workshop

Tea and Crafting – Beaded Ice Cream Brooch

Last week I went to an ‘in real life’ workshop at the wonderful Tea and Crafting. It was so great to be back in a class with other people who are as excited as me about crafting! The workshop was an evening session running from 7pm-9pm and we were making a beaded ice cream brooch. I’ve been eyeing this workshop up for a while now as I’ve recently got into using beads again and it seemed like a good way to get some good professional tips on how to apply beads to a textile piece.

When we arrived there was a place set out for each attendee including all the things we would need to complete the brooch. A piece of felt with the ice cream design drawn on was already fitted into the embroidery hoop. There were three needles, two different sized embroidery needles and a beading needle, alongside bugle beads, sequins, backing felt, cardboard, and a brooch back. We could then choose our own seed beads, embroidery thread, berry bead, and ice cream topper sequins from a selection on the table.

The tutor Daria was really great at explaining each of the techniques and the correct needles to use for the beads and thread. In order to cover all the techniques throughout the evening she showed us each one and then let us have a short go before moving on to the next one. This meant that we didn’t finish the brooch during the workshop, but we had the skills to finish it at home. We covered bugle beads, seed beads, sequins, french knots, and satin stitch.

At the end of the session Daria also demonstrated how to finish the back of the brooch using cardboard to stabilise it, adding the pin so it is hidden, and then applying the backing felt to the embroidered front using glue and a blanket stitch to give it a neat finished edge.

Even though I knew a few of these techniques already I definitely learnt some new tips and tricks and I really enjoyed myself chatting to the other attendees and being out and about. Although Zoom is great you really can’t beat learning and meeting other people in real life. I’m already checking the calendar of events on the Tea and Crafting website for another class!

workshop

Tea and Crafting – Latch Hook Wall Hanging

Way back in January I attended an online latch hook workshop hosted by Jane from Tea and Crafting (https://www.teaandcrafting.co.uk/) and I’m very excited to say that my wall hanging is now complete! It’s a slow craft, but the results are extremely satisfying.

Before the workshop we were sent the materials in the post. The package included:

  • Latch hook tool
  • Canvas
  • Bamboo cane
  • Length of t-shirt yarn
  • Length of wool 
  • Knooking needle

You had to provide your own yarn to create the wall hanging, but I have a lot of half used balls left over from various projects, so I just rummaged through my basket until I found several colours that I thought went together. I did actually end up ordering a couple more balls of some of the colours because latch hook is quite a greedy craft, and isn’t really any good for using up scraps. Jane had a good tip of waiting for the sales on your favourite stockist’s website and then buying lots of balls for cheap!

During the workshop Jane talked through how to create different lengths of yarn to achieve different effects, how to use the latch hook tool and some advice about trimming at the end as well. We all started our wall hangings during the class, but it is a time-consuming process so we obviously weren’t able to see anyone’s finished pieces. My one is about 60cm long by 43cm wide (62cm including the bamboo stick) and I didn’t time myself exactly, but I estimated that it took me in the region of 32 hours to complete.

Jane also showed us how to use the knooking needle to create a stitch where you have a central piece of yarn running along with another piece of yarn hooking over the top. It’s quite a good stitch for filling in larger areas, but I didn’t use it in my final piece as I love the effect of the latch hook too much, it’s so soft!

Once I had finished my design I then had to finish the back. Jane showed us during the workshop how she had folded the canvas back behind the design and stitched it in place on her example piece. She also showed us how to stitch on the bamboo cane, however I liked the technique I learnt in a previous latch hook project where you create a channel for the stick to go through. I think it looks a bit tidier, so I left some extra canvas at the top of mine to allow for creating the channel.

Lastly is the trimming, the best part! It’s just as satisfying as trimming pom poms! As I had used different lengths of yarn for the different areas and colours I already had an idea of how it would look and it was mainly just a case of neatening up each section and trimming the tassels at the bottom. I decided to leave the beige-flecked-with-yellow section untrimmed to give it a more organic feel and provide a contrast with the rest. I’m also very pleased with the effect I managed to achieve with the yellow flecks fading out at the bottom to leave just beige and then fading back in at the top! 

I still have quite a bit of yarn left and I have ordered myself some more canvas (Jane helpfully emailed her list of preferred brands and stockists after the workshop), so I think I will make some more abstract pieces to use them up. I will definitely be on the look out for discount wool though, I’d love to make a latch hook cushion, it would be so comfy to lie on!

workshop

Tea and Crafting – Polymer Clay Baubles

I had a super crafty weekend! I attended online workshops on both Saturday and Sunday and it was such a lovely way to spend my time, especially getting to hang out with other crafty people. I feel like I made so much this weekend, so I’m only going to talk about one of the workshops today: polymer clay Christmas baubles with Tea and Crafting (https://www.teaandcrafting.co.uk/). 

