My friend Lizzie bought me an ice dying kit for Christmas (thank you!) and I’ve only just now found the time to have a go.
The results are pretty cool if I do say so myself!
I’d never heard of ice dying until she bought me the kit but basically you place ice cubes onto a piece of fabric, sprinkle over powdered fabric dye and as the ice melts it makes some really funky patterns depending on whether you scrunch up the fabric beforehand.
I think it’s supposed to give a kind of tie-dye effect.
I placed my fabric on a baking rack over a baking tray (I didn’t have a bowl or bucket wide enough for the fat quarter so I used a tray).
I also folded my fabric into 4 quarters and laid it flat.
Once the ice had melted I realised that on the bottom the baking rack had made a striped pattern which was quite interesting! All 4 quarters had different patterns, I’m just waiting for it all to dry before I decide what to do with it.
So, if you want to have a go at something different and easy to (you could do this with kids it’s so easy!) then this is definitely an option!
I thought I’d write my crafty goals for the year here.
To be honest, it’s mostly going to be knitting for now. Yes, there’ll be the odd crochet or sewing project too, but I have a little list of knitting projects to get out of the way first (or at the very least, started!).
Sock Yarn Shawl
This is an ongoing project with no particular urgency, but it’s the project I cast on before all of the others on this list, so it gets first place! It’s a 4ply yarn by West Yorkshire Spinners in a GORGEOUS colour way (you can get it here from The Knitting Network if you want it in your stash!).
It’s going to take a while to finish it, but there’s no rush!
I have only ever knitted one sock. As in, ONE. Not a pair…but one!
I threw it away last year as it was all twisted and would never be worn!
Socks are my knitting nemesis. They take ages and they seem so slow to make any progress with at all. I’m a bit impatient!
So, this year, I’m going to focus on socks. I’ve cast on and knitted a couple of rows before Christmas, and then I put it aside. It’s time to pick it up again.
I just find DPNs so fiddly and no, I’m going to try any other methods like the magic loop anytime soon as I think it will be just the same amount of fiddliness!!
Fair Isle Top Down Sweater
I have the aran wool all ready for this. I have the book all ready to look at. I don’t have a pattern!
I’m going to have a go at designing one myself, which means I need to measure myself, design a Fair Isle Yoke motif (I’m thinking trees) and then write up the pattern itself for me to follow.
I’ve never designed a sweater before, I’ve only ever knitted 2 in my life in fact. Last year.
But, it’s a huge project I’m really looking forward to!
I have wool for the following projects:
A soft grey hat
A neon cowl
A baby blanket from scraps
Aran wool for a tank top (sweater vest)
About 20 random single hanks/ balls of yarn that I have NO IDEA what to do with!
And I’m currently crocheting a scraps blanket which I’ll donate somewhere that accepts baby knitted items.
Christmas fat quarters
Denim fabric – maybe a skirt or a bag?
Grey wool fabric into a draught excluder?
Fix a pair of shorts I made last year!
I also bought 3 metres of some striped fabric, with the intention of making either a dress or top. I’m thinking a t-shirt, which isn’t my first choice of garment for sewing…but it’s something I’ve never done before and will give me good practice with pattern matching. I could make it into a mix of t-shirt and dress by doing a long tunic type top.
And finally, I’m going to finish a leather handbag I started last year…it’s all dyed red and green, it just needs to be sewn up. I’ll have to refresh saddle stitch, but it should be no problem once I get into it!
That just needs a big chunk of time to focus on it!
Well, that’s it. All my crafty projects for the year.
There is not a lot on here really, I feel like I finished a lot of the bigger projects last year so I’m almost starting with a clean slate this year. And that feels pretty good. 🙂
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It’s my brother’s birthday today and I spent 20 minutes this morning making him a fabric zipper gift bag.
I was aiming for ‘eco-friendly’ as I didn’t want to use wrapping paper which would just get thrown away. At least he can reuse the bag.
And I haven’t sewn anything for a few months…I’m just chuffed I didn’t have to look up which way to place the fabric, I figured it out all by my little self!
My friend Lizzie bought me the fabric a few weeks ago (thank you!) and there is enough left to do something else with it.
The nerd in me loves the fact that Halloween Darth Vader is a skeleton…in Return of the Jedi you see him briefly as a skeleton when he gets electrocuted. That fabric was designed by a true believer…
I just did a basic bag and inside there is his card, a couple of books, a pack of posh cookies and some loose chocolates. He doesn’t read this blog so don’t panic!
