Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pencil Case Addition

It's possible (albeit awkward) to box all the corners. 
Basically, you have to do 2 (the lining and the outside) in one. The end shown is even trickier because of the opened zipper. 

But the result is worth it!
Just to finish off, here's a quick picture of one of the narrow ends of the case:

Pencil Case Tutorial

This tutorial is more for my own reference, but I'm posting it here so I don't forget what I did.

I combined about 3 tutorials to make this happen. You might prefer the originals, so I'm linking to them here:

Two changes I'd like to make:
-fuse the interfacing to the outside, not the lining. 
-Cut larger squares (at least 1")

Monday, August 19, 2013

Christmas Bell Pattern

It's here! These festive bells work up quickly, so making a set is a breeze. You can hang them from your Christmas tree. You can string them up and display them between bookshelves or in front of a window. They'd look adorable on a wreath or as an 'extra' on a gift. The possibilities are endless!

You can easily change the colour to fit your décor or a non-Christmas theme.

The finished bell, crocheted according to the pattern, is approximately 2½” (6.35cm) tall and 2” (5cm) wide.

The pattern includes detailed instructions for the basic pattern plus 5 variations, as well as over 70 step-by-step photos.

$2.00 CAD gets you the full pattern in a PDF file, including the following:
  • full pattern for 'Christmas Bell', including 5 variations
  • complete supply list
  • British and North American terms chart (pattern is written in North American terms)
  • instructional photos
  • my email address (in case you have any comments or questions)

To purchase, head on over to my Etsy shop.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Toadstool Amigurumi Pattern

I'm a fan of toadstools and hedgehogs, so I wanted to create my own amigurumi patterns for them. The hedgehog's still a twinkle in my eye, but here is the completed toadstool pattern! It makes a sweet toy (for children who have moved beyond eating everything inedible in sight), a Christmas tree decoration, or a décor item.

Although the photos are (I think) helpful, I do have to apologize for the poor quality. They were all taken with my phone, which was handier than hauling out the camera. Hopefully they're clear enough to make some of the instructions more clear.

Please leave me a message if you find any errors or have any questions. I'd love your feedback!

Without further ado, here it is:

Approx. 4” high and 3.5” wide.
I used a 3.5mm hook and a worsted-weight cotton. Use whatever hook and yarn you want, as long as the combination produces a single crochet stitch that is tight.
This project is crocheted in the round. You might want to use a stitch marker to remind you where each round begins.
The numbers in brackets indicate the total number of stitches in that round.
·         Worsted weight yarn in red, off-white, and white
·         3.5mm hook
·         Fiberfill
BLO = back loop only
dec = decrease single crochet (hook through stitch, pull through yarn, hook through next stitch, pull through yarn, yarn over, pull yarn through all three loops)
FLO = front loop only
FO = finish off
inc = increase single crochet (stitch 2 single crochet in 1 single crochet)
sc = single crochet
sl = slip stitch

Toadstool Cap
With red yarn, form a magic ring. 6sc in ring, and pull to tighten. OR ch2, and 6sc in 2nd chain from hook.
Round 1: inc in each sc around (12)
Round 2: (inc, 1sc) around (18)
Round 3: (inc, 2sc) around (24)
Round 4: (inc, 3sc) around (30)
Round 5: (inc, 4sc) around (36)
Round 6: sc in each sc around (36)
Round 7: (inc, 5sc) around (42)
Round 8: sc in each sc around (42)
Round 9: (inc, 6sc) around (48)
Round 10: sc in each sc around (48)
Round 11: FLO sc in each sc around (48) FO
Attach off-white yarn.
Round 12: in BLO (left over from round 11) (dec, 6sc) around (42)

Round 13: (dec, 5sc) around (36) 
White Spots

Place a stitch marker to keep the off-white yarn from unraveling. Using white yarn, make the white spots for the red cap of the toadstool.
For smaller spots: form a magic ring and crochet 6sc in ring. Pull string to close loop. FO
For larger spots: form a magic ring and crochet 6sc in ring. Pull string to close loop. Inc in each sc around (12). FO
Make sure you leave long tails for attaching!
I made 3 of each size. If you like more or less, go for it. You could make larger spots by adding a round (inc, 1sc around). Smaller spots could be made using French knots.
To attach, choose placement. Thread the yarn tail coming from the back centre of the spot onto a tapestry needle. Poke through the red cap and unthread needle. Thread the other yarn tail onto the needle. Sew the spot to the toadstool cap. When you’re done, poke the needle through to the back. Using both tails, tie 3-4 knots to secure.

