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Look holes- and now it’s a Bunny Bag

Karen has been catching the knitting bug…

”When I was at Needlecase teaching the last Sew it’s Friday Garden Patch embroidery earlier this month Judith showed us some gorgeous Easter Bunny Bags she had made. Having then written a free knitting pattern for them several of us were tempted to have a go so Judith kindly handed us all a copy.

I haven’t knitted anything since I threw a bootee across the sitting room when I was about 20 years old, I was struggling and struggling again with the shaping and it got the better of me!

That was about 25 years ago or so and I swore I would never knit again.

Anyway getting back to the Bunny Bag; I have been thinking about picking up the knitting needles again but worry that I just don’t have the time and energy for another aspect of making but I just couldn’t kick the idea out of my mind.

Well when I saw the Sirdar Americana cotton blend double knitting wool in a gorgeous pinky, cream and duck egg combo I just couldn’t resist!

I cast on and got started and couldn’t believe how the therapeutic clicking and wrapping of the wool around the needle came back to me – loved it. And when I’d made my row of holes!! Whoopee! Sorry, I know you clever knitters will probably think I’m a bit silly getting so excited about a row of holes but believe me those bootees have haunted me off and on throughout my adult crafting life – I had been defeated! But not any more!!

Everyone in my household have been very impressed at my cleverness – except my mum who calmly declared “we’ll of course you can knit, I taught you and it’s like riding a bike, once you know what to do you can do it” (I had been hoping for a bit more of a wow but I suppose she is my mum…)

I looked through my scraps of wool, bits I collected together after I’d been on The Introduction to Crochet workshop Judith regularly runs at Needlecase a year or so ago, in order to knit the inner ear in and came up with a pleasing shade of purple.

Bunny knitted up very quickly though I did find all the counting a little hard to do when I was on the last purple ear and I was tired. At one point I did have to ring Judith though as my knitting all became ‘reversed’ and I has the nice smooth knitting on the back and the bumpy bits were on the front. A couple of unpicks, recounts and knit agains soon sorted that out thankfully and this Bunny didn’t fly across the room – oh how I have matured and grown up!!

I followed Judith’s advice on blocking my knitting before stitching up.  Here it is all pinned out onto the back of one of my cutting boards.  I sprayed with water and left it to dry.  How clever and simple that process is.

It took me a couple of good sessions to knit it, two evenings worth of time maybe and I made it up last night. Instead of using a running stitch to sew the ears up as Judith suggested I used a blanket stitch which I’m pleased with as it means that you get to see the plain purple wool colour on the outside of the ears.

I also found some matching purple ribbon in my stash that I’ve threaded through those lovely holes. The ears are a little bit over stuffed I fear, so they are a bit heavy but perhaps he’s just eaten a lot of chocolate. I have to say I’m not certain about this Bunny’s expression though, as I took these photos I wanted to shout and encourage at him ‘smile’, ‘say cheese!’ as he does have a bit of a solemn – or do I mean sullen face?

Never mind I am chuffed to bits that I have knitted something after all these years and a craft you once enjoyed has got to be worth a revisit at some stage.

Will you be able to find time to knit a cute Bunny Bag in time for Easter? Have you ever had break from a craft and come back to it with renewed energy? I know Judith and I would love to see your Bunny Bags, do share.

Happy Easter

Karen x”


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Nursery Knits for Girls

We recently received 2 gorgeous new books in the shop, Nursery Knits for Girls and Nursery Knits for Boys.

Nursery Knits for Girls is described 19 hand knit clothing, nursery and toy designs for little girls from birth to 3 years in Sirdar Snuggly DK.

The book begins with this fabulous blanket 486 Blanket smallin a very colourful palette (just to note that the new snuggly colours are available in the shop but at this time not on our website although we can do mail order if you’re unable to get here!).



Turn the page and you come to this lacy angel top and stripy leggings  for your little one, and a ‘dolly snuggle’ knitted in Snowflake DK. Love the curly hair on  the dolly and how about some of those leggings in adult sizes?!!

486 top and leggings (2) small486 comforter small









The little girl in your life can have a dolly with clothes to match hers 486 Doll small


486 yellow shoes small








and little shoes too.




There is a bit of a birdie theme going on – there’s a padded mat to go on the nursery floor, 486 bird rug (2) small


a sweater, a cushion

486 bird cushion small



and a toy! 486 bird toy small








And it continues, a bib, a hat, onesie, adorable blanket, cot bumper and fabulous mobile for the nursery.

