Wednesday 29 June 2011

June is Marit's month in Ringo Pie and her theme was 'In the Summertime.'  The bar was raised high at the beginning when Corey posted a super cool traditional electric fan block and it continued from there so it has been a challenging month to come up with something.  Ayumi sent me this  You Tube clip of Kumiko Fujita and it starts off with her stunning Subway quilt and that is where my idea started.
What I like most about summer is the light.  Living in the south west of the UK is good for light , we get a generous amount of sun, and mid summer has such long days.  I can't take lots of heat and my skin is pale and burns easily so I am not a sun worshipper but I love being out in the shade or sewing into the evening with the late orange glow coming through.
This block is quite straight forward, I sketched it out on graph paper first to get the shape and the strip widths.   The cutting that took the longest time in the whole process.  The back is an interesting view with the light streaming through.  I used to make tiffany style glass light catchers and it reminds me of those.
Mid week, hold on in for weekend x
sib blog
(comments are closed for this post due to spam attack!)

Sunday 26 June 2011

Purse/Bag Key Fob Tutorial

To make a Purse/Bag key fob, 

You will need:
lobster clip
fob strap fabric- decor/canvas weight is good 2 1/4 inches x 8 inches
Heavy interfacing- sew in or fusible 5/8 inch x 7 inches
Usual sewing supplies
Zipper foot and standard foot on your machine

1.  Bring the long raw edges together and press down the fold.  Open out.
2.   Bring the  long raw edges in by 1/2 inch on each side and press.  There will be a little gap between them- see pic 2.

3.  Slide interfacing in so it sits along the fold on one of the long edges.  Press if fusible, if it is sew in it should stay in place with the fold.

4.  Fold over along long length and topstitch with a long stitch close to each long edge.
5.  From the bottom of the fob strap, measure 5/8 and press to leave a fold.  Repeat but this time 1 1/2 inches from the bottom of the fob strap.  There should be 2 folds.  Thread on the d ring of the lobster clip to the higher fold and tuck the strap in along the 5/8 fold. 

Using a zipper foot (and you can also move your needle position using your stitch width setting if that helps too), stitch close to the D ring and at the fold.  The folded side is now the back and wrong side of the fob.

With the right side facing up Attach the top of the fob into the seam allowance of the lining of the bag.  It will be secured when the lining and the outer bag are joined together.

Your keys are now safe!

Any problems, email me and I will do my best to help!

Friday 24 June 2011

2 4 6 8- I appreciate Anna

I have got to know Anna Graham of Noodlehead through Ringo Pie and she is the nicest person and the most generous blogger.   She doesn't know about this post so when she reads it, I'm guessing she will blush, but I love her patterns and I love her blogging.   She gives a lot of herself  and I admire that.  The majority of her patterns are available free on her website and she is always adding more.  This is my version of her 241 Tote Bag, available to buy by PDF 

My day bag which I take to work full of keys, money, tissues, granola bars, bananas and a water bottle is wearing thin so I spent a few evenings this week making this one.  The storage possibilities appealed to me.  I made the outer zipper pocket horizontal for my phone and added some batting to protect it.  Inside, I put in a key fob clip, I live in fear of losing my house keys or the ones to my work place so I always add a key fob to any bag I make.

Recognise the lining?  From my lucky win on Kat's blog , I have linked in to her great news that she has a pattern in a new Zakka Style book full of designers and cute looking makes.  Congrats Kat!

I just know that flash of pink and the little deer will make me smile as I reach for my phone.

I recycle fixings when I make bags- the strap, key fob clasp and the zipper were from some cheapo charity shop finds.  I have no idea where to find zips with bigger tabs, I can only source dress style zips- if you know of a good supply, please let me know!  The strap allows it to be shoulder or messenger style across the body.  It is all sprayed with protector- seems to work well, I've tried it before, and ready to go.  Thankyou Anna, the pattern worked a like a dream x

