Friday, 22 February 2013

And finished.

Thanks to inspiration from my friend Margaret my bag is now finished.

I've added eyelets to the 'points' of the bag, brass to co-ordinate with the gold bits in the cream fabric. I was a little concerned at hand stitching handles on, I wasn't sure they would be strong enough somehow and more importantly I wasn't sure how they would impact on the look of the bag overall as I had none of the main fabric left to make them with. But then I saw Margaret's mini version and I was inspired.

I then used some cream and gold rope I found to make dual purpose handles. Basically I decided on the longest I would need the handles and measured the length from my shoulder to where the bag would be, then I doubled it and added a few inches to allow for a knot. I cut 2 pieces this length and threaded one through each pair of eyelets on the back and on the front of the bag and knotted them to form 2 separate loops. I'm not sure how clear that is, hopefully the photo helps!
By doing it this way I now have 2 different ways of wearing this bag. I can either just hold one of each loop to give me a long handled bag to sling over my shoulder.

Or I can hold both parts of each loop to give me a shorter bag that can easily be carried either just in my hand or looped over my elbow.

Very happy :)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Japanese bag (almost) finished

I've finally finished sewing up the bag and I'm very pleased with it. I just need to sort out some handles now! I really wanted to do handles out of the gold and cream fabric wrapped around the coloured batiks, but unfortunately I've run out, and have no idea where I got it from, so its back tothe drawing board with that one. I'm not going to rush it though, I like the bag too much to rush and spoil it. I think it would look really good with smaller squares too. Maybe christmas pressents?
Right, so let me try to explain how its done! (ignore the perspective issues, each square is the same size.

First of all you need to sew your squares together as follows, (ignore the letters on the photo for the moment!)
So with your 22 squares you need to start with 2 squares turned diagonally, then 3 squares, then 2 squares, and so on till they're all used up.
Now comes the complicated (to explain) bit.
Fold it all in half along the x-x line, through the 2 square line.
Then you need to oversew the line joining A-A to B-B, then a-a to b-b.
Then you need to pull points B and D together and sew from there to point C. And also from b/d to c. Then also from BF to E, and bf to e.
Finally pull DF together and sew to X, and df to x.
now you should have something that looks like this:-
Now by sheer fluke you can actually see the bag from the same side as the flat version! Hopefully this will help you to see how it all goes together. Now just have to find/make some handles!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I've also been making...


Now to be absolutely truthful I had no idea what one was (and technically they are called taggies, or tag blankets but I've renamed my ones), until someone asked me last week if I could make one. Never someone to admit my lack of knowledge I first googled them before telling her of course I could! They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and materials, but my ones are made from 100% cotton flannelette with double-faced satin ribbons and are roughly 12" or 30cm square, and each one comes with a free initial (as you can just about see on the middle one above.)

I have loads of colours to choose from for both the fronts and the backs (and the ribbons/tags), so if you're interested in buying any pop over to the facebook page and have a nosy around.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Its been a while....

but I've been so busy, so here's a long post to update you.

Firstly I've been really struggling with the Japanese folded patchwork bag. I tried and tried to work out or find out how on earth the pieces all went together and in the end I posted on the blog of the lady where I'd seen the original picture. Much to my surprise she emailed me back with a diagram of how the squares went and then there was no stopping me! I'd been trying to make it so much more complicated than it needed. It's still taking a while because I'm trying to fit it in around everything else, but we'll get there! I'll post a photo of it in its flat form before I sew it into a bag so you can see how it should look.

Secondly over on facebook the 'A Couple of Crafters' page is really taking off so I've been busy with stuff from there. In particular with the individual bunting flags.

The idea is that each little triangle is completely separate, it can be removed altogether, moved into a different place, or even turned around to show the other side as each one is also reversible.
They are held together with cord loops and buttons and are easily separated.

So with just the words 'happy birthday', a name, (Lauren, my granddaughter, in this case), a couple of number flags ('1' and 'st'), and 3 extra letters, 'o', and 's' and ''s', you can make all these variations! (Unfortunately they are a little difficult to photograph as they are quite long!) 
So, with just those letters you could have 'Happy 1st Birthday, Happy 1st Birthday Lauren, Lauren's Bithday, Lauren's first birthday, Lauren is 1 today, or just a plain simple Lauren, for when it isn't Lauren's birthday!

