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1  Mat for animal shelter in Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects by elderflower on: September 30, 2015 11:23:31 AM
At our monthly Needlecraft guild meeting a couple of months ago we set aside the whole afternoon for making these mats to go under the dog and cat beds at a our local Friends Animal Welfare foundation.
Someone had donated bags and bags of fabric off cuts.  The non-knitters/crocheters cut the fabric into strips and looped the strips into continuous lengths of yarn and rolled them up into huge balls.
Those of us who had large knitting needles or crochet hooks knitted or crocheted the yarn into square mats. They will go under the pet beds and will provide insulation during the cold weather.

This is a picture of mine.  It took a lot of yarn and was very hard on the hands. Just as well there were so many of us. Wink

And here it is half way through showing the large needles I used for it. They are about 13mm diameter.
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2  Bargello-work bag in Needlework: Completed Projects by elderflower on: September 22, 2015 12:29:34 AM
Every year the Needlecraft Guild, to which I belong, has a year long project where we work on a sampler or similar and learn new techniques or stitches every month. Last year it was a strip of bargello work and when it was finished I turned it into a small bag.

My colour choice was a bit eclectic as I wasn't thinking of what I would use the sampler for when it was finished but was merely practising the technique.  So the design on the flap was not part of the project but was a design I found in one of our Guild library books and used to finish off the rest of the canvas and also to try and pull together the random colours I'd used.
The other stitches are all the stitches that we worked on over the course of the year.

  The Back

   The Front

The crochet butterfly was added because after I had done the lining I discovered a flaw in the fabric.  Embarrassed

I found it quite difficult working with canvas to make it into a bag.  I'd love to know how other people manage to turn their  tapestry into something useful as the canvas is very stiff, bulky and unwieldy.
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3  Frozen style Ice princess hat in Crochet: Completed Projects by elderflower on: September 16, 2015 08:39:32 AM
A lady I know is undergoing chemo and friends have been making hats for her.  Her little daughter said she would like a hat too to be like mum so I crocheted this ice princess style hat for her.

The blue crown is held on by two buttons so is removable.

I wanted the hat to look as if it was made of snowflakes so I used the row of daisies pattern that sonnetbird used to make an afghan and modified it to work in the round - which was a bit of a mission and the start of each row spirals round the hat but it isn't really obvious so I think it works.  Except that it doesn't really look like snowflakes. They still look like daisies to me.  But she likes it which is the main thing.
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4  Bird silhouette in Needlework: Completed Projects by elderflower on: September 04, 2015 08:38:09 AM
At last month's Needlecraft guild meeting we got a little kit of a piece of calico and an outline shape to trace - either a bird or a butterfly.  Then we practised the technique of outlining the shape in french knots that start out very close together and then move further apart.  Changing  the shade of embroidery thread also adds to the effect.
   This is the bird I made

but since I am never happy unless my embroidery has some purpose in life, I turned it into a child's apron using some spare calico I had in store, with a scrap of green satin ribbon to prettify the waistband

I also embellished the pocket by inserting some green embroidery thread using the pulled-thread technique.

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5  25 squares cardigan in Knitting: Completed Projects by elderflower on: August 30, 2015 04:20:12 AM
Our Needlecraft Guild competition this year had the theme of "25" as it was our 25th anniversary.  For my entry in the knitting/crochet class I devised a square that was knitted from the centre out so that it had exactly the same number of stitches on each side and the squares could be grafted together instead of sewn. (I do not like sewing up my knitting.  I always get it wrong and it looks lumpy)

This jacket/coat/cardigan  is made of exactly 25 squares. Here it is modelled by my daughter, although it is way too large for her.

Technical details
The yarn I used was Elle Escapade DK  col. 371 Ginger Glow. I don't think it is available any more.  This yarn is 100 % Acrylic  and the cardigan took 5 x 100g balls.
I used two 4mm circulars needles for each square and I used  a very long one for finishing the edging.

Although I carefully knitted a tension square and calculated all the dimensions it turned out rather larger than I intended.

Here it is laid out flat.

