Saturday, 24 December 2011

Horace the Crochet Giraffe

It's been a hectic couple of months, between a new job and a new home I now have a new craft space that is slightly larger- woohoo! Up until this point most of my crafting using my sewing machine has been done in slightly less than a meter square, perched on the edge of my futon, crouched in front of my sewing machine table which has one leg considerably shorter than the other two. I have moved to an actual desk and a real cupboard for my supplies instead- oh the luxury! I give you this nugget of my life to help you know that it can be done- not all of us get fully equipped craft rooms with shiny cutting tables and ribbon organisers and peg boards. but you can still create and give freedom to your ideas.

So! one of the ideas that was recently born is Horace:

 Horace was supposed to be a crochet giraffe. But Horace grew to be his own thing- I'm not sure he is a giraffe, but that's OK, I like him.

 Some things just insist on being the way they are, no matter how far away from my original vision they are!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Two on the way!

It's so lovely when good friends announce they're expecting not just one little bundle but twins! The parents don't want to know the sex of these happy additions so for now we all know them as Topsy and Turvey. We're driving for 3 hours to see the couple before the arrival of these piglets and I simply had to take something in anticipation.
Firstly, the husband is a member of the Labour party like mine, and the two boys like nothing more than discussing the state of the world over a couple of beers. As a tribute to his leanings I had these printed by a lovely seller I found on Ebay.
Hammer and Sickle baby onesies! Awesome not so? And the quality of the onesies is simply great- nice, thick cotton. For the second set I shamelessly stole an idea from a Pinterest post and appliqued "copy" and "paste" on two more onesies.
I shan't show you my appalling aplique skills, it looks pretty decent from this distance but these are unfortunatley not such nice quality (oh, ebay, you hit-and-miss mistress!) so the stitches look a bit pulled because of the low thread count. sigh. It's the idea behind the gift right?

On a completely different note, I made my first apron for a friends birthday.

Just a simple pattern but without any fussy gathering. I already had the grey binding left over from my quilt, Score!
The sweet fabric is called Cartooon Dogs from the Boys Will Be Boys range designed by David Walker for Free Spirit.
I added a little button flower detail.
I have a tiny bit of this fabric left over but now I heart it so much that I can't bring myself to use it! I think I'm destined to have a hoard of material that I love too much to use! Am I the only one with this shameful secret?

Monday, 15 August 2011

Zippy Bags and a Swallow

 I made these little coin purses using this tutorial. I heart them! I can't help myself unzipping them all the time.
Here's a little show: (cue music)

Ta da! Cute, no?
And just because I can, and want you to see the awesome ribbon you can get on online (look at those tiny matroska dolls and the little blue whale!)
Also, because I have craft tourettes, I made a little swallow embroidery. This was heavily inspired by the amazing art show put on by the No Blood Spilt Art Collective. The show was all for charity and was mostly tattoo and alternative arts inspired.

It's not the neatest, and I definitely need to brush up on my fill stitches but at least its obvious what he is!
I have a craft fair booked for three weeks and am so nervous. What if nobody buys anything? What if someone is really mean about my creations in front of me?
Do you have any tips for this kind of thing? Also- what sells? I imagine a stall is different from my online shop. Please help me to choose the best things to sell in the commets below! Much appreciated!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Circus Tents Commission

I received a commission based on my previous felt balloon mobiles. The lady loves all things circus so she requested two types of tents, a round blue one and one square yellow one.
First, the blue:

 I embroidered little stars behind the curtains of the doors!
And the yellow:

I think they turned out pretty cute. The concept would never have occurred to me and that's why I love commissions. Combining two peoples visions can sometimes lead to far greater results than individual efforts. Now if I can only remember this when my DH tries to help with my projects.
As always I hope these give you a bit of inspiration to let your creativity out!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Little Crochet Delights

I taught myself how to crochet using Youtube videos about a year ago and I have found that I am happiest crocheting amigurumi (little animals). The word is Japanese and means small creature or anthropomorphic object.
The first is this robot that I made for my cousins son (his name is Tim). I got to try crochet spirals! I love em!
The next is a little bunny pattern I found online
These are my favourite! For some reason I always have white wool. But its also the nasty acrylic stuff. To make this fluffy look I took a stiff hairbrush that had lost the ends of its bristles and attacked the monkey. I think it is much better this way!

Their faces are felt and they are super soft!

I sent them as a set to my parents in law. I think they should always stay together, they'd be sad apart!
Hope these are a source of inspiration for your projects :)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Swirly Quilty Quilt Quilt

It's not my first quilt technically but it is only my second and the first I intend to keep.  I'm not sure if other people do this but I plan my next craft whilst busy completing another- so it feels like I've been mulling over this quilt for a long time!

 The top is just a disappearing 9 patch, which looks way more complicated than it actually is. I didn't get it perfect and there are some flaws but I'm OK with it and it's staying with me so I'm doubly chilled :).
Most of the colours were an eBay bundle of kona solid fat quarters and one grey shirt of my husbands. The binding is just plain dye sheeting that I bought on sale. The orange I've been hoarding for a project for me.

