Tag Archives: crafts

Tie A Yellow Ribbon

Since I started my 52 project I’ve used up a few bits and pieces from my ribbon stash, but I’m still left with a big box of oddments that I’ve collected over the years.  It was time that some of them found a new home!

I decided to have a little search on Pinterest for ribbon crafts (not recommended unless you want to come away with ideas for ten other projects that you’re desperate to start too!) and saw a rather lovely ribbon wreath.  As luck would have it I had 2 polystyrene wreaths in my stash and I chose the larger of the two for this project.

 

 

I sorted through all my ribbon and chose a selection of colours that I thought went nicely together.  I then ironed them all and laid them out on the table next to the wreath and my glue gun.

 

 

The idea is nice and simple.  Take your first length of ribbon and glue one end to the back of the wreath.  You then wrap the ribbon around and around making sure you pull it tight and that it overlaps the previous strip of ribbon to ensure there are no gaps at all.

So long as you pull the ribbon nice and tight you’ll only need to glue the beginning and end of each piece of ribbon.  Work your way around the wreath making sure to overlap the ribbon as you go.

Once my wreath was complete I was really chuffed with the colours, but felt that it lacked something to finish it off.

I thought about using it as a picture frame perhaps, but reckoned that the wreath itself was too colourful and would detract from any photo I put behind it.

 

In the end I decided to crochet some flowers and leaves from cotton yarn and glued those on one side.  You don’t even have to sew in the ends if you’re going to glue them, you can just tie them together and snip them !  If you’d like to have a go yourself, there are lots of suitable free patterns on the Attic24 site.

 

 

And there you have it!

I’m about to start sorting out the garden shed, so I can turn it into a mini workspace, and think that might be the ideal place for this new addition to my ever growing wreath collection!

 

 

Let There Be Light!

Well this has to be possibly my quickest project to date!

 

A little while ago we’d been looking to replace the very old lampshade at the top of the stairs (by ‘very old’ I  mean that it wouldn’t have been out of place in the Beamish museum!) However, I really struggled to find anything I liked that didn’t cost a fortune.  In the end I settled for a plain cream shade that was just £4 from Wilko.  Every time I went upstairs I wondered what I could do to liven it up a little, and then remembered a lampshade I’d seen at the lovely Vintage Powder Room and Tea Shop in Whitley Bay – isn’t it gorgeous?!

 

 

Now that I had a plan, I took down the shade and spread out some of my button stash on the kitchen table to see what I could make use of.  Then I plugged in my trusty glue gun!

 

 

 

Whilst I love the totally random, ‘full on’ look of the Vintage Powder Room’s shade, I decided to go for something a little more subtle and opted to decorate the bottom of the shade only.  I measured the circumference so that I could work out how far apart to space my buttons (and check that I’d have enough of the design I chose too).

To help me space the buttons out, I made use of my sewing gauge which was ideal for the job.  The glue gun took no time at all to heat up and then it was simply a case of sticking the buttons on, one at a time, trying not to burn myself with the hot glue!  I decided to space some lovely wooden floral heart buttons out first, and once they were all in place I went back round again adding in some plain wooden hearts.

I may yet take it down again and add a few more buttons, but for now I’m really pleased! 🙂

Granny B’s Granny Purse

I have to admit to loving small purses for change and other bits and pieces, so after my clasp purse I thought I’d have a go at crocheting a granny square purse.  I always show folk on my workshops all the different things that you can do the humble granny square, and these little purses have to be one of the easiest.

To begin with, you need a granny square!!  The size of the square will depend on what size you want your finished purse to be and the number of rounds you have to crochet will also depend on the thickness of yarn that you’re using.  I still have an enormous stash of double knitting yarn, so decided to use that for my purse.

 

My top tip for working the first round of any granny square is to pop a hair grip into the circle you make when you join your 4 chain stitches together.  This is where you’ll be working all the trebles and it can sometimes be really hard to spot.  If you pop a hair grip in then you’ll always be sure of exactly where your hook needs to go.

