Monday, 28 September 2009

A thoughtful act of kindness.....

A couple of Saturdays ago I went to an AGM with the Embroiderers' Guild. The current Chairperson was stepping down after her three years of service. She will continue to be a part of the committee though. I think we shall call her "M".
After the main business of the day we then all sat down to a nice lunch whereby everyone brought in a particular dish. It was lovely, especially dessert which was a homemade pavlova.
Just before we all sat down to listen to a talk on Quilting, "M" came up to me with a little parcel and thanked me for my assistance during her term. I am also on the committee, although my contribution is stunted due to my day job.

I was not able to open the parcel until I got home and inside was this stunning handmade book!!

How lucky am I? There are over 10 of us on the committee and I am sure that every one of us got a little parcel. "M" must have been making these little books for weeks. The inside is as lovely as the outside. All of the paper is handmade and the inside of the cover is hand painted.

The pages are then stitched together through the spine of the book with a thin handmade cord which is then used to wrap around the book by means of a fastening.

Each of the pieces on the front have been added, not sure if a punch may have been used, then some hand stitched stems. Each flower has a bead in the centre. This is such a thoughtful gift and I was taken aback when I opened it! I do feel that crafter's do have an extra big heart when it comes to sitting down and spending their precious time making something like this for someone else.

Thank you sooooo much.


Sunday, 27 September 2009

Latest Flip Flap Purse

One of my makes from the Summer Holidays. I shall be making quite a few of these for Christmas I think. This will go in my Folksy shop, as will some more stash busting items.

I really like gingham for the lining and this is 100% cotton. The button is one of my favourites and I am having trouble finding some more. The loop is made from a nice length of ribbon.

I have added some white machine embroidery to the top section of the denim purse which adds a nice touch without it being too much. I made some smaller versions for the Tea Shop that I supply items for. One did not sell and I shall be listing that one too. It is made using cupcake fabric, I thought I had a photo of it but for the life of me I can not find it! Typical. I made lots of items during the start of the Summer then time ran away with me. Never mind. My Christmas item is finished and the swap badge is nearly done so the sign up can begin later in the week. I visited Creative Stitches at Westpoint in Exeter today so I shall post some of my goodies once I have taken some pictures. It has been a pretty hectic weekend and I have hardly been at home, however the weather has been lovely! May have to switch the fire on the evening soon though.

Have a good week.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Big Knit - Innocent Smoothie Drinks

Long time regulars may remember me making these last November 2008. I discovered too late the chance to make these little hats for The Big Knit with Innocent Smoothie Drinks and send them off to help raise money for Age Concern and Help the Aged. I have kept them and I will send them off this year instead.

The link will take you directly to their web page where there are patterns for every level of knitter. You can also find a crochet pattern which they are also accepting here.

These fun little hats are quick to make and are ideal stash busting makes. The deadline for sending them is approx 16th October (so I very nearly missed it again!). The hats will then be added to the Innocent Drinks bottled ans sold in Sainsbury's. 35p form each sale then goes to charity.
The sending address can also be found on their website. You can also add your makes to a special Flickr group.
I am off to print out the patterns to make some more of these little cuties. Let me know if you have taken part before, how many did you make?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Card Crazy!!

I decided to make a few cards to top up the box which I have at work for colleagues to buy. Ideal for when you can not get to the shops, a colleague is suddenly taken ill or a thank you card is wanted. I keep them cheap and cheerful and I enjoy it.

The box became quite empty just before the summer and I wanted to make some quite different ones. The top blue one had folded origami paper. The handbag above is fun and is much brighter than the photo suggests. I have some more of these to make.

The camper van is a reproduction of my entry into Jellybelly Jellybeans camper van swap last year. This has been quite a popular card and I have made several over the months.

The baby card is completely handmade and the pram is actually quite tiny. I also make this in blue too. I have started a batch of Christmas cards for work, but also my little spot in my friends tea room has been doing quite well and some more cards are needed for there too.
My Christmas swap is getting there I have had too much going on at home and at work to officially organise it but I want to get it off the ground and sign ups by the end of September.
I have an nerve wracking event happening tomorrow but I shall report back afterwards to give you the outcome!
Just wish me luck.
Take care xx

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

My new Door Stop.......

