Thursday, December 31, 2009

Get Stuffed...,

Volume 3 is out now, available here. It's full of lovely softies, including my softie shoes.

Thank you to everyone who visits Lucykate Crafts for all your support throughout 2009.

See you in 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

If you got any money for christmas...,

you may be tempted by this,

"Sew it All" is a new American sewing magazine by the people behind Sew News. There are projects by fellow UK designer, Janet Clare, and US designer extraordinaire, Alicia Paulson to name but a few, and also there is me!

It's a really simple idea for homemade napkin rings to spruce up your dinner table.

The leaf motif is aimed at a beginner level, the flower being more suited to a more advanced stitcher. There are lots of lovely projects in the magazine, some even available to download from their website. Happy Stitching!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas,

Christmas Day is almost here,

Christmas Eve is almost over, and so is my husband's birthday.

He turned 40 today,

Here's to our first white christmas in years!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snow,

I feel a bit embarrassed about how such a relatively small amount of snow can bring the UK to a halt, just after last christmas, Alastair went to Seattle, and drove to Spokane through real snow.

In comparison, what we have here is a light dusting! Still, it has been icy enough to give some icicles on the studio in the garden...,

deep enough for some sledging...,

but cold enough to not want to stay out in it too long, and head home for some tea instead.

Now, we have a party to prepare for. More importantly than the 25th, Alastair is 40 on Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Warm & wooly,

It is beginning to get round the school playground about what it is I do, which is great, (there are far worse rumors that could be going around!) particularly when Mum's from school hand me bags of unwanted woolens. One such bag, contained a tiny pink cardigan, which belonged to the baby sister (called Lucy) of one of my Lucy's classmates. It seemed such a shame for this cardigan's life to end (it was from Boden, after all) so I decided to make something by way of a thank you for all the jumpers. Armed with Betz's 'Warm Fuzzies' book, (incidentally, I much prefer the American cover and title to the UK version), and using the scrapwork pillow (page 28) as inspiration, scissors in hand, I got chopping.

I went quite simple with the design, piecing just a couple of rectangles together for the front, with an appliqued row of circles from the cardigan (it's so tiny, there's not much of it to use) and buttons.

The back has an envelope opening with a random flower on it. I was distracted watching Jamie online, in particular his bubble & squeak recipe (episode 3), and went a bit wonky with my stitching, rather then unpicking, the flower hides the mishap rather nicely.

This is the only gift I have made this christmas, everything else has arrived in a box from Amazon. Sounds very unexciting, I know, but anyone who has read this blog for a while now will know, I have had my fingers burnt in the past with handmade gifts, and have learnt a hard lesson. The people who matter (and they know who they are), get the odd handmade thing all year round, but I've said it before, and I'll say it again, please make sure your own efforts are not as sadly misplaced as mine were.

Besides, I can't make roller skates or Spongebob lego anyway!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Easy peasy (no sewing involved!), cotton reel & holly ornament...,

The other day, I had some bits & bobs on my desk, and 20 minutes to spare while I was waiting till it was time to head off to my son's first school nativity play (he was a sheep!). After fiddling around with the felt, came up with this idea. These are just so quick and easy to make, how can you not give them a go! All you need are-

cotton reels
selection of green felt
scissors
some small red felted balls (you can get these ready made, or even use a bit of cotton wool, painted or dyed with food colouring, or just wrap a bit of red wool yarn into a ball)

1. Cut some holly leaf shapes from the green felt, each about 1 1/2 inches (or 3cm) long,

2. Poke the ends of 2 or 3 of the leaves, into the middle of a cotton reel, and using the tip of the scissors, squeeze in a small, red felt ball to hold everything in place.

And that's it!, all done. No sewing, no glue, so after christmas they can easily be taken apart and you can have the cotton reels back.

Make as many as you want, if your cotton reels are bigger, just make the leaf size larger to match. Think I might make some all in white next!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Christmas Tree Softie tutorial,

There are many, many Softie Tree patterns out there to choose from, and here is my version. This is going to be a long post as there are lots of step by step photo's, so let's get started!.

To make one Softie Tree, you will need -

2 fabric rectangles 22 x 15 cm, these can either be in one fabric, or made up with a variety as I have done (see photo below)
a felt circle, 7.5 cm diameter (this will become the base)
a card circle, 7 cm diameter (card from a cereal box is fine)
2 squares of felt 5 x 5 cm (for the star)
selection of buttons, various sizes and colours
embroidery thread (I have used red Pearl Cotton 8)
sewing needle, scissors, pins, pencil, sewing machine is optional
stuffing & a smallish pebble (to weight the tree)
paper, a square 5 x 5 cm, and a rectangle 12.5 x 19 cm
chop stick (also optional)

First, fold the large paper rectangle in half lengthways, draw a diagonal line from one corner to another, and cut down the line. Open it out, and you will have your paper tree template. Place the fabric rectangles face together, and pin on the template. Cut out the tree shape, adding an additional 1 cm of fabric to the bottom (see photo below).

Remove the paper template (and keep so you can make more tree's later), pin the fabric together and sew down each side, 0.5 cm in from edge (you can do this on a sewing machine or by hand using backstitch), then turn your tree the right way round. You can use a chop stick to push out the point of the tree if it is a bit fiddly. Turn the additional 1 cm hem inwards to hide the fraying edge. I have added a 'Lucykate Crafts...' label, you won't need to do this, as you know the rules, tutorials are for personal use only, and not to be used commercially!

Stuff the tree, lastly, adding a pebble wrapped in the stuffing inside the base to give it weight so it doesn't topple over. Pop the card circle in the base and,

position the felt circle over the top, sew in place using straight stitches.

Now it's time to add some buttons as decoration,

you can add as many as you like.

Now, take the paper square, and draw on a star shape, cut out to make your star template. Use this to cut the first star from the felt, then use the felt star as the template to cut out the second, this way they both match.

Pin the 2 stars together, and begin to sew round the edge to join the two using blanket stitch. When you get to the last part of the star, place it over the tip of the tree.
Continue to sew the blanket stitch, one side of the star at a time, taking care to make sure you attaching the star to the tree with each stitch. Complete one side of the star, then turn the tree over, and stitch the same on the other.

Then you are done!, it would be very easy to alter the dimensions of the tutorial and make your tree larger or smaller if you wanted to.

Please feel free to join the Lucykate Crafts... pattern pieces Flickr group to show off your trees, and there is also a Flickr group totally dedicated to tree softies. If you are on the look out for more christmas tutorials, there is always my robin from last year, or the love letter could be adapted to make a christmas card, and should you feel inclined to wear a pair of leggings on your head, then make an Elf hat, it will look a little less silly!

There is also a whole month of christmassy projects appearing at UK Handmade, the first is here.

Happy Stitching!