Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

Folding and attaching

Monday, 10 January 2011

NaBloPoMo Jan2011I feel like I’ve done nothing crafty in months, and despite reading right through both of these books during that time I really haven’t followed up by doing any of the projects taught/suggested in either. That shouldn’t be taken as a reflection on either book, since I certainly thought about doing things from both, but just haven’t really been in the mood so much of late.

Cover of The Ultimate Papercraft and Origami Book

Cover of The Ultimate Papercraft and Origami Book

30. The Ultimate Papercraft and Origami Book by Paul Jackson and Angela A’Court

This is a large and long book with lots and lots of fairly simple but very diverse paper projects. Cutting, tearing, folding and sticking skills will all be put to good use in making things decorative, fun and useful. Decidedly a family book (rather than being aimed just at either children or the adult crafter) that I can see enjoying with my little girl in a few years.

Cover of Take Up Patchwork

Cover of Take Up Patchwork

42. Take Up Patchwork by Ionne Hammond

I actually want to try out the patchwork and quilting techniques in this book (most of them, anyway), but for some reason I feel a greater need for a teacher with this than I did with crochet. I think I just need to a) learn to use a sewing machine and b) get over my fear of cutting into large pieces of new fabric without being sure I can turn them into something worthwhile. Crochet didn’t incur that fear, since it doesn’t require cutting anything up, and one can always rip out and start again. (I learnt to crochet on cotton string, so didn’t even have to worry about damage to delicate fibres.)

As to the book itself – it includes a variety of small sized projects using a range of techniques, so I imagine making a few of the projects would be a great learning process in sewing generally and patchwork and quilting more specifically. The fabrics and colours in the illustrations aren’t necessarily ones I would choose to use, but then changing those is the easiest possible customisation going!

What must be done

Friday, 27 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoI finished some more repairs last night (sewing ones), but they’re not really good enough to show off, I don’t think. I keep meaning to do a post on pad refurbishment, because it might actually be useful to somebody (there’s lots and lots of online info on how to make new cloth menstrual pads from scratch, but not so much on changing them after the fact), although it’s one of those things where if I can work this out then probably anybody can!

I have a few almost-finished books to add to the list, and several there still to write about. I might finish some of the reading over Shabbat, so there’ll be more on those to come.

Let’s see, it’s the 27th of August now, so I’m looking good to finish up the month having fulfilled the NaBloPoMo requirements for posting every day. I don’t realistically think I can even try to commit to that for September, October or November, certainly, (rather expecting first the Jewish festivals and then some major life changes to get in the wayalter my priorities) although I will try to keep posting regularly. (I might just stick with some of the more interesting posts, though…) I’ll try not to just disappear (again) anyhow!

Hm, to add to the randomness that is this post, I’m evidently confusing Zemanta with all the different topics. Shall I just see can I show you some of the variety of pictures it’s offering me?  Apparently not easily. (It seems it won’t let me drag the pictures where I want them on Opera, and thus it just wants to do one, right at the top, where I don’t want it.) Anyhow, there are a few of cloth pads, several related to Shabbat and its different services, as well as a few completely random ones I can’t work out at all.

Anyway, whatever you’re planning on doing for it, have a great weekend!


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoI have so many things I’m wanting to make, even planning to make, and yet it’s weeks since I’ve really done any crocheting, and I’m stalling on doing more than sewing repairs. Maybe the title’s wrong – it’s not that I don’t have inspiration; it’s that I’m not seeming to get around to following up on that inspiration.


Image via Wikipedia

Ooh look – a Singer sewing machine that reminds me of the one my Granny used. I was a bit disappointed when my mother and uncle decided not to keep that, but then neither of them wanted it, nor did they have space to keep it for years just in case one of their children really would later on. So pretty. If I get a machine (which I do want to) I’m sure it’ll look purely functional.

My mind’s jumping from place to place, but I’m looking forward to next Sunday…

Scissors as specialists

Monday, 23 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoI really don’t do multi-purpose scissors. We do own a couple more pairs than are represented here (in particular my hair scissors, which I don’t quite recall the location of) but these are the ones that get used on a regular basis, and woe betide the person (not my DH, who quite gets this) who goes to use the wrong ones…

scissors 001

So, from left, these are:

  1. my fabric shears (which also get used for yarn and thread, because I can’t always be bothered switching to the little ones in the middle;
  2. my secateurs (mostly used for trimming the stems of cut flowers, but also useful when taming outdoor plants which try to prevent one leaving your home);
  3. my nail scissors (above the secateurs);
  4. the thread scissors which came with the fabric shears, and which I really don’t actually use all that often, but which turned up while I was looking for my errant hair scissors);
  5. my food scissors (using scissors on food is a trick I learned from my mother – so much easier than using knives on everything from nuts to pizza – but which has obviously caught on among other people too, considering one can buy them marked ‘Dairy’, ‘Meat’ or ‘Pareve’ for the kosher market, and these even come apart so you can clean them fully, but actually work properly when put back together again);
  6. my paper scissors

Thankfully they’re all fairly different in appearance (and mostly kept in different places, according to their function and most useful place) so they don’t tend to get mixed up. I’m sure most crafters, at least, have specialist scissors which mayn’t be used for anything else – how about the rest of you?

