Friday, 31 October 2008

I'm BACK!!!!! 10,000 hits and I missed it!!!

Had a lovely break at my parents. We were very lucky with the weather and Sophie was a little star all week. My blog had to take a back seat for a week but I needed the rest from everything. Well, now for some catch up time....

My charity knitting has grown since this picture but I was unable to upload it the other day, but to just prove that I have not been sitting idle (I wish) here is Tuesdays picture...
As you know I am not the worlds best knitter and I am trying to get better and practice makes perfect (better anyway) right? So with this sponsored scarf I am also trying out a few stitches, some I know some I am trying. I have used Moss stitch before and it is one of my favourite stitches (look at the chunky knit tutorial to see my bag) so trying double Moss stitch seemed the next step. So my Mum pointed me in the right direction and much of the greeny blue section has been done with this stitch.

Double Moss Stitch

Row 1: PI K1 repeat and end on P1
Row2: K1 P1 repeat and end on K1
Row3: K1 P1 repeat and end K1
Row4: P1 K! repeat and end on P1

I hope that I have written this down right.
I have some spare wool for my never ending knitted blanket so I will do a square of this stitch.

I have recycled some leftovers that Mum had fm other projects so it is looking a bit like Doctor Who's alternative scarf. Pity David Tennant is not going to play that part anymore after next year, isn't it? Sorry getting side tracked. As I said the other day my knitting was about 1 metre long but it is now longer than that.

I missed my 10,000 hit which was a pity as I was going to have a landmark giveaway. So I have decided to leave it and either link it to my birthday in December or nearer New Year instead when we are all experiencing post-festive blues. I will get back to you on this later.

Having the chance to visit different craft shops is always fun and once I have taken some pictures tomorrow I will be able to show you my new items that I found when I was away. They all have a use, the Quilties swap, Christmas swap, the blue and quilt I am making, a bag for the works do in December and some items for my Etsy shop. Now I was thinking about my website and Etsy shop, due to the economic climate it seems daft to even have these online shops. I am hoping that buying something online will save petrol, parking money, stress of walking round and having the chance to think about it before clicking yes to anything. I have made more use of mail order, online shops etc this year for many of the above reasons and so far I have not been disappointed at all. I am open to custom orders and I can be emailed etc for this. My Etsy shop has a few things that I have but listing it is not one of my favourite jobs. Does anyone else feel like this? I will continue though and see what happens over the next few weeks.

We did a little National Trust visiting whilst we were away and the crisp weather was just right for picture taking.

We visited Anglesey Abby which is in Lode, Cambridgeshire and could not resist taking some lovely pictures, take a look at these.
I thought this looked a bit Christmas like. It was growing just outside the main house.

This is a lovely colour berry, could not see a name for this but Sophie was quite taken with it as well.

Walking through these silver birches was very surreal and I am going to use this for my Christmas cards this year. A lovely walk and Sophie was really impressed with this group of trees.

Of course, I simply had to find some fresh holly as well.

More pictures tomorrow.

Take care

PS: Saw this on Purple and Paisley and it made me laugh!!


Monday, 27 October 2008

Knitting for Charity...........

I will need to finish this post tomorrow so that I can add some pictures but basically myself and a small group of students are taking part in a sponsored Knit. It is being organised by
The Childrens Society. The aim is to knit a 20cm wide pieces of knitting which can be in any colour, using any wool or needles and keep knitting so that it can then be sent to The Childrens Society by 13th January 2009. At the same time ask people to sponsor you per row or number of rows etc.

Last year you may remember that I knitted some red squares to help the charity to make the world's largest Christmas stocking. There is info on this on their website, they are aiming to create the longest scarf ever by stitching all the knitted sections that are sent to them. We are also going to record how much our little group has knitted.

So far I think that mine is about 1 metre long and hopefully still 20cm wide but I can not be certain of that!! This week I have managed to get a good start on it and using up lots of wool that are left over from other projects. Pop over to The Childrens Society and take a look, there is also some information for quilter on the website as well.
Sorry, but this mobile dongle will not upload any pictures of what I have knitted so far so I will try again later or when I get home. Do take a look at the website in the mean time and see how you could help.
Would anyone be interested in taking part?

I have just seen that The Big Knit for Innocent Smoothies where sweet little hats are knitted ends at the end of October. I have missed this unfortunately but I hope that this will take place again next year. I am going to have a go at the little hats anyway with some scrap leftovers.

I shall keep knitting, it is really cold today but we are off to Wicken Fenn to make bird feeders and look around, it is part of the National Trust and I have not been there since I went on a primary school trip in 19**!
See you soon.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Amy Butler Bag.. My Latest make...

Well!!! This bag was very nearly the straw that broke this camel's back!! Maybe I was simply not in the mood for this bag, too tired or just plain clumsy but I found this tricky. Not the shape or the instructions etc it was the thickness of the layers that had to be stitched together. It took ages to cut out, I had trouble finding the stuff, although Primrose Corner will be my next stop if I ever make another one of these bags.
Which bag I am talking about? This is one....

The Sophia Bag.

