Friday, December 17, 2010

Velvet scarf

This was a Christmas present from my sister. SHe bought me the velvet, and the elephant ribbon. I just had to sew everything together...But that took me a long time.

It is finished, not used yet but it will be as it is gorgeous.

Sorry for the poor quality of this photo, there was nobody around to take a photo of me,
so you have a reflection of the flash.
There are 2 colours of velvet, one for each side of the scarf. And they come back to the other side, with the ribbon as a separation.

I have some Christmas projects ready or nearly ready, but can't show them to you yet. So sorry. But they will appear here when they have been given.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

My new knitted wrist warmers

First I had to deal with the vocabulary here. In France we call these "Mitaines", but in England they are Wrist warmers.Then English mittens are what is in French "Les moufles". That's a bit of confusion taken away.

Next the wool. I bought it from The Crafty Yarn and it is from Manos del Uruguay, extrafine merino number 9298. The funny story was that I bought it at a show near London, in Alexandra Palace, in October. I came home and discovered on the card that the shop is very local for me. Anyway I went to see them on another occasion and the owner is very nice indeed, I would recommend her.

 The wool came as a big skein, and I made it into a ball with the help of DD4, holding the wool, and a kitchen ustensil, to put some juice on a roast in the oven. Not sure about the actual name. The idea is that it is conic.

Next the pattern: I found it on Ravelry. It is from Coco's knitting and is called "Improvisation pattern".
It is done with one circular needle for both wrist warmers, and that takes some getting used to.
But finally it worked and I am happy with the result.
Here they are finished.
I made the length before and after the thumb the same, so that you can wear them on either hand.

 The inside of the hand is simpler.

 They are really nice, but I wouldn't wear them outside at the moment as it is too cold. We had -3 C yesterday in the afternoon. I was freezing while waiting at the school doors for DD4 to come out.

I wish you a nice week end, preparing for Christmas, no doubt.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas tree wall-hanging

I was wandering from blog to blog when I happened on this vintage Christmas tree on Pleasant Home. I think I was very interested by the technical aspect of the realisation; it stayed in my mind for a few days, so I knew I had to make it.

And it is that time of year again...

First you make a square of squares. To make this one I cut strips in 11 different Christmas fabrics, each strip 1 1/2" wide, by roughly 50cm or 20 "(the size of a fat quarter very often). You arrange them and sew them together, starting your seams once at the top and the next at the bottom to avoid any twisting. Iron you seams flat, one right, one left so that when you sew them back together they will meet in opposite directions.

Next sew them to make a tube, which you then cut in 1 1/2" wide rings. You open the seam between 2 squares on the 11 rings at different places to vary the colours. I chose to move by one square for each new row, which gives you this effect. You could choose to move 2 squares, or randomly.
Next you sew the rings together, once from the bottom, once from the top, and you should end up with this.

The back of my square with seams ironed flat.

These are the bits left over after squaring up. I will use them later.

Next you fold your square like on the photo, and sew the top and side together, leaving a gap for turning (see fingers).

 Put the seam in the middle, still with the opening, pin and cut the triangle at the bottom. Keep it for later.

 Now sew a straight seam at the bottom, on the wrong side. Take out the pins, cut the extra fabric in the corners, and turn right side out.

 I took the easy option to measure the wadding. I cut around my triangular shape. Easy.
It is more difficult to then push the wadding inside, and slip stitch the opening at the back closed.

 I used the triangle left over to do the same thing, in a tiny size.

That's all that was left, and discarded. Too small to do anything.

 The last stage is the quilting. I used my walking foot to quilt a triangular shape, with a space of 1/2". Easy again.
 I forgot to take a photo of a little ribbon stitched at the top, and another one at the back to hang my tree.

On the small tree I used one of the long strips end, as a binding, I left it too long on purpose.

I hope this will give you ideas for your own Christmas decorations.
The time seems to be flying in my house.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A funny video on Knitting

 I saw this video on You Tube some time ago, but it is so good, and impossible in a way, it has to make you laugh.
I hope you enjoy it.

The last knit, video on You Tube

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pink card swap

In October I took part in a pink swap of cards. I really enjoyed it.
I made 6 cards, kept one for myself and sent 5, and in exchange I received these 5 fabulous cards.

Pink champagne from Claire, Edinburgh
Flowers from Pauline

By Jacquie

A calorie free muffin from Barbara in Leeds

Pink ribbons from Benta near Windsor

The backs with "Postcards"stamped on
The theme being Pink, I made some Kokeshi dolls, using a stencil bought in France. These Japanese dolls are quite popular in France and my niece C is especially fond of them.
The front of the cards 

My dear Husband bought me some rubber stamps with "Postcards" in different designs. I used one on the back and I think the result is effective.

I hand quilted around the design with a white thread, but wonder if it was really necessary as I had to use an iron to fuse the buckram to the backing and the front. It flattened everything.
 This is the stencil and all the equipment I needed. Only 3 colours of paint, and the smaller stencil brushes were the most useful on this project.

