Sunday, 26 January 2014

Crafty Happenings - Week 4

Well this is a short list but that's irrelevant because it includes
Finished Objects - da, da, dah!


OK, I'm starting with the thing that isn't finished, in fact it isn't started because I have frogged it again :(
Oh I've nailed the pattern but for some reason it's enormous, it was over 5' long - it's supposed to be about 4' square when finished (approx. 120 cm) which is pretty generous for a baby shawl I think.
No idea what's going on - I have the correct yarn and the required hook size (2.5mm).  Funnily enough my tension is usually fairly tight and I tend to go up half a size - it would have been absolutely massive if I'd done that.
So, with maths that has made my brain hurt, I've figured out the pattern repeat/sizing again and I'm going to reduce my starting chain to 225 stitches, not 305.
At least when I start for the third time it will be shorter!
Finished Objects - woo hoo!:


1.  A drawstring bag for A's dressing up clothes - she is mighty pleased with it - we spent all day yesterday carrying fairy treasure in it and fighting off dragons with our magic wands. 
You absolutely need a bag for that kind of adventure (I was the Yellow Fairy in case you were wondering, it's something of a supporting role, it mainly requires doing as you're told and being entirely adaptable to an ever-changing storyline!).
So here's my Finished Object overview
Does my version look like the pattern?
I didn't really use one - it's just a basic drawstring bag with a boxed bottom.  There are a million tutorials out there if anybody needs one.

What skills did I need?
None at all, very basic.  But I was very good and used my overlocker to make sure the seams were good and strong and dragon-proof.

Was the fabric recommendation correct?
I bought a metre of this fabric (last weekend - how's that for superfast turn around of stash?). 
I used just over half of it as this is a good-sized bag (to fit in wands and fairy wings).  I'll make another one for Annie with the remainder as she needs somewhere to store her tiaras apparently :)

How long did it take to make? 
About 20 minutes start to finish.

Did I learn anything from the process?
Yes, if you know your audience then the simplest of projects gives great pleasure :)

Total cost?
The fabric was £12.00.  I had to buy co-ordinating ribbon.  No pattern obviously, stash thread - about £7.00.

Will I make it again?

Of course, she's got to store her jewels somewhere!




2, 3 & 4 Cushions for the Sitting Room
Finished Object overview
Does my version look like the pattern?
It's just a very basic lapped zip cushion - I didn't want anything fussy and I had very little fabric to play with.

What skills did I need?
Again, none really.  I make it super easy for myself and use a zip longer than the piece of fabric so no fuss at all, I just incorporate it into the side seams and cut the excess off.

Oh, I did have to get creative, one back isn't really lapped - Ernie the kitten ran off with the piece of fabric and I couldn't find it - I had to use the tiny bit I had left.  Of course, the original cut piece turned up after I'd finished!

Was the fabric recommendation correct?
I bought a metre of this fabric (2 weeks ago - another fast turn around of stash, I'm so proud of myself!). 
I managed to get 3 plain cushions out of that width, and by cutting the fronts and 2 back pieces out in a different order each cushion front is different.  Result.

How long did it take to make? 
Probably an hour and a half - and at least 20 minutes of that was searching for the fabric Ernie had hidden!

Did I learn anything from the process?
I'm a total skinflint and love making something for almost nothing!

Total cost?
The fabric was £5:00, bought here. I had loads of zips in my stash - I tend to bulk buy in charity shops, they don't match one another but they go with the colours in the fabric (mostly) and you can't see them because they're lapped!  I reused the cushion inserts so I think about £5.30 for all three :)

Will I make it again?

As and when they're needed.  My DD is moving into her first flat on Tuesday - she's bound to need cushions!
Over and out!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Crafty Happenings - Week 3

It's been a totally manic week, hence even my Crafty update isn't on time!

Despite thinking I'd done absolutely nothing on the craft front it's not a total desert:

I have started the shawl for J's baby
It took me 2 attempts to get the chain and foundation row right - a bit of a faff with a chain of 305 but I'm there now.  I'm on a course in London this week and I thought I might take it to entertain myself on the train but I haven't nailed the pattern yet - I think I'll end up in a muddle.  There's only so many times I can face frogging before I fall out of love with a project so I'm not going to risk it!
Image of The Lady Skater sewing pattern (for teens and women)
I put myself on a pattern fast last year - I love them but I had so many, pretty much none of which I'd even attempted.  I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed with them.  So, unless they were fabby old patterns that I was saving from oblivion, lost in the depths of the local charity shops, I didn't buy any.  And even some of those old patterns I gave away when I hadn't used them in 6 months.  I can't help it, I love the illustrations and notes past sewers have made.
Anyway, I have kept a mental list of patterns that I've very nearly bought on several occasions.  By the end of the year I'd forgotten about most of them but the Lady Skater Dress was still firmly on my list, despite being a pdf which I'm not terribly keen on.
So now I just need to assemble it all and get brave with the knits!

