Posted in Competitions and Giveaways on Friday the 4th August 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
We’re happy to team up with PatternSass Cross Stitch to bring you a collection of unique cross stitch patterns, an interesting story and guest blog post from them, a fun contest so you can win a free bundle of 45+ cross stitch patterns, and a free bonus pattern for everyone, all for being a reader of the Minerva Crafts blog!
Now I will pass over to the team at PatternSass Cross Stitch to tell you more....
People often ask about our interest in needlework. I feel comfortable to say for all of us that our love for needlework is borne from the accessibility of the art and the culturally rich traditions. I mean, any person, of any age and skill level can easily reap the rewards of a tradition spanning literally hundreds of years.
Yet, we are amazed that modern digital artists have ignored the crafting art forms. They are creating world-class artwork for markets that I would consider crowded and so they are under-appreciated.
So we set out to show digital artists how numerous and passionate stitchers and crafters really are.
The Digital Artists
I wish we could tell you more about Irene Cvetnaya of Russia. She’s a very gifted illustrator but just had her first baby, so she hard to reach right now.
Her work is featured in many digital design markets and used in website design, t-shirts, and marketing materials throughout Russia. Irene has a wonderful series of pin up girls and another called birds in winter hats that we’ve converted to cross stitch patterns.
We'll share more about Christopher King of Bath, England. Chris owns and operates his digital design business, Wing's Art & Design, for 10+ years in the United Kingdom. His work is featured in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Computer Arts Magazine, and Advanced Photoshop Magazine and throughout the local UK market.
Chris is an avid reader and researcher of all things artistic...
“Should you ever visit my studio, one of the things you’ll notice are all of the books. Row after row, covering everything from art history to comics, film, fashion, music and popular culture. You can bet that if I’m reading about Art Nouveau artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec or Alphonse Mucha, they’ll be some sort of themed design pack not far behind.”
Chris believes the exposure to the work of others is key and he digs deep for inspiration...
“Google is great for a bit of quick reference, but should never be your only resource. Bear in mind that whatever information you find on the web is already heavily curated and second-hand, so you’ll need to dig a little deeper for that spark of originality.”
He’ll soak up anything and everything that captures his interest, and you can definitely see authenticity and a signature design style that is uniquely Chris...
“Once I have an idea in mind, I’ll immerse myself in everything I can find on that topic”.
If he’s designing a collection of works in an 80’s theme, then he’ll dig into vintage magazines, video games, music artwork and he’s a movie buff, so plenty of 80s movies...
“Over the course of a week or month, I’ll make piles of notes and sketches to distil all of this information into recurring themes and elements that act as a starting point for my own design work.”
It’s easy to see the care and professionalism Chris dedicates to his illustration skills. Here are some of Chris’s illustrations.
Another art style we’re exploring is Indonesian WPAP portraits. WPAP (Wedhas’ Pop Art Portrait) originates with a legendary artist from Indonesia, Wedha Abdul Rasyid. We love applying this modern technique to very iconic and historic portraits.
A Free Pattern
We are often asked what is included with a pattern. It’s just easier to give you a free pattern to review, so here is a free cross stitch pattern on us.
Our patterns contain a full-color chart indicating individual floss colors both visually and with an icon, image dimensions for different Aida fabrics so you can choose the correct size of stitching fabric, and a color photo for reference. All your supplies of Embroidery Threads and Aida Cross Stitch Fabric can be bought here at Minerva Crafts.
Please enjoy the pattern and do share you’re comments with us.
Enter To Win The Collection For Free
If you’ve downloaded the free pattern then you’re already entered. If not, you can download the free pattern and enter the contest here to win 45+ cross stitch patterns from us. We’ll end the giveaway contest in one week (the 11th of August 2017) and announce a randomly picked winner.
Here’s what you can win:
7 x "Pin Up Girl" Patterns from Irene Cvetnaya
10 x "Birds with Winter Hats" Patterns from Irene Cvetnaya
8 x "Peaceful Protestor & Peek a Boo" Patterns from Wing's Art & Design
9 x "Indonesian WPAP Portraits" including JFK, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Former President Obama, etc.
15 x "Japanese Calligraphy" Patterns
You can see more details here.
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 3rd August 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi, I’m Eleanor from nelnanandnora and I’m here to talk about the Espadrille Soles by Prym. I was offered these to test at a perfect time as I’d seen lots of lovely espadrilles in the shops and wanted make something a little different. I sew almost all my clothes so it seemed logical to try these out and extend the range of my handmade wardrobe a little further.
Originally I’d planned to use some navy blue embroidered fabric, modify the pattern and make ankle ties but then I remembered this gorgeous pand print fabric that was tucked away in my stash and it seemed perfect for a first attempt. The lining is a soft green spotty print cotton.
