Friday 29 November 2013

Black Friday, here, there and everywhere!

Its Black Friday and bargains are coming thick and fast online so I am offering some here for 48 hours, starting with 500 Quilt Blocks, 20% discount on the hardbacks I have left- green with purple writing (far right on pic) £10 £8 + £2 postage (UK only).  
If you would like a copy please email me (link in side bar) and let me know the name for the bookplate and your paypal address and I will send you an invoice.  This offer is open for 48 hours!
Over at Sew-Ichigo, we are offering all our patterns at 20% off so if there is one you have been wanting to try, this is a good time and 'Sew Very Christmas' is perfect for gift bags, mug rugs and more:

Again, this offer is for 48 hours only and is in our shop with the code blackfriday , and in our Craftsy shop and Etsy: no codes needed on these, the prices are already changed.
And to finish, an ongoing offer, 20 % off everything at Saints and Pinners.  Here's a rainbow of fabrics to whet the appetite:
Enjoy your savings xxx
sib blog

Wednesday 27 November 2013

November at Eternal Maker

I noticed yesterday on Eternal Maker's Twitter feed that they are about to start 12 days of Christmas offers- I wonder what they have planned?  Meanwhile, Bark and Branch by Eloise Renouf for Cloud Nine Fabrics has arrived:

I love the wintery equinox colours in these.  I know the colour picture prints always catch the eye first but the line leaf prints are especially beautiful.

There are instructions for the cutest little toys to go inside your house (or make mini  Christmas decorations with).
 All the materials are listed in the project posts on the Eternal Maker blog.
Another boy based line caught my eye, Super Hero from Riley Blake
A pillow case in this would make a lovely make for a boy and there are enough colours in there for it to co-ordinate with a range of duvet covers.  There is also a fat quarter Super Hero bundle available with prints from a range of fabric lines and including the Wham! Pow! fabric
A few new Nani Iro prints have snook into the Eternal Maker stock, and I have already bought one- you know I am a sucker for all the Nani Iro fabrics.  Firstly a brushed cotton- think light flannel weight, 
I have a couple of metres of this which I ordered as soon as I saw it- I was a little nervous of it, the dots are large and silver so I was a little unsure from just looking at the on screen picture but once I saw it at home and could lay it against me and imagine clothing I really feel for it.  Think simple loose shapes-tunic, full skirt, to make the most of the spots.  This is my pic showing the Charcoal Pocho alongside Robert Kaufman Shetland flannel in Jet (this fabric is the same on both sides):
I am planning skirts in both, something long and lean in the flannel plus a scarf for Damian (if I can squeeze both out of it) and a fuller skirt with pockets in the Pocho.  I did notice this beautiful linen blend Herringbone design, also Nani Iro
I'm not sure of the weight of this, it looks like the heavier linen/blend rather than the floaty- gorgeous though!  There is a delicate white version too, rather spring like.  
There is new Nani Iro Field Star double gauze here, my favourite colourway is this grey/purple
and a white version with a white border.
I do often get distracted when browsing the Eternal Maker site (its a hard job but someone's got to do it) by the felting kits.  I have only done a little felting and I fear it would be a little hard on my hands but the kits are dangerously cute!  Like this pug:
Three little birds ( I am now humming the Bob Marley tune)
and a couple of Hamsters complete with sunflower seeds:
The kits are all Japanese so be prepared for instructions via pictures rather than text.  You can find a felting needle tool here.  I couldn't find a mat at Eternal Maker but you can see the type here.
Remember to keep an eye on twitter for the 12 day offers. 
sib blog

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Quilt Basting: Table and long pins

I love piecing, hate basting and I know I am not alone.  I live in a small house, there is not sufficient floor space for a quilt beyond single size and I struggle even at that.  My arms and hands can't cope with all the safety pins- strain and RSI and although spray basting with 505 is good for small quilts it is not manageable for bigger quilts.  I had been tempted by a Kwik Klip but I still find fastening the pins a strain and it was going to cost a lot to buy a Klip tool and pin grips to save my fingers.  I read Blair Stocker's table basting method and thought I would give it a try.  The photos are all taken using Instagram  as it was a dark weekend!
My table is 32" x 45" so pretty small.  The quilt top is 72" square.  I had no clamps and I will buy some for next time- I used weights at the edges to hold the quilt backing whilst I added batting and the top.  I used 120 long (54mm) straight flower top pins (Milwards) (I needed more like 180-200) and a few safety pins for the edge.  The 6mm craft foam was from ebay, cost around £3 and it makes sufficient covers for more pins than I had.  I pressed and lightly starched my quilt back and top with Earth Friendly starch.  The quilt design was chalked on with a Chakoner- a handy Japanese fabric marker which makes a sharp line and comes off easily, I found mine on Etsy. 
The backing material did slip and slide, clamps would've helped and I need to find some.  Key to getting the layers to line up is to mark the centre of the table and all three layers- backing/batting/quilt top.  I taped a small button to the centre of the table and it was very helpful as a reference point.
I cut the foam into ⅝" wide strips and cut them to almost 1" long pieces- any shorter and the pin ends risk coming through.  I bent the pins slightly and they were easy to push throughout the layers.  I basted around 4" apart and they did hold the layers securely.  Some ends do come off as the quilt is moved around so you have to watch out for sharp points and stray pins.  Hand strain is a lot less with straight pins and if you need to move them around they are quick and easy to move.  It's not perfect and a bigger table would help but it worked well.  Has anyone used the same or a similar method?
sib blog

