Monday, 28 May 2012

Finishing!

There's been lots going on here at the moment and as a result I seem to have lots more of half-completed projects lying around awaiting just a little bit of attention so that they can be claimed as finished.

The Tova was one of these. I cut it out a-g-e-s ago - back over Easter I think - got most of it sewn up the following weekend and only had the bottom hem and tidying up of the inside seams to do, but ran out of steam and had orders to do. I finally got around to finishing it last week and then photographing it yesterday.




















I really enjoyed sewing the Tova, it's a lovely pattern to sew up and as a dressmaking novice I found it relatively easy to put together. I also managed to cut all the pieces out of  half a metre less than the pattern notes recommended, which is always a bonus! The trickiest part for me was sewing the inset panels into the front of the shirt and getting the corners nice and neat....it kind of felt like I fudged it but I think it looks okay! I found verykerryberry's Tova-along really helpful, and would definitely recommend checking this out if you're thinking of doing a Tova.

I love the gathering around the inset and going into the sleeve cuffs - it makes me feel very accomplished when really it was a lot less tricky to do than I thought it would be! I really like the inset panel as well, but am not sure about the collar and open placket although I think that could be because it's not a style that I would normally wear. I feel that it fits well - maybe a little tight across the back - although looking at these pictures it does look like it's pulling a bit across my chest so maybe I should go up to a medium next time? Still, I will definately be making more of these, I think a full length dress with full length sleeves would be great for winter! So, details...

Pattern::: Wiksten Tova, size S
Fabric::: 1.5m of polycotton
Mods::: none!

I hope you've all had great weekends and managed to clear the decks a little!

S x

Todays sky ● blue!












Sunday, 27 May 2012

Wrap Bracelet - Ta-dah & a tutorial!

Back last week (I think, time goes by so quickly sometimes!) the sun was shining and I was suddenly presented with An Opportunity -  Littlest Boy had fallen asleep (and stayed asleep despite the transfer from car to bed) and the other two Littlies were at school/nursery; and The Inspiration -  I'd had an idea a while back for a bracelet and after reading some blog posts about the Liberty Scrap Challenge I was suddenly struck with an idea of how to use some Liberty of London fabrics that I had lying around. I siezed the time to try it out!















I'm so pleased with how my wrap bracelet came out and have been wearing it nearly every day since. I'm even thinking of making one out of one strip of fabric with maybe some fancy stitching down each side to jazz it up.

Would you like to see how I made it??? You will need;

Ingredients
A tape measure
Scraps of fabric 2" wide
A length of interfacing 2" wide
Some ribbon/ric-rac
A toggle & clasp
Contrasting/Complementary/Matching thread

Method
1. First off, you'll need to measure your wrist, and then decide how many times you would like the bracelet to wrap around your wrist (my wrist is 6.25" and I wanted 3 wraps which gives me a total length of 18.75")
Very tricky pic to take yourself - there's a dinosaur weighing it down!!


Tip: the looseness in this bracelet comes from the length of the toggle clasp & ric-rac. I have found that the bracelet does stretch with wear and found it to be a perfect fit for me but if you like looser bracelets then you might want to add on a bit of extra length






I was looking to use some Liberty of London scraps (this seems such a derrogatory term for such beautiful fabrics!) that I've been saving. I'd cut 5 different lengths of fabric and allowed a 1/4"seam for each join as well as a 1/2" fold over at each end), so in total I was looking for a length of 21.75" pre-sewing. Alternatively, you could just sew lots of strips of fabric together and trim to size!


Fabrics all laid out and ready to sew
Sewing together with a 1/4" seam

2. Once you've sewn all your pieces together, give it a good press. I pressed my seams open as I wanted the bracelet to be as smooth as possible.
Pressing my seams open
















3. Iron interfacing on to the wrong-side of the fabric to give it a bit of extra weight and strength - this may not be necessary depending on the fabric that you're using. At this point, I also folded the entire length of the bracelet in half and then each edge into the middle - much as you would with bias binding - and gave it a good press.
Ironing on the interfacing
Pressing into quarters



4. Back at the sewing machine, I chose to do some decorative stitching between each fabric join. I thought this would help to tie each of the fabrics together and give me a chance to use some of my machine stitches that I don't often use!

