Friday 27 March 2015

More linen lovelies

Last weekend, working my way down the list of makes before losing my sewing room, I thought I'd make myself a couple of zippy pouches to help me when I need to re-store sewing items that usually sit on my sewing table top.

I sifted out some of my small Bonnie and Camille scraps and chose some Essex Linen in Grey and some of that gorgeous damask style linen that I used previously.  I also thought that I'd make up a wee frame purse for a late spring birthday present while I had the linen and pretty scraps out on the table.

The large grey zippy is big enough to re-home my scissors and rotary cutters when the time comes to pack them safely into a box.  I tried a wee bit of wavy piecing on that pouch just because.

The small linen zippy pouch will be a new pencil case and is quite simply just a little indulgent because I have been wanting to make myself something from those narrow little linen offcuts that I have.

As you can see, I had mixed results with my zip tab ends.  Above on the pencil case they are pretty much perfect, but below you can see that I managed to lose one almost completely on the scissor pouch.  I really don't know what I did wrong, but I'm not too worried as it's not for a gift, just for me.

I think this frame purse is the prettiest of the three and I'm happy that is the case because it will become a birthday pressie in a number of weeks.  I especially wanted to share the linen with the recipient because it really is beautiful.  It needs a wee treat or two inside before passing on, and in the meantime I will just look at it and sigh until it's time to wrap it up for delivery.

Making little pouches that come together quickly can be very satisfying indeed!

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Baby Basket Liners

On my list of things to make before the time comes to vacate my sewing room are new basket liners for a very basic little wicker basket which I thought would come in handy for baby changing supplies (nappies and the like).  Not knowing whether I will need boy or girl items, I am choosing to make only a very few, small baby items pre-arrival - ones that don't take forever or use millions of supplies so that making two options is affordable in terms of bothtime and fabric.

I didn't really know what I was doing making basket liners to be honest.  I took the original calico liner and tried to take some measurements of the full piece, the darts, the foldover etc, but it was much harder than that sounds.  Probably because the original was an el cheapo and not terribly well made.

I had a go anyway and although my darts aren't quite right and some fudging was required to fit the final seam on the base of each of the liners, nobody is really ever going to know (except all of you, of course).

So here's my baby boy changing supplies basket,

and here's the girl one.

Job done and two ticks off my list - yay!

Sunday 22 March 2015

My Sidekick

Each time I meet up with my lovely friend Di, she seems to have yet another gorgeous handmade bag with her.  It's her thing really.  In the nicest possible way, she's definitely a bag lady!  Last summer I was fortunate enough to meet up with Di once in Belfast (fleeting cuppa before she attended a family wedding) and once for a much more relaxed day in York during my summer hols.  On both occasions I had bag envy and if I have my way, I shall be sporting my own versions of both before this summer.

While Di and I talked a million miles an hour to cram copious conversation and catch-up into an hour long slot pre-wedding, I spotted that she had brought with her a pretty little Sidekick Tote.  It was the first time I'd seen one "in the flesh" and I loved everything about its shape and size.  Soon after I bought my own copy of Anna's popular pattern determined to make one for myself in the autumn.

Well, if you are a regular reader you'll know that last autumn had a significant family upset and a lot of stitching was shelved for quite a few months or new priorities took over.  But, I'm thrilled that at last I have been able to get my bag making groove back on and give Anna's pattern a whirl.

Having decided which fabric would belong where and cutting out the pieces accordingly, I got to work on the pleated pocket front.  To start with it was nice and easy and this neat little pleat made me smile.

Then with some bias edging things suddenly got a lot trickier, but I pinned for my life and it worked out ok.

Of course, the perfectionist in me wanted some of it to be tidier, but seriously unless you are hunting for missing pound coins at short range in my bag, you are never going to notice (and neither am I once I start using it).  BTW - you won't find any missing pound coins, someone else will always have snaffled them first!!!

By the time I had the pocket attached to the front of the bag, I was well chuffed!  For the record, this bag is made from a lovely linen type fabric that I picked up last spring visiting Newark Market with Di (we get about a bit for people who live far apart, don't we?).  It's almost dec weight I think, but not quite so it has a nice bit of extra body to it for a bag outer than quilting cotton alone.  The accent fabrics used on the pocket and lining are from Kate Spain's Sunnyside line.  Some of you may remember that they almost made the cut for my Aeroplane Bag last summer, but I am glad I kept them for this one.  This bag will be used daily in the drier months and I will get to see their bright loveliness so much more often than the Aeroplane Bag.

