Make a Cute Rag Mouse

Rag Mouse

Here’s how to make an adorable rag mouse like this one:

Cut out the main head and body piece for your cloth mouse. I used a rectangle, folded in half. With right sides together, stitch around the edges, leaving one end open for stuffing.

Choose a different fabric for your arms and legs. Cut strips about the same length as your main piece, as wide as you want them, with room to spare for turning back the right way around after sewing.

Fold it in half (right sides together) and sew, leaving an open end to add stuffing.

Make another one, then turn them right side out. 😀

Then make legs. You can make long legs, the same as the arms, or little legs. Either way is fine, so do whichever you fancy. I’ve done little legs this time.

Stuff them all with kapok. If you don’t have kapok you could use old socks to stuff them, or fabric cuttings. I have done this with some of my mice, it just makes them a little bit heavier, and somewhat lumpy. When they are stuffed, sew them together! Remember that your main piece is head and body, so the arms go a little higher than half way down, depending on how big a head you want your mouse to have. 😀

Next cut out some fabric squares to make the ears. Sometimes I make very tiny ears, this time I made big ears, then I sewed them right sides together, trimmed the edges, and turned them right side out. Make two. (You probably noticed that I have used pinking shears to cut my material. You don’t have to do that but it’s good for preventing the fabric from fraying).

Then tuck the ears over the top corners of the mouse’s head and sew them on, like so:


Next you need to make a nose for your mouse. Cut three triangular pieces and then, putting their right side edges together, sew them together lengthways, to their points – I’m not explaining this very well – look at the diagram below 😀 Leave the base ends open, turn right side out and fill with stuffing.

Then tuck in the edges, and sew the nose onto the mouse’s face.

Next your mouse will need some eyes. I sewed over and over in one place to make these eyes, but you could sew circles of fabric on, or use buttons.

Now your mouse needs a tail 😀 This time I folded a length of fabric up so that the edges were tucked in, and sewed it over, but I have also used ribbons and oddments in the past. Attach the tail to the back of the mouse’s body.

Now your mouse is finished! I bet he’s cute 😀 Send me a photo, I’d love to see him or her ❤ Here’s some I made earlier:

You can make lots of friends for your mouse, in all shapes and sizes. Here are some I made earlier:

rag mouse


rag mice
rag mouse


So there you have it 😀 A word of warning – once you start making rag mice, you may find it difficult to stop 😉

Make your own Megan doll

Megan - vegan comic book character

If you’d like your own Megan doll (from the Megan & Flos vegan science fiction comics), here’s how to make one 😀

First, find a pattern.  I used Jean Greenhowe’s “ten of the best” pattern which is from this book but there are plenty of others to choose from, including lots of free ones you can download.

 So, I won’t give you pattern details, you can just download whichever pattern you fancy and then make her look like Megan.  If you don’t know how to knit yet, you can either learn, or sew a ragdoll instead 🙂

Anyway, this is what I did:

I used DK (Double Knitting thickness) acrylic yarn from my bag of oddments – no need to buy anything new. Her clothes don’t have to be blue, you can choose what she wears, and if you don’t have a bag of oddments, they often sell bags of leftover yarn in charity shops.  I used UK size eleven (3 mm) needles.

The pattern I used starts at the ankles and works up to the top of her head (working in stocking stitch – one row knit, one row purl).  I started in dark blue, for her jeans, then I changed colour, and knitted her light blue top, up to her shoulders,

knitting vegan comicbook character doll
knitting vegan comicbook character doll

then I changed colour again, to pink for her head. Then I cut the yarn, leaving a long length to thread through the stitches. Hey – didn’t I say I wasn’t going to explain the pattern? Sorry – I guess that’s useless information if you don’t have the pattern, and superfluous if you do. Oh well 😀

Excuse my photos by the way, my camera phone is very old. But you get the idea with that 🙂

how to make a vegan comicbook character doll

how to make a vegan comicbook character doll
how to make a vegan comicbook character doll

Then I knitted the arms and the feet.  Megan is wearing baseball boots, so I knitted the feet two thirds white, one third red. As you can see from the photo of the finished doll, they are proper red. I don’t know why the photos here make them look brown 😀 Then I sewed laces into the red part.

how to make a vegan comicbook character doll

Then it was time to sew her up and stuff with kapok (natural organic fibre harvested from kapok trees, used for centuries – probably – for stuffing pillows and soft toys). But if you don’t have any kapok, you could fill your doll with cut up strips of old T-shirt. Any soft material will do.

how to make a vegan comicbook character doll
how to make a vegan comicbook character doll

Before stuffing, it was necessary to sew down the middle of the dark blue legs section, to create two legs, and after stuffing I tied a length of yarn around the base of the pink section, to make the head 😀 The boots were folded, sewn and stuffed before being attached to the ankles; and the arms sewn, stuffed and attached at the shoulders.

how to make a vegan comicbook character doll

how to make a vegan comicbook character doll

Next she needed a face! I just sewed her features on, and not very well at first – embroidery is not my strong suit – so I unpicked it and tried again. And again, until I was happy with it 😀

She doesn’t look like Megan yet does she? That’s because she needs hair!

