Sunday, 25 May 2014

Where have I been?

Well I've not managed to finish a blog post I started writing weeks ago and there is a big bad reason for this... My laptops broken!!! I know right, catastrophe!

 So I bought a new laptop and it's had to go back to the shop

I have been told 10 days to get it back in the mean time I am trying to plan what the next few weeks will bring craft wise.

Only problem is all my swatches and patterns for my SWAP is on my laptop.
I can get on here briefly but its unknown how long it will stay on.

So until my new laptop is returned all shall be quiet


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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Braiding tutorial

So today should be the next part of my sew along unfortunately I've had a week from hell and not been able to do it shame on me but I hope to win favour by bringing you a new tutorial.
 I started to write this  on the train going to a gig, Delain and Within Temptation \m/,  accompanying me is my 7 year old daughter. It struck me that my old band long sleeve could be adapted to somehow fit her.
After some thinking I thought I would braid down the back well it worked better then I could of thought fits a dream and as you can see it looks totally cute.

So I bring you how to make a braided top.
T-shirt (must be bigger then required)

needle and thread
Something to cut fabric (craft knife or rotary cutter will work well)
Cutting mat
Glue dots (not essential)
crochet hook if doing smaller braids
iron and starch
This gives instructions to make a double braided top. To make a single braid down the middle I will let you know the steps to skip.
 First fold your top in half down the middle seam to seam, starch and press well. 

Now you should have a nice sharp line down the middle

If doing a single row you're ready for cutting leave the shirt folded in the middle bit ensure you only have the side your cutting folded place a couple of pins to ensure the fabric doesn't shift.
If doing double then fold one underarm seam to the centre fold and press well repeat for the other side, you may wish to repeat the fold on the other side after you have cut if easier.

Next is to place the top on a cutting mat, I placed some glue dots on the mat to help stop it slipping but if you put anything on the mat make sure it is safe to use with your fabric. 

Line the fabric up with a line to start from and decide how big you want the braid, I was 2 squares along well near enough and 1 inch deep, this makes a 2 inch cut. 
Using a ruler or other hard straight edge cut carefully. I started with a craft knife but found a rotary cutter easier in the end.  Alternatively you could draw your marks on with tailors chalk and use scissors. 

Repeat on the other side.

Now you're ready for braiding

To braid it your going from the second to top piece and bringing it up and over the top one.
This leaves a little loop from the piece you just brought up, you're going to bring the next one down up and through that loop, making a new loop bring the next one through that one and repeat till you reach the bottom.

On the back where it was quite big I found it fine using my fingers but on the sleeves where I had much smaller slits I couldn't use my fingers so I used a 6mm crochet hook.

When you reach the bottom secure it with a quick hand stitch.
Repeat on the other side and then take it to the machine and go over your hand stitch to ensure it is very secure.

As you weave it through the loops it makes a braid

I then topped it off at the top with a small bow as I found the gap a bit too big. You can sew the big gap up, embellish it or leave it as it!

I embellished it with Bows at the top


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Friday, 4 April 2014

Sew a Long - Week One

Welcome to the first part of my basic's Sew Along, for this I wanted to focus on my own personal sewing issue ZIPS.

Zips, zips, zips I don't go a day where I don't touch atleast one, if it's not on my own clothes then on the childrens clothes, my eldests pencil case, their coats so many zips.
Most people prefer to use them instead of buttons as buttons can be time consuming, I hate putting them on things, my previous tries at zips have gone horribly wrong so I gave up. I have quite a stash of them, ironicly none in the size I need, but I just avoid them.

This is my first tutorial so it may be a bit rough around the edges.
Equipment needed
  • Zipper foot
  • Zip
  • Fabric 
  • Pins or needle and thread (if hand tacking)

Skills needed

You need to be able preform a straight stitch.

First think you will need is a Zipper foot this allows you to sew closer to the zip it should looks a bit like this one. You will see it has a bar separated by a middle post this allows you to attach is on either side for sewing.

Universal Zipper foot for Low Shank machines
Underside of a regular Zipper foot
In this tutorial I pinned the zip to my fabric simply because the instructions I was following for the coin purse said to but it would be much to easier to hand tack it in place.
Secure the zip to the right side of the fabric. If your fabric frays easily then you will want
either overlock or zig-zag stitch the edge first.

Start with a securing stitch, sew steadily along with a straight stitch, till the end and finish with another securing stitch.

You then fold it back and you want to press it at a tempreture sutible for your fabric.

