Monthly Archives: April 2019

Bee Happy!

At last year’s Yarndale festival in Skipton I was lucky enough to attend a workshop run by the amazingly talented Jaki Bogg, learning how to make what she referred to as ‘rip and stitch’ brooches.  I’d seen quite a few of these kinds of brooch on Pinterest and was keen to have a go myself – you’ve probably seen them – they tend to feature little sayings or quotes on them and feature a lovely decorative kilt pin.

Needless to say, I didn’t get my brooch finished during the workshop, but brought everything home to finish off at my leisure.  I’ve come across the bits on several occasions over the last few months and I every time I saw them I thought, ‘I really must finished that brooch off’ but somehow never quite got round to it!

 

This is what I brought home with me – the basis of the brooch, along with a small selection of old cotton fabric, a button and some bits of embroidery thread.

 

 

 

When I spread everything out on the table, I remembered that I wasn’t entirely happy with what I’d done so far which is possibly why it’s lain in my basket for so long!  Basically, the brooch consists of a firm-ish piece of wadding cut to whatever shape and size you fancy and then covered in fabric.  I’d attached my fabric using a series of running stitches but I hadn’t stretched it out carefully enough and the bottom section of my brooch wouldn’t lie flat.   To rectify this I simply unpicked the stitches along the bottom and made a better job of spreading out the fabric this time before I sewed another row of running stitches to hold it in place.

During the workshop I’d attached 2 small pieces of ripped cotton on the top section of the brooch using a small running stitch interspersed with cross stitch, and I’d sewn on a button.   Now it was just a case of deciding what to put on next!

I experimented with some ribbon from my stash but decided that the neat edges didn’t really go with the ripped, more rustic style of the brooch (when you rip rather than cut fabric, you get a lovely rough edge). Instead I decided on a piece of rather lovely tie dyed effect fabric which I ripped into a narrow rectangle.  I pinned this in place and popped one of my remaining bee charms on to see what that would look like.

While I was making up my mind about the bee, I decided to stitch my wording onto the brooch and it didn’t take me long to decide on ‘Bee happy’!  Using small stitches, I back-stitched the letters through all the layers of the brooch so that the bottom half of the tie dyed fabric was secured in place too.  I then tried placing the bee charm at the top and a button at the bottom to see what that would look like, and was suitably pleased with the result.

Once I’d sewn both the charm and the button in place, the tie dye fabric was nice and secure without the need for any additional stitches which was great.

At this point, the front was all finished, so it was now a case of fixing the kilt pin in place before tidying up the back.

I wrapped a piece of plain cotton over the hook side of the pin, then sewed a row of small back stitches all the way along as close to the pin as possible.  Once I’d secured the fabric to the pin, I could place it on the back of the brooch, right at the top and pin it in place.

The final step was to back the brooch to hide all the loose ends of thread and to secure the pin in position.  I placed the largest piece of cotton under the brooch and cut all the way around leaving a good sized hem allowance of about 2cms.  I then folded the hem over, and held it in place as I worked my way around attaching the backing to the brooch with a series of tiny stitches.

And there you have it – one ‘Bee happy’ brooch to brighten up a coat or a bag maybe, or even to hang on the wall as a little mini pendant – the choice is yours!

 

 

 

From Peg Loom to Leg Room!

Well I think my yarn stash must be magic – it seems no matter how much of the stuff I use, I still have bags of wool hiding under my table!

This time I thought I ought to use up some of the chunky wool I have, so I decided to make 2 little mats to go in the back of the car.

 

My lovely Dad had made me a little peg loom a while ago, so when Harry went out the other night I sat myself down in front of the telly and set to.

 

 

Peg loom weaving is wonderfully easy to do, and very therapeutic.  A small loom like mine fits nicely on your lap and you work with the weaving away from you so that it covers your legs as you go (all will become clear!)

To start, you need to thread each of the pegs in the loom with a long piece of yarn.  I used a darning needle to get my yarn through the holes and made sure that the yarn was plenty longer than the size I wanted my finished mat to be (this is to allow extra yarn to tie off the ends and make tassels).  You’ll end up with 2 strands of yarn hanging down from each peg and these are known as the warp threads.

Once your loom is set up, pop it on your knee, make sure you have a bag of yarn and a cup of tea to hand, tune in to Poirot, and you’re ready for the off!

To start, you simply weave your first colour in front and behind each of the pegs in turn.  When you come to the end of a row, bring the yarn round the last peg and continue the pattern.  Keep going for as many rows as you want with this colour.  Once you’re ready to change, get to the end of a row, trim the old yarn (leaving a nice long end to weave in), and attach your new colour with a slip knot just like in the picture above.  You’re now ready for the off again, making sure that  you keep the ‘in front then behind’ pattern correct as you go.  For neatness always change colour at the same edge of your loom.

 

As you weave, your work will progress up to the top of the pegs.  Once you’ve got to this stage, it’s time to clear the pegs to allow you to continue.

 

 

You do this by carefully lifting up one peg at a time from its hole, pushing the weaving down the warp threads and replacing the empty peg back into its hole.

Your work will slide safely down the warp threads and you just have to push it back up again once all the pegs are back in their holes.  You’re reading to continue weaving.  Repeat this process until your work reaches the required length.

To finish your work, take it off the pegs but don’t push it back up this time.  Instead make sure you leave a good 6 inches of warp thread showing and then snip the warp close to the pegs to remove them.  You should now have your weaving with long warp threads on either end.

 

In order to secure your weaving, you’ll need to knot tassels at either end.  To do this you take one warp thread from one channel, and one from the channel next to it, then knot them together (see the two single threads in the photo)

 

Do this at both ends of the weaving, then trim the tassels to whatever length you like.

All that’s left to do then is to weave in the loose ends on the back of the mat.

 

Once I finished my first mat, I made another the same size and they now have pride of place in the rear footwells in my car 🙂

 

Spring has Sprung

I’ve made quite a few different crocheted flowers over the previous few months, but this latest project to make a Spring wreath saw me crocheting a daffodil which I’ve never attempted before!  I had some polystyrene wreath bases (which I’d used at Christmas) but thought if I was going to make a Spring wreath, then the twig one I had would be more appropriate.

 

The patterns I used all came from the Simply Crochet magazine 2019 Calendar.  The calendar features four stunning wreaths all designed by Kate Eastwood who has a wonderful book out  – Crocheted Wreaths and Garlands which I can highly recommend if you fancy treating yourself!

 

Obviously you could use any flower and leaf patterns, lots of which are freely available with detailed instructions on the attic 24 webpage.

 

Once you’ve decided on your chosen wreath base, it’s simply a case of setting to work and crocheting a selection of flowers and leaves (or you could knit them if you preferred, or sew them from felt or scraps of fabric).

 

 

 

Once I’d made a few, I placed them on the wreath and experimented with various positions.  If I liked the arrangement then I took a photo of it so that I’d be able to replicate it if I moved them about a bit to try other positions.

 

 

 

  

Keep going until you have enough to complete the wreath.  Remember, that you don’t have to fill it in completely if you don’t want to, a few strategically placed flowers can look really effective, but do have a good play around until you’re happy with how it looks (and remember to leave space to pop a ribbon on so  you can hang the wreath).

 

To attach the flowers and leaves I decided to use the glue gun, so it really couldn’t have been easier.  However, once they’re stuck then they’re stuck, so make sure you’re happy with the arrangement before you glue!

 

 

The final flourish was to add a daffodil head to the front of the ribbon – eh voila!