Ditch Plastic Bags

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted on here, but I have been busy…honest 😉

As part of the drive to ditch plastic bags, I have created free crochet patterns for a market bag, and a fruit ‘n’ veg bag.  Both can be made in linen, or cotton yarns, and the size is easily altered too. 🙂

This is the market bag, which is a great substitute for the plastic carrier bag.  I chose an 8ply linen yarn, which is naturally very strong, yet still very easy to work with. However, this pattern works really well with dk dishcloth/craft cotton, it just needs a couple of extra rounds to achieve the same length.  I carry mine in my handbag, and it’s proved so useful already, not just for food shopping, visiting the flea market, but for yarn too. 😉

EJ-BAG-001 © Elvira Jane 2018

Free crochet pattern for market bag designed by Elvira Jane. Available in UK, or US, crochet terms, via my Facebook page.

This is the fruit ‘n’ veg bag (or produce bag, if you prefer), which is a great substitute for the clear plastic bags, which supermarkets provide for loose fruit and vegetables.  I chose a No. 10 mercerised cotton, for the main pattern, so it’s nice and lightweight, which means the additional cost, when the produce is weighed, will be minimal.  For a stronger, and larger bag, I chose a linen yarn (25 wpi), but a 4ply cotton works well too (and is a bit easier to get hold of).  My pattern also explains how to make a smaller bag, which is great for cherry tomatoes, garlic bulbs etc.  🙂 

EJ-BAG-002 © Elvira Jane 2018

Free crochet pattern for fruit ‘n’ veg bag designed by Elvira Jane. Available in UK, or US, crochet terms via my Facebook page.

To obtain a copy (pdf) of my bag patterns, just click on the image, and my Facebook post will open in a new window.  Have a read of the post, for full details, then message me (via Facebook), with the pattern reference(s) for your preferred crochet terms.  I will then reply to you with the pattern attached.  Nice and easy. 🙂

Please note: All of my patterns (including the free ones) are subject to copyright.



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Top Hat Fascinator by Elvira Jane

Lovely review of my crochet Top Hat Fascinator pattern. Thank you so much Itchy Crochet 😀

This pattern is available to purchase, in UK or US crochet terms, from my Etsy shop; ElviraJaneQ

Itchy Crochet

Top Hat Fascinator by Elvira Jane

RRP £3.30

James C. Brett Marble chunky

4mm hook

Full disclosure; I have a bit of a professional crush on Elvira Jane she designs the most amazing sculptural crochet and when she started publishing patterns I HAD to make one. I think this fascinator looks amazing with my locks, even if I do photograph appallingly

2016-05-24 20.27.52 I blame Crochet Widower for taking the photo

The pattern is very well written and is quite an instinctive design, the use of crab stitch really makes the brim stand flat (can something stand flat?). Crocheting tightly can be a strain on your hands if you are unused to it, I have wrists of steel from all the amigurumi I make, but since this is such a quick project I can’t see it being too big a problem for anyone. With full instructions given you really can’t go wrong with…

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Crochet Glove GIVEAWAY

I am running a giveaway on my Facebook page.  For a chance to win these scrummy crochet fingerless gloves, which I have designed and handmade, please pop over to my page (ends 8pm on Wednesday 20th April 2016).

Glove Giveaway © Elvira Jane 2016


Crochet Fingerless Gloves ~ designed and handmade by © Elvira Jane


If you enjoy crocheting, please take a look at my Etsy Shop, where you will find a few of my patterns (including the fingerless gloves), available to purchase in UK or US crochet terms.

Etsy Patterns © Elvira Jane 2016


Unique Crochet Patterns designed by © Elvira Jane



I also have a selection of Free Crochet Patterns via my Facebook page, available in UK and US crochet terms.

Free Crochet Patterns © Elvira Jane 2016


Some of the free crochet patterns designed by © Elvira Jane


You’ll find a couple of crochet tips on my Facebook page too! 🙂

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Craft Fair at NT Lytes Cary Manor

I’m very excited to be attending the National Trust’s Lytes Cary Manor Craft Fair, this Saturday, 16th April, 11am – 4pm.  Admission to the craft fair is free, on-site parking is also free.  Should you wish to proceed to the house and grounds (and I highly recommend that you do), there will be a charge.

