Saturday, 26 November 2011

Shhh, don’t show or tell Mum

I’ve spent the day making a Christmas present for Mum so that she has something to open to go with her M&S vouchers. It took about five hours I think but I wasn’t really counting.
Like yesterday, I began by deciding on the design of my patchwork piece and determining the best order in which to stitch the pieces together.
After a little battle with my sewing machine I managed to complete the patchwork and backed it with cream material just as I would a cushion, leaving the bottom edge open to be turned the right way around.
Using the same cream material I then set about making a simple shopping bag to mount the patchwork on. I made everything, even the handles. By far the hardest part of this project was mounting it onto the bag. I don’t think I’ve ever actually stitched with both my right and left hands together before! It was very fiddly.
I am generally very pleased with the result and I think Mum will love it but the small imperfection when closing up the bottom edge of the patchwork will niggle at me. Having said that, it looks worse on the photo than in real life. Anyway, here’s the finished item and remember, shhhhhhh, don’t show or tell Mum!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Patchwork Tortoise

I was supposed to come home and go straight to bed today. I have had a week of disturbed sleep and wanted to catch up. Well, it’s now well past my normal bedtime, I’m listening to Graham Norton and feel in need of sharing what I’ve been doing instead of looking after myself this evening.
I desperately need to get on and try to patch up Mum’s trousers before I see her next weekend but I wanted to get on and finish Nan’s presents first. I’ve decided to give her the patchwork cushion that I made a few weeks ago as well as the cross-stitch, which I am still yet to frame. However, I wasn’t very happy with the finish on the back of the cushion so I have made a very basic pillow out of one of David’s old t-shirts and slipped that inside. This means that Nan can remove the pillow and wash the case if needed. A much better idea than having stuffed it directly and haphazardly stitching up the back.
Next I wanted to try a rather more challenging patchwork piece. Again, it’s really not perfect and it took me a while to work out in what order I should stitch the patches together but it’s definitely good enough. I have no idea what she’ll do with it but I think Nan will like it. I’ve recycled trimmings from a dress, two of David’s old shirts and one of my old bras on this little critter!
I drew a pattern on the computer initially and then cut each of the pieces out of my chosen fabric. I used the machine to stitch the patches together, which worked quite well, even with such an irregular pattern. I then made a head, tail and four legs before stitching it all together and stuffing it. I wish I’d stuffed the head more but it’s way too late now!!
Anyway, here’s my pattern…
I suppose I could have kept it quite a bit simpler, 11 pieces on the shell may have been excessively complicated. Nothing wrong with a touch of ambition though ;¬)

Friday, 18 November 2011

Stitched fabric card

Tuesdays are fast becoming my weekly crafting night. I don’t really feel like working in the evening after Year 7 have sapped all of my energy in the afternoon so crafting is my only option.

This week I needed to make a birthday card for Neil (whose birthday is today and hence the delay in posting, just in case he spotted my networked blog news feed on facebook). I thought I’d have a go at something completely different. I cut a couple of motifs from some of my trusty ikea fabric and stitched them directly onto card adding the odd bead to embellish them. You can’t really see my stitches and I wonder whether using a contrasting thread so that you could see them might have added something to the overall design but there is always next time!

So, happy birthday Neil…


Monday, 14 November 2011

Christmas Cross-stitch

My fabulous Nan is one of those incredibly difficult people to buy presents for. She’s diabetic and has skin that’s irritated by just about everything. She can’t keep plants alive and thinks that flowers are a complete waste of money. On top of that, I’m not that keen on giving vouchers for Christmas to anyone other than Mum – we always have a day out to spend them together, which makes it so much better! So, every birthday and Christmas presents a dilemma. I’ve now come to the conclusion that the very best thing that I can do is to make things for her. She really does mean the world to me so the idea of spending about three weekends working on these pieces doesn’t phase me. She’s worth every single moment.

I’m intending to make two small, simple patchwork cushions (like the ones in my last post) to adorn her sofa over the next couple of weeks. In addition, I spent this weekend completing a cross-stitch for her. My friend, Steph, gave me this kit a few years ago having decided that she wasn’t too keen on it. I started it from scratch on some left over fabric. The kit’s designed for 16 count canvas but I’ve done it on 14 I think so it’s a little more sparse than intended. I’m used to stitching on 18 holes per inch with hundreds of colours these days so it seemed pretty simple to be honest. Having said that, it did take me the whole weekend. I’m going to mount and frame it in a simple 6 by 4 inch frame then she can get it out every Christmas to celebrate the festive season.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sewing machine heaven

Amongst writing 24 reports and checking over the odd UCAS application this weekend I’ve spent just a few hours on the big kite project and have been busy on the sewing machine. It’s just possible that I’m becoming a little obsessed and will have to invest in a much better sewing machine in the not so distant future. The one I have is a total beginners machine from John Lewis, can only handle thin material and doesn’t do anything clever but I can still have fun with it!

I should probably admit that the idea to crack out the sewing machine and try doing something other than hemming came from watching Kirstie Allsopp’s Homemade Britain last weekend and then again on Wednesday. She’s too enthusiastic for David but I really like this programme and only wish I’d started watching it from the beginning of the series. The cushion that Kirstie made on Wednesday was amazing and convinced me to have a go at making my first ever patchwork cushion. One day I’ll make one to rival Kirstie’s best in show creation. My patchwork is definitely not perfect. The corners don’t meet exactly at the centre and the border’s not exactly the same width all the way around but I’m learning all the time and this is my first attempt after all…


Yesterday I was chatting to Dad on the phone when spotted a picture of a fabric hippopotamus on my notebook that I thought I’d attempt to copy and make my own stuffed hippo. I have made a mistake by doing the whole lot in the same material because it’s hard to distinguish the head from the body but again, I’m learning, and I am generally happy with the result. David says he can’t take the fabric seriously so I think he’ll like my cushion better when he eventually makes it home tonight.


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Crafting after a long day at work

Tuesday’s are my only full teaching day, with three tutorials and a supermarket shop too I was pretty exhausted this evening. I always need something to do to keep me busy though so I thought I’d have a go at using up some of that spare stuffing I mentioned a few days ago and have a go at improving my skills on the sewing machine. If I’m ever going to make a quilt on it I need some experience doing things other than hemming. So, I fished about on the internet for a while looking for inspiration and stumbled across a fantastic blog New Green Mama and Jen’s Hootie the Upcycled Owl. It’s a gorgeous soft toy made with some great fabrics. I suspect Hootie is much bigger than my version but I’m really rather pleased with mine. David’s not sure about my eclectic fabrics from ikea but, ah well, it makes a great computer buddy for him!
P1040937 P1040936
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