Friday 30 November 2012

Sew Many Plans - December 2012

I wasn't sure I'd get through my November plans given the busy month that we've had as a family, but happily everything has been checked off the list.  Not bad going!

Given that the new month is December this post might more appropriately be called Not Sew Many Plans.  Last year was a bit of a sweat shop just prior to Christmas and I don't want to repeat that madness, so my plans are a little more realistic this year.

Bee Blessed - there might be a little bit of Bee sewing achieved amid the mulled punch and mince pies!

Christmas gifts - I wasn't planning on much gift making this year but I do have a cushion for my MIL in mind and I'd like to rustle up a wee pencil case and wash bag for my lovely son, too, if I can manage. (Why is it so hard to buy a washbag for a boy?  Aren't we supposed to encourage them to wash? - just a wee Christmas shopping gripe.)

Ssh it's a secret - I have two little secret related gifts in the planning but my lips have to be sealed for now.

Hexagon Quilt - I'm thinking deep long winter nights and wee hexies might just be the wee change in pace I need once I take care of my machine sewing commitments for the month.

In the next month of busy festive preparations, I hope you can all manage a little stitching time and finish all the plans you have to bring smiles to the faces of those you love.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

4 x 4 x 4

In a wee box in the corner of my sewing room is a collection of blocks for the recycled shirts quilt I'm making in slow time.  As part of my plans for November I had hoped to make a few more blocks and at the weekend I did.

Four 4 x 4 blocks were stitched up and added to the pile.  Those little blighters have quite a bit of shift going on in them - differing fabrics and some cut on the bias as per the original shirts are giving me a run for my money on what should be easy peasies.  Undeterred, I've added them to the box and will just have to put my faith in my trimming abilities when all the blocks are made up.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Oh Oh

These two Ohs (Os) are actually hugs.  They are the hug blocks to be mixed into our Bee Blessed Great Big Kisses quilt as inspired by a clever Bee Buddy.

The fact that there are two blocks is accidental. In following the tutorial I somehow ended up with 16 HSTs instead of the required 8 so it seemed sensible to add a few more full squares to use up the spare HSTs for another block.

Friday 23 November 2012

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

'Comfort and Joy' is what I'm calling my newly finished Christmas charm quilt.  Seasonally appropriate, fabric referencing and indicative of what I receive from the quilt and the process of making it.

Aaah (satisfied sigh)!

Close up - just 'cos I love the binding.

All ready in plenty of time for snuggling under while watching Christmas movies and sipping mulled wine - Muppets Christmas Carol anyone?

Thursday 22 November 2012

If I were nice ...

... I might tell you that Lynne at Lily's Quilts is having a massive 21fq bundle giveaway of delish fabrics.

Photo "borrowed" from Lynne's post

But I'm not feeling so nice today, so I won't tell you that.


Wednesday 21 November 2012

Baby Quilt Finish

At the weekend I managed to complete the binding on the small wonky crosses quilt to bring it to a finish.  (Yay!)

This quilt was fun to make and to quilt.  The blocks aren't very complicated and don't take hours to piece but look very effective, I think.  Wouldn't these look lovely in Christmas fabrics - like lots of little parcels awaiting opening?

When I first posted this quilt I mentioned that I wanted to try some new (to me) quilting on this one.  My choice was to quilt straight lines edge to edge, randomly angled and intersecting across the quilt top.  I enjoyed this technique and think it worked well alongside the angles of the wonky crosses themselves.  There were more quilting lines than I expected to stitch somehow, and it would have been easy to keep going, adding more and more lines to try to fill in the unquilted areas.  At some point I had to decide that there were enough lines to hold everything together without over condensing the quilting in a particular area.  It looks okay, I think and I probably will try this again on other small quilts.

This one will hopefully be a blessing to a mum and baby via Bee Blessed donations.

Monday 19 November 2012

Christmas Joy

A little while back I received a beautiful charm pack of Kate Spain's Joy fabrics and another of Moda Bella white charms as a gift from a special friend.  These fabrics are just so sweet - red, green and duck egg hues with fairy lights, Chritsmas trees, snowflakes, snowflurries and teeny weeny doves.  What's not to love?

