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Christmas Gift Winners!

It's time to announce the winners of our latest competition! 
We recently held a competition on our newsletter and social media pages where we had 20 gorgeous crafty prizes up for grabs! The competition is open to everyone, wherever you live in the world and the idea is the 20 lucky winners will have an extra treat to open from us at Christmas time :)
To enter, all you needed to do is leave us a testimonial on our website to sum up your experience of Minerva in 2017. Have you bought any gorgeous products from us? Did you make something amazing from any of our products? Have our amazing team of bloggers inspired you or tempted you to try a new craft this year? Let us know, we would love to hear your story! *Share your story on social media with #MinervaStory and you will have double the chance of winning! Each prize is worth between £25-£100 and will be selected at random for each winner. 
As promised the winners are being announced today and here is the list of 20 names who have won a prize! 
Margaret Elsden
Charlene Parrish
Andrea Thompson
Lynne Clark
Jenny Slater
Sarah Baker
Patricia Hudgell
Joan Barket
Angela Foster
Helen Metcalfe
Sarah Homewood
Denise Oxberry
Christine Robertson
Hazel Playford
Susan Reiher
Edel Duffy
Victoria Hall
Natalie Wales
Jennifer Willis
Ella Barker
Each name was pulled out at random from all your entries. Thank you to everyone who entered! If your name is here on the list, please contact me on vicki.herron@minervacrafts.com with your address details and we will arrange to send you your prize!
And lastly, from all of us at Minerva Crafts, we would like to say another HUGE thank you to all of our customers of 2017. Thank you so much for all your support this year. We have so many exciting plans for 2018 and can't wait to share them all with you.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Vicki and all the team at Minerva x
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Erika Knight British Blue Wool Yarn Review by Eleanor

I was excited to see Erika Knight’s British Blue Wool on the list of options for review this month from Minerva Crafts. Wool - especially Brtitish wool - is my favourite fibre for crochet. It’s renewable, versatile, warm and incredibly varied. 

Almost all of my Mum’s family were all involved in the wool trade in some way, whether in trading or manufacturing, in the area around Bradford. Our town is still home to two mills, one of which is the home of the Erika Knight brand, so this yarn is perfect for me.

The colour range is beautiful and has quirky, amusing names (this one is ‘Steve’; others include ‘Iced Gem’ and ‘Mouse’). Although it splits a little from time to time, it is lovely to work with, gives excellent stitch definition and has some natural elasticity. I would happily wear it against my skin and could imagine using it for a variety of projects, even for babies and children. It is also machine washable, which is a huge bonus!

Immediately, I knew what I wanted to make. Crochet cables were on my mind because of a workshop that I taught at Yarndale in September, so I adapted the hat pattern that I used for teaching to make a cowl. Both patterns will soon be appearing on my blog, once I’ve taken some detailed step by step photos to explain the basics of crochet cables.

This yarn seems to suit the textured pattern really well as the stitch definition helps the cables and ribbing to stand out and creates a warm, resilient fabric, with good stretch and recovery. The texture is created by using post stitches – working around the stem or post of a stitch rather than into the loops at the top – which are alternated to create the ribbing and crossed to form cables.

If I could knit more than a teddy’s scarf, I’d certainly be making these adorable lovebirds. Somewhere in my stash of yarn, I have a couple more balls of this yarn in a pale yellow, so it’s time to find it and make something lovely.

Thanks for reading,

Eleanor @ nelnanandnora

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Tilda Toy Box Craft Book Review by Pippa

To read, look at or to craft by books have always been a great source of information and inspiration to me. When I was offered the chance to review the Tilda Toy Box Book I was over the moon. It also gave me a chance to get ahead for Christmas. My tiniest of nieces loves dressing up so I thought a dressing up doll would be the perfect gift. It would also help use up some of those fabric bits I’ve not got round to throwing out either. Please tell me I’m not the only one who saves bits.

It’s a beautiful book. Nice to hold, is that a weird thing to say, and full of ideas to make for your small people and one or two you could use for yourself. 

It’s set out quite nicely, Tone goes through how to use the patterns and her ideas with the doll being the first make. Now, I'm not a lover of dolls but I love the shape of this doll. It’s not your average rag doll shape or the long thin dolls that Tilda dolls are normally associated with. She has a lovely friendly toddler shape. I can’t describe it any other way, it just seemed right. Also the way in which the hair was painted on reminded me of my little niece.

