Sunday, 27 April 2014

April Projects

I've had a great month in terms of crafting. I spent about two days solidly attempting to make my first dress which I'll hopefully finish and blog about shortly. I've also been busy working on my cross stitch and I knitted a wee worry doll for a tutorial for Laura's blog. Oh yes and I may or may not have made some knickers that were far too small.  Oops.

Major spring cleaning has been going on in our flat this weekend. It's so tidy it almost looks like we're moving out. Hopefully now I'm going to be super organised in everything I do.

I'm excited for May - we have another Bank Holiday coming up here next week which means another four day week is on the horizon! I definitely think life would run much more smoothly if every working week could be four days.

What else has everyone else been making recently?

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Linking up with Handmade Harbour for Handmade Monday - go and see some other lovely crafty projects.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Guest Post and Interview

Things have gone a little quiet on this blog this week. Being back at work means long hours out the house and with the SATs tests looming, I'm marking lots and lots of practice questions in my spare time. I did however have time to put together a guest post tutorial for the lovely Laura at LaLau Land.

Do pop over there and find out how to make this really simple knitted worry doll.  I'm not an accomplished knitter but this pattern is great for beginners. The rows are short and it's all in plain stitch so really easy to do.

This week I've also been featured by Sally from Sally Strawberry as part of her new series of Five Minutes with... I don't often write too much about myself on this blog so I really enjoyed this interview.

Do go and have a peek at the tutorial here and interview here.

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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Recent Crafting

This week has just been lovely. Is anybody else enjoying some quiet time at home for the Easter break? I have just loved the last couple of weeks pottering about our flat and seeing friends and family. I've been working on my Dictionary of Tea cross stitch. At the moment I'm back-stitching the details on in black so involves lots and lots of counting. It's really coming along though.

I ventured tentatively into the world of baking on Tuesday and made banana and raisin fairy cakes. Amazingly they were really rather successful. Expect to see a bit more baking happening in the future.

These Easter cards were so quick and fun to do. They are, I should add, a complete copy of a great idea from here but pretty cool all the same.

Following a bit of knicker-based inspiration a couple of weeks ago, I make these beauties. However, while they look beautiful, do not be deceived. They are in fact at least 2 dress sizes too small for me due to an absolute school-boy error with the template-making and confusion between stretchy and non-stretchy fabrics. Disaster.

Moral of the story: Never underestimate the size of your own behind. Not all fabric stretches.

Oh well, you live and learn.

Have you had any crafting mishaps recently? Go on comment away and make me feel better about my inadequacies!

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Friday, 18 April 2014

Weekend Inspiration: Harry Potter Knitting

A few weekends ago I had an amazing day out at the Warner Bros Studio tour. It's amazing, by the way. It's like a big museum of Harry Potter things. The level of detail, time and commitment that went into the hundreds of thousands of props, costumes and set designs was just amazing. The picture above is of a 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts. It pretty much filled an entire room. Just magic.

Anyway, the main reason for this post was to show you a couple of the props that really caught my eye, naturally yarn-based, naturally awesome. Above is Ron Weasley's bed in the Gryffindor dormitory with a gorgeous hand-knitted blanket by Mrs Weasley. What more could anyone want to take with them to boarding school?

A little while later, we went to visit the Burrow, the Weasley's home, where we found one of current projects. Look at the gorgeous stripes and knitting needles enchanted so that they knit for themselves!

Mrs Weasley is an inspiration!

Have you been inspired by any knitting from the movies?

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Just A Minute In...April

I'm kind of having a week of blissful nothingness. It sort of feels like the calm before the storm that will be the summer term. I'm kind of floating between crafty projects, Harry Potter reading, report writing and chocolate eating with a bit of housework thrown in. I would be such a good retired person!

Time for another Just A Minute post.

Watching: The Lego Movie - Everything is Awesome - enough said.

Reading: After a trip to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour a few weekends ago I am re-reading the Harry Potter books and I'm enjoying them so much! I haven't read them since the 7th book came out and I have to say I'd forgotten how happy they make me.

Listening to: I'm currently on Week 4 of the couch to 5k programme so listening to lots of generic pop music and running tips.

Eating: Confession: I've had two Wetherspoons lunches in the last two weeks - isn't that what the school holidays are for?

Working on: my Dictionary of Tea cross stitch, a handmade dress, school reports, de-cluttering.

Looking forward to: lunch!

I originally spotted the idea for Just A Minute on Helen Limbrick's blog.  Do feel free to give it a go and leave your link!

What have you been up to recently?

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Friday, 11 April 2014

Weekend Inspiration: And It Was All Yellow

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How gorgeous are the vintage inspired tea dresses above? Like many of you, after the Great British Sewing Bee final, my head is swimming with inspiration for handmade clothes and sewing projects. For once I've got a bit of time on my hands to make some of the ideas into a reality. Saying that, I think I'm a long way of producing something nearly as amazing as these dresses.

Last weekend was a really special one for me. I went up to Scotland at the end of term to surprise my parents for the wedding anniversary. My sisters and I put together a photo album for them and recreated their wedding meal for them. I love a bit of family time.

In other news, I'm having a go at the 100 happy days challenge. I'm a bit cynical that uploading one picture a day can help you to be happy, but I do think there's some truth in the message above that "it's the little things that make life wonderful". To that end, I'm going to be having a go at spotting a little thing each day that makes my life wonderful. If you want to follow my endeavour, I'll be posting on Twitter and Instagram.