Keep going until your square is the right size and don’t worry if the edges don’t look straight or the corners don’t look particularly pronounced.  All you need to do is block your granny square.  To do this, lay your square flat on the ironing board (or on one of those rubber children’s mats which are ideal) and pin it into shape.  Now just simply give it a steam with the iron, leave it to dry, and it will look beautifully crisp and square like!

The next step is to cut out your lining.  I laid my granny square on to my chosen fabric and cut it out leaving a good 1.5cm allowance all the way round.  I then ironed the seam allowance towards the wrong side of the lining fabric, and laid it onto the granny square so that the wrong sides were facing.  I popped a short piece of ribbon in under the lining at one of the corners, then carefully hand sewed the lining to the back of the granny square, making sure to secure in the ribbon.

Once the lining is secure you can fold in the bottom right and bottom left corner to the centre of the square and sew up the two edges.

All that’s left to do is to sew on a button and that’s your purse complete!

I just have to decide what to use it for now.   Maybe somewhere to store all my stitch markers perhaps?

Going Round in Circles

Over the past few months I’ve certainly made inroads into my yarn stash, but there’s still an awful lot left!  I got rid of quite a bit of the chunkier yarn when I used my peg loom to weave a couple of car mats, so I thought I’d have a go at a different type of weaving using an embroidery hoop this time.

To prepare your embroidery hoop for weaving, you take off the outer ring and leave to one side.  You then attach your warp thread (I used some DK yarn) to the top of the hoop and bring it down and under the rim directly opposite before bringing it back round to the front and up and under the top in a figure of eight pattern.  Each time you bring your warp thread back up to the top you need to move it roughly 2cm away from the last thread to produce evenly spaced ‘spokes’.  You can find a really useful video tutorial on how to do this here.

It’s important to make sure that you end up with an odd number of spokes on your hoop, or else your weaving won’t work.  Once you’re satisfied with the warp thread it’s time to put the outer ring of the hoop back on and tighten it to ensure your warp stays securely in place.

 

Now the fun starts!

The most effective weaving is made up using yarns of different thickness (although this really is personal preference).  I started out with DK weight which I’d threaded onto a darning needle.  Leaving a tail end of about 6cm, pass the yarn over and under the spokes and keep going for as many rounds as you like.  Make sure that  you end in roughly the same place as you started and you can tie the start and finish finish tail ends together on the back of your work to secure it.

Continue weaving making sure you maintain the pattern of over one spoke then under the next, and varying the yarn you use along the way.  As well as yarn you could try ribbon, shredded plastic bags, string, strips of old clothes etc.  I have quite a lot of wool tops from my spinning, so I popped some of that in too which gave a lovely texture to the finished item.  It wasn’t possible to thread the tops through a needle, but it was very easy to simple thread it over and under with my fingers.

Remember to keep pushing your work towards the centre of the hoop as you go to ensure you don’t have any holes in the middle, but it’s simply a case of keeping going until your hoop is full!

This was a really enjoyable project to make and I think next time I’ll experiment by adding some charms to the weaving too.  I love the fact that it has a ready made frame and is all ready to simply hang on the wall once you’re finished weaving 🙂

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 🙂

 

Memory Bracelet

If you’ve ever fancied having a go at jewellery making, then a memory bracelet is definitely a great place to start – they’re sooo easy to make!

 

 

 

 

Memory wire is so called because it’s manufactured to keep its coiled shape, making it ideal for bracelets.  It comes in one long coiled piece which you can cut to size, and I opted for four coils for my bracelet.

 

 

 

 

 

Once cut to size, you need to close up one end of your wire to stop the beads falling off.  To do this you need to carefully bend the end over to form a loop.   Before I completely bent the end, I added in a little bee charm, then closed the loop completely, securing the bee inside the loop.

 

 

 

Now you’re ready for the fun part!  It really is just a case of threading your beads through the wire and letting them fall to the end.  You can opt for a strict pattern, or go for a more random approach as I did.  I chose a selection of mainly blue and green beads in different shapes and sizes and put them on the table (on a foam mat to stop them rolling around everywhere).

