Monday, 30 June 2014

Pin Cushion - Revamp

I took a tired old cross stitched cover off this pincushion and the layer underneath was not much better either!
So I unscrewed the base and took this layer off too.
I then went off to find some lovely, cheerful and summery fabric and I found this.........
I decided  to stretch it over the sponge and wooden base rather than gluing it or using a staple gun which did not work as I did try that first!
What do you think?
My much loved and much used wooden based pin cushion,  now has a new lease of life.
Have a good week and thank you for the comments left.  I shall reply now that I have completed my end of year reports.
Take care

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Zentagle Revisit - Sketchbook

It has been just over a year since I last created a Zentagle design in my sketchbook.  Where has the time gone and why is it so impossible for me to find time to draw them more often?  While I am pondering that  question lets have a look at my latest effort.
The main flower shape was already drawn in my book nearly a year ago and I could not think what my original idea was going to be so I just made this one up as I sat in the garden on Sunday afternoon thinking I hope that the lovely weather will last for another week.
(unfortunately it is going to rain tomorrow).
I wanted to use thick and thin lines and keep the flowers as the main feature of the page.
I also tried to keep the lines all curved and spirals also came to mind.
On the following page I had drawn some hex's, again not sure why, so I had a little go at adding some different patterns on this page.  Used more thick lines on this page to give a much bolder look.
I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed doing these and I have recently set Zentangle designs as a homework challenge for my Year 7 groups.
So hopefully it will not be another year before I create some more!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Home grown - Summer Flowers

Ever since visiting Hardy's cottage as part of the National Trust many years ago, I have always wanted to try and have a cottage style garden with lots of flowers which are suitable for cutting and having indoors.
Well finally this year I have grown some pinks that are now ready for cutting. I added the plants last summer and left it as much as possible and this year they have gone mad and I cut the above this afternoon.

I have also planted some other plants this year which will not really flower properly until next year.  I have added many that are bee friendly which should help my apple trees as well.  We have painted the house this last half term and sorted out some other little jobs in the garden so that hopefully if we have a nice summer we can  sit outside and enjoy it.
Today it has been very hot, in the shade it was 29 degrees and 40+ in the sun so under an umbrella I was marking and it made it go much more happily.
Tomorrow I need to put some plants in that I bought this  weekend but I wanted to give them a thorough water first due to the hot weather.
So another week at work but it is now the 2 week countdown before our school trip to Spain with 46 students and 6 staff!
Watch this space.
Hope you all had the lovely weekend that Cornwall was able to enjoy.
Take care.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Summer Fruits

The lovely weather that we have been having these past few weeks has suddenly worked wonders for our strawberries.
We normally have an on-going battle with the local slug population as to who will get to them first but this year the dryer weather has worked in our favour and slugs are not to be seen!

We have been very encouraged by the number that are waiting to turn rosy red, so many more than we usually get.
As they are ripening, we are picking them and popping them in the fridge.
Best get some cream in the house!
All of the flowers are also doing well and my apple trees are growing teeney tiny apples at the moment.  One of best years for our garden ever!
PS Hubby bought me a manicure pressie for Valentines and guess what.......i have finally booked an appointment this Saturday morning!  Can not wait, it will make a welcome change.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Crochet WIP- Finally completed.

I am ashamed to say that I started this Granny Square bag well over a year ago and it went together really quickly.  It was intended to use up yarn left over from other knitting projects and I wanted to make some squares but do something a little different with them.  There have been many versions of this bag but it was new to me.
I tried to keep the colours separated and once I had worked out how to get the shape I started to sew them together as I went.  My first problem was trying to make the straps because at the time of making this bag I was still learning how to crochet and achieve straight edges.  I was also in several minds as to the colour of the lining.  Then, as usual, I was side tracked with  subject changes at work and then of course I started by evening class.  Anyway, last week I decided to sort it out, sat down with Attic24 on my computer and refused to move until I had cracked it!  I tried to make the straps as tight as possible as I do not want them to  stretch with use.
I even managed to make them exactly the same size!!   Just before I attached them I did go around the top edge of the bag with a picot stitch which went right first time (on a roll here!) and  itdid make the edge much nicer to look at.
My next delay in the months leading up to this completion had been what colour lining fabric to have.  After just not being able to find the magic "oh yes that's it" I gave up and went for.....
....................cream!  Not very inspiring perhaps but nothing else seemed right.  So I cut, pinned and hand stitched it in place.
I even thought to add one of my own labels while I was finishing it off.
The colour is a pretty good match with my work planner, but it will not be put in this bag as it is genuinely far too heavy.  I am really pleased with how it turned out, I just wish I had completed it much sooner.  
Another WIP done.  It is so satisfying.
Next in line is a quilt ,now that is another whole story yet to be told.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Le Challenge - June - Charity

