Saturday, 24 September 2016

Crafternoon in aid of MIND

So over the summer, my friend Sophi invited me to an event she had organised in aid of the charity Mind (the mental health charity).

I eagerly signed up as I'm always happy to spend an afternoon sewing! So the actual Crafternoon event eventually rolled around last Sunday, and I headed there armed with my bag of cross-stitch and crochet. I didn't quite know what to expect - whether I just craft, or whether I have to teach to craft and so on.

I ended up teaching/guiding a fellow Crafternoon-er with a crochet pattern she was following. Even though I'm a teacher, I find it hard to teach crafts, so I was pleased we managed to muddle through it! She then got me knitting; this is one of the crafts I cannot do. I can't seem to make it sink into my head, or work with two needles! By the end of the 3 hours, I had done about 2 rows of knitting and 2 rows of pearling. I'm going to try again soon, to see if I can do it with no help on hand!



Some of the other crafty things we had going were:
- Paper folding (like weaving)
- Card making
- Origami
- Felt ornaments
- Whittling (a spoon got made)
- Looming

It was amazing to see so many different crafts, and so many people that really enjoy them! And I felt so good for spending an afternoon crafting - it really is good for the mind!

And to top it all off, we raised £160 for MIND - not bad work for spending an afternoon crafting!

                                                
                      


Sunday, 18 September 2016

FNSI September - a developing work in progress

I was so excited for FNSI this month! Literally left work as soon as I finished teaching at 4:30 (give or take a little pep talk to our new teacher) and did all the house tasks I needed to do so I could settle down with my cross stitch.

As this is a design of my own, it does feel like it is developing more slowly than it would if I was following a proper pattern. On the actual night of FNSI, I only managed to do a little bit of work on the cross-stitch. Partly because I was going through a little trial and error (especially for the cream rat), and partly because I had a phone call interruption!


I think I will end up outlining them a little, but overall I'm pretty chuffed with them.On the whole they look rodent like! The brown and cream one took ages as the head wasn't sitting right with me once I'd sewn it, even though it looked fine on my pattern. Trying not to over-analyse it, otherwise I will probably end up unpicking him, again.

As is typical for me, I ended up sewing again on Saturday. It was grey and raining a little, and just perfect weather to curl up with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Extended Editions (oh yes) and just keep sewing. I made it through 4 movies, and made a bit more progress on the cross-stitch:


The beginnings of the entwined tree! Again, I keep developing it and deviating from the pattern a little, which is what is slowing me down!

I have been influenced by patterns I have come across on Pinterest, but I have made sure not to copy them, so overall it is pretty much my own. Fingers crossed one more weekend will get it finished!!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Having A Go At Designing

So I have been back in work full time this week - no energy for sewing at all!
However, I have been working on a new cross-stitch design; actually designing it myself, which is a big challenge for me.

It has gone through several revisions, but I'm pretty pleased with what I'm heading towards. My best friend got married last Saturday (and I was a bridesmaid, which was rather special), and I decided that a hand-made gift would be nice. It's had to be delayed because I wanted to know colours and things from their wedding, and there were only so many questions I could ask her without spoiling the surprise for myself!

This is what I started with:
 

The rats are there because they absolutely love rats, and own six of them! Hoping to try and make their colours match the actual rats (but we shall see!).

They got married in a barn type building in Wales (hence the barn shape). The flowers up the side may be hydrangeas as they are some of their flowers. However, since going to the wedding, the design has evolved and changed again:
 

The newer design is on the right (over the top of the original design). Instead of the barn, I'm going with my initial gut feeling of a tree. They are really into trees; there is a particular tree they used to meet at when they were dating, and at the wedding the bridesmaids were given a beautiful bracelet with a tree, and all the guests were given tree saplings as favours. I have ditched the barn idea and am much happier. Her bouquet is just going to be a succulent, which is one of the flowers we had and which she absolutely loves. It really works in my head - I hope that can translate over to the actual thing!!!!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

We Learnt To Sew Pyjamas!

Before the summer, my favourite/local sewing shop CallyCo sent out a newsletter with sewing courses. I signed up to learn how to sew a skirt in a day (yet to do, but so excited!). Darren was disappointed that he wasn't signed up to do the same course as it seems he'd like to make me some clothes! As it was a moderate difficulty course, I checked the newsletter and found a beginner course - making pyjama bottoms.

Queue a Saturday morning in July, the pair of us clutching our chosen material outside the shop, waiting to be taken to the cellar to be taught to sew. 

We pinned patterns (turns out Darren is a whiz at doing this quickly and neatly), lined up the pattern if necessary (luckily it wasn't for mine, but Darren and a couple of other learners were getting slowed down by making sure their material patterns were neat!).


It was a fairly simple sew up the legs, which were folded in half so there would only be one seam. However, we had to do a zig-zag stitch to reduce frayed edges and so on (apparently an overlocker is good for this sort of thing). The zig-zag stitch drove me nuts; I get really frustrated if I can't do something right the first or perhaps second time of trying when it comes to sewing! I got there eventually, and even worked out where on the foot would be a good guide to ensure the zig-zagging was close enough to the edge, so hopefully next time it will be even better!!



The final challenge was to make two button holes to pull the drawstring through. Annoyingly I put them on the wrong flap, but they are hidden (thank goodness!!) - and it gave me more of a chance to work out exactly where they should be on the right flap. 

We both had to re-hem the bottom as we got a little tight for time and had rushed them and made some lumpy bumps (the class over-ran by an hour!), but overall we came out of a 4-5 hour class with some rather snazzy pajama bottoms!!

And the tutor and shop owner were both impressed that a husband and wife team want to learn to sew together!!