End of November Crafty Catch up.

my-felt-decorations-for-christmasSince November started it feels like I’ve hardly had any time for making things but looking at my photos, it turns out that isn’t true. I actually appear to have been quite busy. I’ve been sewing instead of doing my crochet.

my-felt-decs felt-christmas-decsI’ve got the school’s PTA Craft Fayre on Saturday so these decorations will hopefully be sold to lots of jolly holly people. I’ve mostly used designs from previous years. There are a few new ones too. This year I designed a bunch of mistletoe, a bell, some stars and a Christmas pudding. There are three or four other designs I came up with that haven’t made the cut and some old ones that  I didn’t bother with either. They’re more complex in their construction and they’d end up costing more. One day I’ll make the whole collection, I’ve got quite a few now. I really really want to turn them into sellable patterns but first I need to work out how to transfer rough, scribbly templates into professional printable patterns.

crochet-christmas-baubles crochet-baublesI’ve made these baubles too. Get yourself to Wilko’s to grab the naked set. £2.50 for 12. I’ve used various cotton DK’s. I’ve used mostly used Drops Muskat, Stylecraft Classique and Paintbox Yarns. My favourite is the Drops. It’s hands down, the best of the bunch (although there’s nothing wrong with the others either). The pattern is a mix of existing ones. I’ve got the book Boho Crochet which has a bauble pattern for giants. I used that as a base and took out lots of rows. I saw on Kaleidoscope City a pattern which slip stitched the two halves to the bauble and that created a lovely finish.

new-crochet-booksI went into Exeter a couple of weeks ago (and actually did some Christmas shopping!). Whilst there I popped into The Works because they now have an awesome selection of craft things. A lot of it isn’t my cup of tea but if you’re into all things crafty then there’s a shed load of treasure waiting for you. I always head for the books. I bought four because when the most expensive is four quid, why the blazes would you leave any behind? I’ve since discovered that these are new publications. New! Why are they being sold in a cheapy shop for £3 or £4??! Does it get sales figures up or something? Whatevs, I’m well pleased.

my-new-autumn-scarfThis has been one of my only crochet projects over the last few weeks. I’m making myself a scarf out of some Paintbox aran. It’s the stuff that Emma from Potter & Bloom sent me for when I tested her Geoffrey scarf. I caved and bought more colours (here, that’s the blue and green).

crochet-mohair-hatOk, I made this too. Since doing the Take Care Mohair review I’ve been on a mission to find a cheaper alternative. I feel quite guilty actually (not that I’m under any obligation) but I cannot afford to buy the Wool and the Gang stuff for experiments and pattern workings. I’m using Drops Melody instead, which is nice but not super fancy. Now that I think I have a pattern sorted I might get some of the real deal. Comparatively, it is much silkier and has a thicker halo on it. I really like the designs I’ve come up with, however, I’ve been looking at and working with mohair for two months. Do I want to buy the posh stuff when the excitement is waning? Hmm.

differencesThis picture is not a good representation as the one on the left has more stitches. But it is the Take Care Mohair and you can see that it does come out thicker and it’s a nicer pink too. Not that I have any reason to favour it other than personal preference.

mohair-yarnLaying side by side there is not much difference in yarn thickness. I think it must be the halo that adds body to the yarn. I’m trying to decide if I can recommend both yarns in the pattern I write. There might be a considerable difference in the finished product. Gah, it’s mini stumbling blocks like this that make things so much trickier than they need to be. Things I didn’t think would be important but actually are if you want to be a designer.  Boo. Anyway, it is my hope that I can write a pattern for a hat and scarf combo that I can sell. I’m miles off because the Paintbox scarf has taken my attention (I think I want to write up the pattern for that too). Maybe have some wrist warmers to go with? I say this all the time yet I still only have one pattern for sale! I’m easily distracted by new pretties, that’s my problem!

crafty-secret-santaLastly, there’s this jumble of crazy. Funny that the thing I should have finished first is the thing that I’ve left until last! Must do this today. I must also remember to take pictures of it complete!

Oky doky, I must go. Got lots to do and time is not on my side. xx

 

 

 

How to sew a cute kitty brooch. A tutorial.

Finished kitty brooch.

Whilst I was sewing lots of felt bits recently,  I had a thought that it would be nice to share how I do it. It doesn’t happen often. Some kitty cats I made were quite popular so I decided to use my design to show you how to make a brooch. Sewing felt is great, no fraying edges to worry about, it’s versatile and quite sturdy.

