I Dream Of Crafting Blog

the super cool stuff I make

She’s the little girl with the round tummy September 10, 2010

My most recently completed craft project was a present for a Studio Ghibli themed swap.  I based the theme around Ponyo.

From this,

came this,

While it’s not massive in size, I’ve never done this much embroidery before, so it was a bit of a trial and error project and it could be better, but I really thought it would be much much worse, so I’m fairly pleased with the result.  However, it doesn’t stop there.  I carefully cut Ponyo out and made her into a little patch to be ironed and sewn onto a little wristlet project bag that I designed.

The drawstring is a crochet chain from red cotton tape and I used a large wooden button as the toggle.  This was mainly because I couldn’t recall seeing a normal toggle thing at the craft store and didn’t feel like leaving the flat the day I was making it.  Plus, buttons make everything cuter and those toggle things are ugly anyway.

I found this really cute fish fabric to use as lining and since it’s so cute, I wanted it to show on the front of the bag.  It also fit with the scene in Ponyo the patch came from as there’s a lot brightly coloured fish swimming around in the opening scenes.

After finishing the bag, it didn’t seem like there was much to the package, so I also knitted Preita Salyer’s Green Sea Cowl in King Cole Mirage (colorway 871).  It was a super easy pattern and really quick to knit.

It turned out absolutely beautifully in the King Cole; it seemed magical how the colours stripped at all the exact right places to compliment the design.

I haven’t been very selfish with my crafting over the last few months, and the trend isn’t over yet.  I’m about to start the Christmas crafts because I’m planning on making some large and time consuming projects, so I may disappear for a while in the near future.  But hopefully, there will be lots of shiny things to show upon my return.

 

Home Sweet Home August 21, 2010

My lack of posts this summer would make it seem as if I’ve either, not done anything at all, or done so much I haven’t had time to post.  It’s a little bit of both.   In June, MrNTR and I and went on a small holiday to Oslo, Norway and I had another mini holiday in July/August with my best friend.

Opera House

Oslo was AMAZING!  We had a great view of the Opera House from our hotel.  I think I took this picture close to 11:00 at night.  I never saw it get dark while we were there and I usually went to bed about 12:00am.

I also bought some yarn.  I only found two yarn shops in Oslo and even though one of them was really small, they both had an absolutely stunning selection of brightly coloured yarns.  I wanted to get several colours to do some colour work, but it was just too expensive.  It took quite a while to decide between a bright pink and this bright blue and I’m very pleased with my choice.  I plan on using it to knit the Shalom Cardigan.

Per Tryving pt3

As I said, we moved in June.  In the move I acquired a craft room, so have been quite the busy bee this summer.  The main problem I’ve been having is the motivation to finish projects, mainly because I start sewing or knitting a cute summer clothing project during a two-day sunny streak, then it rains for the next month and my motivation is washed away in the rain.  Now I’m thinking about my autumn and winter wardrobe, so they may be unfinished until next spring.  However, I have finished a couple of projects for the new flat.

The first is an improv hanging hand towel I knit up during the World Cup.  Oddly, I enjoyed watching the US vs England match and the one where England got kicked out.  The towel was knit with a double seed stitch and a garter stitch border.  I don’t remember the number of cast-on stitches or anything, I just knit until it seemed like I was going to run out of yarn, did some dramatic K2Tog decreases and made a little fold-over tab with a yarn over button-hole.  I used exactly one ball of Lily Sugar’n Cream Stripes (colourway 21114).

My best friend came to visit, which was my second mini holiday, and I wanted to be sure everyone could lounge comfortably in the living room.  Our new flat only has a three seat sofa, so we could all technically fit, but it’s not always the most comfortable.  Since there really isn’t any room to add more furniture, my second project is a solution to a small living space – a floor cushion from Amy Butler’s In Stitches.

I am in total love with this fabric!  I bought it to make the floor cushion, but it only became a floor cushion in the end because I got a veto from MrNTR when I draped the fabric around myself and asked, “Do you think it’s too much for a dress?  What about a skirt?”  Needless to say, he answered ‘Yes’ to both questions.