So I made the hair by cutting lots of long lengths of yellow yarn, tying them in the middle, and sewing them from top to bottom of the back of Megan’s head. Ouch! Your pattern will show you how 😀

If you only have a little bit of yellow for her hair, the pattern shows you how to make a hat or a hood for her, and then you’ll only need a little bit to stick out the front.  🙂

how to make a vegan comicbook character doll - doing her hair

Now she looks very Megan-ish! But there’s still one more thing she needs – do you know what it is?

how to make a vegan comicbook character doll

Her solar-powered gravity-adjusting belt of course!

For this I cast on five stitches of purple and worked in moss stitch (every row knit) until it was long enough.  I kept measuring it up against the doll as I went along, until it was the right length. Then I cast off, sewed the ends of the belt together, and added the gems. Or did I sew on the gems first, and then sew the ends together? You decide 😀

how to make a vegan comicbook character doll
how to make a vegan comicbook character doll
how to make a vegan comicbook character doll


how to make a vegan comicbook character doll
She looks ready for adventure doesn’t she?!
how to make a vegan comicbook character doll

Why don’t you make yourself a Megan doll?  Or a Reflecto Girl doll? Or any of our heroic vegan characters. And do send us photos if you make any, we’d love to see them 😀



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And then there was Denzel

knitted dog

The Anderson family are not complete without Denzel so here he is 😀

I followed this free pattern of a Scottie dog by Sue Stratford

knitted dog

and made him look as much like Denzel as I could.  I knitted him in white and stitched on the orange colour after he was sewn and stuffed.  He’s a bit big when he’s standing next to the family but I think you’d be hard pushed to find a smaller pattern 🙂

Alternatively, if you’re not a knitter or you fancy doing something different, how about making an origami Denzel?


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Meet the Family

knitted model bus

Old Red is fully furnished and ready to be enjoyed by the Andersons – so where are they?  Where are the Andersons?  Oh look, here they are:

knitted model bus

Miranda knitted Aiden and Cara and Casey and Brietta, and it didn’t take her long.

She got the pattern from where it is free to download.  It’s a Goldilocks finger puppet by Amanda Berry which, at 7cm tall, is just the right size but, since we didn’t want finger puppets, Miranda stuffed the skirt, and sewed up the middle of it to make trousers for the boys, adjusted their heights and gave them the appropriate hair etc (including a beard for Aiden) and there you have it – The English Family Anderson, all ready to live happily ever after in their bus 😀

knitted dolls

knitted dolls

Now, where’s Denzel? 😉


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The Andersons’ Knitted bus: The End

You may have noticed that in the end the bus isn’t furnished exactly as shown in the story.  That is due to the fact that it has the proportions of a camper van because of the pattern I used.  This Old Red is therefore not long enough to fit in all the furniture I’d planned to include.  So I took some liberties.  Those who have read The English Family Anderson will know that Old Red’s travelling days are over so Miranda suggested that they may well have removed the steering wheel and driver’s seat to give them more space.  That makes sense doesn’t it?

I hope you enjoy the final how-to video which shows the creation of a table, two ottomans for seating (and which contain Brietta’s and Casey’s sleeping bags and bedrolls), and a wardrobe/cupboard for food, utensils, crockery, cutlery, a washing up bowl, and towels and stuff.  There’s a folded blanket on top of the wardrobe and a basket of potatoes on top of that.  Their few clothes are kept in the drawers under Mum and Dad’s bed.  They use the great outdoors for washing and they’ve built a compost toilet out there too 🙂  So they’re all set.

I hope you’ll enjoy making your own camper-bus and I look forward to seeing pictures when you’re done 😀

ps: if knitting’s not your thing, you could always make one out of cardboard 🙂


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The Andersons’ knitted bus part five: The floor and the wheels again

If you look back at Part 3 of the bus-making process you will see how I started work on the wheels and the floor.  This is how I finished them:

knitted model bus

It turned out after all that the toothbrushes weren’t quite long enough to use as a single axle between two wheels so I used four – one for each wheel.

  • First, by whatever means you have available, cut off the bristle end.  Careful – watch your fingers!

knitted model bus

  • Push a toothbrush into the centre of the wheel (see how to make the wheels in part 3) so that it reaches all the way through but doesn’t stick out further than the width of the wheel.  Then hold a pen loosely against the other side of the wheel and mark a line across the toothbrush inside the inside edge of the wheel.

knitted model bus

  • Then take the wheels back off and securely tape the toothbrushes to the underside of the bus floor (the card you have already cut out as shown in part 3) so that the pen marks line up with the edge of the card as shown above.  The wheels won’t be exactly in line across the bus because each wheel has a separate axle but that doesn’t matter, you won’t be able to tell when it’s all finished.

knitted model bus

  • Then turn the ‘floor’ over and stick some decorative paper to it.  It can be anything you fancy – it’s going to be the Andersons’ lino floor.  If you don’t have any decorative paper that you like you could draw/paint/print some tiles of your own design, either directly onto the card or onto a separate piece of paper that you then stick to the card.  Just don’t get the card wet.