I’m making a cat brooch here but you can create any design. Even if your drawing is shocking, something interesting will come out of it. I do not care for the excuse that a person is not creative, it’s complete nonsense. If you want to have a go, just do it. And, since we’ve just begun the summer holidays, I can tell you that this is a fabulous project to do with the kids. Mine love doing this kind of thing. Summer holiday crafts are a must.

Keyrings work well too. Or if you can’t be bothered to source brooch backs and keyrings (get them from Etsy or Ebay), then a few inches of ribbon attached means that it can become a hangy decoration.

This is a good craft project for those who don’t have loads of supplies. A square of felt and a couple of buttons costs less than a quid. You can use buttons, cut from old clothes. You can even use fabric off the same thing if you want. Change the thread for yarn, if that’s all you’ve got. Whatever.

What you’ll need:

Paper and pen/pencil.

Scissors.

Felt (or thickish fabric).

Buttons for eyes.

Embroidery thread (or normal sewing thread doubled up).

Sewing needle and a pin or two.

A small amount of polyfibre fill.

Brooch back, keyring or ribbon.

basic template

Draw out the design of your choice: cat, dog, fish, fruit, flower, blah blah.  Cut it out. A tip here is to go slightly bigger than you want the finished item to be. The finished thing will work up slightly smaller. Keep shaping to a minimum too, you don’t want to give yourself the headache of awkward corners, or thin poky-out bits. Simple is key.

getting pieces ready

Pin your template to both layers of felt and cut out. I do it together so that they’re both the same shape.

splitting your embroidery thread.

Cut your thread to about 40cm. If you’re using embroidery thread then you need to separate out two strands, as in the picture above. This might seem daft but a whole thickness of floss is too bulky and looks naff. Alternatively, use sewing thread doubled up. This doesn’t produce as nice a finish but it’s good enough. Tie a knot in the end (obviously). If it’s for the kids, I tie the ends of the thread together because they always yank it off the needle. Always. If that’s the case, I make the thread longer.

sewing kitty eyes

I start with the eyes. You can place them anywhere you like, I like to go wider (leaving room for edge stitching). Poke your needle right through his eyes! Keep knots on the back. I think three rounds per eye is good.

use a invisble ink pen.

I recently bought a fancy pen for drawing embroidery designs. It cost about £3 from a fabric shop. The ink disappears after a few hours so you can draw your face and not worry about scruffy pen marks. If you’re not that fussed, you can free style it or see if a soft pencil works.

satin stitch noseWith the embroidery thread, you’re essentially colouring in. For the nose use a satin stitch, which is just stitches placed really close to one another. For the bit under his nose, I change to a running stitch and follow the line I drew.

cat face embroideryYou Tube is your friend when learning stitches.

I ran out of my first lot of thread at this stage. It’s best to leave maybe 8-10cm of thread at the end to give yourself a sufficient amount to tie off and weave in. It doesn’t  matter about the tangle you create on the wrong side. Just as long as it is kept to the wrong side.

kitty face sewn

A little kitty face sewn! If you still have a decent amount of thread left, don’t tie it off yet as you can use it to sew the two sides together. Put this face to one side while you do the next stage.

sewing on a brooch back.

Sewing on a brooch back is similar to sewing on the eyes. I go in and out of each hole three times at the top and three times each for the bottom holes (bottom holes!!).  Make sure the brooch back is the right way up and that it’s placed towards the top middle. Make sure you sew it to the correct side of your felt/fabric too.

How to make a cute kitty brooch.

Almost there. Just need to sew them together.

stitching felt pieces together

Rethread the needle and it’s time to sew the front to the back. I use a whip stitch. I used to use a blanket stitch but it uses a tonne of thread and a whip stitch looks similar when looking straight on. Meh, you can choose. Just make sure the stitches are neatly done.

quick whip stitch

(If I was using ribbon, it’d be at this stage, near the top that I’d get it ready to stitch between the two layers).

Changing thhread half way through

Again, if thread needs changing, tie off the old stuff and knot in the new all inside your kitty. No one will ever know about the mess!

stitching together a kitty brooch

When there’s only a couple of inches left to sew, kitty needs to acquire some chub. I’ve got a bag of toy stuffing (bought from Amazon) but if desperate go and destroy a cushion (but perhaps you shouldn’t :/). I can’t think of what else would make a good alternative. Anyway, stuff lightly, match up the open pieces and carry on with the stitching.

tying off your work.

