Monday, 7 December 2015

Christmas Angel 'Dorset Button'

My previous post tells you about how I became interested in Dorset Buttons.  As we are near to Christmas and I have a Dorset Button workshop coming up at my local yarn shop Spin A Yarn on Wednesday I thought it may be a good idea to create a Dorset Button style Christmas decoration.
Not as easy as it sounds!!!

A lady I met on my previous Dorset Button workshop had brought along some of those thin bracelet bangles and I thought this would be a great base for the start of a Christmas decoration.  They are about 2 . 5" diameter so would be perfect used with dk cotton.  This is the thread I actually used just because it was sparkly and I thought a good colour for an angel.  I can remember buying it in Crete a few years back and haven't used it much since.

Embroidery thread for dorset buttons

The Dorset Button 'bit' of the decoration is the angel's dress and I decided it would look pretty with some added beads.  There are a few ways of doing this, but I chose to add them to the spokes which means adding them as you go.

Christmas angel dorset button decoration

You may be wondering what the sticky tac is for?  Well traditionally, Dorset buttons are created by first covering the outside ring with blanket stitch but as the ring was so pretty anyway I decided to miss this bit out.  Of course, without this, it was a lot more slippery so getting the spokes to stay in place was nigh on impossible - hence the sticky tac!!!  Once you start on the 'rounding' it anchors the spokes in place.

When the 'rounding' had been completed, I set about decorating my angel.  I cut out hair and a face from card and gave her dangly beaded legs.  The wings were a shiny fabric bonded and sandwiched
between a couple of layers of organza to give them some substance.  Here is the finished result.

Dorset button Christmas decoration

Below you can see the beaded detail of her dress,

Close up of beaded skirt of Dorset button Christmas angel

This is what she looks like from behind.  You can see I attached the wings with a few stitches and the card I used even gave her a little flower in her hair.
Back of Dorset Button Christmas angel

I struggled taking photos of her as the light was fading fast but I love the way in the next photo the light casts a shadow on the wall behind her.
Christmas angel Dorset Button shadow on wall

I do hope she will give a little inspiration to those on the workshop.  I will have to find a special place for her over Christmas and I wonder - do you think she could do with a name?  What would you call her?

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Dorset Buttons - How it all started

I thought handmade buttons would be an interesting accessory to any embroidered/textile item and somewhere in the back of my mind I had seen these buttons before but had no idea what they were called.  So a after a short search on Google I found what I was looking for.  I had no idea there was so much history behind a Dorset Button.  If you'd like to read more about them, this is just one of the links I found

A Dorset Button is a ring, originally cut from a horn of a Dorset Horn sheep, covered in embroidery thread.  These days plastic or metal rings are the more usual choice!

I found myself a tutorial and began experimenting ...

red dorset button

I started with this one above, which is a basic Crosswheel Dorset Button.  I was very pleased with the result and eager to try out others.  Unfortunately I couldn't find tutorials for other designs so now I had the basic idea I set about adapting this design using inspiration from other pictures I found on Google.

Yellow and white beaded dorset button

I wanted to incorporate some beads, so this was my second creation.  By now I was getting rather addicted to these little creations!
The rings I first used were about 3cm in diameter and about 5mm thick but I only had three of them so needed more supplies, urgently whilst I had the bug!!!

bunch of flowers dorset button

The rings I found next were slightly smaller, just over 2.5cm in diameter and just under 3mm thick.  I created a fan shape with this one and after weaving over the spokes stitched french knots to give a blossom tree effect.  I was very pleased with how neat I managed to get the back and thought a similar design may make pretty earrings.

bunny rabbit easter dorset button

As I said these really are quite addictive so I thought I would try something a little quirkier!
As Easter is just around the corner an Easter Bunny came to mind!
Not quite your traditional Dorset Button but good fun all the same.

variegated silk thread dorset button

For the last one I returned to a more traditional style and used a silk variegated thread

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Wedding Dress Update

I will get back to posting regularly - eventually - but for now I'm afraid my daughter's wedding preparations seem to be taking over.

I did think you may want an update on the wedding dress situation though as the wedding is now only 4 weeks away.  I'm afraid it's not good news - well it's not bad news but probably not what you are expecting.

You may remember I started off like this back in March - making a tuille of the bodice

Well that worked out fine and fitted reasonably well so it was time to make the real thing! Unfortunately this is where things started to go wrong.  Due to circumstances beyond my control it took weeks and weeks to get the material ordered.  I think I finally received it at the beginning of July.

I immediately started cutting out the fabric, 4 layers in total, organza, satin, lining, bodice canvas oh and a loose layer of lining to add on later.

So despite the delay, I was happy when the bodice all came together.