It was good to get the sewing machine out again.
That was basically my only finished make of the week. I’ve also cast on a new knitted baby cardigan and made a pom pom for a baby hat I finished a few days ago. But it’s all been writing still…no time to craft anymore!
I took a few days off because I wasn’t feeling great. I didn’t write much for Medium and didn’t publish much either over the weekend. Since I wasn’t feeling like sitting at a computer and writing, I took it easy and did some stitching.
And I managed to finish my cross-stitch project at last, yay!
I’ve used up what spare threads I had leftover from previous projects and that’s made some room in my craft drawer, not much but I need all the space I can get for new stuff!
I’m thinking a padded placemat or trivet type thing. And I need to do a few more rounds of black stitching on the edges to make it easier to sew up without any white edges showing.
But for now, it’s done!
The light looked better last night as I was taking the photo – it was 12:15am and I was just going to bed!
I’m glad it’s done, it kind of looks like there should be some code hidden in it like in The Matrix!
I enjoyed this mindless project but so many of the threads got tangled or knotted which doesn’t normally happen to me. I am careful not to cut the threads too long and to let them untangle, but it still was quite annoying to constantly untangle them!
Anyway it’s done.
Onto the next project, with is finishing a knitted baby cardigan and trying to get started again on my orange jumper!
It’s 9:30pm on Monday and I haven’t posted anything.
Not the most terrible thing to notice, except I’m trying to post every day in August…so this is my ARGH I HAVEN’T POSTED ANYTHING post!
This weekend I found a crochet Christmas blanket I started at the end of last year, just as a way to use up some spare yarn. As is always the case in such projects, I didn’t have enough to finish, so I had to buy more.
The yarn came on Friday and I’ve done a few rounds already – it’s getting bigger so the rounds take longer. You can read where I got the yarn from in the previous post here:
Here is what the blanket looks like so far. It looks pretty good!
And I’ve also been doing more on my cross stitch project which is also using up spare threads and whatever fabric I had leftover from previous projects.
I don’t know if you can tell what progress I’ve made from previous posts, but I’ve definitely hit the halfway point now.
It’s just random stripes. No pattern!
So that’s what I’ve been up to this weekend craft-wise. Alas no knitting done!
I’ll see you tomorrow – hopefully I’ll be a bit more prepared, haha!
I don’t actually have that many sewing patterns anymore!
A few weeks ago I had a period of manic sewing and went through a few patterns. If I like it I’ll keep it for another use. If not, then it goes straight in the paper recycling!
So, there’s a few less than about a month ago!!
All of the patterns below are free ones from sewing magazines. I think the bigger ones are from Simply Sewing. I can’t remember where I got the other two.
I’ve done the Anna Tote, that was a quick and easy pattern that I definitely want to do again. I’ll stick a picture below of the denim bag I did.
I like the long wrap skirt and the Fiona Dress (the blue one on the right of the pattern) as it has 3/4 length sleeves. I can’t honestly see myself doing the others anytime soon as I’m into knitting at the moment and I’m realising I go through phases of crafts!
But I want to keep them for the future. I have the satchel pattern all cut out and ready to go…just need to check what fabric I have left.
So there you go – a nosy into my sewing pattern stash! Just what you didn’t know you needed!!
I’m doing a random off the top of my head project to use up leftover embroidery threads (and Aida fabric).
It’s just a black outline which I’m filling with random colours. I’m trying to do lines rather than dots as it’s quicker.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, but I’m thinking a trivet or a placemat with some wadding underneath and another piece of backing fabric on the back.
I like the fact that I had all the materials already for this project…I didn’t have to buy anything and I’m using up what would have been thrown away otherwise!
I’m about a third of the way done so far.
I did think about doing a shape in the middle, like an ‘S’ for Sarah…but in the end, I thought it would be easier to just do random lines! I would say if I do a bit every week, then it’ll be finished at the end of August/ early September.
But there really is no rush and it’s so nice not to be looking at a pattern all the time!
Last week was the week I sewed up all my outstanding sewing projects. I even managed to sneak a few small extra ones in too!
I had some fabric scraps leftover from a previous project and thought I’d make a headband. The fabric is quite stretchy, I’m not sure exactly what it is. But I love the colour!
I basically kept wrapping the fabric around my head and trimming a little bit off until, including seam allowance, I thought it was the right size to stay on without sliding off or giving me a headache. Not an exact science, to be sure.