Beavering away

Thursday, 19 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoStill s-l-o-w-l-y working on the pad refurbishment from yesterday. I have a picture of the four that are done, but am on my DH’s computer right now, so will add it later, when I’m back on my own. Four-and-a-half done, six-and-a-half to go, and then I really should make myself some more, if I’m not sick of this kind of hand-sewing by then.
ETA picture (although I’m finished the fifth and working on the sixth now, but you get the idea…)
Four cloth menstrual pads, recovered in pale blue.

Thimble, Fingerhut

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s the thing, my index finger gets sore while sewing, but thimbles don’t help, as I don’t push the needle from the end, but grip it between two fingers and push/pull like that. Not sure if this is an error, but I’ve tried using a thimble and didn’t like it. Any ideas?

(Oh, WordPress just offered this Zemanta suggestions service, which I thought I’d try out, and which came up with this thimble image. Not sure I’ll  keep using it, but maybe. Where pictures are of specific projects, however, they will be mine.)


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoThis’ll be another post that should have pictures, but doesn’t, I’m afraid. I’m refurbishing my cloth sanitary pads, and possibly going to make some more, if I have any enthusiasm left once this process is done. It’s a bit of a challenge, as my stash of scrap fabric (worn out/stained clothing) I had previously used for this didn’t migrate with me, unfortunately, including the waterproof stuff I had, which’ll make a big difference in making new ones…

Some crafty purchases

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoNow to show you some of what I bought today.
folded turquoise fabric, turquoise thread and jigsaw playmat squares
On top, lots and lots of turquoise jersey knit cotton (t-shirt material), for that skirt I mentioned yesterday, and a couple of other things I’ll show you if they work. It cost more than I thought, largely because it is more than I thought, since the fabric comes in getting on for twice the width I was expecting (170cm rather than 1m). I still needed the full length for one of those possible projects, but that gives me plenty of ‘practice’ fabric (my sewing experience is limited anyway, especially with stretchy fabric), and I have ideas for things to do with real leftovers anyhow. Even at more than I expected, and with buying matching thread, the total still comes in at less than buying either of the two main things I’m planning on making with it, plus I get the fun and fit (and frustration, which will still be better than clothes shopping) of doing it myself. Now I just have to get on with it!

In a third shop (why would a fabric store sell thread, after all?!) I found some of those jigsaw style playmats (underneath the fabric and thread in the photo above) I’ve seen recommended so many times on Ravelry and elsewhere for blocking with, so we got those too. They’re printed on one side, which I’ll probably try to leave pristine, and use the yellow side for sticking pins in!

The place where we got the thread (and were horrified by the price of the sewing machines – if/when I get one it won’t be that fancy) is a couple of doors from one of our favourite second-hand bookshops, and in there I found a beginner’s guide to patchwork (Take Up Patchwork by Ionne Hammond), which looked like it had clear instructions, good information and helpful pictures, as well as templates and some plausible (for me) patterns, so I got it, of course! (Sorry about the glare on the picture.)
Take Up Patchwork book
I’ve started reading the introduction, and it’s well enough written that I might go straight through and put it on the booklist.

Thinking of sewing

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

NaBloPoMo August logoI still have a few metre squares of (woven, printed, cotton) fabric I bought for making headscarves, that I haven’t done anything with as yet. I suppose I should get to that before I start on other projects (and I’m still at the handsewing stage), but I want to make myself a skirt I browsed my way to online, which may be rather a challenge, especially considering I haven’t so much as made myself the pincushion I think I really need to get on with any other sewing.

I spent a fair amount of time on Youtube this evening, looking at sewing projects for babies. (Hey, they’re small and easy and the recipient isn’t going to complain about my sewing ability or colour choices!) As I discovered long ago for crochet stitches, Youtube is one of the best tutorial sources (on just about anything) out there, if you’re a visual learner who’s willing to pick and choose.

Now if I could stop thinking about what to make, and just get on with doing it! (With my crochet too.)

Beginning patchwork

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

I’ve had the Klutz Patchwork and Quilting kit (by Barbara Kane) for a fair few years now, and never done anything with it, although I’ve kept thinking I should. What finally inspired me was not finding mothballs on sale for our sukka schach in the months between last Sukkot (which is an autumn festival) and our move a couple of months ago. The move made a good opportunity to clean off and better store our sukka and schach, and I did have a packet of loose herbal moth repellant from Fibrecrafts in the UK (although their website doesn’t list it any more) that I’d never used either, so I decided it was time to put all these factors together and make some patchwork moth repelling sachets!