knitted model bus

The paper I used wasn’t quite long enough to cover the very back of the bus floor (see above), but since I knew the bed was going to cover the back I decided it didn’t matter.

knitted model bus

  • Get the bottomless bus and carefully turn it upside down.  Be especially careful of the piece that sticks up at the front so as not to bend it – I made sure mine was hanging over the edge of the cushion the bus stood on.  Position the bus floor like so   and lay the knitted rectangle you’ve made (which is almost, not quite, the size of the floor – see part 3) across the top of it.

knitted model bus

  • Put a couple of stitches in each corner to hold it in place …

knitted model bus

  • … and then sew all the way round, stretching it in line with the bus ‘walls’ as you go.  When you get to the wheel axles, just sew around them and keep going.

knitted model bus

  • When you’ve done that, you can put the wheels back on 😀

knitted model bus

And there you have it! 😀 Be gentle, those wheels will come off quite easily.  And of course, if you’ve used toothbrushes like me, they won’t go round.  But they will look nice and, after all, Old Red has retired now so she just wants to sit still 🙂

knitted model bus

And there’s a nice new floor!

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

That’s it for now.  Today I’m going to make a wood-burning stove out of this pill bottle ↓ I’ll tell you about it tomorrow 😀

knitted model bus


Click here for Part 6


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The Andersons’ Knitted Bus, Part 4: a bed for Mr and Mrs

 knitted model bus

First you need a large, empty matchbox.

 knitted model bus

Find some decorative paper that looks like it would make good-looking bedding …

 knitted model bus

… and wrap up the matchbox like a birthday present.  Then find another matchbox.

 knitted model bus

Measure it and mark the middle.

 knitted model bus

Take out the drawer and cut the insides and outsides in half.

 knitted model bus

Now you have two drawers.  Put them back in.  They’re going to provide the Andersons with under-bed storage space.

 knitted model bus

Cut out some more of the decorative paper and stick it to the front of the drawers.

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

Tape the drawers together, side by side, ….

 knitted model bus

…. and stick the ‘mattress’ on top of them.

 knitted model bus

Now you need some pillows:

 knitted model bus

Find a scrap of pretty material.  Cut it, fold it (right sides together), sew it (leaving one side open), and …

 knitted model bus

… turn it right side out, stuff it with cut up bits of rag, or yarn or whatever soft stuff you’ve got lying around, and sew up the open side.

 knitted model bus

My bed still needed something more to make it cozy so I found this lovely beaded doily (the kind used to protect a glass of lemonade from flies at the picnic) and thought it would make a lovely bedspread.

 knitted model bus

And I knitted a little blanket for warmth.

 knitted model bus

Et voilà!

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

Now I must get the floor done!



Click here for part 5


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The Andersons’ bus part three: some wheels, half a floor and a repetitive strain injury

knitted model bus

It’s perhaps not as cool as a sports injury but, when you’re too excited to pace yourself, a repetitive strain injury is just as inconvenient.  I have been knitting for several hours a day for about two weeks with no ill effects but after making the bus’s wheels I had such bad shoulder pain that I had to take a break.  It seems feeble because all I was doing was winding yarn around a cardboard circle, over and over – it’s not what you would call hard work.  But there it is.  I’ve been stopped in my tracks 🙂

knitted model bus

This is what I’ve got so far:

I decided to make the bus wheels by cutting out cardboard circles which are a little bit smaller than the required (guessed) bus wheel size, cutting a smaller circle out of the middle of them, and winding yarn around them like you would if you were making pompoms.  Unlike when you’re making pompoms, you only need one cardboard circle per wheel, and you stop winding just before you get to the centre, leaving a tiny hole in the middle for the axle.

The axles are going to be old toothbrushes which just happen to be a little bit wider than the bus.

I didn’t have any black yarn but decided that doesn’t matter – groovy people like the Andersons would probably enjoy having different coloured wheels 🙂

knitted model bus

When I’d finished the wheels I needed a floor to attach them to.  I’m no longer following the pattern so this is an experiment which I hope will work.  I’m winging it.

I drew around the bottom of the bus on cardboard and cut it out.

knitted model bus

Then I cast on enough stitches to cover about two thirds (or nearly three quarters) the width of the bus floor.  I haven’t proved this works yet, but the knitting will naturally get wider than the cast-on row and I want the finished piece to be slightly smaller than the cardboard so that it has to be stretched taut to cover it.  It remains to be seen whether I cast on the right amount of stitches to make it work.

dot dot dot 😉


click here for Part 4


vegan, vegetarian, crafts, knitting, paper crafts, sewing, homemade, homemade toy, model bus, model furniture, children’s toys

Andersons’ Knitted Bus – Part 2

For Part 1 click here 🙂

Ok, on Wednesday I got as far as sandwiching the stiff card between the inside and outside of the two long sides of the bus, so on Thursday I did the same with the front and back ends:

knitted model bus

As with the long sides of the bus yesterday, I drew around the knitted pieces on stiff card (tidy up the lines with a ruler) and cut out the insert.  If you find, as I did, that your inside and outside pieces are not exactly the same size (due to one being made with slightly thicker yarn), then draw round the bigger piece and stretch the smaller one to match.

