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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Mat for animal shelter 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.
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Bargello-work bag 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.
3  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Frozen style Ice princess hat 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.
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Bird silhouette 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.

5  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / 25 squares cardigan 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.
6  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Somerset Star pot holders or hot mats 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.
7  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / What is the best needle to use for a seam that varies widely in bulk? 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.
8  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Asymmetric Cowl in the 'Hunger Games' style - now with pattern on: May 24, 2015 01:50:04 AM
My son is on the committee of his University  Archery club.  At the beginning of the year they had a kind of fair for all the new first years to see what clubs are available. For the Archery club some of the members manning the stall wanted to dress up a bit and I offered to knit an asymmetric cowl like the one from the Hunger Games film.
I had to make up the pattern (and guess at the sizing since I didn't know who was going to wear it) I couldn't find any large gauge circular needles in my local shops but, inspired by this craftster tutorial, I got my son to make me a pair.

It all worked out in the end and I also learned a new stitch Herringbone stitch which is very attractive.

This is the young lady who dressed up as the character from the Hunger Games.

And this my circular 13 mm(-ish) needle.

I started writing the pattern down as I was going along but find I have forgotten one or two  things so I'll work on those and try and get a pattern up here later.

Okay. I have added the pattern as a pdf file attachment. I realise that this means only Craftster members can see it or download it but it is really  much too long to put in this post as it also has several pictures to illustrate things.
9  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Stitcher's Alphabet on: May 17, 2015 07:22:53 AM
This was my entry for this year's Needlecraft Guild competition. We were having a fun competition this time to celebrate our 25th anniversary. So the theme was just '25' and people interpreted it anyway they wanted.
I decided to do an alphabet using the Gothic Alphabet which has 25 letters, making one letter do the job of 'I' and 'J'.

Technical details
Most of the squares came from the wonderful Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke Nolan at http://www.brookesbooks.com/CrossStitchFreebies.html 

I had to design the I/J square myself of course, as hers was a 26 letter alphabet. I made a filet crochet Gothic I/J in variegated blue machine thread.  I stitched it into the centre of the square, first with a blue cross stitch that was pretty invisible and then with the decorative stitching and then I cut away the fabric behind the crochet. (And used lots of Fray Check because I just didn't trust my join).  Around the crochet I drew out threads and wove them back into the fabric at the corners and inserted a 2mm wide silk ribbon.

I also made a different design for 'O' as she had O for Over-dyes and I thought O for Openwork was more interesting although I did use over-dyed thread for the Hardanger. It was also a more difficult square  as aida-type fabric is really not the best for cut work.  Again I used a lot of Fray Check. 

The upper case letters I got from a sampler my grandmother did in the 1920s at a college for missionaries' wives.  Her work didn't have all the letters so I had to design  some in a similar style.  The lower case letters in the title are from an antique DMC booklet 'Bibliothèque D.M.C. - Alphabet de la Brodeuse' downloaded from  http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/

The hem has mitred corners and is done in what is called by some, Danish hemstitch.  There is a picture of the stitch here.  https://theshopsampler.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/new-years-resolution-so-far-so-good/blackwork-danish-2a/

The fabric I used is not actually proper Aida. I've no idea where I got it from as it has been in my fabric hoard for years. The thread count is wider than it is long which worked out okay because the individual images were actually oblong so in my version they came out more square.

I include thumbnails for all the other letters in case anyone else is doing this design, because when I was stitching this I would have liked to have been able to look at clear pictures of how some of the designs would look when completed.  I did change some colours and I didn't use as much beading as the pattern called for because sewing on beads takes forever and I got bored with it Wink

10  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Red-checked apron with crochet motifs. on: December 08, 2014 06:38:18 AM

I made this as a gift for our Needlecraft Guild Christmas dinner where we each bring a hand-made gift and these are randomly assigned to guests.
The fabric is not a true gingham but a fabric printed to look like gingham.
The hem is finished with five motifs crocheted in Coats Red mercerised cotton size 8 with a 1.25 mm hook. I ran out of red and used white to finish the bottom edges of the motifs. 

Close up of one of the motifs.
The pattern comes out of an old handicrafts book that I borrowed from our Guild library.  Unfortunately I can't remember the name of it but I can find out if anyone is interested.
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