I sewed up the long side, right sides together and turned inside out. I then tucked the end of the tube into the other end, folded the edges neatly over each other and then sewed it up. It took 15 mins if that.
And it’s my favourite make on the sewing machine yet! It’s practical, it FITS perfectly and it’s not too hot to wear in this heat!
If you look on Pinterest you can see lots of ways to make much more interesting ones, like a turban or knotted headband. I just made this off the top of my head (which is where it is currently!). And it used up scraps which would otherwise have been thrown away. I’m really happy with it!
The last week I have done more sewing than I have done in the past 6 months combined!
I now have space in my craft drawers as I’ve got rid of patterns that weren’t working/ that I will NEVER do again and I’ve used up lots of fabric too.
I had the pattern for a simple rucksack (simple…hahaha!) for a while and bought the denim fabric for it a couple of months ago. I already had the green lining fabric from a failed project years ago, as well as belt buckles, d-rings and other bits like webbing from other projects too. I had already cut out the outer pieces and the lining so I was all ready to sew last week.
What I thought would be an afternoon sewing the pieces together turned into Monday afternoon, Tuesday evening, Thursday evening and 2 hours on Friday.
I’m pretty much a beginner at sewing. I’ve done a few cushions, zip bags, a dress, a top, a pair of pj shorts, a skirt. That’s pretty much it apart from odd bits like hemming table cloths, Christmas makes like stockings, bunting, gift bags etc.
So, it really annoys me when patterns talk about bias binding without mentioning it on the list of things to buy! I haven’t bound the raw edges inside the bag, but apart from that, it’s done!
I had to add a red stripe on the front as my stitching on the zip fabric was atrocious! And I had to unpick the top zip as I went wonky. That’s why I didn’t do any more on Wednesday…I was DONE!
I also didn’t see I needed webbing non fray glue stuff…which I obviously don’t have! In fact, the sewing on the webbing for the handles and straps was the hardest part of the bag. I couldn’t get the cross in a square to look neat.
I had to unpick one of the handles as I didn’t realise it was ONE handle on each panel…I did so much unpicking for this project!
The bag as a whole doesn’t look too terrible from a distance…it looks like a bag! But I’m not so happy with the sewing up close. And some of the instructions could have been better too. I didn’t make a note of who it was by but it was a free pattern from a few months ago in the Simply Sewing Magazine.
I like the size and the shape and I love the denim fabric. This week when I made this and a denim tote bag is the first time I’ve worked with denim and I even changed the sewing machine needle to a denim one. The first time I’ve done that too!
I was pleasantly surprised that the denim needle managed to get through so many layers of thick fabric with little difficulty. Maybe I needed to change my needle anyway (I hadn’t done that ever since I got the machine oh…about 20 years ago! :O )
The eagle eyed among you will notice that the d-rings and belt buckles are silver and gold – I just used what I had on hand.
I didn’t topstitch once I’d sewn it together coz you know…I was so DONE with this project!
All in all it’s OK. Certainly better all sewn up than when I was preparing all the pieces.
It was hard to work out the pattern in places, but it was worth having a go. I’m still glad I had a try as now I have a better idea of how rucksacks are put together and I’ve learned a few new skills:
Changing the needle on my sewing machine
Adding webbing/ belt buckles/ d-rings
Making a zip casing (I can’t think of the proper term for the fabric around the zip!) and zipper tabs
Assembling a bag with a lining from a lot of pieces and using 2 zips in a project!
I still learned a lot from this project and it’s technically usable. It’ll go in a drawer or cupboard for now. I’m just glad it’s ticked off my list!
Life is too short to finish a book you hate. Likewise, if you’re not loving a craft project and don’t think you’ll love the finished project…then either unpick it or reuse it somehow.
The colours I used for my latest cross-stitch project were a weird mix that didn’t go nicely together. True, I was using up my stash of threads from previous projects, but I still hated the colours together.
Here is the link to the pattern if you want to see what the proper version looks like! It’s obviously much better than mine as the colours are more cohesive!
So anyway, I decided to stop and do something else to use up the threads.
I think if I do go back to the text design, I will just go out and buy matching new threads!
But for now, I’m making a placemat! I’m calling it a placemat, it could turn into a cushion cover or something else entirely…but for now, it’s a placemat!
I did an outline in black 2 rows wide (would have been 1 but I misjudged the rows!) and I’m going to fill in the centre with random stripes. I’lll try not to put the same colours next to each other, but I won’t stress if I accidentally do that.