knitted model bus

The green inside piece (above) came up smaller than the outside front of bus so I stretched it to cover the card as you can see.  It’s a fiddly business.  I found the best way to make sure your cardboard is the right shape and size is to sew together (wrong sides facing) two adjacent edges of the knitted pieces before inserting the card.  Then slot the card into the corner you’ve sewn and stretch the knitting to meet at the opposite sides and pin them.  If you find when you try to do this that the card’s just too big, or your window is too small, for the pieces to be sewn together around it, then you can pencil in the correct lines, unpin it, trim it and try again.  Eventually you’ll get it all sewn nice and tight.

knitted model bus

The front of the bus needed some finishing touches so …

knitted model bus

… I drew some buttons and dials onto some of that gridded material they use for cross stitch which I happened to have some of (it’s amazing the stuff people donate to charity shops – Miranda picks up loads of discarded craft items from the Raystede Charity Shop where she volunteers).

knitted model bus

Then I sewed it inside the front of the bus.

knitted model bus

I did the same for the ‘Old Red’ sign and the number plate.  After that I put together the back end of the bus.

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

You will notice that the back has more height above the window than the front.  That’s because when it’s put together it folds over to make a partial roof.  You’ll see what I mean when I put it together.

knitted model bus

I thought these pretty, heart-shaped, wooden buttons would look nice under the window in Mr and Mrs Anderson’s bedroom 🙂 (If you read episode 3 of The English Family Anderson you will see what their bus interior looks like.  The back end is a little bedroom for Mr & Mrs)

knitted model bus

I had knitted the back number plate in the appropriate golden yellow colour so I didn’t want to cover it with a white or cream number plate (cross stitch material).  So this time I just wrote the registration directly onto the knitting with a black felt-tip.  You can’t read it but I think it looks like letters and numbers in the distance which are out of focus so I’m happy with it 🙂

knitted model bus

All four sides done.  Now it was time to put the bus together.

knitted model bus

I began sewing with two adjacent pieces lined up together as above (NB – Miranda found some more bright red yarn after I’d finished knitting!).  Then, when I was over half way up …

knitted model bus

… I was able to stand the pieces up in their correct position, enabling me make the front piece follow the curve of the side piece.  Again, don’t worry about neat stitching.  Imperfections have their own charm and, don’t forget, this is an old bus which has probably been patched up plenty of times so it wouldn’t be authentic if it looked pristine 🙂

knitted model bus

One at a time I sewed together all sides of Old Red.  You can see below how the back piece folds over, above the window, and is sewn to the top of the back of the sides, making a partial roof.  In the pattern from which this is adapted, the front also folds over but I wanted to keep my front upright because it has the bus name above the window.  Plus I wanted there to be a bit more light in, and easier access to, the inside.  I forgot to mention yesterday that I also slightly altered the pattern for the front of the bus to make the windows slightly bigger by making the vertical strut in the middle narrower (only 2 stitches wide instead of 4) so that it looked more like the front of Old Red in my illustrations.

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

Look – you can peek inside 🙂

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

Our Old Red is approximately 30cm x 15cm x 15cm, not including the name sticking up on the front.

Still to do:

  • Make and attach floor
  • Make and attach wheels
  • Sew a ‘door’ on the left side front
  • Make and insert furniture

So I’d better get on with that then 😉


Click here for Part 3


needlework, knitting, sewing, homemade, crafts, vegan, vegetarian, toys, homemade toys, model bus

Knit the Andersons’ bus!

Click for Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6Part 7 and Denzel the dog 🙂


I found this fantastic pattern online and decided to have a go at adapting it to make The English Family Andersons’ bus 😀


The beauty of this pattern is that the bus can be played with inside and out.  As I type, Miranda is making little people (the Andersons) to live in it 😀

toy bus

So, I began with red for the outside of the bus …

toy bus

… and then made another piece in multi-coloured yarn for the inside.  The Andersons have decorated their home very colourfully so I did what I could, with the colours I had, to reproduce their bus interior.

toy bus

I made the other outside and the other inside long side of bus and then made the front and back ends, inside and out:

toy bus

I ran out of bright red yarn, so I had to finish the outside of the bus in the closest colour I had which was a sort of burgundy.  I decided that it didn’t matter because the colour of old buses does fade 🙂  Of course at this point I am not following the VW camper design, I’m trying to make it look like Old Red.

toy bus

The outside piece for the front of the bus includes the colours for the headlights, number plate, radiator and the bus number above the window.

knitted toy bus

So that was eight pieces done – four insides and four outsides.  Then it was time to add some buttons 🙂

knitted toy bus

The Anderson’s bus has two headlights on either side so I sewed some white buttons in position for them.  Unfortunately I don’t have any bright orange buttons for the indicators so I had to leave that for now.  I might add those with yarn later.

knitted toy bus

I added some black stitches to the radiator.  Then it was time to start putting it together.