After a little scorching of linen by my iron and accompanying hot words from me, I'd like to say that the rest of the bag came together without too much difficulty but I think my brain was full of pregnancy-induced cotton wool.  Thankfully the scorching was on small pieces that hadn't required too much work and I had plenty of linen to replace and re-do them, but I did struggle a bit with the finer detail of the recessed zipper.  I need to point out that this is likely all my problem and not an issue with the pattern itself.  I'm not going to show you the results of my efforts in that area, just take it from me it's not all pretty but it'll do.

After those hiccups, making the straps to feed through the slider hardware was not nearly as scary as I expected.

Now, at last I have my very own pretty Sidekick and can reduce that bag envy to just the one.  But I have plans to have no envy left at all soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Monday 16 March 2015

Rainbow Crumbs Quilt Finish

My rainbow crumb quilt top measures approx 36.5" x 45.5" so it's not huge but when I went looking for an appropriate backing in my stash I couldn't find a single piece of fabric large enough to work nicely. 

So, in keeping with the theme of the front I chose eight prints/blenders in a rainbow of colours and stitched a simple stripey backing piece.  I think I like it almost as much as the front.

When it came to the quilting I decided to stitch my wavy lines.  Do you know, of all the quilts I have quilted with wavy lines I don't actually have one that I've kept in our home?  Since the rainbow quilt is likely to stay with us I thought it was about time I had some waves for myself.

The jury is still out over my choice of quilting thread.  It is a beautiful variegated thread but it seems to be quite blue on the paler shades of the rainbow and I'm not so sure it was the right choice in the end.  But I'm not so bothered by it as to want to rip it all out.  I suspect it will grow on me.

The next decision was what colour to bind in.  I imagine if I had asked for advice that black or black/white stripe would have been a popular suggestion as that seems to have been a trend with rainbow quilts for a while now.  But, black just didn't do it for me.   I wanted something brighter and chose a tiny yellow polka dot which certainly keeps things cheery!

So, after all my waffle, here is the finished rainbow quilt -

I promise it's straight even though this pic makes it look as if the top is wider than the bottom!

and rainbow stripe backing.

I love this little quilt made from scraps that might otherwise have ended up in the bin.  I don't regret anything about it, except perhaps that it isn't bigger but there's always another time, right?

Friday 13 March 2015

Quilt Now BOM - part 9

When Quilt Now Issue 9 hit the doormat last weekend I was in the mood for just getting on with the next part of the Mystery Block of the Month.

This month's skill was making prairie points.  Reene promised these blocks would be fast and fun, and she was right, they were.  What she didn't say was that it would be a few days before my scorched finger tips recovered!  Perhaps, I'm just clumsy...

With the prairie points looking sharp, I chose some of the blocks I'd made from previous issues of the magazine and stitched them together as directed by Reene's instructions to create the top and bottom borders of the mystery quilt.  I LOVE how it's shaping up and wonder what Reene has in store for the other two sides.  I don't think there can be too many months left until it's complete and I can't wait to see how it will finish!

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Scraptastic Tuesday - rainbow crumbs

I'm linking up with Nicky and Leanne for Scraptastic Tuesday this week because at last I've got a scrap project to talk about!

I haven't mentioned my scrappy crumb blocks for a while, but I did tell you all about them quite some time ago.  These are little 5" scrappy charm squares which I've been stitching up over the past few years on the tail end of other projects and leaving aside for some future purpose.  These are mostly either less than 2" wide or 2" square and making up the little squares as I go along helps to control my small scraps basket.

In my current programme of clearing out and condensing all of my sewing supplies, I thought now seemed like a good time to use the little squares in a project.  So after a quick layout and whipping up a few extra blocks to fill some of the gaps, this is my rainbow crumbs quilt.  (I took the picture in horrible glaring nightime light - sorry.)

Getting them all stacked and labelled ready for stitching together was progress in clearing the two little storage boxes in the top pic - so that's a success for condensing, right?

And now, I have a small colourful rainbow flimsy with what feels like a thousand seams awaiting quilting.