5. I'm using a toggle and clasp at each end and attached these using some ric-rac that I had lying around. I used some fray check to stop it fraying too badly. It is a little bit of a fiddle to get the toggle onto the ric-rac - there's a fair bit of wriggling and pulling but I got there eventually! You could easily use ribbon or small scraps of fabric instead.















6. Fold over the ends of your bracelet by about 1/2", position your toggle/clasp into one of the outside quarters (as marked by your iron creased lines!) and stitch into place. I used a sewing machine but it could easily be done by hand. Although not necessary, I found it really tricky to keep them in the right position whilst sewing around the perimeter without securing them beforehand.















7. Sew around the perimeter of your bracelet - I started near the top corner and adjusted my machine so that it was sewing on the furthest edge. When you reach each end of the bracelet very carefully sew across the bottom - I found it easier to do this manually as the layers of fabric are quite thick and you are so close to the edge it could easily get knarled in the machine. I also chose to do an extra line of stitching at each end. Overlap the beginning and end stitches to make sure that nothings going to start unravelling.















8. Put it on your wrist and enjoy!!!
















If you love the bracelet but don't have the time to make one then please let me know/visit my shop and I will make one to order

I hope this all makes sense - it is my first tutorial so please let me know if anything could be made clearer.

Selling Rights: I would love for you to make a bracelet for yourself from this tutorial. If you make bracelets to sell from this tutorial then please credit me with the design

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Just pottering

Yep. That's what I've been doing for the last few days. Pottering from job to job, doing a little bit here and a little bit there and to be honest a little bit overwhelmed by just how much there is to do. So trying to do just a little bit at a time. Besides which it's been too hot to rush anywhere (typical Brit moaning about the weather - never happy!)

A couple of days ago I decided to take a few cuttings in the garden. I bought a lavender plant last year and would really like to have a few more around the garden (I have aspirations of being able to harvest enough lavender to make some nice smelly bags!). So I read up in my books - apparently it's as easy as taking a cutting from the new growth, sticking it in some soil, waiting for it to grow some roots and then pinching out the tip. Ummmmmmm we'll see!















I took four cuttings which I'm hoping will give me fairly good odds of at least one surviving?! In the bigger pot is a rudbeckia - it was part of a larger plant and I've divided it up, hopefully it will survive the split.

















The weather has been A-MAZ-ING these last few days, although it does seem slightly schizophrenic given how miserable it was just four days ago! I do enjoy the clear skies but I've never been a big fan of the heat - spring and autumn have always been my favourite seasons when there's a freshness in the air and the opportunity to wear layers and knits! Still, it has been amazing to see such lovely skies and it's given me the opportunity to wear my Sorbetto top!

Today saw me pottering around the kitchen. Little Girl had a friend back for tea who had turned 6yrs yesterday so it seemed only right that I should make up some very pink cupcakes with glitter. Can't be too girly, right?!

I'm still working on my sewing in the background as well. The jelly roll quilt has now had one whole side of the binding hand basted (and it's a long side so I've officially done over 25%. Yay!)















And I'm also working on the tutorial that I mentioned in a recent post




I hope you're all enjoying the sunshine and having some lovely days

See you soon, 

S x

Todays sky ● Blue! There were a few whispy clouds but overall blue!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A good day out!

For any readers of UK blogs you probably haven't missed by now the fact that the weather over here has been p-r-e-t-t-y rubbish for May. As a result we've been spending far too many days inside and with three Littlies it can get a lot little bit pressured at times, I can tell you!

This weekend the forecast was for a cloudy but dry day so we decided to Go For It and arrange a trip out. We arranged to meet some family at Audley End, a stately home over in Essex.

 First off, there was the important job of packing a picnic. Alongside all the normal things (sandwiches, vegetable sticks, drinks) I decided to quickly make up some banana muffins: for some reason the Littlies seem to go through phases of eating bananas and at the moment they're not! And the result has been lots of too-ripe banana's. I found a recipe on-line ages ago for some banana and sultana muffins that always come out well and as a bonus feel semi-healthy because they have oats and bananas in. They can't be that bad for you, right?!