Wednesday 22 June 2011


I have plans for this, I love to wear pink and green together but have not sewn this combination and it is one of my favourites and the easiest way for me to use green.
There are some colours that despite liking them I do not turn to often and green is a big one.  I like to push myself a little so this project is about going to the fabrics that get overlooked as I rush for the red and turquoise.
These colours I find a lot easier.  This sunny mix contains my plans for Marit's bee block  for Ringo Pie.  It was the longest day yesterday, officially the start of the summer (it is raining naturally).  My favourite thing about summer is light- there is so much more of it and for longer,  for my block I plan a big round sun!
Are there colours you like but don't use?  Do share!
sib blog

Monday 20 June 2011

Name Game

I always feel rather honoured to be on other peoples blogs whether it is in a blog roll, a special mention or a guest post.   When Cindy got in touch to ask if I would like to take part in her regular Name Game feature on her bright and colourful blog- Live A Colorful Life I jumped straight in!  I know you got a bit of name background only a couple of weeks ago but there's more to read and see here
And if you had enough reading about me, how about Poppyprint, Molly Flanders, Crazy Mom Quilts and Little Girl Quilts.
sib blog

Saturday 18 June 2011

Farmer's twosome

As there are 111 blocks in the Farmer's Wife Quilt-a-long I am not sure if I can think of a sufficient number of blog post names.  Ho hum, two blocks squeezed into this weeks- I am at a very busy time of year work wise and just about to enter the birthday season in our house- not me but Damian and Lula, plus end of term school stuff and lots of meetings for L starting high school in September. 

Basket Weave 
Broken Dishes
I thought I should post an update on Bob, our eldest cat.  He was diagnosed with diabetes in March and I had some great help and support from blog readers, (especially Kath) when I posted about him then.  Unfortunately the vets were not so good which lead to some very difficult visits, and what I can only describe as incompetence on their part.  We sorted the management of his treatment largely by ourselves with internet research and they just supply the insulin.  He has been much, much better and considering his arthritis he is doing well and is a happy cat again.  He did spend the whole of Thursday being repeatedly sick which is very worrying with diabetes and we had honey at the ready incase of a hypo!  He slept it off on Friday- it was a bug I think,  and he is now back to normal.  
Happy UK summer in the rain! 
sib blog

Thursday 16 June 2011


Last April my sewing space looked like this:
Sewing space work area
And now, unpimped and untidied it looks like this!
I thought I would show the 360 degree experience so this is the other side of the room, I will say some of those blue drawers are full of musical instruments, shakers, bells etc for the day job- it is not all fabric.
Do you like the sophisticated additional cutting area?  Art board and the floor, nice.  I have just put a table in the lean to next door as cutting on the floor is not a great idea.  You can see  I am organised but not tidy.
And the computer is where I spend a fair amount of time.
 Sad to say I love my Imac.
There is also a chaise longue with Lottie sitting on it and a piano.   And how big is this palatial space? Eleven and a half foot by eleven and a half foot!  Cosy is how an estate agent would describe our little house.
So that is my work space, no airbrushing.  
Want some deeper honesty?  Have a read of Amy's post, there is controversy and the comments will be multiplying.
Oh and a quick request.  I just joined twitter, I have no real idea how it works, I joined to get a big discount off a tea order (very topical once you read Amy's post) so I have no idea I am going to tweet or read tweets but if you are on it and use it regularly at least it will be a start for me, I am @verykb
And did you notice this but a lot smaller in the left corner of the address bar?  I guess you can't see it in reader, you'll have to click the post to go to the page.  I just found out that these are called Favicons.  The blogger favicon gadget failed to work but you can add one on blogger  using the help here- have a pic ready and it needs to be square!  Good luck with that x
sib blog

Monday 13 June 2011

verys and berrys

Welcome to a joint blog post here and at Very Berry Handmade .  Ali and I  recently came across each other's blogs and found similar names and two crafty bloggers.   I have also noticed that she has exceptionally good taste in the plates that she photographs her cakes on- Midwinter and other great retro pots, nice!  So we cooked up a swap between ourselves and had a few questions to find out a bit more about each other so here goes!

