Christmas for me is all about the gift giving. Lately all about the HOMEMADE gift giving.
There's something appealing about putting time and effort into a project,thought about the recipient and then seeing their appreciation. Its the appreciation that makes the extra effort worthwhile.
Crafting Christmas also gives you the opportunity to shun the high street and make something that is truly unique.
The crafting list this year is long and I ahve been supremely disorganised so I am now crafting to a deadline - something which is not enjoyable at all!
However two makes are now done and dusted. These were simple projects - scarves. I chose a simple treble crochet stitch for speed and also for the drape. I like the way a simple stitch like this can let the wool speak for itself. I chose pretty colours. In one case it was a king Cole bulky yarn (king Cole waves multi - Pink Fizz 364) in lovely sherbet colours .
The second wool was James Brett marble (James C Brett Marble DK Yarn MT9 Berries) - a subtle colour scheme but just as pretty.
Phew! is the sound you make when you get to the top of a hill, also the sound I made about 10 minutes ago when I finished the binding on the quilt destined for my sister. The learning curve for this has been vertical ('steep' - is just too much of an understatement!)
I have however learnt a great many lessons along the way so that when I begin my next quilting adventure I will hopefully end up with something a lot more polished.
So far the summary of the quilt goes thus: 1000m of thread, 3 sewing machines (vintage, broken and new), 188 squares cut, pieced and pressed - two irons (one now relegated, one new) - more ironing than I have ever done in my life....and finally the binding is done (oh to that you can add 2.5m of unpicked seams and a shed load of thready bits that will be forever stuck to my home.
My Toyota sewing machine died on me just as I finished the first round of quilting. So this quilt has a wavy stripe quilting instead of the wavy diamonds in my head. My trusty Singer sewing machine (60 yrs old dontcha know) complete with crank handle enabled me to make a start on the binding whilst I awaited my new upgraded sewing investment. Here it is... sew pretty!
Would you like a sneak peak of the quilt? The lining is a green cotton with white polka dots (top right), Bottom right is where some of the top patches meet.
I think the overall effect of this quilt will be fab. Bright and cheery and hopefully a much loved quilt despite the flaws....
A few lessons to be remembered:
1) I cannot sew straight! cut the selvages off fabric
2) Ironing the seams is well worth it
3) I cannot cut straight...or apparently gauge distance
4) Hand sewing the binding might be time consuming but will achieve a more polished finish - time constraints in this project have made it impossible as Christmas is fast approaching!!
Just a quick fly by to show you my latest teacosy.
This oen ahd an autumn/summer theme so its based around a tree. A tree in Leaf and a tree bereft of leaves...rather like they are outside at the moment. Hope you enjoy the pics...I'll flit back again soon!
Phew, what a roller coaster!
The weeks have been filled up and its time to take a bit of time for some R&R. There's a lot of crafting on the Christmas to-do list but first I had to get a little present made for my sister.
Her Christmas present will be the quilt mentioned in the last post but as a birthday surprise I thought I would utilise a few of the scraps and make her a little Cath K bag. Its not mistake free as it was my first even attempt at sewing a bag. I am quietly proud of it though. The pattern is the Buttercup Bag from Made By Rae Pattern Link Check it out....
A Patchwork Front
A doggy lining
Complete with a small rose pocket
A little closer
A button scrap flower broach to add a little pizzazz....
The back view
On of my favourite prints on the bag
The bag was a little too small for practicality so in future I'd try a bigger version. But after following the fantastic tutorial linked above I'm sure I'm well on my way to creating a few different styles now! An a little pic to leave you on......A Sparkler Heart!!
My sister's Christmas present requests are challenging to say the least. After taking up the wool last year she decided that she would very much like a woolly granny square throw to go on her conservatory sofa....I obliged and needless to say it took a while!! I'll blog the Christmas blanket another time but there's a little sneak peek below
Anyway...to bring us back to the title of my post today...my sisters request for Christmas 2010.....
...... A Quilt......... more specifically....... A Cath Kidston Quilt......oh and could I make it a double!!!
The past two months has been spent scouring ebay for patchwork pieces, remnants and yardage. Its going to be a patchwork quilt of a random design.