Just completely random.
I’m enjoying it so far as I don’t have to look at a pattern, I can put on a video at night and just stitch whatever I want.
[This post contains affiliate links which means if you click the link and make a purchase, I get a small commission of that purchase at no extra cost to you!]
I’ve picked an awful colour scheme for this project! I know I’m using up my stash of threads and fabric…but still I feel I should point out that the colour choices are all mine and in no way am I following the pattern’s colours!!
The purples of the ‘YOU’ look OK, but the rest…I’m reminded of trains for some reason hahaha! Especially the ‘GOOD THOUGHTS’ colours.
See my previous post for details about the pattern. I won’t keep repeating myself.
It’s been nice working on this at night, listening to a SkillShare tutorial. They have some really good videos about graphic design and illustration which I really need to focus and watch the screen. But to have a general video on in the background about business, marketing, mindsets, that type of thing. Well, it’s like I’m watching a productive video, you know? Like I’m doing homework.
But then again…I LOVE homework!
I did a whole ONE ROW of a knitted bag project last week. At the risk of sounding like an old fart, I have wanted to rest my eyes a bit lately. I’m getting headaches from looking at small things like stitches, knitting stitches, and of course, computer/ I-pad screens. So, if I can come off the screens and not have to focus on small things, then so much the better!
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m taking it easy with the crafting for now. I do want to get a few projects finished this summer.
But right now my focus is on getting my Etsy shop set up. I have managed to reach a few goals that I set myself for May, which is exciting, but more on that later!
Have a lovely afternoon- it’s been grey and overcast all day. It even did a bit of mini ice hailing earlier on. I can’t wait for the warmer weather to arrive! May has had more hailstorms than I can remember in a long time.
The other day I posted what I drew when my computer updated. It took so long I started on some cross-stitch too!
This is the last project I have from an Etsy shop called Stitchrovia. I’ve talked in previous blogs about getting designs from here. This one says ‘Think good thoughts and good will find you’.
As with the other designs I bought, I’m using up my stash of Aida and threads so the colours won’t match at all to what the pattern suggests, but since this is only a type-face design with text and a few details, then I don’t think that matters too much!
This is what I have so far… I know it’s hard to see the yellow.
I usually print out a black and white chart, although you get both colour and black and white with your purchase. I just prefer the black and white.
But this time it’s a much bigger picture than the previous two…the pattern fills up 2 pieces of A4 paper with tiny squares.
I want to say it’ll be a project to do bits at a time, but I know once I get into a project like this, I pretty much can’t put it down!
No, I don’t use embroidery hoops! I just iron it at the end (don’t worry, I’m careful not to squish the stitches!).
I’ve also done a whole row of my knitted Neon Fair Isle bag. Yes – A WHOLE ROW! Progress, but doesn’t feel like it!
I guess I really am all knitted and sewn out for a bit!
This was the first time I have ever used black Aida fabric and I gotta say, not a fan! The result of the colours I chose (I didn’t stick to the exact ones from the pattern) and the contrast between them and the fabric looks good, I think.
But the fabric itself was really difficult to use and my stitching ended up looking horrible! The fabric was stiffer than usual, maybe because it’s been dyed black? I don’t know, it was really hard to use, especially to see where the needle needed to go – I did make sure to have a white piece of paper underneath to help, but I found my fat sauasage fingers blocked the white and made a shadow so it was still hard to see!
I still have more of the fabric to use up! Eek!
Here is the finished piece, not sure where to put it as of yet, maybe I’l just pin it to a pin board?!
I have one more cross stitch pattern to go, but a much bigger one.
I’m loving using up my stash – all I’ve paid for so far are the digital patterns. So, a lot of the colours might be the same, but that’s called a cohesive and consistent colour palette, right?!!
I started this project last month and honestly haven’t done anything on it for about 2 or 3 weeks.
I’ve been so preoccupied with my new digital hobby, creating digital ‘art’ and messing around with Photoshop etc. that all crafting has been put to one side.
After several years of ‘BLAH BLAH BLAH’ (which I won’t go into here), I feel like I have emerged with a hit-the-ground-running kind of attitude in the last couple of months or so. Things which have been on my list to do for ages have got done, things I wanted to start have got started. I am MOTIVATED!!!!
So, naturally, knitting and sewing has been put aside for the moment. Although, saying that, I did manage to get about 10 rows of my Neon Fair Isle Bag done last night whilst listening to some Youtube channels.
