26 January 2014

stitch samples

Some days I do miss the discipline of working towards the City and Guild qualification and other days I'm glad it's all over. This year I decided to do a leisure class in embroidery and I have been trying to brush up my hand embroidery skills. I thought you might like to see some of the samples, I've stitched so far.
Here's one with chain stitch, herringbone and a few french knots sprinkled in. The background fabric was dampened and then painted using the Koh-I-Noor palatte

In this sample I was trying out needle weaving.

I covered a curtain ring using buttonhole stitch, this would be nice added to any sewing piece or the starting point for a jewellery project.

This is my favourite sample, a stab stitch and french knot daisy.

Have a great week, Ali.

19 January 2014


I do like a good rummage around the charity shops...I get quite excited as you never know what is going to be found. Yesterday I came away with what I call treasures. The first is a vintage wooden spool of variegated green thread, probably rayon.

Then I found some metal hooks and eyes from the sixties. I do like the royal seal of approval !

In another shop I found a necklace, someone had made it out of blue buttons.

I thought I would buy it and cut it up to use the buttons in sewing projects, but I think its too pretty to do that and it makes a nice bracelet.
Total cost less than £2.50, wonder what I'll find next week.
Bye, Ali.


11 January 2014



A mini snake approximately 32cms / 12 inches long. Bendy body due to the use of a pipe cleaner.

st(s): stitch(es)
k: knit
p: purl
M1L: increase (make one left)
M1R: increase (make one right)
For increase tutorials see knitting help
sl: slip
psso: pass slip stitch over
pwt: pull wool through (thread yarn onto needle and then through sts on needle, pull tight and secure with a few sts) 

four dpns size 3.00mm  (US 2½)
variegated dk (8 ply) yarn for snake body (eg Robin Paintbox)
oddments plain coloured dk (8 ply)  yarn for head
two dpns size 2.25mm (US 1) for tongue
oddments black 4 ply (fingering)  yarn for tongue
two beads (aprox 5mm)/small buttons or embroidery thread for eyes
pipe cleaner (length 30cms/12 ins)
fine fabric similar colour to snake body
darning needle
sewing needle
  • Bend the ends of the pipe cleaner back.
  • Cut a strip of fabric, (in a similar colour to the yarn to be used for the snake body) approximately 1cm wide and approximately 60cms long.
  • Wrap strip around the pipe cleaner.

  • Secure end of fabric with a few stitches or glue. 

Snake is knitted from the mouth to the tail.
The head is knitted flat in two pieces using two dpns size 3.00mm (US 2½) .
Cast on 3 sts with purple yarn, leaving a long yarn tail.
ROW 1: k.
ROW 2: p.
ROW 3: k1, M1L, k1, M1R, k1 (5 sts).
ROW 4: p.
ROW 5: k1, M1L, k3, M1R, k1 (7 sts).
ROW 6: p.
ROW 7: k.
ROW 8: p.
ROW 9: k.
ROW 10: p.
Break yarn and keep 7 sts on left needle. Cast on a further 3 sts, leaving a long yarn tail.

Rpt ROWS 1-10
Next rd joins the two pieces of mouth to form the neck.
Rd 1: k all 14 sts dividing the 14 sts as you knit between three needles
(4, 6, 4) and join in the rd.
Rd 2: k.
Rd 3: k.
Rd 4: (k2tog) rpt to end of rd (7 sts).
Place sts on one needle with the yarn on left hand side ready to i-cord.
Change to variegated yarn.
Continue with i-cord, pull yarn very tight at the back of work.
Continue working until the snake body measures the length of the pipe cleaner.
Next row: k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog (5 sts).
Continue with i-cord for a further 1.5cms/0.5ins.
Weave away all yarn tails. inside the snake, except the two tails at the tips of the mouth. 

Knitted flat with two dpns size 3.00mm (US 2½)
Cast on 3 sts with pink yarn.
ROW 1: k.
ROW 2: p (right side).
ROW 3: k1, M1L, k1, M1R, k1 (5 sts).
ROW 4: p.
ROW 5: k.
ROW 6: p.
ROW 7: k.
ROW 8: k.
ROW 9: k.
ROW 10: p.
ROW 11: k.
ROW 12: p.
ROW 13: sl1, k1, psso, k1, k2tog (3 sts).
ROW 14: p.
Cast off.
Weave yarn tails away on knit side. 

Cast on 2 sts with 4 ply black yarn using 2.25mm (US 1).
Leave a long yarn tail which is one side of the forked tongue.
Continue with i-cord until work measures 3cms (1.25ins).
pwt - leave a long yarn tail.
Attach a second piece of yarn to cast on edge and secure with a few sts.
Trim two yarn ends and knot and trim again close to the knot.
Insert covered pipe cleaner into the head through the mouth.

Push and manipulate along snake body.
Insert inner mouth (purl side facing outwards) inside head.
Using yarn tails of mouth over stitch two pieces together.

Sew tongue to the centre of the mouth.
Sew two beads on for eyes or embroider two French knots.

copyright Alison Hogg 2014

3 January 2014

out with the old and in with the new

I'm a bit late doing my New Year Post, but better late than never!
Very windy, wet and cold here, so it's nice to have a full log basket to toast the tootsies.

But it's out with the old....winter, and in with the new........"pre-spring" and I have Vivienne from Green Rabbit Designs to thank for this new season.

And it's out with the old.....all the Christmas trappings, but I'm still holding on to my Christmas posy. A lovely gift with brightly coloured, summery flowers.


And out with the old knitting projects.....I've finished with sock knitting for a while and in with a new knitting project just for me. I'm using lovely Drops Lima wool from The Textile Studio.

I'm also working on a new freebie pattern, which will hopefully be posted soon.

Best wishes for the brand new 2014, Ali.