Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children

Hope & Gloria - Sewing Inspiration for Children
He's Coming To Town!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Knitting & Nattering

As well as getting our Christmas Sewing Club projects under way, over the past two weeks my thoughts have turned once again to another of my passions - knitting. This time with a good cause in mind.

Tomorrow will see the first ever Hope & Gloria Charity Coffee Morning where the Hope & Gloria Team and I will be raising money to support The Big Issue Foundation's Annual Knitathon which runs every November.

The Big Issue Foundation is a brilliant and inspiring UK charity that works tirelessly to help homeless people off the streets and back in to the workplace thus empowering them and leading to a complete change of life. I feel very proud to be supporting this brilliant charity.

Tomorrow morning along with Clare and Allison from the Hope & Gloria Team, I'll be offering beginners and improvers one hour knitting lessons in return for a £3 donation. We'll also be selling refreshments and knitted gifts plus a raffle.

As it's the first event of its kind that we have run, we have no idea how it will go but we are all keeping our fingers crossed for a good turnout. Either way, it has been lots of fun making knitted decorations and accessories to sell - here are just a few of them....

If you happen to be in the SL5 area in the morning we'd love you to join us for a cuppa and a celebration of all things woolly!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Knitted Halloween Part 2!

I can't decide if these knitted eyeballs are cute or creepy, but they definitely make a fun Halloween decoration when you put a few of them in a jar. They are incredibly quick and easy to make - here's the simple pattern if you fancy making a few to decorate the house at Halloween.

Using 4mm needles and DK white yarn cast on 8 stitches

Row1: purl

Row2: (kfb,k1) x 4 12sts

Row3: p

Row4: (kfb,k1) x6 18sts

Row5: p

Row6: (kfb, k2) x 6 24sts

Row7: p

Row8: k

Row 9: p

Row10: k

Row11: p

Row12: (K2tog, k2) x6 18sts

Row13: p

Row14: (K2tog, k1) x6 12sts

Cut the yarn leaving a long tail. Thread large needle with yarn and using the needle pull the yarn back through the remaining stitches. Pull tight to gather and secure with a knot. Do not cut the yarn as you will use it to sew up the edges of the eyeball.

Decorate the front of your eyeball. I used two buttons but you could also use coloured yarn or thread to embroider an iris and pupil.

Using the yarn tail that you have left, sew along the straight edges of the eyeball. Next sew small running stitches around the top edge and pull to gather. Secure with a knot and cut the yarn.

Your frightfully cool knitted decoration is now complete. Time to make another one before 31st October!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sewing Club Gallery - Autumn 2015

I love it when we reach the end of the half term and all of our school sewing club projects are completed and ready to be taken home by our smiling sewing club members!

This half term all of Team H&G have been delighted with the results of our creature cushion projects. Both beginners and experienced sewing enthusiasts alike have produced beautiful cushions which should take pride of place in the home.

An enormous well done to everyone who has joined us this half term - you have been amazing and we look forward to seeing you again next half term. Here are some of the lovely cushions that have been created by our talented club members...

The Royal School, Windsor

St Ann's Heath

Knitted Halloween!

I love the folklore behind our traditions and having recently bought our pumpkins to carve in to Jack O' Lanterns and place on the porch for Halloween I have been wondering where the tradition comes from.

The story of Jack O' Lantern is found in many cultures and basically involves a no good character called Jack who tries to trick the devil in to not taking his soul. The devil agrees and when Jack eventually dies he is not taken to hell. However, as he doesn't have a good Christian soul, he cannot go to heaven and his spirit is doomed to wander the earth. When he asks the devil how he will see where he is going the devil tosses him a burning ember from the depths of hell. Jack carves out a turnip and places the burning ember inside, Voila! The first Jack O'Lantern is made!

In the UK we often assume that the tradition of the Jack O' Lantern reached our shore from the US. However, turnips and gourds were carved in to grotesque faces/masks in the UK in the 19th century where they were believed to ward off evil spirits during the celtic festival of Samhain which fell at the same time of the year as our Halloween.

This year I have adopted a more woolly approach to Halloween and have made these super cute knitted pumpkins. They are made following exactly the same pattern as the fabric pumpkins in the tutorial I shared last October.

Click here to go to the tutorial.

To make this year's design you will need to knit your fabric in a fun shade of orange first. I used double knit wool and 4mm needles. They are incredibly easy to make and the knitted texture looks fab. I've only had time to make a couple using garter stitch but they would look brilliant made from a rib knit, or moss stitch. You could also embroider a Jack O' Lantern face on the front using black wool.

