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41  Work bag with vintage handles in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by elderflower on: July 16, 2012 12:22:33 PM

The story of this bag is that I was helping Mum clear out stuff and found two cane rings with some shreds of patchwork attached.  I asked her what they were and she said "Those are the handles of a work bag that belonged to your great great grandmother" 
Well, I needed a knitting bag and I couldn't bear to throw out something my great great grandmother had used.  So I went shopping with my sister to look for ideas. 

While we were browsing I noticed some DMC glow-in-the-dark embroidery floss.  My sister said "Does it really?" and took a skein and put it down inside her sweater to see.  "Oh look" she said "It does glow".  So I had a look down her front too and sure enough it was glowing nicely.  At which point we noticed two shop assistants looking at us with big eyes. Shocked
"It's okay" said my sister "We are sisters".   As if that explained it - and maybe it does. Tongue

Anyway I bought 2 skeins of the glow-in-the-dark floss and some black Aida.  The skull cross-stitch pattern came from a picture by notanartist .  I added  crossed knitting needles and used a font from Handmade-Adelaide for the lettering.  The bag is lined with a polyester fabric printed with pirate skull and crossbones pattern.  The inspiration was Craftster of course.

It didn't take me long to make. Mum thought it was lovely and really liked the idea of the work bag handles carrying on to another generation.

And here it is glowing in the dark. 
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42  Re: Holey socks in What the heck can I do with THIS? by elderflower on: December 27, 2011 11:04:19 AM
This is what I do with my son's holey old school socks.

I fold the sock up and then turn the cuff inside out to enclose the folded sock.

The fold the ends under, pin it

and stitch each end firmly to make a pad. 
Which can be used for all sorts of things - cleaning the bath; polishing shoes/furniture. When my son was smaller he used one as a pad to prevent the .303 from bruising his shoulder.

(You can also use them to make jugging balls but you'd need to close off the holes first before filling with a wine-glass-full of rice or other grains.)
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43  doll from airline sock in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by elderflower on: November 30, 2011 01:22:17 PM

This doll was made from an airline sock and scraps of calico and lace that I had lying around.  The stuffing is polyester batting,  torn up and wadded into a ball for the head or rolled up for the limbs and body.
The technique I used came from a crafting course in the December 1984 Anna Burda magazine for Knitting and Needlecraft.  In this technique the batting is made into a firm ball and then covered with a circle of knit fabric drawn up tight to form the head  (I used a bit of mutton cloth for this). Then  threads are tied around the head from side to side and across where the eyes will go in order to provide some shaping. The whole is then covered with the actual stockinette fabric used and the eyes and mouth indicated with simple embroidery thread stitches.  There is an on-line tutorial for a similar doll at The Silver Penny.

In this doll about one  third of the sock – the toe end – was used for the head and torso, with strong thread tied around for the neck. The rest of the sock made up into two simple arms and legs which were attached using buttons and strong thread so they could move.

I used strong white Chinese fishing twine for all the shaping, joints and tying off of hands and feet. Also for the hair.  I hadn't intended her to look like a ghost but since the sock was such a dead white I couldn't think of any hair colour that would look right with it except perhaps black and I happened to have a 100g reel of the fishing twine – size or gauge was 210D/4 – in snow white so I used that.

The dress and pantaloons were done without a pattern – and it shows, as the dress is way too big and I had to add a waistband to the pantaloons because I'd made them too short in the waist.  I'll know better next time.  The dress is a simple oblong of fabric with 2 curves cut for armholes and edged with lace. The neck gathered and fastened with a small button and loop at the back. I covered the gathers with some lace too.

Here she is with the other sock. I guess I need to make her brother.

(I did not make the little metal heron.  I do not have weld art skills. I bought it from a street vendor.)
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44  Advent Wreath in Winter Holidays by elderflower on: November 27, 2011 03:42:56 AM
I made my Advent wreath yesterday. 

I used branches cut from cypress trees in our garden and twisted them together until they made a firm ring.

I added in  a few sprigs from our one blue cypress because it gave a nice bit of colour and it also had little green flowers/seed heads.

Then I bound it all with a "ribbon" that I cross stitched years and years ago for exactly this purpose.

All the decorations have memories attached.