The next step was to begin work on the skirt and as you can see below, I had 4 layers of tulle and was then in the process of adding more gathered layers in between to give the fullness required.  Me and my machine seemed to be buried in tulle!!

The picture below shows the bodice and the skirt with just the four layers of tulle before adding any gathered layers.  There was to be another 3 layers of organza and lace on top of this.

So this brings us up to about 3 weeks ago now and the need to have another fitting with my daughter. It was all arranged for the Monday, but literally 10 minutes before I was due to leave for the 2hr journey up to see her, I had a rather upsetting phone call to say her father-in-law to be had been taken seriously ill and they needed to go and see him as soon as posible.  A 4hr journey for them at short notice.  Perfectly understandable but another delay to the dress plans!

Ok so move on a week to the next Monday (thankfully father-in-law to be pulled through) and this time my daughter came down to us.  By now we were approximately 6 weeks away from the wedding and I was starting to get a little concerned.  If this fitting went OK then maybe it would just about be feasible to get it finished in time for the wedding!!  But for some unknown reason the bodice needed a bit of tweaking around the bust so that night I set about the alterations.  Well when I had finished the bust fitted beautifully but now the bodice wouldn't meet at the back!  

Not the best photo - but you see my problem?  Well by this time it was late at night and I was tired - we knew we had to think of a Plan B!

We put the dress aside and began to work out how much was left to complete, how many hours it would take and how many hours I had available to complete it.  It appeared it would take me until the day of the wedding and that was if everything went according to plan - which I doubted very much!!! So an executive decision was made!  We decided to STOP making the dress and go out and buy one! Well I have to say when I realised how impossible the situation had become it was a huge relief.

My daughter was with us for one more day, so first thing in the morning we made an appointment at a local bridal shop and I am very pleased to say by mid day my daughter was the proud owner of a beautiful wedding dress which fitted perfectly and needed no alterations.  Totally different to the one we were making but it looked gorgeous on her and she loved it!

Now I can relax and start looking forward to the Wedding.

The only downside to this is the amount of fabric to dispose of.  The tulle and the organza are not a problem I can probably use this over time but I have 6m of exquisite beaded lace which has never been touched.  I am trying to sell this so if anyone thinks they can make use of it or knows of someone else who may, please direct them to my post on facebook which will take them to the advert link.  It is truly beautiful lace and would make a stunning dress.

And for those of you wondering what dress my daughter chose ... well you will have to wait just a little longer until after the big day - but I promise you, there will be photos.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to share the link if you feel it would help.


Oooh I forgot to say I will be sharing this post over at Handmade Monday on Lucy Blossom Craft Blog.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

D's Bag

Long time since I posted I'm afraid but I have been busy, converting vans, wedding dress making, kayaking and generally enjoying the summer.

I'm still unable to show you anything of the wedding dress and I'm afraid the van is a very slow project!!  This is really why I haven't been posting, nothing really to show yet!

This post is simply because I needed to say too much to fit on Fiddly Fingers fb page!

I wanted to share these pictures with you as they have both been made by a very dear 87 years young friend of mine and I think she has done a wonderful job.

Each week I go over to see her we have great fun talking about what we have been making and I often take over things I've been working on to show her.  This has inspired her to have a go at things she would not normally have thought of.

Here is what she (D from now on) made recently.

dk cotton crochet bag

This is D's very own bag pattern. 
She put it together and worked it out as she went along.

cross stitch detail under bag flap
D wanted the straps to be long enough to put over your shoulder and during the project she came across this pretty little butterfly she fancied cross stitching.  She sewed it under the flap so it is a nice little surprise when you open up the bag.
crochet stitches used to make bag
The bag was made using dk cotton and a 3.5mm hook.  Here you can see the stitches used, basket weave and bobble stitch as well as double crochet.
zip pocket in bag lining before hand stitching
We decided the bag would keep it's shape better if it was lined.  I made the lining (as D has no sewing machine now) but am leaving the hand sewing for my friend to complete!!
A particular request was for a zipped pocket inside - now this is only the second one I have ever done and whilst easy enough, it's more time consuming than you think and a degree in maths needed for the measurements!!
Cover picture for fiddly fingers fb page
I took over a pattern for a little bag which I had used a while ago (you can see the one I made on the left of Chester on my fb cover picture above) ...
Crochet bag with frill and internal lining
I think D liked the idea of the frill on this one, so not content making the first bag just had to have a go at another!!  Once again I did the lining (minus a zip pocket this time) and am leaving it for D to finish off.

I hope you like what D has made, she gets so much pleasure out of trying out things that are new to her and always makes a fantastic job of them.  
She says it keeps her going!
If you would like to leave her a comment, we would both be delighted to hear from you and I'll make sure I pass them on as she doesn't have her own computer.

