Hello and welcome to my little corner of the internet. I intend to use this blog as a showcase for my latest crafting endeavours and to provide detailed reviews of patterns, kits and accessories on the market along with details on where to find everything yourself, should I inspire you to try it out. Please feel free to comment on my posts, provide your own thoughts on the subject, answer questions and even suggest posts.

It has always been my goal to add a post every Wednesday, but due to current circumstances posts may be as scarce as once a month. Appologies and I hope to return to my weekly posting shortly.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Oriental tears

Designer: Susan Bates
Pattern: Teardrop Cards - Bird on a Branch
Available from: Cross Stitch crazy magazine #110
Price: Discontinued
Sorry guys, I have nearly ten years of cross stitch magazines upstairs, so discontinued is a thing you might find being said about a lot of my work, fortunately though, sites like ebay mean that if you really want something, you should still be able to find it with a little bit of looking.

Just, don't expect it to look exactly like mine, I didn't use a single recommended colour in this design. I have a bag of random thread. Some of it is Anchor, some is DMC, some is off brand, none of it is labelled up. I got a bag of bits from work where the labels had fallen off the threads and I've added to it with my own odds. Now it's a jumble, from there I picked the colours of this design. So white and cream for the bird, should have been white and brown, same brown actually as used in the tree...I didn't like that. That bag is brilliant for projects like this because I used less than one length of each colour, it would have been a waste to bite into my stash, but it was a wonderful way to use up ends.

Anyway, the design was easy to follow and quick to work up. This took me two days, but you could probably get it done in one if you actually sat down and concentrated rather than doing several things at once. I ALWAYS do several things at once!  The plan was to send this to my MIL, I thought it would suit her perfectly, so I chose colours to reflect that. That's why it looks like sunset on an autumn day rather than noon on a summer day. The colours suit her better like this.

Once the stitching was done I decided to turn it into a card, so we're back to iron on interfacing. You MUST put some kind of lining behind your work when putting it onto a card otherwise the card will show through the holes! Then simple affix it to the card, I used double sided sticky tape, it works really well, but the reason I'm not showing you is that it works REALLY well and...I kind of have it on the card at an angle now :P

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Blessed be part 2 - Making a Patch

Last week I showed you a small piece of embroidery bearing the slogan "Blessed be", with every intention of making it into a patch for my craft bag, however, Wednesday came around faster than I expected and I had to publish without the instructions for making it into a patch. So, that's the topic of today's post.

First off, if this is your first attempt at sewing a patch onto an item, don't start with a circular object and don't start with a ready made bag like I have. Circles are just naturally hard to draw freehand, in fact I once read somewhere that it's near impossible to draw a perfect circle freehand, and I personally don't think that I will ever be able to master it. As you will see in a moment. Second of all, with a ready made bag you're going to have to work around linings. I chose a bag where that didn't matter so much.

So, to start off with, you're going to need some fabric stabilizer. I used the iron on interfacing, but I really think this is a do as I say, not as I do moment, get yourself some sew on stuff instead. The reason being that after a while the glue used in the iron on interfacing begins to show through and can ruin your embroidery. The reason I used it is because...it's what I have on hand and I'm attaching it to a second hand bag that I use as my craft bag. This bag gets flung across the room, sat on, dumped on the floor, walked over, I even pushed a pram over it once, not to mention general mess from visiting children and animals. This bag probably won't outlast the glue of the interfacing, so that's why I use one thing and tell you to use another. So tack that lightly around the edges of your patch fabric, or iron it on if you're going to do the same as me.

Before you begin sewing, you want to pay very careful attention to the thread that you use, and I strongly recommend using a colour that is VERY similar to your fabric choice. I've opted for a colour the matches my embroidery to illustrate the technique. The reason for this will become very obvious momentarily... Until then, let's continue and attach your patch to your bag. I ran mine through a sewing machine, or you can do it by hand. Line your design on top of the fabric with the interfacing in between and, stitching through all three layers, outline your design shape, hopefully better than I have...see what I mean about circles? And sadly, that's my sixth attempt and best one.

Fortunately, even if you can't draw a decent circle to save your life, you should be able to recover a circular shape, you simply need to pluck up your courage now and cut your patch out. You want to aim to leave a margin of about 10mm from the stitched outline. Too thick a margin and you won't get a good coverage on the next stage, too narrow and you run the risk of it fraying too much, and it does fray. Ordinarily these last two steps would be done before sewing it to the fabric, but like I mentioned before, this bag is not treated with any degree of delicacy, so securing it to the bag before I neaten the edges protects that thread just a little bit more and means that I don't have to sew it to the bag a second time.

So my last step is to add a simple blanket stitch edging, starting from just inside the outline and working out, keeping your stitches as close together as you can. This is why you want to pay attention to the thread you're using and try to match it to the fabric rather than the design. Aida, and a great many other fabrics, have a rather annoying tendency to fray! When your fabric does begin to fray, it has a tendency to poke through your stitching, no matter how close together you've worked it. I've done a small section in purple and run my finger across it to get it fraying a little so as to demonstrate what I mean. The white stitches have been worked in the same way and teased into fraying just as much, but because the thread colour matches the fabric, they're nowhere near as visible.

And there we have it.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Blessed Be

Designer: Angelic Stitches by Velda
Pattern: Blessed be
Available from: cyber stitchers
Price: Free Download
This is actually a VERY quick and easy piece to work, requiring only three colours and if you actually sit down to stitch it you can finish in a day. It took me two but I started in the evening while watching TV, and I finished before my husband came home from work the next day. It's a perfect project for those needing a quick finish either because they're just starting out or they're not in the mood to work on something big, because it's only about 4½ inches square.

The size means that you can use whatever waste fabric you have laying around, I don't even know what count mine is, only that it came in a magazines free kit and had a needle poked through it so it's got quite a big hole in one corner. Now it does list the three colours that it would like you to use, but if you want to get creative this is the project to do it on. Three colours, no shading, you can use whatever colours you like! I personally chose a much duskier palette than the original colours would have given me.

The design uses only whole stitches so it's very easy to stitch up, and it looks wonderful when done! But what can you use such a small design for? I hear that a lot when people are looking at things this size "I like it, but what would I do with it?" and that's a very valid question, one that's taken me a while to suss out for myself. Sure you can frame it, I've got a design not much bigger than this in my kitchen ranting about coffee, right over my array of coffee machines! But you can't really frame all small pieces. It would look silly. So you have to look for other options.

We did Fridge magnets back in February, and we'll be doing another method of creating those later in the year. I love Fridge magnets and I've currently got about six on my fridge at the moment. You could make this design into a set of coasters, or embellish a bigger project, in fact it does seem to lend itself perfectly to both of those options, but for me...I want to make a patch. Slap it on the side of my bag. But to do that I'm going to need to visit a haberdashery store, I'm also going to need to remember where I put the bag I chose the colours to go with,  so take a look through the cyberstitches website and have a look at their catalogue and I'll bring you part two of this next week.