With just six days to go there's still time to make a few before All Hallows Eve - Happy Knitting!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Terrific Toadstool Pin Cushions

These cute toadstool pin cushions have been a huge hit with our sewing club members this half term and have certainly encouraged them to keep their pins neat and tidy which is great news. T

They are a quick and easy seasonal make and ideal for using up scraps of fabric. Here's how to make them:

You will need:

1 large circle of felt (12cm in diameter), 1 smaller circle of white felt, small circles of white felt to decorate.

Step one: 

Decorate the red circle. For this toadstool I used small circles of white felt but you could also sew on buttons to give the same "spotty" effect.

Step two:

Sew small running stitches all around the outside edge of the white circle but do not finish off with a knot.

Step three:

Pull the thread so that the felt gathers in to a ball shape.

Step four:

Pack with stuffing and secure with a finishing knot. You can also sew a few stitches around the edge to make sure it doesn't come undone.

Step five: 

Repeat the same process with the red felt circle.

Finally,  place the white ball under the red one with the two open edges facing. Using an overstitch sew the two balls together securely.

Your pin cushion is now complete and ready to use - hooray!

They also look fabulous as hanging Christmas decorations. Just sew a loop of thread through the top and they will add  a fun, kitsch touch to your tree during the festive season - not long to go now....!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Autumn Inspiration and Up-cycling Ideas

In terms of inspiration Autumn can be overlooked which is a huge shame!

Because we have to plan and work so far ahead at Hope & Gloria Sewing Clubs once Summer has said "goodbye", I tend to launch straight in to designing and making for Halloween and then Christmas.

I was with a friend earlier last week and she was talking about how much she loves the Autumn and how lovely it is to see all of the Autumn colours - the reds, the golds and the oranges merged with the vibrant evergreens. My Mum is also a huge fan and it's something she has passed on to me.

Whilst walking my dog Elsie earlier this week I noticed all of the gorgeous colours starting to emerge on trees and bushes as well as stunning berries lurking under leaves. It occurred to me that it would be a shame to ignore nature at this beautiful time of the year and so over weekend I decided to devote some time to Autumn and all that it brings before moving on to Halloween preparations.

Inspired by Mother Nature and her Autumn Palette here are a few Autumn sewing ideas that I came up with....

Fabulous Phone Cases Inspired By Autumn

The cases are made from an old woollen sweater that I machine felted. It has been sitting in a box in my workroom for possibly as long as two years waiting to be used. The dark mottled beige is the perfect backdrop for Autumn designs and highlights the autumn colours that I have used.

Machine felting a jumper is the easiest thing to do with an outgrown or preloved woolly. Make sure it is 100% lambswool to get the full felted effect and then throw it in to the washing machine on a hot wash 60 degrees or higher. When it emerges from the machine it will be half the size but ready to use once dry. The felted wool can be cut to shape and has the added bonus of not fraying unlike regular knits.

I have also included a toadstool in my phone case designs - they are cute and colourful and a delight to find when walking in the woods at this time of year. It is easy to see where the inspiration for my latest batch of pincushions came from.

I look forward to sharing a tutorial on how to make these adorable toadstools with you next week.

Happy Autumn Sewing.xx

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fabulous Floral Inspiration

I am without a doubt a huge fan of Mother Nature in all of her amazing glory, especially when it comes to flowers.

A week or so ago I met a friend at RHS Wisley. I am lucky enough to go there a few times a year. It is half way between our home and two of my very best friends', so it's the ideal place to meet for a wander and a coffee. Our kids also seem to enjoy it particularly watching the Koi Carp in the pond.

The displays in the flower borders this year were breath-taking - full of vibrant colour and beauty. These are just a few examples:

Who wouldn't be inspired by these fabulous blooms? I had been thinking of an idea for fabric wall art for a while and these lovely flowers were the final push I needed to get sewing.

My idea was to showcase a range of bright and bold felt and fabric flower techniques in the shape of a heart. In order to fit in a range of flowers I decided to go big - the canvas size is 50x50 which gave plenty of room to include lots of fun flowers in various colours shapes and sizes.

It was finished just in time for the Egham Royal Show which ran during the bank holiday weekend and I was over the moon to win first prize in the category that I entered. It is now hanging in pride of place in my work room at Hope & Gloria HQ. The weather is a bit dreary here today, so it's lovely to have my burst of summer colour on the wall to remind me of a sunny day at RHS Wisley.

Next week I shall be adding a fabric flower tutorial post to the blog - come back and take a look!