I have renewed my subscription to SewHip magazine and this year the included gift is a clothkits doorstop. I do not actually have a door stop so I was quite keen to had a go at this. I did change how to make the handle. Instead of the folding and ironing I decided to make it into a tube, turn it through and then top stitch it. I made this at my sewing group and the iron, quite frankly, is rubbish and the fabric is quite thick so folding it and pressing was simply not working. I think it still looks good. The door stop stitched together really easily and I am really pleased with the final shape.

I then filled it with a bag of rice. There looked to be too much rice but the door stop is bigger than I thought and it only half filled the door stop. I had fun making this door stop and I was a bit sorry once I had finished that the fun had stopped. It now sits happily on the curve of the attic stairs waiting to be needed. Looks very stylish too.
Has anyone else made this door stop or any other from a tutorial?

Monday, 21 September 2009

Double Wrench -ATWQB Block 13

This is my latest block for the Around the World Quilting Bee and we are up to Block 13 already. 13 may be unlucky for some but for me this block went well. I did try it out first on some scrap as getting it the right size to match the other blocks is quite important. Hubby helped to choose some of the colours this time and I like the bit of green to spice it up and stop it looking too pretty. I am pleased with the way all of the panels joined up, pretty much matching. I have learned so much from taking part in the Quilting Bee, and despite a couple of panic moments it has gone well.

There are definitely several blocks that I would like to make into a quilt of my own and I have started a little resource notebook which I shall post about once this Quilting Bee is over.
You can see my other blocks on my Flickr account, the link is in the side bar.
Many thanks to those of you who have commented here this month. I seem to have lost a follower somehow(?)
Take care all

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Learning to make Crochet Flowers....

Last weekend I took a cup of tea, my laptop, crochet hook and some of my white cotton yarn and went to bed! usually I like to read before I put the light out but just lately knitting or crocheting with my last cup of tea has been more preferable.
The above flowers were made using a tutorial on Youtube and I really hope that the link works. take a look as it is ideal for beginners. The flower on your right was made using a 6mm hook which I think ended up with a slightly better shape.

In the right hand margin on Youtube there are many other links to crochet tutorials, many of them for making flowers. The above flower was made following another of the tutorials and what i really liked about them was i could click the pause button if I could not keep up or if I made a mistake. I used bright pink coton perle again for this little flower.

I even had a go at making my own daisies using yellow and white coton perle and my very fine 1.75mm hook. I am really enjoying making these flowers. I have settled for making some simple flowers using the white cotton yarn with the idea of using them to decorate a bag for be very patient and make a shawl!!
I have been to an Embroiderers Guild AGM today but more on that once I have uploaded the pictures.
Lovely weather here today, why could it have not been like this in August?
Take care

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Memory Stick Wallet- Quilting

You may remember that I made this wallet for my work diary and memos using two fat quarters. some binding and sew in interfacing. I still had a little bit left over and thought for a few days as to what i could make to use the last of the fabric up.......
Hey, presto!! A mini version of the big wallet to hold the numerous memory sticks that I have collected over the past 5 years or so. I used a popper to hold the mini wallet shut but the rest of the construction is the same as that of the larger wallet.

The mini wallet will slide inside the larger one, keeping everything in one place. I was quite surprised by how far I got the two fat quarters to go. I have found both of these very useful and fun to use.

Change of subject, I have a very happy 6 year old at the moment! Why? We have just booked tickets to go and see "Mamma Mia" in London at the end of October as part of her birthday present. Mummy and Daddy are quite excited too!
Take care

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Kentucky Chain... Quilt Block.

Here is my latest offering for the Around the World Quilting Bee. Definitely my most complicated, lots of cutting out, pinning and trying to get it to line up just right. It should loop under the yellow section at two points so I am going to make it again for the next round but remember to loop it under this time. I have been looking on the Internet for other block designs to try. Very addictive this patchwork and quilting lark you now!
Been very busy at work since term started hence the delay in starting this year's Christmas Swap but I have forgotten and I will have it sorted out asap.
I would like to say "Hello" to those who have joined my follower ranks lately, I do try to return the visit but I can not always get through, so please, when you pop back leave a comment and I shall click the link that the comment generates. However, for now Thank you.
Back soon with some more attempts at crochet.
Take care.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

1Whirled Design - Featured Etsy Seller

I "met" Cathy (owner of 1 Whirled design) by accident. It turns out that my huge hit for my crochet blanket/ dishcloth post was likely due to her twittering about and attracted extra visitors to my blog. So I thought I could return the compliment here. An example of her work is shown above. We then decided to do a little interview via email, and here it is.....

How did you come up with the name 1whirled design for your Etsy shop?

