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


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...

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Mid-week fly-by...

Last time I mentioned buying fabric from America, one or two close bloggy friends queried the wisdom (and expense) of this. Just tonight, I've received my best ever parcel of fabricky goodness from the USA, so thought I'd share it all with you...

This is how it all arrived, in a plastic bag inside one of these:

This is what's known as a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope. Just one of those technical details that might help if you're confused about the shipping details! Actually, it always amazes me that the fabric gets here in one piece - these envelopes are not built for more than one use, and always arrive looking battered and a bit torn at the corners. The postage cost for this was $24.95, I actually bought a little more fabric than I intended, to go for optimum fabric for postage costs. (And thankfully I didn't incur a customs charge - that has only happened once, but it hurt!)

These are my thirteen half yards of pink, purple and grey. Bit of a theme going on?!? I absolutely love these, and will really enjoy using them. No idea how, but that will come. However, the real reason for the order, was a bit of this:

How incredibly cute are those cats?! Look again at the bottom left, with his fur on end :-) I really couldn't resist it. But even more than that, the one that clinched it was this - 

Don't think I've ever bought such a big, bold print! This one wasn't cheap, but after a few days of mulling it over, I just had to go for it. A yard and a half provides the perfect backing for my low volume star quilt...

Really can't wait to get that one quilted now. Just to sum up, and not that I want to lead anyone astray, this time around I purchased from Pink Castle Fabrics. My total quantity equaled 8.5 yards of fabric, and the spend was the equivalent of £67 including all shipping costs. Yes, it's a lot to spend in one go, but an awful lot of fabric for the money! Obviously I am not trying to put people off buying at home and, as with any mail order, you run the risk that the fabric doesn't look the same in real life as it did on the screen. But this may be helpful for a once in a while splurge...

Did someone mention new fabric?

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Liberty love...

This week, I've been experimenting with scraps...

It's a technique I spotted ages ago and, wanting to make something special for Jennifer as part of our gift exchange, gave me the perfect excuse!

 I do hope Jen likes this, I can see myself making more of them!

The interior gives a nice flash of bright pink :-) Jen has certainly kept me on my toes this week, as the next (and final) round of our Bee arrived. I am the sixth and last person to add a strip to Jen's quilt, and even Helpful Hubby looked at it and commented that it was perfectly balanced with the first five strips, and I had a problem on my hands! Although we have a few weeks to go, rather than worry about it, I got straight on. Miraculously, an orphan block in my drawer provided the inspiration, and I was able to finish it last night. 

That's the only glimpse for now, but I can show you what I made with the off cuts:

Thanks to Julie's tip, I don't think I will ever be able to discard cut off corners again! These squares are only one inch, so took a lot of patience, but there's another present made and ready.

There's also been an awful lot of fabric post arriving lately :-) I know I'm not the only one enjoying the lack of council tax this month, and making the most of the extra cash!  Last week, through a chance conversation at work, I was asked to make a pram quilt. Not just any pram though, this is a huge Mary Poppins type pram, absolutely beautiful. I've been playing with fabric, and made a start. However, not feeling this was quite right for the commission, I exchanged emails with Ali, who has a fabulous online shop stocking little pieces of Liberty. Her customer service is superb, and she put together a bespoke bundle of 10 different squares for me:

I have a specific plan for these, and can't wait to get started. However, I've been sharing my sewing space with Rosie this week... I was so fortunate in winning a giveaway, where Nadine kindly offered two winners a scrap bag each. I've sometimes wondered what it would be like to get a scrap bag... Well, I'm still wondering, because this one disappeared from under my nose the second it arrived! Rosie happened to be off school that day, and asked if she could open it while I was at work. By the time I got home, she had sorted everything in colour piles, and laid out some rainbow strips, which she stitched up before bed time:

Aren't they brilliant?!? I'm so proud of my girl :-) While I missed out there, Maria so kindly sent me some more centres for the economy blocks:

I keep hoping to get on with the blocks, but have made progress with other things. These cushions are now complete - 

Here's hoping for some Sunday sewing!