Friday, 17 March 2017

How much detail is too much?


When I catch up on my blog reading, I notice all the different styles of blog post there are. I'm aware of the ones that keep my attention, the ones where I only look at the lovely pictures, and the ones where I just have to read every word. Of course, it depends on a lot of factors, such as the ratio of words to pictures, the subject matter, the quality of photos etc. Despite noticing all of this, I am still none-the-wiser as to what that magic ingredient is.


This post is going to be about one thing only; My hexie quilt. I'm going to avoid doing my usual thing of adding too many subjects.

I must have started this quilt nearly 10 years ago, when I had the crazy idea to hand sew a large hexagon quilt. I tried to work out how many stitches I made but it was all too mind-boggling. To give you an idea, there are around 25-30 in each hexagon side seam.


The white cotton sheet that I dyed 2 shades of blue for this quilt was quite heavy, and hard on the fingers to sew, so I decided to machine quilt. And rather than wrangle with it by turning it around and around under the machine, I quilted it in straight lines across the middles of the flowers.


Because I didn't square off the corners by adding more hexies, the binding process was quite straightforward, with no tricky corners to negotiate.

I was going add more detail (and, in fact, I did add more) but blogger is playing up, and I managed to delete most of what I wrote, not once, not twice, but three times. So, ironically, considering my first paragraph, I am giving up now while the going is good.

Bye for now
Teresa x



Thursday, 9 March 2017

Softies!


I've been wanting to give soft toy making a try for quite a while. So, it seemed appropriate (in accordance with my upcycling ethos) to try memory, or keepsake, bears. It wouldn't be viable to use recycled fabrics in general toy-making, due to the CE testing process that I would have to put them through, and keepsake items don't have to comply with those regulations.

Having not sewn any toys before, I headed to the charity shops to find some baby clothes that I could practice with, and came back with 3 items. I also bought safety eyes and stuffing (there are some things you can't compromise on!).


Armed with a free, downloaded pattern from Funky Friends Factory I set to work, and this is the result.


I learnt a lot from the process about how, in general, toys are put together, how to insert the eyes and whether or not to use interfacing.  I will do all those things differently next time. And I have the baby clothes from the charity shop ready and waiting. I want to try a different pattern next time, so I need to choose that, and get some different interfacing, first.

In the meantime, I'm still working on other projects in the background. This is a toddlers version of the Baa-ble hat I showed last time, that I had a request for. It turned out so cute - I love it!

And.............I've had it on my bucket list for so long, to make a pair of socks, so I'm happy to say that I have almost completed 1 sock! I'll cast on the second one as soon as it's finished so it doesn't get left on the Work-in-progress pile for months until I forget how I did it.

I've also been working on finishing a long-term WIP so will hopefully have something to show next time!

Bye for now
Teresa x

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

It's all about the yarn!

 A belated Happy Valentine's Day to you all! It all passed by quite uneventfully here. 😊.


I saw this hat pattern all over a Facebook knitting group last year and finally found time to have a go at it in December. It's call the Baa-ble and was designed as the official pattern for Shetland Wool Week. I haven't done colour-work like this for a long time, and I have never used a circular needle, so I was happy with the result.



 It now has a bobble and has been claimed by my son's girlfriend. I made this one with some odd bits of yarn I had lying around, but I've now acquired some lovely new yarn in subtler colours to make more.


And still on a 'heart' theme (and still all about the yarn), I bought a lovely crochet pattern from The Hat and I on Etsy for a head warmer. The first stage was to make the white inner band.


The next stage was to make all the hearts and link them together. I have to admit, when it got to this stage, I was dubious as to whether it would ever look like it was supposed to.

But the pattern was so detailed, with really clear photos for the trickier parts, that it came together like magic. So, like the baa-ble hat, this is another pattern that I will be using again.

On the sewing front, I've been trying something completely new to me. It's on hold at the moment due to the fact that my kitchen is having new worktops and is in a mess for a few days. I'll reveal all soon (if it turns out as planned), and I might show you the kitchen too!

Bye for now
Teresa x

Sunday, 22 January 2017

January Making for Me!


I made a decision towards the end of last year to spend the first month of this year working on a few makes for myself. I've had a mental list for a while of a few simple things I needed to get done, so decided to use the quietest month of the year (craft-wise) to get them out of the way (and off my mind).

