Saturday, May 2, 2015
Fruit or to be precise fruit motifs have taken been centre stage at our sewing clubs this half term. We are making fun and fabulous applique cushions in a range of bold and bright fruit motifs.
I am a big fan of the pear design. What I love about pears is that you can recognise the shape instantly and they just somehow look rather fun and cheerful.
Continuing the fruit theme, I thought I'd share how to make these rather cute pincushions. This one is made in green felt but you could also have lots of fun with them making multicoloured or patterned pincushions (like the one in the background). They are a great way to use up scraps of fabric or felt.
Here's how to make them....
You will need: small pieces of green felt, scraps of dark green and brown felt, soft toy filling, thread.
Cut four slim pear shapes from the green felt. Mine are approximately 10cm in height and 6cm in width at the widest point.
Pin two of the pear shapes together and sew along the outside edge of one half. Repeat with the other two pear shapes.
Open out the two pear halves you have made.
Place the two halves on top of each other lining up the outside edges. Pin and sew around the outside edges leaving a gap at the top for stuffing.
Fill your pear with soft toy filling padding out all edges.
Cut a rectangle shape from your brown felt approx 4cm x 2.5cm, and cut two leaves from the dark green felt.
Roll the brown felt rectangle to form a tube and secure with a few over stitches. This will form the stem.
Sew the stem and leaves in place at the top of your pear, and you have a "pearfect" pin cushion. Cute and practical - what's not to love?
Saturday, April 25, 2015
So as you can imagine I have been thinking about knitting a great deal over the past few weeks. Knitting is something I learnt as a child. My Nan and Mum were rarely in front of the television of an evening without a pair of knitting needles in hand. I was taught to knit by both of them from about the age of five - I had great teachers. Knitting continued to be part of my life for many, many years. We knitted to wear. We had two fantastic dedicated knitting shops in the town where I grew up and we made clothes that we would love to be seen in - it was also great value and invariably cheaper than trying to buy the same thing in a shop.
Today's resurgence in knitting it seems to me is different. Making an item of clothing is now an expensive pastime and available patterns seem to focus on decorative items or accessories. So this has got me thinking - why should we knit and what does it have to offer a potential whole new generation of knitting enthusiasts? Here are the answers I have come up with....
There are just a few basics to master
Knitting may look tricky to the untrained eye, but the great thing about it is that there really are just a few basics to learn and then you can achieve anything. Once you have learnt to cast on, make a knit stitch, make a purl stitch, cast off, increase your stitches, decrease your stitches and learn to read a pattern you can make something wonderful.
You can make things to wear.
This seems like an obvious one but don't underestimate the pleasure of being complimented on what you are wearing on to respond that you made it yourself!
You can make things to use
From blankets to tea cosies, from dishcloths to purses, the list is huge. There are untold possibilities when it comes to knitting useful items to have in and around the home.
You can make things to Decorate
How about knitted bunting, coasters, cushion covers? The vintage look remains on trend and you can bring that fabulous look to your home by getting out your knitting needles.
It's Great for Gifts
We all love to receive a handmade gift and knitting something is the perfect way to show you care. Whether knitting a toy for a child or a pair of gloves to keep a friend's hands warm in Winter, a knitted gift is a great way to share the love.
It Enhances Creative Skills and Thinking
Even if you are following a pattern knitting stretches your creativity - something as simple as colour choice encourages creative thinking. Do these colours go together? Will it suit the person/purpose/room I have in mind? Adapting a pattern or making your own opens up further creative choices - there are so many directions in which knitting can take you.
It Enhances Technical Skills
In learning to knit children in particular can benefit from the technicality - measuring and counting are key when embarking on a knitted project. Decoding a pattern can also require technical thought - a great way for stretching the brain.
This is what knitting means to me and this aspect can only be beneficial to young and old alike in today's busy times. Knitting is often referred to as a "mindful activity", and I have to agree that it is the perfect way to take time out from the stresses of everyday life and relax.
It Provides Huge Satisfaction and A Sense of Achievement
With knitting you really do get a sense of making something from start to finish. You are not just crafting something from fabric, you are making the fabric from which you make it and can take an enormous amount pride in this fact when a project is completed.
It's Portable, Accessible and Sociable
Portable, because all you need is your knitting needles and wool and you can take it anywhere, either just to your sofa or on public transport.
Accessible, because wool is becoming available to buy in most towns (I have just seen it for sale in my local garden centre), and knitting magazines are on the shelves in most supermarkets and newsagents.
Sociable, because knitting groups are springing up all over the country. They are easy to join or you can make your own. This brings me back to our children's clubs where children can sit and chat whilst learning the brilliant new skill of knitting.
OK so I have just given three reasons in one, which just goes to show how many brilliant reasons there are to get knitting!