Simple patchwork sachet in green and purple

I originally intended to use the whole kit on twelve sachets for the schach, my yarn and our clothing, so didn’t put all that much of the repellant in each one, but about halfway through my DH declared that they were far too pretty (even the somewhat garish ones)
Embellished sachet in pink, orange, green and purple
to be hidden away and possibly damaged in schach. I wasn’t so convinced, but decided they probably were a bit too big for the purpose, so I used some of the scrap white fabric to make some very small (and pretty boring) sachets (which I don’t think I photographed, unfortunately) for that, and was then left with half the kit, and half the moth repellant stuff.

Improving my skills and trying quilting seemed the next step, so that’s what I did!
Squares laid out but not yet sewn for 4 by 4 patchwork square
It wasn’t quite so easy to keep a 4×4 patchwork piece properly square as the 2×2 had been, but it’s not too horrible for a first attempt, I think…
front of finished quilted tablemat  - 16 triangle squares
I didn’t intend to hide the messed up (and thus non-square) corner under the shadow, but there you go! 😉

As I hadn’t intended doing a quilted piece I didn’t have one whole backing square left, so had to use two halves, which we decided would look better (and more intentional) if split again into quarters:
back of finished quilted table mat - four quarters

The actual quilting wasn’t difficult, what with following the diagonal lines on the front, but it’s when I came to my second quilted piece that I ran into problems. Before that I used up the rest of the kit squares and main backing pieces to make a couple more sachets (which ended up much fatter than the first few, since I had all that filling to use up – they are the two in the top right of the following picture).
8 sachets and quilted tablemat
Here’s a back view of some of them:
back of 6 sachets

After using up all the main pieces of the kit I still had two whole border strips, and various reasonably sized scraps of the backing pieces and the other border strip it comes with, as well as the white selvage from the printed fabric, as well as the matching thread colours. I also had a torn shirt a friend had been about to throw away when I said I’d take it for the fabric to use for backing, and a worn out washcloth for batting, so I decided to make a second tablemat in very rough log cabin style. (I knew about that from crocheting, although I hadn’t realised the light/dark alternation was seen as integral until just now while finding that link. I’ve also just learnt that traditionally this pattern wasn’t (always) quilted. Oh well.)

I didn’t worry much about the width of the strips, but just added them on as the length was right, while keeping the main colours reasonably spread out. (I did join two shorter pieces for one of the blue strips.) I stopped when I no longer had a choice of pieces for the front, which was just a little smaller than the washcloth (allowing me to cut off the seamed edges), and then cut a piece from the back of the shirt to fit. (Sorry I don’t have any progress pics.) Then I started quilting.

The problem was that there weren’t a lot of clear lines to follow, and even where there were, they weren’t consistent over the whole piece. What I probably should have done was to evenly follow some of the pinstripe lines of the backing, but I didn’t realise until I’d already started doing other things. Oh well, it was a fairly experimental practice piece. I followed the lines in the pink sections, as well as the green ones (extending one of those), and then in the blue sections dotted stitches of the appropriate colour to be reasonably invisible. Obviously neither technique was going to work in the white sections (at least without breaking out some other thread), and in any case they looked too plain, so there I made a virtue of necessity, and made little stars/flowers that are supposed to be reminiscent of the green stars in the blue sections. It’s rather a hodgepodge, but I don’t think the front looks too bad:
front of second quilted tablemat
The back, however, is really rather a mess:
back of second quilted tablemat
My personal opinion is that on the striped shirt backing, and with the border in place (the border which thankfully hides some of the mess around the edges) the thing looks like a toddler’s first scribbles on lined paper, which oh-so-proud parents have framed for posterity! My DH and my mother (who visited last week) insist on being impressed with my handiwork anyway, but there’s no denying that while people treat the first tablemat as double-sided, you’re never going to think the back of this one as a potential front!

So definitely the next thing to learn in quilting is how to choose where to put your stitching, and that’s not something I’ve found online, although there are lots of great tutorials for everything else. Oh well, it’s a great excuse to trawl the (second-hand) bookshops for quilting books to add to my craft shelf!


Monday, 12 July 2010

My lovely DH has apparently got bored of waiting for me to start posting here again, and has decided to go into book-blogging for himself. He’s crafting his first (introductory) post as I type, but I suspect he’ll be interesting. He’s planning on discussing classic literature (in the original languages, where that’s relevant, although he’ll be blogging in English) and Golden Age science fiction.

I’ll let you know when we post about the same books, and hopefully this’ll inspire me to get back to discussing my own reading and crafting. After all, so far dating, engagement, marriage and now pregnancy (did I just admit that?! 😉 ) have been a major distraction from blogging and reading (and even from crafting, although somewhat less so, so it’s about time they started going the other way! Of course, the 2010 booklist is going to be (like last year) less populated than it should be, as I have lost track of some of the books I have read, but we’ll do what we can.

There is a backlog of crafty stuff to let you know about too – mostly crochet (of course!), but also a bit of patchwork/quilting. I’m actually thinking of getting a sewing machine and learning to use it…