How did you decide on your blog name?
Kerry: "I have a rather unexciting answer to this, my blog name is the same as my user name on Flickr, Folksy and Etsy.  My husband calls me Kerryberry and that had already be taken on Flickr so I added the 'very' and that became the blog name too! "

Ali:"Is there anything more difficult than thinking up a blog/business name? Well, probably plenty of things, but it took me about 2 months to make a decision! I wanted a name with a colour in it, and also something that might make (eventually!) a funky logo. The colour thing got me thinking about rainbows, which reminded me of a pair of multicoloured wellies that my little boy Danny used to have. They were made by a company called Tayberry, and he always called them his 'Very Berry Tayberry Rainbow Boots'... Something clicked and that was it! Very Berry I became - I like it because it always reminds me of my lads and their lovely ways"

What is your crafting story?
Ali:"I've always done a little bit of knitting and sewing over the years, but lacked confidence in my ability to really enjoy it. The real urge to start making things really came when I was pregnant with my twin boys - I wanted to create for them - I made blankets, scarves, hats, little shoes... and then slowly things started to take off, I found I couldn't stop!  I learnt to crochet and I was pleased to find something I'm pretty good at (I never did get to properly to grips with knitting!), and I started to design patterns like these bunnies
A Bunch of Bunny Boys...
And with practice, my sewing started to improve. I did a course in patchwork and quilting, and people seemed to think that I'd got a fair eye for colour - so I took confidence (although easily-shaken confidence!) from that. Now I am trying to make a little money from my work, which is a huge challenge - both my sons are on the autistic spectrum and we have chosen to educate them at home, so the little bit of extra income that my work brings in helps with the household budget. But just as importantly, my sewing and crochet give me a much needed outlet for my creativity, a way to indulge my love of colour and design, and access to the lovely online world of other crafters."

Kerry: "I have always been very creative and loved drawing, painting and sewing as a child.  I was lucky enough to go to a primary school that put creativity at the centre of the curriculum and I learnt calligraphy and embroidery alongside art and pottery from an early age.  
I made the needle case when I was 7 andI still use it everyday! I have sewn all my life with a break for a few years for repetitive strain injury.  Now, sewing is having a resurgence, my arms are recovered and blogging and social networking fits perfectly in tandem with sewing.  I started blogging February 2010 and it has been the best and most surprising adventure!  I have made so many great friendships with people from all around the world"

What did you make for Ali?  What influenced your design?
Kerry: We both wanted to make each other something useful.  Ali fancied a potholder, she does a lot of cooking as you can see by the wonderful recipe selection on her blog!  She gave me some ideas about colour combinations and I pounced on red/aqua/grey as I knew I had a lot of prints that would work with that.  I especially like to use red in kitchen items too.
The strips are joined in a half log cabin with borders straight onto a double layer of insulbright and cotton batting.  This technique allows you to quilt as you sew and get multi directional lines.  I went for a lot of foodie/kitchen fabrics and a few berries too for obvious reasons!
I put a pocket in as I wanted this to be as practical as possible.  You can see the pocket method at Oh Fransson!  And I added a little applique cooking words patchwork at the back.
For extra goodies, I picked out some Hope Valley as Ali mentioned she liked this line.  I also put in a little Cosmo plaid for nod to Mid century style fabrics and added a few other cute patterns that I thought she would like.  I tend to put a mini bar of Montezumas Butterscotch milk chocolate in most of my swap parcels because it is so yummy."
What did you make for Kerry?  What influenced your design?
It's been brilliant getting to know Kerry through this swap - I've done plenty of exploring around her lovely blog and Flickr pages to find things she likes (although I had to stop looking after a while because her work is so lovely that my confidence was ebbing away!). She asked for a coin purse, and I decided early on that I didn't want to do pieced patchwork, because I know that Kerry is so good at that herself - I thought she might like something a bit different. So, I decided on applique, taking my inspiration from the lovely daisy pattern in Suzuko Koseki's lovely Playful Patchwork, with quite a subtle choice of colours because I know Kerry likes natural linen, and I spotted somewhere, that like me, she likes Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley fabrics.

