Friday, 31 August 2012

August's been a busy month!

I feel a bit of a fraudulent Slow Blogger this month, because I have actually not only done a fair amount of sewing, but also had time to blog stuff, too!  In fact, if I look over my archive, this post makes August the joint top month in number of posts!

However, there are two very good reasons for that - distraction and convalescence!  And I can assure you this mega-activity probably won't last once I'm back to work full time!

Finishes this month include:

  • Sew Stitchy and Cherry Christmas reversible sewing machine cover - see it here
  • Summersville Go Anywhere bag - that's here
  • Summersville wallet - that will be over here
  • Yet another Summersville bag - it's turning into a bit of an addiction, as this post shows - by the way doesn't the lining photo in that post remind you of a shark mouth...?
  • and lastly a project for someone that I can't show you yet as it is destined for big things, but which more than tested my sewing superpowers, but I did win out in the end!

WIP's are mainly my raw circle applique quilt, which is coming along really nicely.  Am loving the colours and enjoying hand quilting the free-style spirals (well, spiral-ish!).  I've given this a plain red backing and I'm thinking of binding it in orange magic beans, but that's yet to be decided.  And then there's my fabulous brown batik challenge that I need to get finished to show my friend Charlotte I can work with anything...

Photo bottom right courtesy of Canoe Ridge Creations

Plans in mind include something interesting to do with the Ruby Star Vinyl records, when I hopefully get some; making a start on my niece's third birthday quilt using the Sew Stitchy panel, some Heather Ross fabrics and whole load of other bits and pieces; joining in the Japanese Charm swap and working out my block and fabric requirements for my bee month in November - I want to do something similar to the block Megan showed on her blog although whether they'll turn out quite so gorgeous remains to be seen!

Lastly, a small matter of a paper pieced block to make before the next LMQG meeting on Sunday - for someone who professes to be a slow blogger, I don't half like leaving things to the last minute!

Linking up with Catherine at Knotted Cotton for the inaugural Slow Bloggers linky party & shamefully doubling up for Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing Day.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


I'm a bit cross with myself.....

I offered to make a project for someone using a panel of a certain new line.  I happily told the someone I needed only 1 panel....

well, it turns out if you want to fussy cut said panel to make my chosen project, you need a lot more than 1...

Never mind I thought, the panel is actually in 9 sections, if I cut it here, here and here I can restitch it back together in a way it'll work in a fussy cut kind of way.

So I cut into 3 sections one way, then found out the flippin' pattern isn't printed straight onto the grain, and so it can't be cut into the number of sections I first thought.  There's an inch difference from side to side.  How annoying is that?!

Bloody annoying, let me tell you.  So now I am off to research a new project I can use the cut fabric to make.


Monday, 27 August 2012

Making a start.....

Yesterday I got the back of my raw circles quilt basted, with a little help from Charlotte, so last night I made a start trying to work out how to quilt it.  

Firstly, I just hand quilted around the edge of the circles - as the edges don't necessarily meet perfectly however, as you can see on this picture, that didn't really work.  It doesn't stand out either, and if I've gone to all the effort of hand stitching, I at least want people to know I've done it!!! 

So then I thought I'd try a spiral effect, in perle - this was a fuschia colour.  I like how it worked on this block, but then when I did another one with different, lighter fabrics, it looked all wrong and overwhelmed the block.  Not something I ever thought would be a problem with this quilt!  I don't have enough different colours to use a different thread on each block, so that had to stop.

Having sought advice, it was decided spirals were the way to go, so I'm using a variegated normal quilting thread - it's reds, oranges, yellows and pinks and it works really well with the background colours, and gives the quilting effect without over-powering the fabrics.  So far I'm pleased.  I've done 3 blocks now (well, 6 if you count the 3 I un-did) so just 39 more to go.....

Friday, 24 August 2012

A Summersville addiction....

So I think it's time I sought treatment for my Summersville problem.....

