Zipper dee doo dah!

Well, I made another zip pouch and this time followed some instructions about how to sew it together properly once the zip is attached. I was proud of myself for remembering how to attach the zip in the first place, without needing to look at the instructions I followed last time, though it did require a couple of unpickings when I attached the lining the wrong way round!

It has turned out much better than my last attempt, though where I’ve covered over the ends of the zip it’s still a little bit bulky and the corners don’t pop out as much as i think they should.

But the end result is a gorgeous pouch in a lovely shimmery dragonfly material, that is big enough to hold my notebook and sketching pens.

Plus, I delivered a present to my friend sue, and seeing as she has opened it I can now show you photos of the embroidery/appliqué that I designed and made for her to thank her for all her support and encouragement. The embroidery on the tree is all chain stitch.

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Two more pot holders

Today I’m cwtched up inside in the warm, nursing a heady cold and enjoying watching the snow fall outside. I’ve spent part of my morning making two more pot holders and trying to improve my skills in attaint bias binding! It’s not perfect yet, but as one of my lovely cards from blurt says

I had fun choosing the fabrics, and deciding how to quilt them, given that I didn’t want to chop the large bird’s head off with a diagonal line!

They are quick and fun to make, taking me about 1 hour 45 minutes to make both. While making them I added to the dreamy state by listening to a new CD by a band called Yucatan, from snowdon, who sing in Welsh. We saw them in Cardiff on Friday night when we went to watch the charlatans and their music is just beautiful.

And, my yarn bowl is fulfilling a new function as a scraps bin!

It reminds me of when I was little and my mum used to have a little pottery bowl near her chair for putting in tiny bits of rubbish, or ends of thread if she’d been sewing on a button or something!

A couple of presents

Today I’ve spent some more time with my sewing machine. I’ve made two more presents :

1) A trivet/pot holder

This was made by patchworking together two contrasting fabrics, backing with wadding and a different fabric and quilting across from corner to corner and along the joins.

I then spent ages working through the steps showing me how to attach bias tape and mitre the corners properly. Previously I’ve done this sewing by hand and hoping for the best… I didn’t know you were meant to sew one side and then do the second! Oh well! I know now!

As with all my first attempts at anything this is far from perfect… There are stitches showing in places where they are meant to be hidden,

the end of the bias tape looks odd,

the stitching is wonky along the edge of the bias tape

and i started the stitching at the edge of the bias tape rather than part way in

.. but i hope it is functional, and i still think it looks really pretty. I hope my friend likes it too and I’m sure she will appreciate the effort despite its little imperfections.

2) a rather large pencil case

This is for my secret santa in work. I wanted to make a pencil case and then put sharpie markers in it as they are handy for all sorts of things. I bought a zip and naïvely thought everything would be simple!

I checked out the instructions here about hiding the ends of your zip and I used some bias tape for this. So far so good. Then I spent a good 10 minutes fiddling with the zipper foot so that it would finally attach onto the sewing machine.

Then I obviously didn’t follow the instructions properly as I sewed the front piece on the wrong way round. I unpicked it and went again. Then I attached the lining but again obviously didn’t follow the instructions properly as now both the lining and front piece come out from under the zip, rather than the lining seam covering over the zip edge. I decided I could live with that but would do the second side properly.

Zip finally attached I changed the foot back on my machine… Much quicker this time, and sewed round the edges. I chopped off the excess down the sides and on the corners and then struggled for some time to get the zip down as the whole thing was inside out and zipped closed! I managed in the end and was then disappointed to discover that the top edges either side of the zip look really bulky and rubbish.

I can’t work out what to do to make them better and am reluctant to undo the whole edge to sort it out. I’m less proud of this but hopefully the sharpie markers will make up for it. It’s definitely functional…. And it’s obviously home made! Hopefully she’ll appreciate it too, despite the rather major imperfections.

Finally I thought I’d show you what I made for my advent swap, which I am really proud of. It’s a mug and small plate coaster thing! I hand sewed the whole of this and I loved doing the redwork on the sunbonnet sue design.

A day of presents 😊

It was an exciting day! I ended up getting two presents. One I was expecting as i’d signed up for fionnuala’s advent craft swap where we each made a gift for a fellow crafter and sent it for them to open on a given day of advent. I was to open mine today and the one I sent will be opened tomorrow!

I discovered i’d been sent three washcloths in a gorgeous soft cotton. I love the different textures and designs and colours, and am very grateful to Heather from bean and Beth for her thought and effort in making these for me 💖

My second present was completely unexpected. I went back to work today after a week off sick and discovered something wooly in my pigeon hole! I wondered why someone had left their scarf in there, but when I took it out I discovered it was a gorgeous crochet hoody/hat that Vicky (one of the teachers) had made for me. I knew it was her because I’d seen her wearing her red one and had commented on how cool it was. I love the colour of mine… It’s mainly grey but has specks of yellow, red and turquoise in, so it will go with everything. It’s so cosy and warm, perfect for cold lunchtime duties on the playground. Thank you Vicky 💟

In other news, I finished my peacock feather embroidery but completely forgot to take a photo of it before I wrapped it up for its recipient! I’m not unwrapping it as that would be a waste of paper! If I remember, I’ll take a photo of it when they open it. I’m really pleased with it though and it looks fab hanging from a shimmery green ribbon!

