Sunday, 15 February 2015

Little Miss Muffet sat down on her tuffet

Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider
who sat down beside her
Which cause-ed Miss Muffet to say
"Rack off hairy legs"

OK, now that the fun part is over, here's a quick breakdown on how to make one of these super-cute Miss Muffet bags (and of course if you can't be arsed making one, this shop on Etsy has loads, beautifully ready made).

I've made a few over the years:

And they had the interior pocket, which adds only a little bit of complexity to the making, plus a little bit of time.  I've written two sets of instructions here, Option One is for the bag with the padded lining, and Option Two is for the bag with the inner pockets. 

You will need:

Approximately half a yard/half a metre of focus material
Approximately half a yard/half a metre of lining material
A piece of batting or quilted calico roughly 12"/ 30 cm
A big plate, with a diameter of roughly 14"/36 cm
A slightly smaller plate, roughly 10"/25 cm in diameter (any smaller and the pockets will be too small to be useful)

Sewing Notions
A button to use in the buttonhole foot (if your foot needs one)
Ribbon, approximately 60"/152 cm
Tape measure
Hem Guide
Washout pen
A buttonhole foot for your sewing machine.

Outer bag:

With the washout pen, draw a circle round your big plate on the focus fabric:

Cut out.

Fold in half across the centre and measure down 1"/2.54 cm from the raw edge at 12 o'clock on the circle, then mark the top of the buttonhole.  

Mark again at 6 o'clock on the circle, 1"/2.54 cm from the raw edge.  

Open the circle out flat again, and change to your buttonhole foot.  Make two buttonholes, one at the mark at 12 o'clock on the circle, and one at the market at 6 o'clock.  Cut the buttonholes open very carefully.

Tip:  You don't want the buttonholes to be too close to the top of the bag, and they don't need to be more then 3/8"/1 cm wide, but can be bigger depending on what size ribbon you want to use.

With the washout pen, draw a circle round your big plate on your lining fabric and cut out one lining.  

At this point you can either make Option One, the Padded lining, or Option Two, the Pockets.   Whichever bag you make, you need to cut one focus and one lining of the biggest size.


Option One:  Padded lining:

Draw round the smaller plate with the washout pen onto the quilted calico or batting & cut out one batting circle.

Pin the wrong side of the lining fabric to the wrong side of the batting, being careful to find the centres* of both pieces of material, and quilt to taste.   

I recommend quilting all the way to the edges of the lining piece, not just on the batting piece.  This gives a nicer finish.  

For the quilting, I cheat & use the diamond grid already on the quilted calico, but you can use any quilting pattern, or just straight lines.

Once you've got your lining piece nicely quilted, you should have two circles the same size, one focus and one lining, with the lining piece being nicely quilted.  Press, then follow the 'Joining it together' instructions.

Option Two:  Inner Pockets (not recommended if you're doing the padded lining)

Follow the 'Joining it Together' instructions to turn your focus and lining large outer circles into one.

With the remaining fabric, draw round the smaller plate on the focus and lining fabrics, with the washout pen, and then cut out one lining and one focus circle.  Follow the 'Joining it together' steps to turn your two smaller pieces into one.  Press them both.

When finished, you'll have two pressed circles, one large for the outside, and one smaller for the inside.  

Place the circles so that the lining faces are both up.  Match the centres*, and pin the two pieces together.  With a ruler, draw lines from 12-6 o'clock, 2 o'clock-8 o'clock, 3 o'clock-9 o'clock and 4 o'clock-10 o'clock, which will give you eight pockets:  

With a stitch size of 3 mm, sew very carefully from the outer edge of the lining piece of your bag,  one line for each pocket.  Make sure your lines intersect tidily:

Picture copyright of Edie Castle

Be careful not to stitch over the buttonholes or the ribbon channel, and add some reinforcing stitches at the top of each pocket section.

Joining it together 

You will do this twice if you've made the inner pockets (Option Two), or just once if you've made the padded option (Option One).

At any point on the edge of the focus piece, place pins 2"/5cm apart, and stitch between the pins with a 1/8"/3mm seam allowance.  Remove the pins & repeat this on the lining piece.  This is the turning hole, and the stitching will give you a nice line to follow when you press the edges in.

Pin the two pieces together right sides together, making sure you match the centres*. Stitch the two pieces together around the top, with a 1/4"/6mm seam allowance.  

Leave a gap where your stitching indicates the turning hole should be.  Press the edges of the turning gap in, following your stitching line.

Turn the whole thing right sides out through your turning gap, and top-stitch round the outer edge, enclosing your turning gap in the top-stitching:

Use a 3mm stitch size for the top-stitching and a contrasting thread, if you want.

Making the ribbon channel (do this regardless of which option you choose).

Move your hem guide marker down to 1"/2.5cm, and place it next to the top of the buttonhole at 12 o'clock.  Stitch all the way round the circle, holding the hem guide in place. Be sure to pass across the top of the buttonhole at 6 o'clock, and come back to the 12 o'clock buttonhole.    

Moving your hem guide marker down to align with the bottom of the 12 o'clock buttonhole.  Stitch all the way round the circle, being sure to pass across the bottom of the buttonhole at 6 o'clock.

