Thursday 11 August 2016

Bionic Gear Bag

Bag with pockets

I have been itching to make one of these for a long time now and finally got myself organised.   I bought the pattern quite a while ago from Sally Thompson aka Rip Stitcher.

This project took me about 2 days to complete and because I was so eager to get it finished I'm afraid there are no pictures of it in the making.

Side view of bionic gear bag

This bag is kept closed by a long zip from side to side.  It opens up to reveal 4 zip pockets, pouches and a useful tray to place your items in (whatever you may be using it for). 

either end of zips on bionic gear bag

It was a bit daunting starting off but the instructions were very clear and if you followed each section carefully it soon started looking like a bag.

inside zip pockets and pouch of bionic gear bag

It was rather exciting seeing it all fall into place.  The way the pockets fit together is intricately simple and so pleasing.

Inside of bionic gear bag

You can see in the above picture the tray at the front for your bits and pieces.

tray and pockets inside bionic gear bag

The tray is a bit clearer in this picture and you can see how the first pocket is a little smaller than the others.

showing the complimentary lining of zip pockets in Bionic Gear bag

I chose a complimentary colour for the inside of the pockets, the bindings and the inside lining of the side pieces.  Look how neatly the zips fit into the pockets.  It was a such a pleasure to put them in.

side view of bionic gear bag

The long zip was a little more tricky but I probably made it difficult for myself as I padded the binding on either side to help it match in with the side bindings of the bag.

I was very pleased with the finished result and loved the effect created by the pretty fresh fabrics.  If you fancy making one why not pop over and have a look at Sally's posts about it.  You wont be disappointed.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Dendritic Painting

A group I belong to met today to have a try with Dendritic Painting.  This is a very simple process of squashing paint between two sheets of glass, prising them apart to see the wonderful pattern they make and taking a print from them on fabric or paper.  The definition of a dendrite is
  1. a short branched extension of a nerve cell, along which impulses received from other cells at synapses are transmitted to the cell body.

  2. a crystal or crystalline mass with a branching, tree-like structure.

I think you will be able to see, in the pictures below, why it is called 'dendritic' painting. 

I'll talk you through the process to show you how we achieved our prints.

First drop small blobs of acrylic paint onto a sheet of glass

Acrylic paint blobs ready for dendritic painting

We found less was more in this instance as it produced a finer print

Next place the second sheet of glass on top of these blobs and squish down firmly.

blobs squashed between two sheets of glass for dendritic printing

I just love how these blobs form perfect circles!
(the oval shape is the stripe in the first picture)

To reveal the dendritic process, carefully prise the sheets of glass apart.

removal of glass to reveal dendritic effect

Just look at the beautiful patterns that form!

dendritic pattern revealed

You are now ready to take your print.  We found the first one was not always the most successful so this picture shows the second (left) and third (right) print on paper.

second and third prints from dendritic painting

These are very simple prints to show how easy the process is but you can make them as complicated as you wish, mixing shapes, colours and even double printing. The ones below show some of my experiments from today.

selection of dendritic prints

There are many more pictures showing what the other ladies created, far too many to add to this blog post.  I've made the folder available on google drive so if you click this link you should be able to see many more of what we created today.

Have fun!

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Rope Covered Knitting Needle Basket

Well, first post of 2016 and half way through January already!

I belong to a group of like minded friends who meet monthly to have a go at various, usually textile related, crafts.  A couple of days ago we got together to make rope covered bowls.  We had great fun and all produced some very commendable results.

Everyone except me managed to finish their bowls during the day and some even made two!  I wanted to make a rectangular bowl to replace this rather tatty cardboard box my knitting needles have been living in for years.

It proved to be a little larger than the bowls everyone else made so I set out to today to make sure I completed it.  It's not the neatest project I've ever finished but I have to say as this was my first ever rope covered bowl I was quite pleased with the result.  I learnt a lot on the way though.  Mainly I would prefer to use matching thread next time and for some reason which now evades me I decided to cut the rope and start again before going up the sides.  Wrong decision! Makes for a messy join. Have a look and see what you think anyway.

In the one below you can see how the contrasting thread shows up all the stitching and hence any mistakes you make! And there were a few of those! You can just see the messy join I was talking about in the bottom left hand corner.

You can't tell from the first picture but I decided to add a couple of handles just to make it easier to pick up with the knitting needles in. 

Here it is with the contents fitting perfectly and it is just big enough for the long pair of large needles I have.  The 'bowl' is very strong and has made a very substantial home for my needles.  I am very pleased with it but will just remember to make those few adjustments next time.

I'll finish this post by showing you the beautiful bowls the other ladies made.

One lady even made a placemat

Thank you for reading, see you soon

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.