Monday, 30 January 2012

TAG Tuesday

With a different theme each week it’s going to be difficult to create them in the same style but I would like to use photos I’ve taken in the past and old family photos, together with words for as many of the tags as possible.

When I first saw the vintage theme I immediately thought of a photo of my grandmother taken in 1967 as I have a piece of fabric from the dress she was wearing.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember where it was so my next thought was a photo of my grandparents with their three wheeled car.  I don’t know when it was taken but it would have been at least 40 years ago.  However, I couldn’t find it but I came across one of my dad in a toy car with his mother and grandmother.  This one was taken over 70 years ago.  The tag actually came from my grandparents house so is quite old itself, at least 30 years.  The buttons are old cloth covered ones which I think came from my other grandparents’ house.  I tried several arrangements with the buttons but wasn’t happy until I decided to use name tabs.  

I’ve since found the dress fabric and will be making that tag as well.  Here it is in progress.

I started this challenge during the third week and wanted to complete the set by making tags for the first two themes – snow and snow sports and games.

For snow, I have used a photo taken in my garden showing footprints in the snowfall.   Ribbon, beads  and words are used as embellishments. 
I also have some photos of frosted spiders webs that I took to use as a design source which I’ll use for another tag. Here it is in progress.

The second week’s theme was snow sports and games.  For this one I have used a photo of my youngest son playing with snowballs.  We don’t usually get much snow where we live but in 2008 it snowed over the Easter holidays in the April.  My son is wearing a scarf that I knitted for him.  I don’t have any of the main wool left but used the same wool at the ends of the scarf for the tassels on the tag.   It’s embellished with some words, beads and hand embroidery.  
I’m also in the middle of making one with photos of my other son taken in 2009 sliding down a hill on a skateboard without its wheels.

I’m having fun making these tags and will certainly make some relating to lace – the next theme.

I hope you like them.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Red and White - Rainbow Scrap Challenge and TAG Tuesday

This weekend has been a red and white one.  Yesterday was red as I was working on a piece for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I tried using some crumbs but didn't get on very well and have put that idea on hold for the moment.  Instead I cut strips from the fat quarters where they'd had odd bits already cut from them.  Matching the same width sized strips I sewed them together and produced this, finishing it this morning.
 I'm going to see how I get on in the next few months to see how many 12x12 squares I make before I decide what to turn them all into - bag, wallhanging, small quilt, bed quilt?

This afternoon has been white.  Another challenge I've found is making tags at TAG Tuesday.  There are lots of inspirational tags from other crafters.  Unfortunately, the group is full but Carolyn, the host, has suggested that I play along on my own blog. Others are in the same situation and Carolyn has created a list on the side of the blog with links to ours so that everyone can have a look at the tags we have created.  Each week a new theme starts on Tuesday and this week's theme is white.  I cut a tag from pelmet vilene and bonded three white fabrics to it.  The white label has been made from tyvek onto which I soldered the word 'white'.  Embellished with some hand stitching, buttons, ribbon and beads I finished the edges with a machine buttonhole stitch.  I'm really pleased with my first tag and looking forward to making another one next week.

Thursday, 19 January 2012


I’ve been looking at lots of blogs in the last couple of weeks seeing what people are up to and what other challenges are out there to join.  A lot are quilting based but I don’t seem to do much patchwork or quilting any more.  The last time I bought a fat quarter (or larger pieces for patchworking) was several years ago.  Don’t despair; I’ve bought lots of other textile goodies like silk fibres, embroidery threads, yarns, mixed media bits and pieces since.   Some things are allocated for projects I’d like to make, others are leftovers from things I have made.  I’ve enjoyed making things for the FAMM and 3 Creative Studio challenges from my stash but these have stopped.  I’d like to join more challenges – ones where I can make things quite quickly as I will have other main projects on the go. 

So far I’ve joined the UFO challenge and Colour PaletteChallenge.  I’ve already completed this month’s UFO challenge and have started preparing for the Colour Palette one.

