Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Finished Projects: Chunky Moss Stitch Cowl + Pattern

Right now we are just about in the middle of winter, experiencing some very, very cold weather. While most people are moaning about how cold it is, I actually like cooler weather. Mostly for one reason-- scarves! I just love wearing a scarf! Something about wrapping up and keeping warm really appeals to me. That and I felt like a scarf is the perfect fashion accessory which will brighten and add to any outfit. I have quite a significant collection of scarves, all different colours, lengths, textures and weights. I also love to knit scarves as they are SUPER easy and quick. 

My first knitting projects were scarves. I started with this one, then fell in love with this super chunky coral wool, so made this one too. The funny thing about the coral one is that I made it, felt is was too chunky, unravelled it, knit it again, steam blocked it and still find it too heavy! So I am actually currently in the process of unravelling it AGAIN, and I will knit it again using this pattern. There are so many things that are great about knitting a chunky scarf. You don't need much yarn, it knits up super quick, and it's super warm due to the extra bulk. I also like that the weave of the stitches really loosens up after blocking so it actually isn't so heavy. The nice open weave of the moss stitch really works for this type of yarn. 

The idea probably came from the "GAP-tastic" cowl which is a very popular pattern on Ravelry. The thing that puts me off making that cowl is casting on 131 stitches onto a circular needle. Yes, ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY ONE! The reason for this is to make a nice round circle that doesn't need a seam sewn together at the end. It also makes a HUGE cowl which I can imagine would be very heavy to wear. My version still creates a snuggly and plush neck-warmer, just without the huge bulk (Trust me when I say this, I used 6 skeins of coral coloured bulky yarn to make my first bulky cowl and my neck was sore after wearing it for a short while!)

These are just about all the colours of chunky yarn I have found so far. I've found them all at our local The Warehouse, they have a good selection. You can also buy some colours online, the style is "Largo". There are a couple of other colours but I think these are the best ones. So far I've used the Coral colour in the top right; the light grey on the middle left is the one I've used for the cover photo and close up of this post; In the middle photo, the purple/indigo blue I've used the most so far, making three cowls, the teal/peacock blue is in the bottom right of the photo above; the Magenta is probably my favourite colour, I used this to make a different style cowl; and the darker grey in the bottom right is currently on my needles!

Pattern: Chunky Moss Stitch Cowl/Infinity Scarf


Approximately 3x 50g balls of bulky/chunky yarn 
12mm knitting needles
Measuring tape
Tapestry needle for sewing in ends


Cast on 15 stitches using the long tail method (you can make your cowl wider by casting on more stitches, just make sure it's an odd number like 19 or 21).

Row 1: K1, P1 to the end of the row
Row 2-end: K1, P1 to end of the row

Continue in same pattern (K1, P1) until you have approximately 90cm of work, about 2 ½ balls of yarn. 
Cast off, sew ends of scarf together into a circle, making sure the work is not twisted

I like to finish by steam blocking the scarf. By this I mean "iron" the scarf using a tea towel or thin cloth between the iron and your work. Use the steam shot function on your iron to dampen the scarf and work your way around the whole scarf. This helps to soften the yarn and loosen the weave. If you want a chunkier/plusher scarf you won't need to do this. 

I highly recommend doing this project if you are a beginner, want a quick project or to teach kids to knit!

Please let me know if you make your own scarf, I'd love to see it!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Finished Projects: Weekend in Stockholm Blanket

What seems like a lifetime ago, I started this blanket. While it has been finished for a few weeks, it always takes a long time to go from finished object to on the blog! In reality I started in mid-January this year, and finished at the beginning of June. It's definitely a project I've done while making other things, picked up and put down again. I have made a few pairs of booties and other bits and pieces in between! (Which you may have already seen if you're following me on Instagram or Facebook ;) )

I like the overall finished blanket but I do find myself questioning the colours. Some days I like the orange, some days I think it's too much. I wonder if I may have liked it better if I chose I light grey instead of the orange?? Well it's too late now and even if I don't like the colours as much as I thought I would, it's certainly a warm and snuggly blanket. My cat especially loved to sleep on it! 

So here are photos of the finished blanket. I have to preface these pictures by saying it is quite difficult to photograph a blanket, it always looks crooked and wrinkly. It is more or less a square shape. Also the colours are tricky to get right too. I took these pictures in some late afternoon Winter sunshine, so they are possibly not exactly true to life. One day I might master my DSLR and work it so it picks up what I see!