Lytes Cary Manor Craft Fair Poster

As a member of the National Trust, and living close by, we have visited Lytes Cary Manor many times.  It’s a beautiful house, very interesting too, and the gardens are bursting with colour.

Lytes Cary Manor

NT Lytes Cary Manor





NT Lytes Cary Manor

NT Lytes Cary Manor

NT Lytes Cary Manor

NT Lytes Cary Manor


I’ll be bringing along my unique crochet creations

Crochet Collection by © Elvira Jane 2016

unique crochet designed and handmade by © Elvira Jane

and my good friend Brenda, of Buc-n-Doe, will also be there with her gorgeous textile kitchen/homewares.

textile kitchen/homewares by © Buc-n-Doe

textile kitchen/homewares by © Buc-n-Doe

Hope to see you there! 🙂

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Ditching Palm Oil – Homemade Stuffing

I have eliminated Palm Oil from my diet and, for those of you that have done the same, you will know that so much of the processed foods, in the supermarket, contain it.  Lets not beat around the bush, if you removed all the processed food from a supermarket, they could downsize considerably.  What you’d be left with is a green grocer, a butcher,  and a dairy, which is all we really need.  That said, I would find it very hard to give up my chocolate, but I have found some without palm oil.  I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of the palm oil industry, but my biggest concern is the effect on the orangutans.

So, one of the many foods that contain palm oil is stuffing.  I do love stuffing with my roast dinner, but I couldn’t find any without palm oil, so I looked to make it from scratch, and I found this great recipe on Housewife Confidential. Why, oh why, didn’t I do this years ago…it’s ridiculously easy to make and it’s delicious!

Homemade Stuffing

I have tried a few variations of this recipe, such as adding cashews, or peanuts, different herbs, and my kids love it too…it’s rare for everyone to agree on something in our house!  But, best of all…it makes a large batch, so pop the leftovers in the fridge, and it’s delicious cold, with a dollop of Piccalilli.  Guess what I’m having for lunch today 😉


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My First Hand-Spun Yarn

Having spun a small quantity of single green yarn, and another in purple, I then spun the two together to create a 2ply yarn.  This is my first attempt and it’s not very even, but I’m so chuffed with it. 🙂

2ply hand-spun yarn

2ply hand-spun yarn

Now it’s time to introduce this yarn to my crochet hook! 😉

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Spinning with a Drop Spindle

A few years ago my husband bought me a drop spindle kit from George Weil.  I am not known for my patience and I got frustrated with it fairly quickly and it went back in the box and was left.  However, this week I popped out to Glastonbury Country Market, where there is a lovely lady who spins her own yarn, using a beautiful spinning wheel, made for her by her husband – such a talented and creative couple.  It’s mesmerizing, watching a spinning wheel in action and it inspired me to have another try with my drop spindle.

drop spindle (high whorl)

drop spindle (high whorl)

wool tops

wool tops

So I selected one of the coloured wool tops from my kit and found this YouTube tutorial, by MeganERiskTutorials, to help me get started.  This tutorial is given in a relaxed manner and I found it very helpful and reassuring too (don’t panic if the yarn breaks or it’s not perfectly even).

I’ll be honest; it was a bit fiddly to begin with, but it doesn’t take very long to get the hang of it.  I’m very much a stop and start spinner, but I’m already picking up a little bit of speed.  As you can see, my yarn is a bit wibbly wobbly, and rather messy on the spindle, but I’m not worried as it’s my first proper go at it.

single ply yarn

single ply yarn

I am quite pleased with my first attempt at spinning, but my mind has already started wandering towards spinning wheels.  If you’ve ever looked into this you’ll know they are not cheap.  If I buy one, I will be making a commitment to spin my own yarn.  I toyed with the idea of a second-hand wheel, to save a bit of money and because I love things with a bit of history, but given my novice status and the cost involved, I think I’d feel more comfortable with a new one which will come with full instructions.  I’ve done a little bit of online research and, at the moment, I think the Ashford Traveller is the one for me – it’s the compact castle style with a traditional look.

Ashford Traveller (single drive)

Ashford Traveller (single drive) – image from http://www.ashford.co.nz

My impatience got the better of me again and I only made a small ball of yarn in the green, because I wanted to use another colour.  You can see that I’m winding the yarn much neater onto the spindle, but the yarn itself is still a bit uneven (part of the charm of hand-spun 😉 ).  I’m planning to create a 2ply yarn using the green and purple together.

single ply yarn

single ply yarn

 I’m really excited at the prospect of using my own hand-spun yarn for my crochet designs.  It will be such a thrill to be involved in more of the overall process.