 This months Le Challenge was called Charity and many things sprung to mind and then I would put them to one side.  In the end I decided to complete one of the dresses for the group charity project that I am doing with my Textiles Group at school.
The charity it called Dress a Girl Around the World and one of the blogs to view about it is HERE
There are instructions and measurements, a series of labels which can be printed of on to printable fabric and where to send your dresses after you have made them.
I picked a lovely floral pink 100% cotton fabric and each pair of students decided how to carefully decorate the pocket.  See below.  We then added a label to each pocket before attaching the pocket to the dress.
My students are 12/13 years old and for most it is the first time that they have made any kind of garment, so I hope they are alright and we are checking them as much as possible.
Sorry this is a bit blurred but the label is quite small.
This coming Monday is going to be our last session on these dresses and I have brought them home to do bit of quality control and to sort out a couple of problems we encountered last week,  nothing drastic but you know what is is like when you are learning.
So that is my contribution to this months challenge, I have finished my dress so that the club members can see what theirs will look like as the straps/binding is the last piece to go on and then we shall check and remove any stray threads.
So here is the link to the main Charity site, you might like to take part as well.
Dress a Girl Around the World.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

My degree version of the "sewing exercise book"

You may remember a post I did back in May about an exercise book which was given to me by a friend containing her sewing samples from the 1950's.  See here 
Well I thought that you might like to see my version which I created as part of my degree.
I was sponsored by Wallis and I went from Southampton to London four days a week for 6 months and learnt how to make wool and cashmere coats, basically how to do a form of  tailoring
This was my technical book which I started up as my placement progressed to add notes and instructions which I could take away with me back to college and work on the garments over the weekend.  I lived and breathed these 6 coats!!  Half way through I was informed that I would have to also make all of the garments that would go underneath.  I nearly keeled over at that point.
So this is quite a picture heavy but I thought it would be a good comparison.

Wallis used what we call pattern blocks which is a basic shape which is used as a starting point form which new shapes and designs can be developed from.
Writing notes to go with the drawings helped me when I got back to college.
The book was really useful in that one side had graph paper and the other had lines.  So scaled drawings on one side with measurements and fabric samples.

We were trained to try out patterns and shapes in 1/10th scale hence the colour card versions that you can see above.
A page devoted to pocket shapes.
Then a sample in wool and cashmere to test the size and shape.  Even today I am proud of the top edge piping!
Technical notes from my pattern cutting theory book and a calico sample to make sure that I knew what I wanted and gfet the stitch size right.  The sample above was the one used in the end.
Cuffs styles.  Wallis did have their own idea and patterns for cuffs but I also needed to learn how to create a basic cuff so that I could adapt theirs successfully.  Understanding HOW something fits or works is half the battle and makes you a much better garment maker, at any level.
The above photograph shows a toile (mock up made in light weight calico) to test out my design using the Wallis base blocks adapted by me to match my design features.
This is the second of the 6 coats that I made.
This is a photo of a photo detail of the top stitching and special button that I found on a mini buying trip to London.  I am pretty sure it was from The Button Lady.  I did in fact keep this coat in the end but I sold the others as I would not have worn them and several were too long as well.  I am not that tall really.
The above picture shows an A3 sheet of photographs which I put together when I was applying for jobs years ago and I then teamed this with another sheet featureing student work and project ideas that i created during my teaching practice, ( I think it went al long way to me getting that all important interview) but you can see what the coats looked like, some of the other garments that I had to make plus bits of the Degree Show at Olympia .
This one is a little damaged but because these were taken before the digital age I  do not have a copy of this picture.  I really liked this design and if worn the coat was meant to have a flattering shape, a bit like a shorter version of the Channel 1950's style nipped in at the waist with the belt but could also be worn without it as well.
A picture taken at the Fashion show in London which my parents came to see and travelled down from Cambridge.  It was a very hot summers day so modelling a winter collection was ironic but it was worth seeing all that hard work walking along and it meant that a huge section of my life had come to an end and it was time to move on.
Over the six months I nearly filled this book and I was so pleased with it.  One of my friends said that I should submit it along with my final degree project.  So in the end I did and just over 20 years later it has had several house moves but I can not bear to throw it away.
It was a lot of hard work making those garments and carrying all 6 coats on the underground to Harpenden on my own and the sheer lack of sleep I had was only managed due ot the age I was at the time, the desire to do well and not really knowing how else to do it.  I should have found accommodation during those 6 months but I could not afford it so I had to commute form Southampton each day four days a week for the 6 months my final project took.  There was lot of other work such as a dissertation, German assignments, business studies and a presentation etc etc. looking back I wonder how I managed it but on the other hand I am still doing the same amount of work if not more today.
So there you have it, my own version of the 1950's sewing book ( even though it is about 20 years old!).
Maybe Sophie will put something together as well, only time will tell.
I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane and that even the little test pieces and the ways we choose to learn and record that learning can be of interest in years to come.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