The pack includes a double sided printed pattern that needs to be traced or photocopied and the instructions are available for download via a QR code on the outer packaging.
A specific Yarn is available – in several colours – for stitching the uppers to the soles, but I decided to use Gütermann Topstitching Thread as it is easier to source, comes in more colours and I had seen it suggested elsewhere.
The process is fairly straightforward: cut the pattern pieces – both outer and lining – as mirror images of each other, stitch the outers and linings in pairs, then pin and blanket stitch each piece to the soles, finishing by backstitching the uppers to the backs.
Here you can see the process of creating the shoe fronts; the backs are created in the same way.
To keep the stitching even, I marked ¼” / 6mm intervals around the sole with a Water Soluble Marker and Seam Gauge. I used a large eyed hand sewing needle from my varied and largely inherited collection, as the thread is quite thick (similar to these). A Thimble is essential if you don’t want holes in your fingers, and I’d also suggest having some small Pliers on hand for pulling the needle through tricky spots, especially when sewing in the loose ends of thread (which I pushed through the sole and out at the sides).
A little easing is needed around the toe area – which is indicated on the pattern – and I found it easier to release the pins at the toe and ease the fabric gently with my fingers as I stitched. I had planned to use small tucks at either side but the fabric was too thick in this case.
I’m delighted with the results. My feet are fairly wide so the fit is snug (and secure). It wouldn’t be difficult to alter the pattern pieces for narrower or wider feet or high insteps. I’ll definitely be making some more!
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 2nd August 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
I love accessories especially bracelets, and now I have a little girl, Babybear, who shares the same love. So I jumped up and down very quickly when Minerva Crafts offered this Friendship Bracelet Maker (FBM) to test. The FBM is designed for age 6+ but please do not let that put you off thinking it’s just for kids. It’s most definitely for anyone of any age.
The FBM itself is super colourful bright pink and green, which captured the eye of Babybear straight away. But this was MY toy! There are 2 sets of instructions: a small booklet which instructs on how to create different styles of bracelet; and an A4 leaflet which shows how to start a basic design. I obviously went with the basic design. I’m a newbie!
To access the threads you just need to slide the top section up, and hey presto! There are 42 threads - 3 of each colour, and there are 14 colours to choose from. Spoilt for choice indeed. Once you have chosen your threads, you simply need to follow the instructions on the A4 leaflet to get started. Start of by creating a loop with all the threads. There is a beautiful purple butterfly which is the clip to hold the threads together as you begin weaving and tying. Place the loop under the clip, there are only 4 little catchers so some catchers will have 2 or 3 threads, but that’s ok, it doesn’t affect the rest of the process.
The first pattern on the A4 leaflet is a diagonal pattern, which reminds me of the friendship bracelets I had when I was a youngster. That was a very long time ago. I would advise to read the instructions before starting the bracelet, especially understanding how to create a double right hand knot. Once this has been mastered I think the bracelet making is easy-peasy.
The instructions are straight-to-the-point with diagrams, for novices it can be a little confusing. However, it took me 5 minutes of reading and practicing the knots, I was ready to go. This is the first bracelet I made, not bad is it?
Although the packaging states for ages 6 + I thought why not try it out on a 3 ½ year old. Instructing Babybear on how to pass me the threads, we managed to get 2 rows completed. I don’t think that this product is restricted to children above the age of 6 years. Babybear and I had lots of fun. She enjoyed it so much that we made another bracelet together.
The FBM is a great size; it’s lightweight and has a smart little storage area for all the threads and bracelets. Babybear was able to easily transport the FBM around without a problem. There are no sharp corners or other bits, which made me feel at ease to allow Babybear to play with the product.
I have to emphasise that I was with Babybear at all times when using the FBM, she was never left alone with the product or threads. The product does specifically warn to keep away from children under 36 months. Babybear is nearly 44 months but I didn’t want her to mix and twist the threads because I am loving this bracelet maker, and will be making some bracelets for my HOLIDAY! I can already see gold, pinks, corals…OMG! I’m excited already for my next batch of bracelets. I may even make a matching anklet. Ok, I am super duper excited now. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to keep posted on my makes!
Teena @ Teenyweenies.co.uk
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 1st August 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi everyone, it's Nicky here and nice to be back doing my second product review.
If you have read my previous review or tutorials you’ll know I’m much more of a sewer than a knitter so when I do knit I usually go for smaller items that I won't get fed up with, and there is nothing better than knitting for little ones so it's been lovely to be given the opportunity try out Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots Yarn for Minerva Crafts.
I also enjoy the fact that small knits are so transportable so I can be out enjoying the sun while still being productive… after all we never know how long it will last!