It's also interesting how different the colours look in daylight and sunshine. The sunlight makes the orange a lot more muted and more orange. Inside the orange takes on more red pigments. When I was arranging the squares to join them altogether, I found it tricky to arrange in such a way that there wasn't too much orange all bunched up together. A friend told me to take a photo in black and white and then see if it looks right. This was actually a really good tip as I could see areas that contrasted too much. The overall layout is completely random however!

I do really like the pattern of each of the individual granny block squares. It looks quite intricate yet simple at the same time. I'd be interested to see how it looks in other colours, but I'm not quite keen enough to do another one just yet!

If you would like to make this blanket, you can find the original FREE pattern here.

Happy Making!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Baby Bunny Boots

Hello! Just thought I would show some of my latest creations. At the moment I am actually trying really hard to finish the Weekend in Stockholm blanket, but before I picked that project up again I made a couple more pairs of my favourite baby booties. 

I hope you liked the baby bear boots as much as I do! I've decided that they are a really good baby shower gift. They're quick and easy to make and now I've found a couple ways to customise them, I see endless possibilities! This pair I gifted recently to a friend who is having a baby girl. I wanted to make them a little more girly but not over the top, so went for my old favourite colour (grey) and my second favourite- a peachy pink. They turned out super cute and I'm really pleased with them. If you want to see other colours check out this post. 

In other makings, I also made these really sweet baby bunny boots! 

I made them just for fun but now have a home for them. It always makes me so happy when I can give things away instead of them sitting in my cupboard getting covered in dust! (Well actually stored securely in my hot water cupboard if you really want to know, I would not let my beautiful creations get dusty ;0) hehe!) I'm also hoping they're not super girly, but with pink faces it's kind of unmistakeable who would wear them! 

I can just imagine tiny little feet all toasty warm in these boots. What winter warmers are you making at the moment??

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Baby Bear Boots

So lately with the weather being a bit cooler and wetter I've felt like getting out my knitting needles. That and having a lot of friends having babies or due to have babies in the next few months. Is there anything cuter than a newborn all snuggled up in hand knits?? 

You may remember (if you've been reading my blog for a little while) that I made a LOT of stuff for the Thorndon Fair which was almost a complete disaster. Anyway, you live and learn...One of the things I really loved making which did get snaffled up by a dear friend was these ridiculously cute Baby Bear Boots. You might remember seeing these as I have previously posted about them. I had another pair half finished in my project bag, the intention was two have more than one pair to sell at the fair. A week or so ago after feeling a bit over my Weekend in Stockholm Blanket, I got the unfinished boots out and finished them off. I had forgotten how quick and easy these boots are to make up. I posted a pic on my Facebook page and within a couple of hours I had sold them, plus requests for 2 more! This kind of confirms the fact that they are totally a genius idea! 

I'm happy to share the idea for the bear face, but as I am not the designer of the pattern you will need to source your own copy here or here. I think the pattern is around $5USD, which is totally affordable and honestly the best pattern I have used. I'm sure if you google baby boots pattern you'd be able to find a free pattern, but this is the one I have used, so I know it works. The best guide for size is a measurement of the baby's foot, the pattern supplies Newborn, 3 month and 6 month size. I have quite tight tension but use a bigger size needle than suggested. 

Baby Bear Boots

You will need 3 colours of yarn (I generally use 8ply wool or acrylic)
- The main boot colour;
- The face and ears colour &;
- A small amount for eyes and mouth (note I would not recommend using beads for eyes due to choking hazard)

-4.5mm crochet hook
-4mm knitting needles 

Following the original pattern, when you are up to the instep part which requires you to knit on the 10 centre stitches, join the face colour and knit the rows in this colour. Once you have done this, switch back to the main boot colour. Continue with the boot as per the pattern until the end, leave the final stitches on the needle until the ears and eyes and mouth are done. 

Once the boot is finished, and Using the same colour of yarn as the face colour, make a magic circle, chain 3 and make 8 double crochet into the circle. Tighten circle and slip stitch into the ch3 to make a circular ear shape. Leave a longish tail to attach to ears. Make 2 ears. To sew the ears onto the face and working on the right side, thread both tail ends from the ears to the wrong side. Secure the ears firmly by sewing through a couple of the loops at the bottom of the ear circle. Weave in yarn tails on the wrong side of your work. 

Eyes and Mouth
Using the third colour, sew eyes onto the face and a small 'X' shape for a mouth. Be careful not to leave big loops of yarn at the back which little toes could get caught on!

