Minecraft Cushion

Continuing on the theme du jour, here is another Christmas present make I wanted to share with you – this little quilted Minecraft cushion which I made for my computer game fan sister.

If you don’t know what Minecraft is, I think it’s a game where  you have to find blocks of different materials and then you can build things with them (sorry if you know a bit more about this one and are a bit dismayed by my explanation there) Anyway, looking at screenshots of Minecraft with all the blocks of different colours, I knew there would be a good patchwork project to be found there.

And I wasn’t the only person to make the Minecraft/quilt connection. Doing a little online search I found that there were lots of people who have also make some lovely quilts on this theme. I decided a quilt might be a bit ambitious, but a cushion would be a nice sized project for me and would be a nice present too.

One popular motif was for a creeper, which is a sort of little monster made of grass (?) It’s got quite a simple design and colour palette* (and Rich thinks it’s got a friendly face, although I’m not 100% sure about that) so I thought it would be a good one to do. I cheated a bit with the designing part as found this amazing answer to my prayers in the form of this Quilt along with Dawn video.

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I really recommend Dawn’s video, but just wanted to share a few pictures of my cushion in progress. I have made quilts in the past and really complained about how time consuming and boring I find it, but this time I sewed the pieces together in pairs to form rows and then just sewed the rows together (I don’t know if you can tell from my pictures. Night time pictures) and this really cut down time cutting off loose ends and neatened it all up and was a much better experience.

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After sewing all of my squares together I backed my cushion with a square of one of my favourite green shade fabrics, and inserted a zip (rather than doing the pillow opening in the video) I didn’t put a border on my cushion as it fitted my cushion pad perfectly like this – in fact the cover could have done with being a little bit smaller so the pad really stuffed it and gave it shape. I perhaps could have been a bit more organised taking measurements (my seam allowances may have been a bit smaller than Dawn’s when I look back).

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I admit the whole thing is a bit of a wonky one, but I think the overall effect is quite grand, and what a lovely personal present if you have a friendly computer gaming friend.

 

*here is the explanation for why I had so much green fabric lying around for our Christmas leaf wreath.

Cement to be

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December was quite a busy month for me as I decided this Christmas I wanted to make some gifts for my nearest and dearest.

I saw this amazing tutorial for concrete planters on Laura and Tia’s wonderful Little Button Diaries blog and knew I really really wanted to try it.

It’s something completely different to anything I’ve ever attempted before – I didn’t even know it was possible to make something from concrete without any special equipment or tools – all that’s required is a few empty pots and some cement which I discovered is readily available in B&Q and just needs water adding to it. Hurruh! I had also never used spray paint before, and was very nervous about the warning on the can ‘if you feel ill contact a poisons expert’. That mostly made me nervous because I have no idea where to find a poisons expert, and if I was feeling ill that would be a difficult task. It is definitely recommended to do the painting outside, but as I live in a flat I don’t really have a suitable outdoor space. I did open my kitchen window up as wide as it would go though, which in December, living so close to the sea, was quite exhilarating! (you can’t see the wind in these pictures!)

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I went through a bit of a process of trial and error, but found this really satisfying once I found my feet with it. I had two cement type products to try – one was a ready mix concrete which consisted of cement and sand, but I found this a bit crumbly so bought some cement without the sand and found this was too dense – BUT mixing them together and all was goo-oo-ood. Laura used cement and sand and changed her ratios to find the best blend so this is really what I did and I would say a good way to go. I would say it is not really a good last minute present make (unless you have been through this little process) but it’s definitely an original and lovely gift.

Hop over to Little Button Diaries for the full tutorial!

