Category Archives: craft

How to make fingerless mittens from socks

Hi everyone – sorry to have neglected you lately!

Although it is getting (rapidly) warmer here in Melbourne (35degC today), I’ve been reading lots of lovely blogs from the northern hemisphere and have a very quick craft project that might be of interest to readers from that part of the world.

During the winter just gone, I needed a new pair of fingerless mittens to keep my hands warm while I was typing or otherwise working, and was unable to find what I wanted, no matter how hard I looked. Because I have psoriatic arthritis, regular fingerless gloves and mittens put pressure in the wrong places, and make my hands very uncomfortable, so I get very fussy.


Then, while folding the washing, I came across a way to solve my need for mittens, and to use up socks whose feet had disintegrated beyond the hope of darning…


In my case, I used one pink and one blue-striped sock, because I re-fashioned the other disintegrating pink sock into an iPod cozy for Meg, and couldn’t find the pair to the blue sock… They were identical socks, except for the colour, so the mittens have ended up sort-of looking like a pair.

As you can see above, I cut the feet from the socks and just used the leg part for my mittens. For ease of construction and to make them look as neat as I could, I kept the bands, and these became the cuffs around the wrists.


I then cut a small curved piece out of each sock, about half way between the cuff and the cut edge, for my thumbs to fit through.


… then I rolled the top edge down so that the glove was the right length. The cuff that was formed by doing this hid the raw edge of the sock, and formed a gentle cushion at the base of my fingers.


Not elegant, perhaps, but a good use for old socks and very, very comfortable for cold, sore hands. Aaaaah!

I didn’t feel the need to line them or finish the edges – after all, they are just for knocking around, not for going out in – but if you did, it would be a simple matter to make a polar fleece or interlock lining which could be attached using blanket stitch for a decorative finish. Just make sure, if you do line them, to put any seams in the lining where they won’t annoy you, like on the back of your hands.




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Spoilt again

It’s my Birthday, and look what Meg made me… Those of you who know me will see the resemblance, I’m sure.

Calico shopping bag with picture on it, with a softie showing the same image of a woman with curly hair.

The little softie is sitting on my desk, and the bag will accompany me on those (almost daily) trips to the shops or library. Isn’t she clever?!

Now you can see why I consider myself so lucky, with both Meg and her dad making me such beautiful gifts.

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How to turn a scarf into a shopping bag in four easy steps

My friend Linda put me on to the coolest way to make a re-usable shopping bag the other day. Of course, Japanese people have been using this method for about five hundred years, so you might well know about it, but in case you don’t, watch the video below to see how to tie three different styles of bag from a square of fabric, or furoshiki.

I learnt about using furoshiki to wrap presents years ago when I fell in love with shibori dyeing, but had no idea that these apparently simple cloths were so versatile. I love the thought of having three or four scarves in my handbag, and quickly whipping them out when I do the shopping, and producing bags seemingly out of nowhere.

This tying chart has been produced by the Japaned Ministry of the Environment

This tying chart has been produced by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment

The Japanese Ministry of the Environment have created the above tying chart with lots of different patterns for wrapping everything from bottles of wine to watermelons. It is available here, as a downloadable pdf (416kb).

I’ve been practising all weekend with every square of fabric I could lay my hands on. I’m going to hem a few in different sizes, to use when wrapping presents.

If you’d like to do this as well, you might like to pop over to Mommy Cooks for her tutorial on producing a furoshiki with a beautifully mitred hem.

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Birthday card



Front of card

Front of card

Jumping girl - inside of card

Jumping girl - inside of card

A friend of Meg’s had a birthday recently, and a party was held last night.

This is the card Meg made to accompany the present. It came complete with decorated envelope and had a pop-up girl who appeared to jump when the card was opened.

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She’s finished and on the job…

On the job, protecting the family.

The little amigurumi ninja is finished, and hanging-out in the garden to make sure that no baddies are coming to get us.

Her face was drawn using a uniball marker on a piece of cotton duck, then attached using fusible webbing. To be sure it wouldn’t come off, I’ve run a small line of stitches around the edge. Finishing shouldn’t have taken long, but Meg and I went through six or seven versions of the face until we got one that we both liked and agreed on.

Now that she’s done, she can go and live in Meg’s room, and I can start a new project – or maybe finish another one that is already underway…

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First project for the day

Pencil case

Here is this morning’s project – a pencil case for one of Meg’s friends at school.

I love sewing in the morning – don’t know why I don’t do more of it…

The basic pattern for this little bag came from a tutorial I found through Craftster. It originated on a site called Drago[knit]fly and can be found here. It is really well written, with clear and succinct instructions.

I have added a clear vinyl outer layer to protect the fabric and make the whole thing more sturdy, but for the ‘pencil case’ version have omitted the fabric handle and instead inserted a small loop of webbing at the open end of the zip (so that you still have something to hang onto when you open or close it).

I must warn you, these are really addictive. I’ve made eight in this style already, and three more traditional-looking makeup bags. My next job is to make a larger one (longer and deeper) to store my crocheting in…


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Motivation can come from the strangest places. On Monday – a public holiday here in Melbourne – I spent the day in the Emergency department of our local hospital with my mum, who had what we think was a really severe bout of food poisoning. While I waited, I crocheted – keeping my hands busy so that my mind wasn’t.

As a result, the little amigurumi ninja has been finished and put together, though she is still waiting for her face…

When I finally got to take Mum home (tired and unwell, but safe) and came back to my own home, I couldn’t settle. I found myself sitting at my sewing machine at 1.30 in the morning, making pincushions from left over squares that had been cut for a quilt I made Meg a couple of years ago.

My frenzied activities continued all day yesterday, too. I cooked, wrote, sewed and crocheted, and shopped for supplies so that I can do more ‘making’. Does everyone else do this, too, or is it just me who makes things when I’m stressed?

Actually, I only bought one more supply yesterday, and that was some textile medium so that Meg and I can get on with stamping some material with the rubber stamps we made last week. Imagine my delight when, in one of the quiet moments last night, I found (by way of LoobyLu) a fantastic tutorial for hand-carved rubber stamps. These were also made from erasers.

You can see the Hand-Carved Rubber Stamp tutorial here on Geninne’s Art Blog.



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Filed under amigurumi, craft, crochet, rubber stamping