Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Great weekend and more new projects!

We travelled to Yorkshire at the weekend to stay with dear friends - it was Penny who introduced me to patchwork & quilting in 2010. I am so thankful to her :)

In the absence of good weather (well it is only June!), Penny and I drove about an hour from hers to this great, and I mean GREAT, quilting shop in Cheadle Hulme -

Two floors of gorgeousness and some great 1/2 price fabric too! I bought a lot (we were there for 90 minutes!) and I could have bought SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooo much more :) here's a few new items for my stash:

Back at Penny's, she showed me how to make a quilted knitting bag and a simple tote bag. The totes will be great for the Church raffles and quick little gifts for girlies (I'll post a little tutorial soon). I made this while I was there:

and this for Mutter when I got home (from some scraps from her Xmas Quilt):

with lots of pockets for all her knitting paraphernalia:

Then, dear niece Hannah comes to visit and this afternoon chooses fabric for the 4 cushions she'd like me to make for her new sofa ... yes, F O U R!!!

So, my updated list of UFOs, WIPs and newbies includes:

1) Completing 'USA #5
2) Completing River's playmat
3) Making 4 cushions for Hannah
4) Making Tote Bags for lots of mates
5) Making a knitting bag for Aunty Monika
6) Making a lapquilt for cousin Marisa
7) Making a lapquilt for USA friend, Ginger

Just a few things to keep me busy :)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Auditions ... HELP!

I have nearly finished piecing the top of 'USA #5' but I need to decide on the corner and setting triangles. My dear niece Hannah bought me this cute book for my birthday:


which was very helpful in not only reminding me how to sash and construct each row but also told me the rough size of my triangles. I'm lucky that I have plenty of larger pieces of fabric still left to choose from and here are the 3 finalists):

Contestant number 1 is a plain brown and cream, rather understated fabric:

Contestant number 2 is an 'in your face', 'you won't miss me' rich autumn fruity little fabric:

Contestant number 3 is an orangey brown and cream sweet little butterflies and flowers (a close relative of #1, I think):

I'm leaning more towards #2 and #3 so put them next to each other, thinking one would jump out at me shouting, 'PICK ME!'

But it didn't! Decisions ... decisions ... not something I struggle with making usually - so I know I'm really not sure because I've been looking at it for 3 days and yet I still can't make up my mind which one to choose :(

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Super Sewing Saturday :)

I have had a good day. I made a start on 'USA #5' for cousin June and I've achieved alot. Admittedly, I actually started a few nights ago with researching patterns, drawing the design, then choosing which fabrics for the different blocks - I was lucky to have so much to choose from and I sewed the easy six x 9-patch blocks on Thursday night.

Here's a close-up of one of them (all 6 are slightly different but each of them have a repeat few squares to tie the different fabrics together):

Today I have paper pieced the remaining 4 blocks and struggled, but got there, with the last 3 'stars'. So, all 13 blocks are done ... yay!!

The hardest part about the paper-piecing was having to sellotape two bits of paper together so they'd make a big enough piece for my 11" block design. After that, thanks to previous practice I was confident to continue. I drew the square in a square by folding the paper in half lengthways and widthways to get the centre points and then repeating:

Using the window as my 'light box' to line up the next piece:
I love watching the way it comes together and the clean lines you get from paper-piecing make the extra work worthwhile:
Using a pin to keep the next piece straight:
So easy sewing on the line:
The first square in the square:
Using two pins as the pieces get bigger:
Nearly there:
Voila!! It really doesn't take any longer once you get going and with 1 done, the next 3 took even less time :)
Next, onto the 'stars' and this was tricky! Why? I'm not sure, I think it's because I'm going for an 11" finished block ... maybe, it would have been easier with a 12" finished block because I experimented with two different size rows and I was ending up with a finished 12.5" then 11.5" until I finally worked it out:

The hardest part was getting the 'flying geese' block to match up on its points and even after 3 attempts, it still wasn't right but the block was at last measuring 11" so I could go ahead and cut all the pieces:
I had to accept it wasn't going to be perfect. I'm still very pleased with this:
And here they all are waiting to be sashed and I've decided to set out the blocks 'on point' so I will need to work out (somehow!) the size of the side and corner triangles tomorrow. Very excited to see this one coming together:

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Handled 3 times in 3 hours!!