I started it ages ago, bought the material at Easter. I finished it last Wednesday. The binding went on ok but the number of layers meant that getting close enough even with a zipper foot was tricky. The base was hard going and after breaking 4 machine needles on the trot I decided to hand sew it with double thickness thread. The zip went in first time and the handles were easy. I realise that to get the more ridged shape interfacing, fleecy interlining is needed but my machine was not happy with it.

I have added a picture to show a close up of the bag, (hopefully not all of the mistakes as well).

I am pleased that I had a go at this bag and my favourite fabric at the moment looks good with this shape. My hubby thinks it is great and I am going to enter it in next months U-Handbag Amy Butler monthly competition, but I do not think that it is one of my finest makes.

What do you think?

Once my Battle of the Bag was over I then started my Christmas decoration which I am glad to say is going very nicely indeed, thank goodness!

I will post about the charity knitting tomorrow as I am away at the moment and using an Internet dongle so I have to watch how long I am on here.

Take care and pop back tomorrow evening after the Strictly Come Dancing results programme of course. Who are you hoping will win?


Thursday, 23 October 2008

Fabric, Dye, Bead and Stitch 6

This sample from the City and Guilds file is stitched on a blue loose linen. The task was to learn about drawn thread work and textured stitches. If I remember rightly I chose shades of blue because it worked well with the fabric I had, it was a colour scheme that i had not used before in the course and the variation of shades worked well with he depth and texture of the stitches because it added 'light' shades to the sample.

It measures about the size of an A4 piece of paper and like all of the other sample needs framing rather than staying in a plastic wallet which is where it is at the moment. I really must try and get back to this type of work. I really enjoyed this course as it gave me the opportunity to create like this.

Next, now that Sophie is older, I would really like to do a City and Guilds in machine embroidery. My last course was a correspondent course which I was able to fit around work. I was going to do the course with the same college but then it folded and I have not been able to find another. So if anyone knows of another (in the UK) then I am very interested. It would be an ideal New Years Resolution wouldn't it?

I have finished my latest Amy Butler bag but today had been so dark and dreary that a photo was impossible. I have also started my two next swap items as well.

Many thanks for the lovely comments this month, especially about my Camper Van, and the new visitors who have said hello. I have been returning the visit and saying 'hello' too. I have taken some nice photos of the Camper Van and I hope to make them into cards. Be a bit different, won't they?

I have a training day tomorrow then half-term begins. My body and brain needs a break and I need to catch up on jobs around the house and some other work tasks.

Tomorrow I have some info for anyone who likes knitting and raising money for charity.

Off to get some beauty sleep.

Take care


Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Camper Van Swap, I made this.....

My swap partner has received her parcel and judging by her email and comment on an earlier post, she likes it. Now silly me did not take photos of everything in the parcel but this is the main item.......

The Camper Van is appliqued on. Then I used machine embroidery to highlight certain features. This took along time, longer than I thought it was going to. I used brads for the hub caps, metallic fabric for any chrome sections, added some felt flowers to give a 3d texture to it and finally some pink ricrac brad because......I liked it.

A closer look at the detail. The picture looks really good on my camera but seems a little darker here. That green is pretty bright. Anyway, what do you think? My third swap and my first vehicle!

Take care all

Keep warm, it is supposed to be quite cold tomorrow.


Monday, 20 October 2008

Cath Kidston New book...MAKE...

I was looking through a BookPeople leaflet when I saw this....

I have seen this book featured on another blog that I visit and I think it was Primrose Corner mine was already on order. Great minds think alike. I am always looking for ideas to inspire and I also just like looking and reading books like these as a way to relax. Probably got too many books but there you go.

Making the everyday items more stylish.

Customising existing products. I like these types of baskets but never been lucky enough to find one.

There are ideas for re-styling your wardrobe with clear instructions and materials list so that you can check your stash or buy with confidence.

Techniques such as Applique can be used to make fun items such as this cushion for a child's room.

I thought this was a lovely idea. If your were wondering.. . yes there a templates and patterns for all of the ideas at the back of the book.

This looks like an idea that I might be trying. I have never made a tea cosy, in fact I am not sure if I would even use one, but it could fun to have a go. I could always give it away.

Right, lets see what else there is....................

This is spooky because I have already made some egg cosies similar to these but I do like the motifs. Again, there are patterns for these at the back of the book. There are loads of other ideas to drool over and make you 'Dash to your Stash' to see if you can that special piece of fabric.

With the Book people I was lucky enough to buy this for £4.99 when the retail price on the back says £14.99. On Saturday I did see this book in WHSmiths too.


Quadrille Publishing Limited.

With over 40 project ideas this is a fun book to read, use, love and keep.

Take care


Saturday, 18 October 2008

Christmas Decoration Swap Inspiration

As promised here are some lovely images for your to get inspiration from. I used the key words Handmade Christmas decorations if you would like to look further on google.
Fabric, beads,braiding,fabric folding, ribbon,
RicRac braid, trees, angels, animals............
Sent off my Camper Van swap last Monday and I am just waiting to hear when it arrives then I will post pictures here. It turned out better than I thought it would and I was sorry to have to let it go!
Nearly finished another bag and I have the materials etc for my decoration swap, just need to make a start.
See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

An award for everyone!... Thanks Nan...

