Tuesday 29 June 2010


When I came home from work at lunch time  there were two packages behind the door- both fabric.  I had been waiting a couple of weeks for one from USA

When I opened it up, I nearly cried- it's a bit sad to be so moved by fabric, get a grip woman!

'Far and Away II'- Heather Ross for Kokka and Kokka 'Sewing Supplies'.  all from the lovely Purlsoho.
It will be ages until Far Far Away is available in the UK and when I buy from the US I have to be careful to spend £18 or less- approx $24- to stay under the import duty charges which can be high.  Purl soho was the only place where I could chose fat quarters in this range and the Sewing Supplies print is one of my favourites- I have used the linen tape with the same print a lot of projects.  I think these are destined for my month in Bee(a little bit) Japanese quilting bee.  My month isn't til Feb but I like to be ready.  I'll have to audition the colours together.

The two fabrics on the left also destined for that Bee, not quite sure.  Theses 3 were a bargain from the heyday shop,  the two pink prints were in the sale- bargain!

These are also for the same quilt- all showing similar colours and some of my favourite things- sewing, tea, bags and fairy tales- makes sense to me anyway. They are all from great UK sellers. The threads print and pink Hope Valley (Denyse Schimdt) are from Gwen at CelticFusion fabrics, the teal Hope Valley from Gone to Earth and the turquoise japanese food/kitchen print from Eternal Maker.  I have some others in my stash to go with these and a great idea for a quilt block- I need to test it out before I reveal.

And finally-I'm overwhelmed as to how many nice fabric I can see writing this!- I got this Heather Ross bundle on ebay on Sunday for a great price- destined for a baby quilt, a new niece or nephew due in September  x

Sunday 27 June 2010

Spider web quilt block

I finished the two blocks that I am making for the first month of the Bee (a little bit Japanese) quilting group.  All the blocks will feature some japanese fabric and as these were scrap based there are loads of different bits.  Kaelin sent a lovely bag of scraps and we can add a bit from our stash and we keep the left overs!  Someone else's scraps are always extra good.

The tutorial is here and it uses a paper base which keeps everything stable and is great for trimming to an accurate shape at the end

I haven't done this block before- I haven't done many ever so a quilting bee is proving to be a great education.  It is a great scrap buster and I loved choosing the picture bits to best use the prints

Looking at the other blocks so far, it is going to be the most lovely quilt.  I might have a go trying the same method teeny tiny size.

Carboot love

It is so hot today that it was good to get out early before it got too warm.  At the first carboot stall I had some bumper finds, first this folding mini table 50p, I loved the pattern on the top

It needed a bit of TLC- a good clean and just a little DIY but now and ready to put to good use
Then this great sewing vintage 1970s book

I would've loved this as a girl.  It even shows you how to make your own clothes, diagrams on how to thread your sewing machine  based on an old hand turned Singer.  I was limited to the Ladybird book of sewing and making bookmarks and ball from felt- all very groovy but this would've been fantastic!

My favourite pic is this illustration

love it!
Also picked up this cute little Newey 'book' of vintage 'Sewing Aids', just loved the packaging

and finally some hooks, I have a few sets of these in the kitchen, useful and so pretty

Saturday 26 June 2010

Miniature funnies

My daughter is a Sylvanian Families devotee- I think they are called Calico Critters in USA.  She loves to arrange little tableaus of her favourite scenes


Cute!  (It's dark on her shelf space- hard to get a good pic).  She subscribes to the members club and each quarter gets a mag with a story and lots of tableau pics- her dream job is to be the person styling these photots.  The most recent has a museum theme.  The Sylvanian's visit a museum which is a composite of Tate Modern, The British Museum and many others.  The works of pastiche works of art really made me giggle.  Carl Andre's The Bricks 

The Terracotta Army

and the one that got me, Tracy Emin's My Bed

Thursday 24 June 2010

Name Labels

How cute are these?  Ever since I saw the tutorial at Patchwork Pottery I have been itching to have a go

The print bit is easy, I bought some image transfer paper from ebay and you need a very hot iron and away you go.  Importing fonts, flipping text- it needs to be a 'wordart' object to flip- and borrowing an inkjet instead of  laser printer, installing software for the different printer etc-thank you to my mum and my husband for help on those.

They worked better on a  beige thicker cotton twill tape than on thinner white.  Sometimes the heat of the iron creates a bit of yellowing and you can't see that at all on the beige tape.  One sheet of paper makes a  whole lot of labels so thrifty too!

Quick shout out-UK sewers can at last  now buy Kona cottons in the full range of colour from Mandy at Simply Solids.  Pop over to  Lily's quilts for the huge giveaway to celebrate the launch of this new shop, open to 2nd July,  and look at all Lily's lovely stuff as well.

Fabric bargains- 40 % off Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Tanya Whelan and more at http://www.fivevalleysdesigns.com/ whilst stocks last.

Interested in a quilt-as-you-go quilting bee?- this quilt was made in this method.  Contact Tracy, admin for the group  http://www.flickr.com/groups/beequilted/.  It is a great method if you have a small machine or can't handle the weight of a big quilt easily and fancy some more portable quilting.  Take a look at these tutorials- first with no hand sewing here and more traditional with hand sewing here and there are lots more ways of doing this. 

Enjoying the sun in the UK x

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Holiday Reading

On my recent weekend away I took a new quilting book with me for a bit of light holiday reading and inspiration.

It is a beautiful book, the hardcover is printed and slightly textured and the photography inside is a joy.  Who'd have thought a dodgy bit of wall plaster and an old metal bed could look so appealing?


