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1  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / A Piggy for my Piggy on: February 26, 2017 04:21:47 PM
I keep pet guinea pigs, but sadly one of my girls died last month after an illness.  My remaining fluff-butt is mostly doing ok but does look a bit forlorn, bless her - piggies are social, herd animals and really need to be kept in groups of two or more.  Someone suggested giving her a teddy to snuggle with until I can find a new real friend for her, so I decided to make her a new friend in the form of a cuddly toy guinea pig!  It.... sort of worked?

The pattern was one I found online and tidied up a lil in Inkscape.  It made me realise how bad I am at handling fur fabric when I made this, and I think it would also have helped if I'd made the larger version I printed out first.  I did have fun cutting out lil piggy ears and feet from felt scraps, though!

I stuffed it with some of the endless wadding scraps I have and used a couple of small (purple!) buttons for the eyes, which would have been vastly easier to attach earlier in the process, not as literally the last thing I did.

Despite my efforts, I'm not sure Mommet is convinced:

Oh well.  Perhaps she'll warm to it when she realises it's not going to be competition for her precious lettuce leaves!
2  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Tragedy and Comedy Mini Quilt on: February 23, 2017 09:43:09 AM
It arrived.  IT ARRIVED!  FINALLY!  *flails*  I was really starting to worry about this one, but now I know it's landed at the proper destination, I can share it here.  Smiley

Thimbles71's swap info mentioned a fondness for red, black, white, grey and silver and one of her interests was the theatre.  I always liked the dual nature of the tragedy and comedy masks, so I looked at loads of pictures on google and saw one that had red and black diamonds on the masks that I wanted to riff on, so I doodled up a design in Inkscape and then converted it into a foundation-pieced pattern.

That was probably the trickiest bit, actually.  I've done a couple of foundation-pieced designs before, but nothing this big or complex, but after chasing polygons in circles for a bit I got something workable and started piecing.

For putting pieced sections together, I learned of the joys of using Wonder Clips instead of pins - they hold everything perfectly and without buckling up the pieces!  Not sure this would have had such a happy ending without them.

Once both sides were assembled, I backed it with a silvery-grey star-bursty sort of fabric and did the binding and corner pockets with the dark-grey variant of one of the background prints:

The quilting ended up being fairly simple - stitch in the ditch around the mask and diamonds, then sharp stippling on the coloured areas and regular stippling on the background:

This is one of those projects that I still can't quite believe actually worked!  XD
3  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / "Bunch of Flowers" art quilt wall-hanging on: January 05, 2017 05:36:33 AM
I'm starting to think that my biggest crafting inspiration is blind panic.  Mum's birthday is today, and having mooched around the local shops recently, I knew I hadn't seen anything I wanted to buy her, and I knew she was a bit envious of the cushion cover I finished recently and gave to a friend, so this happened:

She loves flowers and plants, so I decided to make some that would last a bit longer!  Wink  The best bit?  The whole thing is almost entirely from stash.  I did pick up a couple of new specialty DMC skeins in case they were needed, but only ended up using one (and realised that I already had another, d'oh).  The 3D petals and the butterfly were made using soluble stabilser (the filmy kind, solvy), which I'd bought a little while ago but not had an excuse to use yet.  It was a bit of a learning curve, and I suspect that the kind I bought wasn't really designed for how I used it, but it worked anyway.

I used scraps of ribbon and short lengths of specialty embroidery thread (rayon or metallic) in all my soluble bits to give them more body and character - I really like the subtle sparkly effect and they seem sturdier as a result.

The blue background and the appliqued petals were all made the same way - by diving head-first into my scrap bin, hauling out suitable colours and then sewing them together randomly.  Then I used bondaweb to cut the petals out and used my machine's couching foot to couch matching embroidery thread around the flowers and over the stems, which highlighted them nicely, started the quilting and secured the petals in place:

I dithered over whether to add more quilting after I'd attached the applique, but I did in the end and I'm glad, I think it gives everything more texture and it looks more finished.  Although thanks to the piecing on the front, it's easier to see the quilting from the back!

Once the quilting and binding was done, I hand-sewed the prepared 3D petals and trumpets on (oh gods, the trumpets!  They were the worst bit easily!), made a little body for the butterfly from a couple of glass beads and a headpin, then attached that as well.  There's probably more elegant ways I could have done it, but I was running out of brain at 3am this morning!  :p

The butterfly's wings were made as four parts, by preparing an area of solvy-stablised blue-green organza with different metallic threads (blue, green, silver and white iridescent on one side, variegated gold in the bobbin), then I used a printout from the interwebs as templates to couch around the wing shapes and variegated blue cotton quilting thread to create veins on the wings once I'd got rid of all the paper.  The sequins happened when I decided they needed a little more ooomph.

For my next trick, I will be trying to find my sewing table under this lot:

(It's actually worse than that now, I hadn't started the butterfly when I took that photo!)
4  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Decorated makeup pot on: December 24, 2016 01:50:44 PM
My sister asked for a pot to keep mascara etc. in for Christmas.  I wasn't really sure where I'd find such a thing, but then I found a plain wooden "desk tidy" in The Works (this one) for a whole 1 and decided to decorate it myself.

The inside of the box I painted with black acrylic paint and varnish, and I used the box to cut out card templates of the sides, then covered them with scraps of wadding and some pretty fabric that I happened to pick up in a scrap pack recently that is just the kind of thing my sister likes:

(I never used a glue-dot dispenser before now - HOW good are those things?  Love it!  Made life so much easier!)