As a floor cushion, it’s comfortable, though I think I need to add more stuffing.  Floor lounging would also be more comfortable if I made the second, longer cushion to go with it.  My favorite way of using it is propping the gum drop pillow* behind the floor cushion and leaning against the two.  It works well on the floor propped up against the sofa, or on the sofa, which is so comfortable it makes seam ripping a little less frustrating.

I also got a crafty souvenir on my bff mini holiday.  Can you guess where we went?

*After some wear and tear, I can say that if you make the gum drop pillow, make it with a heavy cotton and reinforce the seams at the top.  I’ve had it bust open in a few different spots and beanbag innards are not fun to clean up.

 

Big Damn Heroes July 11, 2010

It’s definitely been awhile, which is not because I haven’t been busy, because I have, but as I said in my previous post I’ve been gift crafting.  Over the last month I’ve been crafting for a Firefly Swap on Ravelry.  Now that my spoilee has received her gifts, I can tell you about them.

I found out about the swap a while ago and had been coming up with various ideas for it, a Jayne hat inspired coin purse with chocolate coins in it, a Simon “medical kit” that included essential things any knitter needs, a few cross stitch ideas around various characters, a pink handbag for a shindig, bottle cap stitch markers for each crew member, and a few other that seem to have slipped my mind.  Once I received my swapper and did some stalking, I only used two of the ideas, the pink handbag and the stitch markers and I added a little project book, an embroidered bookmark and a variation of the Jayne hat.

The handbag is, big surprise, an Amy Butler pattern; it is the Clutch Handbag with Fabric Flower from In Stitches.  My version does not have the flower and I added a little fake button made out the lining fabric.  It was very easy to make, the only other modification I made was with the interfacing.  A lot of the patterns in In Stitches call for a very heavy interfacing called Timtex.  I don’t know if they sell it in the UK, they definitely don’t sell it at my local craft shop, so I used two pieces of heavy interfacing instead.  I’ve never used Timtex to compare, but the two pieces of heavy interfacing seem to have worked just fine.  The only other change I would make if I made it again would be to add some little pockets to the divider for a phone, keys, lipstick, whatever a lady doesn’t want to rummage around for at the bottom of her bag.  You can never have too much storage in a handbag.

Shindig Clutch

The idea for a handbag came to me from Kaylee’s cupcake dress in the episode ‘Shindig.’  The fabric I chose for the lining is also a reference to Kaylee and the bright floral shirts she wears.  It also has an element of Oriental style to it, which fits in perfectly with the Firefly verse.  Conveniently, one of my spoilee’s favorite characters is Kaylee and her favorite episode is ‘Shindig.’

Shindig Clutch Lining

Remember when I made stitch markers a few months ago?  Well, it was all part of my plan to make Firefly bottle cap stitch markers.  I wanted to get the hang of jewelry making to see if it was a reasonable project to undertake.  I’m not terribly good at jewelry making, but I think they turned out quite well considering.  I wanted to do more with the beads to make them themed around each character a bit more, but I couldn’t afford that kind of attention to detail.  However,  my small stash of beads did include a little leaf for Wash and an ‘autumn’ flower for Zoe.  I also tried to match up the bottle caps other people kindly donated (thank you everyone) to each character.  I don’t remember all of them and didn’t get pictures of the backs, but Shepard Book got a Bishops Finger cap (Shepard Book is a preacher), Jayne got a King Fisher cap that says, “Most Thrilling Chilled,” Zoe got a brown[coat] cap from the so-called “natural” Pepsi, Wash got a cap with a flower for his Hawaiian shirts, and Mal got a cap with a cock that says, “Courage.”

Firefly Crew Bottle Cap Stitch Markers

I also had some little graph paper books the Mr. brought back from a conference, so I covered it in a piece of brown felt and put a picture of the crew on it to make it a little more exciting.  I also made a little fabric bookmark with a quote from River, another one of my spoilee’s favorite characters.