This sneak peek is possible as I gave her the option of some design input...completely random or a bit of a pattern? Luckily she opted for random so I don't have to embark on a mammoth colour jigsaw! Luckily during the consultation (very technologically done via text) she downgraded the size to that of a sofa throw. Want to see what I've achieved so far.....
After a lot of cutting I have gained a pile of squares!
Arranging them at random took a fair while but it was enjoyable and fun!
Several months ago I promised that I would make a work colleague a teacosy. The remit was a challenge in itself as I had to work to the following criteria:
1) Use whatever colours you like
2) Use whatever theme you like
3) You can't borrow the actual teapot to fit the teacosy to as my wife uses it everyday
To have no limits on a creation for someone should be the dream job....however I found the lack of direction daunting....how to pick a theme to please? several designs were thought of and discarded...some ideas have been jotted down for future use.
The final teacosy design was inspired by the change in seasons (some fantastic autumn weather), a well thought out wedding present and a look into my stash of yarn....
The yarn stash threw up some eyelash wool in a shade of dark and light grey and a beige yarn. The eyelash wool was perfect for the end cosy...very......Spikey
Yes, The winning teacosy design was a hedgehog....a cute snuffly spikey friend. The eyelash yarn made perfect spikes. (the inspiring wedding present was a hedgehog house for the garden - so soon I'll hopefully have the real thing!).
The teacosy was well received and has already made a few friends in its new home
Hopefully with a little practice my teacosy-ing skills will improve so I can turn out a teacosy without a teapot fitting - this one worked well but is a bit baggier in the tummy than I would have liked....still....It leaves room for a few biscuits!!
A few posts back I described the horrors of beginning to knit with a new and very expensive beaded silk Yarn (Artyarns). The scarves were intended for my mother and new mother-in-law as a thankyou for the hard work they put in during the organisation of my wedding.
The True value of these scarves lies not in the expensive yarn but in the concentration, time and effort that went into them. Crochet is second nature to me but knitting remains a challenge. So knitting this simple lace scarf pattern was a real labour of love. A good knitter would probably have made hundreds in the time I made one....but hey, it's the thought that counts! The pattern I used can be found on ravelry as 'the one row lace scarf, by Turvid.
Want to see the result??
The bridesmaid also got some thankyou scarves. This time crocheted with a thicker silk. I chose two patterns from a stitch dictionary and repeated as necessary
Can you see them on the right? The thicker silk drapes really well.
Here's a closer look at the stitch patterns
And all four jumbled up together. The colours make quite a pleasing sight ;-)
There was a lot of crafting leading up to this stupendous event but for today I’ll keep it light hearted and introduce these little critters!
We had 5 small children in attendance at the wedding and thought a good way to occupy their tiny hands and appease their fidgeting ways through the speeches was to give them a balloon to play with....a nice floaty star shaped helium balloon.....the only problem with floaty light balloons and little children is their tendency to tug out of tiny fingers and float up on high....followed by loud wails of dismay. To prevent such a disastrous turn of events some balloon weights were required. A quick search online yielded either some moulded plastic shapes...or a concrete block covered in tin foil. What a dismal selection!
After all the efforts of making the wedding to my own tastes, organising, enslaving the artistic skills of my brother and printing and sticking cardboard shapes right up until the end; the last thing that I wanted was to place a tacky balloon weight on the table. So I turned to ravelry and found some lovely appealing amigurami/small toy patterns. My Husband (Wooo!) helped narrow down the selection and voila! The balloon weight zoo was born!
There is a turtle
And a Pig!
I left the naming to the small people.
I filled them with stuffing and chickpeas and tightly sewed on the eyes....they were not intended as toys (parents were duly warned to be vigilant!).
They were created under pressure...time was running out and at critter three there was definitely an air of “oh my god what have I let myself in for!” but the pain and the panic and the effort was well rewarded.
Not one critter was left behind after the wedding. They were carefully packed into the cars to go home with. Cries were fended off by the appearance of the penguin whilst the turtle went on an exploration trip under the table. The elephant turned some funky moves on the dance floor and the pig and chick were regarded with barely focusing eyes from the newborn two.
Overall a success. And definitely something I will be exploring for future projects as I’m sure I’m not the only one in need of some classy balloon weights!