Welcome


Welcome to my blog. You can read about my adventures in different types of needlework, and I also offer some free
cross stitch patterns. Please, come back often. :)

PLEASE NOTE:


PLEASE, NOTE: The designs on this site are copyrighted to Agnes Palko. They are for your personal use only. They may not be distributed or reproduced without permission.
If you wish to use my patterns to stitch for charity, please, let me know.

27/07/2014

Summer crafting: quilting, embroidery and a cross stitch freebie!



Hello, hello, I am still here enjoying my summer holiday. Apart from going to the sea yesterday (Oh, how lovely it was!) I was at home all the time and was keeping busy with all kinds of crafts.

First of all, I finally finished my first quilt. Do you remember? I wrote about it ages ago, when I started quilting it, I realised there were mistakes and that put me off it. Now I took it out, finished the quilting in a day (decided not to worry too much about the mistakes, just continue), made a scrappy binding and sewed it on with the machine. It is far from perfect but for a first quilt it is not too bad. If I may say so. I just love it :D

I am planning to make more quilts, definitely. I have already chosen a pattern and even cut the fabric for a huge overcast for my bed, but didn't want to start it until this one was finished. Now I can start it. Soon! But I also plan to do some small practise pieces to learn quilting, while I am doing the piecing for it. I hope that one will be much better. And I am thinking to sew the binding by hand!

Pictures:


I wanted to show my ongoing embroidery pieces to you. Do you ever stitch without a pattern? Just like doodling? Long ago I posted some improvised embroideries I did on felt, now I have some more on all kinds of leftover fabric.
Most of them I started at school. With year 5 classes I do a hand sewing unit, and with year 6 an embroidery unit. With most classes there comes a time when everyone is happily (or grudgingly) settled down with their work and I don't need to run around showing them the different steps. I sit down among my students and take out something to work on. It cannot be something very complicated because I am often interrupted, and of course, my main focus is on the children. But I found they like watching me actually make something, not only explain all the time, sometimes they even get inspired by my work.
Then it happened that I threw that piece of fabric with the needle and thread in my bag so I could stitch a bit on my way home, or while waiting at the dentist etc. That meant that next lesson I had to start a new one, right? :D


So here they are, not finished yet but they will slowly become something.

I also have this piece of Hungarian folk embroidery that I started a while back and pick it up once in a while to practice the special stitch it uses. It is very typical of the Hungarian area in Romania, and it is done with a stitch similar to the open chain stitch (see Mary Corbet's video here) except the stitches are laid very close to each other. It was not easy to learn and I am still not really good at it. First I constantly took it out but that is quite difficult, so I decided to just go on and hope to get better in time.



The next piece is a little experiment. Stephen bought for me a pile of old snaps and hook-and-eye fasteners once and I was thinking perhaps I could use them for decorative effect. So I sewed some hooks on the fabric, wrapped some thick thread around them, and the plan is to sew them down couching-style, also add some stitches around the hooks. We will see what happens to it. :)



The cross stitch I made I have already shown here (the birds), but now I am planning some more. I have to finish 3 squares for the charity quilts till the end of September, so I am working on those now. After that I will make some things to sell in my webshop. I have been working on some patterns, will show them later. But there is a small one, a biscornu pattern that I would like to share with you.

It is a red biscornu again, I just love red embroidery, but of course, you can use other colours too.

Please enjoy it and feel free to share it with others.

Click on the picture to get the pdf pattern. Happy stitching!

22/07/2014

Summer crafting: Apron sewing tutorial


This is a tutorial on how to sew the apron from the free pattern from my previous post.


This was the first I made, and now I am making a new one for the purposes of this tutorial. That's why the fabric is different.

First of all, we need to cut out the fabric. We need one piece for the centre of the apron, cut on fold, two pieces for the sides, two pieces for the pockets and four for the ties.

As I told you, I didn't put seam allowance on my paper pattern, but you can. If you did, just pin them to your fabric and cut around the pattern. I did it this way: I put the 2 cm line on my quilting ruler on the edge of the pattern, and cut. Lucky this pattern is almost all straight lines, the curves I just freehanded.


Here are my pieces. On the right the middle piece, opened, then the two sides, above the two pockets, and the ties. I did not bother much about the pattern of the fabric, except that it was not upside down, but I did fussy-cut the pockets. I wanted to have a nice pattern element on the pockets, not cut in half.

If you look at the first apron, in the above picture, you see that the pockets and the ties are made of a matching fabric but with a different pattern. You can also do that if you want.