No one is really sure where this started, there appears to be no rules and Nan at Nannybird Crafts has received this award and emailed me to tell me about it.

So I have collected it and posted it now I would like to scatter it everywhere like confetti across blogland... (sorry getting carried away, it has been one of those days). There have been many new bloggers leaving comments here over the last month or two. If you have come back again for another visit then take this with you. Simply copy and paste into your pictures on your computer and then upload it when posting or adding a gadget on the margin. Saying 'Hi' would be fun too. Lets see how far it could go, I say this because it fascinates me that on my craftyblogs stats I can see that I have had visitors recently from China, India, Vietnam, Japan and Russia!! It amazes me but really it should not because the Internet has in a way shrunk the world and blogging enables us to have friends in countries we may never have a chance to visit. This makes us XXtraordinary Bloggers !

Two years ago I did take part in a teacher exchange to Kenya, I went to a town outside Kisumu. I had a visit from someone in Kenya a few weeks ago and it brought back some lovely memories of my visit. Mmmmm, a topic for a future post perhaps?

Yippee I have photo printer paper at last, hopefully a recycled tote will follow soon.

Take care and don't forget to take the award with you when you go.


Monday, 13 October 2008

Recycle Wallet (Tutorial..well sort of...)

For months I have been trying to meet the challenges set by I Wanna New Bag and failed miserably!
Yesterday I decided to throw caution to the wind and do this....

Take one rather unwanted plastic multi-pocket organiser and cut it with a pair of scissors to make a bag and a wallet. I did not actually measure it, but I went with wherever the pockets started or finished.

Sophie is modelling the pockets for me.

The above picture shows that I have cut three sections which will become the flap later. I then filled each of the pockets with my MOO cards. The aim was to use photos, but my printer is not working well enough so these seemed a good alternative seeing as they had started off as photos anyway.

I sealed each pocket with a row of stitching. Now this was a pain and I think that I really needed one of those Teflon feet which you can get for sewing oil cloth etc.
I used zig zag stitch to stitch the side and base.The three pouches with fabric squares make up the flap. Rather than stitching inside it made better sense to stitch the outside.

As you can see I used an ordinary presser foot, maybe a quilters walking foot even might do the job if you already have one.

Using another part of the plastic organiser I folded a rectangle in half and stitched it to gain a place to put a fastening. I did think of Velcro but I may have to rethink that as I am not fully happy with this at the moment.

The finished wallet which I think I might use to keep blogging notes and details that I collect when surfing round to find new blogs before i add them to my link list.

Inside view. You may be able to see some of the loopy stitching, but seeing as I have only just replaced my free machine embroidery foot at £23.00 I think that yet another machine foot will have to wait.

Completed wallet which is not too bad for a spontaneous cut and stitch session. No planning ooooh a bit risky but fun!

I have also cut out enough of the plastic organiser to make a tote as well. As soon as I can print off some photos this will be next. This is a bit off the wall for me but certainly fun to make and I liked the fact that the wallet is able to maintain its shape and design could be added by slotting in some of my favourite pictures.
Do let me know if anything does not make sense and I will change/add it.
I do have a another tutorial to show you that you could use up your stash scraps next week.
Take care.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Cupcake Anyone?...

Sophie and I had some fun with cake mixture, piped butter icing and things to decorate!
I like Sundays.....
We made more than this, naughty aren't we?
Have a good week everyone.


Want another picture? Ok then.....


Saturday, 11 October 2008

Postal Surprise...

This arrived in the post on Friday from my swap partner Janice in America for the Camper Van swap.A funky hat, scarf, two packs of buttons, two balls of wild wool and some shells. Sophie clapped eyes on the hat and scarf and that was it. Got it back long enough to take this picture. She wore it to her ballet lesson this morning and loved it when someone said how much they liked the pink fabric. She more than happy to model for me.
It is the fringing on the ends of the scarf which is really fascinating to Sophie! She saw the shells whilst I was taking these pictures and see what she did.....

"Look Mummy, Woolly Monsters..!" Only kids can do this. May crochet some flowers with this wool, I will have to give it a try.
Also in my post delivery was my Cath Kidston order which I treated myself to. I think I may have found some Christmas ideas too for my family. It arrived very quickly and was fun to open these....
The tins are to store some of my sewing stuff and the bag?........Well, I have a thing about bags so this is my new acquisition to my collection. Some of my bags I have had so long that they have discoloured so an update is needed anyway. Sophie, bless her, has her eye on a few bits in my wardrobe already so it is an investment too (ha ha). It's bright colour will get me through the winter too.
My lovely buttons from the last two swaps will live in my new tin.

Well, the night is still young(ish) so I need to start thinking about my Forrest Quiltie and Christmas Decoration swap work.

Do have a look at my students work just below.

Take care


Friday, 10 October 2008

It's Friday!!!!!!!

Do you have that Friday feeling?
See you tomorrow, if not then have a good weekend.
P.S Many thanks for the many lovely comments this week and it has been great to hear from some new visitors as well as the lovely regulars. Have a look at the students work below.
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