Thursday, 24 April 2014

Wooly Jumpers

I wasn't feeling that I had anything very interesting, or inspiring, to show you today. But then I spotted these photos on my friend Martin's Facebook page, and I had to share them with you.








This little lamb brightened my day today! I've shared some of Martin's amazing photos before, but since then he's made some of his best ones available here. If you have a minute then take a look, my favourites are the ones with the tree at sunrise and sunset, just beautiful.

And the one thing, on a making front, that I was dithering about whether or not to show you was a cushion I've just finished.


Now perfect to show you since it's made largely from upcycled, wooly jumpers.

Wool 'pennies' blanket stitched on by hand.
 I realise that this is a totally pathetic attempt at a linking pun, and even worse than pathetic to all those who know 'jumpers' better as 'sweaters', but today, I'm afraid it's the best I can do!

I started this one ages ago, at the same time as my other cushions, I'm a very slow hand stitcher. It's destined, as the others are, for our local fundraising event, the Bake Off. When I started making them I was feeling incredibly organised. the Bake Off was still months away. Now it's only just over 2 weeks to go, time seems to have flown by! So if you're local, then High Bickington is the place to be on the 10th of May - lots of delicious cakes and crafty goodies to buy. And all raising money for a Chemotherapy Unit Appeal.

I'll be back tomorrow with a photo from our week,

Sally.




Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Vintage Embroidery Quilt WIP

 I haven't been getting much quilt making done recently, but with all the children back at school today I pulled out a couple of my WIPs that have been seriously neglected over the last month.

You might remember my vintage embroideries quilt. I got my second star sewn up and the third one all ready to sew.




This one won't need too much more effort to get the top finished, I'm just planning on it having the three stars arranged in a plain background, maybe something like this:


And the yang to the pink, embroidered yin...

Excuse the pen marks still visible!

... I got another silhouette done for my Breakdance quilt!
I'm doing lots of linking up today again -  linky parties at Sew Fresh Quilts,  Freshly PiecedFreemotion by the River and tomorrow at My Quilt Infatuation.

Sally.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Sea Glass Mermaid Brooch

Quick post tonight - my mermaid brooch has a proper tail now, hurray!


Sewing sea glass opens up so many new possibilties - I think it might even require another trip to our favourite sea glass beach in the near future!


 What's that rhyme I'm thinking off, something like 'She sews sea glass on the sea shore'?!

Sally.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Plastic Canvas Blog Hop - Snowflakes


When Diane of Craftypod put out a call at the start of the year, for bloggers interested in joining in with her 2014 Plastic Canvas Blog Hop, I jumped at the chance. Especially because Diane had completely converted me into a Plastic Canvas fan with her 2013 Blog Hop


There were a few things that I really appreciated about it: 
  • it's incredibly versatile - just look at the variety of projects it's been used for so far in this blog hop.
  • it's ideal to do relaxing on the sofa with your feet up.
  • it's an easy, portable craft - so perfect for doing while watching swimming lessons for instance! 
  • it's very child friendly, if you give it a go and you have young children then they're sure to want to join in - and they can.
We had lots of fun making bunting with it in the Autumn and I've been looking out for a good excuse to try something else with it ever since. But, depending on what you make, it can be quite time consuming. So, since I didn't want to spend hours making just anything for the sake of being in a Blog Hop, I had a wander around my house looking for inspiration on what I'd actually like to make with it. 

At the time, I'd just given this window a bit of post Christmas decoration, but it was looking far too bare and in need of more snowflakes. 


My Eureka moment - Snowflakes! The perfect Plastic Canvas (PC) project for me. Obviously snowflake making was more seasonally appropriate back then in January! But never mind, I'm going to be very organised for next Winter now (and I did do quite a bit of the making watching 'Frozen' with the girls - which made it feel perfectly OK).

To be honest I thought it was going to be very straightforward. I gathered my sheet of PC (7 count), my white wool (thrifted - very cheap way of finding wool for small projects) and a blunt needle with a good big eye. Then I lazily printed up a simple snowflake from an online colouring page site and cut the PC to that shape.


As soon as I started the stitching I realised it wasn't quite as straightforward as I'd thought. The snowflake shape had forced me to cut a lot of the PC sheet at an angle, giving me jagged edges, and holes that were impossible to sew in a neat, uniform way.


It was just a mess.


So I decided I'd better give it all a bit more thought, and I started looking at snowflake shapes in more detail. I found a great web site devoted to all things snowy - SnowCrystals.com. Here are some photos of actual, real snowflakes from there.



