Saturday, January 22, 2011

craftster one of the best of 2010

Craftster Best of 2010 Winner
I'm a Craftster Best of 2010 Winner!

and very is for the spiral tie-dyeing tutorial that I created.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fabric cover for a gratitude journal

This is another project destined for a swap. it is simply sewn from a simple green corduroy fabric, with some patches appliqued on, I used some buttons and a ribbon for the closure. it holds a simple hardback notebook, which is replaceable when its all used up.

Did you know that one of the techinques that have been proven to contribute to long term happiness and contentment, is the practice of gratitude. i have been making lots of journals recently to give to people as gratitude journals. The idea is that you write in them every day or so, just make a note of three things that you are grateful for in your life.

I think this would make a fabulous gratitude journal, which is why i used the colour of the heart, green..and of

new necklace for me

I succumbed to the lure of sparklies on ebay over the holidays. I bought a few of these silver pendants. This one was begging to be made into a necklace for me. it is pink topaz, amethyst and blue topaz, on sterling silver, The necklace part is just a mixture of glass beads that I had lying around.

A quilt in a day, from 9 fat quarters

It was time to make a quilt..

 I decided that I wanted to start something new and found these great instructions online, to make a quilt from 9 Fat quarters. I have some nice FQ that I had been saving for a special occasion. It is my new resolution to stop saving fabric....I plan to use it instead. I also had a very cute (Very expensive) FQ that I got in Galway last weekend)

I had just decided to piece the top that night, it was Sunday afternoon,  but the cutting and piecing of the top went so would have been about an hour and a half. If I didn't have to rethread my machine about 10 times, not sure why..crappy thread perhaps...and if I hadn't got impatient about one mistake and instead of using a seam ripper...ripped it by hand..and yes, ripped the block, so had to resew the whole thing....

so it took about an 1 3/4 hours. Having more time in hand..and only sunday night, -back-to-work-tomorrow- blues to look forward to. I thought I would work on a bit of overachieverness and see if I could finish it..

and I did!! I used an old foxford wollen blanket for batting, and even pieced a strip for the back and put a label on it- using the embroidery function on my machine-

The whole thing took about 4-5 hours I'd say, allowing for mistakes, it is far from perfect, I did mostly quilt-in-the ditch on my regular machine, so there are some puckers, and the corners are awful..but it is a finished quilt, rather than adding to my many unfinished objects...and I love it to bits!

Two dresses

One of the more frustrating things I made over christmas, was these two dresses, for my daughter and I. I used Burda world of fashion magazine patterns for both and was not at all happy with how the bodice patterns on each were drafted. Mine would have been better (and required a lot less fitting) if I had used a fabric with a slight stretch. I kid you not, but I ripped and resewed the bodice of mine about 6 times and the bodice of my daughters dress ten times!!

I was happy with how mine turned out..less so with hers. Mine is a taffeta(ish) fabric, lighter in weight with embroidery all over, it is fully lined. hers is a gorgeous silk satin, with vintage lace at the neckline.

Some quick jewellery for me

I seem to spend a lot of time making stuff for other people and so this was a quick little jewellery set for me.

spiral print tie-Dye tutorial

These pictures were taken in the last of the me there is no going outside these days with all the rain and the coldness!..but the colours make me happy.

This is the finished result. i use fibre reactive dyes. I make up a strong dye solution, with just water. I only own dyes in the primary colours, so I mix up red blue and yellow dyes, power and water, in disposable containers! only need about 1/2 pint of strong colours. And then mix blue+red=purple etc, to give me the three secondary colours.

 Start with piece of prewashed cloth (to remove any starch) I used a square about a yard long/wide. Lay it flat on the ground in front of you and grasp the centre point and start to twist

it will look like this if you let go...dont let go.

keep twisting, keeping the fabric fairly flat to the ground, until you end up with a tight spiral of all of the fabric, arrange the pleats as you go to keep it fairly neat.

For a rainbow spiral, take three long pieces of string, carefully put the first one underneath, bring it to the top and tie off, do this with the two other pieces so that you have the fabric divided into 6 sections (I know a rainbow has 7 colours, but this is a good approximation)

 tie off the string fairly tight (tighter than in this pic) and tuck in the loose ends so you have a neat package

I use the soda soak method of dying, with procion fibre reactive dyes, this means that the (dry) fabric gets soaked for about 20 minutes in a strong solution of washing soda and water.

take out the fabric and squeeze out as much of the soaking liquid as you can, keeping the spiral intact. Set it on the draining board of the sink..or work is messy.