To finish off, the last stitch to the back needs to be poked upwards and out again, next to another stitch as in the left photo above. Check the front to make sure you didn’t go through to the face too. Go around the stitch you popped out next to and then repeat the process a few more times. I usually aim for five times or just keep going until the thread comes to an end. lose the thread inside newly made felt cat or carefully snip off any that is showing.

How to make a felt kitty brooch.

back of pink kitty brooch.

Pink kitty cat. Felt cat tutorial.

It is done. Miaow.

Feel free to and look at my Etsy shop where there are a few for sale! Here are some others that I’ve made before…

Even more felt things.

By the way, if I spot any of these for sale any where else, I will be cross that you’ve pinched my ideas, so don’t do it. Thanks. Have a good summer!

I have linked up here…

www.mrscraftyb.co.uk

 

Me You and Magoo

First time putting real things on Etsy!

Spring set of needle cases.

I don’t usually visit here over the weekend but I’m here to quickly link to my Etsy shop, which I have now added things to! Go me! Not sure how well these needle cases will do. They are needle cases after all, a bit too specific maybe. At the time I didn’t know what else to do with the embroidery I’d done. I actually would like to just present them on their hoops in future. They looked so nice like that. Any way, here is the link and some pictures. Have a lovely weekend!! X

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ZeensandRoger

Handmade felt needlecases

stitching daffs. daffodil embroidery almost completed snowdrops stitching.Snowdrops embroidered needlecase Snowdrops embroidered needle case Hyacinth needle case standing Hyacinth needle case Hyacinth embroidered needlecase Daffodil needle case back. Daffodil embroidered needlecase Daffodil embroidered needle case standing

 

Playing with felt for Christmas.

Christmas tree decorations. Handmade gingerbread men.

For the last two weeks I have been crazy busy cutting and stitching felt. I’ve pretty much been knee deep in the stuff.  Amazingly, I’ve really enjoyed it, I’ve not once become fed up with the cutting or the stitching. Most of the time I make something once and then get immensely bored if I have to do it again. Something must be wrong with me because I had this little production line going and got addicted to seeing how much stuff I could churn out. I’ve had fun anyway.

felt brooches

I made brooches (not really my cup of tea).

felt christmas tree decorations.

I made Christmas trees.

felt elf boots. little christmas decorations

Boots for elves.

festive felt doves

Peaceful little doves.

little felt doves

Lots of these.

Little felt robins. Christmas tree decorations.

I came up with a new robin design.

prancing reindeer decorations

And I improved upon a prancing reindeer pattern that I originally made two years ago (can’t photograph the old one as that fella is in the loft with all the other Christmas stuff).

a reindeer decoration

They might be my favourites. They’re so fancy!

Felt gingerbread men for the Christmas tree.

And more gingerbread men!

On Saturday I’m taking them to the school Christmas Fayre.  I hope people like them. I do! Glad I’ve finished them really because little, near invisible stuffing fibres kept trying to live in my eyes.

Sewing and crochet this week. Hopefully I will feel like getting the sewing machine out once the kids have gone to bed but I’m well behind on Dr Who episodes and everyone is talking about Clara!

The Middle of November, Already.

lots of crochet owls.

I’ve been mega busy over the last couple of weeks, getting my craft on and all that. The weekend after next I will be busy trying to make people buy my wares at the PTA Christmas Fayre. I am not going to blather on today because I’m going to plonk myself down on the sofa in a minute and start some more stitching.

Anyway, before I add a few pictures of what I’ve been doing with my crafty ways, I’m just going to squeeze in some garden pictures. It’s all very well being smug about the prettiness of it in spring and summer [it was hard to choose those links as there are betweeny posts with lovely summery flowers in, I just looked in the garden category!] but I shouldn’t hide the tattiness out there come late autumn.

morning sky in november

This morning looked very promising but it’s since greyed over and is threatening rain. Again.

november garden Collage

Only mildly depressing.

nemesia still going

And I should get over myself because in other years there is no way I’d still have flowers in the garden at this time of year. The little purple flowers are a summer annual, Nemesia. Beyond the wall you can see flecks of orange, which is the nasturtium, still going strong.