The patterns are all in the back of the book in nice clear template form to trace or photocopy off.  I traced as none of them were very big and so didn’t take that long to draw out. I found this was also perfect for using up smaller pieces of pattern paper left from grown up size projects. 

Once I traced off the main doll parts I set them out on some fabric. I used some cream curtain lining. It wasn’t good enough for curtains as it’d been sitting about for sometime but it was perfect for this little doll. A word of warning, read the instructions before you cut anything out. I say this out of experience because I was cutting out happily when I considered the size of the arms and legs…There was no seam allowance on the pattern. Tone recommends using a ¼” or 6mm seam. It’s in the notes of the book. Lesson learned, and she was re-cut with seam allowances. Well, the legs and arms were. I guessed the head and body could take it due to their shape.

It’s all quite easy to put together but I wouldn’t recommend this to a beginner. It’s fiddly and unless you have a vague idea how things might go together it could be confusing. I put all of the pieces together and trimmed to make it easier to turn. I use pinking shears for trimming curves. It saves snipping by automatically creating the perfect turning shape. 

The legs and arms were tricky to turn but if you have a Loop Turner it can be done without too much fuss. I stuffed with a standard Toy Stuffing and on the books recommendation used a stick for the arms and legs. Chop sticks have their alternate uses.  Health and safety warning! Don’t use a kebab stick as you’ll end up stabbing yourself or at the very least go through your fabric. The legs are then machined onto the body.

The doll is generally put together by hand stitching the parts together so, you need to use quite small and secure stiches. Hopefully this will be a much loved, much played with toy so you don’t want an arm to fall off or heaven forbid the head. Some people just stitch small and on this occasion, it can be a good thing. Once stuffed the head is easiest attached by pinning in place to make sure it stays on straight. Be careful not to leave too much neck a this can lead to a wobbly head. 

The instructions for the painted hair were very effective, I drew an outline with a dissolvable pen to find the right line and then painted with textile paint. Warning! Try not to get the brush too wet as the paint may bleed into the fabric. I found a textile pen a good tool to get a nice crisp edge to the hair line.

I used the nobble of a pin to mark the eyes which didn’t come out as crisp as I’d have liked so I added eye lashes to hide the smudge. 

The clothes were easy enough to put together, though super fiddly due to their size. I have new found respect for those people that make clothes for Barbie. I found the instructions quite easy to follow but if I’m honest I just took a quick look to make sure I was putting the right bits together and in the right place. I’m not a beginner so I don’t feel I can comment on the ease of instructions, but some are a little scarce.

I have to say I’ve had fun building a wardrobe, she now has a pile of scraps coordinated waiting to be made up. It’s for my niece, honest. 

As I looked through the book I kept landing on the whale. He’s such a lovely shape. I’m hoping my nephew will enjoy him. 

I’ve used a jersey for the top pieces to make him even more squishy. There is a whole section on a sea/pirate theme room. You can even make a pirate doll! Tempting. I’d bought a couple of lovely scraps form a local shop which at the time had no idea what I’d be doing with them. With a little blue added they were just the right size to have a go at the sardines. 

Because you put the fabrics together first I found these quick to put together. I managed three out of my scraps by dovetailing the middle of the leftovers.  No Idea what I’m going to do with them. It’s been suggested they’d work for a mobile, they are just the right size.  You could make a few other sea creatures to add to them. I’m sure the small people will work something out.

 

Overall, I liked the set out of the book. There’s plenty of scope for putting your own mark on the basic models. Although it uses the Tilda range of fabrics, if you use a similar type of fabric it should still work. It has a good range of projects with a few simple ones and some that will encourage you to play with basic patchwork. If you’re a keen stitcher or crafter then I think you’d find something in this book. All you have to do then is carve out the time. It’s a book that will look nice on both the book shelf and craft table but be warned, if your small people or friends with smalls look through it you could find multiple pages marked for future projects as hints.

