Tuesday 30 January 2018

Hen Parties at The Shed

It was so nice to host our very first Hen Party in The Shed last week.

12 hens arrived, with Prosecco bottles tucked under their arms, for a few hours of crafting and chatting.

My brief was to include Tartan somewhere within the session, so I put a few suggestions forward to the party planner.

In the end it was decided that the Hens would make themselves a sash each, with Tartan lettering, so they could wear them when they continued the party later on in Carlisle City centre.

The plan was to split the Hens into teams with a designated sewer who was confident enough to to all the Applique work on the sashes, but with everyone seeming quite keen to use the sewing machine  (some for the very first time) they all ended up having a go.

The sashes were finished off with a big wooden button, so they got through quite a few sewing skills in that session - Applique, satin stitch sewing, button sewing and lots of ironing - and the did all look mighty smart in them too!

After a little refreshment break with big gooey chocolate cakes and more Prosecco, it was onto creating a fabulous Slate Heart each using the art of Zentangling (doodling with intent) to decorate.

There was lots of silence at the start of this craft as the concentration levels were high, but the chatter soon returned as they got comfortable with the pens.

The three hours just flew by and it was a lovely atmosphere.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and I certainly enjoyed the experience as everyone was willing to have a go.

A huge HELLO to the bride Kerry, hope your wedding goes fantastically, and big thanks to Lizzy for organising the event and allowing me to be part of the party.

Sunday 28 January 2018

Crochet Pineapple Hat & Gloves

I few weeks ago made a cute little hat using a chevron crochet pattern, it worked out really well, but as I was working it I was thinking of other colourways I could do.

As I have a load of buttons left over from when I had a Bead Shop, I thought I would take inspiration from those.

I grabbed three balls of  Stylecraft DK Yarn in Gold, Emerald and Saffron, and got to work.

And I have to say... although it is not something I would wear myself... I do rather like it!

Of course, you always need to see a hat modelled on a head, and as I hate my photo taken I talked my dear Mother into popping it on her head for a photo  (with the usual warning, "This will be used on Social Media" as I snapped away)

The Pineapple buttons really finish it off I think, don't you?

There was plenty of yarn left after the hat - and the plan it to turn these into kits - anyone fancy a Pineapple Hat? - so I thought I should add some added extra and make a pair of wristwarmers too.

Voila!  Pineapple wristies!

And together they make a might fine set, cheery enough to brighten up any old miserable winter day.

Now, what shall I make next?  I have Pawprint buttons, Watermelons, Ladybirds, Carrots!  Be prepared for some more mad designs coming soon   :)

In the meantime, I will post a link once the Pineapple sets are ready to sell.

Monday 22 January 2018

Teaching beginners to sew

One of my most popular workshops is a Learn To Sew one.  I run this as a one day class, or a 4 x 2 hour course - both cover the same basic rules of learning to use a sewing machine.

I held one of these full day classes last week.

The first hour is spent looking at the sewing machine and working out what all the buttons do.  We change needles, swap presser-feet, learn to thread and wind bobbins and a bit of trouble shooting too.

Then we go on to play and practise the stitches, running up loads of different lines on pieces of sheeting - that bit is much more fun than it might sound, trying out all the various stitches that a sewing machine can offer can be really interesting.

After that, it's time to make things!  Each project is chosen to give a skill of some sort.
 We start off with a simple pin-cushion, the skill in this is cutting straight lines and sewing straight lines, learning to take the fabric in and out of the machine, and at the end of quite a few rows you get a lovely, useful, pin-cushion. 

I forgot to take photos of these at the last class so I can't show you those, but I can show you what they made next - a gorgeous cushion cover.  A very simple style, but perfect for beginners as it shows construction. It is very easy to make a cushion cover, but one of those things that seem quite advanced.

And the last thing we do on this workshop is a fully lined zipped purse.  When I tell the attendees that they will be putting a zip in by the end of the day, they always look shocked/amazed/frightened, but they do it, and they are usually super chuffed with themselves.

If you fancy tackling your own sewing machine, or are thinking of getting one, why not try this class yourself.... you can find out what is on offer by visiting....www.soozintheshed.co.uk/store

Saturday 20 January 2018

Annis McGowan's Needle Felted Owl Doorstops

Last Saturday we welcomed Annis McGowan to The Shed, she is the most marvellous Needle Felter who creates fabulous creatures from wool.

Annis visited us last year to do a Herdwick Sheep workshop, and this time she returned to deliver an Owl Doorstop class.

It was a fully booked workshop, with everyone very eager to make their own unique owl.

Stab, stab, stabbity stab, was all I heard from my office in the back room, not a massive amount of chitter chatter as people seemed to be concentrating on their work.  Luckily not much stabbing into their own fingers, which is always a bonus.

Once the eyes were in place all the owls came alive and the results were simple amazing, each owl had it's own personality - it's amazing that people can have the same tuition and materials yet produce something so different.

Did you know a group of Owls is called a 'Parliament'?  No, neither did I, I had to Google it  :)
So, here is our Parliament of Owls all lined up and eager to be photographed.

I will leave you with a snippet of video - supposedly of Owls tooting...... turned into a load of grown-up's giggling  :)  At least they all had fun.

Thursday 18 January 2018

Caring is Sharing....