I'm thinking of writing the recipe up - would anyone be interested?

It was our first trip to Audley End and coming down the drive we were greeted by the most amazingly sculpted hedge
It really reminds me of dry stone walling. I can't help but think about how long it must take to keep it looking this good!

We went for a bit of stroll around (AKA letting the Littlies wear themselves out!) and came across the Organic Walled Garden. I love old walled gardens....something about their vastness and orderliness that makes me feel good and gives me aspirations for my own garden (at about 1% of the scale, obviously!). And this one was no different.
 

They had so many espalier trees - mainly pear and apple - and all pruned to be just so. There were lots of blossom on them so I'm guessing in a few more months there'll be lots of juicy fruit (hey - there's got to be an upside to all this rain we've been having!)

The grounds were pretty amazing too. Huge trees in expansive grounds. And because we're in the UK a good ol' game of cricket was going on in the background!














We also went for a walk around the house and at the back there were some lovely landscaped gardens. I can just imagine Victorian Ladies taking a turn around the gardens in years gone by!

What you can't see is that just behind me when I took this photo was a sloped garden which the oldest two Littlies had lots of fun rolling down again and again and again! They had so much fun!

It was such a great day out and if you're ever in the area I would definitely recommend a day trip there. Oh, and in case you're interested most of the muffins got eaten although there might be enough left over for a decadent breakfast tomorrow morning!!!

Hope you've all had a lovely day, I'm off to do some more hand sewing on my quilt!

S x

Todays sky ● overcast







Friday, 18 May 2012

Today is mostly about.....

...feeling a little bit under the weather and having a bowl of homemade soup for lunch (rescued from the freezer)















...contemplating hand sewing the binding to the back of my first proper quilt and feeling a bit over-whelmed by how long it's going to take (but trying to stay focused on how chuffed I'm going to feel when it's finished!)















...staring at these pretty new fabrics that I've got for a quilt I've been asked to make. Aren't they bright and beautiful? I'm thinking of getting some plains to add in next week (I'm blackmailing myself to finishing off some projects first before buying it!)















...looking back through my photo's and realising that I haven't yet shared with you this gorgeous sky from Saturday night, so a bit belated, but here you go!!!















Hope you all have a lovely weekend planned, and hopefully some ta-dah! posts will be scheduled for next week,

S x

Todays sky ● overcast. Meh!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Today's the day!

When I came downstairs yesterday and looked out the window I thought 'today's the day!' There were lots of pale pink little flowers all over my clematis.
















I also had to take a photo of my daffodils that I see when I'm washing up. These are somewhat of a miracle to me as I got the bulbs back in October but didn't get around to planting them until Jan/Feb this year. I wasn't even sure if they would even be any good but they're tough little beauties and are giving me lots of pleasure!




















Today I think it's possible that there were even more flowers and with the little bit of sunshine that we had I just had to take some more photo's


I've been really enjoying the break in the weather - even hung some washing outside. The sky was amazing tonight with the sun really highlighting the clouds. I love skies like this!















I've also finally been able to work on a little project idea that I've had - here's a sneak peek and I'm really hoping to get a tutorial up for you over the next few days (and that you'll like it as much as I do!)

Hope you all have a great weekend planned - we're hoping to have a relaxing one!

Thanks for popping in, 

S x

Todays sky ● blue with clouds





Sunday, 6 May 2012

A busy few days

This past week feels like it's gone by at break-neck speed! But on the upside it does feel like I've been quite productive, which is always a good thing.

Back last week when I went to Wonderwool I mentioned that I'd started some knitting on the train. It was  a little shawlette that I was knitting with some Trekking XXL sock wool. And I have to say it's one of the speediest knit's that I've ever done!














