Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Family Tree Wallhanging

I did it!  I finished the Family Tree Wallhanging quilt earlier in December but can only reveal it here now because occasionally mum peeps into the blog and I didn't want her to know this would be her and dad's Christmas gift.

This quilt has been in my head for about two years (you can read more here) and I am thrilled with how it turned out.  Actually, I'm thrilled it got finished at all.  Thought it might hang around in my head forever!

The names of my parents, my brother and his family and me and my family are all embroidered on the leaves.  From a distance, the names aren't obvious which allows the fabrics to dominate the quilt rather than the embroidery. And, mum and dad will know the names of all of us are there.

Raw edge applique and sketch stitching is definitely not my forte, but I think I pulled it off.  You can see my name on that upside down yellow leaf - isn't that a pretty fabric?

As you can see, I quilted the background with a diagonal grid before stitching down the tree trunk and leaves.

Just for a wee change I cut curved edges on my quilt (inspired by Judith's autumnal wallhanging from Pretty Patches magazine).  It wasn't as difficult as I imagined and makes a nice change, softening the whole quilt while it hangs above mum and dad's bed. (It co-ordinates with their bedlinens better than it does with ours in the top pic.)

My folks have been amazing support in the past two years and I wanted to thank them with a quilt that reminds them of the family they started together.  Thank you more than you can know, I love you two! xx

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Flowerpot Pincushion Tutorial

Do you use row marker pins?  I love mine and they are ever so handy when you've laid all your gorgeous blocks out on the floor but need to gather them in without losing the order before sewing.  For a while now I've been thinking I should make a new home for my row marker pins, just because they are kind of in the way on my normal pincushion.  The size of their flower heads means that, when I'm pinning, my hands tend to find them first when I reach over without looking and they don't really do for normal pinning.  So, a wee space of their own where I can get at them easily when it's time for the purpose is required.  What better place to plant my flowers than in a flowerpot pincushion?!

I thought I might share with you a quick little "how to" in case you have a similar little flowerpot or container you'd like to make a pincushion from.  If you follow Lori Holt's blog, you'll have seen that she makes her pincushions from mini loaf tins and vintage toy trucks and other clever items.  Whilst they may not all be circular like mine, I'm guessing the principles will be the same, so go ahead, find your container and get sewing and stuffing!

(I apologise in advance for the horrid shadows on my photos but my sewing now happens late at night in the shadowy sewing nook.  Hopefully it won't detract too much from the clarity.)

You will need:
(remember the measurements given are specifically for the little pot I used, but I've explained how to get your own measurements in brackets)

  • mini flowerpot, about 3" high (mine is an old Ikea cactus pot)
  • all purpose glue
  • 2.5" cardboard circle  (you will want to measure the diameter of the depth at which you want your pincushion to sit inside your container)
  • 7.5" fabric circle  (cut yours allowing enough fabric to cover the depth you want to wedge into your container and the height you want it to sit above the container when stuffed. For the flowerpot I found that 2.5 or 3 times bigger than the diameter of your cardboard circle was enough)
  • small scissors
  • toy stuffing
  • needle and thread

1.  Tie a secure triple knot in the thread end and stitch a running stitch around your fabric circle.  Make sure those knots are secure enough to withstand being pulled in to gather the pincushion in the next step.  You can do this on your machine if you prefer, securing thread with backstitches to begin and pulling one of the threads to gather your fabric afterwards.

2.  Pull the end of your thread to gather the fabric into a round. Don't pull all the way just yet.

3.  Stuff the fabric as tightly as you can with the stuffing.

4.  Just before you pull your thread to tighten it all up, pop in your cardboard circle to act as the base of your pincushion.

5.  Now pull the thread tight to gather in the circle as much as you can and secure the closure with backstitches and a good secure knot.

6.  At this point just test your pincushion to see that it does fit into your container as you'd like.

7.  Like me, you may want to adjust the curves and corners and squish the stuffing around a bit to get a nice shape on it.

8.  When you are happy with it, put a line of glue on the side of your flowerpot/container just a little bit higher than your pincushion will rest in it.  The act of pushing the fabric pinnie in will squish the glue down the sides and creat extra sticking surface area.  A wee run of glue around the base of your fabric stuffed pincushion part also helps.  Hope you can see mine in the photo - not too much or it can get messy.

 9. Then "squoosh" it back in just like you did at point 6 and by golly, you have a flowerpot pincushion!

Well, I hope that all makes sense and that if you try it with something other than a flowerpot you will have equal success.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Teen gifts on a theme

After a little flurry of stitching thanks to #saturdaynightcraftalong with Lucy on IG I can now tick my Christmas pressies makes of the list for this year (well, except for the Family Tree wallhanging, but I'm not promising it for Christmas anyway).

My teenage son has recently had a little re-vamp of his room (which he heartbreakingly advises will be his last re-do before university!!!!) and he's gone for a grey and teal/aqua colour scheme.  It's all very tasteful and if I could ever see the room tidy I might show you a picture, but for now you'll have to imagine it.  He asked if I would make him some bits and pieces to protect his new furniture (mug rug and coaster) and a new cushion cover and bed quilt for the summer months.  He was thinking colours to match the new decor plus an accent or two of orange.  Nice choice, my boy!

Not wanting to refuse an actual request for sewing, I thought I'd make up the smaller items for his Christmas stocking.  So it was out with the hot water bottle to make a new cover (an extra, unexpected make for him).  I found a pair of his old brushed cotton pjs in my stash in just the perfect colours.  Can you see they even have a little orange thread running through them?  

The width of the pj legs just about gave me enough fabric to get the cover out of them and I added a little orange paperclip trim after quoting the panels.  It's soft and snuggly and if I'm honest, a wee bit of a close fit, but hopefully it will do the job.  

Moving on to the requested mug rug and coaster. I really wanted to incorporate something sciencey/mathematical for him.  So a little bit of embroidery for Einstein's theory of special relativity (correct me if I'm wrong) sorted out a coaster for his bedside unit and some technical looking, scientific sort of mathsy fabric suited the mug rug.  For the mug rug I wanted to quilt his initial into the fabric, or rather quilt the background so that the initial in in relief to the quilting.  I've watched Jacqui Guering's Craftsy class on this and she makes it look so easy that I've been dying to give it a go.  Well, it's a great technique, but I am glad I started small and not with a whole quilt!  I found it a bit tricky to get a nice shape to the edges of the letter A and will admit that when I had finished I wasn't entirely happy so I stitched all the way around the letter just to tidy it up.  You aren't supposed to with this technique but DS doesn't know that, does he?

Spurred on by three successful, if rather late night, makes on Saturday I decided to crack the cushion cover on Sunday.  When I made my brother his 40th birthday quilt earlier this year, there were bonus HSTs created from the Layers of Charm pattern.  These worked out brilliantly for the cushion and even had the requisite orange accent.  I used 16 of the bonus HSTs, fiddled with a layout to see what kind of design I could get and stopped at the one above.  Then, though I decided it needed a weeny bit of teal to bring it all in line with the bedroom so I added the little oblique pieces of Lecien, with silver sparkle no less, to create that centre star effect.  Happy, happy!

More Lecien to border the block, some outline quilting which you can see better in the first photo of this post and voila! One cushion cover for the new pre-uni boy's room.  Looks nice, even if I do say so myself.

I made the backing from some charcoal linea sketch and trimmed the covered zip opening (using Just Jude's tutorial) with the rest of the Lecien fq.  Just the business!

It feels good to tick off some boxes and wonderful to make for my boy.  What are you making for Christmas gifts, then?

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