Thursday, 21 August 2014

...And We Are Open!

We are delighted to announce that The Eternal Maker’s new yarn department and cafe (The Eternal Baker, of course), are now open.

Thank you to everyone that came over on Saturday for our Grand Opening Day. It was fabulous to see you all.

We are starting our knitting club today: Thursday (21st August) and it will be an evening slot - 5.30-8.30pm. The cafe will also be open, so please do pop over and have a knit, a chat and some tea and cake.

The next knitting club will be on Thursday 28th, in the morning - 11am-1pm.
We will be having a morning club and an evening club on alternate weeks. If you lose track of which is which, please do just ask when you're in, or just give us a ring at the shop on 01243 788174.

As you can see, we have a great selection of yarns from Cascade to Rowan to great indie dyers like Eden Cottage Yarns. As with our fabric range, we also have a stock of organic wools from Garthenor which are all British breeds.

So, we hope to see you here later on for knitting club (5.30 - 8.30pm) or do pay us a visit in normal shop time. 

Happy Stitching!

Friday, 11 July 2014

All Change!! A Date for your Diary.

Fear not, readers, for The Eternal Maker is still here with everything that the sewist needs, but at the moment (as you know if you've visited recently) we are having some building work done. Soon we shall also have everything that the knittist needs too! We are expanding to have a yarn department - exciting times!

Um, well I would say that... Let me introduce myself: I'm Ingrid, have recently joined the merry band here at The Eternal Maker, and I am to be the resident knittist, seller of yarns and hostess of knit night.

The work has been going on for some time now, and today the builders have been whacking, cracking and drilling through the wall to create a new, bigger opening through to the yarn dept and cafe.

Yes, you heard me right. A cafe as well! With tea, coffee, cake and more. It's going to be delicious stuff too. We've all been letting out our belts a notch lately trying it all out. Entirely for your benefit, you know...

Oh, you'll be able to stay here all day *rubs hands with glee.*

Ahem. So, you ask, when can you come to sample these delights?

Well, our Grand Opening is on Saturday 16th August and we will open at 10am as usual.

Anna and I have been hard at work researching yarn lines, meeting reps, chosing a nice range of wools, books, patterns, needles and notions. As with the fabrics, we're hoping to have a range of organic wools, and as well as our core basic yarns, we will have a good range of more sought after brands too. Do keep an eye out over the coming weeks to find out what we will be stocking, but for now, here is a sneak preview of some things that have already been delivered.

Addi Turbos

Crazy Zauberball

Libby Summers aran
We are off to the knitting festival Unwind Brighton tomorrow, to snag some great indie dyers' yarns too, so see you there if you're going!

So for now, get your needles ready,  for the Grand Opening of the yarn department and Cafe on Saturday 16th August and stay a while for some tea and cake too!

Happy stitching (of both kinds)!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Frolicing Elephant Bunting Tutorial

What could be more summery than a bunting parade of jolly elephants,whales and balloons?

We've recently had a delivery of the new Birch Organic fabric range and it included this gem - Frolic Triangles. 

It's just perfect to make a row of small triangle bunting, as you can see. Can't you just see it jazzing up your summer house while you sip your Pimms of an evening? Well, maybe that's just me.

Anyway, this is how to make some, wherever you decide to put it!

You will need:

One 60cm panel of Birch Organics Frolic Triangles.
3.5 - 4m coordinating bias binding*. If you want to have gaps inbetween the pennants, you will need a longer piece of 5-6m.
Matching thread.

1) Cut the four strips from the panel, and then cut out the triangles. You will have a few half triangles from the end of the rows, but these are not used in the bunting.

2) You will have16 plain and 32 patterned triangles at this point. Match up the triangles as you like to make a pleasing pattern, back and front.

3) Place each pair of triangles with right sides facing, and sew together along the two longer sides, using the edge of the printed pattern as a guide.

4) Once you have completed the 24 triangles, turn them the right side out and press them to get a nice sharp edge and point.

5) Arrange in a jolly line of pennants, remembering to check how your bunting will look on the back as well as the front.

6) Start by sewing along about 20-25cm of the bias binding, sewing closed the fold of the bias tape. Once you have a tail, add your first triangle by opening the bias binding's fold, and slipping in the top of the triangle. Just continue along the binding, sewing the first triangle inside.

7) Continue this process, adding triangles until they are all joined into the bias binding. We didn't leave any gaps between the pennants, but if you want to do this, you'll just need a longer piece of bias binding.  Once you’ve attached all of the triangles, sew a tail of binding at the end of the bunting (just as you did at the beginning).

And you're done! Now, enjoy that Pimms...

Happy stitching!

Friday, 20 June 2014

A Very Knottie Tutorial

Babies love a taggie - it's something to hold on to, explore, snuggle and play with, all in one. Well, we have gone one step further, and our lovely Jess has designed a knottie. Yes, you've guessed - it's a taggie with a knot! We think this is even better than the original taggie as it creates yet another surface texture for your baby to play with.

