Wednesday, 8 June 2016

WIP Wednesday

I've been working on my May sewing challenges.  The paper piecing project is well underway.  All of the rectangles have been 'papered' and sewn into strips.  The next step is to sew the strips together and then to add a border.  The final piece will eventually become a cushion cover.

I was going to give the crazy quilting a miss, but at the last minute I decided to take Queeniepatch's advice and try a small project, so I'm making a pincushion.  I've used old jeans and sewn the patches together.  Now I just need to decide on the embellishment.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Red, White and Blue Granny Square Blanket - Ta dah!

I am extremely pleased to announce that the red, white and blue granny square crochet blanket is finished! That's right - finshed; completed; done!  It's been a long old slog and at times I wondered if it would ever get done, but now it's lying on my eldest's bed after being a WIP for almost four years.

Aug 2012

The blanket started life in August 2012 amid the fervour of the Queen's Jubilee and the London Olympics (hence the patriotic colour scheme).

After playing around with the layout I decided on a design inspired by a patchwork quilt.

The granny square centres crocheted up pretty quickly but as I added the outer rounds the project stalled again and again. You see, I'm impatient. My eye is constantly darting from one thing to the next; so many pretty patterns, so many different yarns, so many colours and so little time to fit it all in. I didn't want to spend ALL of my time on this one project because then it would be months before I could try anything new. MONTHS! So it got shelved, abandoned, forgotton - repeatedly. Every now and again I'd remember my poor, unfinished crochet blanket and work on it diligently for a week or two before losing interest all over again.

Nov 2014

Nov 2014

Jan 2015

April 2015

Dec 2015

Jan 2016

But then there were fewer and fewer gaps, and the end was tantalisingly within sight. Then one day the last of the blue squares was completed and there was a blanket! Almost. I could have finished there but it didn't look quite right; it needed a proper edge so I pushed through the inertia and gave it a simple two rounds of treble crochet. Nothing fancy, just get it done.  And then finally, the weaving in.  After the nightmare of ends that I was faced with after the crochet baby blanket, this was almost a pleasure. Little by little, block by block, the ends disappeared from the back of the blanket until on the evening of 20th May 2016 I was able to say "Ta-dah!!!".

It's finished!

Where it belongs - at last!

Needless to say there was a HUGE sigh of satisfaction and much happy dancing. My eldest scooped it up with delight and wrapped himself up in it like a caterpillar in a cocoon. That was probably the best moment. It is now draped over his top bunk and he loves to lie on it and under it.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

May Sewing Challenge - Try Something New

My sewing prompt for May is "Try Something New". I have a couple of things in mind for this. The first is English Paper Piecing. I've seen many examples of it; some of it I like, some not so much, but it does seem to have many possibilities to be creative. One of the main reasons that I've avoided it is because of how fiddly it looks, but I thought a small cushion cover would be a manageable project.

(image source)

The second is crazy quilting.  Again this is something I've seen around a lot but I'm not quite sure that I like. However it does look like with the various layouts and fabric, colour, stitch and embellishment choices the ability to put your own stamp on things is pretty much infinite.  I did find this example on Pinterest which I think is very pretty.

(image source)

Both of these projects are fairly outside of my comfort zone so would be worth trying to help develop both my stitching and design skills. I'm not sure if I'll get the chance to try them both, but I'll give it a good try.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

April Challenge - Hand Embroidery

Well March came and went and I didn't get around to setting a challenge and April has almost gone the same way!  Although I didn't post about it, my challenge to myself for April was to do some hand embroidery.  I've seen so many beautiful examples on Instagram and Pinterest, which inspired me to get some of my own embroidery done so I went back to TAST, which had fallen by the wayside.  I haven't achieved as much as I would have liked but at least I did something...

TAST 9 - Couching

I've never tried couching before.  After struggling for a while to figure out how to use it, I settled on using it to create some script.  I used some salmon pink mercerised cotton yarn (by Patons I think), couched down with gold thread.  To avoid having to stop and start I decided to mimic the way I would write the word, which involved doubling up the yarn in places.  The 'd' and the 'a' look a bit weird where I've doubled up the yarn side-by-side, but for the 'm' I went on top of the existing yarn and it's a much neater look.

TAST 10 - Running Stitch

For my first running stitch sampler I was inspired by Japanese Sashiko embroidery, which uses running stitch to create geometric patterns.  The resulting shapes traditionally have a symbolic meaning.  It is simplicity itself, but produces some really beautiful results.  My attempt is a far cry from the defined, precise stitching of traditional Sashiko, but in my defense I drew my pattern freehand so didn't have the benefit of super-straight lines.  That's my excuse anyway.

