‘Shout out’ to a creative friend

Just to let you know that this week NONE of the items were created by me. This post is about a very talented young lady who has set up a creative business.

Alex Hellawell runs a business called ‘Alexis Barn Creates’ (ABC). Alex creates individual items that are focused around ABC’s ethos ‘Colourful gifts for Colourful Characters’.

Alex has always loved making colourful things, but it was only when she went on maternity leave that she found she had time to research the possibility of creating her own business.

Growing up with a  Mother who is also very creative and has a workshop packed to the rafters with fabric, buttons and trimmings, Alex couldn’t fail to be inspired.

A well timed gift of a sewing machine and ABC was born………..

I have selected a few of my favourite items for you to have a look at.

I have fallen in love with these baby booties, what a wonderful idea for a totally original present.

These flowers are so bright and fun, a bunch of them in a vase would make a unique and colourful centrepiece for a table.







Or, what about one of these lovely cushions to brighten up a nursery or as a colourful addition to your living room.






ABC is based in Cranleigh, Surrey but thankfully you can purchase the items online. Please check out the etsy and folksy stores right here:



All colourful characters arrive beautifully packaged and with the assurance that they are all individually handmade.

Alex is currently in the process of converting a barn to work from and is planning to have a number of open days throughout the year where she can meet her customers and showcase her work. I will keep you posted on any information about the ABC Open Days.


Not another scarf tutorial!

A couple of weeks ago I was given a couple of balls of wool by a good friend of mine. Some lovely baby pink and peacock green. Then I randomly found a very similar lilac wool in a charity shop.

I got knitting and made a stocking stitch stripey scarf, then joined the ends and basically made a chunky tube scarf that is really warm and snuggly.

Am really pleased with the results.

Want to have a go? If you want to watch some good tutorials about getting started there are some links at the bottom of my previous tutorial https://bexmclaughlin.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/easy-knit-scarf-tutorial/

You will need: Some chunky wool in three different colours (I used ‘Serenity’ Super Chunky wool by Wendy). Colour 1 (Lilac): 2 100g balls, Colour 2 (Peacock Green): 1 100g ball and Colour 3 (Baby Pink): 1 100g ball. This will be plenty of wool, I have quite a bit left over.

To make: Using UK size 8 needles and Colour 1 wool (Lilac) cast on 24 stitches.

♥Knit 1 row, Purl 1 row, Knit 1 row, Purl 1 row. Keep knitting 1 row and purling 1 row until it measures 11cm.

Bring in Colour 2 wool on the next knit row (Peacock Green). (See the you-tube tutorial below for adding in a new colour).

 Purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row, knit 1 row. Keep purling 1 row and knitting 1 row until it measures 8cm.

Bring in Colour 3 wool on the next knit row (Baby Pink).

Purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row, knit 1 row. Keep purling 1 row and knitting 1 row until it measures 8cm.

You will now have your knitting with three balls of wall attached to it at different stages. For your next row you are going to add Colour 2 (Peacock Green) back in. Find where Colour 2 (Peacock Green) is attached to the back of your knitting and cut this off leaving about 10cm of wool hanging to tie off later.

Take the ball of Colour 2 (Peacock Green) and bring it back into your knitting on the next knit row.

Purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row, knit 1 row. Keep purling and knitting one row until it measures 8cm.

From here you go back to the beginning of the pattern, you will need to add Colour 1 (Lilac) back in. So, as with Colour 2 (Peacock Green), you will need to find Colour 1 (Lilac) where it is attached to the back of your knitting, cut it off leaving 10cm hanging off your knitting to tie in later.

Add your Colour 1 (Lilac) back in on a knit row then go back to the ♥ in the pattern above and follow it through all the colours and back to the beginning again.

I repeated the pattern five times to complete my scarf.

Once I had finished I cast off and then tied off all the loose ends by knotting them to the loose end next to them.

I then attached the two ends to each other using mattress stitch (see the you-tube tutorial below), as this was chunky wool I threaded the ends together using my fingers but you can use a large tapestry needle if easier.

Happy Knitting!

You-tube tutorial for adding a new colour


You-tube tutorial for attaching the two ends together


The Patchwork Bag

So last week I was given these three books. ‘Stitch’ and ‘Make’ by Cath Kidston and ‘Quilting in no Time’ by Emma Hardy.

There are so many projects in here that I am really excited to try, applique, embroidery, quilts, bags……..so many things and so little time.

In ‘Quilting in no Time’ there is a lovely patchwork bag so I decided to have a go with some navy and cerise fabric and here’s what I came up with, would be great to know what you think.

Easy Knit Scarf Tutorial

So here it is, a lovely scarf perfect for wintry weather.
This is so easy to knit, if you can knit and purl it’ll be a breeze.
If you’re not sure then follow the you-tube links at the bottom of the page to some great video tutorials.

What do you need?
4 balls of Debbie Bliss Luxury Aran Tweed
Size 5mm (US 8/0) Knitting needles


Here we go
Cast on 40 stitches.
Knit 7 rows.
*Then Knit 5 stitches, purl five stitches, knit five stitches, purl five stitches, repeat from the * to the end of the row.
Repeat from first * until the scarf is as long as you would like it (my scarf is 164cm).
Knit 7 rows to finish, cast off and you’re done!