The buttons are Dorset buttons made from slices of pvc pipe, sanded smooth and wrapped with the same yarn as the cardigan.

As I promised I have attached a pdf of the pattern for the square.  I hope I have made it clear enough but my notes were a little scruffy.
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6  Re: Setting the Miniature Scene - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by elderflower on: August 21, 2015 01:25:14 PM
My parcel from  tendstowardschaos  arrived at the post office yesterday and I picked it up this morning.  Although I took photographs straight away I couldn't post them on the gallery earlier because today's power cut lasted from 6 am to 9pm.  I am hastily putting them up now in case we get another long power cut tomorrow.  Sad
It was such an exciting parcel, multiple small parcels inside a sturdy box so nothing was broken, and she included lots of explanatory notes about everything.
My theme was the 19th century peasant/working class home and she sent me so many lovely things for it.

She painted this me beautiful miniature copy of Old Battersea Bridge by James McNeill Whistler.  I happened to have a miniature easel which fits it perfectly.  I love this picture and am so thrilled to have this brilliant miniature version.

She had some old clay beads made by a friend and made lovely hand-dipped huckleberry scented candles for them  to turn them into adorable rustic candlesticks.

She bought me some miniature bread and cheese and then crocheted a lovely bread basket to hold them all.

Then there was a set of beautiful  tapestry cushions

followed by a hand carved log chair. It must have taken you ages to carve that out of a single piece of wood.  It is so perfect for a humble cottage.

From the same wood as the chair she then carved me a set of bowls, including a serving bowl painted with a pattern from an 1875 Norwegian bowl.

And also for the kitchen she added some tiny glass bottles, one with micro beads that could be dried peas.

She found a dear little sewing machine for me

and as if all this wasn't enough she then threw in a packet of little charms, which can be used as ornaments, and a little brass house sign.

And here is a picture of the whole lot together.  Thank you so much tendstowardschaos . Truly I have been so spoiled by you.  Thank you for stepping in to angel for me.  Actually I think this was an archangel package.  Cheesy
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7  Re: Setting the Miniature Scene - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by elderflower on: August 07, 2015 05:33:28 AM
My partner received on the 12th July but has since then been very ill and not able to post pictures.  I hope she gets better soon and in the meantime I am putting up the pictures I took before I sent them away.

She asked for fairy garden items so I first made these 1:12 scale garden tools.

The metal parts were  cut from the lids of a baked bean tins and the handles are bougainvillea twigs from my garden.  The stable broom head was cut from one of those toothbrushes that some airlines give you when you travel.

I also made these 3 flower pots using the quilling paper technique. The trowel was also cut from a tin can and has a bougainvillea thorn for a handle.

I made three packets of seeds by scanning packets I already had and reducing them.  This is where I learned the difference between "vector" and "raster" graphics.  I filled the packets with tiny seed beads as I wasn't sure that  real seeds were allowed to travel between countries.

This 1:12 rustic chair was also made from bougainvillea  twigs, and with banana fibre, again from the garden, for the riempies (not sure what the English word is) and for tying the bent twigs that make the (vaguely) heart shape of the back.

I also included this little wire bicycle.  I did not make it. These wire toys are made by young men and boys in this country for play and for sale by the side of the road.  It is a lot smaller than 1:12, perhaps 1:24.

As I hadn't made miniatures before I used several sites on the internet to learn how to make these.  In particular http://miniatures.about.com/od/miniatureprojects/ where I learned how to make the garden tools and the rustic chair; and http://1inchminisbykris.blogspot.com/ which showed me how to make the flower pots from rolled paper strips.

I was also nervous about sending plant material to another country so I boiled everything first for an hour and then dried it in the oven overnight.  That ought to kill anything.
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8  Somerset Star pot holders or hot mats in Quilting: Completed Projects by elderflower on: June 04, 2015 11:34:46 AM
At one of our monthly Needlecraft guild meetings a few months ago we had a tutorial on these Somerset stars.  Our committee members had put together kits of ready cut pieces in lovely fabrics. The kits were $3 each for guild funds and were very popular. Lots of people wanted more than one kit.  I ended up making 3 of them.  