Now you are ready to finish of your boot. There are several ways to cast off the stitches, but I like to use a three needle cast off as its very neat, or a weaving style. There is a very good tutorial on casting off here, along with the one linked above. 

I would so love to see if anyone makes these, so please tag me on Facebook or Instagram (@itsmariemade) or post a link to your blog in the comments! 

Happy Making :D

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Honey & Cinnamon Popcorn

Last night I saw this recipe on Instagram, and I couldn't stop thinking about it! I always really struggle to find snack recipes that I think I will like, and also that I can be bothered making! Too much effort = not worth it for me! Last Christmas I gifted myself a popcorn maker and it's always a good option, except the usual flavour is melted butter....not exactly a healthy option. This recipe shared by Sugar Free Kiwi is perfect for me. I'm not a huge fan of replacing everything with coconut oil, but again, I just like the sound of this and thought it's a good option for kindy lunchbox too! My son loved it so it's a winner in our house!

Sugar Free Kiwi is a really great page to follow on Instagram as she posts a lot of yummy recipes which are easy to do. To be fair, this is the first one I've actually made, but I like to follow along for inspiration. I've also been eyeing up a recipe for Raw Peppermint Slice too!

Here's the recipe, full credit to Sugar Free Kiwi- make sure you check out her page!

Honey & Cinnamon Popcorn


5 Tablespoons Popcorn Kernels, air popped
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Honey 
1 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon


Melt the Coconut Oil, Honey and Cinnamon on a low heat in a pot large enough for all the popcorn. 
Once the oil and honey mixture is melted and combined, add the popcorn and stir gently until all the popcorn is coated and barely any left at the bottom of the pot.
Spread onto a baking tray and bake at 150°C for 15 minutes or until brown/golden. 

Allow to cool completely before storing, and tastes better/crisper once cooled too!

Enjoy x

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Monogram Zipped Purse

A few weeks ago I went to a Hen Party/Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party (pick whichever term you are comfortable with) for a very lovely friend. The theme for the party was White & Gold, and when I say theme, I mean the ENTIRE party (including all food and drinks) was part of this theme. Eating gold coloured chicken was definitely an experience!

As part of the party, we each had to bring the Bride-to-Be a jewellery gift. While I was thinking about how to wrap it, I was browsing in Pete's Emporium and found an amazing Metallic Bronze coloured vinyl. I have been making A LOT of purses and zipped pouches lately, so I thought I could make a cute purse to put the necklace in. The "wrong" side of the vinyl was super soft and almost furry, so perfect to protect jewellery or other precious treasures. 

When it comes to sewing lately, I am definitely make it up as you go type of person....I read a couple of blog tutorials about making zipped purses but to be honest I find it much easier to visualise something in my head and work it out once I actually start. The biggest challenge I thought would actually be sewing through the layers of vinyl. While it was pretty thin, I do have some concerns about the capability of my retro machine! 

Once I had made the pouch, I wanted to decorate it in some way, and thinking about the Gold & White theme, I decided to sew on some gold sequins. I practised writing out the letter "L" (my friends initial) a few times on a scrap piece and even did a proper mock up sewing on the sequins. I'm glad I did this because it meant I didn't ruin the finished purse with a letter that was too small, and I could see that it would actually look amazing once done! I wrote the L with a sharpie onto the front of the purse and then used it as my pattern to sew the sequins. A smarter person may have done this before sewing the purse together, but I only had this brainwave at the end! 

The end result was so beautiful I instantly wanted to make another! Luckily it was my sister-in-law's birthday, so I sewed one up for her too! It always amazes me how much I love to make things to give away! Anything I make for myself usually ends up half finished or takes me three times as long! Anyone else find that too?

I forgot to take many photos of the finished purse! I really just finished it in the nick of time to be given as my gift. I also only took one or two photos of the second purse! 

I'm so happy how these turned out! 

These are a few of the other things I have been sewing lately:

I must admit I have been neglecting my poor blog a little bit of late. I'm really busy at the moment with work and other commitments so have barely any time to sit down at the computer! I still manage to post a bit on Instagram, so if you'd like to keep up with what I'm doing, you can find me here, @itsmariemade

Friday, 6 February 2015

Show and Tell: Stripey Name Bunting

Show and Tell: Stripey Name Bunting

For ages now, like years even, I've been wanting to make my own fabric bunting. Ridiculous I know, considering what a beginner project this is! Now that I have a sewing machine, all my bunting dreams have come true! :D

I was able to sew this up in a matter of hours- from cutting to hanging. That is quite an achievement I have to say! 