486 bird bib small 486 bird blanket small  486 bird hat small   486 cot mobile small








A lovely book packed full of lovely things!!












As if all of that is not enough, you can make this pretty raglan cardie with dollies border and, finally this lacy blanket in any colour you like!!486 doll cardi 1 small 486 purple blanket small







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Knitting Beginnings

Four ladies came to Needlecase last Saturday for our Beginners Knitting class. In reality, as is often the case, one of them wasn’t strictly a beginner but I think they all went away having learnt something new.

It’s always interesting to meet new people at our classes and to find out what their hopes and aspirations for their knitting are. Some people just want to see how they get on, one lady told me she really wants to knit a Christmas stocking (fuel for a future project for me there I think) and another was able to knit already but wanted to move on from the basics. We spent the morning going through those basics, starting with casting on, then learning knit and purl stitches. IMG_0778

Everyone moved on at their own pace and there was lots of giggling at each others mistakes and excitement when someone felt that they’d really picked up a technique and could feel that they were making progress.

After a busy morning of learning we were ready for a rest so we headed down the road the The Granary for a delicious lunch.

After lunch I decided that we practised doing some rib stitches.

Ann had already produced a fantastic sample of different stitches, including moss stitch which was new for her, and refreshed her memory on how to cast off.

Ann's knitting

She spent the afternoon exploring the different increasing and decreasing techniques and everyone else started knitting a scarf in Hayfield Superchunky yarn.

I like this project as it allows people to practise combining knit and purl stitches, it is simple to do and, because it grows quickly it is very encouraging for new knitters.


This is me wearing a finished example – I’m told I look stern in this picture which is a shame but when I want a photo and I’m all alone here in the shop it’s the best I can manage!!scarf



At the end of the day I for one was exhausted but really proud of the ladies who were well on the way to their first knitted project. Good look with it girls and I’m really looking forward to seeing your finished scarves.








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Eggs, bunnies, ducklings and daffodils – it must be Easter

Last week we were visited by our Easter ducklings.

IMG_0734These ladies are knitted in Snowflake dk from an Alan Dart pattern which is available from his website. I caught sight of them waddling along the top of the wall and coming into the shop through the back door. They have now taken up their usual Easter positions in our shop window.

We think they are the best fun and one day may even complete the whole set!!



Another Easter-time visitor is the Easter buuny and we have some of those too.

This is our lovely floppy bunny knitted by my mum Jean and much admired by customers young and not so young all year round. You can knit your own in your own colour choice – buy the wool and pattern here.IMG_0760



We have some new bunnies in the shop which have arrived recently.

Having spent lots of time on Pinterest looking for Easter crafting ideas I saw lots of little gift bags with bunny ears but non of them were knitted so I thought I would write my own pattern for one. I have knitted it using Bergere de France Ideal and also Sirdar Simply Recycled DK both of which are yarns available in our sale. As this is a just for fun knit, any dk yarn you have will do. You need about 25g of the main colour. You could experiment with other yarns to make different sized versions. I think it would be fun to knit one in a superchunky yarn which would make a larger bag. My bag is about 10cm x 10cm when completed and will hold a couple of cream eggs or lots of little chocolate bunnies. You can order the pattern free of charge to make your own Easter gift bags.IMG_0737A delightful source of ideas for Easter and all year round is this lovely book Knit Pretty which has patterns for daffodils and other pretty flowers which have many, many potential uses for decorations and embellishments.IMG_0762




You can knit some cute chick egg cosies or these colourful birdies.

Cheeky chicks

It really is a very  useful little book with lots of gift ideas to use up your stash.


bk428[1]IMG_0769 IMG_0764 IMG_0765 IMG_0766 IMG_0767 IMG_0768


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Garden Patch Embroidery

On Friday evening we enjoyed this months Sew It’s Friday session with 8 lovely ladies.


Karen began by explaining how her mum came up with this relatively simple but extremely effective technique for producing your very own original piece of hand embroidery quite a number of years ago. In fact one of our ladies said that she was fulfilling a long held ambition, as she’d wanted to try it our many years ago having seen it at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate!





Having shown the group lots of examples, including one beautiful piece done by a 6 year old! Karen encouraged everyone to prepare their piece of Calico using some water colour pencils. We saw how simply adding a small amount of colour to the background sets off the creative process and gets your imagination flowing.









We learnt lots of practical tips for getting the best results and everyone tried out using an embroidery hoop which was a new experience for some!IMG_0748

Now it was time to have some fun and start stitching.