You now have a channel between the lining and the focus fabrics, which you can thread your ribbon into.  I use a quilting safety pin, because they're robust and bent nicely, but you can use a bodkin, a nappy pin or anything that will safety get your ribbon all the way round your bag.    

Tip:  To calculate the length of ribbon required to go round the bag, multiply the diameter of the inner circle of the ribbon channel by 22 and divide by 7. To go round twice, double that length.

One piece of ribbon should start and finish at the 12 o'clock buttonhole, and one piece of ribbon should start and finish at the 6 o'clock buttonhole.  Knot the ends carefully to make sure they can't pull out.  Even if they disappear into the bag, if you've knotted them, you can just pull them round to the buttonholes again.


*To find the centre - fold your fabric in half, then in half again.  This will give you a piece of fabric the same shape as a piece of pizza, but not so tasty.  The centre is the pointy bit.  Stick a pin through the centre to mark it.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Holy spitballs, how did it get to be February?

I feel very naughty, Gentle Readers, for having neglected you for so long, but, yanno, life...

I've been extremely busy with Instragram, and have had much more success in luring the innocent and unworldly into following my doings, such as they have been...

Let's see... I took a complete copy of my Lovely Ma's photo archive after she died, and I've been slowly culling all the duplicated photos - clever though she was with some things, she never quite grasped the concept of 'don't need to copy things more than once', so some pictures appear four, five, six, seven times... it's a bit tedious, but I've been posting some of the better ones of her Quilts on Instragram (photos, that is) - the quilts are fabulous but the photos are just crap.  I think it was because she was so impatient with the digital camera, she never quite gave it enough time to focus, and nearly every photo is blurry...

Scrap Quilt, Nanga 2004

Although this one makes me a liar, of course... Like most of Mum's quilts, I think this one went to Tonee, her very good friend from the Telfer days, but I'm not really sure.  It's good that there's no shortage in our house or I'd be hunting them down.

I wanted to post a picture of my all-time favourite, Sarah Johnson, which was made very much in the traditional colours, (not usually my favourite), but I can't find one that does it justice - it's all hand-quilted, with needle-turn applique and it's on our bed all the time:

In other news, I've made some animals, and things are so disorganised I haven't even set up the 2015 Crafting folder... here's some pics I dragged over from the phone:

Liberty-Belle, the Birthday Bilby

Hi, I'm Jumpy

I'm a secret Bilby
And I've just made a Miss Muffet bag for my lovely friend Grace to give her Mother, not quite traditional because she wanted it padded and no inside compartments, so I cheated again and used quilted calico inside the lining - so easy - but I'm very happy with the way it came out, and I love the colour combination (such good taste my friends have):

The very lovely Alison from Cotton_Factory (my go-to fabric store these days) has asked for the pattern details - I feel like a bit of a cheat, this pattern has been around for at least 200 years (remember Lucy Locket who lost her pocket?), but hey!  I'm willing!  I'll post it here as a tutorial if anybody is interested.

Finally, I've signed up for three (OMG what was I thinking) craft swaps - the #igpincushionswap, the #nerdscraftitbetter swap (both due in May), and a #payitforward one which has some random date, to be determine by the Swap Commander-In-Chief.

And now, Gentle Readers, having watched three episodes of Season 4 of Breaking Bad (OMG How Good Is It!!), investigated 37 pincushion patterns, eaten dinner, put the groceries away, shifted 972 photos from my phone to my PC, played 8 games of scrabble on my tablet, liked 37,372, 459 photos on Instagram and done precisely zero craft since I got home at 5.45, I must away to bed.  


Saturday, 27 December 2014


AsyouknowBob, in July I bought a new laptop... which has now been replaced by one that actually works.  After a couple of issues in September, it went back for a new hard disk (lucky I'd backed everything damn thing up, hey?) and then it crashed again while I was doing a few routine updates... then the wireless card carked it, and I think they realised it was a Lemon with a capital ELL... so I got a new one.  Thank you James at Officeworks Mona Vale!

I owe emails to people in various parts of the world, my poor blog is sadly neglected, and I haven't moved photos off my phone for months... so I'm hoping that now I can get back to normal.

First things first - the stall... well, it was kind of hilarious - I've been following @littlepaperlane on Instagram, and she'd been so funny talking about her daughter and the obsession with the 'Frozen' dress, mass produced shit made in China, how much she hated it, how she tried to hide it from her daughter, to no avail... well.  Guess what my stall neighbour was selling?  'Frozen' merchandise.  Mass produced, all out of boxes labelled with Made In China, and she did not give a shit that she was peddling rubbish, made in factories by people who earn $20 a month... nope.  She was nice enough, but her products were just so foul... but every child who went past went "Frooooooozen".... and dragged their mothers right past my handmade loveliness...

However, I did have lots of lovely grandmothers pop over to buy gifts for new great-nephews and nieces, and grandchildren, and some lovely people who bought gifts for sisters and brothers... so we sold a bunch of stuff, but surprisingly, hardly any lavender bags.  Need to rethink the presentation of them, maybe??