Book for Crafty Browncoats and River Tam Fabric Bookmark

The least original, is the Jayne hat, but my spoliee said she would like one, just not in the original colours, red, yellow and orange.  Since my spoilee wanted this, and she doesn’t like chocolate and didn’t indicate any preference towards Jayne, I made the hat instead of the coin purse.

Variation of Jayne's Hat

I decorated the packing box with a big picture of Serenity and the River quote, “Mid-bulk Transport. Standard Radion Accelerator core. Class code 03-K64–Firefly,” (I only had the time and skill to allude to my package being a Firefly cargo ship, but I really wanted to make my package in the shape of Serenity and make the inside a sort of diorama) and I found this great comic to add with a little note.  After a month or two of crafting and watching the whole Firefly series about 3 times, plus some random episodes here and there, the Mr. decided that adding this comic was thing that made me really geeky.  If only.

This is what makes me geeky

 

The happiest girl in the world March 23, 2010

Filed under: Pattern,Sewing — IDreamofCrafts @ 7:36 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Last week I acquired some old fabric from Katy, the author of Creating Misericordia, which has made me the happiest girl in the world.

If you’re unfamiliar with Creating Misericordia, you should definitely check it out.  Katy takes excellent photos, takes on some epic projects and as previously stated, has made me a very happy girl.

The arrival of these fabrics, and spring, have motivated me to get out my sewing machine.  I decided to make another New Look skirt, which for some reason, was much more difficult the second time.  The waistband on the first skirt I made is kind of awkward, so I tried to fix it this time, but was unsuccessful.  This is either due to me missing out on something with the pattern construction, which is probably the case, or it’s just a cheap pattern.

Coincidentally, I picked up some Rowan Bamboo in Antique Rose that goes really well with the pink in the fabric, so by the end of the summer, I should have a lovely outfit.  Although, I am not waiting to wear the skirt until I knit a top; I will be wearing the skirt often.

 

A Handmade Christmas – Some Free Patterns December 13, 2009

Filed under: Knitting,Pattern,Sewing,Uncategorized — IDreamofCrafts @ 9:40 pm
Tags: , , , ,

As Christmas is quickly approaching, I thought I would pass along some good free pattern/project sources to make handmade gifts.  I’m a big fan of  handmade gifts because they make for a nice personal touch and can be much cheaper than store bought.  So, these are the websites I use the most when I’m looking for free patterns and gifts ideas.

Amy Butler Design has some great free sewing patterns, a lot of them are quilts, but there are also some cute cushion and wall hanging patterns.  She also has some free paper craft patterns for cards and gift tags.

Jo-Ann has a whole project section with a large variety of craft projects.  They are generally pretty simple and the quality ranges from ‘that s**t looks homesewn’ to pretty cute.

I think the point of About.com is to get money from advertising, but whenever I type in ‘free’ it’s the site that usually comes up on the first Google page.  A lot of the projects are pretty common sense and the quality is generally ‘that s**t looks homesewn’; it’s really more of a ‘How To’ than a pattern, but it’s good if you are afraid, or don’t like to create your own pattern and want something simple like a basic bag, pot holder or apron.  I’ve also gotten free cross stitch patterns and knitting patterns from About.com, so there are a lot of other free things you can find on the site.

I also use Burda Style, but last year they stopped offering free patterns and changed the format, so I don’t really like it any more.  Nevertheless, it is a good source for patterns, there are very good tutorials and you can get a lot of great ideas from other user’s projects.  There are still free patterns, but as they are submitted by the users, they aren’t always good.

If you knit but aren’t on Ravelry, Knitting Pattern Central is an excellent source for free knitting patterns.

Hopefully this helps with your gifting this holiday, especially if you’re uber cheap like me.

 

Some Assembly Required: For the Love of Buffy Part II November 8, 2009

Filed under: embroidery,Knitting,Sewing — IDreamofCrafts @ 12:20 am
Tags: , , ,

I can now post my complete Buffy swap package as the package has been delivered and received!

