Sunday, 24 February 2013

Book review: Felt with love by Madeleine Millington

'Felt with love: Felt hearts, flowers and much more' by Madeleine Millington, published by Search Press, is a colourful guide to working with thick luxurious wool felt.

It's a perfect beginner book for those interested in starting to sew with felt and will also interest those who wish to hone their craft skills.

There are four pages about materials and the tools you will need, two pages about dyeing fabric, six pages about different stitches (nine stitches in total) and two pages about adding embellishments. There are ten pages of actual size templates at the back of the book.

There are 15 projects in total, three of which are festive, including snowflakes and a festive star.

The quality of the projects is very high and I would say there are very original designs in here like the angel garland (pictured above), the four seasons wall hanging and the princess and the pea (also pictured above). They are longer projects and would require more skill but would look very different to any other projects from a felt book.

Madeleine sells patterns in her shop online and blogs - at Madeleine She is inspired by Medieval, Elizabethan and Folk art and teaches regularly.

The book was released earlier this month and is available to buy on the Search Press website.

Thank you once again to Search Press for sending me this lovely book to review.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Book Donations

Regular readers who have been with me since Feb 2008 (yes I am five this month) will know that in the last year or so the book reviews have been coming in thick and fast with me reviewing about two or three a month.

Alice in Wonderland print by JaneandCompanyDesign

I love writing book reviews. I don't mind advertising for craft publishers. They turn the craft world, enable us to create and are leading the craft and homemade revolution. I am going to continue to write them as I enjoy them and more people read them than read about what I'm crafting. I love the books I receive and some of them have truly inspired me to look beyond knitted jumpers and plain yarn.

But I have about 30 books now. I have finally run out of inventive things to do with the craft books. Some of my favourites are stacked up next to my bed on my bedside table underneath my lamp and they look beautiful.

But some of them are looking forlorn as they are not completely to my taste, which doesn't mean they are no good or of poor quality in any way. I don't re-open them and they lie around gathering dust.

So I have decided to donate this 30-40 per cent to my local library who will receive around fifteen brand new books in the next few weeks. As each book is worth on average about £15 this is a total of above £200 in donations to my local library. I want as many people as humanly possible to take the books out and be inspired by them to create and reduce their material consumption. I hope you agree that this is the greenest thing to do with my books.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Book review: Recycled Chic by Amanda McKittrick

'Recycled Chic' is a new book by Amanda McKittrick published by Murdoch Books this Thursday.

I've had a few 'upcycling' books sent to me now so I was quite sceptical. What would this one do differently to make it stand out from the rest?

I'm glad to say I can see a few recycling projects which I haven't seen before. The crochet doily earrings for example and the iPad jacket, which has been made from an actual suit jacket. There are also two projects which successfully recycle a man's shirt into a very girly top.

I would say this is an excellent book to buy if you don't already have a recycling or 'upcycling' book in your collection. It has the basics like how to add a ruffle to a t-shirt, how to make fabric buttons, how to make a basic bow to embellish clothes and shoes and how to make a pompom.

There are 22 pages of hand sewing advice to begin the book - how to add darts, tucks and pleats amongst other stitches. The rest of the book is divided into two: 'How to reinvent your wardrobe' and 'Accessories and Embellishments'.

The last book I was sent did spark an idea to replace all the buttons on a winter coat with fabric buttons which I wouldn't have had before leafing through the book so these kind of books definitely inspire you to spruce up your wardrobe for few pounds instead of buying new all the time.

'Recycled Chic' by Amanda McKittrick is released on Thursday and is available to buy online from Amazon or your local independent bookshop.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Vintage Camera Cross Stitch Pattern on Etsy

I bought a Vintage Camera cross stitch pattern for my sister for Christmas from TinyModernist on Etsy and made it into a kit with most of what she would need to make it into the cushion shown within the notes that came with it. She thought it was ace and I do too! The fun thing about a PDF pattern is that I can make it as well as her!

Copyright TinyModernist

In the pattern you can make the cross stitch normally using two strands of thread and going over one square of aida. In this one she has also created a version you can do with six strands of thread (ie the whole thread without separating) and over four squares of aida. It's pretty cool. I love the bolder look of the giant cross stitch she has created and it looks fab in the pattern when finished as a cushion. I'm really looking forward to finishing this but it's quite an involved pattern so it's taking a while with me being back in full-time work now along with running my shops in the evenings and weekends.

I'm finding my tension is a bit tighter than normal as I'm having to push the needle through the aida a bit harder due to having thicker thread than I normally would for cross stitch, but apart from that it's going well. I'm also not using a hoop as I've fallen out of love with them and the mark they leave on the fabric. If anyone has any tips in this area let me know. I've heard of wrapping tissue paper around the embroidery hoop but it doesn't solve the problem of not being able to iron the fold out after you've finished. I take the hoop out after I've finished my sewing sessions and it still does it. So for this project I'm rolling the aida over to the bit I want to sew without creasing it.

So obessive have I become about creases in my aida I now buy it on the roll by the metre instead of in packs where it's been folded with an un-iron-able crease in it.

I can't wait to finish this!
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