Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Finished!

You may remember, back in December, that Miss PatchyRose sweetly selected some charm squares and stitched them together to make me a cushion for my birthday...


She finished the piecing, but this term was then ridiculously busy, and it was only in the last week that we found the time to finish it. So worth it though! Rosie pin basted it, then quilted it all herself :-)


Isn't it great? To help her out, I made the backing and did the edge binding. After all, at only 9 years old, I want her to enjoy her sewing and not be put off by the more tedious bits! Best of all though, I was fed up with doing envelope backings. I've done quite a few recently and, while they are ok and a quick fix, they do waste fabric and tend to gape a bit. Deep in my stash, was a long zip which my granny gave me around fifteen years ago when she cleared out some sewing items! A perfect size, and I decided to make a feature of it, rather than try and hide it...




It's extra nice to feel that this cushion has been contributed to by three generations! At 26 inches it is a perfect size, and really nice and squishy for the sofa.

 
Last night, Rosie announced she needed to take her sewing box into school, as they would be sewing today. She was so excited - even though it is a huge box - and got it all packed and ready!


By the time she'd finished, there were about three tape measures and four boxes of pins in there, with at least three pairs of scissors. She was certainly prepared for all eventualities, and I can't wait to hear what they made today.



Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Re-booting the economy (blocks)

We are just back from a fabulous week in Wales! When I say we stayed at Pontins, some of you may wonder what it was like...


We went prepared :-) Although it had been exactly twenty years since hubby and I last went to this particular Christian convention, we could still remember how cold and basic the chalet was, and how very narrow the beds were. So, we took supplies, and were able to make it warm and cosy with little effort! We weren't in the chalet much anyway, as we went with four families from our church, and made the most of the conference and all the facilities, even managing an afternoon on the beach. It was such a refreshing week, that I have come back with renewed vigour for those economy blocks...


The ones above are some of the centres I managed to cut from my own stash, cutting two of everything as I also swapped for the ones below.


After a slow start...


I reached four blocks, and stalled. Two many more important deadlines, and too little suitable border fabric! This is also one of those projects which takes over your sewing space, as you need so many little bits of fabric on the go. Since I like to keep the sewing room tidy, it really didn't work for me alongside other projects.


There's nothing like a complete break from it all though, and this week I have found it remarkably easy to whip up some more! Now I'm loving these, the completely scrappy look is not something I've done before, and it's refreshing to use a whole mis-match of fabrics. My goal is 42, but 12 is a start :-)


Linking up with the wonderful slow blogging movement...

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Conflicting messages...



My sewing has been a bit sporadic over the last fortnight, life has been too much work and not enough play... Sadly our sewing bee weekend had to be delayed, as dear Jen tripped and landed in hospital, causing much concern! Thankfully she is back home now, and we are all so hoping she gets well soon. 


I've been on a roll with zippered bags! They are quite therapeutic to make, and useful for presents. Sometimes it's nice to start and finish a project on the same day, too. 


I've just completed hand-stitching the binding on this Liberty and linen quilt. This was one of those projects without a definite purpose, I just fancied using up these fabrics, which were leftovers from previous quilts, and wanted to experiment with the linen combination. It's large enough for a pram, or even a small cot, but more likely to end up as a throw over a chair. 


Love the backing! This grey spot fabric is really a favourite of mine. While we were outside, I tried to take advantage of the daylight to get better pictures of Posy and also my progress with the triangles...

 
Couldn't do much about the wind though!


Just mentioned to hubby that, when we go away, we need to take four quilts with us - one for each person - as the chalet will be cold. 'Do we have enough?' he asked, innocently. Now, if that isn't an invitation to keep sewing, I don't know what is! Rosie, meanwhile, was looking over my shoulder as I browsed blogs, and caught me checking out the publicity for the Far Far Away release... In the blink of an eye, she went seamlessly from saying, 'No, mummy, not more fabric!' to, 'Oh, I love those unicorns... let's get them in purple!' I rest my case.


Nearly forgot, after I posted a picture of the clutch bag I made for the ball - which had a theme of something about the local area, prompting me to pick the Tudor Rose symbol - sweet Nesta asked for a photo of us at the ball. Honestly, I was so busy that night, fundraising for the charity I work for, that I didn't get any pictures! However, a colleague sent me this one, and it's kind of appropriate to publish it today, on our wedding anniversary. You can just about see that hubby had a matching Tudor Rose on his jacket...

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Bowled over...

Do you keep track of competitions and giveaways? I don't, and I really never  expect to win... So, it was such a fabulous surprise to get a lovely message from Ali, saying I had won her incredibly generous Liberty charm square giveaway! Truthfully, I was a bit choked up by the news :-)


If you haven't come across Very Berry Fabrics yet, I totally recommend you take a look! Ali has a fabulous stock of Liberty, and her prices and customer service are superb. I have previously purchased from her, and she made me a custom order of 7 inch squares. I soon found I could trust her judgement, and just request colours, rather than bother choosing the exact fabrics. 

 
This is what arrived today, as part of her new charm club, building up to making a whole quilt. There's a post all about it here, and a picture of the most beautiful quilt... Trust me, it's worth a look. There may still be time to join in, if you fancy it?

