Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Auctions under way...

All the coffee cozy sleeves I posted about yesterday are up on ebay and the auctions have kicked off! Please have a look at the four sets of sleeves and spread the word.

I've also re-listed the mug rugs from last week as they didn't get any bids... but I will keep, keep, keep on making and selling until I have raised as much as possible for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Some fun and exciting work is underway, including some guest bloggers as well as a mini-silent craft auction event coming up at a Bristol Market in March... so stay tuned as the 52 weeks continue on.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Craft #3: Coffee Cozy - reusable coffee sleeves

More and more I've been seeing these little coffee sleeves and 'mug hugs' popping up - and working out a design of my own has been on my 'to-do' list.

I've seen a range of different cozies and designs out there, which wrap around your coffee cup and close with buttons or velcro or different functions and notions, but I wanted to do something which replicated the simple one-size-fits-all cardboard sleeve you get in Starbucks or Caffe Nero.

I took my inspiration from a number of different tutorials, including this lovely one by Skip to my Lou but came up with my own template and design for sewing the patchwork piece into a sleeve.

The first thing I did was pick up a few cardboard coffee sleeves and then used them to create a template, which was the intended size and shape of my sleeve, with a 1/4 inch seam added. After preparing a front and back piece for the sleeve, I sewed them together leaving one side un-sewn for turning out - much like the Skip to my Lou tutorial.

To finish the project, instead of sewing a finishing seam around the entire project, I started sewing along the 'wrong end' (ie. the end which I left un-sewn, for turning out and the end which is folded under where the sleeve overlaps) and continued to sew along the perimeter until I was a few inches away from the 'right end' (the piece which shows when it is overlapped).

When I reached the other end of the sleeve, I looped the 'wrong end' (where I started) sewing back under the 'right end' so that I was sewing over both pieces and my original line of sewing was hidden.

Then, following the edge of the sleeve I simply finished sewing the perimeter until I got back to where I started, and backstitched it at the edge where the overlapped pieces meet.

After tying my loose ends and trimming, I'm finished with a coffee cup sleeve that is just like the cardboard ones you pick up in the shops.

I also did a tweed/wool version as I thought the fabric would suit the project.

All in all, I did four sets of two coffee cozies, all of which will be listed on Ebay tomorrow, with auctions ending this Sunday. I'll update this post with links to the auctions as soon as they are listed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Resolved to Sew (and craft!) for 2012

I'm sure it's obvious to my followers what my main new year's resolution for 2012 is... obviously it's to live up to the 52-week craft challenge that I've set out for myself... by sewing (or crafting) something new every week.

While my first two projects have been made at the sewing machine, there are lots of different crafts on their way as well including handmade bath and body products, paper craft, maybe even some baking (if I can work out the logistics?).

So when veryberryhandmade.co.uk/ asked me about being 'Resolved to Sew 2012' it made me think about my broader sewing resolutions.

1. Complete my 52-week challenge
2. Make more, give more. (Make more gifts for friends and family and give for the sake of giving).
3. Learn to work with curves (I currently have not yet explored the world of curved patchwork, and I need to work up the courage to try).

Very Berry are giving away heaps of beautiful fabrics from U.K. shops - and if you have a few resolutions of your own, you can share them and get yourself in the running to win something yourself.

If you have any advice or know any tutorials for attempting curved patchwork, then please share here! I could use some advice/encouragement to help prepare me to get over that hurdle!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Craft #2 - Mug Rugs

I've been seeing lots of photos, posts and tutorials about 'mug rugs' in and around the crafty interweb, and decided that as my second craft in the 52 week challenge, I would finally get around to making a set.

I've been meaning to get making a set for a while, as the 'mug rug' appeals to me for a number of reasons

1. They are basically mini-quilts, and I like the idea of making a one-day project that involves all the elements of a patchwork quilt.
2. I like that making mug rugs might give me a chance to try out fabric combinations and pattern blocks while putting my test patches to use.
3. I like the idea that we can brighten up tea/coffee time a little bit with these little placemats. Although they are by no means necessary, they make a nice gift and are great for those special times where we sit down and have a catch-up over a cuppa.

Although there are a range of mug rug tutorials out there, I took my cue from "That Girl" (aka. Jennifer) of "That Girl... That Quilt" fame. I particularly liked her mug rug tutorial because it incorporated a blend of cotton and linen fabric, and added the extra feature of a pocket for biscuits, tea bags, spoons, and what not.

Her tutorial is easy to follow for those who are comfortable putting together a basic piece of patchwork as a starting point, and gives a nice, clear explanations for making the pocket and applying the binding. For those who may not be experience enough to build a patchwork top, you could easily attempt your first mug rug with just one well chosen piece of patterned fabric for your top, and then focus just on the pocket and binding techniques.

