Sunday 27 January 2013

Peace, A Pinny a Prize and Poking Things with Pins

Because all the best post titles have alliteration.
Peace, by Lynn at Happiness is Crossstitching, was the Needlecraft Haven January Challenge. I did mine in white floss on  blue fabric and replaced some of the stitches with beads, and finished it as a pinkeep style ornament with a ruffled organza ribbon edge. For other finishes see the album here.
The Pinny is this one I made from Naomi using McCall's pattern 5825, and some lovely retro kitchen fabric. Unfortunatey Naomi appears to have fallen over and I can't seem to get her back up again!

The Prize was this set of lovely Gentle Art threads, which I won in a Guess-the-name-of-the-design contest on Michelle's blog. Thank you Michelle, I shall put them to good use.

Poking things with pins? No, I haven't been making Voodoo dolls, Naomi and I went to a Craft Show yesterday, and among other things we did a workshop on needle felting. I loved it. There is something very therapeutic about repeatedly stabbing things with a sharp implement. I came home with a starter kit, I think I could have found another craft to obsess about enjoy.
Here is the little piece I made. I've a feeling you may be going to see more of these. The only question is what do I actually do with it? Answers (clean ones!) on a postcard please...

Thursday 24 January 2013

Harley Quinn Fleece Jester Hat Tutorial

First of all I'd like to say welcome to all my new followers (waves cheerily), who found me via the Grow Your Blog Party (see previous post).
Those of you who have been here a while, on the other hand, are probably aware that Eloise kind of channels Harley Quinn. ~ for the uninitiated, Harley Quinn, or Dr Harleen Quinnzel as she is otherwise known, is a villainess in the Batman Universe.
Anyway Eloise's little heart desired a Harley Quinn hat to keep her cosy in the frozen north Leeds. I found a knitting pattern (King Cole 3442) that might work although it will need adapting as it is child sized and the points are too long, (it might well adapt to a fairly convincing Ahsoka Tano hat come to think of it)  but I decided I wanted to make a fleece one. I scoured the interwebs like a thing possessed for days, but I couldn't find a pattern or tutorial that was right so in the end I made my own up. 
Here is Naomi modelling the finished article. With a rather belligerent attitude, I might add. You don't mess with this kind of villainess people! Obviously after this picture was taken I had to set to and make a second one because she wanted one too. (The difference between the two girls is that Naomi will treat it as a costume whilst Eloise will go out in it on a n ebveryday basis. Why not? She's been to her lectures dressed as Batman before...)

So having figured out how to make one I thought I'd "put it out there" in case anyone else was sharing my unsuitable-jester-hat tutorial dilemma. 

You will need:-
Red and Black fleece fabric (I bought 1/2m of each and there was easily enough to make two, in fact I'd probably get a third one out if I wanted)
2 large white jingle bells (I got mine from EvilBay, they have little Jack Skellington faces on them). If you can't find any suitable bells you could always use pompoms instead)
Sewing machine and cotton

First you need to make your pattern. This needs to be 50cm up the long side, 35cm up the short side. The width at the base should be head circumference divided by 4 plus 1cm seam allowance. For this one head circumference was 56cm so 56/4 = 14 + 1 = 15cm. (Eagle eyed readers will recognise that my pattern is cut from the Garden News but any old bit of paper will do)
Cut 4 of these pieces, 2 each from the red and black fleece  Note: for an authentic half red half black hat like mine fold your fleece in half and cut two together ie a left and right facing piece, if you want your hat to alternate colours front to back as well as side to side cut the pieces separately so they all face the same way.
Place a red and a black piece right sides together and sew down the short side. Seam allowances are 5mm throughout. Open out and finger press seam open. Repeat for other pair.
Place two pairs right sides together and stitch together up both long sides. Now stitch from one point down to centre of "valley" and up other side to 2nd point. I found it easier to turn the finished hat if I curved around the valley rather than pivoting at the centre seam. Trim off excess at points and clip to stitching at curve in valley. 
Note: This photo shows the hat turned right sides out but you don't actually need to do that at this point. You can see what I mean by the curved valley though.
Lay your hat flat and cut off a 10cm slice from the bottom edge. This will form the band. Flip the band over so that alternating colours line up.
Slide band over the bottom of the hat, aligning raw edges, with the wrong side of the hat facing the right side of the band, and matching all seams. Stitch
Turn hat right side out. Use a pencil or knitting needle to poke the points out as far as you can. Flip brim up to right side along seam line and tuck in the raw edge (I turned in about 2cm, but if you want your brim narrower you can tun in a bit more), pin in place, matching seams, and top stitch very near to top folded edge.
Hand sew a jingle bell to each point.
Place on head, flirt with The Joker and generally terrorise Gotham.
Linked up to Make it Wear it (see link in side bar)