My Etsy shop is actually OneWhirledDesign (though the caps don't matter if you're searching it), which is just kind of a play on words of course, as in "One whirled" vs. "one world". I guess I was making wire spirals for jewellery at the time. Anyway, I do enjoy a good play on words. I had to modify my username to 1whirledesign for Twitter because there is a limit to the length of your Twitter username.

How long have you been crocheting and how did you learn?

My earliest solid recollection of crocheting was in grade 5, so I would have been 10 years old. A friend of mine and I made a lot of granny squares from day-glow yarn. I don't remember ever joining them into an afghan though. But I must have learned before that. I believe my mother taught me both crochet and knitting sometime between about ages 7 and 10, and I remember it took a few attempts before I could actually do it. Also I later referred to books for crochet instructions, since my mother was more orientated to knitting than crochet, (Ha! books! If only there was the Internet when I was ten).

Where do you get your ideas from? Do you design on paper first or create as you crochet?

I try to pay attention to thoughts that cross my mind, and when I think of what I believe is a good idea, I write it down in my sketchbook for future reference. Also, I ask my family and other people for their thoughts or sometimes brainstorm with others. When I am going from general idea to actual creation, I don't usually make a drawing first unless it is a very complex thing with design issues to be worked out. For a simple item (Like an i-pod cover!), I might make it first (somewhat trial and error, as it were), and then I will write down what I did so that I can repeat it.

What would you advise a beginner at crochet to make first.

I would probably start with something flat, like a scarf or washcloth. Begin with single crochet and then learn double crochet also. After that, a project worked in rounds, such as a hat, would build on these skills and introduce shaping (decreasing and increasing).

You have a custom order section in your Etsy shop, how can customers approach you to have a one-off item made, how do designs become agreed if you are on opposite sides of the world?

So far I have had one custom order that wasn't local, and that person is happy with her bunny-bear! We communicated by email and discussed what colors she had in mind. With the bunny-bears, people already have an idea of what they will be getting, so it's pretty easy. However, if someone were to ask me to tackle a totally new design, then after discussion I would propose to make the item first and then list it in my shop for them to look at. If it's not what they had in mind, I wouldn't mind if they didn't purchase it. After all, I could just list it in my shop for someone else to buy, so I'm not out on anything. Customer satisfaction is my goal. I think it would be great fun to have a custom order assignment!

What hopes do you have for your Etsy shop in the future?

It is great to be able to display work on Etsy and sell there too. I hope that by growing my Twitter following, that it will be one way of increasing the visibility of my Etsy shop. Another goal of mine is to list on Etsy more often. For me, I think the key to doing this is photographing my work on a regular basis - the photography seems to be my logjam at the moment.

You are on Twitter, what do you feature on your Twitter site? Can anyone become a follower?

On my Twitter account, I tweet about fun and interesting blogs, usually on the topics of crochet and bookbinding. It is amazing the amount of information to be found in blogs! I love to see people's crochet work. If anyone has a blog that they would like to bring to my attention, contact me on Twitter or Etsy - I will tweet about it! For anyone who would like to follow me on Twitter, my Twitter name is 1whirleddesign. I will follow you back!


Many thanks to Cathy for taking part in my first blog interview. Do pop over and visit Cathy's shop and put it in your favourites for future reference.

I hope to do a featured post once a month, so if you would like to appear here in October could you please leave a comment here and a means of getting in contact.

It has been glorious weather here in Cornwall, why it could not manage this in August I will never know.

Take care and see you soon.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Delicate crochet Flowers....

Gosh, this week has gone by quickly! It has been really busy at work and much has happened. I am hoping for a quiet weekend but more on that tomorrow.

You may remember a couple of months ago that I crocheted my first scarf and with any remaining bits of wool I had a go at crocheting some flowers. I used a child's kit to get me started. I have made flowers before but it was along time ago.

Then whilst on holiday in August, I bought some cotton yarn to make some dish clothes and again with any left overs made some more flowers. I really liked these because they are so soft and kept their shape so much better than ordinary wool. I have plans to do more with this idea for Christmas.

Whilst looking for something else I stumbled onto some thick DMC thread and some white coton perle. I have a very fine crochet hook 1.75. A cute little metal silver hook which I really like but have never used since I repaired a friends lacey top with it, so my mind started thinking. After a little bit of fiddling and wishing I had stronger glasses I ended up with this....

Made from the coton perle, it measures approx 3.5cm and has a lace look about it. Again, the shape is kept well and I really like the way it turned out.