Having first not been sure about it, and then having been converted at FQ Retreat, where I bought some fat quarters from Lucie, the lovely Summersville has been sitting on my stash shelf winking at me occasionally while I totally lacked inspiration as to what to do with it.  

At the last LMQG meeting at Tricolette last month, however, I saw it in large quantities and it clicked - bags!  I've already blogged the go anywhere beauty and fabulousness that is the red wallet, and before I went into hospital I had cut out the makings of this Noodlehead tutorial.  

I'd used Scandi in black for the outside and pocket, and the same pattern in orange for the lining, and I had some natural webbing for the strap.

It was a bit of a faff to make, with the grommets, and I certainly realised I should have been much more circumspect with the interfacing - it made the fitting of the grommets a right to-do!  And I discovered I needed to stitch the strap to the bag as well, because unless you make a slouchy (non-interfaced) version, it seems to be too heavy for the grommets to hold it right.

But it's a bit quirky, and I like quirky!  I really like the orange lining!

I think for now I might have made enough bags!

I'm currently washing a new red sheet that I bought to be the backing of the raw circles quilt, and judging by the pink foam amassing in the machine's porthole, pre-washing it was a very good plan!  All I have to decide now is whether to machine or hand quilt it....

I'm linking up with TGIFF on Crafty Shenanigans today.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Covet of the Week

I'm really taken with the colours and shapes in this fabric by Tula Pink.  It's Meteor Shower in Sunset from her Birds and the Bees range, and I can't wait to get some to play with.

Short and sweet today..... 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

WIP learning how to.....

So, I'm home alone today, the other half and the dogs have gone fishing for the day, and I decided I would get started on basting my raw circles quilt and working out how to quilt it.

As any regular readers will know I had surgery a week ago.... I'm supposed to be taking it easy.... I'm also a stubborn, independent and today unsupervised individual, who has just discovered the batting piece she had put aside for the raw circles is short in one corner by a 12 x 6" strip.....

Bother, I thought.... well actually it was another word beginning with B but am trying to keep this civil....

so today I am mostly learning a) how to be a good girl, ignore the screaming car keys and possibility of a short drive to my nearest LQS for a replacement piece of batting which will fit nicely and b) how to best join the batting - whether to add a small strip in the corner, or cut the piece down the middle and rejoin it with one piece turned through 90 degrees so it fits better.  

Anyone..... ??? 

Linking up with Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

I will survive......

Thanks to everyone for your messages, get well cards and even gifts of fabric to make sure I keep myself entertained and away from work whilst recovery goes on.  I'm happy to say that less than a week after the surgery, I'm off pain meds, well enough to take the dogs for a short walk yesterday and today have been to the pub for lunch.  I'm still taking it easy the rest of the time, but am hoping to go back to work for a few hours on Thursday - strictly desk duties only!  If only I felt fit to drive, I'd head off to meet the rest of the LMQG this evening who are lucky enough to be having dinner with Tula Pink!  However, as I said, less than a week..... 

Charlotte and Amy came to see me on Sunday so my other half could have a break from the onerous task of nursing me (?!?).  We didn't even pretend we were going to do any sewing, and just sat around stroking the dogs and gossiping!  Amy made us some lovely leek and potato soup - with 'homemade potatoes'.  And a fantastic lemon cake, which was delicious.  

Charlotte brought me gifts picked up from the Festival of Quilts - a glorious brown batik, my love for which is well known (not!) with the challenge to make something beautiful from it, and a more lovely gift of tape measures and spotty fabrics.  I can't wait till the other half actually puts the ironing board up for me, like I've been asking for 2 days, so I can get on with some sewing.  I have an idea of what to do with that batik......

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Great minds....

Isn't it funny how some patterns or tutorials just seem to capture the quilting community's imagination and suddenly versions are popping up everywhere?  Look at Anna's fantastic bag patterns over at Noodlehead - who hasn't tried a 241 yet?

I guess it's only natural that following on from the handbag theme would be purses and wallets - I've spent most of the summer in awe of the amazing frame purses springing up everywhere after the FQ Retreat in June.  I never plucked up the courage to try one of those, maybe one day.

