Monday 27 August 2012

You've been framed - Zakka Style

We are rushing along on the Zakka trail as we approach week 22 and the Pleated Coin Purse designed by Karyn from The Workroom.   Rasheda Coleman-Hale, compiler of Zakka Style, informed us via a Flickr thread, that the size of the frame quoted on page 101 is wrong and it should read 4” x 2⅛”.   I brought that size frame and unfortunately it didn’t fit – but more on that in a little while.

After my last excursion into Scrappy Land (see my blog entitled “Rag Ribbon Don’t Do It) I was still left with lots of lovely scrappy bits from twenty-one weeks of Zakkaing so I decided I would use them up on this week’s project.  The coin purse is made from two pieces of fabric measuring under 10” square, so I pieced these fabric squares using scraps from my Zakka box.   Now you may be thinking I’ve lost the plot, stitching ½” squares together but you would be discounting my resourcefulness and cunning – I stitched 1” strips of scraps together and then cross cut them into 1” strips and stitched them together!  Confused – here is a little picture of my strips cut and ready to be stitched together into the 10” pieces.

And here is a little diagram of how I did it:
Not so daft now, am I?  I love the patchwork look and I love that I didn’t have to match seams but most of all I love that I have made something new out of something old.  I also didn't need batting as all those seams added padding to my little purse.

Before you can start though, you will need to enlarge the pattern pieces provided in the book – this is really annoying.  I actually think they could’ve included the full size patterns in the book – but hey – it is a small criticism. 
Next you will need to mark where the fold lines are on your fabric - without them your purse may end up the wrong size.   When you have finished folding your purse it should be the same size as the lining template.

So I have my fabric cut out at the right size and I am ready to go.  Then I read the first paragraph – and I am confused.  This is not helped by there being no diagrams for this pattern – nope, not one.  So when the first instruction told me to “Fold an exterior piece along the left fold line, right side facing up” I can’t figure what piece should be right side facing up – the piece that I have just folded or the piece that isn’t folded.  I looked at the picture of the finished purse and folded along the marks to replicate that.
With pleats pinned in place the next instruction is to press.  This may seem obvious to all the seasoned sewists out there, but do not use fancy pins – they will melt to your iron when you come to press the pleats.  Of course, the Patchsmith would never make such a basic mistake - I am just being considerate in reminding everybody. 
The rest of the pattern went together really easily.  I love the shape of the purse.  It is a shame then that I couldn’t get the finished fabric pouch to fit the frame; the revised frame was too big.  I began to think I would’ve been better off sticking to the smaller size quoted in the book.  This is exactly what Zaynoo did and her purse turned out lovely - check it out hereAnd then I read Joanne’s blog (Joanne is this week’s host).  She has made two really stunning purses both of which use frames of the size quoted in the book.   Joanne used a stitched in frame which worked out really well which is strange because the picture in the Zakka style book is of a stitched-in-frame but it is glued on!! 
So I did what I could and I turned a purse into a pouch.  I unpicked the top seam between outer and lining and inserted a fabric loop.  I added a button to one side and voila (yes, there I go again with my multi-lingual speak). 

I really like my little pleated coin purse and I have just the thing to go in it ....... money from my pattern sales.  I have only been listed on Craftsy for a week but I have already sold some patterns.   I am giving some away free in the Blog Hop Party – check it out here.

I can’t chat any longer, I need to find the hob cleaner and try and get the melted plastic off my iron ........ until next week.

Friday 24 August 2012

Blog Hop Party Giveaway

**** UPDATE ****

Thank you all for entering. 
I used a Random Number Generator to select the winners ......

The ‘Scottie Dog Mug Rug’ pattern went to Kay
The ‘Bee Hive Wall Quilt’ pattern went to Cindy Staub
The ‘Tea and Cake Mug Rug’ pattern went to Carla G.