I have always wanted to make myself a Christmas quilt but never quite got around to devoting the fabrics or the time to one.  Well, with two charm packs very handily at my disposal I now have every excuse to indulge in a little festive quilt-making!

I hated the idea of chopping up these charms and reducing the effects of the fun, bright designs so I left them alone, alternated them with the white charms and pieced together this crisp loveliness -

When I came to quilting it, I opted for simple outlining on each side of the seams

and now that lovely piece of zigzag Joy fabric

that arrived at the end of last week is just waiting to become the binding on my wee Christmas quilt.  I can't wait to get it cut and stitched on so I can show it off to you all.

Aren't pressies from good friends great?!

Sunday 18 November 2012

Christmas Wallhanging Sneaky Peek

One of my plans for November was to create a festive replacement for my Welcome Wallhanging ready for displaying next month.

The thing is that the plan in my head is totally not what's going on here.

Somewhere between drawing little sketches of snowmen and Christmas trees and cutting out bondawebbed fabric letters, the design became something altogether different.  While I still think the snowmen and trees would have worked a treat, this year I really need to remember that what Christmas is celebrating is actually beyond amazing.  Immanuel - God with us, then in flesh and now in spirit.  It is beyond my abilities to describe how humble this makes me feel.

I hope you won't feel that this is preachy in any sense.  In fact, it's very personal.  Life is good, but it's tough (as I know it is for many of you too) and, of late, very confusing and over and over again in the past few weeks I have felt the need to remember that no matter how it feels, we are not alone, there is always Immanuel.

I had another wee go at sketching applique for this wallhanging.  It's a bit dodgy in more than a few places but I think I'll get away with it.  I indulged in a smidgin of satisfyingly simple hand stitching for the 'Immanuel' and I even tried out one of my sewing machine's decorative stitches as the edging of the hanging and the tabs. The design is obviously very simple but it was fun mixing these elements to create just what I wanted.

Apologies to those of you who had to steady yourselves at the sight of my fabrics with the gold, but I'm a traditional Christmas colours girl and I like a wee bit of sparkle too - gasp. A bit of bright, festive red and cream and gold and sometimes a wee bit of green too just seems to speak warm and cosy Christmassy-ness.

So, I'm safely checking the festive wallhanging off my November list.  What about you, are you adding any new homemade decorations to your home this year?

Saturday 17 November 2012

Love -1, Christmas Shopping - NIL

The first score in this post is my finished applique cushion which I am very proud to present to you -

Last night was the final night of this class project and there were finishes galore. Check them out on Judith's class round-up post.  I am so chuffed with this wee cushion which I am keeping ALL FOR MYSELF!  If there's not too much sewing going on around here for a day or two, you'll know it's because I can't tear myself away from stroking it!

Moving on, Hubby and I had a day off work today and we set out to make a wee relaxed start on Christmas shopping and enjoy a peaceful lunch.  You don't want to know how the shopping went, but let's just say I don't feel so relaxed now that we came home with only one small uninspiring bag to show for our efforts.  VERY bad score on the Christmas shopping front!

We had a little detour when Hubby had to take a conference call with a client mid-morning.  Instead of sitting in the car listening to one side of a business conference call for an hour, I took myself off on a wee jaunt around Ikea which we happened to be just beside at the time.  Look what I scored (pun totally intended):

Biro pen deliberately on left of pic to show you the scale of the print.

It's another one of those Ikea fabrics that we seem to be split over.  Some of us like to use them, some of us don't.  I like them for some things.  Yes, they are very lightweight and I wouldn't necessarily use it on an heirloom quilt but they are fun and quirky and very suitable for some projects.  This one I just bought because I was at a loose end waiting for the conference call to finish, but I'm sure I'll find a use for it before too long.  For those who are interested this is a 58" wide print on cotton.  It's a very lightweight cotton (similar to the scripted numbers print or the houses print if you are familiar with that) and today it was £4/m.