Friday 18 January 2013

Grow Your Blog Party and A Giveaway

Hello, and welcome if you have come here as part of the "Grow Your Blog" party set up by Vicki at 2 Bags Full
If you are new here you are probably wondering what kind of place you've come to. To be honest even if you've been dropping by for ages you probably still wonder that, so here is a kind of introductory thing:-
I'm Christine, aka Alchymyst in some parts of the internet.
We live in a small village just in from the north coast of Cornwall, where my husband, David, and I run a photography business. We have two beautiful daughters, the elder, Eloise,  is 18 and away at university studying maths whilst the younger one, Naomi, is 16, and in her last year at secondary school.
I'm a very crafty person, by which I mean I'm always making things, I don't want to imply that I am particularly cunning.
I am, I just don't want to imply it.
"I have a cunning plan, my Lord"
(OK, so that probably gives you some idea of my sense of humour too)
My cunning plans often include taking old unloved pieces of vintage tat and transforming them into something new and (hopefully) lovely. Or maybe just slightly trendier tat...
I stitch, knit, sew, paint, you name it, I can't sit still and not be doing something with my hands.
I'm also a Grade A Geek, and an aficionado of fantasy, science fiction, comic books and action heroes. You have been warned.
Oh and I like love shoes. And penguins.

So, what are you likely to find on this blog? First and foremost I'd say this was a stitchy blog, so you're going to see a lot of needlework, there is also quite a bit of knitting, sewing and general crafts. Upcycling features quite heavily too. I try and include tutorials if I think I've come up with something you might want to copy. (There is a new one coming in a couple of days.)
You'll find pictures of flowers and of my garden and general pictures from around Cornwall, pictures of my girls and of our cats, Loki and Jinx (see note above about comic books and action heroes), odd bits and pieces about our lives and the occasional spot of out and out geekery.
I hope you think it sounds like a place you'd like to visit again

In honour of the event I'm offering a small giveaway. This little (about 3" across) springy zingy citrussy corsage is made from felt with a crocheted flower and vintage button centre. If you'd like a chance to win it just leave a comment on this post. That's it. No hoops to jump through. The giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. I'll draw a winner on Feb 1st.
Now, why not hop back over to Vicki's and check out some more blogs.

Saturday 12 January 2013

Cerise, purple, gold and scarlet

This is the view from our back bedroom of the sunrise over Bodmin Moor last Monday. The garden thinks spring is on the way, there are primroses in flower and the pond can only be described as Fifty Shades of Frog. The hill you can make out between the chimneys delights in the name of Brown Willy. Rough Tor (pronounced as one word to rhyme with doubter) is more to the left and obscured by trees. This link will take you to some of David's pics of the moor

So there is your "cerise, purple ad gold", the scarlet comes from Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year, a blog set up by Nicola to celebrate her milestone birthday this year, all the participants (and there are over 100 of us) have agreed to stitch on Scarlet Letter Samplers over the course of the year, and this is my New Start - by which I mean I've taken it out of the bag and put the fabric in a frame, lets not get ahead of ourselves here - Elizabeth Burrows. I'm really looking forward to stitching on this.

Sunday 6 January 2013

Invasion of The Daleks!

I don't think this one is much good at exterminating things though. Naomi modelling the Dalek skirt I made her for Christmas. Fabric is, of course, from Spoonflower.
All I did was make a tube of the dalek fabris, and two slightly longer ones out of tulle (remember to leave 6" or so open at the top for getting in and out of it), tack them together then gather them into a waistband and add poppers for fastening. easy huh?
I made a Batman one for Eloise as well but she's taken it back to Leeds and I didn't get a picture before she went.

My New Year's resolutions such as they are, are to buy more shoes make more time for stitching, crafting and reading. (It wouldn't hurt to lose a few pounds either), I aim to try and do something creative, and to spend at least a few minutes reading, each day. Lets see if it makes any difference to how much I can achieve, last year I read 27 books and finished 73 assorted stitching, knitting, sewing and/or crafting projects (not including repeats and multiples).
I know, have a guess what 2013's totals will be and at the end of the year I'll give a little prize to the person who is closest!
Anyway in the spirit of these resolutions I bought some shoes made a little pretty to fill a bare spot where the Christmas decorations have come down. Want to see?

 Here you go. Backlash from Poetic Licence
Naomi says they are my "Joker" shoes. David hates them. I am at a total loss to understand why.
Green leather.
With tweed,
and purple ric rac,
and purple satin ribbon laces.
What's not to love?

Oh, you meant you wanted to see the pretty?  The little wooden bird came completely plain, like this one for the princely sum of 69p from Trago.
I just stuck on a load of buttons (a few are vintage, but mostly newer) and bows in shades of turquoise and apricot using good old PVA. Sweet and simple, (linked up to Think Pink Sunday at Flamingo Toes) haven't decided whether to do the same with the other one or hang on and make soemthing a bit more Eastery yet.
So, anyone else made any resolutions?