Thursday, 23 February 2017

tiny kit finish

Remember I'd listed 17 kits for '17? Well I finished one!  OK, it's the smallest kit ever and took about 4 hours...

It was a cover gift with an issue of CrossStitcher magazine, in 2016 I think.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it, possibly add a ribbon loop and hang it on a drawer handle.

One down, 16 to go...

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Mellerstain Parrots #5

Another 3 weeks have gone whizzing by so it's time for an update on my progress on Mellerstain Parrots by the Crewelwork Company.

Here is where I was last time.

I finished the berries at the top, and did the two leaves I'd missed under the parrots' tails.  Then I started working on the left hand parrot.  I was looking forward to using the lovely blues and reds on the birds... it hasn't happened yet!

Here's a closer look at the parrots and those two leaves.  As you can see, I never actually finished the right hand leaf - it's a good thing I take these photos or I wouldn't notice these things!

I'm stitching along as part of a SAL where we all work on our WIPs, you can go and see what the other participants have been up to here:

If you'd like to join in, please contact Avis

Friday, 10 February 2017

Sashiko with a difference

A couple of weeks ago I spent a Saturday at a workshop by the Living Threads Group.  It was a little sad as, of course, mum was supposed to be there with me.  The class was Sashiko with a difference - Hitomezashi.

Hitomezashi is similar to Sashiko, however where Sashiko is done by scooping several stitches onto a needle, Hitomezashi has each stitch stab-stitched individually.  

Using some squares of calico that I found amongst mum's stash and perle 5 cotton, I ironed a square of interfacing on the back (sorry, didn't think to take a photo).  To do this method, you usually need to mark out a grid on the rear, however the tutor, Gilli Theoritoff, had some smocking dots available for purchase. These were great.  You just iron them on the back and the dots are there ready for stitching.

The first example, above, shows 4 different patterns, each building on the last.  Starting with the simple running stitch, then forming them into crosses, then adding stitches diagonally.  I chose to use coloured threads rather than sticking to the standard blue/white combo.

I had a go at two different patterns above, one with single diagonal lines, the second with double lines.  I really like this pattern.  It's such a meditative embroidery method and the samples worked up pretty quickly.

The pattern above involves whipping some of the stitches.  The tutor had loads of examples and also had a copy of The Sashiko Sourcebook which has more examples.

I'm not sure what I'll do with these samples, though I think I have one more square prepared with the smocking dots.  I may make them into pouches.  As always with Living Threads workshops, the workshop was well taught and good fun.  I'll have to look out for more now I don't have mum on workshop-watch any more.

  (here is a tutorial by Sake Puppets if you're interested in this stitching method)

Monday, 6 February 2017

17 WIPs in '17 - a finish

I've been carrying the same handmade bag for a couple of years.  It's this one.  The zip had always annoyed me, being the wrong way round for someone who carries a bag on their left shoulder, and it was starting to look quite tatty. Then, on Christmas Eve the zip broke.  I had to make a new one.

I had a flick through all my bag books and patterns on Pinterest and couldn't find anything that took my fancy.  Nothing was quite big enough for my needs.  I'm one of those people who likes to carry most of their life in their bag at all times!  I decided to draft my own.  I picked this canvas that I'd had in the stash for a while.

I went with a completely contrasting lining, adding some Bike Path at the top for the recessed zip.  I added LOADS of pockets.  2 zip pockets and loads of slip pockets.  I need pockets.  

I sewed up the lining, then did most of the bag construction at Quilt Guild, I sewed the handles but hadn't attached them at this point.  It was time to tackle that recessed zip.  I'd never done one before so I turned to Lisa Lam's Bag Making Bible.  Hmmm, not as clear as her instructions usually are.  I'll try her blog tutorial... oh, well this is different, I'll try A Bag For All Reasons.  Oh, different again!  One's calling for a shorter zip than required, one a longer zip than required, the last a correctly sized zip!  OK, I'll make it up!

And, ta-dah!  For the handles I just used the piece of canvas I had left, at full length.  After carrying this round for a few days, I knew they needed to be shortened.  Have I done it yet?  Of course not!!

So, the bag you are seeing has been carried around and shoved around and thrown on the floor numerous times.  It's holding up OK, except for the top.

See how it doesn't stand up properly?  I used Bosal headliner fabric for the lining/wadding.  It's got loads of body and works great in the main bag, just not this top bit.  

Here's a peak at that recessed zip and the lining in place.

I gave the top a good squeeze here to try and make it stand up... no go.  I'm not sure how to fix it.  I could do several lines of quilting, which may help or may make it fold over more, but I'd have to remove the hardware first.

