oooh she’s so cute!

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Awwwww! just look at this little sweetie!  This is Leila the pony, a pattern by Lillellis, and the fourth pattern I have followed from the book

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Regular followers will know that I only started crocheting in February of this year, inspired to teach myself by all the really cute amigurumi designs I’d seen on the internet.  This book contains 15 lovely designs, by 12 designers,  ranging in ability, and Leila is the fourth project I’ve completed from this book – here are the four I’ve done

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Roary the tiger (by A Morning Cup of Jo); Johnny the monkey (by Pepika); Leila the pony and Wasabi the bunny (by Little Muggles).

Each one has been a learning curve, but I have to say, I think Leila is my favourite so far.  In the book she is worked in beige & brown yarn, with brown eyes and a pink mane & tail. 

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The original also has fabric sewn to the inside of her ears, something I chose not to add.

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My version of Leila has been worked in baby pink with grey hooves, blue eyes with a shocking pink and purple mane & tail. 

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The reason I chose these colours . . . Leila will be gifted to our 7 year old neighbour, Cléo for Christmas and, Cléo’s favourite colour is pink.

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I am gradually building my crocheting skills, and also building up a collection of the Zoomigurumi books.  So pleased I finally took the plunge and learned to crochet because I really am having so much fun.  I don’t know yet what my next project will be . . . so many lovely designs to choose from!  But I expect it will be something very bright and from the Monster book.

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SAL update “Getting Ready #4

I’m ashamed to say, Christmas preparations have been getting in the way of my SAL stitching.  I’ve been busy crafting, as you’ve seen, with tissue pouches . . . also made my 2017 batch of xmas decorations and have been crocheting madly on some last minute presents.  Crochet has been happening in the evenings, which is usually my cross stitch time so . . . after this photo for the last update

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I only have this to show for this time.

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Fairly pathetic, I know.  Just a little bit of red and darker red on the lady’s dress.  Oh well!  Christmas takes priority over everything else at this time of year.  Pressies are all wrapped.  Those that needed to be posted have been posted.  Fresh foie gras has been bought.  Christmas tree is up.  And guinea fowl are very plump and almost ready for slaughter. 

Hopefully I’ll have more to show you next time (which will be New Year’s Eve!) and perhaps other SAL members have been more industrious than me.

AvisGun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Catherine, Mary Margaret, TimothyHeidi , Connie and Jackie.

Next update, therefore, on 31st December. 

best layer of the month # November

. . . or a more appropriate title this month: “What? no eggs?”

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Just look what I had to do this month!

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I actually had to go and BUY some eggs!  Something I haven’t done since May 2015, when we first started our hen-keeping.  The young Miss Plumpton and Mauricette, who joined our flock at the end of October have been very ornamental so far but haven’t started laying.  Miranda has been through an impressive moult this month, finally growing back all her beautiful red feathers and looking more like herself. 

And Miss Moneypenny . . . well, she laid 3 eggs early November (which we were very grateful for) but  nothing since.  She has been the best layer for several months in a row so she’s entitled to have a rest. 

Not to worry.  We’ll just have to make do with shop-bought eggs until things pick up, which I’m sure they will. 

monkey business

Okay it’s taken me forever, but . . . ta da!

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I finally got round to assembling the little crochet monkey I began way back when!

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I think I over-stuffed some body parts because stuffing is visible in some places, under the dark brown, but I’m not unstuffing!

This little chap is a pattern called Johnny the Monkey, by Pepika and from the first Zoomigurumi book.

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Now I need to get back to my hook because I have a pony waiting for legs & ears. 

wall-hanging – step by step

A step-by-step following a request by restingwhippet . . . I hope it might be useful to a few other people too.  A “how to” make a wall-hanging, which I always find is a nifty way to finish off some of those small cross stitch projects we finish and stuff in a drawer.

I give no specific measurements, and I have assumed you have some basic knowledge of sewing.  Measurements will depend on the size of your project.  You’ll need a couple of fabrics that blend or contrast nicely with your cross stitch, some wadding/batting, cutting tools, sewing maching, sewing threads , some kind of wooden rod (I’ve used a Chinese chopstitck) and your faithful iron.

The first most important thing (and this is going to sound silly, but it isn’t) is to wash & iron your cross stitch piece to get rid of all creases, then slice it to size.  I leave a 3/4” border so that when sewn, my central panel with have a 1/2” border (it hasn’t been cut down to size in the first photo).  Then I always take time to place on possible fabrics and stand back, because you want to set off the cross stitch, without it being over-powered by the fabric.

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I was originally going to use the dark turquoise (lower left) as my main fabric, but it seemed to dominate too much

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So, as you’ll see, I went with a lighter one. 

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First step is to cut two bands for the sides.  Mine are 3” wide because my central panel is only about 6” square.  Lining up edges, right sides together, you sew a seam using a 1/4” foot (if you have one).

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I forgot to take a photo of next stage (oops) but . . . you press out both sides then cut 2 bands as long as your new width for top & bottom.  Again, you line up edges, right sides together and sew using a 1/4” seam.  Then press.

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Here’s mine, so far, just lying on fabrics ready to choose binding & backing fabric.  You’ll notice I have used a 3” band on the top, but a lot wider on the bottom.  The width of your fabric bands depends entirely on what you want, and also on how much fabric you have.  I was using a long quarter and needed to keep my pattern going the same way, so I cut 3” for the top and added 7” to the bottom.

I chose the solid turquoise for my backing fabric. So next stage is to cut a piece of backing fabric & wadding the same size as the front panel.  Make a sandwich: front panel (right side up), wadding, backing fabric (right side down).  Pin your sandwich if you need to, to keep layers from slipping, and back to the sewing machine. 