knitted toy bus

To make the bus rigid, the campervan pattern provides templates to cut out pieces of plastic grid to fasten between the knitted pieces, however I decided to make these out of card.  I flattened out a knitted piece as well as I could on some stiff cardboard, drew round it and cut it out.  I didn’t cut out the individual windows, just one big window to go between the knitted windows.  The knitted frames is all that’s needed to separate them.  You’ll see what I mean.  The cardboard inserts need to be sized so that the knitting needs to be stretched taut to cover them.

 knitted toy bus

I pinned together the top and one end of the inside and outside of one side of the bus with wrong sides facing together.  Then I sewed it.

 knitted toy bus

Then I put the matching cardboard cut-out between them and stretched the knitting flat across it so that I could pin it in place at the bottom and opposite end.  I finished sewing all the way round the outside and then around the window frames.  I sewed the inside and outside knitting of the window frames together, tucking all loose ends inside, out of sight.  As I’ve said before, I am not neat at needlework, but that doesn’t matter.  It seems to work out somehow.

knitted toy bus

That’s all I’ve got so far but I’m looking forward to putting the rest of it together.  Then I can get started on the furniture!  I’ll keep you posted 😉


Click here for Part 2


homemade, knitting, crafts, handmade, toys, knitted toys, knitted bus, model bus, handmade toys, homemade toys, vegan, vegan comics, vegan children’s stories

Make your own Reflecto Girl doll

Reflecto Girl doll

Here’s how:

First, find a pattern.  I used this one but there are plenty of others to choose from, including lots of free ones you can download.  So, I won’t give you pattern details, you can just download whichever pattern you fancy and then make her look like Reflecto Girl.  If you don’t know how to knit you can learn

Or, if you don’t want to do that, you can make a rag doll instead 🙂

Anyway, this is what I did:


As per the pattern, first I knitted the legs.  I used DK  (Double Knitting thickness) acrylic yarn from the bag of oddments in the attic – no need to buy anything new, and if you don’t happen to have lilac, I know Renée wouldn’t mind her outfit being a different colour.


Then I pinned and sewed the back of leg and top of foot seams


and stuffed them with cut up bits of an old cotton T-shirt (no need to buy stuffing – recycle all the way!)


Then I knitted the body.  I thought Renée would like a pretty cream vest with a pink decorative stripe close to the bottom edge.


I sewed it, stuffed it and attached it to the legs.


Then I made and attached her head,


followed by her arms.


Then it was time to do her hair, which I was very much looking forward to.  I started with the fringe by  just sewing some gorgeous orange yarn into her head making sort of loops between the top of her head and her face, just above where her eyebrows would be.


Making her gorgeous long locks was quite time consuming but worth it.  I sewed the yarn into the back of her head, alternating between a small stitch to hold the yarn in place and then a long loop which reached down her back.  Then another small stitch, then another long loop.  The stitches began at the top of  her head and gradually covered the top three quarters of it so that she wouldn’t have any bald patches.  When her scalp was covered I cut the loops so that she had thick, long hair.


Then I sewed on some eyes and ….


… some lips.  I’m not a neat sew-er but that doesn’t matter, just have fun with it 🙂


Then I made her top (included in the pattern) and embroidered – if you can call it that 😉 – the Reflecto Girl logo on the front 🙂


And then of course she needed a mask!  This is not included in the pattern so you’ll just have to make it up – you can do it!  What I did, if you’re interested, is

  • cast on 70 stitches, using size 10 needles (3.25mm needles);
  • first row: back stitch;
  • second row: Purl 29 stitches, cast off 4, P2, cast off 4, P 31
  • third row: Knit 31 stitches, cast on 4, K2, cast on 4, K29
  • Cast off purlwise

 Then I sewed in the ends of yarn and tidied up the eye holes with a couple of stitches sewn with the same yarn so they’re invisible 🙂


Yes, ok, I know it looks like a giant sleep mask, but if you look carefully you can see her little eyes through the holes.  Come on, use your imagination 😉

And that’s not all –


she had to have her red Wonder Woman bag!  Accessories are the best!


For this I cast on ….. oh, you know what, I can’t remember how many stitches or rows I did – basically you need it to be about this big against the doll.  Knit a simple rectangle that can be folded and sewn into a bag this size.  I attached a press stud so that it can be fastened.


Her bag has a picture of Wonder Woman’s face in a circle on the front – remember?  Luckily I had a scrap of fabric with circles on, just the right size.


So I drew Wonder Woman’s face in the circle, cut it out and sewed it to the front of the bag 🙂

Oh, and I knitted a long handle to make it a shoulder bag.  Three stitches, size 10 needles, stocking stitch (ie 1 row knit, 1 row purl) until it’s long enough for the doll to wear over her shoulder like so:


Now, Reflecto Girl wouldn’t be Reflecto Girl without her …


Dounto!  So I made one.  It needed to be just the right size to fit in her bag 🙂


The card I used was quite thin so I cut out two to stick together and make the ‘mirror’ stronger.


On one side I drew round a smaller circle to make the mirror glass.