However, wallets seem to be the next thing, and I very happily jumped on the bandwagon over the weekend with this tutorial from Confessions of a Fabricaholic.  I'd seen the one made by Charlotte not only on her blog but actually in the flesh as it were at our LMQG meet.  I decided it was just the thing to use some of my Summersville for, and I like a nice bright wallet.  

Charlotte's advice was to 'interface the heck out of it' and so I took her at her word and interfaced nearly every pattern piece!  I'd got some of the really stiff Pellon interfacing to use on the outside to give it some support, but I also wanted to use fusible fleece to give it a bit of a soft feel.  So I used both.... hmmm, I like the finished effect, but it meant some adaptation of the tutorial was necessary!  When I sewed around the outside and turned it through, it bowed!  Nothing was going to make it lie flat that way, so I undid it, sewed it wrong sides together and bound it instead.  It's given me a slightly bigger wallet, which I can also slip my mobile phone into when I nip into to the supermarket, almost like a mini clutch.  

This project was also my first attempt at a zip, and I'm not sure I got it entirely right, but for a first go, I'm pretty pleased!

All in all, this has already gone into daily use, and I love it.  I was going to have a got at making a folding wallet for the OH from another pattern by Angharad but I can only find images in flowery girly fabrics, not the rugged denim I was going to use for him, and so he's not keen!  No imagination, that one!

Anyway, it's a big day for me today as I go under the knife myself.  So I may be absent for a little while, depending how things go.  See you all soon.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Oh we do like to be beside the Seafoam.....

Last weekend I was very lucky to be able to pick up some lovely Summersville yardage in a closing down sale.  Very sadly, Tricolette in St John's Wood is closing it's doors, but they generously offered members of the LMQG a final discount as thanks for our support (we've been holding our monthly meetings there, and needless to say, money is spent each time!).

thank goodness for sunshine!
I decided the seafoam Weave and Street were perfect for a little bag project, and so last night I launched into a Go Anywhere bag, another pattern by Anna at Noodle-head.

I have to say, I didn't find this pattern as easy as the 241 tote, which I loved making.  However, having been in two minds last night, this morning, photographing it in the sun, I love it!  

(I quite love having the chance to get a bit artistic in the garden too!  nice to be able to walk across the grass to this tree without needing wellies!)

There were a couple of things that I did wrong, where I felt a little bit of warning in the pattern would have been useful.  Maybe we should be able to automatically realise when putting the lining over the exterior to sew them both together that we should make sure the inner pocket is at the back, or that when inserting the handles as well as making sure we don't twist them, we should also make sure the seam is on the inside...  however, I have proved that kind of thing is not necessarily intuitive to those of us relatively new to sewing, especially when there's so many other things to be concentrating on.  

I've managed to work it to my advantage though - initially I didn't top stitch the handles down the middle - having lined them with fusible fleece I wanted to keep some of the squidginess and thought this stitching might spoil that.  Having tried unpicking the topstitching (yes it was finished before I realised what I'd done wrong!!) I decided those handles really needed topstitching down the middle after all.... as it neatly hid the visible seam!  As for that pesky inner pocket?  Well, I don't know about you, but I think it's easier to have the pocket at the front so when you hold the bag open to rummage inside, it's more easily available.  Brilliant, eh?!  

I also did the front 'baggy' pocket slightly differently, and just stitched it once down the centre, rather than the two angled sewing lines, as I thought this way the pocket would sit more neatly.  And all in all, I think it turned out OK.  I would say next time I'll get it right, but I'm not sure I need another Go Anywhere for now.....

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Coming along nicely...

My raw edge circles quilt is gradually getting there.... The quilt top is all sewn together and now I just need to work on what backing to use and how to quilt it.  

It's not good enough weather here today for photos outside, so here's the quilt top artfully draped over one of the sofas!  It's such lovely colours, I can't wait till it's finished, and I think it'll be a great splash of cheerful warmth through the winter.

