Saturday, 27 September 2014

A new place to sleep

Hello there!
I hope your week has been good? Mine has been very busy as Hubbie & I are soon off on our travels again! But first I wanted to share a yarny project with you that has been on my crochet hook this summer. As some of you know we have two cats, Pippa & Felix, who came to live here a few years ago. This summer Pippa decided to pick two new sleeping places - either on the stairs *eeeek! not keen on that!* or in this chair...
This would be the ONLY chair in the house I would rather not share with the cats, can you see my cross stitching stuff all spread out round it?! The cats also like cuddling up on top of any crochet blanket they can find so I thought maybe if I made Pippa her own crocheted cat bed she might give up the stairs & my chair! So one warm sunny day I took some yarn, a hook, and my laptop outside to start working something up...
I wrote the pattern up on my laptop as I worked so that I could share it with you lovely folks, and after a few days this is what we had...
It got a road test pretty much immediately...



I think she likes it?!
Well a little while later she woke up & wandered off, and her brother moved in!
As you can see Felix is bigger than his sister, but nonetheless he decided this MUST be his!
Once it was moved inside he took up permanent ownership & Pippa resumed her position on the stairs or in my chair....
So there was nothing for it but to make a new one for her...
With a few other things going on it took me a little while to get round to this & by the time I was ready to start it I had noticed a few flaws with my original design. Well, maybe not flaws per se but things I wanted to change second time round. So I started over and after a few evenings this is what I had...
...and it wasn't long until a little someone found her new snuggly place...

I rewrote the pattern as I went so at some point I will post it under the Free Patterns tab at the top of the page for any of you who would like to make one for your own little fur baby.
As I said at the top of the post Hubbie & I are off on our travels very soon and this time I'm hoping to tame my Android tablet to the point where I can blog from it! So fingers crossed I will be able to share some of our adventures with you ;-) Of course I have a couple of projects that are going with me, I have heard that some people just read or sleep on flights but that isn't me! Earlier in the year I bought this pattern... 
I am not a fan of spiders but my daughter is so I plan on making the spider for her & the pumpkin for our house. The spider needs around 170 little fabric yo-yo's so I thought the long journey would be the perfect opportunity to get sewing. I don't have all the fabric I need for this project yet but I had enough to make a start. I spent a few hours drawing circles on the back using a plastic template...
...cutting them out... 
...until I had enough to keep me busy sewing for a while! 
As long as airport security is ok about letting me on with one small embroidery needle I shall be happily turning these into little yo-yo's as we fly...
Thank you for visiting here today, and a big thank you to everyone who takes the time to leave me comments - I love hearing from you! :-) 





Monday, 22 September 2014

All about a girl...

Hello there!
Another major event here this summer was my daughter heading off to university. Although she's "only" living about four hours away from us now it is still hard to have my baby girl gone, but I know she will have an absolute blast. At the start of the summer we picked out four projects that I would try & make for her to take with her and I can happily report I managed to finish three of them! She is studying music so I had offered to make her a messenger style bag to carry her sheet music folder and various other bits and bobs that travel with her. I began adding to the various music themed fabrics in my stash & planning with her all the features she wanted this bag to have.
We decided it needed some internal pockets...
Ones to fit her spare strings, tuner, pencils, phone, & purse...
...and a handy metal clip for her keys so she wouldn't have to rummage in the bottom of the bag for them...
We wanted it to fasten securely so we chose smart silver magnetic clips - can you see the circular female parts of them in the photo below? (One is behind the French horn, the other just to the right of the saxophone)...
These were straightforward to actually fit once I had worked out how to ensure they lined up! (They needed to be attached to the bag parts before the bag was constructed.) Although these clips are designed to be invisible from the front of the bag flap we decided to sew these big black treble clef buttons over the top to make more of a feature of them...
Out of the various fabrics I accumulated for this project I used most of one fat quarter for the front of the bag body and a most of a different one for the back...
The patchwork flap used an assortment of fabrics and was based on a block chosen by my daughter from one of my quilting books. I edged it with leftover strips from the bag front fat quarter ...
The bag lining & inside face of the strap were all cut out of a half meter of grey music fabric (but it was a very close call! Three quarters of a meter would have been safer!). I used two mostly white with black print fat quarters for the pockets, and a polyester batting/wadding between all layers to give the bag some structure...
Now lets hope it stands up to university life!
The second project on the list was a little needle book. I really enjoy making these & have made a couple now (see here and here) so it was about time my daughter had her own one. One of my favorite times is when we sit together on the couch, usually partly watching a film or TV program, both busy cross stitching :-) I don't expect she will have a lot of time to stitch at uni but her current WIP and her sewing box have gone with her and I am so happy to have passed this love of stitchy things on to her. (Unfortunately these photos didn't come out so well so please bear with me.) So for her needle book she picked out fabrics from my stash for the little patchwork back...
...chose the bright blue spotty lining fabric & the pretty colored felt for the pages...
...and I gave her one of my wooden sleepy dragon buttons for the front...
She has been a big Harry Potter fan for most of her life (I read the first book to the kids when she was about five I think?) so the cover had to be the yellow and black Hufflepuff house colors. And the embroidered Latin? It's the Hogwart's school motto which translates as "Never tickle a sleeping dragon" (something I have always taken as very good advice ;-))
The last finished project is taken from this book...
My aunt gave it to me a few years ago & it is choc full of beautiful projects which I have been drooling over ever since :-) One of them is called Denim Beauty and is for a purse/ handbag made out of old jeans. Well say no more! My hoarding tendencies need little encouragement so I have been collecting worn out jeans since I first spied this! Because jeans come in all different styles and people in all different sizes there is no real way to know how many pairs of jeans you need for something like this. Also, given the "worn out" nature of them, you end up discarding bits which are the worse for wear and knees which tend to be very distorted, stretched bits of fabric by this stage of their life! I had two pairs of the pale blue and one pair each of the medium & dark blue jeans and ended up with various amounts of leftovers. I didn't use denim for the lining, I used a navy blue decorating weight fabric which was originally bought for making kiddie proof kitchen seat cushions many moons ago!