I have also had the date confirmed for the Patchsmith to join the Glorious Autumn Block Party (hosted again by Quilting Gallery). 
My block will appear on 4th October 2012 so be sure to visit here on that day because there will be a free PDF block pattern and another
give-away which will be open to everybody.
Now back to the blog .......
Tea and Cake Mug Rug Pattern

It has been a brilliant weekend – my tea-and-coffee mug rug appeared on the Craftsy newsletter and sales rocketed.  On top of that I have had one hundred comments for the Blog Hop Party give-away - (it is the last day today so check it out for the chance to win some goodies). 

However, what is really awesome is Amy, from Amy Made That, took my little Scottie Dog mug rug pattern and turned it into a stunning gift.  I cannot believe she found the ideal mug to match - she is just too perfect!!

On top of all this I have added more patterns to my Etsy shop including Joy mug rug pattern. Now wouldn’t that make a super Christmas present?  And, as all Patchsmith patterns are very affordable, this gift at least, will be within budget.
Perfect for Christmas or any time of the year.

As regular readers will know the Zakka sew-along is drawing to a close (only two more weeks to go).  But never fear – I have found another sew-along to take us up until Christmas – it is entitled the Glorious Autumn Block Party and involves three different designers every week for the next fifteen weeks.   It starts tomorrow. Each designer will design a 12” square based on the theme of a ‘glorious autumn’ and the blocks will be posted on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of every week.  There is sure to be quilting, appliqué, patching and so much more, so there will be lots of choice in respect of style, method and skill level.
Each week I will choose one of the three blocks designed for that week and make it up.  I shall post my block here and in the Flickr group for the Quilting Gallery Block Party.   There are “special-deals” all through the season as well so it is a win-win as far as I can see.  Why don’t you join in – it is a great way to practise techniques at the same time as making a quilt – one block at a time.  If autumnal colours aren’t your thing then swap the colours to suit you or your decor.    Check it out here or click on the picture-link above. 

And the really good news - - - I have been invited to make a block.  Yes, ‘tis true - the Patchsmith has been asked to contribute.  The week of my block hasn’t been finalised yet but I can promise you that there will be a give-away to accompany it which will be open to everybody around the globe.  I shall also be producing a PDF for you to download, showing clearly how to put the block together (don’t worry – it will be quick and easy but super cool).  There might even be something extra on the PDF to help you bring the colours of autumn into your home without requiring you to complete a full-size quilt.     So check in regularly and I will let you know as soon as the date has been confirmed.

Or, if you fancy something Christmassy then check out Blossom Hearts Quilts 'A Very Merry HST BOF' - and yet again there is a Flickr group to go with it.
Let me know which one you are going to do.  Also if you find any others then please post a comment.

Gotta go – this is the penultimate week in the Zakka sew-along and this week’s project, the Happy Garland Message Board is calling me.  My embroidery hoop is only 8” rather than the recommended 10” so I am going to have to get creative ...... again!!

Monday 20 August 2012

Cut and Paste - the Zakka Way

It is week 21 on the Zakka sew-along trail from the book "Zakka Style".  This week's project is the Sweet Memories Photo Frame by Ayumi Takahashi and it is more Blue Peter than Debbie Mumm.   However, if you are into woodwork and paper-craft then you are going to love it.

First though, let us get the inevitable out of the way – a suggestion for the cutting measurements section.  Under ‘Natural Linen’ it states “Cut 2 strips 1½” x 4½” for frame top and bottom”.   I believe this should read “Cut 2 strips 2” x 4½” for frame top and bottom”.  When you ‘sashiko thread’ the frame sides you use 2” strips on a 1” board but if you try to ‘sashiko thread’ a 1½” width onto a 1” board (as per step 4 of the instructions on page 98) you will end up with a piece of chipboard, a piece of wadding and a piece of frayed linen.  Trust me, I tried it.