I have to admit I got all interested in the whole snowflake formation process, they really are amazing! So amazing, in fact, that I have to share it with you too!


'There is no blueprint or genetic code that guides the growth of a snowflake, yet marvelously complex structures appear, quite literally out of thin air. The six arms of a snow crystal all grow independently. But since they grow under the same randomly changing conditions, all six may end up with similar shapes. However the vast majority of snow crystals are not very symmetrical. Near-perfect, symmetrical snow crystals are fun to look at, but they are not common.

The story is pretty simple, really, nicely encapsulated in the diagram above.  And it's even a bit amazing, when you stop to ponder it -- the whole complex, beautiful, symmetrical structure of a snow crystal simply arises spontaneously, quite literally out of thin air, as it tumbles through the clouds.' 

There's lots more on the web site, that's just a few snippets, paraphrased a little, to whet your appetites! Science as well as Plastic Canvas!

There's also a link to a fun site where you can design your own snowflakes online and set them off falling - snowdays. Never mind the children, I had to make a few!


But anyway, back to the PC.

So, I needed to try and avoid cutting across the PC at angles. My snowflakes needed 6 sides but I didn't need to get too hung up on them being perfectly symmetrical, or being any one, particular design. It was time to experiment a bit more.

I started off with this shape.


There are a couple of really useful video clips over at Craftypod, on how to begin/end your stitching and sewing a whip stitch around the edge of your project.  And I also found these stitch tutorials on the lovely blog, Gingerbread Snowflakes, really helpful last year. Embracing the freedom of my 'not completely symmetrical snowflakes forming spontaneously as they tumbled through the clouds', I played around with my stitches.

I've left the little, sticky out bits undone at the moment.






Once I had 3 stitched, I began sewing them together, just with ordinary white cotton now.



And then I switched back to my wool to finish my little sticky out bits, sewing them all together continuously, which helped to stabilise the structure.


I finished it up with an old, glass button in the centre, and here it is:



When we made our bunting back in the Autumn, I was really picky about making sure that none of the PC actually showed at all. But with the snowflakes, I wanted to give them a light and lacey feel, and didn't worry at all about plastic canvas showing - either around the edge or in the middle. Personally, I think it adds to the snowflake effect.

Now I tried a variation. 




The hexagon in the centre helped to stabilise this one.

This one has beads sewn on each of the hexagons, but they're quite difficult to see in a photo.
And then I thought it was time for a different approach and tried cutting the snowflake out in one solid piece. I just snipped away with a pair of sharp, straight, nail scissors, starting at one of the 6 points and working my way around, always making sure I didn't cut across the mini squares. Mine isn't quite symmetrical, but if you did want it to be, then actually drawing your design on your sheet before cutting it would be much more sensible.


I added beads with white cotton again.


And here it is finished.



I'm not so keen on this one, it looks much heavier and not delicate enough to me. Almost like a strange beetle rather than a snowflake. But every snowflake is different so who's to say there can't be a beetle-like one?

One more to go, again a solid, one piece snowflake, but this time trying to make it a little more delicate.


Again it has hard to spot beads sewn into it!



And then to hang them in my window display.



I found them really difficult to photograph, what with the glare and reflection from the window, and the fact that they move around a little, so you'll just have to take my word that they look lovely and are just what was needed there!

I think this thin design was my favourite:
 

But they are all beautiful in their own way, whether with the sunshine shining through them.



Or into the evening.


The only trouble is that with my new understanding and appreciation of snowflakes, I now think that my finally finished Winter embroidery hoop pictures aren't quite right after all.

 

The words should perhaps be:

'Every snowflake is different, no snowflake is perfect, every snowflake is amazing and beautiful'

The original was inspired by one of our favourite Wintry children's books, and, in the book, is very much a message about people as much as snowflakes. Perhaps the amended version is an even better message.

Anyway, make sure you have a browse through the other wonderful stops on the Blog Hop, and remember it's continuing all this week. Hope you'll be inspired to give Plastic Canvas a go.

Sally

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to everyone, we're about to crunch up the crystallised primroses!


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Winter Embroidery Hoop Pictures

I've finally finished the last of my Winter embroidery hoop pictures, I did predict it would probably be Spring before I got them done!


The three of them will now be all ready to hang next Winter!


The final push to get it finished has been my Plastic Canvas making, which I'll show you on Monday. That's also a now unseasonal, Wintry make so it got me in the mood, and these are setting the scene here ready for Monday.

Sally.