I had wondered how my sewing machine would like sewing through the layers of denim fabric in this project but actually it was very well behaved! I swapped out my regular needle for a number 100 jeans needle and even at points like attaching the straps ( double thickness of strap plus batting plus bag side plus bag lining) it took it in it's stride. Another small change I made to the pattern was the addition of batting/wadding in between the two layers of the strap. This was just a personal choice, I think it makes the strap comfier across your shoulder. Also my daughter decided she wanted the bag a wee bit bigger than the one in the book so I adjusted that for her too. I used the same polyester batting/wadding between the bag exterior & lining as for the music bag and this is how it turned out... bag back...
...side with pleated top...
... and front with appliqued flap...
I also need to say a BIG THANK YOU to my daughter's lovely new friend & flatmate who took these pictures for me when we discovered I had taken photos without the memory card in the camera before the bag travelled to it's new home - ooops!!!
Handy tip - as most bags patterns say it is better not to wash a fabric bag like this we bought a can of shoe protector spray to spray the exterior with as it's meant to protect against stains & dirt.
Well now my sewing machine is going to get a mini service from hubbie & have a well earned rest for a little while! Thank you for visiting here today, I hope to be back later in the week with some yarny action :-) Until then, I hope you have a lovely week!









Friday, 19 September 2014

Spotty border tutorial

Hello hello!
Yes I'm back twice in one week! Today I'm just popping in to let you know I finished writing up the Spotty Border tutorial for my Little Squares of Happy Elmer Blanket.
It's available as a pdf for you to download on my tutorials page, just go to the top of this page, click on the Tutorials tab, & you will see it there with all my other free tutorials. As always if anything is unclear please feel free to email me at crafts@twchighland.co.uk and I will do my best to explain!

I plan to be back properly next week with some more projects to share with you, meanwhile thank you for stopping by today and I hope your weekend brings you the chance to do something creative :-)


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Back at last!!

Hello there!
Sorry it has been a while since I posted, the last few months have disappeared in a whirl! I hope you all had a lovely summer? In between making lots of things for other folks I got around to stitching this little guy onto a plain hoodie for myself. Those of a "certain age" might recognise Tiny Clanger, and to those of you who are unfamiliar with The Clangers may I redirect you here? It probably looks a bit quaint and dated now but I adored The Clangers above all other TV shows when I was little - after all what else combined outer space, music, and a friendly Dragon so well?! 
So what else has been going on around here? Well, with six weeks notice my son decided to get married!!! No time to make a special quilt but just enough time to squeeze in a wedding sampler...
This design is by Gail Bussi and was in an issue of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine a few years ago, here's a close up of it...
I also made them a card for the special day, the cross stitched part is a design by Maria Diaz which appeared in CrossStitcher's Handmade Cards bookazine (published in 2012) ...
It hasn't all been hand stitching around here though, my sewing machine has been whirring busily too. Today I'm going to share just one of these projects with you. Earlier in the summer this brushed cotton begged to come home with me... 
Isn't that cute????!!!!
As if I needed further convincing it was in the clearance section too!! I decided to buy a metre of each colorway and make it into a simple reversible quilt for the new baby joining our family later in the year. I used quite a thick, fluffy polyester wadding for the middle layer, quilted diagonal lines across it, and bound it with some plain blue cotton from my stash...


What do you think? You can kind of see how thick & fluffy it is by how the edges don't look straight in the photos! But there is no way to convey how soft & cloud-like the fabric & wadding combo is other than by grabbing a big squishy handful for yourself :-) The parents-to-be liked it & hopefully our new little grandson will approve when he gets here.
Well I'm going to leave it there just now, I have lots of other projects to share with you, plus I have been writing up a tutorial for the spotty border on my Little Squares of Happy baby blanket so I'm hoping to be back with that real soon. Thank you for visiting here today, I hope the rest of your week brings you the chance to do something you enjoy! :-)