 Auntie S at a craft show

I spent some of Friday with P's lovely Auntie S - she's been crafting for over 70 years and I love spending time with her.  Not only do I get terribly well fed, I always get a bag of goodies she's found me (zips she's found in her sewing box, vintage hooks and eyes etc). 
I didn't make anything this time - I usually get a lesson in a craft I've not tried before!  It's proper Blue Peter prep with 'here's one I made earlier' and bits I have to try before she lets me move on to the next stage!

I didn't get to Sewing Club on Sunday as we were away all weekend in Brighton celebrating a birthday - so I bought a tiny bit of fabric to scratch the crafty itch!  Little A loves dressing up and I'm going to make some bags for her to keep her stuff in, I thought it would encourage her to tidy up her own things.  I think this fabric was perfect for storing her costumes in.
That's it - over and out :)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Crafty Happenings - Week 2


Well I didn't actually mean for these weekly progress posts to be the only thing I write but that's how it's turned out.

It's working for me though, having had what I thought was a pretty un-crafty week, looking back there's been much more than I thought.  Still nothing actually finished but I'm not counting!
And I've been slowly catching up with the backlog of posts on blogs I follow, I'm under 100 so getting there!

So, Week 2 then:

1 metre fabric remnant for £5 - perfect for the replacement cushions I'm
planning for our sitting room

This is the wallpaper in our sitting room - I think the fabric will work brilliantly with it and there's enough variation in it to mix them up a bit.

I'm looking for fabric for new bedroom curtains - I keep picking up bits of fabric in every shop I go into - this may eventually negate the saving of making the curtains myself, unless we choose the fabric pretty soon!

This silver fabric is entirely hideous to work with (and look at!) - £3.50 per metre
We're having a fundraiser at work on Tuesday - it involves an Abba dance routine (I am not sure how I got talked into it!) and very dodgy costumes.  I'm having to make alterations to 3 of the tops.  This silver fabric is part of my attempt to cover our modesty - the overlocker has been an absolute godsend with this awful unravelly fabric - on the plus side you now can't see our underwear through the costume!

We are going to be hopeless, I'm hoping the sparkly fabric temporarily blinds the audience!


800g of 4ply baby yarn and a 2.5mm hook -
order arrived in the post this week

This is the shawl pattern I'm planning on making
Our friends J&C (whose wedding stationery I made here) are expecting their first baby in June - lovely news :)

2 magazines I picked up for a song in the market
I'm a total cheapskate - I do love crafty magazines but they're so expensive and I often only like 1 or perhaps 2 projects so I don't buy them regularly.  These are a couple of months old - doesn't bother me in the slightest for 75p each!

Tiny bit of progress made on P's Batman picture
These are the fabrics I've chosen for my setting triangles & borders -
the quilt is 'on point', not that I realised that's what I was doing
I took a trip to Hometown in Rochester on Wednesday - it's a wonderful quilting supplies shop.  I even managed to have a coffee with Rachel so it was a lovely crafty day.  Oh and my purchases mean I've got enough stamps on my card for a 'free' metre of fabric on my next visit - P and I apparently have a different understanding of what 'free' means!

They were so helpful in the shop -
none of the fabrics were in the jelly roll but they are from the same range
so work beautifully together


I've managed to cut and attach all the setting & corner triangles -these are the first 4 rows sewn together, only another 7 to go to finish the centre of the quilt.

I also signed up for this Craftsy course this week -
I think I'm going to need to some figuring out how to quilt a king-sized
project on my machine!


2014 Block of the Month: Craftsy Color Theory
And whilst I was about it I signed up for this free mini-course too -
I like to have a better understanding of using colour
in a quilt

So that's it - I apparently fit crafty moments into my week and even I don't notice.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Crafty Happenings - Week 1


A nice new notebook from my pink friend S (she really doesn't
acknowledge many other colours!) - I do love new stationery

Hello there! 
I've been reading lots of Year End/Year Beginning posts over the last few days - catching up with my favourite blogs.
I love looking at the round-up posts and reading the thought processes that make something a hit or a miss for that person, it's so individual.
I thought about doing something similar but, if I'm entirely honest with myself, it doesn't really work for me - you've only got to look at how out of date my yearly Achievements pages are to see that!  I am going to update my Achievements page for last year (when I get half an hour spare), otherwise I'll forget entirely. 
Plus, I'm an outstanding Starter but I don't finish a project before I start the next one.  I know, I'm probably doing it wrong.  It just doesn't work for me - I'm sure I'd be a million times more productive but I have to be in the right frame of mind.  Crafting is a pleasure for me, it feels more like a chore if I make myself finish a crochet project when I'm in a sewing frame of mind.  And I'm never going to be the world's most productive clothes maker because I'm actually comfortable with a pretty small wardrobe of pieces that work together for me.
So, I'm going to come at this from a different angle this year.  This is the first of my weekly posts of craft-related progress in my life.  It might be something I've bought or made the plans for or, hold onto your hats, actually got on and made!  But for me this year is about the steps forward, not the finished items.  I have a feeling this will be more motivating for me - it's certainly worth a go.
I kind of tied myself in a knot about taking decent photos but it isn't going to happen, if I'm going to do this regularly I'll have to take them when I have time - given the current weather in the UK expect them to be poor quality and taken when it's dark and raining!