Two other challenges which caught my eye whilst exploring blogland are the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and Crumb-Along.  Not sure if I officially have enough ‘scraps’ (how small is a scrap?) but I have lots of fat quarters which have been partially used, some with odd shapes cut out and this challenge would be a good way to slash that stash.  As I enjoy a range of textile crafts, I also have lots of yarns, silk fibres, merino fibres, buttons, handmade papers.  Some haven’t been used yet but others are leftovers from other projects.  Perhaps it can be my leftover challenge!  I have been thinking of what I could make with the fabrics – fabric book?  book covers? bags? wallhanging? even a quilt!  This month’s colour is red and I’ve got quite a few different red partial fat quarters so it will be a good starting colour. 

Reading about the crumb along I’ve decided I don’t have any crumbs to use, or only very few, so I won’t be joining.  However, it has given me some ideas for the rainbow scrap challenge.  Remember those odd shapes already cut out from my fabrics?  I thought I could square off the fabrics, then I’d have some crumbs which I could make into small squares.  These could be used in conjunction with some of the rest of the fat quarter to make a block or two.  Nothing would go to waste.

I need to go and get my boxes of fabrics out and have a play.  I’ll let you know how I get on.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

First UFO finished

I've finished my first UFO from the UFO Challenge.  It didn't take long and I got it finished in an afternoon.  Makes me wonder I didn't find time to do it before now.  Perhaps it was not having asked my son what colours he would like, combined with always being busy with other bits and pieces. 

To dye the Tshirt I first soaked it in a mix of soda and salt solutions, then I squeezed the excess liquid out.  Using a syringe I squirted three colours of dylon dye all over the shirt.  Next it was into the casserole pot and micowaved for 4 mins.  I've got a separate microwave for my crafting to the one we use for cooking.

When it was done, I undid the stitching and rinsed it first by hand to get the excess dye out, then used the rinse cycle on the washing machine to get rid of the rest.

One happy son who now has his Tshirt at long last and one happy mother who has one less UFO

Thursday, 5 January 2012

UFO Challenge 2012

After following the link from Vicki's blog to Judy's blog I found that she is also hosting a UFO challenge.  She did this last year and is continuing it this year.  The idea is to complete one UFO each month and share with the rest of the participants.

I’m quite good at starting things and then putting them aside when either I have new ideas or a problem crops up.  However, I could only think of a few things that I’d put aside.  I have some WIPs (works in progress) which I thought I could include together with a couple of things I am actively working on at the moment and need finishing in the next couple of months.  That still wouldn’t make 12.  However, I had a look in my craft room and found some more.  Counting them up I have 14 without the WIPs or newer projects.  I thought about including the WIPs as otherwise they are likely to become UFOs but I’ll go for 12 actual UFOs.  Some should be quite quick to finish so the WIPs can be worked on as well during the month.

My UFOs are an eclectic mix as I enjoy a variety of textile related crafts.

1.       1 - Small pink weaving – I started this ages ago but as it wasn’t for anything specific I didn’t get it finished before starting something else and it’s been sitting in my basket ever since.

2.       2 - Hugs and Kisses wall hanging – I made this about 10-11 years ago.  It spends the night-time as a curtain for my hall window and the day-time hangs just round the corner on the wall at the bottom of the stairs.  The original design was made up in plaids but I prefer brighter colours.  For some reason I didn’t hem the bottom binding to the backing – there was a reason but it is long forgotten.  I also started hand-quilting the sky but the whole area hasn’t been completed.  I’m not bothered about the quilting as there is only a small area which has been done but I aim to finish the hemming.

3.       3 - Advent calendar – this is from the Quilting Arts special winter edition back in Winter 08 which was the first gift edition.  The reason I didn’t finish it was that I didn’t start it until the last week in November!  I thought of using photos I’d taken at Christmas over the years to put behind the windows and doors and have even printed miniature versions and worked out which go where.  We already have another advent calendar with pockets to hold sweets and nativity characters to put onto the felt centre so we didn’t really need it but I’d started it as I like the photo of it in the magazine.

4.       4 - Christmas ATCs – I made two or three a couple of years ago and started another two but didn’t get them finished. I only found them the other day so didn’t get chance to finish them off for this Christmas.