I started on Friday and finished it on Monday, although I think this is more a testament to the amount of time I spent traveling rather than how quickly I knit!!! It's a crescent shaped shawl which I think will be lovely for the summer and makes a nice little neckwarmer as well. And it used less than half a ball of wool which is pretty good. Reading through some of the projects that have already been done, some people have added extra lace repeats which I might do if I do this again (which I think I probably will). The problem is that after squishing all the fabulous yarn at Wonderwool, this just feels so coarse against the skin!














So, details.....

Pattern::: All About Love (free pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn::: Trekking XXL sock yarn, less than half a ball
Needles::: 4.5mm (went up a size)
Mods::: none (for once!)

I've also been whipping up a storm on the sewing front as I had an order for six notebooks! That kept me out of mischief for a little while, I can tell you.















It got to me thinking though, what should we call a lot of notebooks? A flock? A parliament? My Mum thought maybe a clutch, which I quite liked. So here you go, a clutch of reusable notebook covers!
A clutch of reusable notebook covers!

















Other than that, it's been a quiet Bank Holiday so far, catching up with friends and family. And waiting impatiently for my clematis to flower!














Each morning this week I've come downstairs thinking 'maybe today's the day?' and have been disappointed each time. Ah well, I think it's going to be worth the wait.........maybe tomorrow?!

Hope you're all having a lovely long weekend,

S x

Todays sky - overcast with the odd glimpse of sun. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

Cozy cushions!

Back towards the beginning of the year, I was 'chatting' with fellow ravellers about present ideas for an important wedding anniversary and very cheekily gave a link to my Celtic Love Knot cushion and even more cheekily suggested that if they liked I could always make one for them if they were interested.

My original Celtic Love Knot Cushio

















Thankfully, Textureknits didn't think I was too cheeky and said 'Yes' she would like me to make her a cushion for a Golden Wedding Anniversary. A little while later she sent an email saying "Can you do horses?". Now I'll confess that I've never before done a horse but I figured that I can't not do a horse and I always like to push myself. So I said yes - accepted the challenge! - and set to. Ooh, I was nervous about it though!
Cushions all set and ready to stitch!
















The colour schemes I was given were dark brown/chestnut horse on a black background. I'd originally been thinking of free-machine embroidering around the outside but decided that this wouldn't give enough contrast and instead went for a more solid outline with zig zag stitch. I also spent a lot of time on the mane and tails wanting to capture as much movement on them as possible....I can tell you there was a lot of tongue-sticking out in concentration, pondering, adding a bit more stitching, a bit more pondering and then finally deciding that they needed some highlights!!!
A close up of the finished horses















I'm really pleased with how it came out in the end and hope that the recipients of the cushions will like them as much.

We met up at Wonderwool last Saturday and I handed over all the packages. Would you like to see the finished cushions in all their plumpness on the sofa?!
 

Textureknits also asked for a notebook at the last minute - I think it was for a teachers gift -  but in the end she fell in love with the sheep on the front and didn't want to let it go but shhhhh! I won't tell if you won't!!!!
Hope you all have some lovely plans for the Bank Holiday weekend, 

Sx

Todays sky ● overcast



Thursday, 3 May 2012

April in Crochet

I fear that if I dwell on the weather too much, this could be a pretty dreary post! Suffice to say we have truly experienced April downpours showers!!!




















Needless to say it's been a pretty miserable month weather wise, lots of grey, especially for the last couple of weeks.















However (being positive!) there have been some lovely moments where the sun has popped out to say hello and it has seemed Spring is truly underway
 

The blanket has been on the back-burner a little bit and I've been finding myself having to catch up on it a little too much. There's been lots going on in the background here at f&f - you know how life and poorly Littlies can get in the way of Good Intentions - but I think I'm back on track now. Made a start on May (another grey line!) so not far behind at all now















You can see how there's been lots of murky days. Ah well. How about if we have a look at the whole year so far instead - that includes a lot more blue!!!!




















The long ends that you can see sticking out mark the beginning of each month. Isn't it getting big?! As of today, 1 Jan - 30 April = 127cm long x 52cm wide!!! Wowsers. Gonna have to get my thinking cap on about how much longer I make it I think!!!!

Hope you're all well,

Sx

Todays sky ● grey and rainy





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