Using some gorgeous Birch organic fabrics - Rio Geo Sun - Ipenema, designed by Dennis Bennett, and their Jersey in Shroom (great name), the knottie is so wonderfully soft that you'll want to snuggle it yourself.

Jess has chosen an eclectic selection of ribbons including ricrac, velvets and chevron weaves to give your littl'uns a wide range of textures to comfort them and stimulate their senses.

So, enough waffle. I bet you want to know how to make your own!

What you need:

35cm of a cotton fabric for the top.
35cm of a soft jersey for the back.
20cm each of 8 different ribbons and ricracs etc (see the picture above for the range that we used).
Coordinating thread.
Tissue paper or suchlike for making the template.

1) First of all, using your tissue paper, make a kite shaped template approximately 35cm x 75cm. The corners need to come about 20cm down from the top. It's a good idea to fold it in half to make sure it is symmetrical (unless being wonky is your thing, of course - sometimes it's mine!)

2) Using your template, pin and cut a kite shape from both of the fabrics.

3) Place the two pieces of fabric with right sides together and at the wider end of the kite, sandwich the ribbons (folded double) between the layers with the ribbon on the inside. I think you'll need to look at the pictures above and below for a better, visual explaination of this!

The ribbons need to be placed at intervals with approximately 2-3cm gaps between them, and pinned into place. Jess found that it is best to only go up to about 10cm above the corners of the kite in order to have enough space to tie your knot.

4) Sew all around the kite, leaving a 10cm gap in order to turn it right way out. Just use the presser foot as a guide for seam allowance.

5) Turn the knottie the right way out, and topstitch all the way round, with a 1/4" seam, enclosing the gap as you sew.

6) Last, but by no means least, tie a knot in the longer end of the kite shape and ta-dah! You have a lovely, soft knottie.

Go on, have a snuggle.

Happy stitching!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Book Stack Table Runner/ Wallhanging - Tutorial

 This is a little bit of an improvised number - there's not many exact measurements, and the layout is pretty much as you want it to be.  Anyway - let's go:

What you need:
60cm Essex Yarn Dyed Linen Steel
1 mini Tula Pink Layer Cake (or you could use scraps, you need pieces of varying sizes 2" wide and 5-10"long)
50cm wadding
50cm backing fabric (we used this)
quilting thread - we used 50wt aurifil variegated in colour 4647 - it's a perfect match!

First, take your layer cake, and cut all the pieces into 2"strips (you should get 5 out of each piece, but don't worry too much if you don't, there's a little ease with amounts - although not too much!)
Then take your main fabric, and cut this into 2"strips too.  Take one of these strips, and divide in half, so you get 2 pieces approximately 22" x 2".  This will be your top and bottom pieces, and the guide to help you work out all your other pieces.

Here's the bit where it get's a little more freestyle.  The layout of the strips is down to your personal choice - you need to make your central pieces from between 10" and 5" wide, and adjust the grey strips accordingly on either side.  Lay out your strips in front of you, adjusting order, and widths as looks good to you.  I ended up with 29 strips (including my top and bottom pieces) - this could vary with yours according to how you've put together your strips, but it will be approximately this many.

 Making your full strips:
Lay a coloured strip on top of a grey strip, right sides facing.  Pin.  Sew along one side, with a 1/4" seam allowance.
 Join another grey strip to the other side of the coloured strip, in the same way.
 Iron your seams open, trim to the same length as the top guide strip.
Joining strips together:
 Lay one strip grey strip on top of a pieced strip, lining up your edges, pin, and sew along the long edge with a 1/4" seam allowance. 
 Press open, then add another pieced strip to the pieced strip, using the same method.
Keep on going, until you have something that looks a little like this.  Finish with a complete grey strip.  Press.  Trim to approximately 50cm, or what looks good to your finished stack.

Lay out your backing fabric, wadding, and quilt top in a sandwich, and quilt as desired. I used the variegated thread in wavy lines to soften up the blocks, and the colours of the thread worked nicely against both the grey and the prints.  Trim the edges straight.

Join your remaining strips together, and press.  Fold in a quarter in seam along one long side, and press.  Sew to the front of your quilt sandwich as per the picture below.  Then fold over to the back, and slip stitch closed. 
And that's it! You're done!  It's finished size should be approximately 50cm x 105cm.


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Pattern Review - Hawthorn Dress By Colette Patterns
This isn't me!
I should really start this with the caveat that while I am a sewer, and I have made several items of clothing for myself over the years, I am not in any way a dressmaker.  My success when making clothes seem to hinge on luck rather than skill, and sometimes it can show...

I chose this lovely yarn dyed cotton from Lecien to make it with, which made me have a panic halfway through that it was cheap looking in an eighties stone washed denim kinda way.  I didn't like it from the halfway point right up until the final try on - making me constantly question myself as to why I was bothering to continue to make it.  I'm glad I persevered.  I added a red stripe trim to it too, which I loved in the shop but again panicked about during making.  I'm glad I added it though - it was a headache to do, but it was worth it - the blue needed a little something.

