Monday, 25 June 2012

Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes

Oh yes, I’ve finally got my hands on Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes. Unlike Crafting by Concepts and  Making Mathematics with Needlework this does book doesn’t include lesson ideas. However, it is an award winner…


Again, it is a book that thrills me for it’s combination of two of my favourite things in life – crafting and Mathematics. What’s even better, these projects seem achievable even for a beginner like me. There are also interesting sections considering the use of hyperbolic planes in Science, Medicine, Computer Science, Music and Art.

I’m not going to go into too much detail but let’s see how many of these index items you recognise…

absolute geometry annuli asymptotic catenary
catenoid crochet curvature Erlangen program
exponential growth geodesics helicoid hyperbolic geometry
hyperbolic plane ideal triangle Klein bottle knitting
local intrinsic geometry manifold minimal surface Mobius strip
mosaics naalebinding non-Euclidean geometry orbifold
Parallel Postulate patters Poincare model pseudosphere
radius Riemann surface simply connected spherical geometry
Strands sum of interior angles torus tractrix
That gives you a good idea of what’s involved and it really is sad how excited that list makes me!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Paper Patchwork Card

As England headed out of Euro 2012 and our flat slowly flooded from the bathroom I have sat and created a paper patchwork card this evening. This leaving card is for the other Maths teacher who is leaving Woodford this year. We’re going to be a very different Maths department next year and I wish her all the very best for the new challenges she will face.


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Retirement Card

A very special gentleman is retiring from Woodford Maths Department this year. Yavuz is partial to a spot of geometrical doodling, particularly during Department meetings, so it seemed appropriate to mark his retirement with this intricate curve stitching card…
He’s an absolute legend and I can’t quite believe it’s almost time to wish him well as he moves on to the next exciting chapter of his life. Staff and students are going to miss him so much :-(

Sunday, 17 June 2012

“The crack cocaine of the craft world”

Kirstie Allsopp claims that machine embroidery is the crack cocaine of the craft world – hell I’d better give that a try…

I watched a very quick tutorial on YouTube to make sure that I understood the principles and knew what I needed to do to my machine in order to be able to attempt this apparently addictive craft. It turned out that all I needed to do was remove the sewing foot, set the tension to zero and retract the tracking pads that feed the material through the machine. I also needed to find my tapestry hoop and find something to embroider.

I decided to fill in the design on an IKEA pillowcase first of all and to use lots of the cottons that came with the sewing machine. I used a straight stitch on my slowest speed setting and experimented with different stitch lengths. By the time I’d filled in the first section I was hooked. Kirstie may have had a point.


I was relatively pleased with this for a first ever attempt but I can’t claim that the back was neat and tidy.


Next I decided to draw my own design on a square from Sarah’s old curtains. I went for a simple six petalled flower in two colours and this time I managed to keep the back relatively tidy too…



With patience and perseverance I’m sure I’ll be able to do some free machine embroidery on the new banner for school birthday in September…

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Upcycled Bag


Ok, so only parts of this bag for Preet are upcycled but we all have to start somewhere! I made this birthday present on my new sewing machine, which I am definitely getting better with but there is still significant room for improvement with my patchwork. My flash has made the colours look slightly more lurid than they actually.

I started by forming the lining of the bag, which also forms the top trim that you can see on the photo above. This is made from a pillow, meaning I only needed to sew one side saving me time and enabling me to legitimately claim that this is an upcycled bag.

To form the patchwork front I used my  patchwork templates for the first time. They did speed things up but I found it hard to stop them slipping on the shiny fabrics that I was using. I started from the centre and worked out. I used some of the fabulous fabrics that Preet has given me over the past few months so I’m hoping she’s going to love getting them back in this format.

I managed to sew some of the pieces together perfectly…P1060293_blog

Other pieces not so well…P1060294_blog

12 squares and 8 triangles later I had a patchwork front completed. I then cut a single piece of fabric for the back and stitched them together before inserting the lining. Turning the lining over a couple of times at the top gave a neat finish to the top of the bag. I decided to use one of my fancy stitches along the top.


