Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Serious sewing (by my standards)

I'm still keeping away from knitting and even hand sewing now (sob, sob) but I had a crafting challenge which I really had to conquer - sewing a dress for Pinky to wear to a wedding - yikes!  Pinky doesn't like fussy, frilly, 'girly' stuff so we settled on the pattern below but without the pockets and just in one fabric and definitely no lace on the lower hem.

I put my hours of watching the Great British Sewing Bee to use and tried to remember all the errors the contestants had made and then avoid them myself.

So, I read the whole pattern and (mostly) followed the instructions:

I ironed the pattern.
I used paper scissors for paper.

I cut the patterns out approximately before cutting them exactly.

Pinning (and re-pinning and re-re-pinning).

I probably spent more time reading the machine instructions than the pattern instructions,

and seeking help from this book.

I was thrilled to discover my machine could overlock and hem at the same time (kind of) which saved a lot of time

I knew I was taking it seriously when I took the trouble of marking fabric line edges with masking tape and labelling the tapes.

Really, I am a guerilla crafter when it comes to using the sewing machine, so this was a big step out of my comfort zone.  I managed it though:


I learnt some new things from the pattern instructions and book - stay stitching for example, and I learnt more from the mistakes I made - the best type of learning I think.

In other crafting here, Pinky has continued baking once a week - not everything got photographed, but here's a blackcurrant swirl cake she made from Cake Angels by Julia Thomas.  We have each had a week to choose what she makes and this was my choice -I love the sweet and sour flavours of blackcurrant jam :-)




Monday, 29 August 2016

Paper craft and mending

Oops - I just found this post, all ready with its pictures, but no text.  I thought I had posted it a month ago, but clearly not, so here's what happened in July ...

I read this book (it's more pictures than writing to be honest) which was recommended on a blog somewhere (please let me know if it's your blog and I will link back to you).  I borrowed it from the library and am glad I didn't purchase it.  It was a nice book - lovely soft cover and good pictures inside, but it really isn't my style whatsoever.  It is very upcycle/recycle/repair/make do and I am totally with that, but many of the finished articles were not as neat as I would have aimed for.  Each to their own though, and I am very supportive of ecologically low-impacting slow stitching.

I finished making a wedding gift for my nephew and his wife.  I've made several of these before so it wasn't too tricky.

I did some paper craft (still dare not try anything knitty) and made a plain voucher into something more substantial:

I made this wedding card (to go with the wedding gift) - the couple live in Liskeard, Cornwall, and I used a map which we inherited from the groom's grandfather so that it returned to someone who loved him:

You can see how old the map must be ...

from the price on the back.

I used another part of the map to make a birthday card for a friend who lives in Plymouth, Devon:

Pinky is baking once a week over the holidays - here are her delicious chocolate brownies:

And here are end-of-term thank you cakes for various people decorated by Pinky and Perky:

I ended up in a Christmas-esque wrapping paper up-to-my-elbows evening just before the end of term as dh had several colleagues to say goodbye to and even more to thank:

I risked my hands a bit and repaired some Brownie trousers ready to pass on to a friend's daughter:

and repaired an old tablecloth of my Granny's - I used some of the advice from the Slow Stitch book, but with my own twist:

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Still no knitting

My wrists have been feeling much better without knitting or crocheting but there is still a long way to go, so the yarn is packed up in the loft and I continue to explore other crafts.

Earlier this month I made a curtain for Pinky's room after months of battling with a faulty shop bought blind.  I didn't really know what I was doing so just had to work it out as I went along ...

Pinky and Perky have been trying some origami using this book:

Sometimes it's interesting to see the trials before the finished article:

I didn't want to be left out so found a good tutorial on youtube here to make a dragon:

For the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations Pinky and Perky each made and decorated a cake for the village garden party competition:

Both cakes were inspired by ideas found on pinterest.  The crown cake was originally inspired from this article and the silhouette cake links from pinterest through to blog.cakesbyjoe.co.uk but at the time of writing this post the blog is not available.

Pinky and Perky have also been working on cross stitch projects which have been taking a long time, mainly because there are long gaps between working on them:

The penguin pattern was found on pinterest and links back to here.  I have been unable to find the panda pattern on the internet again - if it is yours please let me know so I can correctly credit it - but there are many similar ones on pinterest and google images.

I have made a bit more progress with my quilting, but it's been a bit painful to do it for more than 10 minutes or so.  I'm now on the last combination of patches: 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Crafting with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

I wasn't surprised to get a definite diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome recently.  I have had hand and wrist pain for a few years but the main problem from CTS is interrupted sleep and the exhaustion that leaves behind.  Of course, this is a difficult diagnosis for a knitter and although I haven't done anything yarny for a couple of months now, I really want to do something crafty.  

Many, many years ago (more than 30!) I was given a few bits to do some patchwork.  I was just a child at the time and without anyone to guide me and no internet it was an unfulfilled dream to actually make something with these tools and fabric.  I tinkered a little more with them in early adulthood and on a couple of other occasions, making quite a bit of progress last year or the year before with making the patches.  With knitting and crochet off the menu for a while (or longer) I decided that I would see how my hands coped with sewing.  At first I did a bit of embroidery, just trying to learn some stitches really, and I'll post about that in due course, but then decided I really wanted to make some progress with the decades-old patchwork quilt, so I finished the last few patches and then started arranging and re-arranging them:

I searched for photos from about 14 months ago when I'd started trying to lay out the patches.  I started on the dining table:

but soon had to progress to the floor:

These were helpful in working out how to join the patches, but I'd made more patches since the photos so really had to start again.  It's always helpful to rule out what you don't want to do though, on the way to working out what you do want to do.
So, here are some of the flowers I have put together:

There's still a long way to go, but so far no wrist or hand problems from the sewing :-)  By the way, I am learning mainly by error and a little by youtube how to do this - a great many time-consuming mistakes are still being resolved!