This dress was also made in a rush a weekend before going on holiday, with my boyfriend Phil and his mum asking me every few minutes "Have you finished yet?" (Nope, still on the same hem as when you asked me last...).   So there was not a little stress, and so under these circumstances I am very happy with the result of this dress.  Would I be happy if I'd made it under different circumstances? Yes, I would.  And why? This is one lovely dress, and one I can see myself making over and over.

The first thing to make sure you do is get the right size - for us over here this side of the pond we need to do a little calculating to make sure the size is right.  I like it though - it makes me feel like I'm a few sizes smaller than I actually am! 

The hardest bit to make was the collar section, getting everything to line up.  This is where being a perfect sewer would really help - which I am not, so lining it up right took a few tries.   The rest of the dress was only a few pieces, so it came together really easily.  The hard bits were the challenges I gave myself - adding the red stripe trim, adding pockets (I'm sorry, I love a dress with pockets, and it was the only flaw in the pattern to my mind), and covering all those fiddly self-cover buttons.
I stitched the buttonholes in red to complement the red trim - my first properly successful buttonholes - and I needed Phil to help me figure out how to make the attachment on the sewing machine work, a fact I will probably never live down.
And here's the finished product:  The first, of hopefully many Hawthorns.  I love it's big swishy skirt: when you walk downstairs it billows up and makes me want to twirl.  What more can a girl ask for?
This one's me...

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

New Deliveries! And A Babygrow Play-Cube Tutorial

Well a lot of things have been happening at The Eternal Maker since we last spoke, as always we've had lots of lovely new deliveries of fabric but we've also had some bigger events going on in our lives too, like planning a new roof for our shop and one very special new delivery - our first Eternal Maker baby!
Yes, we are pleased to announce that our shop manager Rachael had a baby boy shortly after Christmas last year, so in his honour, here's a simple make, for all new arrivals. It can be made with cotton jersey fabric or upcycled babygrows - a lovely way to get more use from those first favourite outfits!

You will need:

At least three babygrows or vests (we used four, first size, vests)
Or..... a selection of any other fabrics. Cotton jerseys give you a lovely soft finish and organic options are great for chewing too! (One long quarter will be enough for your cube but it will look nicer if you use a variety of fabrics) Brushed cottons or minky-type "cuddles" fabric will give you fun textures for feeling.
One long quarter of Vilene
Some toy stuffing
Needles and thread and/or sewing machine
Scraps of "Bondaweb" if doing any applique
Jingle bells and child proof pot, or teddy squeakers, are optional

1) If you are using fabric by the metre skip to next instruction.
If you are using babygrows or vests, start by cutting away any seams and poppers, leaving the largest pieces of flat fabric you can. From vests you will get one piece from the front and one from the back. From babygrows you may get two pieces from the front or back.
2) Measure your fabric pieces to work out the largest size square you can cut from them. We managed to get 6" squares. Cut six 6" squares (or your required size) from your Vilene and mark 1/2" seam allowance guides on all edges with a pencil on the side that ISN'T iron-on (as shown in the picture below). Iron these Vilene squares onto the reverse of your vest or fabric pieces. We have placed some diagonally because we wanted the stripes on the finished cube to be diagonal.
3) Iron the Vilene squares down on the reverse of your fabric and cut out the fabric following the edges of the Vilene. You will need 6 squares to make your cube.
4) We wanted to be a bit fancy and add some applique - if you don't want to do this skip to instruction number 8.
These vests had little animal pictures on that we wanted to use. We cut a heart shape from "bondaweb" that matched the size of the applique we wanted to attach. Then we ironed this on the reverse of the picture - making sure to centre the picture as best as possible.
5)Then we cut out the heart shape from the fabric following the edge of the ironed-on "bondaweb" heart. Removed the paper backing and then ironed on the hearts onto the centre of a couple of the cube squares.
6) So you should now have 6 Vilene-backed squares with any applique on you fancy.
7) Use a small zig-zag stitch to sew on any applique.
8) Start stitching the squares together. Lay them with right sides facing each other and stitch together, following the 1/2" seam allowance guide. Make sure you begin and finish you stitching where the two seam allowance guides cross (otherwise your cube's corners won't work).

9) Continue joining squares to form a cross shape.
10) When you join the squares next door to other squares make sure to stop where the seam allowance guides cross - this will give you a nice sharp corner.

11) Keep working - stitching all the seams together - pulling your work up into a cube as you go. Be careful to only ever sew through two layers of fabric - it's easy to catch another layer in your stitching near the corners so make sure extra layers are pulled out of the way as you go.
12) Make sure you leave a gap in the final seam you join for turning. To keep your corners sharp - leave this gap in the centre of one seam and stitch together the final corners as before.
13) Tie off any threads and turn your cube the right way out.
14) We wanted our cube to rattle so we placed jingle bells inside a child-proof pot and put this inside the cube, well surrounded by stuffing. This is entirely optional, if you are not happy using a child-proof pot you could add teddy squeakers or just stuff the cube normally. Make sure you push stuffing hard into the corners of the cube to help it keep it's shape.
15) Sew up the hole you stuffed your cube through and you're finished!

All you need now is to find a small person to enjoy it!