First forays into stained glass

My mum has come to stay, so today I took her over to Cinderford where we did a stained glass workshop run by Jo Snowden. Here are some of the amazing pieces of work she has done.

She runs a mix of whole day sessions and evening classes which you can check out here. It was just me and my mum, which meant we got loads of help whenever we needed it.

We started by choosing our designs, which looked quite boring on paper, but as soon as jo showed us photos of ones that people had made, or examples that she had in her workshop you could immediately see how they came to life with the different coloured glass. I ended up choosing a sunset and my mum picked a flower design.

We started by cutting one paper copy of the design to fit the frame, and then used channel scissors to cut the other copy into smaller pieces that we would use as templates for cutting the glass pieces.

Jo showed us different techniques for cutting the glass and then we had a little practice.

Then we got going with our chosen colours.

We used the grinder to smooth any rough edges or grind them down if we’d not cut accurately along the line.

I managed to get all my pieces cut before we stopped for lunch.

After lunch we stuck copper foil round the edges of every piece, which was actually a very relaxing part of the process. I loved how they looked with the copper edging, and think its a bit of a shame that that all gets covered over with solder.

We used lead for the frame

and gradually soldered all the pieces together on the front,

before turning it over and finishing it all off on the back.

Finally we added wire hooks to the corners on the back so that it will be easy to hang somewhere.

This is mine

This is my mum’s

I’m really pleased with how mine turned out and I really enjoyed the whole process. Scoring and breaking the glass was almost magical, melting the solder was fun, and the copper foil was relaxing. It was also really fun rummaging through boxes of glass to find the colours and textures we thought would work best in our designs.

Thank you Jo for a lovely day, and for helping me to create a piece that I will treasure.


Making a dress…. And a plea for help

Hey there. This afternoon i decided to finally pick up the pieces I cut for my dress and try actually putting them together into something wearable! I must have cut the pieces last July or maybe August, and left the pattern pieces pinned to them so I knew what was the front and what was the back. This means that every time someone has stayed since then I’ve had to warn them about sitting on the chair in the spare room as they may get pins in them if they lean on my fabrics! All that changed today. I broke through the “what if I mess it all up… What if I don’t understand the pattern… What if it all goes wrong?” moment, figuring that messing it up was no worse than it sitting in pieces on the back of a chair.

So , I started by ironing all the pieces again and then looked up how to do stay stitching. It was interesting that 2 different you tube clips have completely opposite instructions. One said to use the longest possible stitches and stitch all the way round the neck line in one go, the other said to use shorter stitches as they’d reduce the possibly of stretching, and to do 2 separate lines of stitching working from the top down into the centre. I went with the second lot of instructions as they made more sense with the arrows on the pattern and I liked the logic of smaller stitches. Then I started to realise that I hadn’t actually cut all the pieces out… I still needed the tie parts (previously I was heavier and figured it wouldn’t need tying, now I’ve lost some weight and figure it will need tying) plus i’d not noticed the top part of the pockets. Also I discovered that you needed bias binding for covering the inside seams but thankfully I had a few long pieces stashed in a box so that was a relief.

First up I joined the front and back parts to the bottom section. And added the bias binding to the seams. I discovered how hard it is to remove basting if you’ve sewn over it with the real stitching, and how hard it is to see which stitches you need to snip if you’ve not bothered to change the colour of your thread. It was much easier the second time when I changed colours and tried not to go over the stitches!

Then I put the pleat in the pockets, added the top part and then put bias binding round the edge.

Then I attached the pockets… First one went on back to front so I had all the raw edges showing, so that had to come off and be reattached… But thankfully my technique of sewing round corners seemed to improve each time I did it!The instructions called for the pocket to be sewn on down the inside edge of the bias binding but then I felt the outer edge was a bit scrappy and exposed, so I added another line of stitching round the edge. I love the variegated thread against the dark blue binding.

And then it was time to sew up the ties and attach them… And this is where I would really appreciate your help. I’ve read the instructions and played with a couple of ideas but I really don’t understand what they mean when they say bring the broken lines together in instruction 14 (which lines? There are 4 of them!). I’m attaching photos of the instructions (it’s Simplicity 1080 if that helps at all) and the lines on the pattern piece.

Can anyone shed any light on what I’m actually meant to do? I’ve played with 2 possibilities :



But neither of them really link to the dotted lines so I don’t think they can be right.Feel free to pm me if that’s easier than replying to the post here. Any help would be most gratefully received as I’m very stuck now and don’t want to ruin it at this stage!

Something a bit bigger than usual

In church this morning we are having an all age service about when Jesus was sleeping in the boat and there was a storm. His disciples freaked out and woke him up but he stopped the storm by speaking to the wind and the waves. We have lots planned but yesterday I spent time making the shell of a boat at the front of church from very large sheets of cardboard and parcel tape! We had found the ship’s wheel at the local scrap store and we made the mast from a very long broom stick.

Hopefully the drama of a large boat in church will help people to remember some of the things they learn this morning.

Cat appliqué tote bag

This is the final part of the swap, and probably the last cat project for a while. I had an idea of decorating a black cat silhouette with orange embroidery as my swap partner loves black and orange together.

I started with the silhouette cut out of paper and then cut round it in the felt, as I didn’t have anything to draw on black felt with. Surprisingly it turned out OK!

Then I planned out a rough design which I then sewed onto the silhouette.

Finally I blanket stitched it onto the tote bag, using black embroidery thread as I felt orange blanket stitch would detract from the rest of the design.

It was tricky to attach to the bag, and has ended up bulging a bit… Mainly because I was too lazy to pin it on to the bag to keep it flat and in place, and partly because you have to bunch up the bag to be able to sew the bottom part.

Overall I’m really pleased with the effect and I’m fairly sure my partner will like it.

Plus, while I was in hobby craft I bought a few more bags and some different coloured felts to make more. Any ideas of future designs?

Cat cards

I’m participating in a swap with someone who loves cats, so I decided to make her a set of cards with different cat designs. I looked on line for cat tattoo and cat outline ideas and then copied them.

I used silver and bronze gel pens on the black card so they have a shimmer and shine that may not be obvious in the photos.

Some have turned out better than others, but I’m generally pleased with them.

Appliqué tote bag

I love participating in swaps (which I sign up for through Ravelry). This month I signed up for a favourite colour swap where you send your partner things in their favourite colours. My partner likes peach and mint and I decided to use some peach and mint coloured felt to decorate a tote bag I bought in hobby craft.

My partner likes folk designs and birds, so I used that as my inspiration. I drew out my design

and then cut out the main bird shape from peach coloured felt (these photos make it look like a bright pink but it’s not really like that!). I stitched on the wing and then embroidered detail on, taking care to avoid the edges as I knew I needed to blanket stitch it on to the bag once it was done. I used 3 strands of the thread while sewing, so it would show up on the quite large design.

Here’s how it ended up

And here it is blanket stitched onto the bag.

I’m so pleased with it. It was a simple idea but I think it’s been really effective. I’ve found the embroidery really relaxing to do, which I need at the moment as I’m struggling with low mood and stress again. It’s definitely an idea I’d use again as it can easily be personalised with different designs.

The only issue with it was that when I took the tote bag out of its packaging it smelled absolutely disgusting. A rinse in the washing machine didn’t sort it, so it had to go through the wash properly and wait to dry. But now it’s fine!