Thanks for reading,

Pippa x

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Prada Vintage Shirt Dress by Sophie

Hi, gang! Sophie from Trondheim, Norway, here to make another product review for you. You know you can also see my other makes over at my own personal blog sopbac.com.
I’ve been so lucky to have the pleasure to do a product review of this amazing Prada Crepe Fabric. The fabric is a Prada self-lined crepe suiting fabric. I have never worked with a self-lined fabric before this and it’s quite interesting. This particular fabric, as it is self-lined, has two different sides, on one side it has a matte crepe side and the other side is a shiny satin side. I choose to work with the royal blue color (Sorry, I’m totally in a blue zone at the moment, I know...). As you might notice I chose to go with the matte crepe side as the right side of the fabric. That means I have the shiny satin side as the lining.
I believe this fabric can be used in a range of garments because of its unique combination. The firm construction and at the same time drapey quality makes it versatile. I think the fabric is very suitable for making skirts, jacket, blazer and of course dresses. The fabric is really amazing. It doesn’t crinkle easily and the drape is so fantastic.
So, I have my fabric, what should I make? The choice wasn’t that hard, and I decided to make another Vintage Shirt Dress with the Sew Over It Sewing Pattern. It’s the same pattern I used to make my first guest post for Minerva Crafts.
The thought did cross my mind that I’m making the same dress in a very similar color. I have found myself grabbing for this dress very often. It such a good modern pattern with a vintage twist, it is perfect for my job in a bank. It has become an incredible staple in my wardrobe. I haven’t had the opportunity to make another one yet, so I decided it was now time.
For the pattern, I also needed some buttons, because, you know, shirt dress. Lucky for me I had just ordered these incredibly cute Flower Shape Buttons in the size 15mm and color black.
I didn’t do any big changes to the pattern after the first time I made it. I lengthen the bodice by 3 cm and widen the arms a little bit. I also installed a belt loop on either side of the side seams and added pockets as I did my first dress. Still a magical hit.
I really like the Sewing Patterns from Sew Over It, and Minerva Craft does stock every paper pattern they have available. From their amazing range of sewing patterns, I have made the Tulip skirt and the Doris dress. I adore the Doris dress pattern and it’s also been worn a lot. The next on my sewing list from their patterns is the Ultimate wrap dress and the Carrie trousers.
That's it from me for now, thanks for reading and please try this amazing Fabric for yourself.
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London Fashion Week Inspired Maxi Jacket

A couple of weeks ago I was offered the chance to review a stunning and unusual Fabric by Minerva Crafts. The fabric in question is the punched slinky satin dress fabric, and comes in a range of colours. As soon as I laid my eyes on the Burnt Orange version, I knew this fabric was for me! I snapped up 4m of it, with a plan forming in my head of what I would create.

After spotting a rusty orange coloured maxi waterfall jacket on Pinterest recently, I knew that this was the direction I wanted to go in. The jacket in question was worn to London Fashion Week, and styled with a very 70’s vibe. Dark blue flared jeans, a shirt, and this amazing orange jacket that I just couldn’t stop thinking about. Luckily, I even had a vintage 70’s pattern for a jacket that I thought would work. Fate!

My parcel arrived within days and as soon as I opened the package and saw the contents I was smitten. The colour of this fabric is delicious. The fabric itself, despite being an absolute steal at only £1.99 per metre, is such a great quality and looks very similar to silk – not the poor quality satins you often see at this price point.

This isn’t your regular satin. The fabric has been ‘punched’ all over, creating a very unusual perforated look. With the circular pieces of fabric still attached, it gives it lots of depth and texture, and really catches the light. This satin makes me think of high fashion fabrics, and something you would see swooshing down the catwalk. The burnt orange colour is really on-trend right now too, which only added to my love affair with this burnt orange beauty.

The pattern I chose is a very simple on with only 2 pattern pieces that I used. The jacket main, and the sleeves. This was handy as the holes in the fabric could be problematic when sewing, and so sewing as few seams as possible would be best. This jacket has only a back seam, and the shoulder and arm seams.

I used a very sharp needle and made sure I sewed very slowly and carefully. The fabric stitched together really well without the need of a walking foot which in my experience, is usually needed when sewing with something quite thin and slippery. I decided not to face or hem the edges of the fabric, I really liked the raw edge once cut. I simply added a little Fray Stop to the edges which did the trick nicely. Therefore, with such a simple pattern, and no hemming or facings in sight, this turned into an incredibly quick and simple project.

