November 18, 2016

Ladybird,

Many moons ago, I had a free pattern posted on a craft and sewing blog called Whip Up.  Sadly, Whip Up is no longer live, which, after double checking some of the links on my blog, also means the pattern for the ladybird is also no longer live. 

There's been a long absence for me from blogging, reasons for which I'll go into in my next post, but for now, I'm going to add the ladybird pattern here, it was a popular pattern and is also one I've used myself a few times when I've done teaching sessions, its small, simple, quick to do, doesn't require a huge amount of materials and can all the sewing can be done by hand.

pattern skill rating : easy

You will need...

2 pieces of fabric 3” x 4” (7.5 x 10cm) for the body
1 piece of craft felt 3” x 4” (7.5 x 10cm) for the wings
1 piece of craft felt 1” x 2” (2.5 x 5cm) for the eyes
2 small buttons
sewing thread
stuffing
small pebble to weight the ladybird

plus the usual needle, pins, scissors etc

Begin by printing out the template image below


STEP 1 : making the body
1.  Cut a body shape using the template, from each of the fabric pieces, place them both right sides together and pin.
2.  Sew round the edge leaving the turning gap open.
3.  Turn the body right side round, stuff with a little of the stuffing, then pop in the pebble to give the ladybird a little weight to it.  Continue to stuff until it is almost full then fold in the raw edges of the turning gap and sew it closed.

STEP 2 : adding the eyes and wings
1.  Cut 2 eye circles from the smallest piece of craft felt.  Hold one in position on the body (the opposite end to where the turning gap was), and anchor in place by attaching it on with one of the small buttons.
2.  Repeat for the other eye.
3.  Cut 2 wings from the other piece of craft felt and attach one to the body using small random straight stitches along the short straight edge.  Flip the other wing and attach in the same way so both wings line up as indicated on the template.

STEP 3 : embroidery embellishment
1.  Add some french knots dotted around each of the wings.  To do this, anchor your embroidery thread to the ladybird’s body with a knot underneath one of the wings.  Bring the thread up through the wing, wrap it round the needle 3 times and then take the thread back down through the body, coming up where you want the next stitch to appear, pulling the previous french knot tight as you go.
2.  Add some antennae by passing a short length of embroidery thread through the head from one side to the other, just above each eye.  Remove the needle and tie a knot in each end of the thread trimming each end if needs be.


And there you go, to finish off, here's a batch of ladybirds made in a class I taught at my daughter's high school.


November 17, 2015

Edward's Menagerie,

During the summer, I was invited to attend a book launch for the latest title to join Edward's Menagerie...


The launch took place at the Toft Alpaca Farm near Rugby, which is well worth a visit for the wool shop, cafe and a tour of the Alpaca fields.  

 
During the day I was there, Kerry herself gave a number of workshops taking us through the process of making one of the birds from start to finish including stuffing, sewing up, joining limbs and also adding the eyes.


There were other members of staff on hand to instruct crochet for those who were either a beginner or (like me!) had not done any crochet for a very long time.  Everyone there was lovely and very welcoming.

 

Also included, was a tour of the farm and the chance to meet the Alpacas up close.


They are adorable!


While I was there, I bought some Alpaca fleece to do some wet felting with.


As far as the book itself is concerned, the first Edward's Menagerie book was hugely popular so following that with birds is a natural step.  The birds are cute, comical, colourful and bursting with character.   Design wise, they all follow a similar pattern, as in body, legs, head, and wings, the idea being once you have made one, it becomes easier and easier to make more.  The crochet side is well explained and the patterns are graded for difficulty so anyone from beginner to advanced will find a project to suit them.  You can easily alter the scale of your bird by using thicker wool and a larger hook too. 

There are over 40 patterns in the book, making it good value for money, and unlike sewing books where the pattern may need to be traced from the book, these instructions are all in written form, so it is only a matter of preference over print copy or digital.  Although, for me, I prefer to buy in print.  In our house, music and movies are all pretty much digital nowadays, but for books, nothing beats an actual book!.


November 10, 2015

Back...

Wow, it's been almost a year since I last blogged.  It wasn't intentional to take such a lengthy break, it just kind of happened that way.  I have been posting on my Facebook page, occasionally in the meantime, but not with any regularity.  I also love using Instagram, although my posts tend to be mainly of our cats!

