Monday, 26 September 2011

Middle Earth

I haven't done much 'embroidery' before, a few little things but nothing large scale, as I cross-stitch mostly.  So as usual I am jumping in the deep end and I am going to embroider a map of 'Middle Earth' from The Lord of The Rings.
So far I have found the map I want to use:

And started to transfer it across to some linen:
Which is more difficult than it sounds.  Even with the help of my Aunt's light box (Thank You) it is quite tricky to get the detail.  I have enlarged the original map about 300% but to get all the names in is going to be interesting, as this is quite a detailed version of 'Middle Earth'.
  Although it is not all across on to linen yet, I have stitched a few words so that I can get an idea of how it is going to look:

I've tried a few different sized words just to get a feel for the different texts and am quite happy with these so far.  I am particularly happy with the 'Sea of Rhun' as I think I managed the curls on the letters quite nicely. 
 The larger writing is going to be slightly more difficult, as it is a lot thicker that the small writing.  At the moment my plan is to stitch across the letters so that I can get the right width throughout.
Also I am still undecided as to how I am going to stitch the mountains:
Since they are shaded I want to make sure that I get the feel of them right.  However at the end of the day, "my" map does not have to look exactly like the original, but I am extremely excited about this project, as I am hoping that when it is done it will look quite stunning on the wall.  

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Monday, 19 September 2011

Learning to Sew, Part Two.

Continuing on from Learning to Sew, from last week, I will be reviewing another book that has helped me learn to sew.
This time I am going to look at another popular book:  Sewing for Dummies.  This is another good book that has helped me out quite a lot.  If you are familiar with the "For Dummies" range, then you will recognize the layout of the book, which can be quite helpful.  At the beginning of the book you have a handy "cheat sheet" which includes references such as a needle size chart, with what fabrics are best for different sized needles. And a yardage conversion table, for changing what yardage of fabric you need depending on the width of fabric. (This is a lot less scary than it sounds at first.)

Sewing For Dummies also has useful icons throughout the book, with tips and reminders, as well as warnings.
This is a book that if you wanted to, you could read from front to back.  But if you just wanted to look up a certain technique or look for a few hints and tips on a certain process, you can certainly dip in and out of it with ease.  This is the primary book I used when I first started to learn to sew, however it can be a bit intimidating as it does look a lot like a text book:

If you have just started, and have tried a few things, then I would say that the last chapter (The Part of Tens) is a definite must read! Ten Tips for Mixing Patterns, Ten Mistakes Beginners Often Make and Ten Sewing Fundamentals to Remember.  I should probably have listened to the advice given here about not attempting a project beyond your skill level.  I spent ten months avoiding my sewing machine because the first item of clothing I tried (a SHIRT!) had got me very confused and feeling a bit useless! 
This does have some projects included, but they are a bit old fashioned for me.  But if you do like the projects then that is an added bonus.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Learning to Sew

Since I am still very much a novice on the sewing front, I thought I would write a few posts on what has helped me learn the basics.  There are many courses out there that you can take, but if like me you don't have the time it IS possible to learn at home.  You don't always get it right and I wouldn't advice using expensive fabrics at first, but it is an amazing feeling to be able to say " I made that!".  In fact before you sew anything, I would advice to simply practice sewing straight lines on scrap fabric.  I know this may sound ridiculous, but it is one of the most important things to learn and you will get your first wobbly lines out of the way before attempting to make something.    
Being a bookworm I find books an extremely useful way to learn, so I'm going to review the books that helped me to learn how to sew, so you can choose the right one for you.
Me and My Sewing Machine: A Beginner's Guide 
by Kate Haxell

This is my favorite of the books that I used, as it is slightly different from most sewing guides out there.  This is written on a more personal level and gives you what you need to learn how to sew, not how to become an expert, which can be quite off putting.  
This book is set out to invite you in.  It is not intimidating and has step by step instructions with photos at each and every step. She starts by introducing you to your sewing machine and goes through the basic techniques that you are likely to come across when learning how to sew, from sewing a straight line to sewing in darts. 
 There is then seven projects for you to sew, with handy references to the pages where the techniques are explained.  I must admit that I haven't actually used the projects at the back of the book (although I do keep meaning to sew this cute bag).
Kate's tone is friendly throughout, yet gives all the detail that you would need in a way that is easy to understand.
If you are looking for more in depth techniques such as couture or how to fit patterns, this is not the book for you, but if you are a complete beginner, looking to learn how to do the fundamentals, this book is extremely helpful.


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

First Day Cross Stitch

This was a kit that I got years ago, when my daughter was first born thinking about how far in the future I would need it.  Well the day came yesterday where my darling daughter started school. She went off without a problem and loved every minute of it.  
I have been wondering what to do with this cross stitch, whether to frame it or make it into something but then I decided that actually a simple card would probably be more than adequate and I plan to keep it and put it into a scrap book for her when she is older.

Me To You First Day
I have always loved Me To You kits as they are relatively simple and extremely cute.  The only problem I have with them each time is the amount of different shades of grey.  
I am also entering this into Crafty Boots first challenge.  Although most entries are purely paper crafts, the title says anything goes ; )

Sunday, 4 September 2011

P.E Kit Bag...

...or keypit bag according to my four year old. Bless!
Simply a little drawstring bag ready for the start of school.

I looked at the bags available for school and really really do not like them! So used some material I've had sitting in the stash for a while. 
My daughter is absolutely smitten with it and even the teachers have commented on the idea of a "homemade" bag for school.  It is times like this that I am proud that I can use a sewing machine, even for a simple project or for mending etc.  

Thursday, 1 September 2011


I have finally had something done about "We-don't-know-what-is-wrong-with-you-and-causing-all-this-pain-itis"  I had my appendix out!
So I have been AWOL and I am just taking some time to relax, but am looking forwards to doing the Sprite-Stitch mini swap as soon as I am up and capable.