Friday 30 December 2011

Blogger's Choice

This took ages but it was fun.  A blogger's bundle opportunity courtesy of The Fat Quarter Shop and Laura at Quokka Quilts- click to find out more.
On Christmas day as my mum and sister unwrapped their pillows from me, my brother was a little put out that there was none for him (he did have a very nice and requested present).  He had a pillow last year but he was rather taken by the Walk in the Woods pillow.  As a consolation I told him he could have something else. He suggested something inspired by the film 'The Life Aquatic'. I haven't seen this but the trailer alone set my mind whirring.  This bundle is selected for this project, a hypothetical quilt for Jamie.  I love the combination, hours spent searching through colours and themes and my mouse hand is jiggered.  Would love to make it. 
Go enter!  It is a very interesting creative exercise. 
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The Camera Never Lies

I am normally up to date with my bee blocks but Amy's Ocotober Ringo Pie block slipped by the wayside.  Her theme was 'The Camera Shop'.   I have been saving images for a while, I was all ready to do a vintage Super Color Polaroid Land camera with a solid green polaroid coming out of it.  I drafted it, bought rainbow ribbon and kept trying to put time aside to work it through.  It never really appeared in my head, I had the concept but I couldn't visualise it and no fabric was talking to me.  Last week, a new idea crept in, fully formed, fabrics, details- I could see them all.
A vintage film canister, Kodak inspired.  I am lucky.  I have a great memory for colour.  The biggest swatch board is in my head. Unfortunately, once I think of a fabric or a colour, I then have to find it,  search round the zillions of different places where I store fabric.  Most of my stash is small pieces, half yards, fat quarters, scraps.  With this block, I pulled the fabric in minutes and unusually the vintage fabric is the background.
This could only be Amy's block.  She is an intensely creative person, her work has great colour and imagination.  Her personality comes through it as I think it does for us all.  You may not have met your blogging friends in person but you have seen their inner imagination and personality through their work.  
Fabrics- Vintage floral print, vintage green solid, Kona school bus with versacraft ink stamp, Sweetwater Authentic Newsprint, Suzuko Koseki text/number fabrics, Kona Brown, tiny squares of Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jumps Rope.  
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Thursday 29 December 2011


Christmas was lovely.  Yesterday was very long, 450 miles on the train up and down the country to my Grandad's funeral.  A long and sad day but a funeral shouldn't really be anything else.  I don't like to dwell, I won't be posting all my makes of the year or anything like that.  I like to see these elsewhere but generally when I have made something I like to move on to the next project, get the creative buzz from figuring out how I am going to make the new idea.  This is handy, it makes it easy to pass on bee blocks, swaps and presents, I don't like to look back only forwards.
This pillow was for my sister.  Aneela's wonderful Walk in the Woods fabrics and a few others!
These fabrics are on sale in the Spring.  But just in case you still pine for a little Christmas, look at her festive fabrics for next year.  
Concealed zip, I don't do my pillows any other way now.
The back is simple parallel quilting and the main print is a Cosmo Cricket fabric given to me by Anna ages ago.  It matched perfectly.
There are some texty treats scattered around to make my sister laugh and my nephew too.  We have a puerile sense of humour but it can't be helped.
Now, Bee blocks to I trot
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Friday 23 December 2011

Wishing you a happy....

Nearly here, this is my favourite time.  I find big days of nay sort, birthdays, wedding, Christmas a bit overwhelming, but this part, the preamble, the just before is my favourite part of Christmas.  I finally finished making my presents and now I am finishing Bee Blocks and stitching new year projects.
Wherever you are, whoever and whatever you are with and whatever you celebrate- something or nothing at all, I wish you all well, thankyou for calling in here, it means a great deal x
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Wednesday 21 December 2011


Last month my final kitchen units were fitted.  The new cooker came  early December.  It has taken a long time to get everything in place, so many delays from supplier, need to change, paint the walls- but it is ready for Christmas baking.  Lula lead the way...

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Monday 19 December 2011


Part of the The Sewing Directry Christmas Creativity competition that I won a few weeks ago was for my pattern to be published in Cloth.  My edition arrived today.  I have not been published before, you can imagine my excitement.  
That is my name down there!
Cloth magazine is a little tricky to find.  It tends to be sold in independent crafty shops- no shops near me sells it- but you can buy it online here.  I rather like the cloak on the front and I am guessing Lula will too.  Quite a thing to see my pattern all printed out in a tangible magazine, I am a little bit blown away!  If you want to make the Scandinavian Tree Cushion/pillow instructions are also here
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The kindness and support of my blog friends never ceases to amaze me, such a supportive community.  Thankyou for all your kind and thoughtful comments.  It is really hard to think of what to say when someone has died but you were all so open and generous with your words and thoughts.  
 I have had a really quiet weekend.  Damian and Lula were away visiting his family on a speedy Christmas visit and though I miss them and look forward to hugging both of them later today, when I have stuff to deal with I need a lot of time on my own so it worked out well and I feel better for my weekend of dog and cats cuddling on top of me and a quilt, Skype, blog reading, visits, tea and sewing  Like many of you I have been sewing furiously and making slow progress.