See you again in the "not too distant future" I hope!
Take care everyone,
Happy crafting!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Vans and Buttons

Thank you for your lovely comments last week, I really do appreciate them as I'm sure all you bloggers out there do too!  Things have thankfully slowed down a little this week, I have been able to start swimming again  at my local outdoor pool, just 10 minutes walk away and had a bit more time to contemplate the wedding dress.

Local outdoor swimming pool

The 25m pool is beautiful and feels so warm when you get in at this time of year as it's so chilly outside.  It is a wonderful facility to have on the doorstep and as I usually go to an adults only session at lunchtime it's quiet too!

Wedding Dress Progress
I have managed to devote a little more time to the wedding dress, which I am pleased to say is coming along nicely, and have now worked out the skirt and train and attached it to the bodice so am feeling a little happier.  Only a total of about 5 tries!!  Each 'try' meaning creating a paper pattern, sewing the calico back together (that I used previously) so it can be cut out in a different way (waste not want not!) and finally cutting it out and attaching it to the bodice (the deciding moment!).  Wish I could show you pictures but I can't risk the groom catching a glimpse of it!!!  

Dorset Buttons
I have started making some different Dorset Buttons as I have a workshop coming up on Wednesday 13th May. The last workshop went really well but was only half a day and so we really only managed to get a Dorset Crosswheel button finished.

Red dorset crosswheel button

We have a complete day this time so I am trying out some alternative designs.  Below is the one I have been working on this week.

Dorset Button

And here is another one I did a while ago with tiny crochet flowers.

Dorset button with crochet flowers
I'll try a few more over the coming week so hopefully will be able to show you them soon.

And finally!
A bit more progress has been made on the van conversion.  All the seats are now out and the roof lining is off so we can see what we are left with.  If you didn't see last week's post, here is what the van looked like before.  The roof space will need insulating and all exposed metal will need covering to prevent condensation when we are sleeping in there.  Now is also the time to decide whether we add wiring for lighting or just use portable battery powered lamps! The jury is out on this one for the time being (I need to work on Mr FF to persuade him it may be worthwhile!).

Conversion of van to camper van
Side panels are next to come off but we've had a look behind them and it all looks very similar to the roof.  May as well leave them on until we're ready to do the insulation.

I do hope the weather has been reasonably kind to you all over the bank holiday (those in the UK anyway!) and you have been able to get out and about.  I shall look forward to finding out what you have been up to over at Lucy Blossom Crafts on Handmade Monday.

See you there!
Take care!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

A busy time!

We have been rather busy over the last few weeks with one thing and another.  It may well become a little quieter on the blog front during the next few months as last week we bought a minibus to convert into a camper van and also ordered a couple of kayaks too, so lots to do and lots to think about and hopefully lots of fun coming up!

We have spent this weekend removing seats!

If anyone is interested these seats will be for sale very soon and are all in excellent condition.

You will be glad to know that Giraffe No. 2 has now been finished!

And here he is waiting to be packaged up for his journey to his new home.

In the top right hand corner of this picture you can just see a small pile of wedding invitations, another project that has been taking up my time recently!

And finally - wedding dress progress.  It is progressing rather slowly at the moment, just trying to get the skirt bit right.  I think I am on version 3 as we speak :) It's proving a bit of a challenge, but once this is sorted the rest will be a doddle!!!!!

I'm afraid I haven't been doing much blog hopping recently, with so many deadlines to meet I've just been concentrating on the most necessary project before moving on to the next.  This week I'll try to pop over to Handmade Monday and visit a few more of you if I can.

Thanks for reading
Have a good week!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Birthday Weekend

Just a quick post from me this week as very little in the way of crafting to show you.

Wedding Dress Project is progressing nicely, skirt now attached, just needs a little tweeking :)

Those of you who follow me on fb will already know I am making a stripey crochet giraffe for a little girls 2nd birthday.  So far I have completed 2 arms and 2 legs!!

We have been up to our daughter's this weekend together with our eldest daughter for my birthday treat.  We had a wonderful meal in an Indian Restaurant Bhoomi.

Here is my starter of mushrooms - so tasty

Salmon for mains with snow peas, asparagus and various other green veg. Just delicious.  And an amazing chocolate moose for desert.

We rounded off the weekend with a stroll around a very pretty village and cake and coffee in a pretty little cafe.  Look at the cakes we chose.  They were delicious

Gluten free fig cake
Toffee slice

Fruit scone with jam and cream

It looks like all I've done this weekend is eat but I can assure you it wasn't really like that :) 

Thank you for reading, hopefully I shall have more to show you next week.  
See you over at Handmade Monday

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Patchwork and Quilting

Did you all remember to move your clocks on an hour this morning?  It was a bit of a shock when we woke up at 10am!! but at least it was a Sunday!