~ ❤ 🙂 ❤ ~

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Off-grid shopping list – Electricity-free Groundfridge

We’re always on the lookout for products and ideas for our off-grid future.  Although we are keen to do things the old fashioned way, and are very happy to put in the labour, we don’t want it to be a gruelling historical existence, so we are trying to find the right balance of old ways and modern developments for a simple, yet convenient off-grid lifestyle.

Being off-grid is not just about replacing the source of our energy, but also reducing how much energy we use.  We have been without a tumble drier for about four years, and without a dishwasher for about 3 years.  Both of these items are very easy to do without, but a couple of items that would be more of an issue are a washing machine and a fridge.

There is small-scale refrigeration; the Zeer Pot, which uses terracotta pots, sand, water and a damp cloth, which is great for a camping trip.

Pot Fridge - small scale refrigeration.   image from www.greenupgrader.com via www.organicauthorty.com

Pot Fridge – small scale refrigeration.
image from http://www.greenupgrader.com via http://www.organicauthorty.com

But, if we are living in an isolated location, then we need to cool things on a larger scale.  So, when I saw this Electricity-free Groundfridge pop up in my Facebook news feed, I was very excited.  Check out the full details, and more images, on the Off Grid World website.

Electricity-free Groundfridge - via www.offgridworld.com

Electricity-free Groundfridge – via http://www.offgridworld.com

For someone like me, who can’t stand spiders, this sealed unit is perfect. 🙂

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Selling my Crochet at Frome – Love it!

Tomorrow is craft fair time again and I can’t wait!  Once a month I attend the D&K Totally Craft and Makers Market at the Cheese and Grain, in Frome, where I catch up with my crafty friends, have a natter, a giggle, put the world to rights and treat myself to a plate of chips.  Then, of course, there is the shopping.  What a joy to have such a wonderful range of local, handcrafted goodies to choose from.  I have bought numerous gifts, for friends and family, and several essential items for myself too. 😉

D&K Totally Craft and Makers Market at the Cheese and Grain, Frome

D&K Totally Craft and Makers Market at the Cheese and Grain, Frome

This is what my stall looked like at last months event.  I design, and make, two different types of crochet.  Firstly there are my crochet sculptures.  I love creating these, but they are not quick to make.  Because I work very tightly, and don’t use anything to stiffen my work, it is very hard on my hand.  I love the results, and the reaction from customers who often haven’t seen this type of crochet before.

Crochet Sculptures designed and handmade by © Elvira Jane

Crochet Sculptures designed and handmade by © Elvira Jane

Then there is my more traditional crochet, gloves, brooches, embellishment etc, which gives my hands a rest from tight work, but allows me to continue crocheting in between sculptures.

Crochet designed and handmade by © Elvira Jane

Crochet designed and handmade by © Elvira Jane

I’m off now, to make sure I have everything ready for tomorrow.  Then I will be baking a lemon drizzle cake, to take with me, for my fellow stallholders. 🙂

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Mmm…..Cheese Scones

Have already done some baking yesterday (another Lemon Drizzle Traybake and a Scottish Ginger Cake), I wasn’t planning on baking again today, until I saw that the lovely Sarah, of Bluebirds and Daisies, mentioned that she was making scones, and I do love a scone!

I didn’t have any clotted cream in so I decided to make cheese scones instead.  I haven’t made scones for years, mainly because I don’t really care for sticking my hands in the mixture, but I was brave. 😉

I had a flick around on the internet and found this really easy Classic Cheese Scones recipe.  I liked that it had a good amount of cheese in it (some recipes seem to call for only a small amount of cheese, but I prefer a stronger flavour).  I found that I needed a bit more milk than the recipe states and, on this occasion, I omitted the cayenne pepper as I just wanted to test the basic recipe.

Cheese Scones

Classic Cheese Scones

Well, what a great result!  They are a little flatter than I’d hoped for (I rolled the dough a bit too thin), but the flavour is great.  This is a quick and easy recipe which I will definitely be using again.  I plan to experiment with herbs and spices too.  Any suggestions? 🙂

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