We start sewing with the pockets.
First use the 2 cm seam allowance to double-hem the top of the pocket. The top is the slanted line:



Then we do the same on the shorter side and on the bottom. Since the bottom is slightly curved, I do it like this: I sew a basting stitch along the curve, about 5 mm from the edge, and pull the thread a little. Then I iron the fold while still pilling a little.


When 3 sides of the pocket pieces are hemmed (the longest side is left with a raw edge), we put them on top of the side pieces. Measure 10 cm from the top of the side piece (the blue dot) that's where the point of the pocket will be, the raw edges of the two should be matching. Pin in place.



Then we take the middle piece, put on side piece with the pocket attached on top of it. The wrong sides are touching, the right sides are outwards because we are going to sew a French seam. I love French seams, they mean that there are no unsightly seams or fraying edges on the wrong side.

Match the bottom of the pieces and pin them:


Sew them together, using a 5-6 mm seam allowance. Important: at the top, don't start sewing right at the edge, leave 2 cm unsewn, so we can easily fold that part down later for hemming.

This is what we get:


Do this on both sides.

Then fold them so they the right sides are meeting on the inside, and iron the seam lines:


Sew another seam from this side now, with 1 cm seam allowance. It will look like this from the back:


And this from the front:


Then iron down the seam on the back, towards the middle, and sew along the edge of it:



Hem the top part of the sides: I folded down the 2 cm that we did not sew together with the middle like this:


then fold half of this under, so the raw edge is hidden. Sew the hem.

Now hem the top of the middle piece, the two sides and the bottom of the apron. If you find it difficult to hem the curved button, use the basting stitch trick I showed you with the pockets.

Only the ties are left, and the sides of the middle top part.

Now let's look at the sides of the middle piece. Because of the French seam, there is a double fold at the edge, like this:


We need to simply iron it down as it is. We will not hem this side but put it in between the folded ties and sew.

So take the 80 cm long tie pieces. Fold them in half, iron, open up, fold the to sides to the middle, iron, and fold it in the middle again.

But for this, because it will be quite thick with the extra fabric put in between, I like to offset the folds a little, when I fold first, I fold not exactly in the middle but so that one side is a bit bigger than the other:



After this open the ends, fold and iron the edge in about 1 cm, so there is no raw edge visible when we sew.



Open it and put the narrower fold right side down on top of the wrong side of the apron, match the folded edge to the hemming on the sides, and sew a seam 1-2 mm from the fold line (red line in the picture):



Then fold the whole thing to the right side, and topstitch on the edge.


Start sewing at the waist, and after you have stitched it down on the top part of the apron, continue stitching together the tie. At this point I moved the fold a little so it was folded more in the middle. When you reach the end, pivot and sew across:



Only the waist ties are left. Fold the two 60 cm long ties the same way as the neckties, but make it symmetrical. Put the corner of the apron in between this fold for about 2 cm, and sew them together:



Your apron should be ready. Enjoy it. :)

Please let me know if any of the steps need clarification, if I forgot something - you can also tell me if it seems to be working. :)


I will be soon back with some embroidery and a cross stitch pattern.

20/07/2014

Summer crafting: Apron - free sewing pattern



Hi!



I would like to share with you a pattern for this apron. It is about a size L, but to be honest, I am just guessing.




This is my first ever sewing pattern, so please, be patient with me if I am not perfect - but I will never get better if I don't start somewhere, right?

I didn't have the courage to make a pdf version of my pattern (also, I thought I want to use my time for other things rather than learning this) so I am going to talk you through the steps of making your own pattern. Please, don't run away in panic, it is really simple, and the result is going to be cute.

Today I am giving you the pattern, tomorrow the instructions on how to sew the apron.

IMPORTANT: the pattern does not contain seam allowance, don't forget to add it later. You will need 2 cm all around! I usually just add it as I am cutting, but perhaps I should start adding it on paper, to be more precise.

Anyway,you will need:

- pattern paper (I use Ikea's drawing paper roll for children, cheap and good. But you could use some newspaper or
brown wrapping paper, whatever you have at hand.)

- paper scissors

- ruler (I use a quilting ruler, it is perfect for drawing perpendicular lines, but if you don't have that, a straight
ruler and a triangle one is just as good.)

- pencil, eraser, pen


First we are going to draw the middle of the apron.

For this, you need to draw a straight line at the paper's edge. (If you are more comfortable to adding the seam allowance to the paper pattern, draw this line 2 cm from the edge!) I started at the top of my paper, see the pictures.

The line should be 65 cm long. Mark a point 21 cm from the left end, so basically you divided your line into a 21 and a 44 cm long piece.