Here goes then:

Curtain samples - bought in the sale for a bargainous £1 each,
I just see scraps as a challenge!
The biggest pieces of each one are sufficient for a bag -
I've been making lots of tote bags lately and have orders for more.
This weight of fabric is perfect.

A great needlepoint book from the Oxfam shop for £1.49

8 reels of white and cream thread for my overlocker -
I must be using it more than I thought as I've entirely run out

I have a great many craft books so, even if they are a bargain,
I don't buy them now unless there's a pattern/project that
I love - I really want to make this bird cushion, it's beautiful.


Progress on the Batman & Friends cross-stitch I'm making for P -
originally this was going to be a Christmas gift but trying to sew in
secret was not working at all
You can find the pattern here


My new A1 size cutting mat arrived this week - goodness it's brilliant,
I can't believe what a difference it makes having had only a tiny little
one before, it was really for card making and just wasn't suitable.
 I'm whizzing through my cutting out now.

My first Jelly Roll quilt (fabric bought for me by my brothers last April!)
All the squares are sewn together and I've figured out the sizes for corner and
setting squares.
I can't make any more process now until I pick out my border fabrics
That's all folks!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Hello Blog - Remember Me?

Hello Little Blog
I bet you're feeling a bit neglected, left off the Christmas card list, overlooked.

I managed a Draft post about John Denver and the Muppets Day
but never posted it

Expectations were high as we had F & A to stay for the weekend
- Uncle P did a brilliant job of breakfast :)

To be honest Little Blog, you were just one more thing on a very long list in the last 6 weeks or so and I knew I could let you slide off the end.  I've struggled to even keep up with all the brilliant blogs I follow. 
I even had a bit of a wobble and wondered whether it was worth putting you back on the list at all, perhaps we'd reached the end of a road - I know, very unfriendly.


I enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Lunch with friends from the Rochester Sewing Club
- Julie was delighted with her Secret Santa present from Rachel

Foxy Sewing - Made by Rachel


Brilliant knitted pincushion by Julie for Polly
- I admire anything knitted, being entirely pants myself!


Another craft bag, for Rachel - I totally forgot to photograph this after I'd made it, just
not in a bloggy frame of mind

My gorgeous present, made by Polly - this appeals to me so much,
I'm delighted with it, and it's all marvellous polka dots on the inside

The little oriental fans are my absolute favourite.
Polly was in the middle of Christmas madness, family birthdays and
house moving.  How she found time to make this is beyond me!

I've been snowed under (sorry, pun entirely intentional) with Christmas, worrying family stuff, the death of a friend and colleague I admired so much, work re-structuring/potential job losses and just general, all-round crapness. 

Ernie and Elmo did their bit to help us feel more Christmassy

Elmo had to make a concerted effort - at this point it was becoming clear My Boy
wasn't going to make it home for Christmas and she misses him badly.  Not me, I'm fine
about the whole thing, honest ... poor Elmo

I had a decision  to make - I could just about make all the gifts I so desperately wanted to give or I could photograph and blog a couple and accept I wouldn't get the others done. 
I decided to actually do the stuff that keeps me sane and figure out where to go from there.  Life is, after all, about the living of it rather than keeping a record, right?

For another Sewer

For my 'pink' friend S

For my Sister-in-Law's talented Mum - whose knitting
keeps F & A in jumpers :)

There was another bag for My Girl, a Jane Austen cross-stitch for my brother and his wife, a
Pirate Izzy costume for A and a
stuffed penguin for My Boy. 
None photographed but completed with love and done in good time :)

We made a pre-Christmas dash to Swansea to see My Boy and his Girlfriend
- so lovely to see them

A Christmas decoration for our tree, made by My Boy's Girlfriend -
so thoughtful


Despite the terrible weather and power cuts, we managed
to take P's parents and his aunts and uncles out for a Christmas lunch

P with his Mum

Sadly there's an aunt and uncle missing from this group,
sad losses to the family in the last couple of years.
I'm so glad we managed to do this - it was lovely to get everyone together.
I love how much effort they all made dressing up festively -
they're a fine bunch of people :)

Crafty Auntie S and P's Dad

Christmas is over, spent with my brother and his family (and yes I still owe him a dressing gown - goodness, the guilt!).
We saw the New Year in with My Girl, my Best Friend and her husband which was lovely.   I've had a chance to catch my breath today and I realised how much pleasure you give me Little Blog. 
How great it is for me to have a record of what I've made (well it would be if I made any effort whatsoever to keep my Achievements pages up to date!).  And I've made some great friends and am part of a brilliant sewing group.
I'm not really one for Resolutions but I think you and I should stick with it little Blog.  And, despite being an Excellent Starter I'm determined to try to be a Finisher this year - it's certainly worth a go.
So, can we make up?  I'll update my 2013 list of completed projects and then it's onwards and upwards for 2014 :)