Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Scraps, Stash Building and Bargains

Silk scraps in rich jewel colours
Scraps, stash building and bargains - crafting nirvana!

For the last week or so I have been having frequent migraines which have been building to a crescendo. I don't know if you are aware, but migraines are not always accompanied by excruciating headache, but that doesn't mean they aren't nasty. Up until recently I have coped well with migraines but now they are causing problems. Such was the case yesterday. It meant I was struggling to concentrate on any craft so I decided to take a short trip to an Antique and Collectors Fair which was taking place in a nearby village. The fair is well known for the quality of the items and the potential for bargains. And what bargains I had!

When I arrived I headed straight for the haberdashery section upstairs. At first sight it looked disappointing but I wasn't deterred and began to systematically look through each section. The selection of silk pieces in the picture at the top of this post were in a small cellophane bag which was the first thing I decided on. The pink silk sash in that same photograph I picked up as I was waiting to pay. It is about 15 feet long! I've no idea what I shall use it for but the colour is so delicious and there's so much of it that I just had to buy it.
Silk scraps in muted colours
The next item I picked up was a small resealable freezer bag which looked decidedly the worse for wear. I could see it had one of those bags with a cellophone front and paper back but couldn't see what was in it, and I could also see some scrappy bits of white thread and yarn. I thought the bag might be worth risking so I kept hold of it. [By the way, little or nothing has a price marked on it at this sale - you wait to see what you are charged and then decide whether or not to buy.] When I looked in that freezer bag this morning I did, indeed, find some scraps of white thread and yarn but I also found all of the beautiful silk scraps in the picture above. In addition, there were a few colourful lengths of fancy thread/yarn and a small piece of a neutral fabric with shiny patches, a couple of scraps of organza and a scrap of black lace with flowers embroidered on it. These are in the photo below, together with a piece of furnishing fabric in delicious rich colours which I think will make a beautiful bag.
Scraps, a silk tie, rich colours and bling!
Also in the picture is a silk tie to add to my collection - I don't know what I am going to do with them but I like to buy silk ties when I see them at bargain prices. I also bought the fiery drawstring bag with lots of gold sparkle to 'bling' it up!
Pillowcases, gingham and stripes
My next finds were three, virtually new, pillowcases which I shall use to make pillowcase dresses for Dress A Girl Around The World. On the same table I found this pink gingham curtain - I'm sure the fabric will be "just what I need" one day! I found the piece of striped fabric hidden amongst a pile nearby and decided it would be a useful addition to my stash.
Yes, they're green!
I happened to spy this pack of glass beads on the table and picked them up. Yes, they're green - in fact, most of them are quite nauseating shades of green - but I might need to use green in a project some time [oh, yeuch!], or, I could generously offer some to others and deprive myself of their glistening beauty! Have you noticed how skilled I am in writing rubbish? Ha ha ha.
Design resource books, hand embroidery
reference and Sewing World magazine
Onward to the books section and I found these beauties. The reference guides on the left are both British Museum Pattern Guides: Islamic and Early Celtic designs. The Embroidery Stitches book by Mary Thomas looks interesting and the edition of Sewing World magazine will be worth poring over whilst sipping coffee.
Beautiful shimmering colours
This photo does not do justice to the exquisite shimmering purple and pink of the fabric. It is a lightweight furnishing fabic and I just had to have it. I needed it.

I told you about the bargain prices? Well, for all of the above items I paid just five pounds. Yes, that's right, £5.00!!! The lady in front of me was charged £10.00 for her purchases and I was quite expecting to be charged the same, so imagine how thrilled I was!

With my head still spinning from having got such a bargain, I went downstairs to look at the old linens and bought these - not such a good bargain, but at £3.00 they weren't bad.
Linen and crocheted lace
Even excluding all the wonderful things I bought, I was pleased I went. As well as seeing Maureen and Eunice, I saw Linda and was able to have a chat with her.

Just as I was about to leave Eunice asked If I had bought everything I was after. I said there was one more thing I needed: space to put all my purchases.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

A Knitting Goal for 2014 Achieved

Hand knitted children's socks
You know how at New Year you set yourself goals or you think up New Year's Resolutions that it is unlikely you will even remember in a week's time? Yes? Well, I don't tend to do that. I am rather boring (hard to believe, I know! Ha ha ha!) because I have the attitude that the first day of January is just another day. I can't be bothered with all the fuss.

I don't know why, but this year was a little different. Nothing too major, you understand, I'm far too lazy to change a lot. This year I decided to set a few goals relating to the crafts that I do. I had noticed that I have a tendency not to push myself to try more when I knit so thought I would try to remedy that.
Socks hand knitted in Rico Superba Print
In order to challenge myself I decided that 2014 would be the year that I learned how to knit socks.
My goal: to knit socks
I went to a workshop to learn how to knit socks but didn't get on terribly well. That was due to me being unable to concentrate properly, partly because one person there talked incessantly. At the end of the day I was quite deflated by the little I had achieved.
Two socks! A pair!
Enter my friend, Elizabeth, sock knitter extraordinaire, who offered to give me one-to-one tuition on making socks. I can't tell you how pleased and grateful I was, and still am.

