Saturday, 28 January 2012

Sherbet Pips

Last year I was so pleased to find a layer cake of the gorgeous Sherbet Pips range.

These fabrics are far too pretty to start cutting into, so it took me ages to come up with a plan. In the end, I went for a very simple bordered squares design, which shows off the lovely pictures and creates very little waste.

I started this in November, and got about half way through the pack before the madness of December overtook me!

A layer cake is 42 swatches, each one 10 inches square. I must have made at least 20 so far. Unfortunately January has been all work and no play, so no recent progress. Hopefully I will get back to it soon, it was therapeutic to get it out all to photograph! 

There has been very little wastage with this design, so far about this much:

These pieces are tiny, maybe two inches by half an inch. I can't bring myself to throw them away, and may do that crazy thing of sewing them into a strip to incorporate into the backing...

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Restoring the balance...

A nice, calm Sunday of hot chocolate and boiled eggs... all very peaceful and restorative after a hard week.

Mug warmers made by my mother-in-law, using an adapted pattern.

Egg cosies also made by MIL, using this wonderful design. Julie knits the most beautiful animals herself, but they are like gold dust to get hold of! It's great that she also has some patterns for sale.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

When life imitates art...

...otherwise known as The Progression of Insanity.

Over at Very Berry Handmade they are holding a fabulous competition with some great prizes. What I love about it is their idea, where you are asked to blog about your sewing resolutions for 2012.

Insanity is a quilt I began at least three years ago, when I adapted a beautiful design I'd seen online. My version will contain a mere 1333 hexagons when it's finished. And yes, the 333 bit of that number is completely accidental! Current progress is slow, but bearing up to close inspection.

There have been some disappointments along the way. I made all the flowers and patterned pieces first, then bought several metres of the plain cream coloured fabric. Unfortunately it seems rather thin, but I'm so hoping that once the batting and backing are there, it will work out alright.

Currently life feels like a crazy fairground ride. Not so much a roller coaster, perhaps more of a dodgem car. The last six months have brought various changes, but also lots of new and welcome opportunities. However, I will be glad when things settle down, and the Insanity can be in art and not in life.

Here's the state of play in January 2012...

and a nice sideways-on view too as it's hard to get decent photos of something so large...

The completed size will be approximately 90 by 97 inches, so a good big quilt. It would be absolutely fantastic to get this finished this year...

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Making an hourglass quilt...

I will confess that I set out to make a pinwheel quilt... However, after the first block, having not bothered to check a pattern, I discovered it was going to be an hourglass quilt after all! It's not a problem, sewing this week is more about de-stressing myself than trying to create a perfect item. 

I had a charm pack left over from my shopping in America, Charlevoix by Moda. It was such good value that, although normally I hate to waste any fabric, I felt happy to experiment with this one. For anyone not familiar with charm packs, they are packs of pre-cut 5 inch squares, normally there are 42 squares in a pack representing all or most of a particular fabric range. It's a great way to make a small quilt using lots of different fabrics, which you know will all coordinate.


Luckily I had lots of plain blue fabric left from making It's A Hoot recently. I cut this up into 5 inch squares too. The design is so simple, and would be a good one for someone making their first quilt.

The next step is to lie a patterned piece face down on a plain piece.


Turn it over, and mark a line from corner to corner, using a chalk stick.

Using a quarter inch foot,  sew a line a quarter of an inch to either side of the marked line...

 You should then have something like this...

Using a rotary cutter and ruler, cut down the original chalk line.

This will then give you two squares, each made of two triangles. Press them open with an iron. With all your triangles at this stage, iron them open towards the plain fabric. This will help the seams to match up in the next stage.

Now comes the only remotely tricky part... Place the two triangles on top of each other, with wrong sides facing, and with pattern facing plain. Fiddle around to make sure the seams are tightly together.

Draw a line from corner to corner, and then sew carefully a quarter of an inch to either side. As before, then cut along the original chalk line.

Open each side out, and iron carefully. Hopefully you will have something that looks like this...

A charm pack will yield 84 of these, if combined with a plain fabric. Next step, arranging them all to make the quilt.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Cat nap...

Not much crafting happening here at present, but a nice sleepy cat!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Bags of fun!

I've mentioned this link before, but I really am so grateful to Ayumi of Pink Penguin for sharing online her pattern for a patchwork basket. This was the first one I made following her design exactly:

Subsequently I have probably made over a hundred more, but each time varying the pattern a little. It has ended up as my default pattern for any sort of bag making. This one went to a little friend of ours in Japan for Christmas:

This last bag is a rare one, in that it was made from another pattern, although not precisely! I added on a flower made from Arlette's tutorial over at Polka Dot Pineapple.

This one went to my friend Julie, who has been the recipient of so much craftiness and is always wonderfully appreciative. 

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Tea and cake

Some of my friends who ordinarily are neither crafty nor bloggy have been following the blog just because they're nice like that. I've tried to explain it to them, and the best way I can think of is that blogging is like having penfriends all around the world, which I loved as a child, and metaphorically sitting down for a cup of tea and a chat about our favourite hobby. The tea and cake above went to my friend, Julie, for Christmas, as she lives too far away for us to get together. 

I hope that, wherever you are, 2012 brings you lots of tea and cake with good friends.