So back to the project.  The only real sewing is in patching the two sides of the frame.  This will take you no longer than 5 minutes.  (I used scraps from Moda’s Flora charm pack.)  The rest of this project involves chipboard, paper, glue and cardboard - oh and a little sashiko threading.    I am not the most dexterous when it comes to sawing and cutting chipboard and I did think about going to the local DIY shop where they cut it for you.  But for that to work I would need to buy a piece of chipboard one yard x two yards.  I am not even sure they would cut such small pieces for me.  So I went into make-do-and-mend mode and used an old Ikea photo frame back. 
Armed with a Stanley knife I cut the frame down to size.  You should’ve heard the commotion downstairs at this time as my daughter and friend discussed the risk of me being let loose with a sharp blade in my hand. 
(They were remembering the time when I broke my elbow whilst undertaking a craft project – in all honesty it had nothing to do with tools – it was caused when I caught my right foot in the left leg of my cut-off trousers and then tried to move!!!)

But they were not wrong this time.  It just so happened that I dropped the Stanley knife, it hit my foot and I now have a very nasty gash on my middle toe.  I should’ve known better - next time I will wear steel-toed shoes before undertaking the Zakka project!
But I digress .......the Ikea frame worked out really well because it means I can stand the photo frame up on my shelf – rather than hanging it.  I can have it either way, horizontally or vertically.  I love the fresh spring colours and I think the finished project looks good.  The blog host, Noodlehead, managed to complete this project in an hour - it took me nearer two.  

But I can’t stop and chat – I’ve got to go and clear up blood splatter in the workroom!

p.s. If you haven’t checked out my PDF patterns then please do so if you get a chance.  Just click one of the pictures on the left-hand side and you will be taken through to my Craftsy shop.  Each pattern costs just $2 (£1.40 approx).  It is my first foray into digital downloads so your support and feedback would be appreciated.   

Sunday 19 August 2012

The Naked Zakkarist

I didn’t complete the Zakka project last week and there are several reasons for this.  Firstly I couldn’t get those pesky triangles to sit right – I tried but it just didn’t work out for me.  I even tried the strip method (no, I don’t mean I sat in the nude – it is bad enough catching the odd bit of finger in the needle – could you imagine the damage of free-flowing boobs - OUCH!!!) I had trouble matching the seams whichever method I used.  So I gave up – there, I’ve admitted it.  If I’m honest my heart wasn’t in it - right from the start there were two projects in the book I wasn’t really interested in – the first was the cookie sack and the second was the teddy pillow.  I made the former but not the latter.

But I haven’t been idle- oh no!  Following on from the Zakka Style sew-along I decided to start one up at work.  The schedule is a little more relaxed (one project a month). 
Our first project in July was to make a mug-rug whilst we decided on the book we would follow.  I made the ‘Tea and Cake’ mug rug which I have blogged about previously.  However, so many people liked this little beauty that I have written up the pattern and put it on Craftsy, together with my signature Bee Hive pattern (often pinned on Pinterest) and a ‘Scottie Dog’ mug rug pattern which I designed for a friend. 
These are my first downloadable patterns – all of which are under $2 (approx £1.40 at today's rates).    I have many more ideas so if you are able, I would really appreciate any support or feedback with this endeavour.
But I digress – back to the work sew-along.  The book we have chosen to follow is ‘EverydayHandmade’ by Cassie Barden and Adrienne Smitke.  The first project in the book is the bag on the front of the book.  It is a linen tote very much in keeping with the Zakka style.  The interest is added with self-covered buttons – twenty of them.  Strewth!!!  Who would’ve thought twenty buttons could cause so much damage!  I don’t have very much strength in my hands so getting the backs on the buttons required a hammer and some good eye-to-hand co-ordination.  I had the hammer but the eye-hand co-ordination was somewhat lacking.  Let’s just say it was a good job I wasn’t using the strip method to make the buttons – the hospital would’ve wanted to know how I got so many bruises in so many places!  Thankfully it was just my hands and the table that took a battering.  But I am absolutely thrilled with the result.   
The pattern in the book used natural linen whereas I decided to use black linen.  I purchased waterproofed Irish linen because I intend to use this bag all through the winter.  I chose a large polka-dot red-and-white print for the lining and used scraps of one of my favourite colours – red – for all twenty buttons.    The linen and lining are interfaced which gives a really lovely weight to the bag.  One of the women at work has used natural linen and Cath Kidston fabric for the buttons – very pretty.  My sister didn’t use buttons at all but appliquéd hearts in the colours of the rainbow – stunning.  If I can, I will take some photos when the group meet up at the end of the month and post them so you can have a look.  Check out the book though, it has some really nice things to make.
But I am back on the Zakka horse, figuratively speaking, otherwise my name would be Lady Godiva.  The next project is the Sweet Memories Photo Frame - week 21 on the Zakka trail.  I just need to find some chipboard and a handsaw – oh and some clothes!!!