For various reasons we left the sock knitting lessons for a few weeks, starting a couple of weeks ago at Red Bank Knitting Group. We each knitted the same size of sock, doing all the shapings and fiddly bits when we met at groups. In that way I was able to complete my first sock last Monday. Since then I have knitted the second sock at home so that I now have... a pair of socks. The first pair of socks I have ever knitted! One of my knitting goals for 2014 achieved!

Ta da!
My First Pair of Socks!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Tutorial for Origami Folded Fabric Pouch - continued

I realise that in the tutorial for the Origami Folded Fabric Pouch that you can find here, I omitted to explain or show the pockets that would be created in the pouch. With apologies for the poor quality of the photographs (I was trying to hold the pouch open with one hand and take a shot on my iPad with the other!), I shall now try to remedy that.

The design of pouch that I gave instructions for has six pockets. I will show each of the pockets, beginning with the pocket at the back of the pouch and working towards the front.

Lay the pouch on a surface with the front uppermost - see picture 1.
Picture 1
Undo the fastening and lift only the top flap - this will show the pocket at the back of the pouch which is lined with the inner (pink) fabric - picture 2

Picture 2
Next, lift the second flap (which has the inner fabric uppermost) - this reveals the second pocket, which is lined with the outer (flowered) fabric - picture 3.

Picture 3
The next pocket is lined with the inner fabric - picture 4:

 Picture 4
Next we have a smaller pocket, lined with the outer fabric - picture 5.

Picture 5
The next pocket is lined with the inner fabric - picture 6 - and is the same size as that in picture 5.

Picture 6
The final pocket is the one in the centre with the flap fastened with a button - picture 7.

Picture 7
Showing pockets 3, 5 and 6

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Open Studio at Worden Arts & Crafts Centre

Wet felting using a resist

On Sunday, Anne with an 'e' and I went to Worden Arts and Crafts Centre near Leyland in central Lancashire. Our tutor on the course on Friday mornings, Shenna Swan, was having an open day at her studio there. 

I was interested to see more of Shenna's work as the pieces that I had seen during the course had piqued my interest.
The entrance to Shenna's studio
There is a pretty courtyard within the complex and this is where Shenna's studio is located. It was easy to spot!
Isabel knitting her tension square
As we walked in we saw Shenna's daughter, Isabel, busy knitting a tension square in preparation for her knitting project. How handy to have such a knowledgeable mother!
Spindle and fibres
Whilst Shenna was making a drink for each of us, Anne and I began looking around. I was immediately drawn to this informal display in connection with the upcoming Spindle Spinning workshop on 28 June. It was easy to find out about the various workshops that Shenna offers, without having to ask as a short description of each workshop along with the date, time and cost was placed next to the various displayed items. As there was a 20% discount being offered during the open day I made sure I took full advantage of it!

Choosing some handmade button
as a memento of her visit
 A lovely Scottish lady came in whilst we were looking around. She and her husband were en route to Wales but she had told him that she had to call in at the studio. She was telling us that she had just knitted a herring for the Follow the Herring project.

Happy to have bought some lovely
That's one of the lovely things about doing crafts: when you meet someone else who is interested, you immediately have something in common and to talk about - it's almost like an instant friendship!

Laying the fibres for wet felting
Shenna began a feltmaking demonstration. She was doing wet felting, using a resist. I have only tried this once and wasn't entirely successful. (I don't think it helped that the tutor on that course was teaching us what she had been shown on a course on the evenings immediately prior to each of our sessions!) I was fascinated when Shenna said that she uses a roofing material as her resist! She made a small bag and showed Anne with an 'e' and I various ways of finishing off the handle. The two of us are going to a two-day WEA crochet/felt workshop which Shenna is teaching at the end of this month. I'm looking forward to that as I enjoy making felt.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Tutorial - Origami Folded Fabric Pouch

Origami Fabric Pouch
For some time I have been meaning to write this tutorial for the Origami Folded Fabric Pouch. I was shown how to make it by Mary Loggie who was running craft classes aboard a cruise ship that Peter and I were on.
The pouch is very versatile. It can be used for sewing essentials, make up, knitting accessories, jewellery and even as an evening bag!
It can be made in a size to suit you, although Mary said that if the square of fabric is above about 16 inches it doesn't work so well. I have not tried to make one over that size so cannot advise further.
I hope you enjoy the tutorial. If you have any problems, please feel free to email me. My email address is dfne@peterjh.wanadoo.co.uk .
Origami Folded Fabric Pouch

-          1 Fat Quarter cotton or polycotton fabric for outer

-          1 Fat Quarter of complementary coloured cotton or polycotton fabric for inner

-          Lightweight Interlining [optional]

-          1 large button

-          1 small button [optional]

-          Braid, ribbon or elastic for closure loop

-          Matching thread


-          Self-healing cutting mat

-          Rotary cutter

-          24” x 6½” Quilter’s ruler

-          Fabric marker pencil

-          Sewing machine

-          Hand sewing kit

-          Flower-head pins, or similar


1.           It is essential to be accurate when cutting and stitching the pouch, otherwise it will end up looking something like this:

Crooked Origami Pouch
Instead of like these:

Origami pouches made for Women's Refuge

2.           Using the quilter’s ruler, cutting mat and rotary cutter, trim outer fabric to achieve a neat, square edge. Do the same for the inner fabric.