Have you had a go at the #100happydays challenge? What's inspiring you at the moment?

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

How To Patchwork Using A Coaster: Part Two

NB: this is part two of how to patchwork using a coaster. Find the first post here.

Before beginning your patchwork squares must be joined into rows and laid out in position as shown below.

1. Pick up two of the adjacent rows and place them right side together. Hold them to that the seams match up and pin them in place.

2. To make sure the fabric doesn't slip add extra pins lower down the fabric as shown by the turquoise pin below.

3. Sew the two pieces of fabric together, with right sides facing, leaving approximately 1cm of seam allowance.

4. Remember that coaster? Lift it up and line it up with the seam you have just stitched.  Use tailor's chalk to draw a line parallel to the seam that you've just stitched. 

5. Repeat steps 1-4 ensuring that the pieces are sewn together along the tailor's chalk lines. Repeat until all the rows are sewn together and press the seams.

Stand back. Enjoy your handiwork!  How clever are you?

What patchwork experiences have you encountered?

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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

How To Patchwork Using A Coaster: Part One

NB: this method is definitely not the "correct" method for patchworking, but it does work and saves a lot of cutting out of templates and basting.

You will need: 

at least six or seven different bits of fabric
an iron
fabric scissors
a coaster
tailor's chalk
a needle and thread or a sewing machine if you are a lazy patchworker like me.

1. Using your coaster, cut out squares of fabric that are approximately 1cm larger than the coaster all the way around.

2. Arrange your fabric squares overlapping each one by 1cm so you get an idea of how your final patchwork will look.  As you can see, I arranged mine diagonally which meant that I had to cut some of my squares in half diagonally to form the edges.

You are now going to sew the squares together, row-by-row, so your work will look like this...

3. Choose two pieces from the end of a row and place them so that the right (as in correct) sides are together.  Stitch a straight line along them approximately 1cm from the edge of the fabric, as shown below.

4. Grab hold of your coaster and open out your seam making sure that the right side of the fabric is facing down. Line up the coaster with you line of stitches and grab your tailor's chalk.

5. Draw a line down the opposite side of the coaster from your line of stitches as show below. 

6. Then simple grab hold of your next square and place it under the square with the chalk line.  Make sure right sides are facing each other and that the chalk line is facing up. Stitch along your chalk line and then open out your seam. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until your row of patchwork squares is complete.

7. When you have sewn a row of patchwork squares all together, open out all the seams and press them flat. 

This tutorial will take you to a point where all your rows of patchwork squares are completed. Part two of this tutorial will show you how to use that handy coaster to sew them all together!

What patchwork experiences have you encountered?

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Friday, 4 April 2014

Weekend Link Love 4/4

I'm up early today for a bit of early morning blogging before my last day of school before the holidays. It's been an interesting term for me at work - pretty tricky in parts but really, really rewarding in other ways. I'm looking forward to next term with excitement and anticipation mixed with a little bit of fear.

For just now though, I have more than two weeks of holiday stretching before me and while I've got a fair amount of schoolwork to plough through I am also excited to be able to spend a bit more time with my sewing machine and work my way through a few more seams!

In the meantime, here's what's caught my eye recently.

Crocheted Beatles by the wonderful Cosmic Apple Arcade - aren't they pretty charming?

Crocheted Sherlock Holmes pattern - I'm not quite sure how this talented crocheter has actually made Benedict Cumberbatch with wool but it's amazing! 

A picture of Queen Victoria crocheting from this post about the history of crochet

There seems to be a bit of a best of British theme going on this week!

What's been catching your eye recently?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Wooly Bike Trail at Yorkshire Festival

Fish and chips, jelly and ice cream, Ant and Dec...bikes and crochet?... Until I was emailed the above picture I would never have paired up these two things. It's a creation of Cassandra Kilbride's - a crochet street artist. 

This year Cassandra is taking part in the Yorkshire Festival, which is happening in the 100 days leading up to the Tour de France. Cassandra is calling for volunteers to join her in creating ten wooly bikes which will be displayed throughout July at Sheffield Cathedral. She is running 20 free workshops throughout Yorkshire which will allow you to crochet, knit or sew your own bit of bike.

I was fairly taken with the project and got in touch with Cassandra to find out a little more about what inspired her...

"I had created a couple of yarn stormed bikes prior to this project, the process is great when working in groups as there are many sections of the bike that can be worked on simultaneously, Yorkshire hosting the Grand depart and the Yorkshire festival 2014 seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a set of bikes."

"Lots of things inspired the project it’s about promoting all the things that make Yorkshire so distinctive in its identity, it’s also about promoting Yorkshire wool and also the achievement that is Yorkshire hosting the grand depart."
"The bike themes come from both things Yorkshire are famous for but also the themes relate to the specific towns cities and villages for example yummy Yorkshire (image attached) was created in Wakefield during the rhubarb festival, Wakefield is famous for rhubarb and liquorice, and there’s a good brewery here too (all these things feature) York's renowned for its Viking ancestry so the bike created in York is Viking themed. The designs almost presented themselves, I am also open to the group influencing the design as long as it fits with the theme!"

Is this happening in your neck of the woods? If so, I'd love to hear if you are getting involved?

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