K for Knitting – A to Z Challenge

I love knitting, but talking to fellow crafter’s I find some don’t know how to read a ball band or how to correct the tension when they are knitting.

At the beginning on the year I ran a workshop on knitting, and covered these two basic knitting facts.


Understanding a Ball Band

Understanding a Ball Band

Also on the ball band there could be the measurement for the tension square that the wool will knit to, and most patterns will tell you the tension square measurement.

Why is it important?

By knitting a tension square you ensure your knitting will be the correct size, and you will have enough yarn to complete the project.

For years I knit really tight, and now I knit really loose (thanks to my Mom giving me cotton to knit with. I ended up so tight on the needles I couldn’t move the stitches).

So if you knitting doesn’t turn out to be the right size, knit a tension square.

For double knitting 22 stitches and 30 rows = 4 inches square on 4mm needles.

If the square is bigger repeat the square smaller needles and check measurements again.

If smaller increase the size of you needles and knit another square.

By reading the ball band correctly and knitting a tension square, your knitting will be the correct size and fit correctly to the measurements on the pattern, plus you will not run out of wool.

Happy Crafting




J for Join a Group – A to Z Challenge

The best thing about crafting is sharing what you make and learn. And the best way of doing that to to join a group.

There are lots of group all over the place. Start by looking in the crafting magazines, or the local library. You will find local groups, some which are just for knitting, some for sewing, some for everything.

There are on line groups like www.ravelry.com which is dedicated to knitting, and quick search will result in many more.

My Mom runs such a group (or 4) she plans projects every 6 weeks, and the rest of the time you can do what you like. she is there to help and guide. I usually join in when I can and when I have a large project that need help.

If you can’t commit to every week or month, some craft shops run drop in sessions, or alternative go on a workshop, crafting day, or join the crafting sessions that are run at the large craft shows.

Joining a group of like minded people is exciting and very rewarding. you will learn something, be inspired and have a good time. and if not there will probably be a cup of coffee for you to enjoy.

What are you waiting for? be inspired and make new friends.

Happy Crafting

March Round up

March weather was very mixed in the UK. we had snow, frost, rain, the march winds and glorious sunshine.

Me and my husband Stuart, cleared out the green house and moved the veg plots so they are more acceptable and easier to use. I am hoping for bumper crops this year.

My 1st month at slimming world I have lost 1/2 stone in weight, loosing about 1 1/2 pounds a week. I feel healthier and have more energy. 🙂

We celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary, (no chocolate, but a glass of wine was nice), and we had a lovely relaxing weekend near Ludlow. Check out Ludow food centre, yummy.

Both the craft workshops went well, and the craft fair was brilliant, lot of people buying our stuff. the demo’s i did were good fun also, if now stressful with the prep, and my family were in the audience.


I have signed up for the April A to Z Challenge. every day (expect Sundays) you blog, starting at A, So 1st +A, 2nd + B, and so on.

There are two workshops this month. Beginners Patchwork (which is full) and Learn to make Lace with a needle or Tatting. places left.

And i have another girls day out. Me my Mom and Sister are going to Wonderwool in Wales on 27th. As we spin and weave it is a specialist show just for wool lovers (but any one can go) . I have saved some money and have a couple of projects that i need to buy for. I am so excited

Again lot of things are happening this month, but with the extra hour as the clocks have changed i should fit it all in.

Happy Crafting

A for Applique – A to Z Challenge



1.   Equipment required

Basic sewing kit

o   Fabric scissors

o   Paper scissors

o   Sewing cotton the same colour as the fabric.

o   Hand sewing needles

o   Thimble

o   Seam ripper

o   Coloured  headed pins, large and small

o   Tailors chalk or water soluble fabric marker

o   Tape measure


vDifferent coloured fabrics, off cuts or fat quarters.

Tip: Choose fabrics that complement and enhance each other for the main design, and for the border use a contrasting colour

  • Pencil and paper for templates
  • Freezer paper
  • Bondaweb
  • Iron on interfacing

2. The Basic Techniques

Before you start cutting always Iron the fabric

Always use a 1/4in (6mm) seam allowance

Choose a design

Decide the finished use of your project, so you can determine which fabric is best to use.



Templates can be printed off the internet or found in books. Then enlarged/reduced using a photocopier, for the size you require. Or, you can create your own.

Make the template out of cardboard for longer lasting use.

Place the template along the straight grain of the fabric, and trace the template with a tailor’s pencil or chalk. Then, cut out pieces with a pair of sharp scissors.


Freezer paper

Draw your motif on the dull side, cut it out and place in on top of the appliqué piece if you lay the plastic-y side down, and then heat it up with an iron (no steam), it will then stick to the surface you have just ironed it to.

NOTE: be careful not to iron it with the smooth plastic side up, or it’ll stick to your iron and cause a mess!

Cut the fabric around the paper and snip the edges where needed. Now iron over the seam on to the smooth surface of the paper, to create a neat edge.

After you have used it as a stencil, you just peel it away.  It is such a light adhesion, that it doesn’t leave any residue on your fabric. You can usually reuse this piece several times.