I haven’t made anything quite like this before, and it was my first foray into taking inspiration from current trends and putting my own spin on it. I am over the moon with the results. It’s really easy to wear and style, and the fabric hangs and drapes so nicely! I used 3m in total in the end, which takes the cost of the jacket to a shocking £5.97!

I styled my jacket with a pair of denim ninni culottes, a ruffled white shirt and some mustard platform heels. I wanted to do my own take on the original 70’s inspired outfit that gave me the initial idea for this jacket and I’m so in love with it. It swooshes and sways as you walk, and the shadows and textures created by the punched holes in the fabric give it such a high-end feel. A big tick in my box! This is the sort of jacket you can throw on over anything and instantly feel amazing. Plus, the colour is so rich and gorgeous – perfect for this time of year!

Thanks for reading,

Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew

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Hayfield Spirit Yarn Review by Tina

Hello, my name is Tina from Simply in Stitches on You Tube. I have been knitting since I was a child and love to try all different types of yarn. Minerva Crafts offered me the new Hayfield Spirit Yarn to try. It looked like it would make a lovely everyday sweater so I was very excited to give it a try. 
I couldn't decide which colour to go for at first. There are 8 colours to choose from in this self stripping DK yarn. They range from a very wearable blue blend and greys to vibrant rainbow shades. Something for everyone in the family. Two colour ways caught my eye. Grace is a blend of grey, taupe with a salmon pink, which looks very pretty and Mystery, greys with lilac and blue.  I thought the Mistery would suit me best and look great with jeans.  
When the yarn arrived I was very pleased with the colour of the Spirit yarn and the feel was soft and lovely. I wasn't so happy with the smell of it. It had a very factory smell about it that was quite strong. It was a lovely day outside so I put it out to air and then added a tumble drying sheet to my project bag. This was very effective and it now smells beautiful. 
The Spirit by Hayfield is a very affordable DK weight yarn in 100g balls. It is 80% Acrylic, 20% wool, so it is machine washable but the wool gives it warmth and breathability. The needle/hook size recommended is a regular 4mm which is standard for DK. 
I wanted to knit a sweater that was a simple design because the self stripping yarn has plenty of interest already.
The Blank canvas sweater by Ysolda is a plain sweater with lovely shaping. It is knit bottom up in the round. I think the spirit yarn works really well with knitting in the round. Hayfield have some lovely Knitting Patterns for this yarn but I think they are knit flat. This will give wider stripes as the rows are shorter. If this yarn was knit for a cardigan the colours would match up knit in one piece but would not match knit in sections. 
I love the way the stripes blend from one colour to the next. There are no hard lines, it graduates and blends. The colour changes make it more interesting to knit when knitting rows of stockinette. A few nights I stayed up later because I just wanted to see how the next colour would knit up.  It is a lovely soft plump yarn to knit with. My cats were very happy to have it draped over them when I was knitting with them on my lap as the sweater grew.
I am so pleased with the finished sweater. It feels so comfortable and soft to wear. There is no itchyness to the yarn at all. It feel great on bare arms. I am really pleased how the Spirit stripes differently on the arms to the body. I love the effect, but by joining the arms to the body without a seam means they blend into the sweater. I didn't use the darker parts of yarn near the neck. I cut that section out as I thought it would be more flattering  to not have a dark band around my neck.
I would recommend Hayfield Spirit to a friend as a good sweater yarn. It's a very easy knit and wear yarn that can be washed in the machine which is something I look for in an everyday casual sweater. I am very tempted to knit another in the Grace colour way. Maybe a cardigan would be nice for the spring. 
Thank you for reading my review. I hope you found it interesting and useful.
Tina @ Simply in Stitches
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Vintage Rag Rug Wreath Christmas Project by Samantha

When I was little my Granny introduced me to rag rugging which she did as a little girl Post War. They made rugs out of every scrap of fabric which were bright and colourful and embracing the make Do & Mend philosophy of the day.

My project today is inspired by Granny’s 1940’s rugs and shows how far just half a metre of fabric can go to make a show stopping Christmas wreath. Once you get the bug, you’ll want to make one for your friends, neighbours...go on...one for every house in the street!