 I freehand embroidered the quilt sandwich which took a full weekend and I'm thinking next time I'd do it a bit less densely. I used grey thread on the Block side and orange thread in my bobbin for the orange cross side. It kind of highlights how little my machine likes free hand embroidery because the pulled and skipped stitches show up very clearly!
This is the "back" but I think I love it most. I'm deeply in love with orange at the moment and the crosses just spoke to me.

 Each cross was appliqued on before the quilting.
 I'm really happy with the binding because I cut, ironed, ironed and ironed some more to get it to be right. The corners are not beautiful but I intend on hand sewing them into daintier corners (when I feel like it- oh happy day for projects without a deadline!)

 Do you have a favourite quilt pattern that looks complicated but is easy for a beginner like me? I think I'm done with this variation for now but am thinking the quilting bug has taken hold.....

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Plush Dinosaur with Sewing Pattern

Finally the long awaited stuffed/plush dinosaur (brontosaur (Apatosaurus) vs diplodocus continues!) tutorial with sewing pattern! I've wanted a dino plushie/stuffie for a long time so I made three! :)
Edit: Click here to see Dino's people have made with this tutorial. Thanks everyone!

For this project you will need:

  • Paper pattern pieces cut from the Stuffed Dinosaur sewing pattern Page 1 of 2 and Stuffed Dinosaur sewing pattern Page 2 of 2. To print properly to a full A4 you need to Download the images then print them. Each of these pattern pieces is an A4 or standard letter size sheet. Join the sheets along the dotted line and cut the pattern pieces. A seam allowance of 0.5cm (1/4 inch) is given, add more if you like.
  • Fabric- I used good old quilting cotton here but any non-stretchy material will do, although heavier upholstery type fabrics will be harder to turn right side out. Use a fun contrasting fabric for the scales along the back or even a multitude of colours.
  • 1 pair safety eyes- these are easy to find in craft store, fabric stores and on the net but you could replace them with felt eyes, fabric paint eyes, buttons etc.
  • Stuffing- I used fibre fill but old pillow stuffing, sewing scraps etc could be substituted
  • Scissors
  • Thread
To begin:
Cut all your pattern pieces like so-
Note the blue scales at the bottom are two pieces of fabric each. For the scales I used three of the larger scales, two of the medium and one of the smallest. Remember to cut two of the sides of the bodies and only 1 of the underside of the body. You'll need four of the circles for the pads of the feet.
With the fabric wrong sides together, sew the all scales along four sides only, leaving the bottom edge unsewn to enable turning right side out, as shown below:
This seam allowance is only 0.5 of a cm else the scales get too bulky. At each corner snip away the fabric as shown so that the corners are pointy when we turn them right sides out.
Turn all the scales right sides out (and press with an iron if you wish) and place to one side.
Next take the underside of the body piece and fold the leg sections towards the middle of the piece. Then sew a shallow arc as shown in the photo- this will enable the legs to stand underneath the body instead of splaying out to the side. Do this for each leg. Do not worry if there is not very much left of the "belly" material left. It'll work.
 Next by matching up the leg pieces and starting at the feet sew the underside of the body to the side of the body. Note- DO NOT sew up the bottom of the feet. The photo below shows the three seams- front leg to chin, back of front leg to front of back leg and finally back leg to underside tail. Also note that the underside body only reaches to the chin and stops before the end of the tail.
Sew the other side body to the piece created above using the same method of starting at one of the legs. Here is a detail shot of what should happen at the the tail. It looks very similar at the chin. DO NOT at this stage sew along the back or around the head, Only sew the underside of the body to the side pieces. Not the side pieces to each other.
Another detail look at those legs before  sewing all together- as you can see the arcs on the lower body will make those legs sections shorter. That is OK! Since I can't regulate how shallow or deep your arcs will be this is variable so I made the legs the same length and you can trim them to the same length.
That is the underside of the body complete.
Take your scales and line them along your dinosaurs back. I placed mine largest to smallest.
Flip each of the scales towards the inside of the body, sandwiching each scale between the side body pieces. Pin these in place since they tend to move about.
I didn't get any photo's of the next few steps.
Sew the body closed by starting at the chest where the underside of the body piece ends, around the head and to the tail. The only opening should be the undersides of the feet. Sew three of the four feet circles into three of the four leg tubes to complete them. For help on this see "Making the Feet" in the Baby Elephant Tutorial. Use the remaining open foot to turn the dinosaur the right way around.
At this point  I loosely stuff just the head to get a feel for it and mark where I want the eyes to be. Then I remove the stuffing and insert the safety eyes according to their instructions. You can skip this step if painting or sewing on the eyes later
Beginning at the head and tip of the tail stuff the dinosaur firmly. If he is too soft his neck will flop from side to side. Once the stuffing is completed sew the last foot pad circle into the last open leg to close it.
That's it! Make an army of colourful dinosaurs and have a congratulatory cup of tea!
(The dino on the left was my prototype is a slightly different shape)

Please leave me a comment if you liked this project or, if you've made one, I'd love a link and perhaps I'll show it to everyone else in an update! Happy sewing!

PS Two of these Dinosaurs are available in the Little Black Teapot Shop 

Edit: Here is a quick sketch of how I close up the seams that are left using a whip stitch:
The "right side" of the fabric is the patterned side and the wrong is the other side. I have shown where the thread goes using dots but the dotty art will not be seen.
Hope this helps :) 

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