Then I added the Celtic-ish symbols and letters …


… and coloured it in 🙂



All done!  Reflecto Girl has everything she needs to get the job done!


Let’s play!






Why don’t you make yourself a Reflecto Girl doll?  There’s lots of fun to be had.


Now, I need to make a Distracto Boy, and a Venus Aqueous, and a Megan and a Flos , oh, and an English Family Anderson! – it’s a good job I’ve got a big bag of yarn oddments 😀 It’s going to be a busy weekend 😉


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Keeping warm with odds and ends

handknit  hoodie

You may remember I have already knitted a hoodie like this out of leftover  and unravelled yarn but I gave that to Miranda so I needed another one.  And this one only took me 2 months to make, which is a record for me!

handknit hoodie

Whilst this one is not made of unravelled yarn, I didn’t buy any new stuff because it’s made completely of other people’s leftovers.  Quite a few balls had been given to us of various colours and thicknesses, and I spent a couple of pounds at charity shops buying a mixture of odd balls, so it has cost me next to nothing and I’ve made something useful out of stuff that was being thrown out.  Win-win 😀

handknit hoodie

Ooh, it’s so lovely and warm 😀

Here is the pattern if you’re interested, although it’s rather messed up so I don’t know if you’ll be able to make sense of it.

knitting pattern

knitting pattern

knitting pattern

I made mine really chunky by using 3 strands of DK (or whatever I had) so it came out bigger than the one on the pattern.  Plus I made mine longer.  So, with a pack-a-mac over the top on rainy days, I’ve got a homemade winter coat 🙂

The pattern came from this book  Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer

Knit your own Father Christmas

A bonus of Miranda working at Raystede animal sanctuary‘s charity shop is that she comes across lots of useful things like old knitting patterns and left over yarn that people have donated, which she can then buy and make use of.  And now you can make use of this one too 🙂



And I know you might be thinking it’s a bit late in the day to start making this – the day before Christmas! – but it’s only a couple of hours’ work Miranda says, so, if you want to do something with your hands while relaxing in front of that Christmas movie, this is it! 🙂

Now, bear in mind that Miranda is very much her own person, who isn’t one for following patterns too closely, so it’s no surprise that her Father Christmas doesn’t exactly look like the picture on the pattern.  But he is very cute just the same:

right turn


there he is look

Oh, and just in case you don’t know how to knit yet – these videos (for left and right handed) will solve that problem 😉

A Good Book and some Upcycling

Unqualified Education

When we began our home schooling adventure all those years ago we were very lucky to find this wonderful book.  Unqualified Education is full of inspiring ideas and information, advice and encouragement.  It is an absolute joy and still a great resource after the children have grown up.


We decided to home school when my eldest daughter was just 12 and my youngest was 9.  It was not because they were bullied or anything, and they were not struggling with any of the work.  It was just that life is short, and childhood so short that they should be able to enjoy it all.  In school they were forced to conform to the ‘norm’, to study a set curriculum.  It was so rigid.  My eldest was so stressed.  She got detention for wearing the wrong colour socks for PE; her friend who had cut his hair into a mohican, and had assured his teacher that he would wear it flat and combed tidily for school, was told “Absolutely not!  Shave it all off!”  They simply weren’t allowed to be individuals.

At home we were free.  They could study what they wanted, how they wanted.  We went bike riding and swimming.  We grew vegetables and cooked and sewed and painted and, yes we did maths and English, but we read and read and read – really good books.  We did history and learnt Welsh (a bit).  What I knew I taught them; what I didn’t know we learnt together.  It was the best time.

This book was a wonderful support and inspiration.  Mind you, it’s a good book for anyone, whether home schooling or not.  As you can see from the Contents page, there’s a lot in there, and the recipes in the cooking section are all vegetarian and nearly all vegan!  There is the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe – mm mmmmm!


Anyway, I needed a new apron so I got out the book, looked up the apron pattern and upcycled myself one:

how to make an apron

(You can click on the pics to enlarge them by the way)


first pic

I didn’t have a broadsheet newspaper but luckily Miranda had an old pad of flip-chart paper which she’d rescued from the bin at work and that was just right for this job.


second pic

I upcycled an old duvet cover – thoroughly washed of course!  I didn’t do the little pocket because I wanted a big pocket – read on 🙂

cut out


fold, pin and hem

You can sew it by hand, it just takes a while.  Luckily I had use of a sewing machine – thanks Mum 🙂

After the hemming was done I attached the ties as shown in the instructions.

vintage tea towel

I decided to make a pocket out of this gorgeous vintage tea towel found in a charity shop.  I cut off the bottom row of dogs and hemmed the raw edge.

fold and hem top edge of pocket

Then I put on the apron so that I could position the pocket and put in a pin to mark the position of the centre of the top of the pocket.

put on apron and mark with pin where centre top of pocket will be

Then I sewed it on.  With a pocket this size you have to sew up the middle, effectively creating two pockets.  No dogs were harmed by this procedure – I was very careful not to sew over any of them 🙂

All done!


finished apron

Remember I wanted a new hat?

recycling hats

Remember I wanted to make a new hat

With the yarn from old hats I’d unravelled?