This evening’s project

During a brief trip to Devon today I managed to visit Trago mills and buy lots of cute materials to make things with using my sewing machine! I also bought a selection of different coloured embroidery threads. I wanted to buy embroidery hoops but they only had massive ones. But after my friend’s wedding in Cullompton I visited a wool and haberdashery shop and found a few different smaller sizes of embroidery hoops. So, this evening I decided to start another embroidery project.

I had thought about making more peacock bunting for some friends for Christmas but I thought it would take too long to crochet it all, so I wondered if an embroidered peacock feather might work.

I started by looking at pictures of them and drew my own

Then I traced it onto the calico with a pencil, and chose the colours I thought would work best.

Then I started embroidering. I’ve never tried satin stitch before and I’m not sure if you’re really meant to do such long stitches as I’ve done in some places but I think it looks quite cool. I kept all the stitches going vertically until the light green part when I thought that looked weird and unpicked it and made all the stitches point to the middle. When I got to the long streamer like feathers I want really sure what to do. So I started with back stitch and am badly worn the effect so far. I might try to make the lower ones a bit more feathery, though i wonder if that might just make it look messy.

I’m glad that the embroidery threads have a slight shine to them as i think that adds to the feather.

I’m so chuffed that with embroidery I could come up with my own idea and transfer it into sewing. I look forward to coming up with more ideas.

What weekend projects have you been working on?

A present and more little projects

Well it turned out that I want all enough to go back to work yesterday. The only reason is been feeling ok was that I’d been sitting or lying still for the vast majority of the day. When I actually started doing stuff I couldn’t handle it. So I was off work yesterday and today as well. 🙁

Yesterday I thought I’d have a go at needle felting from a Badger kit I got ages ago (before I ever even started this blog)from Lincolnshire fenn crafts. It turns out that although I wasn’t moving my head, watching a moving needle was making my dizziness worse. So I’ve got the head and body of a Badger started but requiring more work at some point when my dizziness has cleared up.

So

So then I got out a project I’d started a long time ago, where I’d cut out the pieces for a sprocket pillow, and tacked them onto paper but hadn’t got round to sewing them. I began have sewing the pieces together, this time remembering to sew them into pairs and then join the pairs together so the orientation stays accurate.

What I forgot to do was to press the seams into place before joining the pairs! But, I did it later and it seemed OK

.

And

And today, I had the excitement of unpacking and using my first ever sewing machine. My lovely husband bought it for me for Christmas but as it just arrived in its box in the post, with no extra packaging the surprise was not going to work on Christmas day. Given that I’d seen it he told me I could start using it whenever I wanted! Today was that day!

I buried my head in the user manual, following each part step by step. I Learnt how to wind the bobbin (and I had to sing the song while doing it!) and how to thread it properly and then I tested whether I’d really done it right by joining a scrap of material to itself.

I was somewhat amazed to find it worked perfectly!

Then I decided to start a new project that only involved straight sewing rather than going straight in to seeing the edge piece onto the round sprocket cushion!

I had this gorgeous flamingo fabric, and a bag that my sister had given me years ago and decided to make a similar style bag for my niece.

Here it is…

I hand sewed the handles on as I thought they would be too small and fiddly to do by machine, so that bit took as long if not let than doing all the rest of it!

I was really pleased with how it turned out so I braved the cushion. It’s not turned out perfectly but it was so much easier to use the machine than to try to sew the edge on by hand, and I’m happy enough with the outcome to consider giving it as a present to someone

So that’s my crafting for the last couple of days… Phew!

Unicorn hat

Today’s project was to make a unicorn hat for our goddaughter who’s 2. She’d seen one on line and wanted one but her mum can’t crochet, so i said I’d make her one as her Christmas present. I’m really hoping though that she’ll let her open it on sunday instead (I figure she’ll get loads of presents for Christmas day!).

It was a quick and easy project, from a free pattern from repeat crafter me and i had fun with my friend lizzy this evening (after playing the card game ‘marrying mr darcy’ and eating curry) working out where to put the bits of mane and how long to leave the strands.

Thanks lizzy for sorting the strands to knot onto the hat, for being super excited about it too and for holding it so I could take photos.

So, without further ado, here is the most lovely hat… I totally can’t wait to see her wearing it

And I was amazed and delighted to find that I’ve got so much better at following patterns since working on spirits of life and following the photos when I was confused… I’ve got much more confidence with it all now.

And I’m excited to say that the pattern for the hat is written for all sizes from newborn up to adult size… Who can I make one for next?

And finally, I’m also excited to say that I’m feeling well enough to go back to work tomorrow. I’ve still got a bit of pain, and dizziness from the ear infection but at least the pressure has gone now. Thank you so much for all your encouragement and human contact over the last few days. I really value this blogging community xxx