Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Kay Petal - needle felting

This morning I was surfing the web and stumbled across Kay Petal...and what a find! I subscribe to emails from the Craft website and saw a really cute bunny that had been posted to the felt forums. What an amazing discovery - I forget about YouTube for crafting as it's outside the social networking 'circle' of sites which are always mentioned but it's a lot better in the last two years when I used to leave feeling quite underwhelmed :)

I have been meaning to try needle felting and if I wasn't quite sure before I certainly am now. I had recently come across an offline workshop for 2 and a half hours but going from past experiences I learn much better when I don't feel rushed and no-one's looking over my shoulder...so online then :) I have also tried books but believe it or not they've all gone back to the library and I still haven't bought a felting needle...

So, here goes...it's one of my New Year's resolutions to get going with this amazing craft...hope you get inspired too :)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Arvon Writing Competition

I've received the best Christmas present ever! I've won a writing competition!

I've been reasonably busy since the loss of my job in April with writing and crafting so it's good to know that, along with making my first sale on folksy, I have also managed to win a competition. It makes the year less bleak.

For the writing exercise I sat down once a day over a week and just wrote whatever came into my head for ten minutes. Each day you had to pick your best sentence from the previous day's writing and start with it. It became progressively harder as the week went on. I must admit I ended up just listing watercolour paints on the second to final day and cut the last few minutes short.

I think this is only the second time I've received any kind of payment or prize for a piece of writing so forgive me while I blow my trumpet a little!

Here is my winning entry - for which I have an extra Christmas present (a mystery book) to put under the tree:

'I cling to colour. My paintbrush is poised; a soft ball of kinetic energy. Clouds fall out of the palette and hang like chandeliers. A dog sniffs the driftwood near my feet. Lemon yellow on the horizon. Alzarin crimson and bright red. Opulence and decadence collide.'

The worst sentence is the dog sniffing - god knows where that came from but it must have been my best sentence on the fourth day...

Merry Christmas! :)

PS - Both my shops are now closed to give me a break from fretting about my second sale (and to give me time to knit and crochet scarves!) but will re-open again on December 29th - that's next Tuesday :))

Monday, 14 December 2009

Purple clutch bag

I put this moss stitch purple clutch bag in my folksy shop and my etsy shop last Thursday. It's for sale for £25 in folksy and $40 in etsy. Please let me know if you would like to buy it and are an avid (of course!) reader of my blog and I will refund you 10% off the price after the sale. Please enter 'Sewing is for girls' in the 'message to seller' section of paypal. I can't wait until I sell it - it will be such a nice glow :)

I don't know about you but I think this is my nicest knitted item so far. I really love moss stitch and the effect it creates. Purple is one of my favourite colours and I particularly love the intricate pattern on the top of the button...

The corsage came from a hat pattern I bought on folksy from Craftconfections . It's really useful as she lets you sell the items you make from her patterns as long as you mention her. If I wrote patterns I would do this too as it generates huge publicity :)

It was really simple to knit up. To make it double layered I just halved the amount of stitches to make a smaller top layer.

I'm closing my shops this Thursday for Christmas but will be back in January with some warm and cuddly scarves and handwarmers...

Happy knitting :)

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Christmas picks from Folksy

Lots of beautiful handmade decorations and cards for sale on folksy this week. Go on - have a look - you know you want to :)

Fibrespace



pretty goods



The dolls in this shop are lovely: The Hunny Bunny Company



Newbie seller: itsbohochic

Friday, 27 November 2009

Sew by Cath Kidston

I am a lucky owner of the 'Sew' Cath Kidston book which I found unexpectedly lurking on a bookshelf in WH Smith. It looked as if someone had picked it up and decided not to buy (I know! How unbelievable) as I found it resting by the travel books :)

This is an excellent book with a huge range of projects for people of all ages - everything from a peg bag to a very nice tote bag with a handy large pocket on the front.

It also comes with all the materials (including buttons) for the bag on the front cover plus a lifesize pattern sheet:


As you can see in the photo I bought my own tracing paper in the form of grid marked pattern paper as I'm terrible at tracing patterns freehand...even with a ruler! This way you can count the squares and just cut out the squared paper. It's also more durable and I felt like I could use the paper a lot more times than my usual printer paper which I use for patterns.


This is my first project from the book - a needlecase which I made from lovely Tone Finegar 'Tilda' fabric - it encouraged me to buy a multipack of needles...fifty in fact...so I should never be lost for the right needle...