Remember I said Random Rose made a hat,

beret with ridges she cabled?


Well I followed the pattern that Rose kindly shared,

Though the yarn had lost elasticity.

The needles I used were not quite the right size,

But I wasn’t going to let that stop me.


So I finished my hat and I’m pleased how it went,

Cream and purple go well together.

I admit it turned out bigger than it was meant,

For my head is decidedly smaller.


As luck would have it, Miranda’s got a big head,

Though not the metaphorical kind.

So I decided to give it to her instead,

And I honestly really don’t mind.

recycled beret finished

recycled beret side

recycled beret back

Miranda's new beret

I want a new hat!

sloppy cream hat

I want a new hat,

It’s as simple as that!

But I’ve got no money to buy one.

I know what I’ll do,

I’ve got old hats – two,

I’ll unravel to make a new one.

saggy purple hat

Rose shared a pattern,

A cool beret pattern,

Which I’ll use to make my new hat.

The purple from my sloppy

And the cream from my saggy

Hats will go great together for that!

yarn to reuse

Recycle an old shirt or two

Here’s an idea I got from this book:  Sewing Green Click on the pic find it on Amazon

At least, I think I got it from this one but I gave it away a while ago so I’m not 100% sure.  Anyway, if you’ve got a couple of old shirts – preferably big men’s ones – lying around with nothing to do, why not cut them up and make a new apron?  My husband decided these just weren’t him any more.  Excellent! 😉

1 old shirts

So, you’ve got your hands on a couple of old shirts that nobody wants – actually you could do this with one shirt but it’s nice to have contrasting patterns and colours to work with.

2 cut the back out

Cut out the back of the shirt which is going to be the main piece of your apron.  If, like me, you don’t want to be bothered with hemming or edging, cut outside the seam (as shown here) and then your edge is already hemmed.  Cut up to the arm pit on both sides of the back and then straight across.

3 back

It should look something like this.

4 collar waist band

Cut off the collar of the other shirt (or the same one if you prefer) – this is going to be your apron’s waistband.  You only want the bit that would go around the neck, not the triangle-ish bit.  Again cut outside the stitching so that you don’t need to edge it yourself.

5 unpick collar

Then you need to unpick the bottom edge of the collar …

6 pin collar on

… so that you can slightly gather the top of your apron and fit it inside the collar (now waistband).  Pin it in place.

7 sew waist band on

Sew on the waistband.  I like zigzag but you could easily do this by hand.

8 cut out letters

Now for your design.  You could cut out the breast pocket from one of the shirts and attach it to your apron.  I think that’s what the book tells you to do and it does look lovely but I thought “I don’t need a pocket on my apron” so I decided not to.  You could do anything you like … or nothing at all 🙂 I went with lettering.

Cut your design out of the contrasting material ….

9 pin them in place

… and pin it to your apron.

10 sew the letters on

Sew it in place.

Nearly there.  Now you just need ties.

11 ties

I used the shirt button bands for the simplicity.  They’re already stitched and you can attach them to the collar/waistband with buttons!

12 finished apron

13 button band ties

14 back view

15 front

16 hanging apron

Crafty Vegan

Veganism should be happy and it should be everywhere.

You can say it loud and proud without ever having to open your mouth!


Show the world your happy veganism by writing it on your stuff!

vegan upcycled bag

vegan upcycled bag front and back

vegan upcycled pencil case

No pattern needed for these make-it-up-as-you-go bags and pencil cases made from upcycled old jeans and shirts.  Just put your imagination behind your scissors and get snipping.  Then sew your designs to your background.  The lettering (above) is made by sewing knitting yarn onto the material with zigzag machine stitch.

vegan smile bag front

This bag is different from the others in that it has no zip at the top.  Instead it has a fold-over flap that keeps your bag closed.  This is easily done by taking a rectangular piece of fabric which is a little wider than you want your bag and a bit longer than three times the depth of your bag.  Place a piece of contrasting material the same size (for the lining) with it’s right side against the right side of the outer fabric.  Then sew around 3 sides of the two of them and turn them right side out.  Tidily sew the open end together with the rough edges tucked in.

Then sew on your design(s).  If you’re doing a design on front, back and flap like this one, make sure each design will be the right way up when the fabric is folded.  Pin it first if you’re not sure.

Now, with your designs on the outside, fold the bottom of this piece up to 2 thirds of the way up – the last third will be your fold-over flap – then sew up the two sides (sew it inside out if you don’t want the stitches to show).  You should now have a bag (minus the strap) with a fold-over flap.

vegan smile bag back

  So, you’ve got your bag, you’ve got your design on your bag, now you just need to cut your strap, sew it together if it’s in two pieces, and attach it.  This “Smile – U R Vegan” bag is made of an old shirt and some oddments of material.  The strap is the button bands of the shirt.  Make sure your stitching is strong but don’t worry about neatly hemming it – I think it looks good being a bit rough around the edges.  Button hole bands are good to use for this because half the work’s done for you as it’s already sewn double thickness.