'Fill' in three segments with your three primary colours, yellow, skip one, red, skip one, blue , skip one...( you will notice from the photos that I screwed this up..but it still looks OK, tie dyeing is very forgiving. You don't have to completely soak each segment, some white is good and will look good in the end. Don't worry about staying inside of the long as you have complimentary colours adjacent to the ones you are adding, they will blend and look great. I use a big paintbrush to put the colour onto the fabric.

You can either put the spiral, very carefully into a plastic bag to allow it to soak for a while, this should increase the intensity of the colour a bit..or if you are like me, cut off the threads, rinse out the fabric to remove excess dye and glory in the eye-popping colour.

this is the  very best way to revive tired bedlinen, makes a great centre for a quilt and is just fun,

once you are done you might find you have dye left over, so scurry all around your house for tired white cotton clothing, chuck them in the soda soak  for about 15 minutes and then have fun!

Craftster Best of 2010 Winner
I'm a Craftster Best of 2010 Winner!

wrap top from two old teeshirts

I was doing a wardrobe purge and came across two old teeshirts, I didn't want to simply throw them away, so I experimented with a wrap top. I am pretty happy with the result, I had to do a lot of patching in pieces so that each pattern piece was complete (I used a Burda world of fashion pattern) and so I added some applique to make it look less random.

My daughter specialises in non-flattering pictures of me!

12 days of christmas swap

Over at craftster I like to participate in the 12 days of christmas swap, where you make a gift(s) for your partner for each of the 12 days of christmas, here are some of the things that I made for mine. Some bags and slide pendants for her 3 sisters, I was given themes to work from.

PJs bottoms (aka lounge pants) and a sleep kit. I love a sleep kit, I make a zippered pouch and add earplugs, eye mask and lavender oil. I recommend them for travel, if you are a light sleeper like mine. You will notice from this pic and the next that the colours are absent..pretty much monochrome, My partner didn't like much colour and so I was limited, but as I said in a previous post, limits and boundaries are so good for me.They help focus my work and stop me adding too much colour, too much randomness to things.

I love this, this quilt was very difficult to part with (I didn't send the cat!!) it is IKEA fabric and I think the whole thing came together very well.

I also sent some blank cards, they were altered art, starting with some images from a calender, and for some reason upside down in this picture!

stencilled tee shirts

I love the internet, a google search of stencil, will give some great images, we print them out, trace them onto freezer paper, cut out the stencil. Iron the shiny side of the freezer paper onto a (prewashed) t-shirt and then using screen printing inks, paint. I prefer screen printing inks as they are thicker and so don't bleed, they also have good colours.

here are some tee's that went as gifts, courtesy of Banksy and Starwars


Poppets are frankly a bit of a pain in the ass to make, they are fiddly and have a mind of their own. This one was a request from a swap partner, She was to be a sort of fairy gothy type, I sent her to her new home with a little photograph album. This I made from scrapbooking paper, using a stab stitch binding.


I love inchies, but like many of the crafts that I do, I tend to have mini-obsessions that last a while. If you don't know what an inchie is, it is a one inch square piece of artwork, any medium.

I have participated in a number of inchie swaps on and this is the ultimate result a collection of inchies made by me and about 10 other people. I think that the art form has the most impact when displayed as a group like this.

Close up before framing.

To make: punch out or cut carefully inch pieces of card or heavy watercolour paper, paint, decoupage, collage, decorate...repeat until you have a lot!

these are a few of my more recent crafts,

This was a simple swap journal I made, japanese stab stitch binding over cardboard covers with scrabooking papers. I am having a small bookbinding obsession at the moment,

This (bad pic, sorry) is a soft suede bound book, again stitched, heavy watercolour paper inside with an exposed binding, leather ties and little brads for accents...such restraint is not something that i often manage!

for a swap a partner requested a little bird, this was from a tute online, The pictures are not fabulous, but they give you an idea of how he looked, he is about 4inches high

Work in progress a little blackbird with a wizards hat..plenty of glitter of course, he is made from poly clay