Happy sewing & knitting...:)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Folksy toys

I've loved folksy ever since I found it through recommendation last year. There is such an eclectic mix of handmade items on there for such reasonable prices when compared with offline shops. Of course I now sell on there myself which is an honour! Sometimes I just browse for an hour completely amazed at the toys, accessories and art for sale. Here are four items that are my favourites this week:




Boo Biloo



Treaclezoo



Squiggly Monkeys



Hotdog and Me

Monday, 16 November 2009

Busy bee

Well, as you can see, several things have happened on Sewing is for girls in the past two weeks. First of all I've gone all pink. As soon as I finished painting the blog I felt better - all my piccies look more framed and have more of an impact. I've started a Sewing is for girls fanpage on facebook and a Twitter page for news about the blog and my folksy shop. I had an article published on 'Make it and Mend it' with heaps of good advice for new knitters who may be afraid of the cost of taking up a new hobby.

Talking of my shop I have also been working away like a busy bee on lots of new handmade goodies to tempt even those with the slimmest of purses :) My felted holly christmas tree decoration is one item which I am particularly pleased with. Christmas is always so inspiring for arty peeps!




Happy knitting! :)

Monday, 9 November 2009

A day at the MISI fair

I learnt a lot from looking around the MISI craft fair on Saturday in Bristol. I bought the pink felted brooch above from a seller - unfortunately I can't figure out who it was - but her stall was very pretty and much like I'd have mine (I'm dreaming now!) if I ever have one in the future...

Later on I sat down in a free drop-in workshop run by Get Knitted and calmly tried to learn how to crochet for the third time! I don't really have any desire to crochet because I feel like my bow is full with knitting - but adding another string is never a bad idea. The yarn we were given to practise with was ideal - smooth with a bit of a stretch to it which really helped me as I'm too tight. I learnt how to do a basic chain and double crochet. Apparently that's all you need to crochet an 'Amigurumi'. I'm finding the one hook to be more relaxing than two needles...

Later in the day I finally made it to Cath Kidston to buy a book of address labels and their red retractable tape measure...finally I can be free of a sprawling tape measure on the sofa getting tangled!



A very worthwhile day :)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Upcycle folksy comp

A week ago I had fun trying to think what I would make with five random items from a charity shop. The folksy competition - Upcycle Christmas is certainly an enjoyable challenge!

I ended up visiting quite a few charity shops in Taunton from the PDSA to St Margaret's Hospice (they had the nicest clothes), from Marie Curie Cancer Care to the British Red Cross. I bought the tie above for 95p from the British Red Cross along with 3 other items, and the stencil book from St Margaret's Hospice. All in all I think I spent about a tenner :)

I have never upcycled anything before in my life. I had just about arrived at the point where I was looking for men's woolly jumpers to felt but was a bit nervous. I can't explain why. Perhaps it's the snob in me!

So I think this competition is fantastic in raising the profile of charity shops for crafters whilst also making us think - I had to really rummage around in my head to think up something imaginative and funky to make! And it's fab that we're raising money too :)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Pom Pom Tutorial

I had never felt the need to make a pom-pom before but wanted to add one to this hat a couple of months ago. If you don't mind if your pom-pom doesn't look perfect then this tutorial is for you.

Step 1 - Find some yarn to practice on:



Step 2 - Find some small craft scissors:



Step 3 - Wrap the yarn around as many fingers as you want - two fingers would make a very small pom-pom but I decided on four. Also the amount of times you wrap the yarn will determine how thick your ball is at the end.



Step 4 - Cut the yarn leaving about 10 cm.



Step 5 - Take the circles of yarn off your fingers and carefully wrap the 10cm of yarn round the middle.



Step 6 - When you have finished securing the pom-pom push the yarn back through the middle bit of yarn with your scissors to make sure it doesn't unwind.



Step 7 - Cut through the loops at both sides trying to shape it into a ball shape as you go.



Step 8 - Trim the pom-pom into the shape you want. As this won't be a perfect pom-pom don't worry about the appearance too much.



You've made a pom-pom! :)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

MISI at Paintworks



MISI (Make it Sell it) are holding their first craft event in Bristol on Saturday week. It will be held at The Paintworks and will feature live music and workshops throughout the day. It starts at 10.30am and finishes at 5pm! Plenty of time if you sleep in and get there late :)

Paintworks has a fab website which tells you exactly how to get there, by train, car or bike.

See you there :)

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Cream Cardigan: Part Two

This is the second installment of my cream cardigan and so far it's going ok. You can see Part One here. I'm finding the 4 ply yarn a bit slow to knit up but of course the end result is much more delicate and subtle than DK or chunky. This is the back piece - all was fine until the age old problem I seem to have with shaping. I seemed to lose two stitches part of the way through so to counteract this I knitted a couple of rows normally where you were meant to decrease evenly throughout the piece. Then I lost another stitch! Infuriating. I'm sure a couple of stitches won't affect the overall look or shape of it though. I'm finding the yarn very bitty and it has made me sneeze an awful lot! But it looks nice...so who cares?!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Fourth Update - Summer Denim Bag

OK - so it's taken me a month but I am knitting a cardigan too! This was hard for me. Really hard. I've never sewn a lining into a bag before. The thought scared me and for a while I thought I'd dodge the challenge. It was good that I ordered some material for lining from Cath Kidston earlier this year that I loved - otherwise I would have given in!