So with all of the above, what's not to love? Come on people let's get those knitting needles out and pass on this brilliant skill to future generations just as my Nan and Mum did to me.
To find out more about Hope & Gloria Knitting Clubs take a look at www.hopeandgloria.com
Monday, April 13, 2015
I have to say that these projects count among some of my favourite things that I have designed for children to make over the years and it was a true delight to see them taking shape at the workshop.
The original designs
There were lots of lovely bright and bold colours used to make the flowers and they all looked brilliant. We filled the flowers and ladybugs with beautifully scented Lavender and the room was filled with it's soothing fragrance.
A huge well done to all who came along. Looking forward to seeing you again soon for more creative sewing projects.
If like me you love to pin letters from schools, recipe cards, photos etc all in one place, nothing works quite as well as memo board. It's the perfect busy family's filing system, or at least a great stop-gap until things are filed properly....
Today I finally finished making these two quilted memo boards. They are not for me, I have made them for a friend for her daughters' bedrooms. They are the simplest thing in the world to make. All you need is some chipboard, fabric, ribbon and a staple gun plus a few drawing pins. It's a brilliant way to fill a space on a wall with a splash of colour as well as being hugely practical.
Although a simple project, there are lots of ways to add a stylish touch to a memo board:
Although a simple project, there are lots of ways to add a stylish touch to a memo board:
I am very partial to spotty fabric so this spotty ribbon just had to be used. I am particularly fond of the fabulous rosebud drawing pins that I used to keep the ribbon in place and make "compartments" as they really help the memo boards to "pop".
I hope the girls love these boards and that they look great adorning their walls. In fact, looking at the walls in my workroom there's a space that's just crying out for a memo board - time to get making again...!
Friday, April 3, 2015
During the last half term we have spent a lot of time learning lots of lovely ways to create a face using stitches. As always the Hope & Gloria sewing enthusiasts have amazed me and all of the sewing club leaders with their enthusiasm for learning and their ability to pick up new techniques to make their gorgeous creations.
A huge well done to everybody who came along to one of our clubs - you were amazing!
Here are just a few of the fabulous creations from last half term....
Finchampstead Primary School
Hatch Ride Primary School
Holy Family Primary School
Oaklands Junior School
The Royal School
St Judes Junior School
St Ann's Heath Junior School
It has been a race against time to get this one finished in time for the Easter weekend but I am delighted to say I did it!
As you can imagine, teaching 550 children a week to sew means that we have a large quantity of scrap felt lying around at Hope & Gloria HQ. The problem has always been what to do with it. I am really pleased that this bright and cheerful Easter Garland has gone some way towards solving the problem.
This project began its life as a huge pile of scrap felt.
As you can see from the picture, my original plan was to use wooden decorations for the garland but once I began attaching them to the garland base, it just didn't feel right. It was time for a rethink and to get out my needle and thread.
This is what happened....
I am, as you know, a huge sewing enthusiast as well as a designer and I run a sewing club company, therefore there can only be sewn decorations on my Easter garland! I have to say I love how the birds and eggs turned out.
Just a few brightly coloured buttons and bows were required to finish it off and it now hangs in pride of place decorating our home before our family arrives for Easter celebrations and of course tonnes of chocolate over the weekend.
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Big fat hens in bold spring time brights - what's not to love? With only seven days to go until Easter Sunday it's time to get a move on and get decorating the home.
Now I know that strictly speaking a blue hen is hard to find. However, I really would recommend letting your imagination run wild with this lovely project. Be adventurous with colour! These lovely hens are so easy to make and are a lot of fun to have sitting around the house bringing a splash of bold bright colour at Easter.
Here's how to make them:
You will need:
Two squares of felt, (mine were 12cm x 12cm but you can adjust according to the size of hen you want to make), a red felt "head feather" shape, 2 small black buttons for eyes, an orange triangle beak, 2 felt wing shapes, coloured thread.
Position the button eyes and felt wings as in the picture and sew in to place. I have given my hens a folk art feel by using coloured embroidery on the wings. Take a look at my decorative stitch guide for ideas by clicking here
Position the beak and head feather on top of one of your squares as shown in the picture.
Place the other square on top with the right sides facing each other and pin in to place making sure that the head feather and beak are secured.
Sew around the three edges as shown in the picture leaving the back edge open.
Turn your hen the right way round and add plenty of soft toy filling to make it nice and plump.
Now take the top seam edge and bottom seam edge of the square and press them together. This will form a new seam and give your hen it's pyramid/triangle shape. Sew along this seam - I have used blanket stitch or you could use overstitch.
Your Easter Hen is now complete! As you can see it's a simple but effective Easter make - great for children and grown ups to make together. Happy making!