Friday, 3 April 2020

2020 Wk 14 - CV Sewing

I found a supplier who sells coloured bobbin thread for Lizzie (until now  I only had white) so when I decided to sew a version of a rainbow to put in the front window for the kids to find I was delighted to manage to stitch it two sided!

I've also been making masks: (a lot of research, and design and research signed off by local chemist, and just for people who can’t get proper masks, this video shows how valuable they are ) using t-shirts and cotton

EDIT: Some people have asked how I am making them so the instructions are in the link above, but my adaptations are ...
  • I have been using old t-shirts for one layer and old pillowcases or other 100% cotton for the other layer. 
  • The t-shirt stretches a bit but SOOO many go to landfill, so it feels good to use them! 
  • I boil washed everything first.  
  • My village chemist asked that we include a channel for a metal strip (maybe a few lengths of garden twine twisted, or a pipe cleaner, or food tie warps) so the mask can grip the top of the nose:   I cut a strip of fabric 7 inches wide and about 12 inches long, I folded the two long ends in 1/4 inch and in again to make a hem and stitch them down (see pic below with the cat), then cross cut into hemmed strips 1.5" wide, fold in half, wrong sides together and press (and then the cat went to sleep on it so I had to start again!!!) When you layer the fabric in instruction 1, add the channel bit, centered, matching the raw edges. (if that all sounds Greek I can send you photos) 
  • I also made my own bias tape, but it doesn't need to be cut on the bias. I found the 6" elastic was too short - I went up to 8" so people can knot them if they are too long 

I carefully handed a few to Lisa whilst keeping the 2m rule

And she modeled one for me!

 All quality inspected by Luna!

We've been exercising to Joe Wickes' Senior keep fit video - 5 of us in 4 locations!!!

And I've done some speed dating on this stalled project.  I'm not sure I like the blocks in alternate directions

But I'm not sure I like them alternating with plain blocks either.  This may have to go back into the the-be-allowed-to-mature pile

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

2020 Wk 14 - Finishes!

Some projects have moved from the UFO pile to the Finished pile - yippee!

This jelly roll race was bound, finished, gained a label, and went in the post to Australia

 This lush Kaffe Fassett creation had been bound and finished

And this has made it to flimsy stage, and fleece has been ordered for the backing

 In other news - the garden table has had another coat of varnish and is looking amazing

 And I *LOVE* getting pics of little people using the quilts that I made for them!!!!

Friday, 27 March 2020

2020 Wk 13 - a finished quilt for an anniversary

The BFL (my father’s initials) quilt was finished earlier this year and has been on my on my bed ever siblings.  I used some blocks embroidered with free motion quilting, some blocks machine embroidered with designs I created, and mostly some perfect fabrics from various collections designed by Janet Clare.

I am totally in love with this

More details about my quilt are here

As well as having added embroideries that were important to me, the fabrics really spoke to me too

They are all Janet Clare fabrics: sailing ships - my father loved them (my stepmom had to clear 31 boxes of books about, and paintings of sailing ships!), there is wind, rain and seaweed (all featured on holidays to Bergen and to Halsnøy )!  The red cottages are perfect to depict the cottage we visited every holiday, and the blue whales ... our Norwegian family is spread all over the world: USA, Kenya, now Portugal, England and of course Norway, but like blue whales we call to each other across the oceans and support each other.

When I had finished “my” quilt there was enough fabric left for a end-of-the-bed quilt, or a wrap-round-the-shoulders-if-you-are-cold-or-need-a-hug quilt, so I made one for his best friend, my stepmom, too.  It’s been posted to her and I’m hoping it will arrive in time to commemorate the anniversary - I can’t believe he’s been gone two years! 

Thank you to Janet and Tony Clare for the course and the fabrics, thank you to my aunts, cousins and the family for the happy memories, thank you to the blue whales for the love, thank you to my “Farmor” (grandmother) for recognising the cottage and the island as a treasure for so many future generations, and thank you to my father, BFL, for having been you: love you and miss you

Thursday, 26 March 2020

2020 Wk 13 - for a small audience

This post is for a small audience in many ways - a couple of colleagues are not really feeling the fun of home schooling their kids and don’t have a lot of craft resources, whereas, ahem, I do!  So the post is kind of for three lovely youngsters!

I have dug out a whole load of supplies from the childminding days (the benefit of being a hoarder) but where as I can safely get the stuff to them, I can’t pop in and explain the crafts: so this seemed the logical place to do just that!

So here we go!  Have fun Carly and Lora!  Hope something here sparks their imagination! Don’t insist they use the stuff the way I’ve suggested, if anything inspired them to make anything at all that would be great!!!