 I should get there by midnight 24th December.  I can show this gift as it has been given, a little purse for Maria my pilates/zumba instructor.I used a Keyka Lou pattern, Pocket Clutch.  I have used a few of her patterns before and they are so clear to follow and quick to make.  This is my favourite shape, I like the tab closure (magnet underneath) and the storage inside.  Michelle is retiring some of her patterns and selling them at $3 (approx £2) for limited time only- such a bargain- check out her shop.

Maria is Spanish and is still learning English so I thought it would be fun to use text fabrics based on travel and home.  She is a great teacher, fun and giving.  I go to three of her classes each week, Zumba is Friday early evening and she always leaves me with a happy feeling to start the weekend.

I am making one of these for Lula next (Shhh! Don't tell her) in black prints, and eventually I might make one for me. I used the Vilene VH640 fusible fleece again- possibly the most useful product in the world!  Julia at Gone to Earth sent me a length and it has been perfect for little purses and pouches. I prefer this thicker loft over the 630, it handles like a dream and adheres even with my little travel iron.  The key is a damp cloth, I use a baby muslin.

The red fabric is from Sweetwater's Hometown collection, the travel linen/cotton print was from The Hey Day shop.  Katie has a little left in the shop.  The black/cream dots came courtesy of Lynne who sent me a surprise bundle of scraps in with some fabric I needed, what a sweetie x
I am just preparing a little tutorial and a print out for you all ; a pillow based on a traditional friendship block using foundation piecing.

 I would like to say it is a fast make for your gift list but in reality, even with short cuts it took me ages, it is for my mum so that makes it OK!  I am just waiting for a zip to arrive and then I'll post the 'how to make stuff'.  If you haven't  done foundation piecing before it is a good little block to start with x
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Friday 16 December 2011

Finished work and a very busy and sad week.  My Grandad died yesterday.   Not totally unexpected, he was very old, he was in poor health, in a nursing home and he wasn't happy but it is sad nonetheless and hard for my Granny. She has lost two sisters and a husband in two years.   I never expected to have grandparents as a grownup woman in my forties,  and when one of them dies a little bit of your life goes with them, that childhood bit when grandparents are the best thing ever moves further away.  So a funeral  in the gap between Christmas and New Year.  
This is my favourite pic of him, from the summer of '81, he would only be in his early 60s.  
Taken on my Kodak Instamatic, one of the few pics I have off that reel that isn't blurry and out of focus.  He often sat in this squat position when he was working.  The green structure was his budgie shed.  Other memories include various bizarre DIY fixes around the house involving tape and string in strange places, him telling us not to eat out granny's sweets, calling granny 'Sal'- her name is Mabel, and reading out bits of The Mirror of The News of the World and then going off on an anti Thatcher rant.  When our family used to visit and we all sat in their tiny living room, he would always sit on the hardest chair, away from the TV so everyone else got a better seat.  More than anything he was a stubborn old bugger.
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Wednesday 14 December 2011

Comfort Woolies

I forget every time how busy the last week of term is.  All my over ambitious plans go to the wall.  When I was little my grandpa used to say my eyes were bigger than my belly, especially at Christmas when a big plate of food could not be finished, well it seems it is the same with my sewing.  A nice surprise yesterday lunchtime to come home and find this in my google reader
winter woollies
My Winter Woolies pattern had been given the Aneela treatment!  Would you believe this is her first go at a paper piecing pattern?  You can read about her fabric choices here.  Such lovely soft colours and her embroidery details are, of course, just right.  Love love love it
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Monday 12 December 2011

Infinity and beyond

Sometimes, lots of times, making something is a compulsion.  Last night I decided I had to make an infinity scarf at 6.30pm.  By 7.30 pm it was pretty much done- finished during an X factor ad break.  Hmm, cosy, Anna Maria Horner voile and flannel.
I bought the flannel here, $5 a yard- such a bargain and have Katy to thank for nudging me in this direction.  I bought 4 different prints, this was the only AMH print- I wish I had ordered more!  It is the most snuggly cosy fabric, full PJs in this would be heaven.  I have a stack of voile FQs and some scrappy pieces so I set to work following this tute which makes a scarf out of around 2 quarter yard strips.  You can make a wider and longer version using Anna Maria Horner's tute here .  I haven't done a tutorial, what follows are a few tips from making it.
I cut my fabrics to make 2 lengths-one flannel, one voile and I pieced bits together to make the length up- each was 9.25"x54".  You then need to pin the two lengths, right side together- I used vertical pinning to keep the slippy voile in place.  I aworked my way down one edge for 12" and then flipped it over and pinned down the other side for 12" and so on- this keeps the edges even and the fabrics nice and flat and allows you to sew both sides from end to end in the same direction.
To join the tube, on one end you can see 0.5" pressed under and the raw other end pinned on top inside, pin heads are on the outer part- don't want to stitch them in!
I then put the outside on top and pinned again, basted and then stitched straight down, you can see the stitching in the first pic.  Anna Maria uses a hand sew method to keep the tube open.
Place on and twist.  I hate posing for a head type shot, memories of bad school photos I guess.
Silly picture...
Sensible picture...
A quick gift should you need something else to make!  I am going his and hers on this project- Damian is getting a square scarf (he keeps one over his nose at night, don't ask!)  I laid out all the flannel I had bought and he chose the Buttoned Up.  
 Gotta love Anna Maria Horner, she is a genius with fabric and different substrates- I love that word!  She is the queen of substrates.

Now give me that scarf back, my neck needs the warmth!
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