Monday, May 16, 2016

quilted sewing kit

Confession, I have a box full of baby clothes in a closet that I am keeping with the plans of making a quilt with all the sweet little outfits that I can't bear to part with. This would be a perfect idea except for the fact that I have never made a quilt in my life, have no idea where to start and a lot of the fabrics involved are knit or fleece which means its not going to be the most straighforward quilt in the world to make!

Last year I spent a bit of time thinking about the logistics of how I'm going to make this quilt and during my research I came across english paper piecing. The idea of this type of quilting appealed to me since a) I'm not a fan of sitting at a sewing machine for hours and hours and b) I think it will be nice to handwork all these special fabrics which hold so many memories. So for my birthday I asked for this book.

Product Details

I cannot say enough great things about this book, it is beautiful to read regardless of whether you are intending to ever sit down and do any english paper piecing. The pictures of all the projects are stunning and the directions made me think that even with my limited sewing skills I could possibly, one day, sit down with my baby clothes and make something beautiful with them!

Before I did that however I thought it might be a good idea to try and make one or two of the projects in the book to get some practice with the technique, see if I could do it and if I enjoyed it. This little sewing kit is my first attempt and I have to say that it was actually fun, and both easier and faster than I was expecting it to be!

For this kind of quilting you make little paper templates and then baste your fabric around them (this project didn't require a whole lot of fabric so I went through what I had lying around and picked fabrics from there). 

All the little hexagons (or whatever shape/pattern you are making) then get whipstitched together and the paper templates are removed. 

Then you quilt like normal, I quilted mine exactly as they showed in the book (since this is the first time I've ever quilted anything!) with these little triangles which turned out really nicely.

And finally, ta da... the final mini sewing kit bound with binding which I also made using instructions in the book. All in all I can say I am so happy with how this turned out and am already planning my next project (and maybe even tentatively starting to think about how that quilt is going to go!). 


Thursday, May 5, 2016

crochet rainbow juggling balls. free pattern

A dear friend and I were talking a while ago about how she wanted to learn to juggle and I offered to teach her when we found the time. This got me to thinking about the perfect birthday gift for her....juggling balls!! I worked out the pattern on a set for me in plain colors but for her I wanted to do something fancy so I went with rainbow juggling balls. They are so happy and I really love them. Makes me want to make some fancy ones for me too!!!

sc single crochet

sc2tog single crochet 2 together (decrease). Insert hook into stitch and draw up a loop. Insert hook into next stitch and draw up a loop. Yarn over, draw through all 3 loops on hook.
2sc 2 single crochet into one stitch.

US E4/3.50mm crochet hook
Worsted weight yarn in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple (I used red heart super saver)
Stitch marker
Yarn needle

Poly-fil plastic pellets/stuffing beads (this is what I used, you could use rice or beans alternatively).

This pattern is worked in a continuous spiral, do not join or turn, just start the next round right after the last stitch on the last round.
Use a stitch marker to mark the beginning of each new round. 
I start with a magic ring, you can find a tutorial for that here
When I changed yarn I secured the yarn ends by knotting together the two yarn ends on the inside of the ball, in this way there is no need to darn in the ends. 

Using red yarn, make a magic ring
Rnd 1: 6 sc in magic ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2sc in each stitch (12)
Rnd 3: (2sc, sc) repeat to end of round (18)
Change to orange yarn
Rnd 4: (2sc, sc, sc) repeat to end of round (24)
Rnd 5: (2sc, sc, sc, sc) repeat to end of round (30)
Rnd 6: (2sc, sc, sc, sc, sc) repeat to end of round (36)
Change to yellow yarn
Rnds 7-9: sc around (36)
Change to green yarn
Rnds 10-12: sc around (36)
Change to blue yarn
Rnd 13: sc around
Rnd 14: (sc2tog, sc, sc, sc, sc) repeat to end of round (30)
Rnd 15: (sc2tog, sc, sc, sc) repeat to end of round (24)
Change to purple yarn
Rnd 16: (sc2tog, sc, sc) repeat to end of round (18)
Rnd 17: (sc2tog, sc) repeat to end of round (12)
Rnd 18: (sc2tog) repeat to end of round (6).

Cut yarn leaving a long tail. At this point I found the hole left was large enough to put a funnel into and fill the ball with the poly pellets (if you don't find this you may need to add the pellets after rnd 17). I stuffed the ball as much as I could and then weighed it, all my balls weighed 3oz but it is most important that they all weigh roughly the same as this will make them easier to juggle (this step can be skipped if desired). 
Close up hole and darn in yarn end.

Ta da, done, happy juggling!!