Not me, sadly ;( but this bundle of fabric loveliness which is going to be turned into a lapquilt (60" x 60") for my dear cousin, June ('USA #5' - the last of the series from great-Aunt Jenny's stash):

1) Hand washed:

Not a great looking sky but I'm optimistic the rain will stay away just long enough to get it all dried:

2) Dried:

3) Ironed and ready to pick from:

I love playing with my great-Aunt's fabric, especially when I come across a piece she cut from ... I wonder where this little square ended up?

and she had some lovely fabrics - I get to pick from some really big pieces and some scrappy ones too:

And now the exciting part begins: lots and lots to choose from but what's the best pattern to showcase these treasures???

What fun :)

Saturday, 9 June 2012

A perfect day for quilting :)

The weather was better this morning (i.e. no gales or torrential rain) but it was still cold so a perfect day to be sewing in the loft. I decided to create the Playmat for baby River Faith but wasn't sure on a pattern. I scoured the usual places (books, magazines, blogs) but was still undecided. I think I was struggling because of all the different colours, animals and shapes in the fabric:

So, if you take a close look at the drawing, I decided to make blocks with the 3 darker pinker fabrics shaped in the letter 'R' and use the rest to build around the 'R'. I was a bit worried about how the leg of the letter would turn out as it looked a lot 'thinner' in my drawing than the rest of the letter but decided to go with it anyway.

Fabric all cut and soooooo much quicker when I changed the blade on my rotary cutter!

I thought it would be easier to sew the squares into blocks of four (rather than single rows), so the first 3 blocks looked like this:

And so on:

Until all 60 squares (15 blocks) were sewn together:

I'm not sure now it's finished: the 'R' isn't as effective as I thought it would be. I'm going to add a border, maybe that will help. It looks like this in black and white:

You can make it out a bit better which I think means I have chosen the right shades of colour but ... oh, I'm not sure - I'll leave it for today. And I thought I was being really clever with this design, hmmm ... if you have any ideas on how I could make it stand out more (without unpicking and starting again!!), please please let me know:)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

I'm on a roll ...

I really do find that having a tidy space makes me want to create more - does it work that way for you too? So, tonight after work, I looked at my list and reckoned I could manage to sew another thing (or two) and started with a Pants Bag for my dear Aunty Lilian. I had been meaning to make her one for ages, then I thought I had (oh, you know how the mind plays tricks on you as you get older!), so I looked through my old photos, diary entries and blog but, no, I couldn't find any evidence of it so that was that.

Aunty Lil is a huge Everton fan and I am not - I am a huge Liverpool fan!! But, let's put that aside ... when choosing colours for her Pants Bag, it had to include some Everton blues so this is what I made for her:

 I'll pop it in the post tomorrow - I hope she likes it :)

And, very quickly (and I mean VERY quickly) I made this cute little Peg Bag for me:

Two more things off the list ... please please please let there be nice drying weather at the weekend so that I can wash all the fabric and make a start on 'USA #5' :)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A present for my lovely hubby ...

I did make Nick a Pants Bag ages ago but it was one of my early creations and I thought it was time for him to have an upgrade! I cut up some of his old shirts a while back so thought it would be good to incorporate them. I just went for a very simple design and a couple of hours later he has this:

And he loves it, which makes making things for the people you love all the more worthwhile, don't you think?

And one project off my list already :)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The cleaning fairy has been!!!

What a difference a few hours and a bit of organising can achieve. I had to do this today or I could not in all good conscience start any new projects (and I have plenty on my list!) I still have to hoover but a precious little puddy cat won't shift her bum so I won't disturb her any more today. You can see how exhausted she was by the whole clean-up process:

I do have a lot of stuff! I couldn't even get 2012's magazines in to this box and it's only JUNE!!

Much better (good old IKEA shelving) - I know it's still a  'busy' space but it's 'organised busy' so I know where everything is and what I have got:

Nice and tidy tables ... just begging to be sewn upon: 

And a clear ironing space: let me introduce you to Cuthbert - he's the funny looking little knitted teddy to the right of the iron. My dear Nen made him for me about 35 years ago - I think he was the prototype that didn't quite make it to the jumble sale and I said I'd look after him - I can't believe I've managed to hang on to him all these years :)

I love this vintage blanket airer - I bought it at an Antique Shop in Rye (a beautiful town on the Sussex coast) a couple of years back with my birthday money - it's fabby for hanging bigger pieces of ironed fabric on:

And these little baskets I got at the weekend at the garden centre - ideal for holding the fabric for new projects. The one at the back is full of fabric waiting to be turned into 'USA #5' but I need to wash it all first and the weather is foul so I will have to wait for some sunshine (I know ... don't hold my breath!)

 PROOF - I have been busy lately, I do clean this out regularly (honest!) but ... ugh!!

 And a little reminder of a few of the things I want to make:

What bliss - a tidy space is a tidy mind = lots of new quilting projects ... YAY!!!!!!!!