And that’s it! So easy but I love it, and the ribbed pattern adds some interest.

Go on, why not have a go!
Happy Knitting….

You-tube Tutorials

Casting on http: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9hv44QwQ-A&feature=related

Knit Stitch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgwi3xgZzlk&feature=related

Purl Stitch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nD5fxWP75yI&feature=related

And the stitch goes on…

Thanks for stopping by, I’ve had a busy and creative couple of weeks.

One lunchtime in Camden Town I was trying to avoid the tourists and found a small parade of charity shops on the High Street. I can highly recommend the Oxfam, it’s so nicely laid out, stocks really colourful clothes and rates as pleasant on the charity shop smell scale.

To find it walk down the High Street towards Mornington Crescent. After Oxfam there are at least three more charity shops and in one of these I found this bargain bag of tapestry wool. 

I was very excited this week to receive my craft labels, hopefully these will make my work look a bit more professional. I ordered these from www.gbnametapes.co.uk  and am really pleased with the results.

‘Pay it forward 2011’ update

So of my five takers two of them will have now received their free homemade item. To the first I sent the ‘Green Stripey Clutch’, you can see a pic in my first post here https://bexmclaughlin.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/gotta-start-somewhere/ .

For my second friend I made another clutch bag out of some upholstery material with a lovely silky lining. Come back over the next few weeks to see what I have created for the remaining three.

Next Week……

The knitting needles are out again and I’ll be sharing a free pattern for something perfect for this chilly weather.

‘Be my Valentine’ Card Tutorial

♥ Want to have a go at making something?

Why not try this really easy Valentines card.

It is very girly but I love it and have made the heart with scraps from my fabric box. Follow the steps below along with the slideshow and see what you can create.

Why not replace the heart shape with one of your own designs then use the steps below to create your card.

What do you need?

Paper, pen, fabric scrap, batting scrap (optional but will make your heart nice and puffy, you can get this from any good fabric store or search online), scissors, embroidery thread, tapestry needle, glue (I used UHU), card & envelope (I got mine from Paperchase).

Make it like this….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Step 1: Draw a heart shape on a piece of paper and neatly cut it out.

Step 2: Draw round your heart cut out twice onto your desired fabric. You will need to draw one heart on the right side of the fabric (the side that you want showing on your card), then turn it over and draw round the heart on the wrong side. of the fabric.

Step 3: Neatly cut out your two heart shapes (I used Pinking Shears for the criss-cross edge but you can use ordinary scissors).

Step 4: OPTIONAL Draw round your heartshape on a piece of batting (this will pad your heart out). Neatly cut out your batting heart shape.

Step 5: Pin together your heart, the two fabric pieces on the outside (right sides facing outwards) and your batting sandwiched in the middle.

Step 6: Using embroidery thread, stitch evenly around the edge of your heart. TIP: don’t pull your thread too tight or the heart will start to bunch up. I did two rows of stitching but ones looks fine too.

Step 7: If you are happy with how your little heart looks simply tie off the embroidery thread and use your glue to stick it on the card.

Step 8: Write something soppy in it and post it to someone you fancy!!


Gotta start somewhere…

Hello and welcome to my spanking new blog.

I’m going to take you on a journey as I try out new crafts, sew up some beautiful items and even share some of my own original creations.

All this started a few months ago when I was given a sewing pattern by a friend. I dusted off my neglected sewing machine and surprised myself by making a green stripey clutch bag. Inspired by the result I made a few more.











The pattern for this clutch is by KeykaLou, and if you want something easy and fun to make you should check out http://www.keykaloupatterns.com/ . The patterns are reasonably priced, easy to follow and e-mailed to you as a download, simply print it out and away you go.

I’ve also just bought the City Bag pattern so will post some pictures soon.




I have got quite excited about knitting this month, and have discovered that for a total novice really big needles are essential. I knitted this cardigan with ‘Debbie Bliss Como’ wool using 10mm needles, it was a Sidar pattern from the book ‘Big Softie Knits for Beginners’.

I’m not ashamed to admit that my cardigan is and looks a little wonky. The lesson for me is definitely pay more attention to the instructions and measure, measure, measure, then hopefuly the sleeves will end up the same length. I also should have used Sidar wool as recommended in the pattern, this cardigan has come out a little heavy because I didn’t follow the instructions!



At Christmas I was given an Emily Peacock tapestry. I remember having a go at cross-stitch when I was little but have to admit I was a bit dubious when I opened this, not least because as someone had given it to me, I would have to make it.

Scepticism aside I have made quite a bit of headway on this over the holidays, and am secretly enjoying it, it’s a good multi-tasker as I can definitely watch TV at the same time.


Finally, I’m taking part in ‘Pay it forward 2011’. I have to send something handmade to five of my friends sometime in 2011. I have my five takers already, so now need to get creating, why not pop back over the next few months and see how I’m getting on…………………..