People started off using green embroidery threads to give shape to their ‘picture’ and then it was time to get stuck into adding colours, shapes and textures with lots of imagination thrown in. IMG_0751IMG_0754








Karen was constantly on hand to give people ideas and advice about which stitches to use and everyone got a useful leaflet to take home explaining how to use a few simple stitches.

We have more sessions planned for Sew It’s Friday. We are intending to make a set of 3 co-ordinating items which you can use for a holiday. The first is a book cover. The book could become your holiday journal or maybe you could use it for making your lists when planning your holiday? Next we are going to decorate a bag to use as a beach bag or for carrying all those essential items on a day trip. Finally we’ll make a sunglasses case. The idea is to make them all as a matching set for yourself or as a gift. Karen has come up with this very summery hand applique design which I think will look great. IMG_0756

We want to be flexible about things though. You could make the 3 items and add your own design ideas or use the embroidery techniques we did on Friday to make your own totally unique items. If you haven’t been to one of our Sew It’s Friday groups before and fancy a relaxing evening of creativity why not book your place now?




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Fabric Temptations – The Power of Restraint

Karen has been fabric shopping again!! Here’s a message from her about her latest purchase –

”I’ve been really sensible today and despite going to bed and getting up everyday for a week

with the thoughts of this gorgeous fabric in my head I didn’t buy it when I went back to the

shop this morning.birdie fabric

In my head I’d decided it would make some sort of lovely blouse or top for myself but I hadn’t

settled on a pattern. I’m a bit low on good patterns for tops and despite having a couple of

ideas the patterns I’d been thinking of are all a bit on the expensive side. I need to ‘invest’,

not just ‘buy’ a good couple of patterns that preferably have a few options, you know,

different neck lines and sleeves. I think this fabric needs a pattern without many darts as I

don’t want the little birds to be all broken up and looking strange but I do like my tops to

have a reasonable shape and fit.

Another reason for not buying was because I feel it might be more suitable for my girls aged 4

and nearly 2 rather than a grown woman on the wrong side of 40. I love a novelty print but

don’t want to look silly. What do you think of novelty prints, are they just for the young? Can

you suggest a suitable pattern for a top or blouse?

However, you don’t think I could go to a fabric shop and come out empty handed do you? No I did a very sensible thing (told you I was sensible) and bought a meter of this gorgeous ‘wool mix’ to make an ‘A’ line skirt with as it will go with a lovely White Stuff’ top I had for Christmas.puple fabric 2

Best of all I’d been looking for a suitable RTW skirt and couldn’t find one and this fabric only cost £4.99 p/m so with a bobbin of thread and a zip it came to just over £7.00. I already have some lining in my stash and I think I will make the Delphine skirt from my copy of Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes, so I reckon it’s a win win!purple fabric

What fabric have you been tempted by recently or are you being good and working your way through your stash?

Karen x”

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Crochet Home book review

Crochet is so popular at the moment. It just seems to be getting bigger and bigger. We talked about our own experiences a couple of weeks ago. This very inspiring book is tempting us to get our hooks out with all the joyful little projects it contains.

There are small projects to make in a weekend like these mug cosies mug cosies


and little trinket boxes

trinket boxes








and cute pincushions.    pin cushion








We are a bit obsessed with the possibilities for re-cycling jam jars at the moment and these covers are great.

jam jar covers








This beaded jug cover is fantastically nostalgic and an easy way to get yourself into using beads in your crochet.


jug cover

You can even create your own artwork. Quick and easy crochet flowers on a colourful crocheted background would be so quick to make for your home or as a gift.

perfect petals

There are so many ideas you can use for making soft furnishings for your home if you have a little more time to invest.

tableclothThis  tablecloth looks amazing.

Or how about a chic lampshade.

chic lampshade

trellis cushionThere are plenty of cushions and a throw too.

cushions  bolsterthrow










This striped tea cosy is so simple to make with no shaping involved.

tea cosy









This book is choc full of things to do and you can make  some useful items for when you’re on the move such as this wave patterned tote bag totea very roomy looking shoulder bag

shoulder bag





and this Laptop cover which has interlaced strips and no shaping so should be easy enough to achieve with very little experience.

S5437 LAPTOP 1












If you’re looking for fund raising ideas how about making up some of the small projects in the vibrant colours to add to your summer fete stall? These jewellery ideas and pretty bunting would work a treat.





jewellrywhite bunting    bunting








All of the projects in this book are crocheted in Sirdar 4ply Cotton which comes in a range of vibrant colours and is 100% mercerised cotton with a gorgeous sheen.