Thursday 12 March 2015

Spring vase cosies

Today was a semi-enforced day of rest - I spent 3 hours yesterday attacking the pyracantha along the side of our house with some secateurs. It was extremely therapeutic as the sun was shining and it wasn't cold, and it was also very sociable - I chatted to a grand total of 9 neighbours, plus the postman, and a window cleaner. I love where we live, I really do :)

I found an abandoned bird's nest in the thick of things. I've taken it out so I could show the Little Peeps, and I'm going to see if school would like to have it for nature lessons or something. I hope it was okay to move it. It was sort of on its side already, and there was no evidence of eggs, or baby birds in residence, or any birds at all. I'm really hoping I haven't committed a massive ecological faux-pas. Anyway, this was the end result of my hard labour - a large pile of thorny detritus (still to be bagged up for recycling - groan) and baldy looking shrubs.

I ended up with one very shredded arm, and about a thousand splintery-thorn wounds. Some with bits left in them. I'm currently sporting plasters on 4 of my fingers. And that was with gloves on. Crap gloves, obviously. My hands, arms and shoulders were agony today, all muscle aches, scratches and the aforementioned thorny splintery bits, so I had a very decadent duvet day. I watched the last three "Call The Midwife"s (Call the Midwives ??) back-to-back and drank about 20 cups of tea. And I had a great time working on a fun little project. Despite the finger injuries.

At the start of the week I'd seen this post ( Heather of Pink Milk. Do go and pay Heather a visit, her blog is gorgeous. Heather had a picture of daffodils in groups of 4 or 5 in sweet little bottles, not dissimilar to the ones we used to get school milk in (eurgh - warm milk that had been sitting by the radiator too long anyone ??), and also not dissimilar to the ones I keep from when I splash out in the summer on Starbucks chilled coffee drinks from the supermarket (delicious but v expensive as I can drink them in one big gulp - yum). Just before reading Heather's post I'd bought some daffodils, and now I knew just what I wanted to do with them.

So today, shredded fingers and all, I decided to bling up my Starbucks bottles and steal Heather's idea (thanks Heather :). I crocheted some little teeny weeny vase cosies, more like vase bands really. I wanted to tart them up a bit and decided on some little fabric yo-yo's, and buttons, in contrasting colours.

Have you ever made a fabric yo-yo ? It's easy, and as I am a lazy-short-cutter, I'll share my super easy method with you.
(By the way making fabric yo-yos is an excellent children's first "proper" sewing project as they are really quick, easy and versatile :)

A fabric yo-yo is a little circular 3D puff of fabric. You will need:
- fabric (well, duh)
- pencil or pen or chalk
- scissors
- sewing needle
- thread
- something circular to draw round

Before we start, a few notes:
- I wanted to make yo-yo's of 4cm in diameter, but you can use the same idea for any size, just change your fabric circle size accordingly.
- use any old round thing for your template - a lid, cup, glass, bracelet, roll of tape, anything. I used the lid of the tub I keep my pins in.
- your circle template needs to be twice the diamater of the yo-yo you want to end up with.
I wanted my yo-yo's to be about 4cm in diameter so my template was about 8cm in diameter. In the picture below you can see a green yo yo that started off as a circle the same size as the yellow circle, so they really do shrink.

Let's get on with making a yo-yo shall we ....
1. Place your template on your fabric and draw it round with pencil or pen. You won't see this on the finished yo-yo edge so it doesn't matter if the pen is fadeable or not. I just used a pencil. Yes, that is a Disney Princess on my pencil. Its not mine, honest.

2. Cut out your fabric circle.

3. Turn your fabric circle wrong side up, and using your needle (obviously), join your thread to your fabric circle with a knot or a few weeny stiches over each other, either is fine, a few mm from the edge. I find weeny stitches easier than knotting a fiddly piece of thread. The old eye-sight isnt what it used to be. Or maybe my arms aren't long enough ;)

4. Sew a running stitch all around the edge of the circle, staying a few mm in from the edge. Don't worry about precision. Fancy yo-yo sew-ers will at this point turn a neat little hem and use the running stitch to secure it as they go, but as I will be putting a button in the center of my yo-yos, I don't care about the raw edge (what a rebel) so - no hemming. See, super easy.

5. When you are back round at the start of your circle DO NOT FASTEN OFF. Pull the thread so it starts to gather the circle in on itself. Sort of fiddle around easing the gathers evenly until you have pulled the circle in as tight as it will go. The bigger your running stitches were, the tighter you can get it: bigger stitches means fewer parts of the fabric pulled into the centre means less bulk of fabric in the centre means tighter bunching. Comprende?

6. Holding the gathers in place, use your needle and thread to do a few wee stitches to secure it, then attach your button, using the same thread: that's why we didn't fasten off.

You can choose which side of the yo-yo to attach the button to. If you choose the side where you can see the gathered hole (the left-hand yo-yo above), you will see all the bunching and gathering, and its quite a nice effect. If you prefer the smoother look of the other side, just attach the button to that side. Simples! Ok, but STILL DONT FASTEN OFF!