Then I just helped myself, picking up beads at random.  I did however try and make sure I didn’t have 2 of the same next to each other (although this did happen once or twice and that was fine).  Every now and then, make sure the beads are pushed down to the end so there are no gaps, and just keep going until you’ve almost filled the wire.  Once you get close to the end, you’ll need to make another loop to secure the other end.  Again, I popped in a little bee charm to make both ends identical.

By the way, a great way to get cheap beads is to buy jewellery from charity shops.  You can often pick up some lovely bracelets and necklaces and re-use the beads and clasps too.

And there you have it – one memory bracelet.  What  could be easier?!

 

 

All Washed Up!

One of my favourite projects to date has definitely been the apron that I made from a tea towel, so I thought I’d have a go at upcycling another one in the drawer too (they actually came together in a set from Morrisons)

I’ve made a few projects for the living room recently – bunting for the fireplace, Coco’s basket that sits in the corner by the rocking chair, plus my 2 latest cushions, so I thought I’d continue the theme by turning the tea towel into a simple mini throw with a crocheted edging for the sofa.

 

There were 2 parts to the edging – a blanket stitch worked in embroidery thread, followed by a row of crochet stitches to make the decorative edge.

Using a water erasable pen, I marked tiny dots every 2cms along the hem of the tea towel to show me where I would need to make my stitches.

 

The next part was choosing what colour to make the edging.  I needed embroidery thread and cotton, so I laid all the possible suspects out on the tea towel to help me make my choice.  In the end I plumped for a deep purple.

 

 

Using the embroidery thread, I worked a blanket stitch all the way around all four sides of the tea towel using the dots as a guide.  This gave me a nice loop along the edges into which I could work the crochet stitches.

 

 

Using a 4ply cotton and a 3mm hook, I worked 1 double crochet, 1 half treble, 2 trebles, 1 half treble and 1 double crochet into each loop produced by the blanket stitch.  When I got to the corner, I worked 1 double crochet, 1 half treble, 6 trebles, 1 half treble and 1 double crochet to ensure there were enough stitches to go around both sides of the corner and lie flat.

 

A gentle hand wash got rid of the dots, and then it was simply a case of sewing in the loose ends and deciding which chair to put it on!

 

Like Hilda Ogden Loves Nosing

One of the things I’m loving about my 52 and Thrifty Too! project is that I’m finally getting to finish lots of WIPs that have lain for months (and sometimes years) in my stash.  This little embroidery started life four years ago on a holiday in the rather lovely village of Honeystreet, near Malborough in Wiltshire.

 

It’s a copy of one of Harry’s poems, and reads:

Like curtains love closing
Like models love posing
Like Hilda Ogden loves nosing
So do I love you!

I hand sewed the words freehand on a piece of linen cloth I had using 2 strands of embroidery thread.  The letters were worked in back stitch with french knots for the punctuation and dots on the i’s.  At the time I had no idea what I was going to do with the embroidery, but just enjoyed making it and added to it using what I had with me on holiday.

 

Once I’d finished the words, I folded over the edges of the white linen and centred it onto a piece of Liberty fabric.  I then hand sewed a piece of ribbon on top of the join.   Next I folded over the edges of the Liberty fabric which I then placed onto the teal background and sewed all the way around it with a decorative blanket stitch.  The last thing I did was to add a button to each of the four corners.

This was as far as I got on holiday, and the embroidery has been at the bottom of a basket since then!

When I rediscovered it recently I thought about turning it into a wall hanging, but in the end plumped for another cushion to add to my collection (or should that be obsession!)  After a rummage through my Liberty stash I realised I didn’t have enough of the same fabric to create the front and back of the cushion, so opted instead for 3 different patterns which you can see above.