Friday 22 November 2013

Sizzix Christmas Blog Hop

Welcome to the last stop on the Sizzix Christmas Blog Hop!
Ho Ho Ho Banner
The banner is based on an simple 9-patch H and O block joined together and  could be easily adapted to make a Ho Ho Ho quilt, place mats- use your imagination!

You will need:
Sizzix Dies
Bigz XL Half Square Triangles #658322 (or 65761)

Using the dies, cut:
21 x 2 1/2" squares in red prints
12 x 2 1/2" squares in green prints
9 x 2 1/2" squares in white
12 x 2 1/2" Half square triangles in green prints
12 x 2 1/2" Half square triangles in white prints

You will also need:
3 pieces of batting/wadding each  measuring 7 1/2" x 13 1/2"
3 pieces of backing material each measuring 6 1/2" x 12 1/2"
2 strips 2 1/4" x width of fabric (42") for binding

Seams are 1/4" throughout.

1. Pair white/green half square triangles.  Sew together along diagonal, chain piecing the pairs for speed.  Press open to make 12 half square triangle  corner squares for 'O's.

2. Arrange white/green corner squares and all other squares to make HO HO HO.  Each letter is made up of 9 squares.  Sew together as a 9-patch block (3 rows of 3).  Join H blocks to O blocks to make three HO blocks.  Blocks should measure 6 1/2" x 12 ½".

3. Place each HO block onto batting.  Quilt as desired.

4.  Place backing and HO block right sides together.  Sew around the outer side and lower edges, leaving the top open.  Trim batting back to seam.  Clip corners.

5.  Turn through and press.  Zig zag or machine stitch along the top edge of the block, 1/8" from edge.

6. Join binding strips together along short edges.  Press seam open.  Finished length is down to preference.  I used a 60" strip.  Press strip in half along the length.  Open out.  Bring long edges in towards centre fold and press.  At each short end, fold raw edges in by 1/2", press.

Find the half-way point along the length of the binding and mark with a pin.  Place the HO that will be in the middle of the banner between the binding: the pin marking half way should be between the H and O.  Position each quilted HO within the binding.

Pin, clip or use temporary glue to hold in place, Clover Wonder Clips are perfect for this.

Repeat with other HO's either side with approx. 1" between and long binding ends at start/end.  Sew 1/8" from folded edge of binding all the way along sewing through all thicknesses.   Yay, finished!  Hang up and get ready to celebrate!

Sizzix are offering an early Christmas present to one lucky person (UK and EU residents) with a Big Shot machine and 4 patchwork dies up for grabs.  Go to the Sizzix competition page to enter and be in with a chance of winning, closing date Fri 29th Nov 2013.

You can revisit all the other steps of the blog hop at these lovely blogs:
18th Nov- Katy - I'm a Ginger Monkey
19th Nov- Hadley - Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle
20th Nov- Carolyn Forster
21st Nov- Angela Southey
22nd Nov- here!
sib blog

Tuesday 19 November 2013

November at Seamstar

It's time for this month's trip to Seamstar.  If you have signed up for Courtney's newsletter you will have seen some very appealing 'boy' fabrics.
This is 'My World' from Les Monsieurs collection by Michael Miller.  I haven't seen this range anywhere else, the designer behind it is called Tamara Kate and I love its style,colours and the space given for background and line.  There is a second print available,
Gorgeous isn't it?  I love spotting something new and original.   
The grey dots from Petite Street would be a good blender to go with these prints.
I mentioned felt last month and there is still time to get stitching the Make a Memory Advent Calendar that Courtney has written a free pattern for
As there is glue involved, this is an ideal project to make with young children.  I have advent stockings and Christmas decorations that I made for Lula when she was young, we added to them as she made her own decorations and now she loves getting them out and looking at what her toddler self made.
You can find all the supplies-felt, glue, etc- on one page so you can buy exactly what you need.  
Talking of Chrismtas makes, maybe you need to make a tree skirt (I do, my life is so rock and roll now I'm 43).  There are a limited number of Christmas bundles available, my favourite is the Hip Holiday stack.
and there is a co-ordinating Christmas Felt trim pack if adornment is your thing.  There are various free tree skirt patterns here made from felt, fabric, ties, scarves (some are really quite bizarre!) and some great quilted ones here.
The offer this month is that if you place an order in November, you will receive a voucher for 20% off on anything in December. 
sib blog