Not sure why this picture has flipped round but never mind.

I have made more of these which are shown above in one sitting and I have decided to make sets of the flowers and put them in my Folksy shop, which has seen a few sales recently which has been fun. I love wrapping the parcels up. I have made some different shapes and tried new colours but I can not find the pics, so I shall post about them tomorrow.

I shall also be doing a blog post of an email interview I did with an Etsy Seller which I shall be posting this weekend. Sophie has her first party invitation of the term tomorrow so a couple of house to work on the house. We have started another building project which will keep us busy for months I reckon, oh goody goody!

Take care xx

Monday, 7 September 2009

Work Diary Wallet Tutorial..

About a year or so ago I made a laptop bag using Cath Kidston fabric. There is a tutorial in the side bar. I really wanted to make something over the summer. I have a diary at work and get given lots of paper. I dropped my diary near the end of term and the contents shot down my classroom floor and covered nearly 6 feet!! So a wallet of some kind that I could keep my diary in and any paper which I then work on at home etc seemed the ideal solution.
Here it is!!
The fabric I got from Ebay ages ago along with some other pieces for a book cover commission. this one was not chosen. The binding is a lovely floral one on a green background which I bought from a market when I visited France with the school. I bought several bindings that day as they are 100% cotton. I made a pattern to fit my diary with a bit extra space for additional paper, pen, a couple of memory sticks and a small notebook. From that I cut a layer of outer fabric, soft sew-in interfacing and a cotton lining.

The floral fabric was not quite long enough, so the bit I trimmed off the side I added to the end with a length of green binding with piping cord in it. I then quilted the added on section width wise to add contrast. It also removes the need to try and exactly match up the vertical line quilting for the main body of the wallet which I then quilted next.

The lining was then put on the bottom of the quilted layers. I then added binding along the top edge of the wallet.

I then folded down the flap and marked the position of the magnetic snap. This needs to be attached before going any further.
Next, I folded up the main body of the fabric, pinned in an Indigo Blue Designs label, and added binding on the three remaining sides. I stitched it on the front , flipped it over to the back and then decided it would be neater to slip stitch it by hand. I also added a split ring so that I could add some keys if needed.

I carefully mitred the corners. You will probably find a video tutorial on Youtube fir mitring corners which will explain this better than I can here with just photos.

I left the back plain apart from the quilting lines.

There was a little fabric left over so I decided to make a key fob. (Got a little carried away) So I stitched a long tube then stitched a length of binding up the middle so that it matched the wallet. Then folded it in half, tucked in the raw edges and then attached it to a 'D' ring. Believe it or not but I still have a little bit of the floral fabric left! I only started off with a fat quarter as well so I think I got it to go along away. I have yet to make the next item with a left overs but i will post it as soon as it is done. I had such fun doing this at my sewing group on a Wednesday evening and then just quickly finished it off at home. BLISS! I took it to work last Wednesday and it attracted a lot of attention. I wish I knew who made this fabric as a bag would be so fun to make too. Any ideas who the designer was?


Sunday, 6 September 2009

Sunny Sunday

Well I feel much better today and the sun is shinning. All you can hear are lawn mowers everywhere! Hubby is finishing re-turfing the back garden with turf that looks pretty dead to me but we have been assured that it will be ok and will grow. So for once we would actually like rain to help this. We are never satisfied are either, too wet or too dry.

It was a late night last night for us, we were still getting visits and phone calls up until 10.30pm. I think the only service we have not met in all this is the air ambulance. Things are being put in place and our neighbour will be ok but she is not well which has made everything else, such as falling down happen faster than it may normally have happened. She was right as rain over a week ago. We are popping round to see her later, she has help with her all day today, all last night and tonight then she will be reassessed Monday to look at things more long term.

We did stay up until midnight in case anyone needed to talk to us so I went on Youtube to look at some crochet videos and made up a couple of things. I have not taken pictures yet so I shall later today seeing as the weather is so nice. Had a very fast sale on Folksy as part of my de-stashing and if this week pans out well there will be some supplies for Cross stitch being listed next.
Change of subject, found this whilst on holiday at my sister-in-law's. What do you think it is?

They are made of what looks like very thick felt, they have a series of slits/cuts in them. Sophie was fascinated by them and I think they are very clever.........

I put my wool in this one, it is a very clever 'stringy' looking bag! The slits must have been cut by lasers or something in the factory, Sophie was very impressed with this. So we bought a couple for my Sister-in-law who put some veg in them from the allotment. Hooks may well be put in the kitchen to hang them up on too.