It is a very simple pattern and can mostly be done by hand. The only word of warning I have is to be wary of using thicker fabrics particularly on the pieces that will be around the edge.  My dark blue with the pink bias edge had thick chintz pieces for the outer edge and although they were a very pretty pattern they were murder to sew through all the thicknesses. And I had to stretch the bias tape; as you can see it does not look very neat at all.

This is a great way to use up scraps of leftover fabric from other projects.

(The pictures jump around between the three stars as I didn't always remember to take in-progress photos for every stage.)
Two Circles: Cut one large 19 cm or 7 inch diameter circle in any plain fabric such as calico, to be the foundation.  Cut another large circle in pretty fabric to be the back of the Somerset Star.
Optional : Cut one small circle (9 cm or 3 inches diameter) in pretty fabric. This will go in the middle on top of the foundation circle and underneath the central four points to show through any gaps between the central points.
Oblongs (20 altogether):
small  10.5 by 6 cm (4 ⅛ by 2 ⅜ inches)
medium    11.5 by 8.25 cm ( 4 by 3 inches)
large  13 by 10 cm (4 by 5 inches)
In three contrasting fabrics:
Cut four of the smallest oblong and 8 each of the two larger oblongs.  Using different fabrics emphasises the star especially if you choose alternating dark and light or patterned and plain fabric.
Tack or pin the small circle to the centre of the foundation circle.

Fold each  rectangle in half lengthways and then fold to a point in the middle.  I tacked mine down but you could probably get away with just ironing them flat.

The small circle is pinned to the centre of one of the large circles and then the four smallest points are placed in the middle with the tips  meeting in the centre. Catch each tip down in the centre with one or two tiny stitches.  Catch the pieces down again at the centre fold of each point and where the edge of each point touches another.
The picture shows the centre points stitched in place with the second layer being pinned into position.

Pin the medium points with their tips about 1.5 cm ( inch) out from the tips of the centre points. The tips lie along the folds or between the edges of the centre points and can either overlap clockwise/anti-clockwise or in an alternating pattern. These are caught down with tiny stitches at the tips, folds and edges.

The last layer of the large points is again placed 1.5 cm out from the tips of the medium points and caught down as before.

The square edges of the large points will stick out beyond the edge of the circle.

This picture shows the back of the work after all the points are stitched down and before the overhanging edges have been trimmed off.

Tack or pin the backing circle to the back of the foundation circle and trim off the overhanging edges of the last layer of points.

Machine stitch bias tape around the edge on the front and finish off with small hemming stiches on the back.

I attach a pdf of the templates.
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9  Re: Finished flowers (w/pattern) in Crochet: Completed Projects by elderflower on: June 01, 2015 09:16:56 AM
I just finished making one of these flowers and since there are no pictures here I thought I would post  a picture of mine.

It was quite hard work in the later rows because you are making lots of increases so the number of stitches increases almost exponentially. I used  a variegated yellow acrylic crochet thread for the centre (chain and first 3 rows), plain white crochet cotton for the base of the petals (next 2 rows), and a variegated red acrylic thread for the edges of the flower, the last 4 rows. All Size 5 and with a 1.7 mm hook.

In progress picture. I have finished the white rows and just started the first red.
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10  What is the best needle to use for a seam that varies widely in bulk? in Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions by elderflower on: May 25, 2015 03:31:01 AM
I needed to sew a double welt pocket with flap in a pair of stretch denim breeches.
The final seam starts out on a double layer of lining fabric but then goes up and through the clipped corner and end of welts which amounts to about 8 layers of stretch denim, plus interfacing as well as the lining fabric.
The very thick layers needed a size 110 needle as anything less would break, but this size would have punched huge holes in my satin lining fabric.
I ended up changing needles part way through the seam on both sides of the pocket but it was messy and I wish I knew a better way to do it.  The pattern of course, while full of helpful diagrams was absolutely silent on that sort of practical advice.

This picture shows how untidy the whole thing turned out even though I tacked the seam by hand first.  It was very difficult dealing with both the slippery lining and the very bulky stretch denim.

I'd love to know how the professionals manage.
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