Saturday, 30 November 2013

Christmassy stuff :)

I'm nowhere near as prolific as others when it comes to making Christmas gifts but that might be because it took me 12 hours this week to make one advent calendar! One down (being collected in an hour) and one to go (giving to Jessica and her sisters tomorrow) ... Last minute Jen strikes again :)

These really are lovely to make, though there's a lot of fiddling about (and burnt fingertips!) ironing all the pockets. The panel is made by Makower and the instructions are very easy to follow. Just add batting, backing fabric and binding ... a mini quilt, really:

I used a gold thread to topstitch the pockets:

The back is a linen fabric I've had in my stash for ages - felt good to use it up and it matches:

And last night, I finished the top of my niece's Christmas Throw (thanks dear Lorna for the comment on what to call my 'thingy'!):

I am ready to start the next calendar:

I have some help today:

Linking up with Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts and Sarah @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict:

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

WIP Christmas Thingy ... :)

Not sure what to call my new WIP ... it's going to be a 50" x 50" (ish) table cloth / runner / mat /  lap quilt for dear niece. I bought the fabric a couple of weeks ago and it's adorable to sew with:

Decided on a star in a star (think it's called a Rising Star block?) I'm just making it as a one block design with all four fabrics as a starting centrepiece:

Well, at least I was until I put the first star pieces next to the centre and changed it to just the outside star two fabrics:

So far, this is 20" x 20" so the next star will be a bit bigger! Excited to see this coming together so quickly and can't wait to back it with the snowmen fabric! 

By Sunday, I have to make two more of these advent calendars ... yikes! And am still plodding away on my 'Quilt for a Soldier':

Dear Santa, I really have been a good person this year, please PLEASE can I have an extra day a week to make all of these Quilty things????

Linking up with the lovely Lee @ Freshly Pieced

Monday, 25 November 2013

Scrappy Sunday #4 ...

Due to posting yesterday about my fun day with Jessica, I didn't blog about my ongoing determination and desire to use up my scraps and I did make another four blocks! After making a pink, a purple and a blue block, my box of blues was overflowing:

So, this week two of the same colour blocks:

And I'm STILL not making a dent in my colourful cache of stash :(

That's 16 blocks so far - a little reminder of the other 12:

Stay with me ladies, I have a feeling this is going to be one heck of a long journey ...

... and I'm going to need your company :)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Special Saturday :)

I'm a very lucky lady! We've been Judi's friend for over 15 years, she introduced me and DH and we have shared many happy times over the years. She has three beautiful daughters and yesterday, Jessica (daughter #2) and I spent the day sewing. This day was part of Jess's birthday present, though a bit late as her birthday was actually in May! I've been busy, Jess, sorreeeeeeee :)

We were both very excited when Judi dropped her off at 1030 and couldn't wait to get started. I wouldn't say Jess is indecisive but her reply to most of my questions during the day was, 'I don't mind' - bless her! So, after discussing all the options on what we could make in a day, Jess went for a Christmas mat. And this is when I know why I love the blogging world because on Friday I had seen this post from Jo @ Jo's Country Junction. She had posted this cute Snowmen table runner:

Isn't it gorgeous? And, how generous, Jo has shared her pattern for free! Jess agreed this would be fun to make. Despite the tons little bit of stash in my sewing room, we just HAD to go shopping! There was an altruistic reason for this too - my LQS, Yarnia, was having a fundraising day for Project Linus and I wanted to go along and show my support. They were selling some beautiful quilts - well done, ladies! Some more indecision from Jess meant we came home with two background fabrics!

Once I had gone through some safety bits, I set her up practising sewing a 1/4" on some scraps. Quilting, as I explained, is creatively draining so the body needs extra sugar:

Look at her first ever sewing on a sewing machine - a perfect 1/4" seam - what a clever girl / what a great teacher! (thus was born our mantra for the day!) 

Snowman or snowgirl? We got a decision! Jess picked all the fabrics then drew the hat, arms, scarf and nose onto paper and traced them onto bondaweb. Here they are ready to be appliqued:

I couldn't tempt her to do the appliqué stitches but, after burying 78 knots on Friday, I was more than happy to let her do that bit! 

Ready for quilting, I set her up to make a label:

Every step of the way, I explained what we were doing and encouraged her to have a go ... she really is a bright girl and picked stuff up very quickly. When it came to hand sewing the binding down, she looked at me curiously and asked, 'Why don't you use the machine to do it?' I explained how you can do it on the machine but I like to hand sew but that it does take a bit of time so found her another project - making a cushion. 

Remember she's Miss Indecisive 2013? I had sewn 1/3 of the binding in the 20 minutes - yes 20 - she took to decide which charm squares to use and what arrangement she wanted them in! We did laugh - she couldn't believe it had taken her that long! We took a photo to remind her of the order as she was sewing:

And then she set about sewing them together. This was a bonus ... she was keeping busy whilst I cracked on with the binding. I helped pin but Jess sewed the whole cushion top together and, whilst I was sewing on the label, she was sewing the seams on the envelope backing and ... drum roll, please ... after 5 hours of sewing and laughing and creating a wonderful memory, we had made a Christmas Mat (15" x 15") AND a cushion! 

Jess called her mat, 'My very late Snowgirl' in remembrance of how long it had taken for us to get together - cheeky! 

Thank you, Jessica for a wonderful day :)

Friday, 22 November 2013

Finished quilt for charity :)

This evening, I finished my quilt for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support. Please read this post for the story. Did I really start this just 2 months ago? Looking back, this is what I wrote: 

I scare myself sometimes ... with my unfailing blind faith that I can look at a pile of fabric, think of an idea, draw a rough pattern (and I mean rough!) and start cutting and sewing with an absolute certainty it will all work out in the end. I really am the eternal optimist * sigh *

Well, my optimism paid off! From this 'original design':

I have to agree with many bloggers (other than our friends down under) that this is a terrible time of year to photograph quilts, so forgive me, these were taken in my loft / sewing room and the light wasn't great:

The front and back, this finished at 50" x 50":

I straight line quilted a 1/4" around the blocks (still rubbish at this!) and originally tried pebbles in the butterflies but that was a disaster! Unpicked and went for a squiggly free motion quilted thing with antennae. Thirteen butterfly blocks - six knots in each to bury = 78, which was about an hour's work:

Definitely the part of quilting I would happily forego ... perhaps I can teach DH! Now there's an idea :) 

And the label:

What's extra nice is that the fundraising event isn't until January so I've finished with time to spare. I hope it raises lots of money for this very worthy charity and that whoever wins it loves it :)

Linking up with Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday and Sarah @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict: 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

WIP - quilt for a soldier ...

After a lovely long weekend with family 'up North', I was itching to get started on a new quilt. Monday night saw me cutting this fabric:

Representing the colours from Help for Heroes:

For this pattern:

And tonight I've managed to sew together the first three rows:

Only nine to go! I'm making this for a soldier / member of the armed forces. I'm hoping to do this via Quilts of Valor. Reading some of the stories on their website is really moving ... thank goodness there are such brave men and women in the world, prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf - makes me feel very humbled.

I emailed the UK branch a couple of weeks ago and got an 'unknown email' message response so have emailed the USA branch and await their reply. In the meantime, I'll just carry on quilting :)

Linking up with Lee @ Freshly Pieced