Applique coin purse from the front
I thought the applique might look a little dull on a plain background so decided to piece and quilt the linen fabric. Once I'd done that I hand-pieced the separate petals of the flower, appliqued them on, and hand-quilted round the edge. It took me a while to decide on a fabric for the centre of the flower - originally I had a more orangey-yellow (with a pattern), but although the colours looked good together, I decided it rather over-powered the petals so I swapped for this paler yellow. I wanted to add texture, so covered the center of the flower with French knots. I love hand-embroidery when I get the chance to do it, so I also added the little lazy daisy flowers on the front and on the little tag label. 
Applique coin purse from the top
And finally I couldn't resist adding a bit of crochet to the project, so the little zip-tag is hand-crocheted using perle quilting thread. No berries though - clever Kerry to think of that!  
I promise I sent some goodies to Kerry - I even managed some fabrics she doesn't already have... but I have no memory of what I sent, and no pictures either, because I was in the throes of horrid toothache when I packed it all up... I tried to send her colours she would enjoy, and some big vintage buttons too. But that's all I remember! (No worries Ali- I took a picture and it was a great little stack of goodies!)
So there you have it, two blogs with similar names and a whole load of craftiness going on and now a new friendship!  Are there any other bloggers out there who have found a similar situation?  Do Share!
sib blog

Saturday 11 June 2011

The Farmer's Wife-

I have started my Farmer's Wife blocks and what betther than to start a new project than a bit of admin.  I designed a simple spreadsheet to keep a progress on my blocks and templates and any of you are welcome to Click here for Google Docs so you can use it too!
I haven't had much experience of using templates before and after a bit of hit and miss cutting I found the easiest way has been to copy all the squares templates into one file and then print out, and then do the same for triangles and rectangles.  I am measuring each square/rectangle so I have a reference of the cutting size.  Many of the triangles will go onto template plastic as they get used a lot.  I will print the more unusual shapes onto freezer paper as these are not in many of the blocks- so a bit of a mix.  Now the blocks.   I am going where my fancy takes me so I started with Number 1 Attic Window 
I have no specific colour scheme in mind but I am trying to include as many of my favourites as I possibly can.  I do my usual fabric pull and then see how they look next to each other and keep getting out/putting bakc until I am happy.  Sometimes a quick process and sometimes not but this is where I like to spend a bit of time getting it right.  Above includes some Sukuko Koseki- calligraphy, Kumiko Fujita-text, Urban Chiks 1974 aqua,  Sharon Kessler- black/cream
This block is Number 39 Friendship
I already knew that I wanted these fabrics and this is a perfect block for fabrics that I only have the tiniest scraps of- Flea Market fancy vines for example.  The red is from Sherbert Pips (Moda), daisies are by Suzuko Koseki, rulers are Kumiko Fujita, text is Michael Miller's Dick and Jane Sentence Structure print.  The blocks are quite small, around 6.5" which I like.  I don't know how many I will do, I am doing this as a long term relaxing type project without deadline and I am hoping the end quilt will be a homage to all my favourite prints.
Have a great weekend :)
sib blog

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Time for Tea

I have had this book for a little while.  I bought it from a Japanese site, second hand but in perfect condition, it can be a bit hard to get hold of
I was really taken with these tea coasters and cozy
and inspired to make a mini mug rug for myself.  Only 6.5" x 4" , it is the perfect size to sit on the arm of the sofa for my large cup of Earl grey and a little snack- giant chocolate buttons are a fav.  I used shot cottons for the background and cup, the letters are linen.  It makes me smile :)

I could not resist joining in this quilt-a-long after seeing the blocks pop up on Flickr.  Quilt a longs are just online groups of people all working towards the same goal- in this case, slowly working my way through 111 traditional block.  I like variety and I needed a quilt block education.  
It is a beautiful book even without a quilt a long, detailed pages, original farmer's wife lettters and A CD with all the templates on.  It is a bit like art, you can only go abstract once you have covered the basics.  Lots of interesting quilters are taking part so it should be interesting.   I am more of an urban chick than a farmer's wife but that doesn't deter me.   I won't get my first blocks done till the weekend.  I am having my kitchen partly replaced- the sink area changes tomorrow, the rest will be happen over the summer.
I can't wait!  You all know how I feel about kitchen things and a slice of retro kitchen action is coming to my little house.  I don't like the upheaval and I can't get to my work space but it should be over quickly!
sib blog