French Knitting.  They might get bored with this but it’s something they can pick up and put down.  I found that the easiest way to remember the winding on technique was to have the next peg to be wound furthest away from me and then wind a letter “e” .  I have copied the instructions so you each have them.  You each have one that has been started - maybe tie something a bit heavy to the emerging tail to help pull the knitting through.  Use the plastic needle or a tooth pick to lift the old loop over the new loop.  They may not like it at all - not sure any of mine enjoyed it!

Scratchy dinosaurs - probably for B - scratch off the black and reveal bright colours below.  Can be done to show detail on the dinosaur or  most Sunday school kids seemed to want to remove all the black, there is a wooden pen thing in the box for drawing on the black

Paracord  bracelets - you both have some paracord and some instructions, and enough clasps to make a few each.  Once it’s set up it’s  just a repetitive knot .

Flip flop crafts (sorry only two kits) might be fun for the bigger girls, so one in each box

The paper based crafts are also one in each box.  The square is a mandala kit - the stencils are in the base, the idea is that you choose one design and draw it using the stencil, then move the stencil one notch and draw it again.  The roller makes plain paper into embossed paper.  Maybe swap when they've lost interest

Bead bugs - have fun, instructions are included

Stamping - I have clearly had phases where I have bought far too many alphabet stamps so you have some each plus some other wooden stamps and some see-through plastic stamps: (these get stuck onto the Perspex  block, used and then take them off the Perspex box and stick something else on). Hopefully the ink pads still have something left in them - if they have dried up maybe try with a drop of two of water.  I *think* they are washable inks

Weaving coasters.  Instructions are enclosed, you can swap after a while if you want.

Transfer paints.  These are now in plastic bags with some fabric.  If you don’t mind can you pour or pippet small amounts of paint onto a plate or plastic egg cups, it’s best if they don’t get mixed in the pots!  Get the girls to paint a picture (no words, we are going to end up with a mirror image of their picture. They can use paint book sheets or pictures printed from the internet.  Start with smallish images so it will fit under the iron in one go. When the paint is dry set up the ironing board (groan if you like but a bit of magic is going to happen so it’s worth it!)

Get the girls to put their image face down on a corner of the fabric supplied and press for a count of (can’t remember, maybe start with 10) on a synthetic (or 1 dot) heat.   Pressing means put the iron down and count - don’t move it around.  If it’s a big pic you’ll need to lift the iron and put it down again.  Prepare to be amazed.  And now move the picture to another corner of the fabric and press again.  More magic!  I have more synthetic fabric if you need it.

Paper dolls - some to cut out and colour in clothes (maybe stick to cardboard first for rigidity) and some to draw on - maybe draw friends or family and make bunting for the bedroom (use needle to sew them onto a length of wool - it’s best it you can do an in and an out on each head or shoulders to stop them turning sideways

Sewing - gulp! I know you are not fans but the older girls might enjoy it.  Tips: I suggest using thread no longer than fingertip to armpit, BUT measure twice that, thread the needle then knot the two ends together (a loop knot- make a loop and push the ends through) now the girls can’t keep unthreading the needle.  But when they have about the length of their hand left of thread they need to stop sewing and tie off this thread. To do this sew a *tiny* stitch and before you pull the thread all the way through push the needle through the loop then pull tight.  Repeat.  Cut the thread at least two fingers width from the end.

The wooden sticks with the notches can be pushed together in a kind of log cabin method - a left and a right then an away and a near.  They can made a good sized box - glue or otherwise join the coloured sticks to make a base

Loom weaving- both looms have been warped (set up) and started.  The principle is that the wefts (the bits you weave in) go under-over-under-over, and if it went over last time it goes under this time. (See the bit I’ve done for you).

Don’t get stressed if the girls don’t get it 100% right it won’t matter.  The wooden block is to slightly raise alternate warps, and the a slight twist raises the other warps.  I find it annoying but they might find it helps.  If they find it confusing seeing the other warp threads you could put a sheet of paper over them.  One set has a wooden shuttle to help pushing the thread through the other has a plastic needle in the box.  The weaving needs to be pushed to the end every time to keep in tidy.  One kit has a wooden comb type of thing, the other will need to use a fork or similar.

These card templates are great for weaving or embroidery.  You have a weaving example each and see the pic for embroidery - they could weave a person (add separate arms and legs - the red one has arms) or embroider their name (and friends’ names?) or a star or just in one hole out of another with different colours. (There are plenty more if they are a success)

Hole punch sets: you have one collection each - feel free to swap as one has alphabet and the other has shapes.  The girls can cut the designs along the edge of a piece of paper (bookmarks?) but can also use the bits they have cut out to stick on things

Tiny photo frames - they can decorate the frames and either cut faces out of old family photos, or draw a tiny pic to put in the frame

Foam stuff - a few bits in each box - stick stuff onto the foam - pritt stick should be fine.  However tempting it is, try not to let them use felt tip pens as they don't dry on the foam and therefore smudge forever!  I've chucked in some felt flowers - dismantle the flowers and you have some felt petals they can stick on