Neatly trim fabric edge
3.           Cut a square measuring 16” x 16” from the outer fabric. Repeat for the inner fabric and the interlining [if you are using it].

Cut square from outer fabric
4.           Lay the interlining on your cutting mat or work area then lay the outer fabric on top of it with the right side facing up.

Lay squares down right sides together
5.           Take the square of inner fabric and place it on top of those fabrics. Place the right side facing down.

Squares pinned together with 3" gap on right hand edge
6.           Pin the three layers together marking out a 3” section in the centre of one of the sides. [At each end of the section I place two pins at right angles to the edge of the fabric – I find this a good way to remind me to stop sewing when I reach that section!]

I set my stitch length at 2.5
7.          Stitch around the edge of the three layers, leaving a scant ¼” seam allowance. DO NOT stitch along the 3” wide section.

Two pins marking edge of 3" gap
8.           Remove all pins.

Trim corners
9.           Trim diagonally across all four corners to reduce bulk.

Turn fabrics inside out
10.       Turn the layers so that the right sides are facing out. Pay special attention to turning the corners to make them as pointed and neat as you can.

11.       Press the square, making sure to fold in the edges of the 3” gap. Press those edges into place.

12.       You may wish to pin the edges into position to close the gap. You may also find it helpful to place a few pins across the square, to hold the layers together and prevent slippage. [My walking foot fell to pieces which is why I use the pins.]

Topstitching with pins holding fabric firm
13.       Topstitch around the square, ¼” in from the edge, again with stitch length set at 2.5.

14.       Place the square on your working area with the outer fabric facing down and the corners at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock.
Folded edge along bottom with points at
9, 12 and 3 o'clock
15.       Lift the corner at 6 o’clock and place it on top of that at 12 o’clock, creating a fold from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock. You have created a neat, double-layered triangle.

16.       Pick up the point at 9 o’clock and place it on the opposite side of the triangle, as shown in this picture. The point at which the fabric has folded along the bottom edge I shall call ‘point x ’.

Point at 9 o'clock folded over to
opposite edge
17.       Repeat step 16 with the point at 3 o’clock, as shown, which will create ‘point y ’.
Points 9 and 3 o'clock folded, creating point
'x' on left at bottom and point 'y' on right at bottom
18.       The picture above shows the shape you should create.

Pin along fold
Both folds marked by pins
19.       You may find it helpful to pin along the folds that you have created or to mark them with a fabric marker.

Marking fold with a fabric pencil
20.       Stitch along each of the folds created at points 16 and 17.

Stitching along the fold
21.       Placing the 9 o’clock point on the opposite side of the triangle and again creating point x, pin the folded fabric into position.

Handstitching from 9 o'clock point to point 'x'
22.       Hand stitch from the 9 o’clock point along to point x .

23.       Place the 3 o’clock point on the opposite side, again creating point y .

24.       Pin the fabric into place, leaving the 3 o’clock point unpinned.

25.       Lift the 3 o’clock point and fold the fabric vertically from the centre of the open pockets down to where the two folded edges cross over. Mark this line with pins, then stitch down the line to create a triangular pocket.

Stitching along the vertical line to
create a triangular pocket
26.      Hand stitch along the folded edge from point y  to the row of pins down the centre. Be careful not to stitch through more than one layer as this will affect the size and usefulness of the pockets beneath.

27.       Flatten the triangular pocket that is sticking up to the left of the pinned line to create a diamond shaped pocket. Pin then stitch into place.
Flatten the triangular pocket and pin in position

28.       Across the line from the points at West and East, fold down the top point of the diamond [North].
Stitching the corners of the pocket in place
29.       Stitch into place. You may choose to place a small button here.
Attaching a small button to flap
30.       This creates a flap which should firmly hold a folded tape measure if you are using the pouch to hold sewing essentials.

Flaps folded down to close pouch
31.       Fold down the two corners [of the flaps that have been created] at 12 o’clock to close the pouch.

Sewing a large button on the top flap
32.       Stitch a large button on the uppermost flap.

33.       Take your piece of braid, ribbon or elastic. Cut a length of about 6”. Fold it in half then fold in the ends and either pin or sew into place.

34.       Make a loop and check that it is the right size to hold the large button and the flap closed.

Stitching the loop closure onto pouch
35.       Stitch the loop into position.

36.       Your Origami Folded Fabric Pouch is now complete.

Completed Origami Folded Fabric Pouch
** For more information about the pockets created in this pouch, please go to the supplementary post here