I will take it to bag camp and see what the experts say!

This was in my list for 17 WIPS in '17 and it's my first project completed!  At the minute, I'm project monogamous, so have no more progress to show.  I'll check in again next month, hopefully with another completed project or two!

Linking up to:



Friday, 3 February 2017

a bookmark and a bunny

I must have finished this at the beginning of January.  I know I was planning on showing it to mum when I next saw her, but then I never did.  I think now that mum has gone, you really are the only audience for my makes as very few people are interested!

This is a Michael Powell design, I bought the kit from his stall at Harrogate.  I've always wanted to stitch one and so I went with a bookmark as that was within my budget.

The two pictures above show the bookmark with all the cross stitch done.  Doesn't look great, does it?  All you need to do is add a little magic... i.e. backstitch...

Much better!  The kit included the tassel to add to the top, and the felt for the backing.

I just carefully stitched this in place so it was neat on the front, not so neat on the back, but considering no one will ever see it, it doesn't really matter!

I bought a panel and a layer cake of Thicket a while ago.  I finally got round into making one of the bunnies up into a simple little stuffie.

I used my Sew Together bag to give you an idea of scale, because of course everyone has one?!?

And here's his back side.  Thankfully clean, unlike poor Harry's.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Speed craft

Back in October, wonderful mum and I went to Speedcraft at Debbie Bryan.  You may remember me posting about these events before.  5 tables, 40 attendees (1 man this time which was great to see), 5 x 50 minutes to do a craft, cake, coffee, cake, coffee, lunch, cake, coffee etc.etc.  Mum loved speedcraft and had booked us on to the one in April.  I will go, but I will miss her.

I'm not going to write 5 posts, I'm going to tell you about it all in one post.  I thought I'd made some notes about the tutor's names and websites, but I can't find them.

One of the tables was papercraft and we made 3d hanging decorations using sugar paper, metallic paper and vintage papers including old lace patterns.  Debbie is a bit fan of stitching so there is always thread on all the tables, we used it to add some accents.

I really like some of the papers used here.

Next we did wirework.  We started by scribing the copper circles using various tools, then made a hanger from a piece of wire.  I added tiny paper "bunting" and tassels to mine. I really like this!

It's about necklace size, maybe a bit longer (width-wise), but it's too delicate to wear, so I've hung it up in my craft room.

I did a different pattern on each side of the circle, just to try something new.

One table was weaving which I've never tried before.  OK, maybe as a kid, but I don't remember.  This was great fun, using all kinds of different materials from ribbons and lace to lengths of fabric and yarn.  

I just need to sew the ends under to tidy it up.  I could really fancy doing this again... the only problem is, what do you do with it?

As usual, Katie Almond was there to do ceramics with us.  Me and mum really had the knack of this by then, and we made our pieces in about 10 minutes, leaving lots of time for the delicate painting!  We were both improving too.  Above is the pre-baked piece.

And this is it when I got it back.  I didn't have a Christmas tree this year, so I propped it on my mantelpiece!  it will be the star of the tree next year.  

There was a fifth craft.  It was printing using acrylic inks brayered onto tiles and impressing stamps and tools into the paint before placing paper on top and making an impression.  Unfortunately, we hung them up to dry and forgot to collect them!  You're not missing much, printing is not one of my greatest skills!

Friday, 27 January 2017


Hello, I'm going to have a go at coming back to blogging.  I still have lots to show you... lots of things that wonderful mum and I did together.  I want to thank you all for the lovely messages of support on my last post.  It's been tough adjusting to life without my best friend, my wonderful mum, but messages of support really do help to comfort in times like this.  I won't forget what you all did for me.

The last workshop at The Bead Shop Nottingham was before Christmas and was a poinsetta flower beadweaving project.

This project was HARD!  It is odd-count peyote which is confusing enough, without the fact that most rows are increase or decrease.  I struggled with this.  I managed to get 4 of the outer petals done in the class and did the fifth at home shortly after.  Since then I've attempted to do the inner petals at least 6 times and ended up cutting out each attempt.  You can't unpick odd-count peyote due to the complicated thread path.

Here is as far as I can get.  I wanted to show the completed flower, but I think this project has defeated me!  

I've found lots of mum's WIPs around her house (and I haven't even started investigating her craft stuff properly yet) and some of them I will finish in her honour.  I won't be finishing her poinsetta!

I won't be posting for the 3-weekly SAL tomorrow as I haven't touched my embroidery at all.  I will try to get back to it ready for the next update.