Draw perpendicular (straight angle, 90 degrees) lines from three points on this line: at the beginning, mark 13 cm down this line, at the 21 cm-point, mark 10 cm on this line, and finally at the end, mark 14 cm on this line.

Here is what it will look like now. Sorry for the bad picture, I hope you will see what I mean. Please, believe me when I say that the lines are at a straight angle to the first one, in the picture, because of the camera angle, it does not look like it. :(

Click on the picture to enlarge it.




Now connect the ends of the lines. I took pictures of the left side (this will be the apron's top) and the right side (the bottom) separately, hopefully this will give you a better idea.


Left side (top):


Right side (bottom):


Mark your pattern piece as you see in the picture: the first line we drew will be the FOLD line. Label your pattern: write that this is the middle part of the apron, and you need to cut one piece on the fold.

This part is ready, only if you want to, add 2 cm seam allowance all around. Then you can cut it out.


Now comes the side part of the apron.


We start with a straight line again, at the paper's straight edge (I drew it on the other side of the same piece of paper), this needs to be 43,5 cm long.
Draw two perpendicular lines at the two ends: one needs to be 20 cm, the other 30 cm long.
It is almost ready, I just like to add a few curves so the apron looks better, but if you want to simplify things, you can just go ahead and work with the straight lines, it would work.


To add a curve at the 20 cm side, do this: measure 5 cm back from the 20 cm mark. Then draw a short line at the 20 cm mark towards the left, and mark 2 cm on it. Connect these two points with a slightly curving line. I hope the picture will help with it.

To add a curve to the 30 cm side, mark the middle of the line (15 cm), draw a short line to the right, and mark 2 cm on it. Connect this point to the two ends with a slight curve. I drew a few pencil lines before I got it right, then used a pen to redraw the best version and erased the rest. Don't fret about it, it does not have to be perfect. (But if you have a French curve ruler, which I don't, you can draw this probably much better.) Connect the ends with a ruler.

This is what you will get:



Label your piece, if you prefer, add the sewing allowance, 2 cm all along, and cut out 2 pieces.

IMPORTANT: when you cut out two pieces, make sure they are mirror images of each other! The easiest way to do this is to fold your fabric in half, pin the pattern on top and cut the two pieces at the same time. They will be the exact same measurements but facing each other. This is what we want.


Next: we are join to draw the pockets.

Draw a rectangle that 20 cm by 15 cm.

On the bottom line measure 4 cm from the left end to the right and connect this point to the left upper corner.
On the right side, find the middle of the 15 cm line (7,5 cm), draw a line to the right, mark 1,5 cm and connect this point with the ends of the line in a curve, the same way we did before.

This is what you will get. I marked the cutting line with red (unless you want to add the sewing allowance to your pattern, in that case this is the sewing line.


We will need two pieces of this, too, mirror images again.


We also need some ties for our apron. You will to cut two rectangles that are 60 x 9 cm for the neck ties, and two rectangles 80 x 9 cm for the waist. (This length is enough so that you can tie your apron in the back, the way we do in Hungary. However, if you prefer to bring it to the front and tie it there, like they often do it in Sweden, make it longer - just measure with a measuring tape.)

I haven't drawn this on paper, I just cut them from the fabric with a rotary cutter. If you prefer, please, draw the rectangles on paper and cut them out. You don't need sewing allowance for these.


Now your pattern is ready, find some lovely fabric and wait until tomorrow when I will walk you through the sewing process.

Please, let me know if there is anything that is not easy to understand and I will try to clarify.







18/07/2014

Summer freebie "Primitive" and a textile art tutorial

Hello, again.

Before I show you guys my "best piece so far" - according to my boyfriend (and perhaps myself, too), I want to give you a little present for your patience.

This mini sampler I created inspired by the "primitive" embroidery style. I think it would look really lovely on a cushion or a wall hanging for the summer. I hope lots of my readers will like it and make it. Use your brightest colours. :)



Just click on the picture and you get to the pdf.

And now, here is a little tutorial how to create a piece of fabric art.

I have to say, I am sure I didn't invent this. I have read lots of different instructions and watched countless videos and I am sure they influenced me, but I cannot find any particular one that I followed. I just followed my own heart and head with this project.

I have no pictures of the steps, but it is not so difficult to imagine, I promise :)


First of all, you need a sleepless night. After tossing around in bed for a while, get out and turn on the lights. Take a piece of scrap fabric from your drawer, fold it in half, pick up a pair of scissors and cut out a shape. I cut out a bird, but you can make whatever you like. It doesn't even have to be "something". For me the whole thing was really an improvisation, I didn't draw the shape, but if you feel safer that way, go ahead and draw or use a printed pattern.
By folding the fabric, you get two pieces that are identical but facing each other.

