Wednesday, 25 November 2009

A quick card idea

If, like me, you are just beginning to realise how close its getting to card sending time and how few cards you already have made, then you might need this idea for a quick, but effective Christmas card.
I saw the idea used as a bobby pin, and decided it would also make a good card.
The tree focal point is made entirely of ribbon - you need about half a metre. Cut two 8cm lengths, two 7cm lengths, two 6cm lengths and a different colour piece for the trunk. Fold each piece in half and glue the ends together. Glue your ribbon "trunk" in position and the glue the two longest loops at right angles to each other at the top of the trunk. Continue upwards using shorter loops each time. Finish off with a star or similar at the top of the tree - a button is my favourite. Easy peasy and super quick!!
Of course you don't just have to use ribbon. Strips of torn fabric, crepe paper, felt, off-cuts from mixed media paper-cloth - they will all work fine. You could machine stitch them in place through the centre if you prefer that to gluing. I did one using sheer ribbon and an acetate card front. I attached the ribbons with brads, but it didn't photograph very well, so I haven't included it.

This one uses scraps of patterned paper. The loops would get flattened if sent through the regular post, but it is OK if you are delivering by hand.
Let me know if you think up any good variations.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

I can't believe I'm knitting fair isle again!

What was I thinking of?! I swore years ago that i'd never do anything in fair isle again. All that twisting of the colours around each other to prevent loops, all that trying not to get them too tight, so there is not enough give, all that unwinding of the yarns as they get wrapped so tightly together (possibly with your fingers entwined in them) and then horror of horrors - all those ends to sew in!!So what possessed me to start again? Maybe it was the cuteness of a little baby shoe. Maybe, like childbirth you are genetically programmed to forget the downside of something as time passes. Whatever it was, there is just one problem - having remembered all the things I don't like about it, how will I ever make myself knit the second shoe??!!

Monday, 9 November 2009

A Day of Indulgence

You know when you get an idea in your head and you just want to sit down and play with it, but the higher priority jobs always win out. Well a few weeks ago I treated myself to a book which had a long stitch binding in that I hadn't tried before and I've been itching to have a play with it ever since, but by the time I got through the day's jobs it was always about 4pm and somehow didn't seem worth starting. So yesterday I indulged myself. I let everyone fend for themselves and I played from daybreak until dusk and beyond.
The book I had bought is called The Bookbinding Handbook by Sue Doggett published by Search PressI really didn't need another book on bookbinding, but the pictures looked very clear to follow. The Keith Smith books are like the bibles of bookbinding but you really do have to have your head in gear to follow the diagrams. This book is for my "brain-retired" days.
I cut my paper and folded my signatures.

and pressed them under my trusty press .(Yes, its a brick covered in paper, really)

Next I made the cover out of felt and had great fun embroidering it. I machine sewed a cream felt lining to it.
Did the maths and pricked the sewing holes. I did wonder whether, being felt the holes would just close up again - they did to a certain extent, but if I held it up to the light I could still see them. I then started one of my favourite bits - the sewn binding itself. There is something very comforting about the repetition and the sound of the thread as it works its way through the pages, bringing all the separate pieces together.
The last picture was taken in artificial light. I had "played" all day! Overall, I'm pleased with the way it turned out.I like the fact that I now have a long stitch binding that doesn't have beads or knots on the spine, so its a good choice for a masculine cover, but I didn't like having to go through all but the end signatures twice.
I did enjoy myself though!