Tuesday, 27 March 2012

But not too ill to shop :)
Well, online anyhow. Still not well - day 6 - Doctor says I have a virus (nice!) and it will last 7-10 days so I'm just waiting it out.
STILL not sewing ... I must be ill! But I have made a start on putting together some fabrics for a baby girl's playmat. Love my eBay sellers, they get stuff out to you almost immediately and this is what arrived today:

I hope I feel well enough tomorrow to play with all of my lovely fabric :)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Too ill to sew :(

Isn't it horrid when you are ill, you don't want to leave your bed and you can't climb the loft ladder and sit in your lovely sewing room and sew all day ... even though you really want to? I am sooooooooo unwell - it's only gastronenteritis (I know I will recover soon) but it's been 3 days now and I could have done so much sewing on my latest WIPs ('USA #4', an Ireland trip themed quilt, a christening quilt, my sister's V-shaped cushion cover ... the list goes on!!!) Fingers crossed, tomorrow will bring some recovery.

'USA #3' arrived safely in Towson, MD on Friday and my dear cousin Facebooked a great photo of her holding it up. She is so cute. And she has an amazing group of friends who follow her so her post got 40 likes and 15 comments ... yay I'm a little bit famous - well, in Maryland anyway!!

I love that we all "rescued" her grandma's fabric (which is over 20 years old) and I feel honoured to be turning it into quilts for my five cousins. So far, that's one daughter and two grand-daughters who have received their quilts and now I have two daughters-in-law to make for.

I started 'USA #4' at the beginning of the week. It is getting trickier (because of my self-imposed rule of only using my Great-Aunt's fabric to make these quilts) to decide on a pattern and pick the fabrics that will then 'stretch' to that design and I may have to improvise (again) as the blocks get made because I don't think there's quite enough of this background fabric to make the whole quilt as per the pattern (I had to choose it as it was the largest piece of 'light' fabric in the stash and it's pretty).

I was curious about the label - Montgomery Ward - so I Googled it and found it to have quite a history. It led me to conclude (I may be wrong) that my Great-Aunt probably ordered some of her fabric from them. I bet she would have loved internet shopping!!

Here it is:

The pattern I am using is called 'Super Stars' which I found in one of my quilting books, Fresh Fabric Treats. The talented designer (Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts) has a great post showing off her quilts and the fact you can nicely blend together a lot of different fabrics is what drew me to her pattern.

These are the complimenting fabrics I have chosen - I picked 4 different pinks, blues and greens to match the little flowers:

and here is one of the blocks:

Only 8 more blocks to make (plus sashing and a border) so we'll have to see how it will all end up if (when?) I run out of the background fabric. I love it when I don't know if a plan is actually going to come together ... don't you??

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Thankful Tuesday - isn't it nice to be appreciated?

It is so wonderful to be a quilter and a blogger! Firstly, I get to play with fabric and create pretty things - two years ago, I could barely sew a button on a shirt - then I get to blog about what I make (still getting to grips with that!) and, finally, people say thank you and other kind stuff.

I got a lovely email from my friend's Dad after he received the Pants Bag I made for him. He wrote:

Firstly thank you so very much for the lovely bag (for pants I am told). I think it is absolutely fab and so professional looking and I love the little tag you have put on the inside. Thank you! (then he wrote about the apartment which he'll be renting in Spain) ... Once again thanks ever so much for my lovely present.

Then, I was thrilled yesterday to read a comment on this post - my first ever comment - from Carla (at Bubble my Licorice, what a cute blog name) - she wrote: amazing post! your blog is lovely! - How sweet is she? :)

And to top it all off, my dear cousin left me a comment on this post!

Thanks for the thanks, everyone. Just what I needed as I am still feeling sooooooooo sad about my Dad ;(

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Tired teddy ...

It's a Saturday and so I should have been feeling refreshed and raring to create ... but I didn't. This probably had something to do with staying up until 0130 this morning watching a film I had seen before -

- so why oh why did I stay up WAY past my bedtime to watch it?? And, because my eyes are used to opening at 0600 every day, that's what they did this morning ... despite having only been closed for 4 ½ hours ... that'll learn me!!

So, I decided not to attempt anything difficult. Hoping I'll be 'awake' enough tomorrow to have a go at Trish Preston's cute bag. But I did make something new! I saw this post for this handy sewing machine 'accessory mat' ages ago but have just not got around to making it. TODAY was the day!

Isn't it lovely?

And thanks to this You Tube upload from Connecting Threads, I've finally made something with 'properly finished binding'.