It was probably not helped by not having a great relationship with the sewing machine in the house. I'm a bit scared of it and memories of GCSE Textiles keep appearing whenever I look at it. This has to change as I grew tired of stitching by hand as you can probably see from the photo. I could probably have finished this in a quarter of the time if I had machine stitched it.

Also I'm left with too much material at the sides as I allowed too much for the seam and didn't turn it inside out when I had finished - I tend to rush finishing techniques too - this is why I don't want to show you my blue tank top - as I rushed the sewing and cut the wool too close to the knot instead of weaving it in to prevent it undoing.

As I start to knit and make things I will be serious about wearing I'm sure this will change and I will sit down and sew patiently! After all, a bag undoing while I'm out and about will be soooo embarrassing! Never mind a jumper :)

Happy knitting...:)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Cream Cardigan: Part one

I wasn't supposed to be starting any new projects as I am running out of money for anything that could be considered 'superfluous' - so to get round this I'm making a cardigan! I figured it didn't cost that much more than what I would have spent on one ready-made in the shops and I could have it in my own special colour...

So, weak reasons apart, here it is. It's 'Marigold' by Marie Wallin from Rowan Magazine Number 45 (summer edition). I'm knitting a summer cardigan in October as I'm a very hot person and find I hardly wear chunky sweaters inside. Often when autumn comes along the shops don't have smart thin cardigans so I end up just wearing one layer and shivering a bit rather than overheating in a large jumper.

I'm finding the yarn a bit slower to knit up than I'm used to but other than that it has a gorgeous texture.

Lets see how the shaping goes...:)

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Slouch socks by Erika Knight

Erika Knight and Kim Hargreaves seem to have both earnt their places as my favourite knitwear designers. These slouch socks were designed by Erika Knight and are from her 'Classic' book. This is the book that I knitted my blue tank top from - which has worked out brilliantly (photo shoot to come!) I love the modern feel to their designs.

There are a couple of bits I have to tweak - the join in the heel didn't seem to get sewn up properly as the shaping was a bit loose (I'm still not 100% at shaping) so I must prise them off my feet (where they have been very happily) to do a little more sewing.

For this project I broke the habit of 18 months and bought Debbie Bliss - the colours in the cashmere range were extensive - good for someone who needs more shades of blue to choose from!

Happy knitting :)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Third update - Summer Denim Bag

I managed to finish my free gift which was part of my christmas present last year along with membership of Rowan International. Attempts at cabling the strap can be seen here and here. Lots of frantic hair-pulling later means I now have a lovely sturdy denim bag for lazy days and bike rides at the weekend...only problem is it's now autumn...but you know...it's finished :)

Well, actually the bag isn't completely finished as I want to have a go at lining a bag for the first time. I ordered some blue swirly fabric from Cath Kidston ages ago for this purpose but am not looking forward to it!

I'll follow Alice's tutorial on How to sew a lining into a bag to keep me sane!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Hedgehog from Little Cotton Rabbits

Thank you to Julie from Little Cotton Rabbits for this lovely pattern. It immediately went onto my list of Things To Knit Urgently when I printed it out! I knitted him using leftover yarn from Big Ted...

For those of you who are interested, I have now joined Ravelry under the username of 'jang5941' - so feel free to add me as a friend if you're passing...

Bye for now :)

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Big big wool

It took me 4 hours to make this hat. As soon as the yarn arrived in the post I ripped open the tissue paper and started winding it around my needles. It's so nice to do something simple after the trauma of Big Ted's moss stitch coat. I took up knitting to relieve stress not cause it! It's a bit trendier than my purple hat I'm sure you'll agree :)

Saturday, 15 August 2009

The launch of my folksy shop!

Please join me in a toast as I open my shop on folksy! It's a very special sunny day here on my blog as I throw open the doors of my virtual selling space and invite you all in for a nose round :)

I hope the new readers amongst you will hop on over there to take a look round some time - I plan to sell so much more than the silk flower corsage above. In addition, I will knit up a few teddy bears and hats in time for autumn and am planning a few xmas goodies (right at the start of summer - I know, I'm bats!)

I also have a few plans up my sleeve for my blog now that my readership has increased quite dramatically in the last few months. Thanks for reading and happy crafting :)

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Horse!

I rode a Horse for the first time ever in April! Not this one obviously - he belongs to another farm...but isn't he cute all the same?

I thought I would be really scared but it felt great - it was really relaxing and fun although very tiring...a change from knitting and crafting for a while :)

Monday, 13 July 2009

Meet Big Ted

OMG! Remember back in October when I said I wanted to make the Ultimate Ted?! Well, here he is!! It's so exciting...