Buffy Swap Package

Fool for Buffy

The silver package with the picture of Dark Willow is a box of chocolates called Black Magic.  Then there is an official Buffy photo of Xander from the season 5 episode ‘Out of Mind.’  I acquired the Xander photo in a very Xander appropriate way as well.  When I went to Forbidden Planet, which has always sold awesome Buffy stuff until I needed it for the swap, there was an almost empty rack of official TV show photos, there were a few X Files photos going for 4.99 or something, but most of them were of Xander for the insane price of 50 pents.  Poor, unappreciated Xander.

I included King Cole ‘Mirage’ yarn as a ‘Something Blue’ and another ribbon type yarn called ‘Firefly’ (not Buffy I know, but Joss Wheadon related and Nathan Fillion was Caleb in Buffy and there was also that other guy from “Conversations with Dead People|” who was also in “The Message,” so the link is pretty strong).

There was also some Wheetabix and a Spike themed Bag – signature black and red with a yellow Blondie Bear ribbon at the top.  One of the recipient’s favorite quotes is, ‘Dozens of times, lots of different ways, every night I save you,’ so I embroidered it on the Spike bag.  Complete with a tag of Spike not saving Buffy.

 

Spike Bag 1

Hey I've died twice.

The other tags are of Buffy and Spike in “Something Blue” because that is one of my swappie’s favorite episodes.  One of my favorite pictures of Spike and Giles drinking blood and tea on the Wheetabix package because I think Wheetabix is an English thing.  And on the Fresh Bite Scarflet, a tag with Angel biting Buffy.

Not pictured, but included, were Yorkie Bars, for the whole feminist factor, and because they are SOOO yummy!Also, the bag has lots of vines and stuff on it, and I was watching Season 4 while I was making and picking out stuff for the swap, and the vines reminded me of the episode “Where the Wild Things Are.”  If you’re not familiar with Buffy, that episode has nothing to do with the much-loved children’s book.  Far from it, Buffy and her stupid boyfriend Riley have sex for pretty much the whole episode in a haunted frat house and vines grow all around the door of the bed room so no one can stop them from having sex.  The stars are for the night when vampires come out and Buffy goes on patrol.

Buffy Tote 2

Giles, "Doing what?" Xander, "You know, for a god of acoustic rock, you're kind of naive."

I’ve just realised I must love Buffy more than Weezer (circa 1994 – 2005 only) because, correct me if I’m wrong Dorkbutt, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so attentive and creative with any of my Weezer themed crafts.  Wow!  I am a massive dork!

 

How many Degrees do you need to sew a blanket? October 24, 2009

Filed under: Knitting,Sewing — IDreamofCrafts @ 7:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

Apparently a lot.  As briefly mentioned in a previous post, I had been knitting some squares for the MacMillan Cancer Blanket with some other 8th Day Knitters.  Well, we finished our squares and sewed them together into a blanket this afternoon.  If only it were that simple.

We managed to knit them in the incorrect pattern twice.  The first time two panels were sewn together backwards so the purl sides were the ‘right sides.’  I’m not entirely sure what happened the second time, but seam ripping was involved.  The group of us are intelligent women, most, if not all, have more than one Degree, which only goes to show that the over educated sometimes lack certain elements of common sense, although I prefer to think it’s because we over analyse and make things more complicated than they need to be.  Because we’re so smart.

Pinned together to sew up

Pinned together to sew up

After realising we made it more complicated than need be, we pinned the panels together as they should have gone, and it was smooth sailing from there.

All sewn up!

All sewn up!

The final result turned out really well and we’re hoping we don’t end up seeing it in a charity shop sometime in the near future.  I embroidered a little tag with our group name on it so we’ll know it’s ours, buy it and mail it back to MacMillan.

 

For the love of Buffy October 11, 2009

Filed under: embroidery,Knitting,Sewing — IDreamofCrafts @ 9:25 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This week I have been making Buffy the Vampire Slayer themed crafts.

Buffy Gifts

Tote & Scarflet

I found some suitable buttons for the Fresh Bite Scarflet, at last, and made the appropriate Buffy tag for it.

