Sunday, 15 January 2017

January 2017

I have been quite busy since the last post. Christmas always has me looking at small projects to add to my lovely collection of Christmas decorations. I developed a couple of bird patterns for the quilting group I attend, the inspiration for these came from a piece of Christmas fabric and a Christmas card. These seemed popular with our members. The pattern can be found on the QoS blog via a link under the December 2016 post.

I also made a pattern for a much simpler bird using a crazy patchwork technique and some of the small scraps that I find it so hard to discard. This technique is adapted from a book called Fabric Leftovers by D'Arcy-Jean Milne. I recommend it for those of you who find it hard to discard nice but small bits  of fabric. It also encourages you to use some of those lovely decorative stitches on your sewing machine. I tend to use felt as a base, and cover the fabric with net/tulle if the fabric pieces are very small, before using decorative stitches to anchor them down. The decorative stitches need to be experimented with, as they are not all suitable for this technique. Also if you use a decorative thread, metallic for instance, you can run into problems.

Crazy patchwork birds
This 'new' fabric also makes nice purses and book covers if you need a nice hand made gift. If you look at a previous post, 'New Fabric from Scraps' February 2013, I have explained the process in a bit more detail and included references of the sources I have used. You can also make these birds from felt or fabric for a quicker version. They do not have to be Christmas birds, these two are hanging from twiggy stems with LED lights.

Felt and fabric birds

Both these patterns would be suitable to make with children as they can all be made by hand.

I bought a lovely book of crocheted snowflake patterns and managed to make all 40. I have an idea about how I would like to use them, but they will need starching first.

Christmas also means a Secret Santa present. I made this for a friend who is partial to purple. It was a commercial pattern from Snapdragon Designs called Angel Wreath. I thought I would be clever and reduce the size a bit to 75%. I had a few problems as the pieces were smaller and more fiddly to make, but am very pleased with the result. The stars and hearts are painted wooden buttons.

Snapdragon Designs - Angel Wreath
I have to confess to having bought several crochet books this year, from which I have made some Christmas decorations (among other things) here are a few of them. From Ruby and Custard's Crochet by Millie Masterson.
Dove and puddings from Ruby and Custard's Crochet,
knitted pine-cones - Jane Greenoff pattern
From Twenty to Make Mini Christmas Crochet by Val Pierce.



Some I made last year from Simply Crochet magazine issue 38.

Christmas Wreath, not exactly to pattern

Holly bunting
Apart from Christmas, I have been working on some projects for the quilting group. I said I would give a couple of half day workshops. One is on making a circular box with a zip (more pictures see January 2015 post), and the other will be on using jellyrolls for quilts and bags. These are coming along nicely.

Circular box for workshop
I have made a present for a friend, no picture as she has not had the birthday yet. I have been making several T-shirt quilts for Project Linus, two finished and two still to layer and quilt. I have lots more fabric for more of these. As it is a large block they make up quickly - if that is all you are doing!

First T-shirt quilt for Linus
I have also been making crochet blankets, Flower hexagons from Ruby and Custard's Crochet, a Corner to corner squares blanket from Deramores and the Moorland blanket CAL from Lucy at Attic24. I also have a crochet scarf on the go, I am making this from a variegated crochet yarn and one of the snowflake patterns, joining the motifs as I go. I made a cosy neck warmer (Attic24) and a lacy scarf as gifts.

The latest project, finished this week, was a bag for my small sewing machine a Janome JP760. It is big enough to hold the machine and accessories as well as an extension lead. it has a pocket for the manual and webbing straps from the base for support. I used a similar method of construction to the Spot bags from the June 2016 post. I quilted the front and used 809 Decor Bond interfacing from Pellon on the lining. It took a lot of ironing to get it to stick. Although it is not as firm as craft interfacing, it was a bit like try to stitch a 30 x 20 inch piece of card. The finish is nice and firm. I am not sure that I needed such a firm interfacing, but having bought it (with a view to using it in boxes and small bags), I thought I would try it in a bigger bag. It will be interesting to see how it keeps it's shape during use.

Sewing machine bag
I also had a go at dressmaking. I made a lovely tunic from some elephant batik fabric. It was so successful I will have another go, already have the fabric, with a collar and 3/4 sleeves. I also have another pattern for a top I would like to try.

Lastly, as my Christmas wreath was so successful, I decided to make a Flower wreath using patterns from various books, mainly 100 Flowers  and 75 birds, butterflies and beautiful beasties to knit and crochet by Lisa Stanfield.

Flower wreath
I must stop thinking I that I don't get enough time to sew/craft, as I clearly get plenty of time to pursue my creative side. My problem is the number of things I would like to do, far out weighs the time I have to do them!

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