Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Japanese Potholder/Mug Cosy

Needs must! Today I posted this picture on my Instagram account and foolishly offered the pattern to anyone who would like to try it. I say foolishly as I'd completely overlooked the fact I'd found it in a Japanese craft book and the instructions are, of course, in Japanese!

I managed to work it out from the diagrams but to avoid any disappointment I'm writing the instructions here where anyone can access them. To start with here is a scan of the page which includes the pattern and diagrams:

So first download the image (its a jpg) and print it out on A4 paper ensuring you tell the printer to print actual size. Cut out the paper template. I stuck the paper onto cereal packet card as I made a few potholders and needed something sturdier than paper.  So, now for the instructions:

1.  Cut out 2 fabric semicircles ADDING a seam allowance. I use cotton teatowel sets bought in bargain stores as they are inexpensive and hardwearing and the patterns will co-ordinate. So cut one semicircle in each of the fabrics you choose.  You can makes a few potholders from one teatowel.

2.  Cut one batting semicircle without the seam allowance.  I used a heat resistant batting called Insul Bright that has a metalised film sandwiched between polyester fibres.  You could of course use any other batting/fleece but they may not give the best heat resistance when handling hot saucepan handles etc.

3. Baste/tack the batting to the wrong side of the fabric which is to be the outside of the potholder.  Just around the edge is good enough but not too close to ensure it doesn't get in the way of stitching.

4. Fold the piece in half, right sides together, along the straight edge and pin. Cut a piece of cotton tape about 3" long, fold it in half and slide the folded edge of the tape in next to the centre fold as shown in diagram 1.  This will be the hanging loop at the peak of the potholder.

5. Stitch the seam as shown in diagram 2 (the red line). Use the edge of the batting as a guide.

6.  Stitch the seam in the lining piece leaving a gap for turning as shown in diagram 3.  Press the seam allowance on both pieces to one side.

7. Turn the outer potholder right side out then place the lining piece on top of it so that the two right sides are facing eachother.  Pin the bottom edges together all the way around making sure you align the two perfectly.  The batting will be the bottom layer as shown in diagram 4.

8. Stitch all around as shown in diagram 5 - the red line.

9. Turn the potholder right side out through the gap in the lining seam and use a chopstick or similar to gently push out the pointed top.  Press everything neatly. Handsew the gap closed as shown in diagram 6.

10. Top stitch around the base on the outside to make a neater job. The lining will show a bit on the outside but I think this looks quite nice.  Press again.

And, ta-da! Its finished.  Make another one to co-ordinate or to match.

Of course if you can read Japanese the book probably makes a better job of the instructions than I did!!!  Do say if I've made any mistakes.

If you've not visited my blog before you might notice I haven't written a post for some time.  I kept meaning to but never found the right time.  The last two years have not been happy ones. My Mum died at the end of 2018 and then three months ago we lost my younger sister.  Its the first time I've written that.  In between times our family home of almost 50 years had to be emptied and sold. Hopefully I will get back to blogging in 2020.  I'll try to make it my New Year resolution!

Friday, 8 March 2019

World Book Day 2019

Its World Book Day and the day has been perfect for staying in and reading - wet, windy and grey grey grey! I'm reading these three at the moment. Meadowland and Four Hedges have chapters titled with the months of the year (a genre I especially enjoy), so after reading the March chapters I'll leave them both bookmarked and pick them up again in April.

That leaves "Miss Buncle's Book" which is not a book I would have picked up without the recommendation of the mighty Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow, who in turn pointed me towards an enabling review by Book Snob.  But be warned, once you click over to Furrowed M you may be there for some time and spend even more time searching on line for books and writers you would never have come across otherwise!

Two more minutes of World Book Day to go and I need to get to bed so I can read another chapter before closing my eyes!

Really enjoyed making more bookmarks by the way!

Saturday, 16 February 2019

An Occasional Update - Spring

We're only half way through February but there are signs of spring everywhere - even in my sewing room. I like using old embroidery transfers and this Weldons transfer couldn't be more spring-like could it. I don't actually use the transfer that would be a shame. I photocopy the transfer sheet and then use my lightbox to trace the design onto fabric with an erasable pencil/marker.

Spring is inside and outside - most particularly in the garden. There's nothing like a warmish day in late winter to encourage a bit of spring cleaning - tidying, snipping back and pulling a few weeds. This year I've a lot of transplanting to do too.

The family home is to be sold and the garden turned into a building plot. I cared for the garden for 25 years after my father died but now it will be dug up so I have to save as many plants as I can. First this year have been the snowdrops and they were a success! I know advice is to move them "in the green" but I took a chance and moved them in flower and two weeks later they look like they've always been there! So happy!

And I had to stitch them too - just in case.  The last couple of days I've moved on to crocuses and daffodils.  Not so easy but I'll let you know how I/they get on. They are looking beautiful at the moment.

And so is the country roundabout. I always think it looks its best in Spring sunshine. Something to do with the light.

Its a good year for snowdrops - in abundance on my walk this week but before you know it there will be primroses and violets....... then...... so many plants! There's much to do!


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