I thought it would be fun to try a freestyle, doodle type of thing as well.  On its own in a small hoop it looks like it could use some additional embellishment, but it might work better on a larger surface, like a cushion cover for example.
It was good to dig out the embroidery hoop and do some stitching.  For more information about TAST take a look at the Pin Tangle blog.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

From UFO to PFO

My February sewing challenge for myself was to turn some long-standing UFOs (unfinished objects) into PFOs (proudly finished objects).  I was partially successful in that I finished the play tent, but unfortunately the tablet cover, although no longer at the bottom of a rather large bag of stuff, still remains unfinished.

I'm pretty pleased with the play tent.  I didn't use a pattern so it's great that it actually stands up!  I guess my trigonometry wasn't quite up to scratch as the sides are a teensy bit saggy, so I'm going to add some ties to the top to go around the poles, just to help the tent keep its shape.

I would have finished sooner, but at the last minute I decided to add some colour by using some fabric crayons to colour in the feather-style pattern, which turned out to be a rather laborious process!  The boys love it, so it was all worthwhile 😌.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

WIP Wednesday

The RWB blanket is tantalisingly close to completion!

Since taking the picture there are only 2 squares left to fill in. Then it's a case of edging (or not, haven't decided yet) and darning in ends. So close!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

February Sewing Challenge - Turn UFOs into PFOs

I'm not a great finisher.  My house is littered with half-finished projects.  I tend to jump into a new project with gusto, but then it all just kind of fizzles out.  So my challenge for February is to turn some UFOs (unfinished objects) into PFOs (proudly finished objects)!

The main item on my list is a play tent that I started for my boys about a year to 18 months ago.  They're always trying to build dens so I thought that it would be great to make them a tee-pee style play tent; something a little like this:

Image source
It's not far off, but I didn't use a pattern and I had to patch together some of the fabric to make it fit, so I'm not sure how well it's all going to fit together! Fingers crossed for a good result.

Another item that's been hidden away for about three years now (!) is a sleeve that I started making for my tablet.  It was my first foray into quilting and I started it in a sewing class, but then I stopped going and the binding had me a bit confused so it slowly made its way to the bottom of my scrap bag.  I still don't have anything to carry my tablet in so it would be great to finish it, plus I really love the fabric.

I think I'll leave it there.  No point in trying to do too much.  Hopefully I'll be back at the start of next month with some beautiful photos of my PFOs.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

January Sewing Challenge - The Finished Cushion

Yay, I did it!  I made a cushion before the end of the month and here it is:

The design is inspired by a motif I saw in a colouring book.  I chose the fabrics based on colours I tried both on paper and on the laptop.

I'm not sure that I like it that much.  It's OK but the idea seemed better than the outcome.  I would have liked to make a slightly different version of this design, but that would have entailed some precision cutting and a lot more sewing. Maybe something I'll revisit.  The important thing is that I made something and dusted off those cobwebs. It would probably have helped if I hadn't left it until almost the last minute!  On to the next challenge!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

January Sewing Challenge - Cushion

So here's the thing: I've become addicted to accumulating the stuff involved in crafting (the materials: paper, fabric, yarn etc., and the tools) rather than the crafting itself! As a result, when I find that I have a little time to engage in some lovely crafty activity, I get overwhelmed by the sheer choice that faces me and end up suffering from creative constipation.  Sorry to be a bit crude, but you know that feeling when you really want to create something, but you're so surrounded by options that you just don't know where to start and you end up doing nothing?  Well, that's been me for the past couple of years.

I've developed a real interest in papercrafting, but I still love to crochet and I'd love to get back into embroidery and sewing.  One thing that I find helps me to get past the mental block is to join in with blog challenges.  I don't always keep up, but it's a great way to get past the uncertainty of "What should I make?" So with that in mind I've decided to set myself a monthly sewing challenge with a different cue word each month.

The word for January is "cushion".  This seems very apt for me as I have about 7 cushion pads hanging around the house just waiting to be encased in fabric loveliness. In true style I'm well behind schedule, but there are 4 and a bit days left in January and I'm nothing if not optimistic!  I had grand visions of patchwork perfection, but perhaps that will have to wait for another time.  I just hope that the sheer volume of fabric that I have to choose from doesn't leave me bunged up (creatively speaking of course!).

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

TAST 7 & 8 - Chain Stitch and Detached Chain Stitch

We usually put our Christmas decorations up on 1st December, which is today! Last year I wasn't satisfied with the decorations. The living room looked great but the rest of the house was a bit sorry. So I have been trying to make a load of decorations to spread festive cheer throughout the house.

I found some felt circles that I had cut and forgotten about and decided to make some felt baubles. And what better way to decorate them than with TAST stitches.  So bauble no. 1 is sporting detached chain and chain stitch, along with feather stitch and running stitch.