There has been crafty stuff going on, a bit of teaching and writing to be precise.  I have spent some time doing workshops with Primary School kids at my sons school, and out of all the projects I did with them, the wet felting has to have been the most successful.  They had great fun doing it, its messy but its just warm water and soap messy, and we always seemed to gather a bit of an audience of the other kids wanting to know what we were doing.


We made balls, basically the easiest thing to do if you wanted to give it a try.  The fibers I used were given to me by Coats Crafts UK (I used to work for them!), and is called Filz-it. 


The kids did really well considering none of them had done it before.  Wet felting to make balls can be tricky as it requires lots of patience, if you rush the process, the ball won't be matted enough to stay as a ball and will break open as it dries.

Lots more to blog about soon, including a book and Alpacas (all will be revealed!) and a small sewing tutorial.


November 14, 2014

Rocking Robins,

If you fancy a little sewing project in the run up to Christmas, there is a new magazine out from My Time Media, the team behind titles including Popular Patchwork.  Its called "Make your own Gifts & Toys".


I have a pattern in there to make a matching pair of Robins,


there is a little Mama bird,


and also a baby one too, both with the cutest wire legs!

The magazine is out in the shops now or you can buy a copy online from My Hobby Store, just follow this link.
   

November 4, 2014

Garden projects,

Hello!  Long time between posts again, I have been making and doing I promise, but just not been blogging about it.  To remedy this, here's a snippet from what I got up to during the summer.  We have a large back garden, but when we moved in, it was very overgrown and full of weeds.  Its been a gradual job but it has slowly been tackled and out of the previous wilderness, is sprouting a haven with decking, gravel and raised railway sleeper flower beds.  


In one corner, I had the idea (possibly courtesy of Pinterest) of making the gravel area into a boules pitch.  This has been a huge hit with adults and children alike, and as the area is 'L' shaped, there was a little space for something else...


Making use of a chunk of tree trunk, which I know will rot but can easily be replaced when it does, and some pebbles, a little game of tic, tac, toe (or noughts and crosses) insect style.  This has also been a hit (ps, I used acrylic paint on the pebbles, which had a coat of clear yacht varnish over the top, and the black is blackboard paint, as it was the only black I had in the house!)

My next garden project is going to be these...


Another Pinterst find, made from painted bricks believe it or not.  Am undecided as to what paint would be best though, any ideas?

April 4, 2014

Wire,


I have been playing with wire this week, something I've wanted to have a go at for a while but never got round to, wire for birds legs.

Love the way they look, but oh my goodness, harder to make than they should be!  Plus then you've got to get it to stand up without toppling over.

Cute though!

March 14, 2014

Offcuts!

I have been eyeing up leather offcuts on Ebay for a while, attempting to make an educated guess as to which would be the colours I was after (as in browns, grey, off white), and given I only need small pieces, took the plunge earlier this week...


...and here they are.  This bag is 100g in weight and was only cheap, less than £3, and the colours are just about perfect.  Now to see if the idea I have for them works!

March 11, 2014

Sewing Bee...

The Great British Sewing Bee has been a fantastic vehicle to encourage home sewers to pick up their needles and thread, and with Series 2 in full swing and Series 3 already recruiting, it was decided to give a sewing themed fundraising day a try at my son's primary school.

I am a member of the 'PTA', albeit on the periphery as I am often unable to volunteer due to logistical issues and other commitments, but I do stick my hand up if and when I can.  When the Sewing Bee idea was floated, we did initially want to go down the Softie route and make something from the book, but in the end it made sense to go with a simpler project, as when working with little ones, you really can end up spending the whole time just threading needles.  After a bit of googling, the often used idea of a finger puppet and an easter egg fitted the bill nicely, so I quickly knocked up my own version.   


The idea is to have different projects for different skill levels,


the chick being the easiest as we can just glue the eyes and beak on,


 followed by the rabbit, 


and then the easter egg for the parents to make which opens up at the back to house a bit of chocolate.

It's hard to gauge how well attended these things will be.  The last time I taught in school, I had a class of 31 year 9's, but they didn't have a choice, a captive audience!  We made ladybirds, from the pattern I put together for Whip Up


they finished them off the week after I was in but my daughter was allowed to take some photographs for me of some of the ladybirds.  They all did really well.

I will report back on the Sewing Bee, fingers crossed it is a Sewing Bee and not a Sewing Zzzzzzzz!