Craft

Ironing table: my current set up

So in the craft cabin one of the key requirements originally was to have somewhere big enough to have an ironing board permanently set up for my sewing. Once I started looking into it a bit more I decided that ironing boards aren’t the most attractive and instead I wanted an ironing table. When I bought my three desks the intention was to have one for my sewing machine, one for my cutting mat and to turn the final one into an ironing table. I planned to cover the whole desk with iron safe material (no idea what that would be). I had a picture in my mind of what it would look like, and had seen some pictures of similar ideas on the internet so I thought it would be fairly simple to do. When my desks arrived they were a really good size and I started browsing the internet for some ironing board material (despite J’s suggestion that I might not want to permanently cover the desk as it was quite a large surface). But I just didn’t manage to find what I was after and, being desperate to start crafting I decided to get a temporary portable mat until I could create what I was after. I went for this one as it had the best reviews on Amazon (always a good indicator) and wasn’t too expensive for what I saw as a temporary solution. It rolls up nicely so it can be put away as required (although I’m leaving it out all the time at the moment).


My main concern with an ironing mat was that it would leave condensation on the table but so far (despite extensive use) that hasn’t been a problem. It also kind of matches the colour my chair will be (when that finally arrives) which is good. I also think it looks smart enough to have out all the time.


As sewing requires lots of bits of pressing seams, having a good iron set up was really important to me as when I was having to sew on my dining table I found the faff of putting up the ironing board and setting up (and then waiting for the iron to cool before putting away) put me off doing bits of sewing when I only had limited time. J wanted to me to get one of those huge steam irons to have, but as I mainly use cotton and didn’t really fancy spending £200+ on an iron I looked for an alternative. I settled on the idea of a cordless iron which would give me a bit more flexibility when needing to move about my sewing benches. Plus, the idea of dangling cords has always seemed like quite a hazard to me. I ended up going for this one, again as it had great reviews. 


When you first switch it on it needs about 20 seconds to heat up (indicated by blue flashing light) then a constant blue light tells you it is fully charged. Then you use it as normal and when it needs more power it flashed orange, it then takes less than 6 seconds to be ready again, time to turn your fabric/garment to the next position. It suits my purpose perfectly and fits nicely on my ironing table. I’m still not 100% that this will be my final set up, but for now it seems to suit. What does everyone else do about pressing when sewing? Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can improve my set up?

Craft

Coaster craft guide

So now the cabin is up and running I’ve taken advantage and spent as much of my free time as possible there. Although I still have lots to do to get it finally organised, I just really wanted to make something. Anything. I’ve had so many things that I want to make but I just haven’t really been able to get my sewing equipment out that easily previously. So I just wanted to complete something simple to christen my cabin. My first project was two coasters for my cabin for when I have a cuppa down there. Ridiculously simple to make but the perfect homely touch. 


Homemade coaster

You need:

  • Material of your choice, this project is perfect for scraps you’ll need approximately 2 6 inch squares per coaster. Material should be prewashed and ironed. 
  • Cotton thread to match (or contrast if you prefer) your material.
  • Wadding – the same size to match your material, though you only need one square per coaster.

Instructions

  • Measure and cut your material and wadding to size. I prefer to measure a coaster I already have to get the size I like. Remember to add on an extra half an inch each way for your seams. You need one square of wadding and two squares of material per coaster.
  • Put the two pieces of material right sides together and put the wadding on top and using a 1/4 inch seam sew around the edge (make sure you leave a gap of about an inch so you can turn it inside out).
  • Trim the wadding and any excess material around the seams, being careful not to cut too close. Cut off the corners to enable as smooth a finished product as possible (figure one).
  • Now turn your coaster the right way round by pushing the fabric and wadding through the opening you left. This can be a bit fiddly, I sometimes use a crochet hook to help me. Pay particular attention to the corners (figure two). 
  • Now press your coaster, making sure that the gap left in the seam is lying correctly.
  • Finally sew all around the four edges, you need to sew close enough to the edge so that the gap in the seam is closed (figure three). 

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3


Ridiculously simple but I think they are very effective. I’ve also done some coasters and placemats for when we have BBQs in the garden. 

Craft · Professionals

Let there be light

Our outdoor electrics have finally been commissioned (I think that’s the correct term). That means that our caravan hook up in the field is ready to go.

 It means out outdoor lamppost by the patio is working.


It means our outdoor electrical sockets are working.


But most importantly my cabin has light and power.


It’s been a long time coming but worth it. I think household chores will be put on hold for a bit whilst I spend every evening sewing! 