To save a bit of money I was going to take the cushion pad out of one of the existing cushions on the sofa, but when I removed the cover the pad definitely looked the worse for wear, so instead I spent £1.75 of my budget to buy a new one.  The size of the pad was 45cm x 45cm so when I cut the fabric for the front I cut a 48cm x 48cm square (to allow for 1.5cm seams).   I also opted for another envelope back so cut out 2 rectangles 48cm x 34cm.  This would leave enough of an overlap to get the cushion pad in, but ensure both pieces would lie flat once the pad was safely inside.

 

 

Once I’d cut the fabric for the front of the cushion, I cut the rectangular teal fabric into a square shape, folded over the edges, centred it on the cushion front and used a decorative blanket stitch to attach it in place.

 

 

Now that my cushion front was complete, it was time to prepare the back.  To do this, I needed to hem the inside edges of both back pieces.  It was then simply a case of overlapping the back pieces and placing them snug against the front (right sides together) then sewing all the way around the square.

 

Once completed, I trimmed the seams and snipped the four corners before turning the cushion cover the right side out and pushing out the corners to make them as sharp as possible.

 

 

You can see the finished front and back of the cushion cover below:

 

And here’s what it looks like with the cushion pad inside and on the sofa!

 

A Project of Note!

I’m one of those crafters who likes to keep notes on what I’m doing.  If I’m knitting or crocheting then I always like to have a notebook handy to jot down where I am in the pattern in case I get interrupted.   My preferred size for craft notebooks is A6 as these fit nicely into project bags and are easy to carry around with me.

 

As you can imagine, I go through notebooks quite quickly so I thought I’d make one for my next project to show you how easy it is!  I came across this gorgeous turquoise textured paper under my craft table – I found it in a Paperchase sale about 3 years ago and I’ve still got about 4 big sheets of it left (I’ve no idea why I bought so much!), so decided to use it to make the cover of the notebook.

 

I’ve got small supplies of good quality white and cream paper left in my stash, so decided to go for white.  I always like to add a bit of interest to my notebooks though and add in other handmade papers, so set out seeing what else I could find that would fit in with the turquoise cover.  Once I’d decided on what I was going to use, I cut it all to size using my guillotine and carefully folded each piece in half.  I then experimented with the order in which I wanted the patterned pages and plain paper pages to appear.

As well as using patterned paper, you can jazz up your plain paper too – I opted to decorate the edge of one of the pieces using a pretty tulip stamp, and another by simply cutting a thin strip of patterned paper and gluing it down flush with the edge.

 

I also decided to use one of my ceramic buttons that been in my tin for a few years now and sew it onto the front cover.

 

 

 

So, once you’ve cut all your paper to size, folded it and decided what order you’d like it to appear in your notebook, it’s time to sew it together.

Now I always buy my bookbinding tools from The Vintage Paper Company and they have a really lovely guide to making a simple book here if you’d like to have a go, but I’ll try and explain my method below with the help of some photos.

You need to make yourself a stitching template out of stiff card that’s the same length as your book, and on which you’ve marked the centre point of the book, as well as 2 cms from the top and bottom (or wherever you want your stitch to finish.

Next, you push all the papers right into the cover so that they sit flush, and hold them in place with 2 small bulldog clips (or pegs etc) – one on each side.  Now you need to place your book inside a really thick book or pile of magazines (an old telephone directory is ideal for this if you have one).  Slide the template inside the book, right in the centre, and using an awl push right through all the layers into the book or phone directory below in the 3 places marked on the template.  You want to make sure your tool goes all the way through so you have 3 good holes to thread your needle through.

Keeping the clips in place, it’s now time for the sewing.  Thread a nice long length of thread (ideally a waxed linen bookbinding thread is perfect as it’s nice and strong, but you could use embroidery thread or any other thick thread you have).