Here's a pic of what our stall looked like the night before:

Suprisingly tidy, considering.  The tent guy was waiting for me, and we discovered that it's probably a shit load cheaper to buy one than hire it, but hey, hindsight... MGF Deb and Miss Pen came down to help erect and decorate, and we were all ready to go by 0900... there are photos somewhere of the finished product, but I don't have any.  Maybe next year I'll get those to show you...

By crikey it was hot, and the tent roof was dark blue, so it was like sitting in a sauna - my face tends to resemble beetroot when I get hot, and I personally blame that for the 
quietness of the market.... but everybody around us was saying how quiet it was, and how they thought the market was too close to the others... meh. 

I covered my costs, but I think I might try the St Ives craft market next time.  If there is a next time...

But now...I must away to the shower.  It is 12.53pm, and the cricket is at lunch... I don't like to rush into things, as you know... Ciao!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

I Quit!

Yes, Gentle Readers, I gave up the fabulously well paid job at the other corporate salt mine.  It was too much like the last corporate salt mine, and after 4 months, I'd had enough.  I spotted a job in the Internet Job Search toolie thing for somebody to work 3 days a week for a company that sells meat online, and I got the job, despite being old, and somewhat crotchety.  It's busy, without the incredible levels of stress I've previously experienced.  I get to go home every lunch time for a sandwich, and I can wear casual clothes.  Really, what more could a girl ask for?

So, I've been very very busy sewing little critters:

And on and on:

Needless to say there has also been lots of fabric purchasing to facilitate all this loveliness, and I'm kind of thinking that I need to stop soon.  Really.  No, really.

In other news of unparalleled excitement, the brand-new laptop hard drive crashed, and I had to have a new one.  Lucky for me I did a complete copy onto an external HDD when I bought this machine, so nothing has gone missing - amazingly I had the presence of mind to install some software called Photosync which copies the pictures between devices...seamlessly, and so all the photos on my phone & tablet are also available on the newly blank computer.  Thank goodness for wi-fi, hey?  

My favourite Hunter Valley Hound had a small black spot off her nose, and she's wearing a plastic cone around her as they come to hand...

And my lovely friend Jarrah went to dog-heaven, after 16 happy years as a rescue dog:

We miss her.

I've finished sewing up the leg of Number Ten, and the huge bag that's going to Queensland containing the Bilbies is ready to be sealed up.  Oh wait.  Did I mention that?  Oh no... well... the Save the Bilby fund has bought 10 of my little guys, and is going to list them on the website for sale.  Apparently it's really hard to find nice 'hand-made in Australia' Bilbies.  No kidding.  I feel vindicated.  I did them a great deal on the price, because they are a charity, after all, and who knows?  I may become the Bilby Queen (that's kind of like the Borg Queen, only with better resistance) of Newport.

And that, Gentle Readers, is that.  I'm off to bed. 

Buona Notte!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Wait! It's November?

Sometimes I really hate computers.  I wrote a whole long post yesterday about all the sewing I've done in October, put in loads of pictures, clicked 'save' multiple times, and then tried to publish it, but would it?  Oh no.  So I wandered off to do other things (more later), and now I'm back to it... and everything except the first two paragraphs is gone.   Gorne!  Arrgh!!  Anyhoo...let's do it again.

Can you tell me, Gentle Readers, where October went?  I'm pretty sure mine went into the bowels of my sewing room (did you even know it had bowels?  What a disturbing thought!!)...

I've been very busy making stuff for this market, which seems both terrifyingly close, and frustratingly far away - I can't even confirm until 19th November that I've even got a stall (unless they confirm first, which might happen, and it might not, my initial impression being that these people are not quite in the 21st Century (bank cheques, I ask you - but that's another story)...

So... sewing...

More bilbies, including some that look disturbingly like others I have already made:

And some new friends, as of last night:

I've also got bunting made, a stack of fridge magnets which I'm pretty sure I covered off in tiny detail in the last post, or the one before, and I've got lavender bags coming out the wazoo - MGF Kaz & I had 53 when we were last in the Hunter, and I'm just waiting on the supply of more lavender from the lovely Christine at Ratho Lavender Farm so I can stuff some of them & send them off to her... (Christmas orders in nice & early, gotta love that!!)... what else?  I have a few pouches made a long time ago in nice linens, and I made a few turtles, before I realised that the pattern is for personal use only & I can't sell them at the market:

And I've added in a few of these really cute guys, in dark reds, ideal for Christmas decorations or table centres, with cloves in them so they smell really christmassy.

And in news that's kind of come round unwelcomingly quickly (ooh, that's an ugly mouthful), it's two years tomorrow since the death of My Lovely Ma, and I thought some more of her work deserved an outing:

I still miss her everyday, especially when I go to things like Urban Stitches, which I know she would have really enjoyed.  I don't have any friends who craft, and so it was lovely to be able to ring her and talk about the latest disaster, triumph, hideous fabric I'd seen and beautiful things I'd seen on the internet... 

And that, Gentle Readers, is that.  Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I will endeavour to post more frequently.  What's that?  Why do I have more time on my hands?  Let's just say that things have changed.  

On that mysterious note, I will say only... ciao!