Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Next Project Completed

My youngest - Debbie - asked what I wanted for Xmas. I said a tapestry kit for a cushion, so we agreed that she would pick and pay for a tapestry and I would make it for her new flat.

She chose a 13 x 13" cushion that has a London Tourist content.

It has taken me since Christmas to complete this cushion - mainly because I find sewing a constant colour quite boring so I kept putting off those bits. However it is complete now - and also has a major new innovation for me in my sewing progress. As a 12 count (12 x 12 stitches to the square inch) there are 24,336 stitches in the completed cushion!

The major innovation is that, instead of machine sewing the edges and then leaving a gap for the filling - said gap to require hand stitching to close, I chose to install a zip! First off I bought a zip to fit but soon realised that the way forward was to use a 'continuous' zip; i.e. it comes on a roll and you buy it by the foot. I then worked out how to fit it and the following photos show the result.

I think that this has come out very neatly and am very pleased with the final result. I just hope that Debbie is just as pleased as I am.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Valerie has finally finished Winnie the Pooh

Valerie has been working on this for well over a year and has finally finished her marathon task.

It is very large and very colourful. It will make a great nursery floor covering.

We now need to trim it and iron binding on all the way around it will be ready for the floor somehwre.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Tea Cosy Finished

But not the way I thought.

It proved too difficult for me to sew up the cosy using the machine. I took it all apart to start again.

In the process, it turned out that I had cut the back pieces out incorrectly so I had to throw them away. This left me with not enough material so I went back to Franklins in Ipswich to get some more!

I decided that the only way to go was to hand sew because of the bulk of the braid getting in the way of the sewing machine. So, everything you see is hand sewn. It is finally finished. Not quite as tidy in the dark corners as I would wish but Valerie is very pleased with it, which is all that really matters to me. Oh,and Valerie didn't want a hanging loop if you wonder why that is missing!

Monday, 9 January 2012

First steps in the Cosy Make Up

Always start out with a stupid mistake. This wakes you up - or maybe you have to make two mistakes!

Firstly I cut out the reverse of the tapestry side. The straightening process didn't quite produce a perfectly square item but it really doesn't matter that much.  Except that I had the tapestry the wrong way round  when cutting out the reverse so the pieces only matched if the pattern side of the reverse was inside! Fortunately, I noticed that and then cut out the other two pieces and got all three correct. - Error 1. Then I pinned up the tapestry side of the cosy - and pinned it with the back of the tapestry against the front side of the backing. This would have resulted in the reverse side being on the outside - not good! Error 2. Here is the photo of that:

I have to correct that.

Here is the other side of the cosy - correctly pinned with the outer side to the inside. For the non-sewers amongst you, you sew it up in reverse on three sides and then turn it out - put the backing in - and then sew up the remaining side by hand.

Lastly, so that I can sew a correct shape for the non-tapestry side of the cosy, I needed a paper template of the exact size of the cosy itself (without the outer sewing edge. I did this by putting a sheet of paper under the tapestry side (picture up) and then went around the outline with a pin. This left a line of holes on the paper which I joined up and cut!
This now gives me a template to draw around. The line so produced with give me a sewing line.

Well here we go!

Tapestry Blocking works

Well, here is a before andafter. As you can see, the process has worked.

All I have to do now is to sew the thing up - gulp!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Tapestry Blocking

Blocking is the name for straightening out a tapestry. I have never tried this before so it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

Step 1. Dampen down the tapestry - Valerie is horrified that I just ran it under some warm water coming from the kitchen tap! I then dried off the excess carefully.
Step 2. Lay out a right angle on a board.
Step 3. Pin two sides to the right angle.
Step 4. Slowly tease - pull - the tapestry into shape and pin it as square as it will go.
Step 5. Repeat at daily intervals until it is in the right shape.

I am using some cable staples to pin this down because they how the material fine but have a loop to get hold of when you want to pull them out.

As you can see, it is already much straighter than it was. I think it will need another go on Sunday and it should be Ok then to start putting the cosy together.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Oh My - was this one Hard - A Tea Cosy ready for sewing up

When I was in John Lewis in Oxford Street, London back in October, I bought a Primavera Tea Cosy kit. Little did I realise how hard this was going to be. I have only got to the end of the tapestry sewing stage, which was hard enough. I have all the 'fun' of making up the tea cosy next! The difficulty came from the complexity of the pattern. I have provided a couple of close up shots of the stitching plus an overall shot of the completed tapestry.

Making it up as a Tea Cosy

This is the process. Firstly, I have to pin this out on a board so that it is square and then douse it with water. This will need repeating about 3 times but then I should end up with a straight item rather then the distorted version I have at the moment. The distortion comes from the stresses that the slightly different tensions give to the shape.

Then I have to do the following:
1. Sew a backing onto the item and stuff it with wadding. I have some flat, oven glove wadding to use.
2. Make a second copy of this with two backing sheets filled with wadding.
3. I then have to pin the two together, along with some braid to decorate the edges.
4. I then have to sew the whole thing together.

Whew! It will be good if I can do this.

I did speak to Charlotte at Sew existing (the makers of Primavera tapestries) who advised me on the braid but admitted that there sample version in the catalogue only has a ribbon hanging loop - as braid is quite hard! So no trouble here then!

I am starting the finishing process over the weekend so watch this space.

One More Cushion Finished

I actually finished this about 2 months ago but forgot to post a photo.

This cushion is a new make for me - Jolly Red.

This was a bit different from previous cushions because it is a 10 count kit rather than the 12 count that I have been doing. 10 count material has a double weft to add more strength to the stitch. Without the double weft, because the hole is bigger but the thread is the same thickness, the holes may show some opening on the edges. the double weft avoids that. Jolly Red were very good to deal with. They offer extra threads if you run out, which I did with one colour. Within 2 days I got a parcel with an extra thread - well done.

The only problem I found was that, although the kits are a similar price, the 10 count means that you finish the cushion quicker - 12 count is 144 stitches per square inch where 10 count is only 100 so on a 14" x 14" there is only (!!) 19,600 stitches as opposed to 28,224 in the 10 count.

Still it was good fun and I am probably going to make another Jolly Red kit soon - a tea cosy probably.

Here is the finished cushion - it is called "The Tree of Life"