"Caring is Sharing" is a phrase I use a lot in my workshop, usually when I am trying to encourage people to 'check in' on their phones, or to put a post on after their class/workshop - after all, the more people that I can reach out to, the more people will come and craft, ensuring The Shed's success.

It's the same for any small business, share and care - and keep it open.

Being a business owner I joined a local networking meeting called CWE, you can find them on Facebook if you are local to Carlisle and a small business owner yourself.  They meet once a month and have business showcases and stuff.  It's really rather good.

Anywhooo, it was there that I met a lady called Susan.  She is a chiropodist. She has been to many a class in The Shed, I have not yet had my feet done... so the sharing is a little one-sided, so far.  But we converse a little on Facebook and when I put up a photo of my home-made Rum Butter  (I make a batch every year), Susan declared that she had never tried it!

Well, I couldn't let someone never taste the delights of Rum Butter, so I offered her a pot.

When she came to collect it, she had a swapsie for me - a pot of her home made jam, Summerfruits, Apple & Cherry.  I mean, YUM!

It was rather delicious, but what did make me smile was the note on the top - "Seemed fair to share" - it's great to meet someone with a similar outlook  :)

Thanks for the jam, Susan, it went really well on my peanut butter on toast  :)

And remember, this year, try those mantras - 'Sharing is Caring', and 'Fair to Share', you never know what nice treats you will get.

Next year I am planning to make an extra batch of Rum Butter just so I can play swapsies.

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Crochet Chevron Baby Hat

Following on from my Chevron Cushion post a few days ago, whilst in the process of making the cushions I suddenly realised with a little bit of tweaking it would make a super cute hat for a toddler.

So, grabbing some leftover yarn I had laying about  (as we all do), I started work.  I did have to undo and redo a few times to get the size and stitch count right, but that's what designing is all about.

Eventually I ended up with the cutest little elf style hat.

I added a pompom and turned the points up, adding some fabulous little Dolly buttons to the peaks.

I am working on another right now for an adult head - I can tell you it's going to be such a fun hat!  Watch this space.

Sunday 14 January 2018

Anniversary Special Workshops - Thread Bowls

As part of our anniversary celebrations I offered some really cheap workshops as taster sessions.

One of these was how to make a Thread Bowl.  These are so much fun, but quite unknown so there was only one person booked on this class.  Never mind though, we had some fun playing, just the two of us!

I made a bowl with lots of different colours and snippets of threads, while Barbara stuck to yellow threads with pieces of tweed thrown in - she says her piece looks like a "deconstructed bumblebee", which I thought was quite apt looking at her colours.

We wash the pieces in warm water after sewing, then you can set them into a bowl shape if you wish. Barbara decided to leave her piece to dry flat so she could decide what to do with it later on.  Can't wait to see what she decides on.

I formed mine into a bowl shape by draping it over a ceramic bowl.

They are not massive bowls, but just big enough to get a taster of the technique.  There is so much you can do with this and it is so much fun.

Friday 12 January 2018

Hand Embroidery for beginners.

Hand Embroidery seems to be making a huge resurgence at the moment.  Everyone seems to want to have a go at it.... and why not?

A little while ago I was given a large amount of embroidery threads - I made a donation to Charity for them, but I also wanted to give something back to the community, so I arranged a free-of-charge hand-embroidery class.  This happened on our first day back after the Festive season.

The idea was well received and the class was fully booked up quite quickly.

We used a piece of Calico along with a heat-sensitive pen to draw our own patterns on. The pen lines disappear when ironed so they work really well for planning designs.

There was only three stitches to learn in this class, I much rather people go away with good knowledge of a smaller amount, than lots of information that boggles their brain and they cannot continue at home.
We learnt Leaf Stitch, Flower Stitch and Chain Stitch.  Enough stitches to make a bunch of flowers and leaves.  (they also took some threads and a needle away so they could finish off their work in their own time).

Even though all the attendees were given exactly the same choice of colours, and the same tuition, the results were completely unique.  And the work looks so different once the pen marks are ironed off.

I think everyone enjoyed their class, some people even asked for a follow on class to learn more stitches, which is exactly what I want to hear  :)

Thanks for coming if you did, your support to The Shed is appreciated.
And if you fancy a class yourself, check out the website to see what is on.....


Wednesday 10 January 2018

Funky Crochet Chevron Cushions

Over the festive season this year I took home four balls of Stylecraft DK yarn and an idea to make a crochet cushion.

In my head I had a psychedelic zig-zag of colour - just the thing to chuck on your sofa to brighten up a cold winter.

The first one didn't work so well, it was rather baggy ... but I could see the potential.

I quickly made a cushion pad to help me along - all I had in the house that I could use was a spare pillow and a very old vintage sewing machine.  I opened up the pillow, took out the stuffing and used the fabric to make the case. I drew around a wastepaper bin to get the round shape I needed, then sewed it and re-stuffed it. (but I also ordered some as it's so much easier  :) )

FOUR attempts later I finally had a cushion that fit the pad perfectly, and had no baggy bits - I mean, who wants baggy bits anyway?

I feel I did get the result I was aiming for in my head, and during the process I was inspired to take the idea to make different things, so keep your eye out for those.... coming soon.

I am planning to make this into a kit very soon - I do have to re-make the cushion so I can photograph it for the tutorial, hopefully I can get that done quite soon.   In the meantime let me leave you with all four sides of the two cushions.