For Crafting Fun During the Holidays…

The crafty librarian recommends the following pretty new books!

Syndetics book coverHandcrafted wire findings : techniques and designs for custom jewelry components / Jane Dickerson, Denise Peck.
“Add personal style at minimal cost with custom-made findings. …Making custom findings enables jewelry makers to affordably create just the right component to complement their own jewelry designs. …With fundamental skills for beginners that progress to more sophisticated designs, this book covers techniques such as basic wirework, texturizing, silver fusing, adding patina, and traditional finishes. ….” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTerrific toe-up socks : knit to fit / Janet Rehfeldt.
I know! Another sock book! But for those of you that can manage them this book has some different (and lovely) designs and very clear instructions for those trying their first sock. (Crafty Librarian)

Syndetics book coverHoopla : the art of unexpected embroidery / Leanne Prain ; photography by Jeff Christenson.
“…Prain takes a traditional approach, beginning with a cursory look at the craft’s history and highlighting practicalities, such as tools and equipment, finishing techniques, and stitching resources. But it is between these lines that the author’s true innovation and fun starts: specifically, with interviews with 28 working embroiderers and the same number of unusual projects to complete. … Projects don’t disappoint, with directions as clear as the designs are funky: handkerchiefs emblazoned with microbes, a modern cuckoo clock stitched on Aida cloth, and knuckle-tattoo church gloves…., Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverHop skip jump : 20 eco-friendly toys to sew / Fiona Dalton.
This book shows us how to make 20 gorgeous soft toys using natural and repurposed materials. It’s so much more special to give a handmade gift than to purchase something mass-produced. Here you’ll find a raft of fun and easy-to-sew toys, including Arnold the penguin, Doris the sausage dog and Harriet the tortoise. (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverKnitting pleats : stunning garments and accessories / Olga Pobedinskaya.
If you are looking for that next step in knitting and wanting to play with different textures then this book is a must. (Crafty Librarian)

Stitched up softie

Making one of the creatures from the Softies book, proved to be a great way of using up the poly-something filling from a cushion chewed by the dog a couple of years ago (she’s much better behaved now.  Uncannily this replicates the conduct of my brother’s dog –  maybe there is something to sibling behaviour after all!).

creating softie

The last time I used my sewing machine was hemming curtains so dealing with the intricacies of this scaled down cuddly item was very different.  The trickiest thing for me was the face. I used felt and stitched on the eyes and mouth rather than using buttons or eyes as the intended recipient is small and at the chewing or rather gumming things to taste what they are.  Dredging up chain stitch from distant memories of CDT (Craft Design Technology) school days didn’t come as an entire capsule of proficiency, so I had another go.  Mary Thomas’s dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (new Edition by Jan Eaton) originally published in 1934 struck me as an authorative set of instructions.  Apparently chain stitch was the original machine stitch, so go the sewing machine connection!
smaller softies4
I changed the original design a bit by increasing the arm size as I thought the little nubbins that resulted from the first one were a little out of scale.  Esthetic is an individual thing after all, and it’s all there to play with right?  I also forgot to add the horns on the first one, (hemming curtains really is my forte) so luckily I didn’t have to cut out new ones. By the end I was pleased to be stuffing the little creature and stitching up the sides… Tah-dah!

Some other sources for soft toys in the Library:
Stitched toys : 20 stunning but simple designs
Bobby Dazzler’s make your own misfits : 35 unique and quirky sewn creatures
Needle felted figures
and one from the Children’s collection:
Beanbag buddies and other stuffed toys
Do you have any great patterns you’ve found? Or items created from sources in the library? Let us know!

Big Softie

Copy of iStock_000006226913LargeSo having become a new Aunty and being filled with benevolent Aunty type feelings I decided to create a something for the new family addition. Initially I thought mobile, as I’ve always been intrigued by those aerial seesaws and in theory the creation would be out of the grasp of the dog which can grab anything 2 metres away in the 360 degree radius. Then I thought something to grab and chew, by the niece, not the dog, might be better. The library shelves have a lot to offer on the soft toy line. I chose to look at the Softies. Apparently this isn’t a particular brand but a new wave of soft toy making that delights in original shapes using vintage fabric. Perfect, if like me, your bungles or ‘original’ stitching will look like an intentional quirk! The library holds a range of books with ‘Softies’ in the titles, I thought I’d start at the beginning: Softies : 22 friends for you to sew, knit and crochet.

Not being too proficient at crochet (I have crocheted a hat, but that only required one stitch!) I’ll be sewing mine from fabric.  Check back in to see how it all progesses, maybe 2 would be better, one for the niece and one for the dog =)

Other titles the Library holds:

Zombie felties: how to raise 16 gruesome felt creatures from the undead
Simple softies : for the whole family
Softies only a mother could love ; lovable friends for you to sew, knit or crochet
More softies : 22 new friends for you to sew and crochet.

Sock creatures aren’t too much of a leap, the library had a bit of a whirlwind romance with them last year for Leadership week when patrons and staff members created some great versions of their own.

Page 62 of Burda 3/2010 has a similar idea titled ‘exotic creatures’ (Burda).

Also visit these sites for ideas:
The Penguin Softies site (this has a free pattern so if these popular books are all out take a look online =))
Flickr Softies pool for loads of pretty pictures of people’s creations. Great for some inspiration

Blogs:
Leadership Week
absolutely small
Softie making
The Needle Blog