Thank you for all your comments last week I have replied to each of them and found them all hugely interesting to read.

As usual a busy week again but this week saw the last of my patchwork and quilting workshops so I thought I would share my creations with you.

I didn't really want to make a quilt but fancied doing something a little smaller.  I started off with the idea of making 6 placemats in 10 weeks - one a week and 4 weeks to tie up loose ends, or so I thought.  Well 10 weeks later I have made 3 and even those aren't completely finished!! Never mind you win some you loose some!

This is my first mat and is the only one I finished completely.  I used Japanese Folded patchwork for this one and joined each square with hand stitching.  Not as easy as it first appeared, because of the bias on the circles of fabric, they seem to develop a mind of their own when you are stitching them and I didn't have a walking foot at this stage either!

Is there a foot on your machine you wouldn't be without and why do you find it so useful?

My second project is Somerset Patchwork.  As you can see I only completed 3 squares and need another 3 to complete the placemat in the same 3 x 2 configuration as the first mat.  These are all hand sewn using small rectangles folded into triangles.  I really enjoyed making these although they are quite time consuming and use a lot of material.  I haven't really fathomed out how to join them together yet and have even thought I may make them into individual coasters instead!!

As you can see, on my third project, I still have the border to turn to the back and stitch in place.  This was one of those times when the project evolved as I went along.  I planned to do a tumbling blocks design and had seen a 'quick' way of doing it on line, but this didn't work out and I was left with lots of strips of fabric sewn together.  I cut them into diamonds and this was the result, which I am rather pleased with as it turned out completely different to what I had in mind.

Once again, my final mat is still unfinished. I knew once the course ended I would struggle to complete it if I was part way through a design.  I was using a Seminole patchwork design and originally I had planned to make a different strip for the centre but I ran out of time.  Don't look too closely you can see a few mistakes in this one as I rushed to finish it!!

I have enjoyed this course but I'm not sure patchwork and quilting is for me!  I like the patchwork bit best but get very irritated if I can't get the design accurate.  The quilting bit doesn't float my boat either.  I need to master my free machine embroidery but find it very difficult to slow my 38 yr old Frister Rossman machine down - it's all in the foot control you see!!!

Just a quick update on the Wedding Dress progress.  For one reason or another it's been on and off over the last few weeks but we have now decided we are definitely making.  I am making a mock up in calico first, the pictures above being of the bodice and now I am working on the skirt.  Can't tell you too much just in case the groom to be is reading!!!

Off over to Handmade Monday now hosted by Lucy Blossom Crafts.  I always look forward to this link party as it is such a friendly community.  
Hope to see you there x

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sophie's Universe CAL and a Spot of Bird Watching

I do hope you have all had a good week, don't they just fly by? I have had a lovely time, a session of reflexology - very enjoyable, coffee and lunch out with friends and a mooch around Totnes - also very enjoyable and sandwiched in between ..... my quilting workshop (more about that next week) and some crochet, a visit by my eldest daughter and her boyfriend and some more meeting up with friends this weekend.

Unfortunately, the crochet workshop I talked about last week didn't go ahead although I was not totally surprised.  Beginners is very popular but not so much the 'Follow On'.  I think maybe I need to create a theme for the day so people have a definite idea of what they are letting themselves in for going to be doing! What would you like to make if you had just learnt crochet and wanted to move on a little further?  All suggestions gratefully received.

As you may have heard me mention in a previous post back in February, I have been joining in with a CAL over at Look At What I Made so I thought I would give you an update on how I've got on so far. I have a small confession though - that is to say I am running about 5 weeks behind!!! It's getting bigger and bigger and bigger and taking me much longer to do each round. It's about 4ft square already! I am still enjoying it though and am really pleased with the way it's turning out especially as all the yarn was free so it's not costing me a penny :)

It's been a beautiful sunny day here in Devon but very chilly.  We thought we would pop out for a breath of fresh air and go and watch the birds from the bird hide up in Yarner Woods. Unfortunately not all the close up photos of the birds came out particularly well but I managed to capture a few.

Can you spot anything in the picture below?

If you look closely, you can just pick out a tiny little mouse.
What a cutie! He was busy picking up all the seeds the birds had dropped.

Here is another visitor beneath the bird feeders

He was so alert

and a couple more clearing up the seed crumbs

Just before you return to the car park you come across this lovely pond

on which we saw three of these strange looking ducks
But aren't they beautiful?
He almost looks like he's been carved out of wood and painted!

I do hope you have all had an enjoyable time this week.  I'm popping over to Lucy Blossom Crafts now to join in with Handmade Monday so I can find out what everyone has been up to.  I'm also looking forward to joining in with Happy Friday over on Planet Penny's blog.

Thanks for reading!