The other part of the bag that is upcycled is the handles, which are made from my sister’s old curtains again. I take a strip of material and iron it in half lengthways. Open out the fabric again and then fold both sides into the middle and close up to make a long thin piece that is four layers thick. I iron this firmly and then secure on the sewing machine. I tried another new stitch on these.


Finally, given that the visible stitching is all in purple I decided to add a crocheted flower for added interest and personality.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Face Painting at the Ceiriog Valley Carnival

It was the Ceiriog Valley Carnival last Saturday and, for a change, I made it there. It was a freezing cold day (not to mention the rain) but Katryn and I enjoyed the couple of hours we spent there. Katryn opted to have her face painted as a spotty dog although I’m fairly sure that the decision was made more to prove me wrong than anything. I was sure that she’d choose the beautiful butterfly.

Here it is in all of it’s glory…

P1060284_blogP1060285_blog  P1060286_blog

I do find the tongue a little creepy I have to say!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Stitching from Nan-nan’s collection

Mum came across these pieces is Nan-nan’s flat a couple of months ago. We’re not really sure who did most of them but they meant something to Nan-nan so I wanted to share them.
I think the two pieces in the bottom photo are mine and I have vague recollections of doing the one on the right but it was 20 years ago. Mum thinks she must have stitched the handkerchief in the third photograph.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Jubilee fever & clay mermaids

It was a jubilee special in the Cbeebies Art magazine this edition so Katryn and I have been busy this half term. Actually, I’ve avoided doing too much and have let her get on with it.
She made four of these royal portraits out of various stickers and foam pads…
The jubilee bunting required a lot of cutting and sticking and the odd bit of colouring…
I also finally let her break into one of her Christmas presents from me. She made and painted six plaster mermaids and attached magnets to the back of them. She did really well painting them because the brush was quite thick and the mermaids were quite intricate. We do love a bit of arts and crafts!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Learning to knit with two little helpers

Mum taught me how to cast on last night. She also reminded me how to knit and taught me to purl. I have completed another three rows this morning but I definitely have the same tension problem with knitting that I have with crochet. I now have the stitches so tight that I can’t get my second needle through them. Oops. I didn’t think we’d get very far at the start because Queequag was keen to play. Mum claims he is the reason that she gave up knitting years ago. Once I’d finished for the day Fanta came in and grabbed the ball from the side table and also got involved. It’ll be so much easier at home!


P1060262blog   P1060263blog


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Double crochet (US) circle

I have now mastered crocheting a circle as well as flowers and granny squares but I still can’t crochet in a straight line. I find it practically impossible, and not just the second row, which is definitely the most challenging. I think the problem lies in my tension and stitch size. I keep everything too tight and end up with no space to get my hook in and through easily. It’s difficult to change what you do instinctively but I think I’m going to have to.

This circle uses American double crochet stitches, which we call treble over here. I’m learning from an American book so I’ll stick with their terminology. In each ring you double the number of stitches in the round by completing two double crochets into each existing stitch.


This evening I’m going to learn how to cast on and off enabling me to take up knitting for the first time. Watch this space for updates!

Monday, 4 June 2012

First attempt to use Bondaweb

This is the first time I have tried to use Bondaweb. It’s an iron-on transfer adhesive that I am so far not 100% convinced by.


I traced the bird motif from Sew (Cath Kidston) They use it for a mobile and cot quilt but I used it for a simple birthday card. I then ironed the adhesive onto the wrong side of the fabric (accidently attaching it to the ironing board as well – oops). I then cut the motif out and peeled off the backing paper and ironed the wing onto the bird. I adorned the fabric bird with a few stitches and a beady eye. Finally, I mounted it all onto a card and popped it in the post! Happy birthday Ruth…


I had been under the impression that this bondaweb would stop the fabric fraying but it didn’t this time, hence my dissatisfaction. It may be that I didn’t iron it hard or long enough so I’ll reserve judgement for now and try again some other time.

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