Thursday 31 January 2019

Mini Archie's January Furtle

Archie The Wonder Dog

Do you plan to furtle?  Isn't that a fab word?  Furtle. Furtle. Go a-furtling - do you think you can say "go a-furtling"?  I like it, so I might say it regardless of whether it's correct or not ;-)  Oh, rebel me!

If you don't know what I'm waffling on about you need to check out this post on Archie the Wonder Dog's blog.  In essence, Mini Archie (MA) and his lovely friends are hoping to encourage us back to our blogs - dusting them off and starting to chat again about our stitching, or indeed any crafty exploit.  Go and read the post, MA says it so much better than I can.

Honestly, the little invitation to a monthly link up with other bloggers again is quite timely.  Following personal musings as to whether or not to continue or 'retire' my blog towards the end of 2018, I ultimately decided that I like the blogging medium and while I really miss the engagement that there once was through blogging, I'm not ready to stop yet.  Since then, I've really tried to post more often again which, of course, has been helped greatly by finding a little more time to sew. Long may it continue!  So, here's to connecting again and sharing and 'furtling' through more blogs.  Please do join in!

As you can see from my posts this month, I've had a fairly productive January and it feels great! Life doesn't always lend itself to this level of stitching activity and I am extremely grateful for it.  These efforts were fuelled by lots of preparation at the end of my Christmas break from work.  It seems that good preparation time really helps me make progress when I make it to time behind the machine.  

I've also been working hard to use up what I've already got - that's fabric, scraps, WIPs, all of it. Back in the high days of blogging and Flickr groups and Bees and swaps, I immersed myself in all that was going on and enjoyed building a stash to work from with options 'in case' someone made a particular Bee request, or I wanted to make something for a swap partner.  It was fun, it was exciting and I loved it.  I hadn't foreseen that I was about to lose my liberal sewing time and ability to connect in ways I had previously, so I have this lovely, but rather large stash and collection of scraps and incomplete projects that deserve better than to be sitting in ugly plastic storage boxes all over my bedroom.  (My bedroom also deserves better than the boxes!)  I expect it will take some time to make much of a dent in it all, but I have made a start and will keep on raiding my boxes before heading to the online shopping option.  The beady-eyed among you will now understand the proliferation of Bonnie & Camille projects lately, and still to come.

So, it looks like I have 2 goals for 2019 -
  1. find time for more - preparation and progress
  2. sewing my stash and scraps

It's a plan, right?  

I hope you have inspiring plans for your stitchy/crafty 2019 too!

Thank you MA and friends for encouraging us all to re-connect.

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Little Makes

Little makes can be very satisfying, can't they?  Not only are they great at using up odds and ends of fabric, but there is quicker gratification than larger projects that take months, or years, in my case.  Not that there isn't a special sense of accomplishment in completing the more complex/grand/intricate or just sheer ginormous stitching feat.  However, I have been guilty of attempting too many of those at once, which is why my WIP list looks similar today to how it did in 2014 (!), and now and again it's lovely to allow myself a little diversion into more swiftly gratifying stitching.

Badly in need of some pot holders for my kitchen, I quilted up some of this Ikea dec weight fabric that I had left over from covering my mini ironing board quite some time ago (maybe 2 years?) .  Then I just cut 3 squares and a rectangle (to hold a casserole dish), rounded off the corners and added binding to finish. Pretty, practical and job done!!

More leftovers, this time from my Scrap Vortex Quilt.  I used three mini panels and paired them with some snippets of Irish linen to indulge my Bonnie & Camille penchant in a new cover for my diary (a very busy and essential part of my everyday).

I also had a bit of a drawstring bag making fest during my time off work after Christmas.  This lovely drawstring bag tutorial by Svetlana made these a breeze.  I cut all sorts of sizes to suit our needs. The re-sizing is so easy to do - whatever size you decide to cut your main bag pieces, just cut the casing 2" by the same width, easy peasy!

There are more bags, but Little Miss wasn't for parting with them for the photo shoot.  Most of these now house toys that Santa brought for CT - skittles, puzzle pieces, Mr Potato Head and all his various features, that sort of thing.  I'm hoping they help all the little pieces to have a place to live and stop everything getting turfed out over the floor all at once.  I live in hope ;-)

Still living in hope, perhaps more little things might be interspersed among the bigger quilts this year, but ultimately, any sewing time is much appreciated, big project or small!

Saturday 26 January 2019

Thank you!

This week I was pleasantly surprised by a parcel of gorgeous Bonnie & Camille scraps and off-cuts from the very thoughtful Audrey.  Thank you Audrey!