Hema beads - I’ll pick this up when I next go to church.  pic to follow.
arrange the beads on the pegboard - there are a couple of books of ideas and the girls can create their own designs.  Once its finished *carefully* move the board to the ironing board.  using greaseproof paper on top of the design iron it.  You will see through the paper that the beads start to melt and fuse together.  Once the top looks secure give it a minute or two to cool a bit then pull gently way from the board.  Flip the design over and press from the other side and melt that too to make it more robust (once they break repair is nigh on impossible).  It will be too hot for the kids to touch yet.  If it starts to curl press again with the iron and then put a book on top to flatten  They can be used as drinks coasters or hung with thread in the window

"Latch" Wool rug

Long term project but it may interest at least one of the girls
Work from the front - push the crochet hook through a hole and hook the middle of a bit of wool.  Pull it slightly through the hole. Release the hook now push the hook through the loop of wool, and down through an adjoining hole, hook the tails of the wool and pull up through the hole and through the loop.  ( explains, but uses a proper latch hook at we don't have one.  If it's too slow they could use the base fabric and weave lengths of wool under-over-under-over using a needle

Sunday, 22 March 2020

2020 Wk 12 - Zip zip zippy day

we were not able to hold Crafty Church yesterday, but I did go and open the church for a time of prayer and reflection, and so I could use the doors/tables to plan a customer's quilt.

All planned now so I can start sewing

I may have done some shopping!    I do have a weakness for pre-wound bobbins and was delighted when I found a UK based site selling them.  Not only much cheaper on postage, but the USA site had pages and pages of machine manufacturers and which bobbin size . . . but my machines weren't on the list.  At, she just listed 4 choices for Brother - nice and easy!

So I treated Lizzie to black bobbins and some pretty colours, and the sewing machine (which doesn't have a name) to a whole load of colours!

Two of the classes that have had to be postponed were for a zippy pouch - one was a machine class and one was hand sewing, but both needed samples, and my hand sewing ladies don't mind if I machine sew a sample for 'their' class.

My problem is that I wont remember the construction methods when I don't to teach these so I am saving my sanity by recording the methods along with the photos here!

The instructions are very "short hand", but if you do want more info just zap me a comment or email

Curt a piece of vinyl into a square or rectangle about 1/2 inch bigger than the size you want the pouch.  Cut the vinyl into 2 where the zip needs to go: could be 50/50 but I usually go for about 1/4 and 3/4 sections.

For all the methods you need to attach the zip to vinyl fabric using favorite method resulting in at least 1/2 inch fabric on both lengths of the zip.  I use this method (use instructions 1-7 here) -   Cut strips of fabric 2" wide fold in half, press, fold edges into the middle, press: you now have zipper binding 1/2" wide

Tuck the edge of one piece of vinyl into to the opening until it's flush with the back, pin or clip in place.  Place on top of the zip tape and sew through the zipper binding, the vinyl and the zip.  repeat on the other side of the zip so the vinyl is now once piece with a zip in it.

Cut internal fabric and external/backing fabric pieces the same size as the prepared vinyl.

Layer fabrics as shown (but so edges match), pin in place

Non- Bias Binding method
Cut length of non-bias binding equal to perimeter plus 8".  Bind as for a quilt.

Bias Binding method
As above, but round the edges of the pouch and bind with bias binding gently easing around the corners

Birthing method (full vinyl front)
Stitch all the way round but leaving a 6" gap for birthing

Birthing method (bordered vinyl)
I prepared the vinyl/window piece by adding a border to the vinyl, then slicing into the fabric border and adding a zip

The birthing method pouches have not been finished so we can look at them layered up in the class.  When birthing remember to turn by putting your hand in where you can feel the zipper pull and turn that section to the outside.

Friday, 20 March 2020

2020 Wk 12 - Jelly Roll Race

I finally braved the state in the sewing room, unearthed the started jelly roll race, and finished piecing and quilting it.

I love the total randomness of the blocks!

My lovely niece, Indi, and I recently had an Instagram chat during which she said yes please she would like a quilt for her bed

Music to my ears of course!  What to make?  - Mum brought an Australian Jelly Roll home from Australia for me, from her recent visit to my brother and his family.  It was displayed in the shop made up to  Jelly Roll Race, and that's what caught mum's eye. So that was a good idea, but could I add more to it?. . .Indi has lived all her life in Oz, her mum is quarter Spanish, and her dad is half English and half Norwegian.

They used to have an Akita dog, she did a tandem parachute jump for her 12th (!) birthday and she is a great little driver, accompanying my brother to race tracks when he races.

So a quick shopping trip to Spoonflower added some other relevant (but eclectic)  fabrics:  Hopefully she will see it as a grown up version of an i-spy quilt

Trimming and binding still to be done, then get it sent off to Oz!