And finally, although I came home with a meagre and disappointing Christmas shopping 'haul', there was this little lovely waiting for me courtesy of Mr Postie -

Festive score!  I have a plan for this very soon - keep watching.

Have a fun weekend, folks!

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Crazy Days

Been gathering up a few more Crazy Scrappy blocks by the way of my other sewing. I like the rich jewel tones of these ones in pink, aqua and purple.

I am beginning to feel that navy solid might be a great way to offset these blocks when I eventually have enough collected up.

A few crazy 5" crumbs are being added to my wee pile too -

Happy scraps!

Monday 12 November 2012

Struggling with the simple

I finally finished up those baby boy taggy/feely thingies that I've been struggling with.

It's such a strange thing really that I've taken so long to sort these out.  There's nothing complicated about them at all, I just couldn't find the love for making them and allowed that to put me off picking them up to finish them off.

It seemed a shame to leave them incomplete much longer so I took them all with me to one of my poolside vigils and sewed in all those loose ends - there were over 100!

Here's the weird thing - I spend five and a half hours a week at various poolside sessions and hardly anyone ever speaks to me (seriously).  But the day I sat sewing the ends in these taggies I had mums and dads comment on what I was doing, people actually got up and walked across the aisles to come and have a look and ask questions!  I just hope that's a sign that someone will want to buy some when they go to the craft sale!

Saturday 10 November 2012

Two Tops Progress

My fun wonky cross blocks are now all stitched up and ready to be pieced into a little quilt top.

I have an idea for quilting this in a way I haven't tried before and can't wait to get it all basted and make a start.  Loving the colours and my departure from having white/cream solids in one of my quilts.

The green and grey wonky blocks that Judith and I were working on for a Bee Blessed quilt are now all sashed and bordered and looking very cool -

This quilt top is now ready for someone else in the group to work some magic on!

Friday 9 November 2012

Applique Cushion Progress

I showed you last week the start of my applique cushion with the mitred corners that I have been making at the In Stitches classes.  Last night it was time to get down to the nitty gritty and put my satin stitch practice to use on those LOVE letters.

Not so shabby eh?  A wee bit wobbly in those inner circles of the 'o' and 'e' but not bad for someone so inexperienced in this technique.

Today I finished the wee hearts and flowers and added buttons for a bit of interest.  Although I wish I had had bigger buttons for those flowers, I'm pleased with the overall effect and am really excited that next week should now see the cushion finished and ready to take up residence in my little "girly" corner of the house!

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Bee with a Brain

Do you all know Catherine?  Well, she set us the LynneBobSquarePants block as her Queen Bee month for hipBees this month.

Now, here's what I learned about Catherine while making this block - she is one clever, clever Bee.  Wanting a LynneBobSquarePants quilt, Catherine entrapped 11 other mugs delegated to 11 other Bee members this 12.5" block that is made from 36 squares which include 32 HSTs!!!  Clever, crafty, no flies on her!!!

All of these babies were in one 12.5" block!

With so many HSTs this block felt like immersion therapy for me, and I'm not entirely sure it's worked.  I was very anxious to get this one right for Catherine, but in spite of resewing several of the seams I have missed a few points here and there - I hope she won't mind too much.

Catherine has opted for two different solid backgrounds (purple and charcoal) for her blocks which really allow her other fabrics to take the standing ovation.  I love their bright zing against these deep solids. Blocks are popping up on the flickr group if you fancy a peek.

Hope you end up with a fabulous quilt Catherine!

Sunday 4 November 2012

Festive Finish

In spite of my great plans to tackle some of the bigger projects on my Sew Many Plans list this weekend, I flagged dramatically after a hectic week and busy Saturday with family commitments.

Before I collapsed on the sofa, however, I did manage to I stitch together the constituent parts of the Christmas stocking I started last month.  I have long wanted to try this harlequin layout for a stocking.  It's a good job I have added personalised embroidery to the cuff or I'd be tempted to hang this one out for Santa myself!

Anyway, it may not be the tick off the list I was expecting this weekend, but it's still a tick.

Happy Monday for tomorrow folks!
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