I used a pattern for the size I wanted, you can find it here. The fabrics are from the remnants bin at Spotlight. I won't go into massive details about how I made my bunting, as I think most sewers have an idea and it's not that hard. So just quickly, my flags are double sided with a smaller piece of interfacing between; I used a zigzag stitch for everything including attaching the binding; and I used a glue gun to attach the wooden letters to the flags.

Something quick and fun to brighten up my little boy's bedroom and go with his new big boy bed. Sometimes the quickest, easiest crafts turn out to be the best!

Originally I was trying to find some black and white checkered fabric so I could go with more of the racing-car theme, but in the end, I think the blue and red colours look great. It's not over the top, blends in well with the rest of the decor, but is fun and bright at the same time.

Happy Making! 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

You may have noticed if you've been reading along for a while, that the recipes I share are not usually super healthy! It's not to say that they are bad for you (some are!) but more that I use regular ingredients and generally lots of sugar and carbs! Sometimes I feel a bit afraid of all the so-called "superfoods". Often it's because I don't know what they are, and sometimes it's because they're really expensive so not something I could justify eating on a regular basis (I know, what price can you put on your health?!). I like to think I eat a fairly balanced and varied diet, with a few treats as well. I try not to think about foods being "good" or "bad", rather just eat lots of different thinks and think about things like portion size instead (great article about this topic here). 

I was also gifted a special bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil at Christmas. It's a bottle of a very limited run from a private Olive Grove up north. I feel very honoured to have some! It's best suited for salads and dressings so it's perfect in this recipe.

Anyway, with that rather long preamble, the other day I decided I would try cooking with Quinoa. I had a yummy salad over the holidays, which was the first time I've ever eaten it.  I just added a few things together that I thought would go well together, and voila! My Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad was born!

This recipe serves one as a tasty lunch. Obviously adjust the ingredient quantities to make for a whole family or as a side dish. If you have the chance, cook the Quinoa ahead of time so everything can be thrown together. 

Marie's Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

(Serves 1)


¼ cup (uncooked) Quinoa 
A handful of baby spinach leaves; and/or
A handful of Kale or baby Kale
1 Tbsp fine chopped fresh Parsley
1 Tbsp fine chopped  fresh Mint
3-4 Cherry Tomatoes, chopped, or 1 regular Tomato
3 dried dates, chopped
1 Tbsp Slivered Almonds or Cashews

30g Plain or Flavoured Feta

½ lemon
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
Salt and Pepper to taste


Cook Quinoa. Bring double the quantity of water to boil (For ¼ Quinoa, cook in ½ cup water), simmer for approximately 10 mins, they turn heat off and allow remaining liquid to absorb. Allow to cool to room temperature and fluff with fork.
In a bowl, add dressing ingredients together. Add spinach/kale, parsley,mint and tomatoes to dressing and toss to coat. 
Add cooled Quinoa and mix, add chopped dates and almonds and stir to combine all ingredients. 
Eat and enjoy!

Best eaten fresh. You can prepare the Quinoa ahead of time and chop ingredients. As the Spinach and Kale absorb liquid easily, they will wilt if left in the dressing for a long time. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Work In Progress: Weekend in Stockholm Blanket Throw

Hello all blog readers! Happy New Year! I hope you've enjoyed your holidays and managed to have a bit of a break. I was lucky enough to have nearly 4 weeks off work! We holidayed at home, went away for around 10 days and did a lot of spring cleaning and tidying up. I'm ready to tackle the New Year and have lots of ideas for the blog this year. 

Although I having been writing blog posts, I've still been keeping up to date with what's happening via Instagram and posting there too. (Find me @itsmariemade). One super-crafty and talented fellow blogger (One Crafty Mumma) posted about a new crochet blanket pattern she was starting, which has turned into a sort of crochet-along a lot of other people are doing the same blanket. I liked the pattern so much I was inspired to start my own one too. The pattern is Weekend in Stockholm and is available free. It looks complicated but actually once I got going I didn't have too many problems. I do admit I found the pattern instructions a little confusing so I just interpreted it the best I could from pictures of other people's squares. I also found a couple of helpful videos on YouTube that someone else had uploaded. I did a test square to see if I actually liked it, then I went out to pick my colours.