The Tiny Tots Double Knit yarn comes in 29 different colours ranging from brighter shades with multi coloured flecks to softer shades with neutral or white flecks. For my example I have used Little Bee 986 & Snug 932. These are from the softer of the shades but I love the fact that they still have a nice vibrancy.
The yarn is an Acrylic and Polyester mix but has a lovely almost cotton texture with flecks/bobbles that add an additional feature. I knitted from a standard DK baby pattern using the stated needles, 3.25mm for the rib & 4mm for the stocking stitch. The 4mm needle matched the ball band suggestion and I found that they produced the correct tension for me, which is a surprise as I'm usually a loose knitter so please make sure you take the time to knit a tension square before you start your creation.
The pattern I used consisted totally of 2x2 rib and stocking stitch (knit a row, purl a row), changing colours after a set number of rows. I carried the unused colour yarn up the edge of the piece by twisting at the end of each row on that side. The pattern stated 1x 50g ball of each colour and I finished with some to spare.
The texture of the yarn was easy to knit with and the bobbles didn't effect the knitting process at all but I did find them a problem when I first started to put together. They prevented me stitching the pieces together as they stopped the yarn from sliding through.
This was solved when I realised they are on a separate thread wound around the main yarn and could easily be removed from a piece. This enabling the same wool to be used to sew as I normally do.
The finished result was a soft knit that happily went into the washing machine on a standard 40’ wash. I didn't try the tumble dry but it naturally dried quickly, always a plus for baby sizes! Unfortunately I can't add a pic of this cardigan being modelled as grandbaby no3 not due quiet yet & it was too big for teddy!
I really liked this wool and would recommend it for tiny tots…… and for the not so tiny ones too, I'm looking at the Fab Fluoro shade for some funky Glastonbury Leg Warmers for myself :)
Thanks for reading my review!
Nicky @ SewandSnip
Hi, it’s Ali from The Patchwork Fairy here. Today I’ve been trying something completely new from Minerva Crafts! They sent me a pair of Espadrille Bases which you can transform into a pair of summer shoes for yourself!
Now I love patchwork and crochet but there are lots of tutorials for crochet and fabric espadrilles already on the internet so I decided to take a different approach to my new shoe project.
Here’s what they looked like to start with:
Here’s what I gathered together for my creative session! Can you guess how I’m going to make them?
I have some lovely coloured glue sticks which I thought would be perfect for making into beach shoes!
First though, measure your feet as though you had sandals on and mark out the dimensions on something heat resistant (ie not your foot!!).
Now make a rectangular lattice with the hot glue in the colours of your choice. The first time I used kitchen foil as a backing sheet but this proved to be a mistake as it was quite hard to peel off the glue lattice once it had dried. In the end I decided to leave some little bits which wouldn’t come off and treat them as part of the pattern!
I repeated the lattice making process for the other foot using some mermaid colours and this time used greaseproof baking paper. This worked very well and so I’d recommend using this unless you too want sandals with a bit of silver bling!
After about 10 minutes the glue lattice will be dry and could be carefully peeled off the paper.
Decide where you want to sew it onto the bases and mark one side, using some long pins.
Now take some strong thread which could be a beige cotton to match the espadrille bases or a more decorative crochet cotton which is to be seen. I opted for the latter and sewed on the first side using a pink Metallic Thread with a large eyed needle. You need to sew right through the sides of the shoe bases and weave the thread in between the lattice holes to secure the sides. For my second sandal I used a metallic green to complement the mermaid coloured top.
Once the first side is sewn you can fold the lattice over your foot and use a pin to mark where you should sew the second side down. Have it fairly snug over the top of your foot as it will stretch a little in use. You can cut off any excess lattice when you have finished sewing.
Try the shoes on for fit and comfort after a couple of stitches on the second side in case you need to make any alterations.
Once you have sewn both sides down and trimmed the lattice and thread ends they are ready to wear!
After a few minutes of walking I found mine started to come away on one side of the pink one where the lattice was just too delicate. Although the dainty thin swirly strips look pretty, they aren’t strong enough to stand up to actually walking in the shoes. However, an application of more glue down both sides seems to have fixed the problem completely. If you create a more structurally sound lattice, especially at the sides where it’s sewn, I think you may get away without the second application of glue.
So there we are! A fairly quick and fun way to make yourself a new pair of unique holiday sandals!
Hope you have a lovely summer!
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 30th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 29th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Friday the 28th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 27th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
We meet again, awesome people!
Sophie from www.sopbac.com here to tell you more about my use of this Cotton Lawn Fabric with an embroidered border detail in the silver grey colour I had the privilege to be testing out for Minerva Crafts as one of their product testers.