My work in progress as I follow Jennifer's tutorial.

In the end I was really pleased with what I came up with, and love the combination of linen and cotton prints.

Many thanks to Jennifer for allowing me to follow her tutorial and feature it in my 52-week challenge.

My little set of mug rugs are going sale this week on ebay - so please visit the auction and bid generously!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Craft #1 : Quilted Baby Bibs

***Update - sadly these bibs didn't sell in week 1 - but they are re-listed here for those interested***

These quilted bibs are one of my favourite little gifts to whip up and give to friends and family, and although I concede that they may not be the most practical bibs around (not as wipe-clean as vinyl bibs) I'll argue that they are pretty darn cute - and those who have made use of them agree!

This simple tutorial can be altered to make terry cloth bibs, vinyl bibs, and more - or you can put your patchwork skills to use and create a patchwork front to the bib. In order to make the finishing as easy as possible, the bib is finished with tie much like that of a quilt binding; this hides your rough edges and gives a nice finish to the product.

You can make your own baby bibs really easily - pattern and all.

What you'll need
- cotton print fabric (for front and backing)
- wadding
- sewing machine, thread and accessories
- paper for making your pattern.

1. To make your pattern - simply fold a large piece of paper over and roughly draw a half bib shape with the fold along the vertical axis. (If you draw half your bib, and cut with paper folded, you'll guarantee yourself a perfectly symmetrical shape). You want to draw slightly over sized than your final product - as we'll sew with a 1/4 inch seam and lose 1/4 inch on most edges.
If pattern making stresses you out, just trace a bib you already have and add 1/4 inch all around.

2. Cut out one bib shape for each of your back fabric, wadding, and front, as well as a 26" long 2 inch wide strip which will make your tie.

3. Lay your front and back fabrics right sides together and then lay your wadding over top, so it is laid on the wrong side of the front piece.

4. Sew a 1/4 inch away from the edge, starting at one side of the neck, sewing along the curve of the bib towards the other side of the neck (leave the entire neck open for turning out).

5. Turn out your bib so that the wadding is sandwiched between the front and back pieces. Press your bib.

6. Sew 1/4 inch along from the finished edge of the bib, to finish and neaten the edges - and then freestyle quilt the interior with curves, star shapes or straight lines - whatever you are most comfortable doing. Be sure that you sewing lines start at finish at the rough edges of the bib's neck, backstitching to secure as you finish. This means no tying ends and all your messy finishing work will be covered by the tie.

7. Press the edges of your tie (binding) inwards as you would if you were making bias binding (folding each side into the middle, and then pressing in half again). So that you have a long strip with rough edges exposed at either end.

8. Lay out your binding and placing the bib in the centre of it, so that you tuck the rough edges into the fold of the binding with equal lengths which will form the tie on either sides. Pin the binding in place along the rough edge of the bib.

9. Starting at one end of the binding, tuck in the short raw edge in about 1/2 inch and then begin to sew along the length of the binding backstitching where you started following all the way until the other side, making sure you catch the rough edges of the bib as you go. As you approach the end of the binding, tuck in the raw edge, sew to the edge and backstitch.

10. Tie in any loose threads - and Ta Da! you have a gorgeous little bib!

Four of these little bibs will be auctioned off this week on e-bay as the first set of items which will hopefully raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

better late than never

My plans to kick off 52 weeks : 52 crafts last week, was a bit of a wash out due a number of unforeseen non-crafty circumstances which got in the way. Now that I've found the time to get started, I was faced with two options.

1. Accept that life gets in the way and wait until next year (Booooo!)
2. Get going, get crafty, and get caught up in the challenge before you have time to over-think it. (Yay!)

So better late than never, I'm starting to get going. I've added a new page which outlines what I'm going to do over the year, and I'm currently writing and preparing my first post - items made and ready to be featured and auctioned off for charity!

Please stay tuned as 52 weeks : 52 crafts launches TONIGHT!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

52 weeks 52 crafts

Stay tuned for some exciting news about Lazy Crafternoon's 2012 Challenge, where myself and other guest makers will be making and display a craft a week throughout the year and then selling the weekly made items online to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The upcoming posts will include

- a featured craft every week from a wide range of materials and mediums
- tutorials, tips and tricks from talented crafters
- updates on how our fundraising is going

It all kicks off now! ... but as I am busy picking up fabrics, making contacts, and planning the next 52 weeks the first craft project will make it's appearance on Monday. January 9th!

If you'd like to get involved or have any questions, get in touch or stay tuned for the upcoming posts.