also programme secretary for the newly formed Manchester WI.

 

Other articles by Charlie:

Yarnbombing

Craftivism

Woman’s Weekly Live

Film Review – Now is Good

Craft events this Autumn

Christmas Crafting – top tips

Garter Stitch Mug Cosy Pattern

Top Tips for a Homemade Christmas

New Year – get crafting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garter stitch mug cosy pattern

Insulate your brew and hug your mug!

 

I’d never even heard of a mug cosy before – so I Googled it! The internet was awash with them. It’ seems that I’m the only kid on the block not to have cottoned on to this woolly phenomenon.

 

Cupcake Mug Cosy

 

charlie

 

So before you go out spending on a posh Starbucks thermally insulated wonder-beaker, why not try this super simple pattern and impress your friends with your knitting abilities!

Here’s our regular crafty blogger Charlie with the ‘How To …’

 

 

Over to you Charlie ……

 

Equipment:

1 pair of 4mm knitting needles.

Double knit yarn in a colour of your choice.

Needle for finishing.

 

Pattern:

Cast on 16 stitches.

Knit all rows until work reaches 18 cm in length.

Next row, cast off 4 stitches, then knit to the end of that row.

Following row, cast off 4 stitches and continue to knit the remaining 8 stitches, until this smaller section reaches 5cm in length.

Next row, knit 3 stitches, yarn forward and knit two stitches together. Knit to the end. This creates a button hole.

Knit 3 more rows.

Cast off.

 

mug cozy

.

Using a suitable mug (either the one you intend to use, or a similar size), position a button that fits through your button hole on the wider section of the mug cosy, ensuring that the buttonhole strap fits comfortably through the mug handle for fastening.

Sew in all ends.

 

Once you’ve got the basic idea, you can try out all sorts of other designs!

 

Christmas mug cosy

 

 

Charlie x

 

Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes, The Woolly Knitter on pinterest, Whipup on pinterest

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

Charlie writes her own personal blog – Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking and is also programme secretary for the newly formed Manchester WI.

 

Other articles by Charlie:

Yarnbombing

Craftivism

Woman’s Weekly Live

Film Review – Now is Good

Craft events this Autumn

Christmas Crating – top tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year – Get Crafting

Time to finish, get rid or start new crafting projects

 

Now that Christmas and New Year are over – do you fancy revisiting some of those unfinished craft projects that have been stuffed in a plastic bag behind the sofa for months?

Or do you fancy turning your hand to something new to fill the dark January evenings?

Charlie

 

We’ve got our regular craft blogger – Charlie back on the blog today today to give our best intentions a bit of a boost!

 

Over to you Charlie ……

With the New Year come those new resolutions.

Time to clear out the old in with the new as we head into 2013.

 

Stash Clearing Calm and get your craft on

 

We’ve all got a pile of fabric, yarn, paper, kits and the like that we bought months (or even years ago) and now realise that we don’t really like them, or its gone out of fashion.

 

Time to stash bust.

Take advantage of your local craft group who will often be having a stash swap in January or get rid of it entirely and take it to a charity shop or Freecycle / Freegle or donate it to a community group.

 

 

Project Busting

 

This one can be a chore, but can also be the most worthwhile.

How many unfinished projects do you have sitting around?

How many projects are almost there?

Time to finish some of them – if not all.

As a good rule of thumb if you’ve more than three unfinished, time to figure out why. If you’re missing a ball of yarn or set of buttons, it’s time to get some more and get it finished.

Alternatively, it might be because you’ve fallen out of love with the project.

organised craft shelves

 

If so, then it’s time to look at the reason why and if it’s fixable.

If you’ve decided half way through that the project isn’t for you, then (and forgive me if it sounds harsh) why have you still got it?

See what can be rescued and reused or donated elsewhere and what can’t be salvaged.

If it’s just that you went a bit wrong and are frustrated by it, then it might be worth seeing if a crafty friend can help you fix it. You might rediscover why you chose it in the first place.

 

 

Planning

 

Yes, that word again.

What are you going to accomplish this year?

Is there something you really need to do? Or are you happy to meander through the year doing what you fancy? Here’s your chance to work out the essential bits and the fun ones.

 

Learning

 

Wanting to learn something new?

Here’s your opportunity!

Get that course in jewellery making booked, or speak to that friend about a knitting lesson. Get it in the diary, particularly whilst it’s quiet in the anticlimax of January. Use the time (and lack of funds) to do something that brings you pleasure, but doesn’t cost very much.

 

Spring crafting

 

Have a great crafting new year – here’s to 2013 being the year that you create lots of gorgeous and useful homemade goodies.

 

Charlie x

 

Photographs: Lily Bowman via Pinterest, All Free Christmas Cards via Pinterest, Pizzaezzarie via Pinterest, Alison Staples

This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

Charlie writes her own personal blog – Gin Fuelled Blue Stocking and is also programme secretary for the newly formed Manchester WI.

 

Other articles by Charlie:

Yarnbombing

Craftivism

Woman’s Weekly Live

Film Review – Now is Good

Craft events this Autumn

Christmas Crafting – top tips

 Garter Stitch Mug Cosy Pattern

Top Tips for a Homemade Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

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