Friday, 20 November 2015

Quilted Christmas Stocking

...Or 'Sock-ing' if you will!

After putting together some new Christmas themed 'Hexie' English Paper Piecing (EPP) packs and totally falling in love with the small scale festive prints by Riley Blake I decided to whip up a new Christmas Stocking to show them off with a bit of a traditional sock design.

The base is a solid red with fusible fleece onto which I quilted a grid. I think the hexie embellishment adds an extra special touch to an otherwise pretty simple make. I simply topstitched them into place before assembling.

I decided to utilise some scraps and instead of adding a contrast cuff chose some sweet scrappy binding instead which I hand stitched in place. Above you can see the ladder stitch which is then pulled taut for an invisible finish.

It's so jolly looking! Gloomy day pictures don't really do it justice.

I had intended to place it on sale alongside the kits at 'Make & Do' but my other half has taken a liking to it so it may be gifted instead! Not long now till the 'big C', I'd better get back to stitching!!

Want to give English Paper Piecing a try? Check out the tutorial here.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Ravelry / Knitting Update

Howdy folks! I'm mid-cutting my second 'Bruyere' blouse at the mo. I'm taking my time with it as I'm making it with a snuggly warm plaid which requires quite a lot of thought regarding placement and pattern matching so I thought in the meantime I'd share a quick knitting progress report! The images are all pulled from my Instagram feed.

I've recently discovered the website / online community 'Ravelry'. If you knit / crochet maybe this is old news but Ravelry is bloomin' great for yarn based projects! If you're buying a pattern you can see other people's reviews, finished projects and get construction tips etc. There's also a project search function including thousands of free online patterns.

So I've now completed two proper projects and have a third in progress! The first was a ribbed hat using a cheap acrylic yarn I've had hanging about the house for some time.

The next project I tackled was slightly fiddlier. I used double pointed needles to make some wrist warmers for Kirsten's birthday. The yarn used is Wendy 'Celeste' and has tiny sparkly sequins interspersed purchased from 'Get Knitted' in Brislington, Bristol.

Neither of these are perfect but as a recent 'non-knitter' I'm feeling rather pleased with myself!!

...Now back to good ol' 'Bernie' and some pattern matching!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Handmade Hand Warmers -Very First Knit Project

'Look Ma, I can knit! ...a little'

No really, this is photographic evidence for my mother to show that the hours spent painstakingly trying to teach me to knit as a youth were not in vain (eventually!).

I really did try several times but never had the patience to practise and persevere with knitting. I ended up with miscellaneous holes, accidental increases / decreases and it never quite grew quickly enough to keep me inspired.

We had a couple of days away in Lyme Regis on the south coast last week to recuperate after a particularly grueling few weeks so I thought I'd make the most of some down time to finally get to grips with knitting with the help of several videos on 'Creativebug'.

If you've not come across it before it's a subscription based website full of video tutorials for all sorts of crafts -yarn based, sewing, paper, cake decorating, you name it. There's currently a free trial offer! I'd recommend it if you're looking to dip your toe into a new craft but I personally found many of the sewing based options quite basic.

I watched several videos by Debbie Stoller of Stitch Nation including 'Knitting and Purling' and 'Knitting Cast Ons' to remind me of the basics then I set to practising. I love Debbie's warm and fun manner in her videos which are really clear and helpful. She's not at all stuffy!

' put on your big girl panties and get ready for some purl on purl action!'

My hand warmers are just a basic 40 stitch square swatch started with 6 rows of knit / purl ribbing, followed by striped stockinette rows then 9 rows of knit 2 / purl 2 ribbing to finish.

I say hand warmers, strictly speaking it's just the one... can you spot the rookie error?

Noooo! I counted 4 rows instead of 6 so one's too short darnit! Whether I'll get around to unraveling or knitting up a fresh one I'm not sure but I'm super pleased with the first! It's the furthest I've got to date!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Monochrome Grainline 'Scout' Tee

Hello! I'm on the tail end of a grueling few weeks. It's been totally non-stop so I'm extremely thankful to have finally had a little down time to get back to some sewing and generally recharge the batteries!

Enter the Grainline Studios 'Scout' tee. It's a woven t-shirt pattern by Chicago based indie designer Jen and it's been on my sewing agenda for, goodness, forever! I've finally made number one and number two is already in progress!

(Excuse the rubbish pre-work early morning photos. With my current track record better to just get it done than wait for better light).

I wanted a few more 'Non-Knits' in my wardrobe for teaching when I want to feel a little more put together. This one was made using a monochrome viscose from Fabricland. It's really soft and drapey and even better it was only £3.99 for a metre which is all I purchased (the envelope suggests more but for fabric economy I tend to cut flat rather than on the fold).

The pattern is super simple -no darts or fastenings, just 3 pieces with a bias bound neckline so it came together really swiftly. I opted for a size 2 and didn't make a single alteration as I was feeling lazy and in desperate need of something straightforward to get stuck in to. Double thumbs up! It's a little wide in the shoulders as the seam sits slightly off the shoulder (less noticeable here with the print) but totally wearable. Super pleased.