It's a larger Debbie Bliss bear than the one I started off with in December 2008. I have certainly improved but I won't be making anything as large as this again in a hurry...

The coat drove me insane - decreasing to an even amount of stitches seemed to turn the pattern into rib so I had to decrease two stitches instead of one each time I shaped. This caused further complications when shaping the side of the coat which had the buttonholes on - it randomly turned to rib again but I was too annoyed to undo a piece for the 50th time! Luckily, I have just learnt how to make a pompom without using anything other than my fingers so I made a 'decorative embellishment' (covered a glaring mistake). Hopefully no-one will notice...and you're not gonna tell...right?

:)


PS - does anyone else find it freaky the way it took me exactly 9 months from wanting to make him to finishing him...?

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Felt flower brooch

It's strange how knitting is more complex than felt, yet people are more amazed by it due to its bold colour and rigid form. For me, the best thing about felt is that it didn't irritate my eczema in last week's heatwave as it led to a very long break in my knitting schedule :)
I'm following Alice's example of assessing craft supplies and using up what you already have during the recession. When I think back to how few craft items I used to own and how I longed to be able to go shopping for art and craft supplies, I realise just how spoilt rotten I am now - I have way too many projects on the go and have banned myself from buying anything new. It encourages more creativity! I would encourage you to challenge yourself to do the same :)

Happy crafting :)

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Fame...but sadly not fortune...

Woah! I have had over 200 hits to my site over the last few months due to being featured on a very popular site called angelfire which is teaming with free patterns! I never thought my stuffed strawberry pincushion would be so popular :)

In recent weeks visitors have stayed longer on my site and had a good nosey round clicking all the labels enthusiastically - this is great news as I'm launching shops in the next few months to add to the existing one on folksy - albeit in very slow motion :)

It's hard leaving the safe confines of a A4 pattern but I'm being gradually braver each time I pick up my needles...hope you are too...happy knitting!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Red Pink Punk

I didn't know how to make i-cord (idiot cord - so-called because, well, you know why) before I bought this knitting dolly. Usually they only have 4 pins but I wanted a really thick chunky cord so I held out till I came across this wooden one which has 8. Isn't a thing of beauty?

I love red and pink together in my craft - it satisfies my punk urge without descending into wearing a bright red coat with a pink brolly (I have done this), which really isn't becoming for such a plain mousey shy girl :) I really love bright yellow and green together, but have no plans to wear that combination any time soon...

The best thing about making i-cord is that you don't have to endlessly make sure you have all your stuff with you if you move with your knitting - no pattern, no pencil to work out any maths that confuses you, nothing...just pure knitting enjoyment. Not that I'm not enjoying knitting my very cleverly shaped big teddy bear with a moss stitch coat...oh no :)

Happy knitting :)

Monday, 18 May 2009

Fun & Funky Knitting by Emma King

Fun and Funky Knitting is a fab book aimed at young beginners who want fun projects which are easy to make. It's also great for those progressing or experienced knitters as there is a great cabled bag with bobbles to make out of big wool (as seen on the front cover). There is a huge variety of funky, beautiful colourful bags for a selection of outfits. There is also a great beaded hat in divine colours which made me swoon! The inclusion of more expensive yarn, such as kidsilk haze, is usually balanced with a different yarn so the cost of the projects is reasonable too. If you are looking for a present to give to an arty fashion conscious young knitter this would be sooo perfect! And it's available to buy at £7.49 by clicking the above link - perfection and simplicity combined :)

Sunday, 3 May 2009

World of Knitted Toys by Kath Dalmeny

I was overjoyed to find this in my library the other day. I have been looking for a good traditional children's toy book but they must have all been out on loan. This is such a brilliant book and I would recommend it so highly if you are looking for basic knitted toys. There is such a sense of humour in the patterns and book as a whole! :)

Kath has divided her book into sections - everything from farmyard animals to forest friends, from safari to australian outback. There is even a blonde female farmer with plaits and an eskimo in a cuddly coat to knit to go with the animals. The animals look great and the patterns are the simplest you'll find....the only trouble I had was deciding which animal to knit first :)

Monday, 20 April 2009

Sponsored Walk - Photos & Thanks!

Well I managed it! I walked a total of 7-10 miles yesterday as I walked a bit further than I had planned at Hestercombe House. The final 2 miles dragged and were a bit painful on the way home, but as I've raised over £60 so far, that soon became bearable! Many thanks indeed to everyone who has generously donated - I expected £50 so have been very pleasantly surprised...

I had a beautiful day for a country walk and enjoyed the sun when it shone underneath my sunhat at 1pm after lunch!

The formal gardens are stunning with spectacular views over the countryside surrounding them. If you still want to donate - please click on the link on the right of this blog which will take you to my fundraising page. The page will still be open for donations until July so you have plenty of time to save up!

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