Oh, and of course, SHE had to join me ... that's my Dad's Quilt she's got her bottom on, the little madam:

And a dear friend came around to say 'hi' with some lovely daffodils (they weren't really for your Mum for Mother's Day, hey?!) so not a bad day after all ;)

Monday, 12 March 2012

Something new to try ...

Now I have got to grips with making my 'Pants Bags', I'd really like to make a tote bag but I have never yet found an 'easy enough for me to follow without messing up or pulling out my hair ' pattern (and I have purchased a few!) but, inspired by this post by Quilt Dad, I have now purchased (for the bargain price of $20 - don't you just love PayPal?!) a training video and written instructions for this cute bag:

I watched the videos yesterday and I'm thinking even I can make this! The clever lady behind the idea is Trish Preston (Two Peas in a Pod). I really like her easy to follow teaching style so I'll let you know how I get on - be prepared to see lots of 'Tie Front Tote' posts if I'm successful ;)

Third finished quilt of 2012 ... yay!

Here is 'USA #3' - the third of 5 lapquilts I'm making for my American cousins with this fabric. I've said it before, I know, but I am really enjoying making these quilts (this one is about 60" x 60") although it's a bit tricky as I have set myself the rule that I will only use my great-aunt's fabric i.e. I am not allowed to add from my stash ... at all!

So I finished basting (good old 505 spray!) and quilting it yesterday afternoon and then sat down to my favourite bit - the binding - in front of last night's TV:

And a close up:
Oh, and there's no show without Punch!

Here's the back - not quite enough bigger blue fabric left over to make without adding a repeat row of blocks like the front but I like the effect:

And the front:
It's just big enough for my cousin to 'cwtch up' under with her beautiful babies. Be in the post and with you soon, Emmy x

Saturday, 10 March 2012


Yes - 2 more Pants Bags made today!!

To be fair, my dear friend who came to play today as a birthday treat could have chosen a cushion for us to make but decided on a Pants Bag and the Elvis one, I started yesterday for hubby's best mate, Mark.

Firstly, Judi chose a pattern - simple 9 patch - then the fabrics:

Then, I introduced her to the rotary cutter and before we knew it, away she was chain stitching with a perfect 1/4" seam - and NO UNPICKING ... amazing, such a natural:

We weren't sure whether to add a top border or not so had a break for lunch. Had a play about with different options and definitely reached a good decision:

And, voila: after a few hours work, we have the finished article. Happy birthday, Judi:

Whilst this was going on, I finished up this litle cutie for Mark:

All in all a fabby day, great company - lots of laughs (thanks Jude, even if most of the laughing was at my expense!! xx) and I put a smile on the faces of two of my favourite people ;)

Another Pants Bag! This time for a 'grown man' ...

My friend's Dad is the 'Barbecue King' and when I first started making Pants Bag, I bought some suitable fabric thinking I'd make him a Pants Bag but it never happened. Well, he's thinking of moving to Spain but will be travelling back to the UK every month so that was all the push I needed:

and a close up:

and inside:

I really love making 'themed' gifts, it makes them more meaningful, I think. Hope he likes it ;)

Saturday, 3 March 2012

A couple of Pants Bags

I really have enjoyed my sewing the last few days - although I still have to baste USA #3 quilt, it's been fun knocking up a couple of Pants Bags for my friend Peta and her Mum. When they came to stay last month, they kind of chose their own fabrics but I have chopped and changed a little (quilter's prerogative) as the fabric didn't work as well with the shapes (blocks) I designed. They don't take up a lot of time and are a bit of 'instant gratification' for me. I finished Peta's first:

and I like the extra pattern the sides make when you look at them:

Then, because I really liked the paper piecing (despite the extra time it takes), I decided to do it again for her Mum's bag. I love the way patchwork takes you from this - a few bits of material and a piece of paper:

to this:

This was the end result:

and the back. I like changing it up a little bit so the two sides don't exactly match:


Each Pants Bag uses about 1/2 yard fabric plus the equivalent in lining (which for these two was some pretty floral polycotton I picked up at Leeds market last year - I only use 100% cotton in my quilts and creations but polycotton is ideal (and more economical) for use as lining) and about a yard of ribbon or cord. The cost of materials, ribbon, thread, etc, probably adds up to about £10-£12? Once I've decided on the pattern and chosen the fabric, it usually takes me about 3 hours to make ... I don't rush and I press every seam as I go along.

I love them - I hope my friends do too and the next time they come to visit (which will be soon, hopefully), they can pack their pants in a pretty Pants Bag!