Another november garden Collage

The blue sky didn’t last. The pumpkins are still resisting the urge to disappear. I chucked them in the runner bean grave after Halloween. Sadsack leeks are sharing the space. Just blinkin well grow, please.

november garden from above

View from above. Bottom left is where I lobbed all the twigs from the Halloween decorations. The kids have played with them in their funny games.

felt xmas decs being made

This is what I’m working on at the moment. Lots of felt decorations. Some I’ve made before, some I’m just making up as I go. I’ve designed them all myself, if you can call it that. Not sure how hard it is to draw a Christmas tree really (not very?). And it’s a big lie anyway because my eldest boy drew out the Elf boot last year and I helped modify it. That one, he is the designer of.

fabric for xmas decs

I rummaged through the fabric drawer for any green and red fabric I had. Mostly it is just scraps but I reckon I can work something out. There is new stuff there too; the reindeer fabric and the stuff above it is a recent impulse buy.

crochet owl decorations

And then there are these jobbies. To ensure I had a lot of them I have done away with the colour changes that made me thing of these as Granny owls. Making them up in just one colour was a lot quicker and they still look nice.

I did blathering when I didn’t want to. Wasting precious making time…. And I’m also trying out a C2C crochet blanket, which I forgot to take a picture of. It’s mainly for stash busting purposes and I wanted to try something new. Any way, I”m off!

I made stuff pre-blog too; pretending to be a crafting blogger. When you’re not. Yet.

Made in K Town. Free crochet mandala pattern.

I’ve spent years being inspired by other bloggers work. It became something I really wanted to do too. It looked fun and it looked like a good way to keep on track of what I was doing creatively. I was lazy and procrastinatey and used several excellent excuses as to why I hadn’t just done it.  I’m still so new to it all, but if I had started when I first I had the notion then I would have been being bloggy for six or seven years by now! In my head, I have been doing it for six years or seven years. I’ve spent much time taking pictures of crafty projects and each time I’ve thought that maybe they would end up as a blog post. So, I’m going to put up some pictures of work that was done in the six months prior to hitting Publish for the first time. (I was going to write a post about yeasterday’s [relevant unwitting typo, that applies] kitchen endeavours but that was such a disaster that I need a few days to recover :/).

Crochet mandala. Free pattern from Made in K Town.

I went through a mandala phase. These two are both Made in K Town using Rico Creative Cotton. Cheap cotton, very splitty, lovely colours. This has led me towards doilies, which I still need to make more of. Soon.

Single bed crochet ripple blanket.

I made my eldest boy an Attic 24 Ripple for his bed. It’s Stylecraft Special. Everyone loves a bit of Stylecraft rippling.

My boy's ripple blanket.

The boy chose the colours. So off I went. It was reasonably speedy once the first few rows were out the way. A repeating colour pattern was a weeny bit boring though. Next time, it’s random colours, like it’s supposed to be.

Dolly's crochet blanket

I made teeny niece the mini version for her dolly. I didn’t use the same pattern. This version has more ripples so looks better scaled down. It’s actually adapted from a cushion cover pattern from Cute and Easy Crochet by Nicki Trench. When I say “adapted” I mean “added a few more rows”. The edging, I think is the one that was on the Granny Stripe made by Lucy at Attic 24.

Alpaca baby blanket

This one was a special request for a baby blanket.  My Sister in Law chose the colours. It’s Stylecraft alpaca DK. The blocks were from 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton. Don’t go thinking that all the blocks end with the same stitch count though. They really don’t. Hmm. I really liked how this one turned out but I only blocked the edge (which is from Edie Eckman’s Crochet Borders book) and not the individual squares. Next time, I will try super hard to block stuff.

Little squares baby blanket.

One of the quickest little blankets ever. It was so much fun. The squares were done in a few days and it was the first time I used a continuous-join-as you-go. This was for a baby girl born in early spring. I’d make one of these again for sure. It was inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest and it led me to Katie’s Kitchen.

So many made things.

There are six handmade things in the picture above. Six! I am responsible for five of them but the cream knitted blanket is a Mother in Law job. Three blankets, two cushions and a dolly. Huzzah.

felt cherry blossom. Hand sewn needle case.

Sewing has been worked on too. I’m better than I was but there is definitely room for improvement too. Having said that, the cherry blossom needlecase is one of my favourite felty sewn things I’ve done.

A mermaid's purse

And a Mermaid’s purse! Well, another needlecase… She was lovely to make. After Christmas I plan on making more of these sorts of things and giving them a go on Etsy. I’m not entirely sure what the demand is for needlecases and such, I guess I’ll find out. I will obviously shout very loudly on here if these sorts of things head towards my Etsy shop.

Phew, I feel a bit better now. I’m off to have yesterdays’ leftovers for lunch, which thankfully, taste better than the experience that I had in the kitchen.