 

Secret knitted mini cosy

I used to be able to do a lot of secret knitting for Rich – in fact I knitted him two cardigans secretly (there is a link to one of them – how much hair he has!). And a sock (I am impressed when I look through the ‘knitting’ tag on my emiliabird (R.I.P) blog ) SO (back to the present) when he asked me to make him a little tea cosy for his little tea pot, I thought ‘yeah! no problem’

So I remembered I had made a tea-cosy or two before and used this little pattern as a basis for this little version. The stitch I chose is called blanket rib stitch and it’s so dense and snug, it’s really perfect for this. I based my design on blue and white cornishware as Rich is a real fan of this in our kitchen.

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I started this little project one Monday when I was off work sick. It was quite lucky as it was actually quite close to Christmas by that time. I was really lucky that Rose was at nursery so I stayed in bed all day and watch films and wallowed in my blocked nose agony, and did a little knitting.

After this initial session though I did find it quite difficult to find secret opportunities for this project (I even did a little bit of Christmas holiday lunch break knitting at my desk at work)

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I was doing well and knew that Rich was going out the night before Christmas eve (Christmas eve eve) so I was feeling very happy all would be well.

BUT then disaster struck in the form of our bath pipe breaking and sending water through the ceiling of the 100 year old lady who lives in the flat below us (she really is 100 – she’s an amazing lady. Maybe I can ask her if she will do an interview for my blog one day). Rich went out as planned, but I spent a lot of time under the bath with a torch trying to work out what was wrong.

By the time I did manage to settle down to my knitting I knew I either had five minutes or one hour and five minutes depending on the train Rich decided to get home. But fifteen minutes passed and no sign of him… I knew it was going to be okay and managed to finish knitting and sewing and wrapping and it was just as the final piece of sellotape went on that I heard the key in the door. That is what we call cutting it fine! (although it would have been a bit more relaxed had I not stopped to take this photograph)

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I enjoyed this secret bit of knitting, it was quite exciting in the end. And Rich is really pleased with it too which is really the best thing. He says that his tea is much improved for being kept cosy. Hurruh!

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If you would like to make a mini cosy like this one, here is the pattern I made.

I used DK yarn doubled up, but chunky weight is the perfect weight. And i used 5.5mm needles (and remembered how much I like bamboo needles). My tension measured 12.5 stitches x 26 rows in this stitch (I know this sound like an impossible equation, but each alternate row is worked doubling your stitches, before coming back to the original number, so that 12.5 is the un-doubled number – I hope this will make sense when you read on…) The pot I made this for is a little two cup pot which measures about 33cm circumference. My finished cosy us about 18cm across when layed down flat.

In blue, cast on 21 sts.
row 1:in blue, kfb of every stitch (42sts)
row 2:in blue, k2tog, *p2tog, k2tog – repeat from * to end (21sts).
row 3:in cream as row 1
row 4:in cream as row 2

repeat these four rows 5 more times, then work rows 1 and 2 once more so that you have 13 stripes, ending with a blue one.

Change to cream and knit the next 2 rows straight (knit stitch every stitch).
next row: in cream you will want to cast off every other stitch: k 1, (s1k1psso)x 10
next row: in cream knit row straight (knit stitch every stitch)

repeat rows 1-4 once more

In blue, repeat row 1.
final row in blue, cast off two at a time purlwise.

This creates one half of your cosy so you will need to do all of that once more to make the other side.

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Once you have two identical pieces, you will need to put a few stitches in the sides to hold them together. The design of Rich’s teapot meant that I didn’t need very many stitches at all. I sewed up both sides identically so that it wouldn’t matter which way round the cosy went on.

I finished off with a little tassel through the cast off every other stitch row (I know that is not well explained, but I hope looking at the picture will help!) I made this by doubling up a length of wool until I had about twelve or fourteen strands together and, starting from the middle of the front of my cosy, threaded them through the little holes in and out all the way round until I was back to where I started. I then tied a loosish double knot, and then wrapped one of the strands round and round under this knot a few times to make a tassel! I tied up my ends and admired my good work!

I would love to see your cosy if you have a go. If you’re on ravelry I’ll pop this project on there. My name is woolapple there too.