I enjoyed doing these and my little collection of fabric postcards is growing slowly. Nice.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tee shirt becomes a bag

During the half term holidays, my sister and her family came to visit us. One of her son's favorite tee shirt was becoming too small, so she asked me if I would transform it into a bag.

It stayed in England while they went back to France, but I don't think my nephew realised that. He is 7 years old. He also has several other favourite t-shirts.

And so I used my rotary cutter and a long ruler to cut the sides, and the neckline (this way I avoided the seam of the armholes and made a taller bag).

The next step is to over-sew all the raw edges of the fabric.

To make the pocket, I cut the bottom of one sleeve. I used the hem as the top of my pocket, folded 1/4" on the 3 other sides, and sewed it on one piece of the bag.

Then, when the 2 parts of the bag right sides together, I sewed all the way down one long edge, the bottom of the bag, and the other side, but on that last one I left a gap for the string or ribbon that will close the bag. I left a gap of about 3/4", or 2 cm, and then sewn to the top on the last 1".

Finally to make the channel for the closure, fold twice your fabric at the top of the bag and sew all the way around. The first fold will be your seam allowance, and the second will give you the space for the string to go along the top of the bag.

Then you just need to find a matching ribbon or string, attach it to a safety pin, and pull through the channel. Make a knot and you have a new bag.

It is an easy way to recycle old t-shirts, provided they are flat. I have an old one which I really liked, but it has extra fabric for the breasts, so is not suitable for this technique. Too bad, it was a very nice pattern.

Now I hope that when C receives his new bag, he won't be cross with me for cutting his T-shirt !

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This summer I took some knitting with me on holidays. It is easy to carry and do anywhere.
I know you might not all be interested in my knitting, but it seems I have some periods or phases when I play with different textile mediums.
I still love my sewing, but sometimes I need more time and place to do it, where knitting or crochet is smaller and you can do just a bit and put it away.

In fact it is one of the risks : it gets put away, and stays there for longer than planned.

 So these are my socks, always the same pattern as the previous ones.

Now I found some gorgeous wool and am starting some mittens on a round needle, but both at the same time. It is a kind of challenge, we'll see if I can manage.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New cushions on the sofa

In fact the inserts are the old ones, but the covers are new.
I didn't take photos for a tutorial but they are very quick to make. I bought 1 metre and a half (60 inches) of this synthetic furry fabric, and managed to make 4 cushion covers. Each one is roughly 40 cm (16 inches) square finished.

I cut my fabric 42 cm(16 3/4") large by 95 cm(37 1/2") long. It doesn't have to be so precise on the length.
Next you need to sew a double return to make a hem on the 2 short ends.

Now put your pad or insert in the middle, and overlap the ends of your cushion cover, right sides outside. You can decide where you want the overlap to be. Pin the fabrics together. There is no need to measure with this method, it will fit.
Take the insert out through one of the open sides, turn the cover outside in and pin the open sides closed. You need to sew along each of the 2 sides, and then zigzag the edges if necessary (it was for my furry fabric).

Turn it right side out and you have finished. Bravo.
There was no need to put a zip (go to a store and buy one) or to make button holes and hand sew the buttons. It was also very fast.

I was amazed at the mess this fabric made on my floor. Lots of little threads went everywhere.

And I will have to cover more cushions as I realised that the fabric on some of them was getting worn out. It's a shame as I liked them, but then it gives me the opportunity to make something new.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pink Union Jack purse

This little purse on the theme of the Union Jack, the British flag, is all pink ! It was a request from DD1 to be used at school and keep her dinner money.
I made it some time ago but had lost the pictures on the computer.
In real life it doesn't look so pristine any more, but is still very much loved.

I had seen things similar in the shops, so the idea is not original, and I thought I could make one myself. It proved  a little more complicated than I thought, but I've done it.

After the front panel was done, I sewed the zip together with the front, back and lining. The rest is easier, although I am not always happy with the ends of the zips. The sides go a bit round, and I don't know what to do about it.
I made it on holidays in France, and it reminds me of a lovely quiet time.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Kokeshi bag

My lovely niece who lives in Le Havre loves the Japanese Kokeshi dolls. She has books about them, and some small reproductions in hard plastic. I made her a bag with a pieced Kokeshi on the front.
Here it is shown by DD3 in her school uniform, just to give you an idea of the size.

The pattern was taken from Quilt Mania, number 77, which was published in the spring.
I used one of their designs, although the round part of the bottom of the face disappears on my bag. I wonder why I took so much trouble to piece this part, and would recommend that you just make a square face.
Here is a close view of the doll finished on the quilted panel that was to become the front, bottom and back of the bag.

Of course I added some little pockets inside, in 2 different purple fabrics.
The edging on the top was made with my sewing machine on a cross stitch point.

I hope she gets to use this bag a lot, as it was given in June this year when we visited for the first communion of her brother and the baptism of her sister.

I'll try to publish more posts from now as I stopped working. More time to sew, hooray.