A new ironing board cover was the most straightforward job, so I tackled that first. There was a big hole in my old one and it was looking decidedly worse for wear. An ironing board cover is not an essential item for everyone, but as I keep my ironing board propped up against a wall it can tend to leave marks on the paintwork. It also looks a bit nicer when I don't have a big enough cupboard to store it out of sight.


Next came a clothes-peg bag. You may have noticed that I didn't write 'new' clothes-peg bag! Previously, (I'm ashamed to say) I kept my pegs in an old, broken plastic bag: so there was nothing to replace.

I got the old, wooden coat hanger from my auntie, and my OH cut a couple of inches off each end, as it was a bit too wide. I made the opening like I do some of my bag pockets, where the lining is sewn on top, the hole cut and the lining folded through the hole. We haven't had the weather to hang out the washing recently, but when we do, it'll be ready for action.



My next project came about because my old purse broke a couple of months ago. I got a new one for Christmas but it didn't hold as many cards as my old one. My solution was to make a wallet for the cards I don't use so often.

Sorry, I couldn't find the link for the tutorial again.

I love how it turned out, and it's had lots of nice comments but if I made one again, I would bunch up the pockets a bit and try it with less of them too, to make it more compact.

I have one more thing left to make for myself then I'll be concentrating on my shop items.  My everyday bag has seen better days so I'm going to make a replacement.

As well as these personal projects, I've been doing some hand sewing of bigger, long-term projects which have been progressing well. I'll be glad to get them finished, though, and off my mind (like the things in this post).

Bye for now
Teresa x


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Book Review: MAKE IT, OWN IT, LOVE IT by Matt Chapple


 I've been a big fan of the Great British Sewing Bee since it started in 2013. If you haven't seen it yet, it's a bit like the 'bake off' but with sewing instead of baking. The contestants compete against each other over a series of sewing challenges, with one contestant being eliminated each week. In 2015, Matt Chapple was the first male winner of the series and, following his success, he has brought out his first book, 'MAKE IT, OWN IT, LOVE IT - The essential guide to sewing, altering and customising'. I was delighted, recently, to be offered the chance to receive a complimentary copy to review.

As you know, I do a lot of sewing; but I shy away from what I call proper dress-making due, mostly, to fear of failure. When I saw this book I was hopeful that it would give me the confidence to have another go. I thought that Matt's relaxed attitude towards sewing would give me the boost I needed to try again.

 

On first impression, the book had a good 'feel' to it; from the quality paper, to the illustrations, to the slightly lovely, grainy, vintage-quality photographs. Divided into short sections (most being only a double page spread), the information is easy to digest; although, I felt that some explanations were compromised by trying to fit the information to the restricted space. It's an ideal book to help a beginner get some useful knowledge and experience but a complete beginner would need to supplement the section on Knowing Your Machine with online videos and other sources of information to get a complete picture.


Such a lot of information is covered in the book, and from a totally different perspective than most sewing books, so that more experienced sewers will also find it useful. Even though I consider myself fairly knowledgeable in sewing matters, I found out about seam guides, what needles size/numbers mean, and that you can now download dressmaking patterns. And, that it's also about time I bought or made myself a tailor's ham instead of risking serious injury using a rolled up towel!

As I try to follow my eco-friendly ethos with my crafting, it was the 'Make it Your Own' section that appealed to me most. It's all about how you can alter or embellish clothes you already have to bring them up to date or make them fit better. I've already earmarked a couple of projects to update some items I don't wear but was reluctant to discard.

I was encouraged to see the chapter Making it Live Longer, which included lots of tips for caring for our clothes. We may think that knowing how to look after the clothes we have is obvious, but I've learnt from experience never to assume anything. I'm sure there must be a whole generation that grew up during this recent, consumerist age that knows very little about caring for their clothing. The last time this sort of thing was encouraged to any degree was during WWII, so it must surely be about time to remind people what it's all about.

To sum up, MAKE IT, OWN IT, LOVE IT is a substantial book, packed full of useful information to help us all have a healthy, practical and happy relationship with our clothes; to look at what we have in a different way, and be in control of it.

So, sorry to disappoint, but I won't be having a giveaway for this one. I can see myself dipping into it time and again for reference.

Bye for now
Teresa x

P.S. The photos included in this post are all from the book