Here’s how I made mine in less than two hours.

Firstly choose your Christmas Fabric, I selected this gorgeous bottle green with white text Fabric because the dark background will stand out on most door colours and the white text means it can compliment it with a white organza fabric. It is also has polyester fibre in it which creates a stiffer fabric which we need for this project.

To start with I cut out 15 strips of my lovely fabric in 5 x 15cm strips. I used a 25cm Florist Copper Ring and tied the 15 strips equally around the base to make the start of my wreath.

I found it easier to work with your wreath as a whole circle and not just one corner as it’s hard to recreate the same style in equal areas. It also makes it quicker.

If you are adding a bow, I suggest get the widest and most shinest Crafting Ribbon you can find! I used one metre. I love a matching colour to keep the look traditional. Attach the bow with a few big stitches and a strong thread to the florist wire wreath. I tied a double bow to create a big shape but the style and size of the bow is up to you. Once you have your bow stitched on you can start to create the extra strips to rag rug with your remaining fabric.

I then cut various different length strips from my fabric to fill in the gaps between the rag rugs I had already created. This bit is up to you! I have seen people make lots of small strips or large deep strips and even double bows.

Start to add your strips onto your florist wire wreath and it will start to thicken up and give that vintage inspired wreath feel. I love this bit as the project really starts to take shape.

Once I had tied all my strips on I used 30cm of white organza fabric cut into 5 x 15cm strips to add a little depth to my creation.

And you are finished!

The beauty of rag rugging is that it’s so socialable. You can chat and make and within two hours it’s all finished and ready to hang.

Samantha has been teaching wreath making Crafternoons in the East Midlands since 2013 and has had a love of wreath making for 8 years. Look out for her festive workshops and 2018 hen parties at www.crafternoonteahostess.co.uk

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Christmas Opening Times & Last Posting Dates

Hello,
Just a quick update to let you know our opening times over Christmas and New Year and when the last posting dates are to receive your parcel before Christmas.
Last Posting Dates for UK Shipping:
For RM48/economy shipping we recommend ordering no later than 3pm Monday 18th.
For RM24/priority shipping we recommend ordering no later than 3pm Wednesday 20th.
If you desperately need something before Christmas we would highly recommend our tracked courier service. For this option we recommend ordering no later than 3pm Thursday 21st.
Last Posting Dates for International Shipping:
For delivery to Europe we recommend ordering no later than 3pm Wednesday 13th.
For delivery to the Rest of the World we recommend ordering no later than 3pm Friday the 8th.
Please note, these dates are Royal Mail's advised last posting dates, we cannot guarantee delivery before Christmas. If you order later than these dates we will still do our utmost to try and get your parcel to you before Christmas, but the Royal Mail are so busy this time of year and once we have passed your parcel to them, the delivery time is in the hands of the Royal Mail or courier.
Opening Times:
On the run up to Christmas we are open until 5pm Saturday the 23rd.
We are closed for Christmas day and Boxing day (although you can still place orders on our website as normal) and we are back open to dispatch your orders from Wednesday the 27th until Saturday the 30th.
For New Year we are closed on New Years Day and then back open as normal from January Tuesday the 2nd onwards.
From all of us at Minerva Crafts, we would like to say a HUGE thank you to all of our customers of 2017. Thank you for all your support this year. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Vicki & the Minerva Team!
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Christmas Tree Penguin Decorations by Emma

I was delighted to be asked to review the Kleiber Christmas Penguin Decoration Craft Felt Sewing Kit. It should really say ‘penguins’ as there are three in the pack, each different.

There are some other similar sized decorations in the range, and they all coordinate, so this is a simple way to expand your collection of handmade decorations.

It is a complete kit, containing all the felt pieces, the yarn, the stuffing, instructions, a plastic needle, and bobbles for the tiny hats.

The felt is prepunched for the needle holes, and as each penguin is different, each of the front pieces are pierced differently.

It was quite straightforward to work out which was which, but I still collated all the pieces for each penguin and kept them separate. If it looks as though you have pieces missing, check that they are not stuck together. I had three feet instead of six, but one of the feet was quite chunky, and it was indeed the missing feet as one bundle.