Added to that, I now only have to add four flags,  an 'i', an 'm', a '6' and a 'th', and you could use the whole lot again for her brother Liam when he's 6 later in the year. (we already have the L and the a from Lauren's name)
The bunting is completely washable too so will last for years. Prices and ordering instructions are over on the facebook page here

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Next step

Now you need to layer your wadding and square of fabric together, and then put in place, wrong side down, in the middle of a circle with the wrong side up.

Then fold and pin the circle onto the square, making sure the sides are even all the way round.

Then stitch in place with a small running/quilting stitch all the way round, taking a few small stitches at the corners to fully enclose the square.

The stitches should go right through the fabric to the back, and no, your eyes aren't going, the photos are of two different blocks!

 And there you go, one block made, backed and quilted, all in one go.  Just another 21 more to finish.

But first I need to go and make tea. Mushy pea curry today! Yes sounds disgusting but it is actually really nice, cheap and very easy to do! (and completely free on slimming world extra easy!)

You need an onion, chopped, more if you wish.  Fry gently in frylight and add spices to taste (none at all if you don't like spicy food!) I add a couple of teaspoons of hot curry powder, 3 or 4 teaspoons of garam masala, some garlic, some chilli paste, salt, pepper and ground chilli flakes, it really is a case of addying whatever you want.
Then add, wait for it, 2 tins of mushy peas, the cheaper the better, a tin of tomatoes, and a tin of baked beans. I mash the beans first, I like the taste but don't like them looking at me! Mix everything together and add some diced chicken, or more veg, or diced lamb or beef, or prawns. Again whatever you fancy, it is a very versatile recipe.
Leave to simmer gently until the meat/fish/veg is cooked, then serve with rice or chips. Looks a bit odd, quite like chip shop curry sauce, but tastes much better.

Busy week. Sorry, long post.

This week seems to have been one of those where you find yourself rushing around but don't seem to have done much at the end of it!
There have been plenty of orders coming through from outr facebook page, also called A Couple of Crafters, which is good, but means time has been taken up with that rather than with playing ;)

However I have now sewn some of the filmstrip together. At one point it seemed like I was cutting my entire stash into little squares!

This is just the first strip. I stitched 3 brown and 2 cream 2" squares together to make a strip, then pressed them and added cream 2" x 8" strips either side. Then I sewed 8"squares to these units, 6 squares in total, each with one of these units either side. I have 5 more of these to do now!!

Then a friend (thanks Sue) introduced us to japanese folded patchwork, and she fetched in a fabulous bag, which I just have to have a go at! Its dead easy, fairly quick, and completely hand stitched and quilted as you go (although no doubt it could be machine sewn to a point).

To make the bag I will need 22 of these little blocks.

First draw round a suitable circle. I used a small plate, could easily have been an old cd, or drawn with a compass. I found it easiest to then make a template from card but if I'd used a cd I might not have bothered, although it did made it easier to remove template when I was finished with it. (read on, you'll see what I mean!)

Once you have your template, if you are using one, or your flat circular object, you need to draw round it onto the wrong side of the fabric, then cut out the circle, leaving a border of about half an inch.

Please ignore the seam down the middle of this one, I ran out of the fabric I wanted to use so ended up with 2 of the circles with joins down the middle. I'm hoping it won't make a difference (I'll let you know!).

Once you've done this you need to run around the outside edge with a running stitch. Make sure the thread you use is fairly strong as you are going to be pulling on it to gather it up.

Slip the cardboard circle, or whatever you are using, into the middle of the wrong side of the circle, and pull the gathering stitches so that the circle is enclosed. . If you have used card, or something flexible to make your circle you can then tie/stitch off the ends, if you've used something rigid like a cd you'll need to leave the end loose for the next step.
Iron the circle flat. Iron both sides, making sure you have a nice flat edge. Now you can take out the template. If you have used card you can bend it to get it out, if you have used something rigid you'll need to slightly undo the gathering stitches to take it out then re-tighten them and finish off the threads.
Give it another iron just to make sure its all nice and flat once you have taken out your template.

The next step is to cut out your contrasting squares. You need a square which will just fit into the circle, like this.

In my case this was a 5 1/4" square. I'm fairly sure I remember there is a mathematical way of working out the size you will need, something to do with radius of the circle and diagonal measurement of the square. However I just fiddled with my square ruler till I found what fitted! Its been a long time since I had maths lessons at school! 

You will need one of these, and a square of wadding the same size for each circle.. one down 21 to go!