You're then pinning (or hand tacking) the other side in the same way and repeating on the other side.


Again fold back and press again so the fabric stays nicely at either side of the zip and VOILÀ you have attached a zip!

Now if your accomplished at doing a basic zip there is plenty more versions to play with you can do lapped zips, mu husband currently likes that term as he has learnt it watching the Great British Sewing Bee, it's that and Sweetheart necklines, fly zippers and if you have the right foot you can do an invisible zip, there is tutorials on this on youtube with a regular zip foot.

You can also try on a variety of projects using them as decoration.

I have seen pencil cases and bags made purely from zips so its not as plain and boring as it seems.

Now I hand this over to you lot.

I am really interested to see what other people can do so please share with me your attempts even if they go wrong.
You can share with me via 
Instagram: with #knottednelly and tag me @insonstis  
Twitter: #knottednelly and @Disabledmum
or via your personal blog and letting me know in the comments...

If your taking part from your blog please let me know so I can add you to the list this helps me to view people taking part and see what you are making go here to see how to take part from your blog 


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Thursday, 3 April 2014

I love sewing but...

I love sewing but being a mummy of a Brownie ( or Girl Scout for American followers) can really push you sometimes. 

It's not that I dislike sewing on my kids patches, in fact once your done that sense of pride that your kids earnt that badge and now she can wear it and everyone can see what she achieved.

But as I am sewing tags into her clothes for pack holiday which she leaves for in days my machine has a hissy fit the bobbin casing does something.
Something which hours of seemingly repetitive in outing suddenly fixes, even though I didn't do anything different to the first time, I then in my over stressed state put the needle, which I have to change because it broke during the bobbin fiasco, in backwards and by the time I've figured that out its time for bed, my bad back is now in spasm and I've still loads to sew...
It can almost make me loose the will to sew...

I wonder what almost makes you loose the will to sew?

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Introduction to the Basic skills Sew-A-long

The first part of the Sew-A-Long goes up very very soon, talking like days.
What I wanted to do was to bring a wee introduction.

So first a wee list of what we will be looking at I have tried to cover most of the things which if your going to sew you will come across at some point.
As someone who personally has sewn for a while I find some of the things I know how to do but I avoid because I found them a pain in the arse. I know practice makes perfect, I know those things you find annoying, fiddly and difficult to do with practice become easy.

What I really hope is to see more accomplished sewers taking a more advanced look at the basics and showing us all how to really take it forward.

For most of these things you wont need any real equipment I will at the start of each part clearly what you will need if anything.

You do need to know how to do a basic stitch either forward stitch on your sewing machine or to be able to do a running stitch by hand.

So we will look at; 
  • Zips (You may prefer to buy a zipper foot for your machine if it does not come with one)
  • Buttons 
  • Binding 
  • Shirring (You will need shirring elastic)
  • Gathering
  • Appliqué
  • Facings*
  • Pleats 
  • Darts
  • Collars
  • Cuffs*
  • Piping (You will need piping cord and may prefer to purchase a piping foot for your machine)
*indicates you will need interfacing to suit your fabric
On the list below I have not put what you need if obvious (ala zips/buttons)

Someone asked me how they can follow as they were not very savvy on this if you have a google+ account you can click the connect button on the right hand side

You can follow me on the following
Twitter: #knottednelly and @Disabledmum

I will also try and pop pictures on Instagram: with #knottednelly and you can add me @insonstis  

And failing all else just book mark the blog and check back often

I will get at least one part up a week so check back at least that often though I hope to get up ideas and my attempts during the week even if they have gone wrong, after all we all make mistakes its how we learn.

So that's all for today but please check back in a couple of days for part one.


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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Sewing my Stash and a Sew Along

Apologies for a long silence, I have been very poorly one thing after another and getting words to screen was NOT happening. But voilà here I am still ill but less so then I was.

And let the blogging commence...

So I have a fabric stash, this I doubt would surprise any other crafter of any kind, we ALL have stashes for what ever craft we do, its like a law isn't it.

So I decided I was going to sew my stash as it drives my husband mad.
Then I decided I was going to not only sew my stash but use more of my paper patterns I have, I don't use them often as they scare me, so fragile and I like to trace them rather then cut, I have 3 kids, 3 different sizes it's a necessity to trace.

And THEN I saw a local sewing co-op opening and it said about workshops etc. and I realised, I only do what I always do I either free hand everything or I use basic printed patterns from Pinterest or magazines.