7. Now you have a button attached to your yo-yo, you can attach your yo-yo to whatever it's going to decorate. In our case, vase sleeves. You can use yo-yos for loads of things - clothing, bags, cushions, wall art, endless yo-yo fun :)
You didn't fasten off (I hope not, I told you not to ....) so you can use the same thread to now attach the button decorated yo-yo to the crocheted sleeve (or whatever).

And that's all there is to it - mini ta-daaa - some spring vase cosies, cheery or what :)

I rather suspect that I have turned the making of the most simplest thing in the world into a set of instructions with more words in that most people say in a week, but hey that's why you love me, right ?



  1. Your cozies are so cute! I love the bright, springy colors. Ugh, pyracantha is a nightmare. We have a lot of it too; it grows along the whole back of our property, along the garden wall. I'd say it's about eighty feet wide. It makes a nice, dense hedge but it's no fun to maintain. I'm glad you're done with your pruning now.

  2. Those are ADORABLE! I love the fruity colors and the yoyos.. I have a yoyo maker thingie that I have made a bunch of xmas colored yoyos with and now I need to sew them together for a centerpiece. I really love how yours look. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  3. I really like these what a nice way to brighten up a plain vase x

  4. These are so cute! Love the colours, very springlike.

  5. They look lovely! :) I brought some bottles home from holiday last year and could see flowers and little crochet lace cosies. Obviously they are still sitting there waiting for a creative makeover. X

  6. So pretty! So springlike! And what a trouper you are, struggling on with your crochet despite your wounds!! X

  7. They are a real delight, perfect for daffodils. Hope your sore arms and fingers recover soon, what a rotten job.

  8. Very pretty - I really like this idea. Ouch to the shredded arm! Pyracantha is evil stuff isn't it! X

  9. Oh, my goodness, Jill! Those are the cutest little vases ever! And, so perfect with spring daffodils. Hmmmm.... I can feel a project coming on. LOL! That's what I love about other yarn addicts... the enabling. ;) Thanks for stopping by my blog so I could find my way here. blessings ~ tanna
    ps you did a big job on those shrubs!

  10. You crack me up! I think you should spend more time in the garden because look how much energy you had the next day! I love this idea, you are brilliant once again. I was all scratched up after last weekend, too, my arms were covered with tiny scratches just from my wee bit of cutting back things.
    Hugs to you,

  11. Hello Jill, thanks so much for stopping by my blog. Your little vase cosies are delightfully charming. What a lovely idea! They would look amazing setting on my kitchen window sill. I may have to make me a set. That is, when I get all of my Spring work done around here. I've been burning my candle at both ends, now that we started getting pretty Spring weather.
    I am so happy to meet you and hope that you will visit again. My welcome mat is always out :)
    Connie :)

  12. Hello, Jill!
    What a lovely, cheerful blog you have! I love the colours you use in your crocheting and sewing works.
    The village life there sounds really nice. It reminds me of our previous home in a village in Northern Italy. Gardening and speaking about gardening was a great way to socialize and to learn to know other people. :)
    Happy Sunday!

  13. Love this post Jill! Love the project & vase cozies. Love the hard work you did (but not the sore muscles & scrapes),and love Call the Midwife (can't wait until it starts here in the States!). Love love. Love!! Lol

    Happy Weekend! Xo

  14. I hope your poor arms are less painful soon! What a lovely idea :) Thanks for sharing - I always wondered how to make the yoyo thingys, they look very adaptable for all sorts of projects! Have a lovely mother's day xx

  15. Ooh, such a happy quartet Jill...your daffs look sooo pretty!
    It's great to watch episodes back to back, isn't it? I think I just may do the same thing this afternoon ;)
    Hope your arms are feeling better x
    Have a lovely new week!
    Susan x

  16. You need some fab gloves from are wonderful for dealing with Pyracantha, Brambles, thorny roses in fact any nasty prickly customer (including picking up hedgehogs to remove from the road outside your house, silly chap).
    The Suffolk Puffs make a great addition to lots of projects.

  17. Hope your arm is better now! Sounds like the plant gave give a fight!

    Take care
    Anne (Crochet Between Worlds)

  18. Those cozies are beautiful, Kim and so clever. You really are so creative - always thinking outside the box. I can't believe all you accomplished the day before. No wonder you had so many aches and pains. Hope you're feeling better.

  19. These cozies are so fun and colorful, Jill!
    And I always think there is nothing better than a good pair of tweezers :-)

  20. These are so pretty and springlike! The colours are really fresh and work together so well. You did really well to cut back all of those shrubs. I always end up with masses of scratches and splinters after pruning in the garden - you'd think by now that I'd have learned to wear thick sleeves and gloves, wouldn't you? Glad you were able to recuperate in such a cosy way :)
    Cathy x

  21. those look great - so bright and cheerful! We have pyracantha at the end of the garden + hawthorn, come late summer when I'm trimming it back my arms are covered in scratches - I empathize with you, hope all fingers are now mended
    Caz xx

  22. ouch we had a pyracantha hedge at our old house, I don't miss it, and yet I still seem to be full of splinters from yesterdays gardening, I think it is the tall grasses.... love your cheery crochet x

  23. Blogging is the new poetry. I find it wonderful and amazing in many ways.


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