Taking up crochet

Two and a bit years ago, my hobby became my business. Now, there are sixteen patterns (so far) for sewing and quilting, and many more in development.  Click here to see them, if you live in the UK/EU) or click here to see them if you live outside the UK/EU.  There have also been five magazine articles (one of them is mentioned here) and there are over a hundred fabric designs (click here to see them).  I love sewing and quilting, so I have every reason to enjoy my work.

But what to do when I’m not working? I’m not good at sitting still doing nothing, so I thought I might head back to something I did in the past.  Crocheting is something I used to do as a teenager, but which I haven’t done much since. Crochet has become somewhat trendy of late so I though I would like to have a go. I came upon the box below on one of my charity shop searches and decided that making a warm hat would be a great idea, as there was a ski trip coming up. I had a longish train journey to fill, so felt that could work…

Crocheted hat kit.JPG

Alas, I should have looked more closely at the box and spotted the German words near the top of the lid. Once installed on my train, the box opened, it became clear that all the instructions were in German. Now, I did study German until I was 18, but oddly my course did not in fact cover crochet terminology! It took me most of the three-hour journey just to translate the instructions and to practise a few stitches. Once that hurdle was over, I got on OK, although I did swop the rather vibrant bright green yarn (as depicted on the box-lid) for some white, to go with the purple and peachy-pink colours. Here, then, is the hat.

Hat crocheted by Amanda Ogden.JPG

While on the subject of the German language and woolly hats, I should also say that when away on the above-mentioned ski-trip, I had occasion to purchase an Innocent mixed-fruit smoothie, which was close in colour to that of the hat above.

Innocent smoothie bottle.JPG

To my delight, I found that the top of my bottle was covered by an exquisitely-knitted small hat. I was aware of the Innocent campaign in the UK, where for every knitted hat a donation is made to Age UK, as can be seen from this article in their magazine.

article from Age UK magazine.JPG

Clearly, this happens in Switzerland as well, and donations go to national charities for the elderly in that country.  The label on the hat translates ‘This little hat helps’.  Apparently over one million little knitted hats have been made in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.   So I am in possession of this beautiful, tiny item (it measures 2″/5cm high), which is knitted in a fine cottony yarn, complete with a plaited thread ‘bobble’ at the top. I love it – and sadly, I will probably never know who the skillful maker is.

Tiny knitted hat.JPG



Pretty Fabric Bag and Calendar

Pretty Fabric Bag by Amanda Jane Textiles.jpg

This week I have been stitching a pretty fabric bag, based on one I developed for a class last year. As you can see from the ‘bag contents’ strewn about, it’s a small bag, just about the right size for a night out, a party or a wedding. It’s quick to sew up and it only uses two fat quarters of fabric, that is to say two contrasting pieces of material, each 21 x 18″ (53 x 46cm).

For this bag, I used my own ‘Flowers from Kirkcudbright on black’ for the outside and a rich aqua colour for the lining.

Pretty Fabric Bag 20.JPG

Kirkcudbright is a favourite holiday destination for us and the owner of the house where we stay has a superlative garden. The flowers in the print are based on a drawing I made from a plant in one of her borders, last time we were there on holiday. Click here and here if you would like to see the other colourways.

The only other materials needed for the bag are a reel of matching thread and a large button. As an inveterate searcher for such items in charity shops, I always have plenty to choose from. I really liked this one, though I have no idea at all of its provenance or age:

Pretty Fabric Bag 23.JPG

I have written up the instructions for the Pretty Fabric Bag on the Instructables website, so you can make one yourself. Click here to see them. These are FREE.

And speaking of things that are FREE, I am just preparing to send out calendar pages for February 2017 to everyone who asked for one last month. The February calendar page is A4 size and includes a design taken from one of my fabrics. February’s includes quite a lot of pink and has a spot of romance about it, with a nod to St Valentine’s Day. If you haven’t already signed up to receive calendar pages from me during 2017, please fill in the contact form below.  Looking forward to hearing from you!