Although not a blogger herself, Audrey has been a long-time reader of my blog and was a faithful contributor to Bee Blessed for a long time.  She is one of those people who reaches out thoughtfully and with kindness and generosity, and I must say, it was a lovely surprise to hear from her again this week and be blessed myself with the results of her stash tidy-up.  

Thank you from my heart for these, Audrey.  I wonder how you could have known these are my favourite designers?  ;-)

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Armchair Caddy

From first sight of the Armchair Caddy in Sedef Imer's book, Zakka Home, I knew I really wanted to have a go at making one.  Since hubby thoughtfully gifted me the book for Christmas ;-) this was an ideal project to prep when I had some time over the holidays, ready for a dark January sewing night.

I admit this is a very satisfying make and doesn't take too long at all if your fabric is chosen and prepped.  I found the binding a little tricky, but that's probably because I was trying to use up some of the excess bias binding I had made for the See It All pouches last summer, rather than following Sedef's instructions to the letter.  Next time, I will try the binding Sedef's way and I'm sure it'll not be as much of a fiddle!

Saturday 19 January 2019

Siblings Together Friendship Star

Have you made a friendship star for Nicky's Siblings Together exhibition quilt yet?  No?  Well, what are you waiting for?

Nicky is hoping that, if you have ever sewn for or contributed to Siblings Together in any way, you will stitch up one of these little 6.5" unfinished friendship stars and send it to her.  She is planning a friends of Siblings Together signature constellation quilt to exhibit in the Community Quilt category at this summer's Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.  All of the details and a little tutorial for the block are on Nicky's blog here.

I do hope that you are able to contribute to Nicky's quilt idea.  I feel immensely privileged to have been part of Siblings Together in a small way for a number of years and so it took me all of about ten minutes to pull fabric and get stitching for this.

Nicky has already gathered a few stars and with even more this could be such a lovely statement at FOQ.  Go on, you know you want to be part of it ...

Thursday 17 January 2019

Daisy Do Cushion

Hello there!

How is 2019 treating you thus far?  Have you got the January blues yet or are you enjoying all the newness and freshness of a blank year of possibility stretching ahead?  I've read so many "New Year, New Me, New Goals" blog/social media posts and magazine articles lately that I don't know if I should feel inspired or overwhelmed by them!  If I'm honest, life here feels a little more "same old, same old", but perhaps I will have some new things ahead for me, too.

My WIPs list isn't looking quite as "same old, same old" as I thought it might.  Looking back through my posts here, I'm surprised to discover that I finished 5 quilts last year and a mini too!  Of course, most of them were already well on their way to a finish before 2018 began, but yes, in spite of how hectic and unpredictable life has become, I pushed them over the finish line, which means my WIPs list looks a little more manageable going into 2019, and maybe even with wiggle from for some new things :-)

I had a nice long break from work at the end of the year and made use of the post-Christmas part of that to prep some little projects I want to stitch this month - some to finish old projects, some new.  For me, with time always so tight,  a few good preparation sessions really boost my productivity on evenings where I can actually crank up the sewing machine.  I'm hoping to find more preparation time in 2019 to enhance my machine time - fingers crossed.

First for 2019 is picking up on a little project started back in the unexpected heat of 2018. Last summer, on a lovely relaxed weekend with my sewing besties,  I had a go at hand-piecing for the first time.  I don't seem to have shown my efforts here, but encouraged by and provided with a few handy hints from Trudi, I tackled the 'Daisy Do' flowers from Jen Kingwell's book, Quilt Lovely.

I was very happy with the resulting flowers which I always had in mind to make into a little cushion (as long as they were acceptable, of course).   Jen's book has a whole quilt top of these beauties, hand-pieced together but, given my limitations, I decided to play sensible and just make two.  I also opted not to piece the flowers into the background fabric (mainly because I didn't want to recalculate the templates).  Instead, I used needleturn appliqué to stitch them onto some pretty ivory self patterned fabrics.  It worked a treat and then all that was needed were little QAYG borders to bring it up to size.

It's hard to have an idea of scale from these floor pics, but this is only a wee cushion at 14" square (it fits the small IKEA IRMA filler cushion).  I completed the cushion panels with a little perle hand quilting to stabilise and accentuate the daisies. The big stitches were a very satisfying finish!

Obviously, my 'go to' covered zip backing wasn't going to work with this double faced cushion, so I added an invisible zipper along the bottom.  It has been a VERY long time since I did one of these, but I was taught well and had my old class notes to refer to, so it came out respectably, all things considered.

For such a small project, this cushion cover had everything thrown at it - hand piecing, needle turn appliqué, perle hand quilting, machine piecing and an invisible zip.  What's not for me to love?

So, 2019, what's say you and I do some stitch dancing a little more often this year?


Sounds like a plan then!!

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