Pick another, slightly bigger piece of fabric, pin the shape to it and sew around with the sewing machine a few times. You can also add extra lines, apart from the outline. In my case I added the beak, the legs and the wings of the bird. Again, you can draw the lines in advance, but I didn't, it doesn't have to be perfect. When you sew the second or third round, you don't have to be precise and follow the first line, on the contrary. Be free, enjoy the process and don't worry too much. You can turn under the edge of your appliqué or leave it to fray, as I did.
If you don't have a sewing machine or love sewing by hand, this can be easily done without a machine, too.

Repeat with the other piece - try to make the second piece similar to the first - or not.

And voila, you have made a lovely piece of fabric art.

Extra: if you feel like it, you can sit down next day and embroider some words on it. I embroidered the word "bird" in English, Swedish and Hungarian and used some sparkly metallic embroidery thread.


This is the result:




Oops, I took the second picture in different light. The first one is truer to the real colours.



I love them so much that now I am having a difficulty deciding what to make of them. I think they will become a decoration on a bag. Or a cushion. Or an apron. Or…

Happy summer crafting to everyone. See you soon, with a sewing pattern, of all things!


17/07/2014

Summer holidays = crafting

Hello, hello, my dear readers. I hope you are all having a lovely summer.

Thank you if you are still around, and sorry for not writing for so long. May and half of June was really busy at school, and it was even more difficult because I didn't feel very well. In the beginning of July I had two friends over from Hungary, so I had to prepare for that a little (cleaning! brrrr…). We had a great time though, so I have to say it was worth every minute. Then we went to the mountain area in Sweden for a family event. Want to see some pictures?


My friends in Stockholm.


My friends and me on Åland.


Stephen and me in the mountains - what a silly selfie, isn't it? :D


And now, finally, I am here.

I didn't write my blog but I have been crafting all the same, perhaps not as much as I like to, but there are lots of things to show. So now I am going to write a post every (other?) day, showing you the different things I made or am in the middle of making. There will be some free patterns, too!

Let's start with the most exciting thing: I have been accepted to university! Hipp-hipp-hurray! In August I will start a textile course in Umeå. My only regret is that it is very far away, around a 1000 kms, so I will have to fly - and it won't be cheap. It is a distance course, so I only need to go three times in a term, so perhaps it is not going to be that bad. I applied for another course in Lindköping, that would have been much closer but they requested a teacher degree for admission, and my Hungarian degrees are still not accepted here. :(

Anyway, in Umeå the requirement was some kind of a textile-related course, but for those who might not have it they offered a practical test to prove they know some basic textile skills. They posted an assignment online in May, and we had 3 weeks to complete a project. The topic was: playing with ten-year-olds. We had to send in the project itself, also the plans and sketches (not my strong point) and a 2-page long "reflection" - in Swedish. I made an educational game: a puzzle of the Nordic countries, with "cards" to mach the names of the countries/seas, the capitals and the flags. I used multiple layers (felt, iron-on interfacing and cotton fabric) to sew the puzzle pieces, used velcro to attach the cards, and embroidery to make the flags and the writing on the cards. Here are some pictures:



The background and the puzzle pieces.



This is how it looks put together.


You can also play Memory with the little cards. 2 in 1 :D I also made some simple bags to put the whole thing in but I forgot to take pictures.



I have one more photo to show you today: I stitched the free lapwing pattern from my previous post. I hope you like it.



See you soon :) Promise.

18/04/2014

Another free lapwing pattern


Happy Easter!


I hope you all have a lovely time.

I am having a very quite spring break, staying at home, stitching a bit and not doing anything. Trying to reload spent batteries. :)


Here are some photos of what I have been doing lately:

I have crocheted quite a few of these bunnies and chicks and sold them to raise money for charity.


Some pillows with bunnies and a hedgehog, they were also sold.





Birds, not finished yet. Some of them will end up as bookmarks, some as… don't know yet. :) Any ideas?



And made a blouse for myself. Tried to practice how to follow a pattern really well, but it turned out horrible. I stretched the fabric on the bias, and the size was not really good either. In some places I needed a 52, in others it was too big. :D :D Anyway, managed to change here and there to make it all right. SO much about following a pattern. :)


Here is another version of the lapwing, this time in colour. Click on the picture.



Have fun stitching it.