One draw-back is that as soon as you put the bag down it goes flat, so it definitely needs to be hung up.

Even though this one starts off oval when it is flat I was surprised when it turned into an oblong when filled!

So I could not resist buying a couple for our kitchen, they cost £1.80 and £1.99 which I did not think was too bad for something a little different!

Right, I am off to put some washing on and spend some time in the garden.

Bye for now and thank you again for your comments concerning my migraine and our neighbour's well-being, very kind and thoughtful. I would also like to say a big hello to those who have recently become followers. I shall try and catch up with youif I can via the followers link, it does not always work. If you leave a comment here then I can click directly and say hello.


Saturday, 5 September 2009

Post update....

Well I eventually went to bed with my headache which was clearly now a migraine only to be woken up at 5am by a phone from our 90 year old neighbour to say that she had fallen down and could not move. So hubby and I dashed next door then it was clear that 999 had to be called. By the time hubby got back it from our neighbours house it was nearly 6am! I waited up for him in case we needed to do anything further,we managed to get back to sleep for a bit but then Sophie woke up. I stayed where I was for a bit but then got up as my tummy was rumbling. However as I got up my head was still bad, so I managed to get about for a bit but by lunch I gave in and went back to bed. Got up and things kicked off again with our neighbour. So it is 9.50pm, we have been on the phone since 6.30pm, talking to varoius doctors, health agencies, our neighbour's family members etc, dinner was late, Sophie is still up because of the late dinner and we are waiting for a social worker to visit concerning next door. Excellent example being set with a 6 year old up this late, but don't you find that if it can go wrong it will? Sods law I call it.
Thankfully my migraine has gone (yippeee) I have done some ironing and helped with dinner. Hopefully tomorrow I shall be back to normal. Many thanks for the comments today, rest was the tonic I needed, still no cold so goodness knows what brought it on.
Bye for now I am off to put the kettle on.

I made it to the weekend!

Sounds drastic but the first three days back at work have gone well. Due to the building work over the summer, access to my classroom was not possible and I took home what I could. However the new displays needed to go up, and there is always a mountain of things that need looking at. So I have been dashing about like a headless chicken on Thursday and was soooo close to having completed my tick list. Friday saw the older students in and I had my New Year 11 group. Showed them the coursework from the previous group, given them food for thought and next week we make a start!

I you would like to see what the students made for their exam see the previous post.

Picture from here.
Friday was marred slightly by having a thumping headache which even extra strength painkillers have not solved. Still up because it is worse when I lie down! If I end up with a cold this early in the term I shall be really annoyed I usually last until at least November before I succumb to germs and bugs.

So I have tried to work through it by pickling some red cabbage that I was lucky to be given. I made a big batch of ratatouille for the freezer and washed, cut and frozen two batched or runner beans! That is my domestic Goddess bit , and no, the headache did not go away!
Sorry no pics at the moment but I am hopeing to come back later today when I am feeling better and I can focus the camera.
Bye for now.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Students Exam work

I thought you might like to see the practical work that my students made for their exam this Summer.
Appliqued and quilting baby cot quilt. On the theme of butterflies. Used a Janome 350e on this too.

An amazing bag made using Amy Butler fabric. I would struggle to do better! An American pattern was used where there were diagrams and you had to draw up the pattern pieces yourself. Had a few sleepless nights over this!

Applique, beading, patchwork and quilted cushion.

A cushion which has so much on it that it would take ages to blog about it! If you think of it she has used the technique. The photo does does quite pick up the colours of the fabric to its advantage.

Based on the Amy Butler cushion pattern. (This group liked Amy Butler patterns and fabric, my influence I am afraid.) 24 handmade petals.

A ball gown which again the camera has not quite picked up the colour. Tricky fabric to work with. Fitted perfectly.
This is only a part of this students work. It is a double bed duvet and pillow set. Created her own pattern and dyed her own fabric. Crisp and fresh. I made up a little mock bed using the tables like they do in Debenhams, looked just right.
A small but excellent group. They all got the grades predicted and in some cases higher. The feedback from the moderator was very complimentary to the students and me. They are a lovely group and I will miss them a lot, one of the group I taught for 5 years on the trot and her Mum is now my daughter's TA for this school year! Small world. Now that the dust had settled I start all over again with the next group of Year 11 tomorrow morning!
Off to do some work for tomorrow.
Take care

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