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I use my walking foot and sew a border, about 1/4” inside, onto my cross stitch fabric.  Cross stitch fabric is usually heavier and more rigid than patchwork cotton, so this just keeps the central square nice and flat before the quilting part.  You can miss out the quilting part, if your wall-hanging is only small, but it does give it a more “finished” look.  Still with walking foot, therefore, some simple quilting (but avoiding the cross stitched piece).

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And then you square up your piece.  You can keep your top with 90° corners, like this, or you can decide to alter the shape slightly.  I decided to slice off bottom corners for a pointy finish.

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And kept one of the triangles, sliced in half again for the back.  Now it’s time for binding.  I always make my own, but you can use shop bought binding.  For my binding, I cut a long band 2 and 1/4” wide, (length needed is going to depend on the size of your quilted piece) and pressed in half to have a length 1 and 1/8” wide.  I added a short strip of this binding along the long side of both triangles.  Then pinned into place.

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Then, turning my hanging over, I sew the binding (raw edges lined up with raw edges) onto the front of my piece, taking care to fold and turn at each angle.  I go back to my 1/4” foot for this but some people prefer to use the walking foot or the normal sewing foot.

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Front & back views after machine sewing the binding.  And then it’s time for some hand-sewing, folding the binding towards the back.

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The advantage of these little pockets on the back . . . it makes for an easy hanging system.  I have slid a wooden chop stick into place.  It will stop the hanging from drooping in the centre. 

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You can then add a little loop of ribbon, to hang.  And, if you want to add  a tassle for embellishment . . .

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Voilà! 

another finish #November

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Such a Spring-like happy dance in the house today, with a brand new finished project – yay.  You’ll remember this small butterfly design I showed you not long ago (a very easy kit by Dimensions).  I bought it because my sister loves butterflies and I thought it would be excellent as a gift for Christmas. 

When I first finished it, I had a cursory rifle through my fabric stash and was originally going to use a much darker fabric

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Here is the butterfly stitching just lying on a large piece.  It looked very effective, I must say, but after further rummaging, I found this piece

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Where the green in print just happened to match the green threads of the cross stitch, so that is what I chose to use for my borders.  Now, when I said I’d be making a wall-hanging, I had a few comments from people interested to see how I go about that . . . so I’ll be posting a step-by-step account of that tomorrow to show you in more detail.  For today though, I just wanted to share.  Back view, of the little hanging (in case you’re wondering how it will hang), looks like this.

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I usually make loops which are visible from the front through which to slide a wooden rod. On this one I’ve made triangular pockets which can take any thickness of rod (here a wooden chop stitck) and will keep the top of the hanging nice and rigid, so it doesn’t gape when hung.

Anyway, stay tuned . . . step-by-step coming tomorrow.

tissue pouch – step-by-step

I said I’d do a step-by-step article, to show those interested how to make a very quick & easy fabric tissue pouch cover.  One that looks like the following.

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I made mine using a 1/4” seam allowance (that’s the patchworker in me) if you plan on using a wider seam allowance, then you’ll need to adjust measurements in order for pouch to fit a standard packet of tissues.  Here’s what you’ll need.

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Two rectangles of lining fabric: 18cm x 9cm;  two rectangles of outer fabric, also 18 x 9cm; one piece of outer fabric approx 6cm x 9cm; one metal clasp and one pair of plastic poppers (you can also use velcro, sew-on poppers or a button & button hole if you prefer).

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Begin by placing your 4 larger rectangles one on top of the other to make a sandwich placing on the work surface (in order) print right side up, lining fabric right side down, lining fabric right side up, print right side down.

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Using a paper template with corners snipped off (as above) place the template on the 4 thicknesses of fabric and slice off angles.

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Separate the fabric so you have 2 matching pairs of print & lining and make sure the print is right side facing (right side of )lining.

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You’re going to sew a 1/4” seam ONLY along the top edges: angle, across the centre and second angle.  Do the same on both sets of fabric.

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You then turn that pointy end out, using your finger (or something not too pointy) to press out the tip as neatly as possible.  And press seams flat.   While the iron is hot, with the small rectangle of fabric, you make the “loop strap” by pressing in half  (keeping the 9cm length), then pressing in edges to the crease (see photo at the end of this post), and sewing 2 seams along the edges.

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For the assembly part . . . place your 2 pouch pieces one on top of the other (right sides together) so you can only see lining fabric on both sides.  Your loop and clasp will need to put in place at this point.  Slip the strip of fabric into the ring of clasp, fold in half.  Then place it inside the sandwich of your 2 pouch sides, with the clasp inside and the edges of strip just visible on the edge.

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You then sew around 3 sides of the pouch (not the opening), with a 1/4” seam.  I reinforced stitches at edges of the opening and across the loop fabric.  And forgot to take a photo of my seams.

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Once those seams are sewn, slice off the edges of loop to avoid excess bulk and turn your pouch the right way out.  I gave mine a quick press, at this stage, before adding the plastic popper.

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That way, I aligned the edges of opening, and used the point of my thread ripper to make a very small puncture hole.

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Simply sticking the point through both layers on both sides of the pouch – that way I am certain the poppers will line up.  You then insert the popper pieces like you would a pair of stud earrings and squeeze with the pliers.

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With the measurements given, and 1/4” seam this should give you a pouch that is a good fit for a standard packet of 10 paper tissues.  You could probably get away with fabric being slightly shorter length ways, but the 9cm for width is as snug as you can go.

Final photo of a quick sketch (to clarify any questions you might have).

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Not to scale, but to show you the basic shape you want for the body of the pouch.  And to show the crease lines you want to iron onto the small rectangle to make the loop strip.