Craft

Wool storage

So I have one storage unit in the cabin exclusively for wool and yarn related bits and bobs. The top six cubbyholes are just wool, sorted by colour and I’ve tried to stack them as best as possible so that I can clearly see what I have and what I don’t. The bottom right cubbyhole has a couple of bags with all their materials needed in them and the left hand cubbyhole has my knitting bag. I need to find some way to nicely store and display my knitting needles. Most of my needles are what are known as circular needles, which are basically two wooden needles joined by a plastic loop, but I do still own some traditional bamboo and metal needles. I have made a simple needle case before but it really isn’t substantial enough to hold all my needles, and I would like some kind of easy way to have all of them neatly stored and yet clear to see the different gauges rather than having to root around amongst all of them. One of the things that I’ve found very frustrating about moving into the cottage was that all of my craft bits were boxed up and stowed away in various places. 


I figure I can have my traditional needles in vase of kinds on top of the shelves. But that still leaves the dilemma of my circular needles so I think I’ll have to take to Pinterest to find some inspiration. Also looking at all my yarn together I feel like I need to expand my collection somewhat. Both C and J have quite sensitive skin so I tend to avoid using high wool content in my makes and instead go for more delicate or artificial fibres. My collection has lots of bits and pieces of yarn left over from projects but I could do with some really nice yarn for myself in there. Something which feels lovely and soft and I can use to make a cardigan for myself to snuggle in when it comes to winter. I feel a big shop coming on!

Craft

Planning the cabin layout

So the purpose of the cabin is to give me a space where I can store all my craft things in and also somewhere for me to have some ‘me time’. I had some ideas about how I wanted to set things out but I didn’t feel that I could purchase any furniture until I could actually stand in it and properly measure and sort the layout. My requirements furniture-wise have been simple. I need somewhere to cut material, somewhere to iron, somewhere for my sewing machine to be used. I also want a comfy chair to sit in with space nearby for my kettle and cups. Oh and storage. Lots of storage. I had quite liked the idea of having an island in the middle for my ironing and cutting with built in storage and then just a bench down the side for my sewing machine. But when I actually stood in there I thought an island would dominate too much, leave little moving room around the sides and not enough storage. So that idea was out. I spent a good evening measuring the walls, window length and height from the floor before taking to the internet to find furniture that would fit. 

I’ve now opted for three desks forming an L shape across the front down one side and some shelves continuing down that side and along the back. Both of these were from IKEA in white and the desks have adjustable legs so they can be raised in line with the windows. I’ve started constructing the furniture this week (with some assistance from J) and like all IKEA furniture it is simple to put together and of a reliable quality. The shelves are cube shelves enabling me to have some sense of organising and separating of products. Nothing in them yet, and I haven’t finished the last two desks yet but hopefully you can start to get a feel for how it will be.

Ignore the weird painting at the bottom of the walls, skirting board still to be attached!

I’ve ordered my chair from John Lewis but it will be 8 more weeks until delivery so I’m going to have to wait a while before that’s in place and I can get a coffee table to fit with it. I’ve also ordered myself a rug which will be in the centre of the ‘work area’.  I’m hoping that the white walls, ceiling, furniture and floor with the pops of colour from the chair, rug and materials will work and create a light and calm working environment. I still need to get some lamps and some other bits and bobs but at least this weekend I can start filling shelves. 

Craft · Life in the Countryside

Preparing for the craft cabin

So I love craft work and have over the years amassed quite a collection of paraphernalia the cabin is now constructed and the electrics have been wired in and we’re just putting the final coat of paint on this weekend before we lay the flooring. So in all my excitement I have already ordered my desks and furniture and have pulled out all my craft bits from where they have been stored (read shoved) when we moved in. Our dining room has now exploded with my junk. J had encouraged me to get excited and get it all out ready, but I don’t think he realised just how much I have squirrelled away over the years. 


I have two main ‘types’ of craft which I tend to focus on: knitting/crochet which comes with a significant amount of wool and sewing of which I have lots of bits and pieces material. I also did a bit of cross stitch when I was younger and still have some remnants of that which it seems a waste to just get rid of. 

I’ve gone for Ikea furniture for various reasons; it is simple, cheap and good quality. I have so far gone for two different shelving units – a smaller one for yarn and a larger one for material and any other crafty bits. The furniture is all white to match the white which we have painted the inside and the chair I’ve ordered is teal to give a pop of colour. I’m planning on adding in some bunting and other homemade bits to bring out different colours. 

I think it will still take a couple of months to have everything the way I want it as my ultimate craft cabin/childfree me time space but for now I’m just going to be very excited that I can start a much needed declutter and organisation.