I’ve done several workshops with Jane from Tea and Crafting, both in real life and online. She is such a fantastic host and is so great at talking through and demonstrating each instruction. I also love how enthusiastic she gets about what everyone has made! As this was an online workshop everyone was sent a pack of materials in advance. This is all included in the cost of the workshop, which was £38 plus shipping (£2.99). Included in the parcel was:

  • Fimo polymer clay x4 (white, red, blue, and yellow)
  • Polystyrene balls x3
  • Lolly sticks x2
  • Bauble hangers with caps x3

We did two different pattern techniques, marbling and terrazzo. We spent a little while conditioning the clay with our hands to get it warm and pliable before we could begin using it and once it was soft we could then start to create our patterns. We started with the marbling, rolling the clay into sausages and then twisting them around each other to create the effect. The lolly sticks were used for rolling out the clay to the right thickness. Once the clay was rolled out to the right size it could then be wrapped around the polystyrene bauble. Jane showed us how to trim away the excess and smooth over any holes to ensure there were no extra thick parts as this would affect the baking time. 

The terrazzo style was super easy too. Before creating the pattern we took some time to create some new colours by blending the colours together, I made green and purple. I also blended some yellow and red, but I didn’t add quite enough yellow for it to be as orange as I would have liked! Once this was done we could then roll them out into super thin sausages before cutting off tiny amounts, which were then placed all over the base colour, creating the terrazzo effect when it was rolled out. 

For my last bauble I just rolled all the colours I had together to make a super colourful marbled one! It was so much fun to see everyone else’s creations, everyone had such different colour combinations and styles. I was really glad that I attended the workshop and didn’t just try it out by myself at home, because Jane was able to tell us the exact temperature and timings for baking our baubles in the oven. If you don’t get this right then you risk the polystyrene balls melting inside! I also wouldn’t have known to allow them to cool down in the oven and would have just taken them straight out!

I think community is so important to the crafting world and it’s always so great to craft along with others. I can’t wait to get back to it in real life, but in the meantime I have another Tea and Crafting workshop coming up this week and I absolutely can’t wait! 

workshop

Crochet Bunny with Tea and Crafting

Last week I attended another online workshop, this time to learn how to crochet. It was hosted by the lovely Jane from Tea and Crafting (https://www.teaandcrafting.co.uk/) who are running several online workshops at the moment so you should check them out if you are interested in learning a new crafty skill. 

I have had a go at crochet before a few years ago now, and actually created a blanket out of lots of basic squares which I sewed together. However, I have since totally forgotten how to do it! Crochet and knitting are two crafts that I would love to be able to do, but unless I continuously practice them I find that they just leak out of my head and I have to relearn how to do them every time I want to have another go. The first time I tried crochet I learnt it left-handed, which was such a pain because most tutorials are for right-handers, which means that you have to resort to finding YouTube videos. At the beginning of the workshop Jane asked if anyone was left-handed and I said I was, but she convinced me to give it a go right-handed. I have to admit that I was a bit sceptical that I would be able to do it ‘backwards’, but I was willing to give it a go to make it easier for the rest of the class.

To start the workshop Jane talked us through how to check the wool label to find out information about what size of hook we would need to use, the tension square and washing instructions. We received all the materials we would need for the workshop in the post a few days before, which included:

  • Chunky wool in light grey
  • Wool in darker grey
  • Length of black wool
  • 6mm crochet hook
  • Darning needle
  • Stuffing

Once we had discussed the wool and hook size Jane talked us through how to cast on and create the chain stitch which would form the base of our square. She took us through each stage slowly and we followed along. Then she showed us how to begin the first row by stitching into the chain stitch. After demonstrating a few stitches she then left us to complete the row. I was absolutely fine whilst I was following along but as soon as I had to do a stitch by myself I just couldn’t keep each step in my head and got in a terrible muddle! I must have some kind of mind-block for crochet because this always happens and I find it incredibly tiresome having to keep referring back to videos or books to find out where I have to put my hook next. Well, Jane was incredibly patient with me. I’d like to apologise to the other people on the workshop for putting up with my painstaking progress as Jane talked me through it very, very slowly! Eventually though I did get it and made it up to the second row. By this point I think I was trying so hard and was so tense that it was showing in my work and the tension of my wool was so tight that I actually managed to snap the hook…by accident of course! I had some spare hooks from my previous ventures into the world of crocheting, which I quickly found so I could keep up with the rest of the class and I finally felt that I had found my rhythm and was starting to get it. I lost a couple of stitches along the way somewhere as my finished piece was more of a trapezium than a square, but I was pretty proud of it! 

During the workshop Jane showed those who were quicker and had finished how to create their bunny by sewing a running stitch across the square which was then pulled to gather the top half and create the head and ears. I put a bit of stuffing inside the head and then sewed the body shut, leaving a small gap for stuffing before finishing it off. Lastly I made a little pom pom with the darker grey wool and attached it to the bunny’s bottom and stitched on some eyes and a nose. For those who didn’t finish or wanted a reminder Jane emailed round a video of the workshop a few days afterwards.

Having completed my bunny I didn’t want to forget what to do so I made another sample piece out of the leftover wool. Unfortunately I ran out of wool so I couldn’t make a second bunny, but it was great practice. I also decided to give my new skills a bit more practice so I looked up a tutorial on how to crochet a granny square and had a go at that too. I’m pretty pleased with my attempt. It’s a bit wonky in places so I think I still need to work on my tension, but I might continue making them to try and imprint the process on my brain so I don’t forget how to do it again! Maybe one day I’ll be able to make something more complicated…