Three stitches are used to construct the penguins; back stitch, stocking stitch, and a knot stitch. I only know how to make a French knot, so when I refer to knot stitch, this is the one I’ve used. There are simple diagrams on the instructions that illustrate how to do the stitches, but there are better tutorials online if you need them.

You will need scissors or snips to cut thread, and it suggests a needle too. I sewed the majority with the plastic needle, and it was just right for most of it, but when it came to the knots, I used a sharp needle to puncture the felt next to the prepunched hole. I’m not sure how to do a French knot returning into the same hole, so instead I sewed them the way I’m comfortable sewing them. 

The instructions are in German, English, French, and Italian, and are a mix of words and pictures. They are basic, but easy to follow, and sufficiently informative. I think a tween who could already sew would be able to make this, although I didn’t get the impression that it was a child’s kit.

The first penguin I made was the one with the scarf, because it looked the simplest. There are four steps to each penguin front, and they all start with sewing the white piece onto the front black piece. This is attached with back stitch.

The next step was to attach the hat and the scarf.

Then the beak and the feet. I would have found it helpful to have looked at a large picture of a completed penguin; you can see that I only made two stitches to hold the beak on; it should have been four. Two of the stitch holes are just hidden by the beak, and I didn’t twig that I should use them until I was onto the second penguin. It still looks good though.

The feet are attached by a knot. There is one stitch hole given. I’ve only ever made French knots by going up through the fabric, and down into the fabric, close to, but not into, the first hole. I changed to a sharp needle, and sewed the way I’m used to. After the first one, I used the pre-existing hole to go down into, because it gave a better effect. I wound round four times to make a more chunky knot. If you didn't want to use this stitch, you could secure the feet with a simple stitch.

The eyes are also a knot, in black thread. Again, you could vary the stitch, or add a small bead, if you didn’t want to use this stitch.

Stage one of penguin one is now complete. It already looks cute. You could easily use it as an appliqué if you preferred. Instant Christmas jumper!

I sewed the white piece and hat onto the black for both remaining penguins, and then continued with the wreath penguin.

The beak and feet are the next stage. I’ve tried to photograph myself making a French knot; the needle comes up through the fabric, and the hand not holding the needle holds the thread a few centimetres above the fabric.

Hold the needle horizontally in front of the thread, and keep it steady. With the yarn hand, wrap the thread once or twice around the needle. 

I wanted a more chunky knot, so I wrapped round four times here. Put the needle back into the fabric very close to the hole where it came out, but not all the way through yet. 

Pull the thread to tighten, and then push the needle all the way through. Et voila!

The wreath is held on by knot stitches, but you could use beads or maybe sequins here instead, and it would look very effective.

The bow is next. This tucks under the beak slightly, and goes over the top of the wreath.

Last to be sewn are the eyes, and there’s another penguin front complete.

I’m not sure how to describe the last penguin. Lights and baubles? That’s how I’ll refer to them here, although that may not be what they are.

This has lots of knots, so if you don’t want to use a knot stitch, I think beads would work best here.

I didn’t have enough red thread left, but luckily I had a very similar colour in my embroidery thread stash. 

The string around the neck is the next step, and I had a good look at a picture first to make sure I knew how this was to be sewn.

The beak and feet, and the two red baubles are next. I added some yellow French knots on the string at this point, so I could finish with the yellow thread.

The green baubles are next. The outer one has a hole on the black outer, so it ends up looking quite jaunty.

Add knots to the string in each colour thread. Then add the eyes. That’s a third penguin front complete. 

The stuffing comes vacuum packed. 

This is quite fun to open, and expands to provide sufficient stuffing for three penguins, to give them a good depth. 

The hanging loop is a short length of the black yarn, but you could substitute ribbon here. 

The hanging loop needs to be attached securely. I stitched it to the inside of the back pieces first.

The front and back are attached by stocking stitch. Where the arm was, I did a simple stitch as stocking stitch wouldn’t work as well here. 

Sew about two thirds round, and then stuff. 

Push the stuffing down away from the seam, and finish sewing all the way round. If needed, squish the stuffing to even it out, and there is a lovely decoration, ready to hang.