I choose to make the Centaurée dress pattern from Deer and Doe for this fabric. I am making one for my sister for my wedding, so I’m testing the pattern out. You can also get any of the Deer and Doe Patterns here at Minerva Crafts.
With the Centaurée dress pattern, I did three things for the first time. Always learning! First, my first time using a border print fabric. Second, I made my first own bias binding tape. Third, my first scalloped hem.
My first thought for the bias binding straps was to use store bought contrasting binding. After a while, I thought to myself, why? I have the tools to make the binding, am I really not going to do it just because I’m “scared”? No way. It was really easy to make. I don’t know why I hesitated. In retrospective, I think it would be even easier if the fabric was a bit stiffer than the light weight of the cotton lawn this was, but I made it! The bias binding is being used for the straps and to finish off the raw edges around the bodice since the pattern isn’t lined.
I love the interesting bodice in this pattern. It is made up of six pieces with a centre intersection. Great opportunity to do some contrasting piping. I didn’t do it because I thought the bias binding straps should be the same colour as the piping.
I wanted to show the beautiful floral embroidered border as much as I could. The most natural way to do this was to cut it as a hem of the gathered skirt in the pattern. That means cutting it along the selvedge.
The embroidered pattern had a scalloped hem. I wanted to make that hem shine through a bit more. And it’s always fun with something new. I serged the raw edges of the hem and folded it up, right sides together. Since the scallops of the hem are made up by two small scallops on either side of a bigger scallop I turned it into one whole. It made it much easier. Then I sewed along the scalloped, cut it as near my stitching as possible, turned and pressed the hem. I think it looks fantastic!
I didn’t do any alterations to the pattern at all, and I’m happy with the fit in general. The fabric is a cotton lawn, so it’s naturally thin and light. I probably should have lined the dress, but I figured nude underwear would solve the problem. It might be a bit sheer if you’re using a coloured undergarment. On the other hand, the light fabric is a perfect addition to a summer wardrobe!
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 26th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Sometimes it's nice as a sew-person to have really simple instructions on a little card so you are not battling through reams of paper instructions or pausing and starting YouTube. However, sometimes a simple piece of card can leave you a little confused too.
The Villa Rosa Designs Quilting Patterns are just that, a little postcard with all you need to make this quilt.
It tells you what you need (8 fat quarters and 2 and a quarter yards of fabric). Then has some very basic instructions on putting it together.
Away I went, I sliced my fat quarters up. I love using Fat Quarters for Quilts, they are so readily available and usually so well coordinated. I know you see lots of tutorials about what to make with fat quarters but I find quilts the most satisfying by far. I chose a lovely bundle in spring greens which came as a pack of 7 so I added one more from a woodland themed pack I had.
I sliced and labelled, determined to be organised so the simple instructions didnt catch me out.
I really enjoy the process of sewing up strips like this, I find it one of the most relaxing parts of sewing, something that takes little concentration and you can do whilst the TV or radio is on. It was slightly overshadowed here by my nerves though as I was worried I would get the placements wrong and I could see that this is would be crucial to the design. It meant that I didn't manage to do much chain stitching, as I wanted to get it right but I'm sure a more experienced quilter would be able to whiz through this.
At this point the pieces look like this...
I then sliced them in to five inch pieces, this is where it got sticky because it says to make 4 lots of 5 inches from each strip, I'm not sure if I did it wrong or the fat quarters were not to be relied upon but I could only get three lots of 5 inch squares out of some of my Strips. However, I've made it work so don't give up on this just yet!! I suspect that there is a direction in which to cut the fat quarters and in it's determination to be concise there isn't any tips like this on the card.
I am not an experienced quilter so I don't want to patronise anyone but the trick to getting this right is to continually label up and make sure everything is facing the right direction.
I began to piece together the strips using the code on the card and luckily, because of the way the blocks line up I managed to skip around the 'not enough blocks' situation and sewed the patterns in place. It has just meant that the quilt is shorter than it should be. Not the end of the world. Luckily, I left the theme fabric until the end so I was able to cut it to size.
However, I was unable to get the pattern running throughout like the mirror image it shows on the card as I didn't have enough pieces but I still think it looks effective. You can still see a pattern between the block, I feel.
As you can see, there's quite a lot of doing as you see best or that fits.
I quilted it by using chunky straight lines as I don't have the equipment, time or patience to freehand or motion quilt and I think it looks really smart.
As much as the colours I chose are pretty, I think to really make the most of the pattern it needs really bright or contrasting colours. I think it would help the pattern and make it look a little bit more modern. What do you think?
In conclusion, whilst I think it's a charming little quilt and a quick way to make a really effective pattern for a cute quilt, my warning would be that it is definitely not for beginners! Measure, measure again and label the life out of it!
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ Emma and her Machine