Monday, 28 April 2014

A Gripping Yarn

For the knitters amongst you - if you have 30 minutes spare to listen to a fascinating radio programme about knitting, then read on!
I only just found out about this so you need to be quick! The programme is called A Gripping Yarn and  you can listen on i-Player, but it is only available for the next 2 days.
You can listen to radio programmes on i-Player all over the world (as far as I know, it's only the TV 
i-Player programmes that are limited to the UK)
They talk about the rise in popularity of knitting, how many of us hated the knitted items we were made to wear as kids (something I can relate to!!), the social aspect of knitting, guerrilla knitting, knitting as therapy and even a Reality TV knitting programme in Scandinavia!

Go on, have a listen, it's a very entertaining and thought provoking half hour!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

A Quilted Notebook Cover

A couple of weeks ago I was going to meet up with some online quilting Bee friends for the weekend. We were all very excited and we were going to give our completed quilts to their respective owners. Sadly the day before the shenanigans,  Jen  our dear and generous host fell over whilst buying the food for us. She badly broke her shoulder and has been in a lot of pain since. We will get together another time, but first we had to try and cheer Jen up!! We very swiftly made a small quilted wall hanging -  one block each, in her favourite colours.
Here is mine:

I also made her a little notebook cover. Probably not the smartest idea, as I guess she finds writing very difficult at the moment, but it will keep until she is better.
I quilted it very simply with straight lines on the bottom and zig zags on the top half.
It is so easy to quilt zig zags on polka dot fabric.You literally just join the dots!!

 I appliqu├ęd her initial on the front.

Added the inner sleeves (sorry, forgot to photograph that bit) and the job was done!

I know Jen loved her presents, and we will still get to meet up and swap quilts one day when she is better. This was the first time I had joined a quilting Bee , and I'm so pleased I did. I have made a lot of wonderful friends and tried quilting techniques and block designs that I may not otherwise have tried. A big thanks to our Queen Bee  Maria who put the blocks together and quilted it.
You can see our finished wall hanging on her blog
We couldn't have done it without you Maria!

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Sewing with Knits

 At the start of the year I said one of my goals for 2014 was to make more of my own clothes. I bought plenty of fabric the other week, so it was definitely time to make a start on my spring and summer wardrobe. The thing is though, 90% of what I wear is made with knitted fabric. So if this goal is to be achieved, I have to embrace sewing with knits!

I made my first foray into the world of knits last summer when I made a T shirt. I followed the Craftsy class Sewing with Knits. It's a great class, which I totally recommend, and I had no problems making my Tshirt at all. The problems were with the fit and my choice of fabric. I now know I don't like viscose jersey. I only like cotton jersey!! Also the scoop neck was too wide and low for my small frame and, to be honest, although I wore it a few times last year, I know it won't be part of my wardrobe this summer.

The fit issue is one I'm going to encounter regularly. I'm a have a very short waist and narrow shoulders  and always end up having to do considerable alteration to any pattern. I decided a few weeks ago that the solution was to learn how to draft my own patterns.
I purchased this book and with the help of my son's girlfriend, I took all the necessary measurements.

Add a roll of craft paper and a curvy roll and I was all set. The book gives very clear instructions on how to draft your own pattern and I soon had a basic T shirt front, back and sleeves.

I know I could have probably ended up at the same place by just drawing round a favourite shirt, but I want to understand the process so I can apply it to more complicated garments.

My first attempt at the sewing didn't go well. I used cheap jersey fabric and my overlocker. Apart from last summer's T shirt, I normally just use my overlocker to neaten seams. I don't really feel in control of it for tricky fabric or tight curves and I ended up getting fabric caught in the seam and chopped into by the blade! It is reparable, but for now it is sulking at the back of a cupboard.

So this is attempt no. 2 and all is going well so far.

I'm using a good quality jersey fabric. I'm also using the overlock stitch on my regular Bernina sewing machine rather than the overlocker. That way I can take it slow and it doesn't cut off the seam allowance, so I can unpick and re-sew if necessary.
It isn't finished yet, so there's plenty of time for more disasters, but Dolly is happy enough modelling it for me tonight. Yes, I've named my dress form Dolly, as in Dolly Daydream, because, you know what? that's all she does all day - day dream! She's been in my craft room about a month now, and she's not lifted a finger to help! - perhaps now she's got some clothes, she'll contribute to the proceedings a bit more
Here's hoping it's me wearing the T shirt soon, not her!

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