Interestingly, this little quilt top got the greatest response any of my IG pics have generated to date.   Who'd have thought that a wee quilt top full of scrappy leftovers would be so very popular?  Seems everybody loves a rainbow and scraps!

Sunday 8 March 2015

Charm pack quilt

When I was sorting through my fabric last week I came across a charm pack of Kate Spain's Cuzco and had a sudden urge to put it to work.

I wanted to use every square and not chop them up into smaller pieces thereby losing potential size of a finished project. So I settled for a very simple layout for a small quilt/wallhanging.  All 42 charm squares were laid out as shown above and then I added three rounds of kona snow borders.

This pretty flimsy is the result of some nice, straightforward piecing.  Although this nighttime photo doesn't do them justice, I love the colours in this fabric collection, especially the lilacs and mint greens which remind me a lot of some of my favourite summer childhood clothes.

I opted to outline quilt each round 3/8" on either side of the seams and then finished it off with a perfectly co-ordinating piece of lavender flurry.

This little quilt finishes up at 38" x 42.5" which would be quite acceptable if you wanted a pretty wallhanging using your favourite fabric collection of charms or, if you needed a little quilt as a gift in a hurry it really doesn't take too long to make.  I will add a few measurements to help you out at the end of the post in case you fancy having a go yourself.  (ETA - I have now also got instructions for a Double Charm Pack Quilt here if you prefer something a little bigger.)

I raided my stash for more backing fabrics for this one and settled on some pale grey solid and soft yellow, both of which are in the Cuzco fabrics though probably not as obviously as the lilacs, green and blue tones of the main collection.  This was quite a satisfying quick make and if I had a spare charm pack lying around I would definitely be tempted to try this out again.

So, as promised here are a few pointers to help you stitch up a similar quilt if you take a notion to:

You need:
42 - 5" charm squares (Moda pre-cuts already contain all 42)
25" x FWOF of solid border fabrics
10" x FWOF for binding
backing and wadding - needs to be bigger than 38" x 42.5" (a few inches more than 1m of FWOF  fabric will be enough)

  1. Layout charms as shown in top picture of this post.
  2. Cut solid border fabrics into 4 strips of 2.75" x FWOF (for the two inner border rounds) width and 4 strips of 3.5" x FWOF (for the outer border rounds).
  3. From each 2.75" solid strip cut a 9.5" strip (for innermost border) and a 23" strip (for middle border). You will have 4 of each.  
  4. Stitch all of your rounds together using 0.25" seam and adding solid strips for each round to the sides first and then to the top and bottom of the quilt.
  5. When you come to the outer borders, use the 3.5" strips again adding to the sides first and then the top and bottom.  Trim the excess.
  6. Baste and quilt as desired.
  7. Cut 4 2.5" strips from your binding fabric to bind and finish quilt.

Hope this helps.

Friday 6 March 2015

Cute quilts finished

Last time I showed you my baby quilt options they were just pretty flimsies.  Since they are only little quilts (about 36.5" x 38.5") finishing them off with quilting and binding didn't take too long.

I quilted straight lines either side of the horizontal seams and knew in my quilty-heart that it really needed a touch of perle hand-stitching to lift the boats/hearts panels for an extra special touch.  So I auditioned colours and threaded up the needle.

I really enjoy stitching with perle and knew with these early stitches that I would love it.

It's not fancy

but it does a great job lifting the hearts and sail boats off the background.

Here are the finishes -


In my last post I mentioned that I had been very indecisive about choosing backing fabric for the girl quilt.  I should add that I've been trying to use what I already have in my stash rather than buy more so my options were more limited than they otherwise might have been.  In the end, with the help of a majority vote on IG, I decided that I would use the green bake sale floral for a bit of contrast and finish with the pale pink large polka spot binding.  I think it worked out well.

There were no such problems choosing the backing for the boy quilt as I had just enough of the alphabet print to cover it, and of course and orange polka dot binding just set it all off beautifully.

I can't decide which quilt I love more.  For a minute or two I think I love the bright, cheery sail boats best and then I look at the sweet, soft cuteness of the hearts and well ... maybe it's the hormones!  I suppose at least I don't actually have to decide which I like best as baby's arrival in the summer will determine which one we use.  In the meantime, you might find me occasionally stroking both of them with fondness!

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