5.       5 - T-shirt – my son asked me to dye him a shibori t-shirt after he saw the one I had done for myself.  I’ve got as far as stitching it but it has never seen the dye.  Luckily he’s a teenager who wears adult sized clothes so the t-shirt will still fit!

6.       6 - Books – I took part in a workshop at my local Embroiders Guild with Frances Pickering who creates wonderful books.  I did finish the book in as much as I finished the construction.  We’d just had a lovely holiday on a Greek island and I printed some photos to put in it.  A couple have been added and a few of the pages have been stamped but that’s as far as it got.  I also created some pages for another book which I think I was planning to use for some more Greek photos.

7.       7 - Felt bag – I had a period of making bags from woollen felt which I embellished and then put in the washing machine.  This one was for me, but didn’t get sewn up.  I think I was waiting until I’d found the right handles to go with it.  I’d better make a concerted effort to either find some or design some.

8.       8 - Knitted Jacket – I made this by knitting rows and judging the sizing by laying it on one I already had.  The original one has a large collar and this one still needs a collar.  When I last tried it on, the sleeves were far too long, the back neck was too wide and open and the front didn’t overlap as much as the original.  I’ve lost about 2 stones in weight since, (not sure exactly how much I weighed when I made it) so hopefully it will be a better fit.  I need to sort out the back neck and then make the collar.  I don’t know what I can do about the sleeves.  It’s quite heavy as I’m using three strands of wool so it would be ideal to wear outside when it’s chilly but I don’t want to wear a coat.  

9.       9 - Entrelac knitting – about two or three winters ago I had knitting fest, mostly making bags with wool and then felting them.  I found a pattern on ravelry for a bag made from entrelac knitting.  I started making it but I’m not sure if my choice of yarn wasn’t right.  The needle size was the same as on the ball of yarn but it was very loose and the stitches kept slipping on the needles.  I persevered for a while, but then I cheated and made another version of the bag by knitting whole rows in wool to the shape the entrelac knitted version. When felted and moulded it looked great.  The original is still on the needles.  I’m not sure if I will finish knitting it or use the piece as part of something else.  I made a fabric version but the sewn up shape is a bit weird and felting knitting wool is better.  As this piece isn't wool I'm tempted to turn it into something else.  We'll see what happens when it's number comes up.

10  10 -  Silk fibre stole – I went on a workshop with Christine Benson at Art Van Go and using the embellisher machine we made a stole from silk fibres.  My design included some freemachining on chiffon to be appliqu├ęd.  I only had a wooden embroidery hoop which wasn’t suitable so Christine lent me her hoop for the day.  It’s taken me a couple of years to buy a similar hoop but I’ve not used it yet.  Hopefully this challenge will get me on the road again with it.

11.  11 - Brown felted piece – this may have come immediately after my session of making felted bags.  This time I used my embellisher to needlefelt with merino and silk fibres.  I have stitched some wool in wavy lines across the piece and wet felted it slightly.  It was going to be a bag, but I may make it into something else.  Brown is not a colour I wear so it would not be any good as a bag for me.  Perhaps it will be a gift for a friend.

12.   12 - Straps – I made these after buying Maggie Grey’s book entitled Stitches, Straps and Layers. However, I didn’t get any further with them.  I think they need some more embellishments or stitching on them before being made into a vessel.

         I am looking forward to getting them all finished by the end of the year.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Last year I enjoyed taking part in the FAMM Challenges but they stopped for the summer vacation and didn't resume as the site is being revamped.  3 Creative Studios also hosted a colour challenge, journal quilts and technique of the month.  I joined in and occasionally won a prize.  You can see my entries on my Flickr photostream.  The hosts, Vicki Welsh and Terri Stegmiller, both felt that with their other ventures that they couldn't devote the time needed to continue with the site, and so it closed at the end of the year.  I've always got something on the go, but I have enjoyed these extra challenges and was a little disappointed that I wouldn't have them anymore.  However, when having a look at Vicki's blog the other day, I saw that Judy Laquidara of Patchwork Times is hosting a Color Palette Challenge in 2012 and Vicki is providing the palettes and prizes.  The first colour pallete has been published.  I'm not sure what to make yet, but I have plenty of fabrics, yarns and threads in these colours.