Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Strawberries & Cream

Who could resist such a summery dessert? Sweet chewy meringues topped with whipped cream and warm strawberries, a dusting of icing sugar and a spun sugar decoration.

This was my first attempt at spun sugar - I used 100g sugar to 2tbsp water and you can increase/decrease in this ratio. Once the sugar has dissolved you whack up the temperature and boil it until it turns a caramel colour. Then plunge the pan into a sink of cold water and using a fork and some already prepared sheets of baking parchment or similar, fling the sugar solution vigorously on your fork so it creates a fine hair like substance. You can do it over a rolling pin and slide it off once you are finished and arrange carefully over your dessert.

I think I may have ruined my pan though I'm told you just need to pour boiling water in.

Enjoy summer,
Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Craft Project Bag

If you are Amy Williams {my sister, not the Luge athlete} - look away now.

So, my sister knits and loves hippos, so the obvious thing to make for her birthday is a Hippo project bag! Somewhere to stash your work in progress in a safe place. I altered the project of Shopping Bag from Love... Sewing by Cheryl Owen, which is a roomy bag with pockets on the outside.

I was somewhat limited by the quantity of the hippo fabric - I had half a metre, so although the template in the book called for an x% increase {why do they do this - most home printers only take A4}, I used the measurements of my fabric and did a freehand amendment accordingly, on greaseproof paper!

Project bag/Shopping bag - the possibilites are endless...
The fabric is cut on the fold of the short side, so unfortunately, you have a fabric join in the centre of the bag. Although the original project has a central panel of fabric, I didn't need any extra width. I can only think that the reason for this construction is to do with physics and you can open the bag up better when you are not limited by side seams. Who knows if this is correct?! I did toy with the idea of running ric rac or ribbon down the join but decided against it in the end.

The construction is very straightforward, and if you have ever made a bag before, you will know exactly what to do.  Sew your two outer fabrics together at the short sides, then centering the seam in the middle of the bag, sew the bottom {all while right sides together}.
Near perfect fabric matching in one area, but sadly not throughout!

You repeat for the lining - I added in a little phone sized pocket. Then with the sew the lining and main fabric together, right sides together along the curves, leaving the small  uppermost part open. You have to stack the bag and lining together to do this.
Inner pocket - add a little triangle at the top to reinforce

Pull the bag the right way round through the opening. Iron in place and carefully top stitch the curve. Attach the bag handle by pulling the central piece through and tucking under so no raw edges are showing and sewing {I needed to use a Denim & Jeans needle}. Repeat on the other side and hey presto, you have a bag!

The hippo fabric is Hungry Hippos heavy cotton by Kokka - I bought mine from Celtic Fusion Fabrics. The red spot fabric is a lighter weight cotton. I didn't use interfacing, as the hippo fabric is heavy enough and the bag needs to be fairly flexible.

Obviously, this bag isn't just for knitting but can be used for a range of craft projects.

Love Mrs Jones x

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Knitting Needle Case Tutorial

For someone that doesn't knit, making a knitting needle case seems a bit strange, but I do know a woman who does, and so this is for her.

Ooh, this fabric looks very familiar!

I wanted it to have varying sized compartments and be able to be folded or tied to suit.

Keep your needles in their packets or loose in this case

To make your own, you need two pieces of fabric the same size (if you have knitting needles) measure accordingly, and base your size on that. These are the outer fabric and inner fabric. Then a medium strip the same width as the main fabric and one other piece that will fit up to the half way mark of the case.
Fabric pieces

Fold the smallest piece in half wrong sides together {at the green line} and press with an iron. Tack it to the top of your inner fabric {all the raw edges - 3 sides} so that the fold is at the bottom and once sewn will create a flap.

Fold over and press the top few centimetres of the medium fabric and carefully sew across this fold.

Put the medium fabric on top of the inner fabric as it will finally show. If you want to embellish this piece with ribbon, buttons etc, now is the time to do it! Mark the middle point and sew vertically the length of this piece of fabric, sewing the two fabrics together}. From this point, mark your compartments and sew these too. Don't make them too tiny!

Now you can place the outer fabric right sides together with the three sewn fabrics. Pin and sew round leaving a gap large enough to turn the right way round. If you start at the side below midpoint, you can insert the ribbon tie afterwards.

Clip the corners and turn right way round and press. Press the raw edges of the gap, insert some ribbon or cord as a tie and carefully machine sew the gap.

I added in a little flap at the top so the needles wouldn't slide out the end.
You can see the compartment sizes here. I worked out from the middle measuring an inch or two each time- you can vary the sizes to suit, and you may wish to incorporate an area for circular needles.

I found this tutorial really helpful.

Love Mrs Jones x

Friday, 14 June 2013

Le Challenge 3: Maritime

I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve with this challenge, because I have long lusted after the Mayor's anchor jacket from Jaws, and wanted to make a blazer in a similar fabric. I know it looks crazily 1970s, but love is blind, and also have recently seen it reincarnated as a cool Tommy Hilfiger skirt , so it must be okay, non?

Unfortunately though, I ran out of time and money for acres of blazer fabric, so I have had to put this aside for another time. Instead, I created a cute martime laundry bag:
I have done a bit of hand embroidery on the front :

I added in a bias binding trim with a faux-naif running stitch:
And a red and white polka dot drawstring:
It would make a sweet swimming or beach bag too. 

To see what everyone else got up to, see the Le Challenge link top right.

Love Mrs Jones x