Monday, 30 April 2012

The door handle bag...

Recently I spent a two week period doing firstly a school trip to Spain, immediately followed by Brownie Pack Holiday. Both were fun, rewarding times, but both also involved sharing a room with other adult helpers and having very little space to put anything. On one trip, I even had to sleep on a top bunk, something I haven't done for a long time! It gave me the dilemma of what to do with my phone, torch and glasses last thing at night, to keep them accessible. As a bonus though, it lead to the creation of this - the door handle bag...

After making my Cath Kidston bag recently, I wanted to get more practice at sewing zips. So I started fiddling around, added one over sized handle, and realised the potential of what I'd just made ;-) This would also be useful in a tent, or anytime you don't have a bedside table. With the zip, I had a go at putting the little extra pieces of fabric at each end...

Still not perfect, but a steady improvement!

I made a couple more for practice, and varied the design to patchwork:


Needless to say, each of these has now been given away as a gift, and I still need to make one for myself!

Friday, 27 April 2012


When non-quilty friends ask why I blog, I always talk about the community of bloggers, and use the analogy that it's like sitting down for a cup of tea (and cake) with people who share your interests. 
Our church community day last weekend was an amazing and exhausting day of enjoying the best of being part of a community, loads of fun, laughter, cake, bouncy bungee run, music and comedy. Miss PatchyRose even played the grand piano in a small concert, and sang with her school choir. 
On the patchwork side, another lady (who I hadn't met previously) and I had a casual conversation a couple of weeks before the event. We each agreed to bring some quilts to hang, with an option of having a sewing machine in case anyone wanted to have a go... It was really fun setting it all up, and I learnt new tricks about hanging quilts. We had a lovely area, a large balcony looking into the entry hall, perfect for hanging quilts over the edge so they could be seen from below. It also meant we could see what else was going on, and hear the different bands that played throughout the day. Unfortunately I only managed one single photo, on my phone, of a table we set up:

I envisaged a time of calmly chatting to people about how peaceful patchwork is. Miss PatchyRose had tipped my scrap box out, and colour sorted them, and I started to make a scrappy log cabin for fun.
And then we were besieged by some fantastic young girls all desperate to have a go!! Suddenly our peaceful corner became a hive of activity, non-stop for about 3 or 4 hours. Their enthusiasm was so infectious, each girl was determined to go away with a finished product, or a sizable piece of patchwork. On the spur of the moment, we ended up making about eight small cushion covers, and even one bag. Miss PatchyRose is very proud of her handiwork -

Her cushion looks perfect on her own rocking chair. She's done bits and pieces of sewing with me, but this time reached a new level of appreciation for it. 

Such a great day, and judging from the response, a potential patchworking group in the making ;-)

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Recent acquisitions...

Often I see nice craft items for sale, but feel I could make it myself at home. It takes something really special to persuade me to splash out and treat myself. When Beth blogged that she was putting some things on special offer, I was quick off the mark! Her linen cats are so serene and beautiful, and the possibility of them no longer being available meant I just had to get one now ;-) 

Not only did I receive this lovely cat in her pretty blue dress, Beth incredibly sweetly included a little extra for us...

She had no idea that Miss PatchyRose had been eying them up in her online shop! Looks like it will be boiled eggs for tea every night this week... So cute how those ears match the cat's dress!

It has been a good week for parcels here, with an Amazon delivery too. I rarely buy patchwork books, as I have more than enough projects waiting to be finished. However, both these books looked interesting, and I caved in. 

 I only managed a brief flick through them last night, but I wasn't disappointed. There are plenty of great ideas in them, with lots of versatility. Unfortunately it may be some time before I get round to them, but they are lovely books to look at too.

Sometimes it's nice to whip up an easy quilt quickly, but I'm looking forward to making the sampler quilt slowly and more thoughtfully.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Trip around the world

Yesterday I finally cut into one of the fabric sets I bought in America last Easter. It wasn't sold as a set, but I bought the six fabrics at the same time, with the intention of using them in a single project. I tend to make it up as I go along, and cut them all out into squares, and then started playing around with different designs. I'd love to say this was intentional, but after a couple of hours of not really liking where it was going, I managed to come up with this...

It was complete coincidence that I had the just the number of squares needed for this Trip Around the World quilt, as I have no fabric leftover beyond two squares in each design, and only one in the pink spots! It's all laid out ready, and I can't wait to start sewing.

Over the weekend I also quilted and bound the 9 patch, and am so pleased to have finished it. This weekend I will have some quilts on show at our church, as part of a community day, and wanted it ready to show potential beginners :-)

The backing is another supermarket find, a lovely bright pink, cheap and cheerful!

Monday, 9 April 2012

9 patch quilt top

We've had such a peaceful few days! It's been a great Easter break for all of us. Mr PatchyRose has been gardening and completely renovating the guest ensuite, and Miss PatchyRose has been happy to potter about, which is quite unusual. As a result I have been free to sew to my heart's content, which has been so calming. Productivity has greatly increased, and I managed to finish the top for the 9 Patch Quilt.

Having started this quilt with great enthusiasm, I then ended up with a pile of 9 patches which sat in a  box for months... This weekend I have made the remaining few, and added all the sashing. I managed to cut the sashing from the remains of the sheet used in my Primitiva quilt, and have also cut enough for the binding. I thought I wasn't going to like this quilt that much, but now I love it. It was a great way to use up scraps, and I like spotting fabrics from different previous projects. Just need to get on and quilt it now...

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Bits and pieces

In a moment of craziness a few months' ago, I agreed to go on Brownie Pack Holiday as a Guide leader, knowing that it was straight after my trip to Spain... So, I have spent the last two weeks split between two trips, sharing a room with other adult leaders and being responsible for various small people. Truly exhausting, but very rewarding with lots of good moments to compensate for the lack of sleep. 

It has been so lovely in the last few days to finally stop, relax, and have some time and space for myself. I've managed to work on three different projects, and feel so much better for the calm reflection.

The first task was to finish off Primitiva Pumpkin, which just needed quilting and binding. I was inspired by another blog to look into using new bedsheets as quilt backing, which was a great move as they are so much cheaper than fabric.

I found the perfect purple sheet in a supermarket at a very good price, and there was plenty for both the backing and the binding.

The sheet fabric was so easy to work with, and has made it into a very soft and cosy quilt, perfect as a sofa throw.

As well as that, I have resurrected my pile of 9 patches, prompted by the lovely girl wanting to join in and me giving her them to spread out and keep her busy! The result was that I decided to make just 7 more, and then create a smaller quilt than I had originally intended. 

After laying them out last night, I whizzed off to the supermarket in search of another backing sheet. The one I picked out is a pale grey, but when I got home I decided it wasn't quite right. However, it will be perfect to go with my next project, using my Flea Market Fancy fabrics. After a bit of deliberation, I decided to be frugal and use up the remainder of the purple sheet. I think there will be just the right amount.

The purple strips here are just placed in position, ready for chain sewing the columns. I like how this is shaping up, partly because it reminds me of how patchwork used to be, a way of using up scraps. It would be great to get this finished off this week...