Back to Toadstool Cap
Round 14: (dec, 4sc) around (30)
Round 15: (dec, 3sc) around (24)
Round 16: (dec, 2sc) around (18)
Round 17: (dec, 1sc) around (12)
Round 18: dec around (6)
Don’t fasten off.

Sl out 3 rows, then sl 22 stitches in a circle. (If it’s a few more or less, adjust with inc or dec in the first row.) When you’re done slip stitching, turn your work so that the right side of the sc will show on the outside of the trunk.

Round 1: ch 1. sc in each slip stitch around (22)
Round 2: sc in each sc around (22)
Round 3: (inc, 10sc) around (24)
Round 4: (inc, 3sc) around (30)
Round 5: (inc, 4sc) around (36)
Round 6-9: sc in each sc around (36)
Round 10: (dec, 4sc) around (30)\
Round 11: (dec, 3sc) around (24)
Round 12: BLO (dec, 2sc) around (18)
Round 13: (dec, 1sc) around (12)
Round 14: dec around (6) FO
And you're done!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cosy Scarf

It's done! It took a few days, but the pattern is absolutely straightforward (more of a repeated stitch than a pattern), so it whipped up in no time at all.

What I love about it is the yarn. It's Rowan's Kidsilk Haze Stripe, a 70/30 mix of mohair and silk. Looks like it would be itchy, but it's actually wonderfully soft. And even though it's light and not bulky at all, it's quite warm.

I had to google how long a scarf should be, and came up with 5 feet, so that's how long it is. The colour variation, in beautiful blue/violet tones and some warm greys as well, is stunning. It is a bit wide for a scarf, but because of the yarn, it doesn't feel bulky at all. It took about 1-1/2 balls of yarn, using a 4.5mm hook.
I have to say, it feels wonderful to finish a project!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Potholders, Cross-stitch, and a Piano Bench Pillow

There've been plenty of things going on, but not a lot of photo-taking or blog-writing. What follows is a partial remedy.

The potholders were an attempt to use up some fabric that was quilted to make a tea cozy. It made a wonderful practice-free-handing project.

This cross-stitch will be a birth-announcement for a boy (my nephew) who is heading into Grade One. Somewhat late, I confess, but it's really for his parents, so he won't mind. It's a perfect break from more complex designs, since there are a lot of large, solidly-coloured areas.

And finally, this piano bench pillow. I've never sewn anything with piping before (this is hand-made piping, by the way), or anything that had to fit so precisely. It also has a zipper so that it can be washed. I wouldn't claim it's perfect, but I love the fabric, the pillow turned out well enough to be of use (did you know that foam is frightfully expensive?), and despite the lack of straps, it doesn't move around too much when you're sitting on it.

No pictures yet, but I've got a hexie wall-hanging from the May/June 2013 issue of Quiltmaker in the works!

And there you have it: a sampling of recent projects. There are a lot of imperfections, mistakes even, but even though pictures of perfectly executed projects are a beautiful thing, this is also a record for my own sake. Some quick notes for my future reference:
  • if you think you're sewing close enough to the cord when making piping, think again. Get closer!
  • wrestling with foam inserts is a work-out in and of itself.
  • tracing a design on fabric with a water-soluble marker makes 'free-hand quilting' so much easier!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Everywhere Blue!

This poor cake. It went from being a two-tier cake with an adorable family of owls to this:

I kept the outside purple so that the reveal would be a surprise. And I really want to take a course to learn how to cover cakes neatly! But in the end, this humble cake served its purpose:

A cuter couple you never did see. He was beaming from ear to ear, and she was hopping up and down with excitement. The really adorable thing was, they both knew already, but their families did not. He chopped into the cake, cameras flashed, silly string's a boy!

A few quick notes:
I used this cake recipe from Sweetapolita. Instead of dividing the cake into 6 pans, I coloured all of the batter light blue, scooped out a third of it into a 9" pan, coloured the rest a bit darker, filled another pan with half of what was left, and then tinted the rest even darker for the last layer. Americolor Gel food coloring in Royal Blue gave me a good blue colour that wasn't too light or too dark.
The Swiss Meringue recipe that accompanies Sweetapolita's cake recipe uses a crazy amount of egg white (I'll buy pasturized egg whites next time), but the mellow flavour and ultra-smooth texture are worth it! I made the recipe twice but didn't use all of the second batch. The first batch was enough to fill and crumb coat it all perfectly.
I used this fondant recipe from Bake at 350. It's quick and long as you don't forget the 3 tbsp of water. Oops. I wrestled with that lump of goo for far too long before realizing what the problem was. Luckily, adding the water after the fact works. It's just a lot more work.