There are three tiny pom-poms enclosed to become hat bobbles. I glued these on as per the instructions, and so far they’ve held. Although the felt is firmish, I don’t think the hat would support the weight of a bell, if you were thinking of a musical customisation.

I’m really pleased with how these have turned out. They are colourful and festive, and are a cheerful little decoration that I’m proud to have made. They’re on my notice board at the moment because I want people to see them, but they’ll look lovely wherever they end up.

They didn’t take long to make. I sat in front of the television, or sat and chatted, and at this very relaxed pace, I had them fully completed over a weekend. These kits are quick festive makes, and with three decorations in each pack, good value for money too. 

Thank you Minerva Crafts for this opportunity, and thank you for reading.

Sew, sew, sew, Merry Stitchmas!

Emma @ Hot Tea on a Hot Day

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Snowman Tree Decorations by Emma

Time to get festive! This time around Minerva Crafts have kindly sent a Kleiber Tree Decoration Felt Sewing Kit for me to try…ho ho ho let’s give this a go.
As you can see these tree decoration kits come in a really handy little pack, enough supplies to make three decorations and everything is included. The packet itself felt really nice like you had a little gift to open. These Kleiber kits come in 5 different options so plenty to choose from, and the designs are so cute! I went for the rather smart snowmen, the dashing one with the moustache called me in.
Inside the pack you get all the felt pieces you will need, each with pre-cut hole for ease of assembly and sewing. There’s embroidery thread, instructions, stuffing (which didn’t look like much at first, but it was vacuum packed and soon expanded) and even a rather dazzling pink plastic needle.
In true Crafty Clyde style, I largely ignored the instructions – they were well laid out and went through each snowman individually however I fancied batch sewing so gave them a swerve. I would say however the instructions are excellent if you want to brush up on your European languages and technical vocab. The one thing that was great, was a little section on the type of stitches required – I was grateful for these as my hand sewing knowledge is minimal.
The felt is stiff like it has been starched, which made it easy to handle and stick the felt pieces onto the main snowman before stitching into place. The guide holes also make them look really neat and tidy.
Most of the snowmen’s accessories were attached with a simple backstitch. The guide holes and felt accessories lined up perfectly – I even think they look cuter in real life than on the packet. The eyes were supposed to be done with a ‘knot stitch’. The diagram was a little difficult to decipher in that respect so I just knotted the thread at the back, pushed the needle through the eyehole, knotted the thread again and went back through the hole. It worked. Then I realised that was probably a knot stitch anyway…either way…eyes. 
Now for the 3D construction. Just a warning here, there is only enough thread in the packet for exactly what the snowman requires. I started to run out a bit as I had been a bit excessive with my thread ends when sewing the accessories on. You might just want to check you have a good 15-20cm left to go around the edges otherwise you may wish to find some of your own thread.
To start with I could not blanket stitch but quickly got the hang of it. By the third snowman I found it quite addictive and just wanted to keep going and blanket stitch all the things! Some of the accessories, such as this guy’s ear muffs get in the way of the blanket stitch, but you can fold it down and sew behind to hide the stitching.
Once you’ve gone around the snowman, leave a gap at his head so that you can stuff him with wadding.
At this point I did run out of thread, so I grabbed some yellow from my stash to make the hanging loop. Just take a piece of thread and knot the ends to form a loop, then stick the knotted end into the snowman’s head. Continue the blanket stitch all the way around to secure everything into place. I was worried the hanging thread would just pull out however it does get trapped in there very firmly.
They look so cheerful! It was a very quick project to make and thoroughly enjoyable. Whilst you could buy some felt and thread and make your own, these little packs made everything so much easier as the effort of buying everything individually was not needed and you wouldn’t have a ton of leftover scraps. The packets really are very cute and would make an excellent gift. They are beginner friendly and as they contain everything you need – they could even be made on the go! The perfect project for your commute to work, lunch break time out, evening chill in front of the TV, or a brilliant project to do with kids of an afternoon. There’s nothing sharp in there as the needle is blunt plastic and the guide holes would make this fairly child friendly although a little fiddly in places. I would definitely rate this product as worth considering – especially in the run up to Christmas they are the perfect stocking filler or pre-crimbo treat.
Happy Crafty Christmas all xxx
Emma @ Crafty Clyde

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