Sunday, 15 July 2012

Boys & Boats

When I was little I used to make these all the time but I had forgotten about them until the other day.  The boys really enjoyed finding the best leaves for the job and watching them float or sink.  It's so easy to do.
You need: 1 cork, 1 sharp knife, 1 cocktail stick, 1 penny and a leaf or piece of paper.
Just cut the cork in half.
Make a slit down it's curved edge to hold the ballast (penny) and a tiny slit on the flat edge to put the cocktail stick in.
Then find a leaf and stick it on. If the boats keep sinking try a lighter leaf or dry the one you had if it floated originally.
You could also use pretty paper, fabric, ribbon etc but what I like about this is that if you are out camping, chances are you'd have everything to make this (you can use a small stick instead of a cocktail stick) and the kids just love that you can make it from the things all around you that they have found.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Dolly Quilt Tutorial

I made a New Year's resolution to myself to try and make more birthday presents this year.  I am not doing too badly, which is partly why I haven't managed to blog very much...

For Margot and Kate - both recently 3 years old, I made dolly blankets.

For Margot I crocheted a granny square blanket and made a small patchwork quilt and pillow.
The crochet blanket was a single granny square made really big (12 rounds) and then finished off with a row of double crochet all the way around.  I alternated the colours every two rounds. 

See Pip's blog for how to make a Granny Square.

Then I made this mini patchwork quilt...

To make quilt measuring 13" by 17" you'll need:
20 mixed 3.5" squares
1 piece backing fabric 14" x 18"
1 piece wadding/batting 14" x 18"
Thread, scissors etc

First cut out your squares.  It's easier to cut with a roller if you layer the squares rather than cut single layers of fabric.  The blade works better and it's also quicker.  I used a bought plastic square (er...not sure what the official name for that is) but a piece of stiff cardboard works just as well.

Lay out the pattern however you like it - I find it quite useful to take a picture here so that you can refer back to it as once you start picking up squares to sew together it can get a bit confusing.

A very useful tip from my sewing teacher is to use masking tape or something similar on your machine to keep you straight.  She was showing it to someone making curtains but I have used it permanently since and it has really helped keep me on the straight and narrow.

Take the first and second squares and lay them front side to front side facing and sew with a 1cm seam along one side (so your tape should be 1cm out).  Now open it out and lay the third square on the second square and repeat - you are making a column.  Refer to your photo if you are getting muddled.

Do this for all columns and press seams flat. Usually with quilting seams are pressed to one side but I want this to sit completely flat.  Plus it's doesn't need the extra strength that pressing to one side gives.

Lay two columns together RSF (right sides facing) and making sure all the square joins are as close to matching as possible, sew with a 1cm seam all the way down to the bottom.  Then join the rest of the columns in the same way. 

Press all your seams flat and iron the front side too.  Now trim your backing fabric and your batting to match this size.

The next thing I did for ease (and because it is just a dolls blanket!) is quilt the batting to the patchwork.  Lay the batting on the back of the patchwork and slowly follow the squares either across or down (or both). 

Now lay this patchwork with it's attached batting face down on top of the backing fabric facing up (so RSF).

 Tidy up the edges.

Then sew around all edges with 1cm seam leaving a 10cm gap in one edge.  In this picture I have rolled the quilt to make it easier for me to keep straight (I have a tendency for slightly wonky sewing).

Trim the corners.

Turn out through the hole.

Press the seams on the opening so that you can stitch up that hole as you top stitch all the way around.

Et voila, one satisfied customer!