One girl, in all the world, a chosen one.

One girl, in all the world, a chosen one.

I also put my new embroidery skills to use.

There is one more Buffy treat in the making, but my sewing machine was acting out a bit today, so it’s not finished.

 

Screen Printing Fail & Other Stuff September 1, 2009

Filed under: Pattern,Sewing — IDreamofCrafts @ 3:46 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Last weekend I attended an all day screen printing workshop at the Urbis, Manchester.  I had what I thought were some really good ideas for t-shirts, but they turned out to be a massive FAIL.

My whale print was better in my head, but didn’t really translate into a good print because 1) the picture in my head involved better/more technical placement of colours, 2) once I put the board into my shirt to stretch it out for printing, the paper I did the stencil on wasn’t big enough and 3) the picture just didn’t translate.

I was really pleased with the robot print until I was trying to fill in the little gaps with paint, which also turned out terribly bad, and smudged a glob of paint I didn’t know was on my arm onto the side of the shirt, hence, the weird space invaders.

Amy Butler Gumdrop Pillow

On a more successful note, I finished the Amy Butler Gum Drop pillow.  One of the best things about Amy Butler’s patterns is how extremely easy everything is to make.  I have her book, In Stitches and have also made a few of the free patterns from her website and have enjoyed making her designs.  She uses simple shapes that usually require very few pattern pieces, if it uses pattern pieces at all and the construction and directions are really simple and easy to follow as well.  Yet, the finished product looks incredibly professional and much more difficult and time consuming to make than it actually is.

After a week of testing it out on the sofa, it’s a really great project and more comfortable than I originally thought it would be.  It’s best as an extra form of back support, as shown in the pattern picture; it’s proved to be an extremely comfortable knitting position as well.  There is also enough give with the bean bag filling that you can use it in the same way as a normal pillow for laying on the sofa to watch TV.  I will be making an ottoman sometime in the near future.

My super awesome husband also got me Let’s Make Cute Stuff by Aranzi Aronzo! Cute Dolls.  The title is not misleading at all; all the dolls/stuffed animals in this book are super cute!

 

New Look Skirt = Success! August 6, 2009

Filed under: Sewing — IDreamofCrafts @ 8:01 pm
Tags: , , , , ,
Finished New Look Skirt

Finished New Look Skirt

I got some fabric last week and whipped up the New Look 6872 skirt and finished it up this afternoon.  It didn’t take me a week to make; I just took my time with it.  It was super simple and turned out a lot better than I thought it would.  The one thing I did change was the length, which I took it up about 4 inches.

The picture doesn’t really show off the fabric enough, but it’s not plain black.  It’s got little red, yellow and blue-gray spatter paint-like speckles.  The speckles add a bit to the fabric, and it was cheaper than plain black.  Which leads me to an increasing frustration, which is the lack of nice fabric in Manchester.

I really miss Joann’s (a craft superstore with a massive fabric selection in the States).  For a fabric store, Abakhan’s in Manchester is really lacking in fabrics with nice prints that are also fashionable.  I feel like whenever I need fabric, I end up choosing the best out of a not very good lot.  There have been 2, maybe 3, times I’ve seen fabric that really makes me excited to use in a project, but it’s very rare and the fabric is usually never ordered again.  When I have more money, I plan on buying more fabric online, and if I become rich, I will buy fabric from John Lewis.  But until then, Abakhan’s it is.

Strawberry Purse

Strawberry Purse

My other really exciting sewing project of the week is this plastic to look like wood handled purse, designed by ME!  When I was close to finishing, I realised that it can also be reversible!  I would have planned it a bit better if I would have known that in the design and fabric buying stages.  But, I am really excited that it turned out as well as it did on the first try and will definitely be making more.

I also started making Amy Butler’s ottoman/pillow this evening and was pleasantly surprised with how incredibly easy it is to assemble.  I thought it would be a multi-day project, but I think it’s very possibly to finish in a few hours, provided you don’t run out of thread!  Pictures will be posted when I buy more thread and finish.