I also opened a brand spanking new Etsy shop last week too. Yay! There’s nothing on it yet, still doing the back end stuff like policies, making nice banners that kind of thing. But it will eventually become a digital download place where I sell printables (but better quality than what I’ve been posting here! You know…do it ‘Professionally’).
But it’s empty at the moment. I also have to, you know, CREATE some printables for the shop, but just having it opened and ready to go is motivation in and of itself.
I am also leaning towards doing some more sewing again, I feel like sewing is a bit of a faff compared to say, knitting. I have to actually set the sewing machine up downstairs, collect my sewing box, materials, threads, patterns etc together and it just seems to take more time to set up and get started, so I might do some sewing on Saturday or Sunday. [Spoiler alert: I didn’t!!]
Saturday 17 April
I treated myself to a Fat Quarter of fabric from Lovely Jubbly Fabrics which came in the post today. I’m getting seriously fed up of my current fabric choices, I think I might make a bag (my favourite things to make) and if there’s anything leftover then a scrunchie too.
I also went for a walk down the country lanes near me, it has been so sunny and ‘warm’ lately, it looks like not just Spring, but Summer (although occasionally feels like Winter!).
Sunday 18 April
I have bought and printed off a couple of new patterns from an Etsy shop called Stitchrovia. I did a cross-stitch piece a few months ago and after years of putting cross-stitch aside I realised I loved and missed the hand embroidery element to it and so I bought 2 more to do.
They’re text based patterns, not what I usually go for, but I’m feeling motivated lately like I mentioned above, and so, why the heck not?!
A motivational quote makes for a motivated person…maybe?!!
I’m going to stitch the first one on some black Aida I have, that might be a little hard on the eyes, I can’t remember ever having done cross-stitch on a black background before. If it gets too difficult to see, I can always start again on a white background.
Another project that I dug out to finish is a leather handbag. I went on a workshop last year, luckily right before lockdown happened, and made a mini leather handbag and got the pieces ready to make another one.
I dyed the main pieces a dark green and red (looked more pink) last year and bevelled the edges, got the buckle on and then I got sort of stuck sewing on the buckle strap. On the day of the workshop, the teacher did this part for all of us to save a bit of time because saddle stitching takes ages!
I used up a lot of the thread she gave us, and I sort of lost interest a bit. But, now I have some thicker black waxed thread so we’ll see how I go.
I have all the tools and materials, I needed there to be strong natural light really. It was too dark and cold to work downstairs in winter. I’m ready to try again!
Monday 19 April
You know those days that you know you have been productive but there is absolutely NOTHING to show for it? That was today!
House cleaned, paper recycled, papers shredded…so much boring admin stuff done! Dumped so much old stuff…files on computer, old papers (that’s one thing that piles up for me…I love to scribble random notes on paper). I sorted a bag of books to take to the charity shop…and yet the place still looks the same!! 🙂
Part of me being motivated and productive is cleaning and de-cluttering, I never knew years ago, how good it would feel to throw stuff away!
I started a book called The Testaments by Margaret Atwood today. It’s the last book on my shelf that I haven’t read, once this is done then my reading list will be complete.
It’s a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, I love dystopian future fiction. Give me a book about the world ending any day, I mean come on. Who wants a romantic comedy when you can have death and destruction?
I’m going to try and get some more of the Neon Fair Isle Bag done. It’s only small and it’s only knit and purl, but the colour changing and untwisting takes me forever! It’s soooooo slow going. I have about half of the second side to do and then sew it together and make an -icord strap/ drawstring with my French Knitting Doll.
Well, that’s all for now folks, I’ll try and post more regularly but I’m all steam ahead on the digital stuff now. I even planned out an e-book at the weekend. I do want to get my crafty projects done though, sometimes they hang over your head for ages and they become bigger things than they really are. Some things, like the bag, were only meant to be short and quick projects, and yet they drag on for so long that they almost aren’t fun anymore.
Goals for April:
-Finish Neon Fair Isle Bag
-Do some more on my leather bag (doesn’t mater how much, just SOMETHING)
-Try and finish The Testaments book
-Knit a bit more of my orange jumper that I’ve done half of
-DIGITAL STUFF: open Amazon KDP account, finish all the back end of Etsy stuff (FAQs, Policies, etc), do a bit more on Pinterest and RedBubble sites, Figure out commercial usage fonts and then it’s all go! Start designing printables and work on my book.