The fabric is a little shifty but handles ok and presses like a dream. I applied the neckline binding at super speed with barely any pins and it lays totally flat and smooth. I'm trying to take more care with the internal finish of garments so used french seams (aside from the armholes which are overlocked).

I can see many more of these in my future not least of all as they're so quick and satisfying to make (much like pants!!). Definitely recommend it... Now back to Scout number 2! Watch this space.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

'Chemise Bruyere' by Deer & Doe

This post has been a long time coming! In fact I've washed and worn this garment about 5 times over now but I finally got around to taking some pictures to share.

The fabric was purchased for an absolute bargain £4 per metre at the Birmingham 'International Festival of Quilts'. I stupidly went along to a quilt show with a view to finding some great garment appropriate fabrics but I did in fact come away with some great finds. I can't remember much about it aside from being sure that although it has an open linen like weave it's 100% cotton.

Beautiful placket detail, but already a little worn. :(
The button stand is 5 x thickness so there's a little bulging at the buttonholes.
It's so soft and lovely, and has a nice body to it -I'm super happy with it's purpose here. The only snag is that due to the very open weave the sleeve plackets (stitched very close to the edge of the fabric) are already starting to wear. I'm a sleeves rolled up kinda gal a lot of the time though -and even when not I think with the overall casual nature of the fabric and shell buttons I can get away with it looking intentional... maybe?? I reinforced the edge with an extra row of topstitching just in case.

French seamed interior (aside from the overlocked armhole).
So it's the 'Bruyere' by Deer & Doe patterns which is marked as an advanced project. It's not easy but no aspect of the construction was terribly difficult. The fitting was an absolute mare though.

Due to my petite frame I blended from a size 36 to a 34 at the shoulders and sleeve. I narrowed the shoulders a touch more but when making up my toile the sleeves were shapeless and enormous on me. I slashed and overlapped the pattern piece to narrow the sleeve, which in turn raised the sleeve cap. I adjusted the balance point and despite still being not quite right, after a lot of faffing I'm much happier with the fit.

Unfortunately after all of this hard work it accidentally ended up in the tumble drier so it's now a touch snug in the bodice. I still love it though and as I mentioned at the beginning of the post it's in pretty constant rotation (along with my much loved 'Datura' blouse).

Thankfully having traced and kept my altered pattern pieces, should I want to whip up another it will be a much more straight forward affair!!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Siblings Together Quilt - It's Finished!!

So firstly my apologies to all of the wonderful people who have helped me out with making this charity quilt -due to a buegroning load of commitments it's taken me a little longer than I'd have hoped to finally polish it off, but ...IT'S DONE! ...HURRAH!

The last few hand stitches in the Dashwood 'Flurry' binding.
The quilt patch was applied with bondaweb then running stitched over the printed dash lines.
The finished size is approx 51" square.
I won't go into the ins and outs of who the finished quilt is for or how we constructed it as those details can be found in the following posts:

I just wanted to share a few finished snaps and send huge virtual thank you hugs to everyone who made it possible.
  • The Perchard clan who donated a massive 13 blocks between them!
  • Kirsten at Make&Do for the kind use of the space (and letting us raid the scrap bin whilst we were there!).
  • 'Little Fabric Bazaar' for the generous donation of the backing fabric.
  • Andie for sending us beautiful blocks in the post (in the most adorable little washi packages!).
  • Helen and Steph for coming along and suffering the madness contributing more blocks.

Thanks again folks. I'm really proud to have put this together for such a great cause. It'll be displayed in the shop for a few weeks so that everyone can have a nose, then it's off in the post ahead of the October camps to finally meet it's recipient!

I'm embarking upon a second quilt myself and will happily organise another 'Quilt Bee' social so there will be more to come.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

'Snippets' Divided Basket by Noodlehead

This Saturday was the lovely Steph's birthday (my colleague at Make and Do) so the ladies and I were plotting a gift from the 3 of us.

I decided to marry two of her favourite pastimes, sewing and organising stuff, to make up this 'Divided Basket' by Anna Graham of the bloomin' brilliant blog 'Noodlehead' (Do check it out if you haven't already -great patterns and Anna has just released a GORGEOUS fabric line for Cloud9).

I picked up the PDF pattern when she was having a sale last year and it has sat printed and cut just begging to be used ever since. As ever, life gets in the way but at last I found a excuse to use it! A word of caution -HEED THE SEAM ALLOWANCE.

Yes you'd think this goes without saying but in my infinite wisdom I cut the pieces and then freestyled the construction which resulted in the lining not fitting. I had to adjust and restitch it twice. Yes.... twice (overcorrected!).

We were pondering fabric choices, Retro Orchard' by Dashwood Studios is a firm favourite but I changed my mind last minute and decided that a sewing caddy would look much better in the very appropriate 'Snippets' collection by Windham Fabrics (we have both in stock at the shop FYI).

In a most brilliant turn of events it transpired that Steph had  in the last few days, made up a pin cushion and thread catcher set in the very same collection! Happy days!

The rest of the set and filled with all of Steph's sewing goodies! Perfect size for sewing patterns.

It went down rather well, so much so that I think I may be churning them out for every birthday gift going forward ...Jemma is plotting her own for December as we speak!