I like to start my stitch on the inside of the book, but some folk prefer to start from the outside.  Here’s how I do it:

  1. From the inside of the book, push the needle through the centre hole to the outside
  2. Insert the needle from the outside into the bottom hole and bring it through to the inside.
  3. Insert the needle from the inside into the top hole and take it through to the outside.
  4. Insert the needle from the outside back into the centre hole.
  5. Ensure that the two ends of your thread end up on either side of the central stitch on the inside of your book.
  6. Pull the ends tightly and turn the book over to check that the thread is lying flush with the book on the outside.
  7. Make a double knot and trim the ends.  I like to leave a good inch and make a feature of the knot.

If you start your stitch from the outside, then the knot will end up on the outside too, so it’s just a case of which you prefer really.

If you were making a larger book, you could work 2 smaller  pamphlet stitches on the spine rather that one larger one, but again, that’s up to you.

 

Once the stitching is finished, you can remove the clips and there you have it – one unique notebook all ready to be filled with lots more crafting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blowing In The Wind

If you remember way back when I was preparing for my wedding last June, I wanted to make bunting from all of the lovely tags our guests had hung on the Wedding Wish Tree.  Well, the months have passed and when I came to look at them all again the other day I realised that I’d already made 2 different lots of bunting for my Project 52 – one crochet and one sewn – so thought I’d try something different instead.

 

 

 

There were a couple of dozen tags to be displayed altogether, so I toyed with the idea of some kind of mobile.  Hanging up some washing the next day I came across the 2 basic metal coat hangers that had held my husband’s wedding suit when it came back from the dry cleaners.  Immediately I was transported back to my childhood and those fabulous advent candle mobiles that they always made on Blue Peter every year – do you know the ones I mean?

Well, that decided it.  Using my jewellery tools, I cut off the hook from one of the coat hangers and managed to carefully untwist what was left of the top, before sliding it inside the other hanger, and twisting the remains of the top around the base of the other hook.   Next I secured the twisted ends with sellotape, and also taped the part where the two hangers overlapped to make sure they would stay in place.   I then used the pliers to carefully bend the remaining hook over into a loop so that I would be able to use it to hang the mobile.   Hopefully the photos will help make sense of this process!

 

I wanted to cover the metal, so I had a dig around in my ribbon stash.  I ended up with 2 different ribbons which I wrapped around the metal so that it was all covered.  I was quite rough and ready doing this as I wanted a rustic look, so I didn’t mind the odd bump!

 

 

When I got to the end, a simple blob of glue held the two ends in place and I popped a peg on for a while until the glue had dried.

 

 

 

The tags themselves already had bits of lovely string on them so it was an easy job to loop them around the mobile.  I spent a bit of time deciding which to put on each spoke of the mobile as there was a selection of different designs and I tried to spread them out evenly.  Something was missing though, so I thought back to my wedding and honeymoon and came up with the idea of adding in some maps of the various places that we visited.  I decided to go for 10 places altogether, making 5 double sided hearts (one to go on each of the corners and another in the centre).

To cut out the maps, I made a heart template from greaseproof paper that I could place onto my atlas to be certain I was including exactly the right places!  I decided that in order for the hearts to hang well the paper maps would need to be attached to some fabric to give them a bit of stiffness, and I found some felt that I thought would be ideal.  I didn’t have enough of the same colour so ended up with 3 different purples/pinks.

I had a little experiment sewing the paper hearts onto a scrap felt heart, but it was really difficult to keep the paper still as I was sewing, and obviously I couldn’t pin them in place as that would leave pin marks in the paper.  In the end I sewed the paper hearts onto the larger pieces of felt and then cut out heart shapes around them and this worked much better!

 

 

Once the maps were sewn to the felt and the heart shapes cut (using pinking shears to give a pretty edging), I put 2 hearts back to back and sewed them together to make them double sided.  Then it was just a case of adding ribbon to enable them to hang from the mobile.  To do this I cut ribbon to the right length and hung it over the wire then hand sewed it to the heart.

 

 

 

To hang the mobile I found an old hook with a screw fixing.

 

 

 

 

I wandered the house looking for the best place to put it and settled on the bottom of the banister in the hallway.  I’m really chuffed with the final result and get to walk past such lovely memories every day!