I didn't buy this for the patterns- they are very basic and I tend not to follow quilt patterns directly, a lot of the fabrics are not quite my taste- a lot of very big vivid florals- but the writing is wonderful.  Each quilt has it's own story-design, fabric, materials and direction.  She describes the inspiration, how the fabrics were chosen including details of the actual fabrics used -  I can't believe how many quilting books don't credit the fabric- as well as resources, suppliers etc.  At the back there is a quilt gallery with a clear pic of each quilt often including more than one colourway option  

The writing flows, Jane Brocket has an intimate style.  It reminded me of Nigel Slater, his recipe books are often a chance to read his great writing and musings, not just cook up a stew.

I love this picture- I  fancy the idea of text on the wall, maybe not hymn sheets like this though...It has a different cover in different parts of the world- looks a bit more sedate.  Recommend it for inspiration.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Trash to treasure

The tiny teacups that I bought a couple of weeks ago are now pincushions- they are so quick to do.  One for my friend Kathy and two for me.  The fabric came from an old apron with a great print so great recycling all round.

I found these place mats in a charity shop- block printed on linen, unused- 25p each!

Made by disabled girls- not very politically correct label from older times.  They are just a bit wider thatn the width of my sewing machine so with a bit of grey cotton I think they are destined to be a sewing machine cover- an improvement on the tea towel I currently use, might use this print- it was cut up to make a 50's shift dress

More trash at the carboot today.  I loved this musical box, 60s or 70s made in Japan with great Manga Heidi style characters

And this tall Japanese matchbox, great designs

and more matchboxes, more simple bold designs- love it

Happy sundays in the fun and to Damian- a great father to Lula, (he doesn't know I've written this) x 

Thursday 17 June 2010

Apple for my swap partner

Did you guess?  Coasters, a lovely design by Ayumi at Pink Penguin in the current issue of Stitch magazine.

I have to wrap this up for my Modern Swap partner well in advance before I am tempted to keep it to myself-  apples are very tempting!

Swaps-Needle case

News about this nice little swap came in the mail this morning and I couldn't resist- I like to make small things and who doesn't like a swap?

Pattern and tutorial are provided and you make in your own fabrics taking your partner's likes/dislikes into account.  Tempted?

 If you want to take part click on the link in the sidebar- closing date 5th July

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Wednesday Work in Progress

For my modern swap partner- a tease pic

It will be something to use in the sewing area, or it/they could be used elsewhere.

Any ideas?

What do you like to have with you when you are sewing?  Something hot?

( I do not think Cryptic Crossword setter beckons as a future career...)

Sunday 13 June 2010

Holiday clothes, sun, sea and sand

Sun, sea and sand are three words that  don't always sit happily together in the UK but this weekend was all of those.  I finished my Pochee tunic just in time (I won't mention the lace underdress/petticoat that I made but couldn't wear as it was too weird and needs more work)

A bit posey, this is more like it

The Anna Maria Horner Little Folks voile is I the nicest fabric I have ever sewn with.  It is soft and silky, cuts well, doesn't slip and is a pleasure to sew.  This pattern is Diamond Mine pattern in Sky.  It feels just as lovely on and was great for keeping lily white skin covered on the beach.  I buy Pochee magazine from ebay and etsy seller pomadour24.

We stayed at Challaborough bay which looks on to Burgh island.  The hotel there was made famous by Agatha Christie and is a beautiful Art Deco building.  As England were playing on Saturday night we had the beach to ourselves

Damian taught Lula how to skim stones

All of us restored, rested and home.

Friday 11 June 2010

Presents from Finland

My goodies from Mia's blog giveaway arrived yesterday

How lucky did I feel?

I loved everything.  The bird is in my sewing space so I can see it a lot and  I am using the bag and pouch to pack stuff in (we're away this weekend).  Thank you so much Mia!

Wednesday 9 June 2010

M is for Matchbox

I have been meaning to do the post for a while.  There is a guy where I live called David who sells his handcrafted creations on a stall in an arts centre called Exeter Phoenix.  His goodies always catch my eye when I go in and a few weeks ago I was compelled to buy his Alphabet cards.

These are a few that called me but really they are all my favourites.  He has a lovely balance of quirky, hand drawn inky graphic and nostalgia.  I thought some of the sewers might like a close up on Q Quilt

He also sells eraser carved stamps and lots of oddities based on matchboxes

David, aka The Matchbox can be contacted by email at thematchbox@yahoo.co.uk

Sunday 6 June 2010

Tutorial: Tailor's tacks

When you are sewing, especially dress making, you need to get the pattern markings on to your fabric and if the fabric is delicate or you are worried about getting the magic pen marks out, tailors tacks are a good way to make your marks without using chalk/pen/pencil.  I hope this video clip explains all if this is new to you.  If  something isn't clear let me know. There is no sound,  I'm hoping actions speak louder than words

I hope you learn to tailor tack,   I learnt that I have quite veiny arms.

Pochee Progress

I finished my toile for the Pochee tunic.  It looks a bit like a ghostly one armed Victorian night dress but it does the job and the fit is good

The Little Folks voile is cut and ready and I have been tailor tacking to put all the marks for matching up and  sewing the tucks.  I will post a bit of video after this as a tailor tack tutorial- if I can work it out.  I'm using the Sewmamasew June make it wear it thing to give me a kick up the backside.  Pochee 9 arrived a couple of weeks ago and I've been meaning to post pics

There are even more things I want to make in here than in the other one

I have already cut put the pattern for this, I am going to make it from the lacey cotton table cloth I found a couple of weeks ago so it will be a petticoat dress to wear under the tunic, but there's more...

Definitely going to make this dress

The full skirt crosses over at the back like an apron or wraparound style

Too many to choose.