Interfacing has a smooth side and a rough side. Iron it with the rough side down, on the material, using a warm iron. This has now stabilized the material, so you can cut out the patch.

Alternatively, cut the patch out of the interfacing then iron it on to the material. Cut the shape out leaving either no seam if machining, or a ¼ inch seam if turning and applying by hand.


You will notice that the Bond a web has a smooth side and a rough side.  Choose your design and then trace your design on to the SMOOTH side.  Cut out your shapes leaving a seam away from the drawn line.

Using a hot iron with NO steam gently press your Bondaweb onto the WRONG side of the fabric.

Cut out your shapes using a sharp pair of scissors.  Peel the layer of paper on the back off gently.   The wrong side of your fabric will be left with a layer of adhesive on it.

Place your shapes right side up on the background fabric,then gently press with a hot iron. The shapes will now be stuck to your fabric.

Keep adding to your chosen designs. Applique by hand using a blanket stitch or the dsign can be worked on a sewing machine.



The key to a good quilt is the cut the pieces accurately. This is best achieved by using sharp pointed scissors. For straight edges a rotary cutter.


3. Stitching

By Hand

fold under

Needle turning

You use your needle to turn the fabric under.  The colour of thread should match the piece of fabric you are appliqueing as closely as possible.

Choose a nice straight, or as close to straight as possible place to start. Use the tip of your needle to turn under the seam allowance.

Bring up your needle from the back, up through the background, and just catch the very edge of your applique piece

Put your needle back into the background, exactly next to where you came up.

Bring your needle back up approximately 1/8th inch away, up through the background and catching the very edge of the applique again.

sewing egdes

When you get to a sharp concave curve make your stitches tiny, sewing them as close together as possible, since there is hardly any seam allowance in these areas.

When you get to a fabric point. Sew to the top of the point sewing another stich in the exact same spot. This sets the point in place. Flip under the point, and run your needle along and under it, to get it nice smooth finish. The stitches will help to pull in any bumps in the fabric.

interfacing fold underturn over method

Interfacing can also be used to create a stable edge on more complicated patterns. The edge of the fabric is folded over and secured with a tacking stitch. Then applied to the fabric. The tacking is removed once the patch is secure.


Machine Stitching

 m a step 3

The width of the zigzag stitch used will be determined by the size of the design and the type of fabric being stitched.

Smaller designs will require a narrow row of zigzag stitching. Larger designs can be finished with wider zigzag stitching.

Tightly woven fabrics can be finished with a narrower row of zigzag stitching

The stitches should form a smooth line of satin stitches.

NOTE: If the stitch length is too long, fabric edges will ravel out from between stitches. If the stitch length is too short, the stitches will bunch up and cause the machine to jam.

Practice on a small piece to ensure you have the stitches right.

Start on a straight edge, and a slow sewing speed for more control.

When you come to a curve on the design ease the patch round, following the pattern.

At a corner, stop and reposition the needle so it is at the edge of the patch

To finish hand sew all the edges in.

4. Finishing

Bias binding

There are a number of methods to finish the project off. This needs to be sympathetic to the design but still create the wow factor, as well as being practical.

The edges of your project need to be sewn in, to stop the fabric fraying. This can be done by binding the edges with some more of the bias.

If you are feeling adventurous and have some time to play, making your own bias binding can be very satisfying. It also has the benefit of using some of the fabric in your design to complement the finished project.

Using shop bought bias is more time effective and has the benefits of being colorfast and preshrunk.

Bias binding can be bought in cotton, poly cotton and patterned. You can also use alternatives to outline your design and finish your project. Cotton tape and ribbon are good outliners.

Once you have completed the overall design press to seal the fabric into place and check all the binding is sewn on correctly.



To create other interesting features to your project you can add lace, buttons, beads, and sequins etc., anything that enhances the design and enriches the overall effects.

NOTE: if your project is to be worn wear or used be careful where you put the embellishment’s as they may cause irritation.

Applique teapot

February Round up

So February was a mixed month weather wise in the UK. Rain, flooding (but not where i live) sunshine, and the last few days have felt like spring is about to arrive.

My Olympic challenge was a success with two hats knitted to the correct size. what a result, my attempt at hats have resulted in dolls hats in the past.

Girls day way great, lunch out at the pub, laughter and tea. oh and I made a plated rag rug on the sewing machine for my demo’s on March.

also the crochet workshop’s were a good, everyone make at least one granny square, and went home with plans for more.

I also started Slimming world diet.


The Craft network challenge did not happen 😦  to may other things going on, but i still have a week.

I am running 2 craft workshops this month, Learn to Sew – bond with you sewing machine and Rag Rug Making (places left on both)

This month is all about Rag Rugs, I have a demo for the WI and will be attending a craft fair in Stourbridge where I will be doing another rag rug demo and workshop promotion. we will also be selling craft items.

Mother day UK will be then end of the month and then I go on holiday, which i think by then i will need, looking at the busy schedule. so which project shall I take with me?probably be Needle Tatting as that is a workshop for April.

no rest for the wicked (and i need chocolate, I will allow 3 syns only on slimming world)

Happy Crafting