p.s.  There is another error concerning next week’s project – the sizing of the curved metal purse frame should read 4" x 2 1/8" according to Rashida in the Zakka thread.  The errors in this book keep growing.  Nobody even mentioned the one in the pot holder pattern supplies section on page 65, which stated that “Insul-Fleece by C&T Publishing” – and I just thought they printed books – who would have thought!   It is a shame though - so many errors in one book.  I would like to say it doesn’t matter but it does. 

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Zakka Toys - Week 19

This week’s project, the ‘sweet sugar cookie sack’ was designed with children in mind.  It is an easy make – a simple bag with a set of six felt cookies. 

The bag is quick to make and quite deep but it is not lined and has no fastener.  The design uses an unattached tie to close the bag - a point picked up on by the blog host, Jen at Bettycrockerass.  It would only be a matter of time before the tie was lost and the fibrefill (or rags) would be all over the playroom floor.  Jen remedied this situation by fixing elastic around the the bag - I stuck with the tie because I was never gonna fill this bag with rags!!

In the book, the bag is accompanied by six felt cookies decorated with felt icing and little beads. However, as I intended to give this project to my little niece I was somewhat concerned that if my niece pretends to eat the cookies the beads may detach.   So I whipped up a pattern and made five little gingerbread girls instead.  And just to add another dimension I decided to appliqué each gingerbread girl with one letter from my niece’s name:   
‘M’ is for Monday – Zakka Monday to be precise.  It is the 19th week in this Zakka Style sew along.
‘E’ is for embroidery but not enjoyment.  I hate embroidering but I stuck to the pattern and embroidered the front patch.  All I could manage was to complete the design in little stitches of different colour threads.  ('E' could also stand for EYE - as in wonky - but I like to think of it as a characteristic - or is she winking at the gingerbread man - the little floozy!)
‘G’ is for gingerbread and gift – this sack is large enough to hold a child-size rolling pin, cutter, ingredients, recipe card and icing decorations.   What a lovely gift for a child (though I may have to replace the floozy with a less brazen gingerbread girl).
‘A’ is for angel - my own cross-stitch design which I added to the back of the sack.  I got the idea from Amy’s wonderful ‘linen bag’ in Week 17.

‘N’ is for Nana Company – the designer of this week’s project.
Which gives us Megan - the most beautiful girl in my village - if not the whole wide world.   

I am thinking the gingerbread girls would make lovely bunting (with or without the name).  They would also make good Christmas decorations for the tree in which case I may replace the feet with buttons or beads - watch this space. 

Wow, I  won the fat quarter pack from the Zakka draw last week - thanks Lindsey.  Also the designer of last week’s project made my Flickr bread basket photo a favourite – am really chuffed.  All-in-all it is gonna be a good week.  No more so because I have a man in my life – shame he is made of gingerbread and wont be around for long ..... oh and he only has one leg ..... oh no, he is legless already – sounds like my usual type of date!

Until next week .......