Saturday, July 30, 2011

Basic sewing...

While we've been living up in Yorkshire (not long until we move again now) I've been making good use of the local children's centres here. If you are a mum of under 3's then it is well worth you having a look at the services your local centre offers, as not only do they do plenty of activities and sessions for little ones, most also offer adult education courses.

In the past I've done child first aid, card making and a small business course. Over the last month I've just completed another course - this time a basic sewing course which though very much targeted at beginners was still interesting and once we get all our belongs out of storage I'll be sure to dust off my own sewing machine and put some more time in on it.

The course was just for a 2 hour session over 4 weeks and in that time we covered very briefly threading up machines, using basic patterns, cutting pieces, sewing seams and a little bit of hand embroidery.

Unfortunately course materials were limited - we only had 4 machine between 10 mums so often there was quite a wait to do any sewing. The fabrics provided were also just scraps and nothing really exciting - even so we all managed to make use of what was available to add our own personal touch and when a course is free you can't really complain.

First up we had a go at making a simple taggy - a tactile sensory toy blanket thing with ribbons sticking out around the edge. These were pretty simple and quick to make and we all managed to get one done within our 2 hour session.

For the next 2 sessions we made up a little purse thing which involved doing some simple hand embriodery on the front - this is what took most of the time and now I've finished mine I'm not entirely sure what to use it for... it didn't quite work out as nicely as I had hoped.

For our last session we optimistically tried to make up a little hand bag - however with the limited sewing machines we didn't all get to finish so I've still got a few things to do on my bag - hopefully I'll get round to it soon as it would make a cute little bag for a toddler.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday book review

"Candy babies: Cute crochet for wee ones"
by Candi Jensen
ISBN: 978-1931543545

US crochet terms

It seems strange to be coming back to this book again - I gave away my original copy years ago (before I was writing this blog) over on Crochetville. This was one of my early online craft book purchases where I would just order based on the cover photo instead of trying to find out a bit about what the book contained first (Ravelry is a great place to check before you buy, you can search out the book on there and see what patterns it contains as well as have a peek at what other people have made and if they had any problems).

Nothing in this book appealed to me back then and so I gave my copy away a few years later and forgot about it. Seeing as my lovely crochet book collection is currently in a storage container somewhere I had a rifle through my local library for any suitable baby crochet books and this is the only one that was half decent (can anyone please recommend some good titles for baby crochet?). On second inspection I did find one pattern that I thought would be worth a go - the Party Princess one, so after a quick trip to a local yarn store I started work.

Seeing as I haven't been doing much in the way of crochet my brain seems to have stopped working correctly as it took me over 3 hours to figure out that my gauge was horribly wrong because I was using the wrong yarn weight - I had bought DK instead of the worsted weight that the pattern calls for. After realising this I had to rework the pattern to account for the finer yarn and thankfully this was possible with a bit of tweaking due to the pattern having the finished measurements marked up. The instructions were clear and it was a simple pattern to follow so I ended up enjoying making this item.

So perhaps a book worth looking at - but I would strongly recommend you have a browse through it first to make sure you like the patterns it contains first, for me it still isn't one I would buy but I am glad that I gave it a second chance.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More Birthday goodies

I'm really loving all the wonderful presents I've received this year, so many lovely crafty related things.

I thought I would share quickly with you all a carefully cropped photo of me (so you can't tell just how huge I'm starting to look) featuring the beautiful necklace that my younger sister made me. We used to make these helter skelter friendship bracelets (more commonly known as Chinese staircase bracelets) as girls and she has cleverly used this method to make me this fantastic necklace which I really love.

My sister Liz has also started up crochet this year (you may already be aware of my other sister Thea's blog) and seems to have caught a bit of a craft bug at the same time as she also made me a beautiful Flower Fairy card as well. Thanks so much Liz - what a wonderful present, I can't wait to see what you come up with next  :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Birthday treats

I'm feeling pretty lucky again when I look down at my latest crafty haul for gaining another year.

My crafty books are all from my Mum who very wisely visited my Amazon wishlist so this year no need to try and return anything as I've wanted all these books for ages.

I was also delighted to receive a small crafty supply stash from my lovely sister containing pretty zips, some little deco tapes and a bag of pretty pastel buttons (all from the lovely paper-and-string). She must have read my mind as not only was I planning on ordering her next present from there but I've also been hankering after some of these hand dyed buttons...

The large pile of pretty wool is part of my present from my Mother in law who took me out for a morning of porcelain painting and then let me loose in the attached wool shop to buy whatever I liked!

So many lovely crafty things that it's hard to know just where to start :-)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Crochet updates

Life in our temporary home has been quite hectic recently but I have managed to find the time to do a little bit of craft while here. Before posting about those though I thought I would show off the two crochet pieces that I completed just before moving out of Tea Towers back in May.

Firstly I came up with this crochet pot cover for a friend who was keen on learning crochet and thought she would start straight out on something like this herself. Because I find working with thread to be quite tricky even for me I discouraged her from having a go and instead got her to come along to my 6 week crochet course where she picked up all the basics really quickly - hopefully she'll be able to make me one some day :-)

The star/flower in the centre is based on a cushion cover pattern in "Crochet gifts in a weekend" (read my review) which I then added some extra points to round the edge with glass beads crocheted in to add the necessary weights.

Last up is yet another pair of crochet booties from my "Simple bootie pattern". On making these booties up I finally noticed the problem in the pattern that has caused so many of the crocheters who have gone on to make them such difficulties. I can't believe that it's taken me two years to notice the problem but when I get a free minute I'll try republishing the pattern here for you all.

I'm also going to be slowly removing my free patterns from the CrochetMe website. The pattern pages get a huge amount of comment spam on them and as the support team have ignored my requests to do anything about it I'm going to take back control of them. So don't panic if patterns start disappearing, I'll be putting them all up here and will link each of their Ravelry pages to their new location.