Then I dug out ALL my seed beads, ribbon, assorted trim, sequins and whatnot and spent a happy afternoon jazzing it up even more.  Smiley  Originally, I tried to encrust the top edges with tiny sequins glued on, but then I discovered that even hot glue doesn't stick to varnished surfaces (d'oh!), so I ended up sewing all around with gold braid, and actually I like the effect much better.  I also got a nice photo of my niece to put in one of the heart shapes.  Hope my sister likes it!  (Kind of want to make myself one, now.)
5  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Silk applique cushion on: December 24, 2016 04:33:02 AM
This is a little proof-of-concept project that I did:

The band is hand-pieced from bits of silk ties (I buy them in charity shops, hand-wash them and unpick them - it's surprisingly satisfying!).  It's EPP hexagons, but with a bit of a twist - literally.

The hexagons are not regular, instead I used a small program a friend wrote to generate wonky hexagons (for something else entirely!), so I could see what they'd look like as patchwork.  I backed all the silk with my lightest interfacing to stop it stretching and misbehaving, but I wonder if something like mistyfuse might be better next time (hadn't heard of it until recently).

To help with putting them together, I numbered all my card templates and also had a paper copy of the layout so I didn't get lost - I had to unpick a couple of times but mostly it went very smoothly.  Once the hexie band was finished, I appliqued it onto a square of Essex yarn-dyed linen and hand-quilted it with wavy lines in blue perle silk on the hexagons and straight lines in grey perle cotton on the linen.  The back is also linen, with a zip closure.
6  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Fabric Christmas Ornament on: December 05, 2016 01:09:43 PM
I saw a paper version of this ornament a while ago, but only just got around to trying to make a fabric version.

It took me a few goes to arrange my circles of fabric so that they nestled nicely together once I started sewing on the beads.  It's not completely perfect, but I was pleased that I got it to work in the end - and it was a really good excuse to test out the couching foot for my sewing machine.  Smiley  I'm going to try a simpler approach for the next one, though.
7  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / My Infinity Scarf on: December 02, 2016 08:01:03 AM
I am generally not great at yarn crafts - I love the look and feel of many yarns, but my attempts to turn it into things frequently end in chaos and tears.  However, I recently picked up a really pretty and completely unused skein of yarn in a local charity shop for the bargain price of 3 (it's a merino/silk blend) - and at least if I made a mess then it wouldn't be a massive loss!

After googling free crochet scarf patterns and picking the one that ticked boxes for broadly resembling my yarn, being pretty and being actually do-able by a yarn-craft klutz, I turned it into this broomstick lace infinity scarf:

based on the tutorial here: http://www.bhookedcrochet.com/2014/01/08/broomstick-lace-infinity-scarf/

Luckily, I found a suitably sized crochet hook floating around the house, and for the "broomstick" I used a chunk of wooden dowel, left over from making a teepee for my niece, that was just about the right diameter.  I think my yarn was a bit finer than the one in the tutorial, so I ended up making my scarf a bit longer to actually fit me, and I wish I'd made it maybe 40 stitches wide instead of 30, but I love it to bits and it's just what I need in this recent cold weather!
8  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Toddler teepee on: September 02, 2016 11:27:36 AM
My niece is two in a couple of days.  A couple of months ago, my sister mentioned that kids' teepees are all the rage and that little Nia would really love one if I could make it for her.  After some deliberation, I agreed - after all, it was a really good excuse to buy pretty Tula Pink prints from the local fabric shop!  Wink

I'm pretty pleased with it:

For guidance, I roughly followed this tutorial I found online: http://thediymommy.com/sew-a-diy-teepee-play-tent/ However, I found that her measurement of 4" for the point of the teepee was far too small (well, it certainly wasn't going to fit my four 22mm poles!), so I ended up trimming the height of my teepee down a bit so that it was more like 6" wide after hemming.  Next time (if there is one!) I'll listen to my gut instinct and just make it wider to begin with!

I also tried something very new for me when I decided to add a PVC window.  It kind of worked, but I know what I'd do differently next time!

View from the back:

Close-up of the fox circle:

The trim is some amazingly fluffy chenille rickrack braid that I found on a speculative fabric shop trip, and I don't think I could have found anything better, it really goes well with the Tula Pink prints.  Smiley  I used a couple of orange and aqua prints from my stash to make the plant pots and the mini bunting.
9  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Blue Diamonds on: August 16, 2016 12:55:54 PM
I got asked to make a blue/green quilt as a commission; it was delivered last weekend.  Smiley

My cousin and brother-in-law holding it up:

The binding wasn't finished and I had ends to bury, but this is the best "full shot" I have!

On the bed:

Pretty pleased with it, and the recipient seems to be too, more importantly!
10  CLOTHING / Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects / Two Liberty tops - aka Get Off My Lawn! on: July 20, 2016 07:01:11 AM
I have a wedding to go to this weekend and a complete loathing of clothes shopping (I am both tall *and* podgy, a lose-lose combo when it comes to off-the-peg clothes), so I decided to make something instead!  *Two* somethings!  Same pattern (by Simplicity), different Liberty Lawn prints, both from stash when I discovered that I had by chance bought exactly enough of each of these for the pattern.  I adore both of these prints and bought them thinking they'd become patchwork, but this works too!  (And there's still scraps left, lol!)

First go:

I'm not a dressmaker, I'm a quilter, and now I remember why!  I don't much like cutting out clothing patterns and I don't like having to cope with not-flat things!  Also, I hadn't really altered the pattern enough so I ended up having to lose a pretty substantial amount of fabric from the two back seams, which was a challenge.  Still, it's wearable now!

Second go:

This one went much more smoothly and swiftly - I adjusted the pattern to better suit my figure and it shows.  I think this'll be the one I wear on the day.

The ribbon tie around the back isn't in the original pattern, but I liked that it helps give me a little more shape and it balances the colour of the front ribbons too.
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