1) and 2)  These are miniature Christmas books given to me long ago by a good friend.
3) This is a miniature nativity from Guatemala. My mother brought it back for me from a year's volunteering she did there after she finished her chemotherapy.
4)  The straw stars from Germany were given me by my late grandmother and the sisal angels from another dear friend.

Although I will be using candles with this I also twisted  a set of battery operated miniature L.E.D. lights among the branches and these were given to me as a parting gift by a friend who always used to spend Christmas with us but has now emigrated.

The little hessian boys and girl I made a long time ago following the instructions in the book Modelling in Hessian by Margaret Hutchings and the lovely leather camels were brought back from Dubai by my husband several years ago.  The little wire scooter the girl is riding on was made locally by a street vendor.  (With her skirt she can't really sit on a camel. Tongue)

Looking forward to seeing everyone else's Advent Wreaths.
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45  Asymmetric knitted cardigan in Knitting: Completed Projects by elderflower on: November 25, 2011 09:57:33 AM
I bought this cotton yarn as a pack of five skeins  from a lady who spins it herself.  I loved the colours.  The pack came with a pattern for a scarf or hat but I decided I wanted to try and make a cardigan/jacket. 

I hate sewing up seams in knitting so I started from the neck with about 51 stitches.  I used 10 mm circular needles and, apart from the 4 stitches on each front edge, it was all just  "Wool Round Needle Knit Two Together"  on the odd rows and Purl on the even ones.  On the Purl rows I also increased by two stitches on each side of where I wanted  each armhole to be – so each purl row increased the total number of stitches by 8.

When I thought the yoke was long enough and the armholes wide enough I switched to just knitting the armhole stitches - until the sleeves were as long as I wanted them to be.  After the sleeves were done I went back to the body and continued with the stitches  for the fronts  and back until the body was as long as I wanted that to be.  I actually only used four of the skeins. 

The interesting thing for me is that the stitch I used –  Wool Round Needle Knit Two Together  – resulted in this asymmetric effect.   I was quite surprised when I saw what was happening but decided I quite like it. 

I crocheted ties with some left over yarn and when they are fastened you can see the front opening spirals round to my right.

So the asymmetric effect is entirely a function of the stitch I used.  We learn something new every day. Although I guess the experienced knitters probably knew this already .
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46  shisha embroidered tissue holders in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by elderflower on: November 19, 2011 02:29:13 AM
I wasn't sure whether these should go in the needlework category - but they are bags after all.  I made them as presents. 

  This is the first one I made.  It is for a Christmas party gift exchange at the Needlecraft guild I go to.  The back on this one is left plain.

This is the second one for a lady who is having her 80th birthday next week.  I got quite carried away and embroidered the back as well as the front.

I used a cut up CD for the shisha mirrors and two strands of DMC 125 (green), 90 (yellow), 51 (orange), 48 (pink) and 52(purple) variegated floss for the embroidery. The fabric is just some plain calico (left over from lining curtains )
A lot of the stitches were inspired by a recent class in Dorset Featherstitch at our last Needlecraft guild meeting.

I found these  fun and relaxing  as I didn't use a pattern and just embroidered where I thought it looked nice.  I could carry the entire project in a small airline toiletry bag so could take my work with me for sitting around in waiting rooms etc.
This picture also shows the needle book I made in our Dorset Featherstitch class.
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47  Faux spiral skirt (and how I did it) in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by elderflower on: September 27, 2011 01:37:23 PM

I had some black print knit fabric and used it to make a simple top  with short dolman sleeves. There was enough left over to make a very  simple straight skirt but I felt it would be too much on its own and needed a plain fabric to complement it.  Also I have always wanted a spiral skirt but
a) they use such a lot of material  and
b) I hate trying to sew inside curves to outside ones to get a flat curve.

(I have been on Craftster long enough to know that I must always take pictures as I go along - partly so I can do it again and also so if it works out I can explain how it was done. So here goes  Tongue)

I have a pattern for an 8 panel skirt and I used it to  create two types of panel. 
I folded each pattern piece in quarters from hem to the edge of the elastic casing of the waistband.  Then on one piece I drew a diagonal line from the halfway mark on one edge to the bottom quarter mark on the other edge.  The other pattern piece I drew diagonal lines from the top quarter to the halfway line and from the bottom quarter line to the hem.  All the lines slope the same way.