I am very comfortable with what I do but I don't do a lot of variation so I decide... I am going to also be attempting to learn a new skill for every pattern I use.

So it's a pattern using, stash sewing, skill learning fest going on.

What I am really wanting to is invite you all to join me in this, you don't need to sew your stash and you won't even need to buy the same patterns as I have.
All you need to do is complete some kind of item using the featured technique. You don't need to even need to do something conventional with it, if you know the technique already you can really go wild and out of the box with it if you want to.

I will post the technique, how to do it and also if possible how to take it further/make it more advanced. I will if I have any ideas give some ideas on how to use them outside of the box.

To take part you all you need to do is get any bits required, ie. A zip if its something to do with zips.

If you have a blog I have a button to place on your blog, also if you reply on here with your blog title I will add it to the list of blogs taking part.

When you have finished your item of the week then you just put either a link to the image in your blog or website or post an image and short explanation of what you have made in the comments of the post on here with the technique in.

Happy sewing please share this around as many people taking part the better and remember this is for even beginners.


Don't forget to leave a comment! Especially if there is a technique which you would like featured just let me know below.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Did ya miss me?

So the last week has been crazy and I don't mean your basic being a mum kinda crazy, I like to think I have adapted to that kind of crazy, I mean the kind of no time to pee non stop stress filled kind of crazy.

I've had no time to blog, craft and limited time for even the necessities like Facebook.
Though I'm hoping that next week will be a lot less hectic, so I am planning on getting a lot more crafting done.

I've got 2 on the go projects at the moment 1 is a secret crochet project secret due to the disaster of my last project, in which I confused English Double Crochet with American Double Crochet, my monster was rather gappy. So if this one looks nothing like it is meant to I shall pretend that's what it is meant to be.
Clever eh! 
The second is new whilst reading one of my craft mags I saw it and I had to do it, mainly as I've a thing for cats, even though it meant new kit. So the stuff came and I started and it's not fab, the magazine made it look easier then it is.
So my felt cats not rounded or looking like a cat, John said make it into a fox,  we will see when he is finished. 
The poor guy is camera shy at the moment, I will see if I can tempt him out later with some kitty treats or what ever a fox's eat.

On the subject of magazines, I have this terrible habit of collecting the cover free projects and never doing them, so I am going through using them up right now. I've dragged out four of them, three wee bits and a bag decorating one, so slotting them in too. I have almost finished my 'Mug cosy' which will be a 'Can cosy', mainly as I like my coffee quite cool thanks to my twitchy hands, hot coffee is a burn risk. With summer coming a nice cold can of fizzy, will be nice but the cold can hurts my hands so will use my 'Can cosy'.

See who knew I had a logical brain in there?

So that's my week planned out, though I hope for some books to arrive for something big which is happening in October...


Oh yes you read right, I will be starting a degree, BA (hons) History with the Open University yay!

To celebrate I am hoping to feature some amazing historical seamstresses and/or tailors so watch this space!

Also trying to work on a sew-a-long idea,if anyone has any ideas then please, please, please let me know via the comments below.

Don't forget to leave a comment!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Inspiration for all!

Ever have that creative itch but nothings getting those inspired juices flowing? Every crafter has those what to do moments.
I know them only too well myself. It's that time that I hit Pintrest to find something only well I'm a huge Pintrest addict so then by the time I draw myself away there's no time to make anything 'doh.

Well if you're anything like me Faye of Unravel & Unwind has a solution for you 
On her page Unravel & Unwind she will be running a new challenge the Creative Creatures Project where each participant draws a rough picture of a creature and shares it on the wall of her Facebook page, this effectively signs you up. 

Then she at random gives each participant one of these pictures at random and the challenge is to recreate this creature in which ever crafty format they feel comfortable with.

When asked how she got the inspiration to run the challenge Faye told me she originally saw it on Ravelry posted by Uncommon Crochet group. 'I thought it was a brilliant way to get people interacting with the Craft Cafe, when they are not physically able to get to us.' 

I have to say I certainly agree with Faye on that one, I find there is a certain fun in taking part of a group especially when you know its all over the country. 

Faye is currently working on her group Unravel & Unwind  'My vision, I believe works towards improving the mental well-being of the local population by providing a happy and cosy place where participants are able to relax, unwind, socialise, communicate and most of all to feel a sense of worth and achievement. Breaking down the barriers within the community by providing workshops and interactive sessions that are affordable, educational and fun.' 