And that’s pretty much it.  You could have a different one for every day of the week! 🙂

Say it with knitting!

knit writing

Whether it be on your clothes, a cushion cover or a patchwork blanket – you can say it with knitting!

First of all decide what you want to write.  Then make a plan.

You’ll need some squared paper which you can buy or make yourself.  Each square on the paper will represent one stitch on your needle.  So number the squares and then mark out whatever you want to write in knitting.  Once you’ve worked out how many stitches wide your whole piece will be you can cast on in your background colour, and have your contrasting colour ready to use when you come to the stitches mapped out on your plan.  As you change colours you just string the other colour across the back of the knitting ready to use next time that colour is required by your plan – you don’t cut – just keep changing between colours while keeping all yarns attached until you’ve completed your design.

knit plan

It’s important to make sure you’re counting from the right direction so that your writing comes out the right way round.  Look what happens if you don’t:

knitting word backwards

This should read NEVER TRUST A MAN IN A SUIT but the words A MAN have come out backwards because the stitches were counted from the wrong direction – ie On your plan, on a purl row the stitches should be counted from the left and on a knit row you count from the right.  Let me show you what I mean.

knit plan 2

In this picture the purl rows are indicated in purple and the knit rows in red.  When you want to produce an image or writing on your knitting you have to remember you’ll be building from the bottom right.  So, if you’re following your own pattern, starting the bottom line of your words with a knit row, you need to count from the right.  For example, the first stitch for which you’d use a different colour in this example would be the 21st stitch of a knit row which is the tail of the G.  Then, on the next row, the first purl stitch for which you’d use a different colour would be the 6th, for the bottom of the V.

Does that make sense?

So that’s it.  Be a crafty activist and make your own outspoken jumpers, hats, scarves and blankets 🙂

Oh, and if you don’t know how to knit but would like to learn, here’s a really good video to get you started:

For the right handed:

For the left handed:

Feeling Crafty?

loo roll snowmen

How about making a snowman?

At Red Ted Art they’ll show you how to make lots of cute snowmen out of toilet rolls and old socks and then you can play skittles with them!

And you don’t need to use plastic goggly eyes or felt – you can draw on the eyes and buttons or stick on some actual buttons that you’ve got lying around at home.

And don’t worry if you haven’t got any toilet rolls saved – make the cardboard rolls out of whatever you’ve got – cereal boxes for example.

And here’s how to make your own glue

Keep it vegan and recycled and you can’t got wrong!

Have fun 😀



Knitting is a very enjoyable hobby as well as being a very useful skill.  To be able to make your own clothes, toys and accessories is a brilliant way of being self-reliant and can also be eco-friendly.

As a vegan shopper you won’t want to buy wool or alpaca or silk, but as an eco-minded shopper you won’t want to buy acrylic.  The problem is that organic, eco-friendly, natural yarns are very expensive.

So what do you do if you can’t afford the eco-stuff?  Simple – you Re-Knit!

Browsing in charity shops and second hand shops you’re bound to find knitwear that is a pretty colour, but unattractive design.  If you buy it, wash it and unravel it, you can re-knit that colour into something beautiful.  It’s just another way to recycle, or upcycle if you like, and it’s very enjoyable and satisfying.  Here are a few things we made with unravelled yarn and oddments:

This matching hat and mittens was made by acrylic yarn unravelled from 2 different machine-knit jumpers. The problem with unravelling machine-knits is that the yarn is cut at the end of each row, it's not continuous like with hand-knits. So the ends of the yarn had to knotted together as each row was unravelled. Quite tedious and time-consuming but it results in interesting balls of yarn which, when knitted together, produce a unique effect. Leaving the dangling ends of each knot untrimmed creates a shabby chic effect .

This matching hat and mittens was made with acrylic yarn unravelled from 2 different machine-knit jumpers. The problem with unravelling mass-produced machine-knits is that the yarn is cut at the end of each row, it’s not continuous like with hand-knits. So the ends of the yarn had to knotted together as each row was unravelled. Quite tedious and time-consuming but it results in interesting balls of yarn which, when knitted together, produce a unique effect. Leaving the dangling ends of each knot untrimmed creates a shabby chic effect .


Blanket made by sewing together little knitted squares

Blanket made by sewing together little knitted squares


The yarn from these saggy old hats was unravelled and knitted into ...

The yarn from these saggy old hats was unravelled and knitted into …

... this gorgeous beret

… this gorgeous beret

An enjoyable way to give new life to old knitwear and keep it out of landfill 🙂

Don’t know how to knit?  No problem – watch this brilliant video:

And for the left-handed:


I’ve just finished the hoodie I was knitting in the photo at the top.  I wanted a warm chunky knit but didn’t have any thick yarn so this is knitted with 3 strands of unravelled DK acrylic; lots of different colours and oddments.  It’s so soft and warm, like wrapping yourself in a blanket before you go outside.  Now I’ve just got to find a zip for it 🙂

upcycled knitting yarns

upcycled knitting yarns

upcycled knitting yarns

Further update:

I’ve just finished another one here and if you would like to make one yourself, the pattern is at the bottom of this post 🙂