This gave me one two-patch panel and one three-patch panel. I added seam allowances and labelled the paper pieces before cutting them out so  I would know which panel they belonged to and where they went on each panel and which way up.
Then I cut out each piece twice from both fabrics so I had two in the plain and two in the patterned of each piece.  It is important that all the pieces face the same way in order to make the spiral, so you can't fold the fabric in half to do it -  as that would give a mirror image which you don't want.
I also labelled each piece of fabric before I took off the paper pattern so as not to get them muddled up.
Then I assembled the pieces alternating the two fabrics so I ended up with four types of panel.  The picture explains it better than I can.
       Joined the panels together in pairs and then joined the pairs together until I had my skirt. 

The waist is just elasticated and I folded under a narrow allowance and did a lettuce edge for the hem.

The obligatory twirly photos.
Now that I have seen how it works out I will probably try it again with more contrasting colours.  I might also try reducing the panel size and making it a 12 or 16 panel skirt.
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48  My Butter Yellow Crochet Dress in Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects by elderflower on: September 20, 2011 12:07:49 PM

I love yellow and when I found some bright yellow crochet cotton I bought two 200 gram balls even though I had no idea what I would use it for. A couple of months ago I saw a nice pattern for a crochet tunic on Ravelry

I liked the stitch - but not the design for the  top of the tunic, so I used a doily pattern from an old Anna Burda as a yoke. 

I first made a chain that would go over my head and joined it into a circle.  Then I did  a row of trebles (UK)  and started the doily pattern at the row which had the same number of stitches - if you see what I mean.  This was made easier by the fact that I was following a chart.  I continued the doily until it was large enough that I could close it under the arms and formed a nice yoke.   It actually ended up almost at my waist.

The next row I did part way round and skipped the bit I wanted to be the armhole and continued on around the back until I came to the next armhole which I skipped again.  I then started the crochet motif for the Ravelry tunic and just carried it on down until I ran out of thread.

I am afraid I didn't think to take any pictures of this process while I was doing it.

I crocheted a chain to be a tie belt and threaded it through around where I want the waist to be. I crocheted circles on the ends to stop them slipping back.

The crochet cotton  is called 3 ply and using a 3.5mm crochet hook the individual motifs for the main body of the dress ended up about 4cm by 4 cm

I see from my pictures that the sleeves/armholes  gape a little  Embarrassed  so I must sew them up a bit. Also I need to make a yellow slip to go underneath.  Otherwise I am really happy with how it turned out.  Being made of crochet it hangs very nicely and is a very flexible garment so I didn't need to have an exact size when I was making it. Tongue
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49  knots in thread - rant in Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions by elderflower on: September 19, 2011 01:03:47 PM

If there is one thing that really annoys me it is this sort of thing – finding a knot in my thread when I am midway through some top stitching.  On this occasion when I stopped to cut the thread and remove the knot I found another two  knots within a short distance.


Altogether three knots in the space of half a metre.  You wonder what the factory workers are thinking about – or maybe they don't sew or at least not with sewing machines and don’t realise that you can't run even one knot through a sewing machine needle, let alone three in quick succession.

Of course now I am halfway through the reel, I have long ago discarded the band with the makers name so I can't even vow to never use that brand again.

GRRRR  Angry
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50  Tutorial - Starting a Stitch in Needlework: Discussion and Questions by elderflower on: September 10, 2011 01:57:00 AM
On Thursday I went to a demonstration/class in Blackwork, at the Needlecraft Guild I belong to, and the teacher, Dee Appel, showed us how to start a stitch.

It assumes you are using a double strand of embroidery floss.
You first take a single strand which is double the length you want to use.
Fold it in half and thread it onto the needle so that the folded end with the loop is farthest from the needle.

Next you pass it up from below (Fig. 1) and then back down through the next hole (Fig. 2)

Now pass it through the loop at the end of the thread (Fig 3).
   When you pull it up you have a neat first stitch (Fig 4) and no loose end to worry about. 

I thought it was a great idea as I am all in favour of anything that neatens the wrong side of my work.
Maybe this is all old hat to the serious embroiderers out there but it was new  to me.

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