I can't get decent photos at all at the moment, but needed to get this next bit blogged about: after months of anticipation, my sewing bee is getting together at the weekend! We have so many plans, I doubt we'll get half of them done, but the request from me was a quick session on fitting zips into pouches.



I promised the girls a photo of what was needed, just in case they had time to prepare any of it in advance... In this instance, I made two patchwork panels, and quilted them. The width is approximately 3 inches wider than the zip, so 1.5 inches at each end. I find that just right to give neat-ish tabs like these:


This little pouch needing finishing, ready for a birthday this week!


 
However, I have prepped another one, in case we need a demonstration model.



Other bits in the pipeline here are squares, perfect for easy therapeutic sewing:


And triangles, perfect for those more challenging moment:


I have a love-hate relationships with triangles! However, this is my third attempt, and experience is paying off. I used 9 fat quarters (this is for a single bed), and got 15 triangles and some end pieces out of each one, with very little waste. Using my long, straight ruler, I cut 6.5 inch strips, which is the maximum height of my triangular ruler. This meant I could get 3 strips out of each fat quarter. Personally, I wouldn't sew triangles any smaller than this. They look big when you cut them, but so much smaller once sewn!

So looking forward to meeting the team at the weekend, and bringing home the quilt top which I started way back last summer, and which has since been added to by five different people... What will have happened to this?!?




Sunday, 16 March 2014

Slow blogging!

The last couple of weeks have been very busy with work events, but fun ones, so no complaints! I managed to whip up a birthday present:


I love making these giant cushions, perfect for when you're reading in bed, or just want to fill a large chair! The sewing is very simple and therapeutic; the cushion pad is a 26" from Dunelm Mill. My other make in the last fortnight was a little more complicated:


As part of my fundraising job, I went to a Ball on Friday, where the dress code was black tie with a hint of the town we live in! Lots of people went for the town colours, and several wore brooches. I opted for making this Tudor rose, which is featured in our cathedral, and putting it onto a clutch bag. 


It took ages, but I was pleased with the result! The Ball was a huge success, and a wonderful evening. It hasn't been conducive to much sewing though, but I have done a bit of laying out fabrics and making plans...


Ebay kindly sent me a £10 voucher, apparently they were missing me!! I was going to delete it, then thought they might have some Liberty fabric... Sure enough, I managed to purchase the above squares, and these bigger pieces - 



I have a plan, but it may take a while! Finally, having admired Julie's beautiful Little Cotton Rabbits for years, I now have one of my own :-) 



 She looks very happy on my wooden spool... Wishing you a great week.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

Exciting times...

Like so many of us, I've sometimes considered whether I could make a bit of pocket money out of sewing. Definitely not looking for a change of career, but wouldn't it be nice if the fabrics could at least pay for themselves?!? Well, I was thrown in at the deep end, when someone I met through work asked me to make a quilt for her absolutely beautiful classic pram - think Mary Poppins... The only way was Liberty, or Kaffe Fassett at a push, and thankfully Ali came to my rescue with a special selection of fabrics.


First up, I made this simple quilt, adding the extra detail of more Liberty round the edges. A rather extravagant use of Liberty, but really effective and so soft to touch:







Then, as I wanted to provide a choice, I went for the Kaffe Fassett option:





And finally, I looked at my Liberty leftovers, and decided to put them all together in a more quirky looking quilt...





I absolutely love this one and so did my customer! This is the one she chose, just in time as she has a new grandchild arriving any day who will need tucking up in that gorgeous pram. As first customers go, I was unbelievably lucky in that mine is an artist, so very appreciative of the work that goes into creating.


My top tip of the week though, is quilting gloves! Who knew how fabulous these are, and what a huge difference they make?!? Having been sewing and quilting flat out for the last few weeks, I'm really looking forward to a weekend of... sewing. My economy blocks have been on hold, and there are several other projects I'm keen to get on with. It's quieter round here, our Rosie has gone away for the weekend with the church youth. In nine and a half years, she has had very few nights away, but was excited about this weekend. Her main concern? She was worried how we would cope without her... Apparently she often wonders how we managed before she came along :-) We reassured her that we would be fine! After all, we still have the dog...









Saturday, 22 February 2014

Flight...

Blue sky! Sunshine! At long last, an opportunity to whip outside for a photo...


This backing fabric was a huge extravagance, but oh so worth it! When I look at it, I don't so much see birds, as the expression of flight, in a glorious and colourful way... Excuse the creases, it has already been in use this week, before any hope of getting a photo. The front of the quilt is not too shabby either -


This was a great way to use the charms from the recent low volume charm square swap, along with more of my own. For the quilting, I went with simple swirls and loops, working in columns from the top down, but not touching the stars. When you look up close, this really helps the stars leap out. I love how this quilt looks, but am itching for more LV squares now...


Julie's inspiration meant I stitched and sewed every one of the cut off triangles from the star points... It slowed me down, and was quite fiddly, but how about a result of two cushion covers from what might have been thrown away?!? 


With a dog and a cat, I like to keep things covered in something easily removable for washing. For the time being, the quilt has found a home on the sofa, and is greatly appreciated...


I've been so slow to blog, I thought I might have missed the Slow Bloggers linky, how would that be for irony? However, it's still going, so let's join in...

http://www.knottedcotton.com/p/slow-blog-manifesto.html