ATC Swap - I have signed up

I have wanted to do more Artist Trading Card Swapping ever since I took part in a swap nearly two years ago.  Then after sending 6 to Australia and not hearing anything back I as rather put off.  
So I have decided to sign up this time with Blissfull ATC Swap group.

The Month I am starting with is June and the theme is ZODIAC.............
Already I am stuck............!
I still have time for some kind of eureka moment but I hope it comes along soon.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Crochet Gift - Opam June

Another week has gone without a post, I really am a bad blogger but even though the end of the school year is fast approaching I have been sooooo busy with marking, getting project work finished and planning for next year that the computer has not been on much this week at all.
However, Thursday night I did manage to start making this wash cloth out of white 100% cotton yarn as part of a birthday present for a friend of mine on 15th June.
I completed it about 10 mins ago!
I made it about the same size as a shop bought flannel and used a crochet stitch which I thought would last and not be rough to the skin.  I then added a small crochet flower using the tutorial over at Attic 24 to pop in the corner but to also use up the left overs of the yarn.
To the parcel I am going to add a white shower puff to exfoliate and some posh shower gel.  Plus an aqua sponge which is in a packet that keeps the sponge damp!  A bit weird but the write up on the packet sounded great so I hope she likes it and then some body cream to match the shower gel when I have tracked it down as the shop today had run out.
Now, as best as I can remember I have never given my friend shower/wash items in all the 19 odd years that I have known her and she is coming to the end of a three year degree course (she decided to re-train) so I thought a few relaxing baths and showers might be called for, so I hope I am being a little bit original
I enjoyed the crochet bit as well.  My tension and stitch formation is possibly the best I have done so far and my 2014 quest to improve my crochet continues!
What have you been making today?
Off to tackle the crochet bag lining that I have been ignoring this week.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sew Along Party Update.

Well it has been a busy weekend and I have managed to do some of what I planned.
I made my shoe bags by cutting off both trouser legs as shown above.
I decided to use the hems of the trousers to create a ready-made drawstring channel by opening up the seam slightly and I also top stitched around the outer edge to stop the seam from becoming undone too far.  Using a safety pin I threaded through what was in fact the trouser tie cord which I took out and recycled to make the drawstring for my shoes bags.  Waste not want not as they say.
Then,  I stitched down the inside to straighten it up a little and across the base to close up the leg.
Hey presto!  A bag whereby I managed to also include the embroidery and beading detail which had been a feature of the summer trousers.
Trousers of course have two legs, generally, so I made a second bag!
Knotted the ends together to secure the cording.
I am pleased with these and I shall be using them when I go on the school trip to Spain next month.  I have been going on about making some for years.........better late then never.  I think I may make a couple more to keep some of my shoes dust free in my wardrobe as well.
I also went through the dresses that the Textiles Club are making as got everyone to the same stage, only had three things to do.  They are working in pairs and doing really well considering for some this is their first garment make.
So Monday tomorrow and the start of another week.
Off to bed to read my book with a cup of tea.
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