I'm considering plain red with a small section of red magic beans on the back.  There's quite a bit of my beloved pezzy and some teal magic beans on the front, so I think it would be a shame if the back were completely plain.  I'm thinking this multi-coloured Aurifil thread in Laura's giveaway over on Needles, Pins and Baking Tins today would be just the thread to quilt this.

I've also got quite a list of other WIP's at the moment - two bee blocks for Plan Bee 2012, a maison de garance quilt for the in-laws for Christmas, and I want to try and make a start on my niece's birthday quilt too.  

I'm linking up with Lee over on Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A little charm goes a long way....

Yesterday I was in need of distraction thanks to some unnecessary and unwarranted stress following my pre-op assessment at the hospital.  So I had a bit of a tidy up in the sewing room.  I always find that so soothing, although it never stays tidy long - I'm such a messy worker!

Anyway, amongst the piles of fabric to be sorted and returned to their rightful places was a Sew Stitchy charm pack.  This is Aneela Hoey's new line, and I was lucky enough to have been given some bits of the fabric for my birthday from which I fashioned a sewing kit and so I thought what better use for the charm pack than a sewing machine cover.

My Janome has a very utilitarian white plastic cover, and I thought a pretty colourful quilted number would be just the ticket.

I took the easy route, I admit, and made a very simple patchwork design out of 28 of the squares - choosing which 28 was the hardest part!

(As you can see from the pictures, I have another soothing evening ahead of me as I clean up yet again...)

The colours of this line work so well together, and as the designs are all pretty much multi-directional, anything goes.

I used simple white twill ribbon for the ties, as I love it when the fabric comes tied up in bundles with that ribbon, and it seemed to be a good extension of the Stitchy theme. 

However, once I'd whipped up the front, I got a bit stuck with the lining.  Should I go Aneela a-go-go and line it with girl on a tree swing, or use some fantastic Tula Pink fabric I recently found skulking away in a rather odd fabric shop, or go totally bland and line it with Moda white.....  I pondered this for several minutes while staring into space.... then I drank a coffee and ate almost a whole packet of fig rolls....  then I had a mini-row with the hospital (possibly not a good move, am now hoping I won't end up with anaesthetist's equivalent of waitresses spitting in your food... I'm kidding!  We don't do that.... really, we don't) then I went back to staring..... and then I realised what I was staring at....  

Now, admit it, who doesn't do the biggest amount of sewing at Christmas? All those last minute gifts, and seasonal decorations?  So what could be a better lining than a Cherry Christmas scrappy affair?  My little spaniel helped me pick the fabric and sort the layout - she kind of lay on bits of it which meant no more changes to that bit!  I had to add a white border too as the scraps I had didn't quite match the Sew Stitchy front.

I quilted it all really simply, using the Sew Stitchy side, I quilted in the ditch around the charm squares and then did a further two lines either side of that row.  I like the way it shows through on the scrappy side too. 

And it might well be true that a bad workman blames his tools, but let me tell you when a bad workwoman gets the right tools, all kinds of miracles are possible.  Look at this beautiful unpuckered quilting,all thanks to my lovely friend Kelly and the walking foot she very generously gave me on Sunday.

And I think that turquoise hexy fabric is my favourite from the whole line.  oh, with the exception of the panel... You have heard about the panel, haven't you?

Monday, 6 August 2012

Learn to embroider with Aneela Hoey

At the Fat Quarterly Retreat in June, I was lucky enough to get a place on Aneela Hoey's embroidery class, and a great time was had by all there!  So, after much deliberation,  Aneela has decided to run another class, scheduled for 15th September.

The details are up on her blog, along with the opportunity to book one of the 10 spaces on a first come first served basis.

The class fee includes a signed copy of her fab new book (I've had a sneaky peak, and trust me, it is FANTASTIC) along with a proper lovely catered lunch and the best chocolate brownies in the universe.

Of course, the best bit is probably the 5 hours or so of one-to-one attention and guidance from an embroidery whizz, and the chance to learn new skills and stitches.

So, please hurry on over to Aneela's blog now and book your place.

Look forward to seeing you there......