'To keep Unravel & Unwind moving through 2014 and into 2015 we anticipate providing a retail service, workshops, coffee mornings & afternoons, studio space rental and commission stands/spaces (with a percentage of sales coming back to Unravel & Unwind). In addition, myself and Mark will continue to expand our own knowledge & skills by participating in workshops and researching activities that we can then feed back to the community.'

They are running their first Knitting for beginners course next month and anyone in the Cuxton area in Kent and you wanted to learn how to knit, this would be a fantastic course to get you one your way, they even provide the materials. 

I'm currently working on my challenge picture, which drawing is NOT a strong point of mine and I am really looking forward to getting my project picture in return.


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Monday, 24 February 2014

The rise and fall of the crochet rockstar....

So when I decided to focus on crochet due to knitting being a no no and finding fab ergonomically shaped handles for my gammy hands.

Anyway I was relearning as I had only ever managed a flower before lol.

So I went on Youtube found a fab video which made it clear so I could watch with no sound....
So when I went into the local shop to get some wool I spotted a book  Amigurumi Monsters, I HAD to have it, after all it brings me one step closer to crocheting my Husband a Cthulhu.

Anyway I was on a roll rocking that crochet hook like a bad ass and it didn't take overly long before my monsters parts were ready for sewing. Took me a bit longer to get round to stuffing and sewing, I did lose an arm, I suspected behind the husbands radiator but no it wasn't though he found it and then dropped it... Down the back of the radiator, WHOOPS!

So I had sewed it up, bar the missing arm and started on my next project when I looked at the notation, which was american, then it hit me WAIT single crochet is our double crochet, I'VE DONE THE WHOLE THING WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So my Amigurumi Monster which should of been crochet in double crochet was in fact crochet completely in trebles...

So here he is

Only twice the size he should be.

You can find the actual pattern in 
Crochet Bakemono [Monsters!]
Lan-Anh Bui  & Josephine Wan


If you enjoyed reading please share.
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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sunday Spot - 'Lees Portraits' and 'Upcycled & Alcoholic'

Sundays is the day that I am going to cast my net out and feature a fellow crafter in my *DRAMATIC TA-DA-DAA-DAAAAAAAAAAAAA* Sunday Spot.

Today for my first Sunday Spot we will be looking at Lee Allan of Lees Portraits and Upcycled & Alcoholic

Available on her Facebook page 'Upcycled & Alcoholic'
Lee's hand decorated wine glasses are a fantastic example of her work.
You can order your own from her facebook page 
Upcycled & Alcoholic
                                                                  Lee Allan

Give us a short description of yourself:
Mum of 3 who lives in Scotland. 35 years old and a disabled artist who loves to be creative!

If you could describe yourself using just 3 words what would they be?
Determined, loving, creative

Tell us about your craft/Business;
I have a portrait page & a new recycling business making glasses, lamps and candles from alcohol bottles.

How did you get started?
Been drawing since I was a child. Selling commissions took off a few years ago. Especially when I became disabled and cut my hours at work. 
Threat of losing my job has created my second page and I'm hoping it does well!

Describe your style using just 3 words:
Realistic, dramatic and bold

Any other hobbies? 
Watching films, cooking, cake decorating & 'pinning' on Pinterest, and chatting on facebook.

Is there anything you want to try your hands at but not done so yet?
Fabric work and upcycling furniture

Do you follow any blogs/pages? 
Louisa Bone, lots of art pages on Instagram

Recommend any other crafters?
So many good artists out there!

Any last words? 
Thanks for taking the time to read this!

Finally where can we find you?
On Facebook 'Lees Portraits' and 'Upcycled & Alcoholic'
and my website can be found here

All that leaves now is for me to say a big Thank you to Lee Allen for the taking the time to answer my questions.

Don't forget you can find Lee's Portraits and Upcycled & Alcoholic pages on Facebook


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Saturday, 22 February 2014

New-ish Blog

Welcome to my New-ish Blog

I first started this blog a while back as a knitting record.
Then I got sick and I couldn't knit so it sat all sad and unused...

And then I remembered it and thought well hang on,  I now sew, craft and crochet.
I now blog about my general musings and crazy things which pop in my head...

Why not go back to the blog not just to share my wonderful creations with you wonderful readers but in fact what better then a record of my creations and a way to keep check on what progress I have made whats worked and what evidently hasn't...

So what shall you get if you follow my blog... Pictures of my work, a frank and hopefully slightly humorous commentary of one disabled mum crafting for her children and hopefully also taking the world over...


So forget-me-knot

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