Saturday, 29 August 2020

Personalised Pencil Case

Little Miss CT starts P1 next week!  

I think with all of the surreal things happening in the world these last months I can hardly believe that it will actually happen next Tues, that school will actually be back up and running. 

School bags are currently disallowed and pencil cases are to be left in school rather than transfer back and forward between school and home. So I'm glad to have made her a special pencil case that is easily identifiable from the others in the class, and of course it meant I got to indulge in all the cute fabric and buttons and ric-rac and embroidery.  Playtime for mummy!

Friday, 21 August 2020

Coasters galore!

As we were deep in plans for our house move in January, I stitched up some tiny hexies flowers with the intention of finishing them as coasters for our new lounge.  

Rummaging in boxes recently I found the hexie flowers again and finished them into the coasters anyway.  We can always use some new ones even if we aren't in a new house.

I love them, especially the little bit of hand quilting I added.  Of course, they are Bonnie and Camille favourites, too.

I made two more coasters for our bedside tables just because I have had the pattern bookmarked for ages.  It's Sedef Imer's Quilted Coaster Tutorial.  They were quick and fun and used up a few more B&C scraps. I made a little change to the tutorial though. Rather than piecing the back of the coaster from two pieces of fabric and leaving a turning gap there, I just used a single fabric on the back and left a couple of inches open on the side of the leaf.  I felt it was a little neater overall, and the topstitching around the edge closed everything in again nicely.

No excuses for coffee marks on furniture in our house now!

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Lunch Aprons for Primary School

So, as well as planning for my eldest offspring to head away to university in September, I am planning for my youngest to start Primary School!

Aprons for school lunch!  Some fun polycotton prints from The Remnant House (just £2.99/mtr) and we have hippos, birdies and flamingoes on her aprons.  This is what is known as optimistic sewing.  I am hopeful that wearing one of these at lunch time might help keep her uniform clean for a second day's wear.  Living in hope folks!

Monday, 17 August 2020

Triangles Cushion

I enjoyed piecing a second cushion for DS in July, especially as the HSTs were already pieced and trimmed.  They were the bonus offcuts HSTs from his university quilt.

I made him a cushion cover to go along with his quilt and to accompany him to Durham next month (sob, sob).

I love how the triangles work together in those colours - one of my all time favourite combinations.

All of that science/maths fabric on the front combined with the musical print from Aspen Frost on the back.  One way or another DS hopes to continue with both subjects areas next academic year.  It makes me happy to make for his big new adventure!

Friday, 14 August 2020

Drunken Curves Cushion

In between the Jelly Snowflake pattern releases I worked on some smaller projects.  This curvy cushion of drunkard's path blocks was one.  Originally, the colours were chosen for a decor plan in the house that we haven't moved in to.  DS had some lovely new bedding in mind and together we had figured out fabrics and a designee liked for a co-ordinating cushion for his bedroom.

I think he made a great design choice.  My drunkard's path piecing was refreshed by Leanne's brilliant video, which I was so glad is still on her blog.  Unfortunately, I think my trimming was little dodgy and so not everything matched up as well as I'd have liked but I decided to live with it as it's not the end of the world.

I found a perfect bright zingy yellow zip in my stash and then duly went and hid it behind a lovely zipper enclosure!

As always, my go to tutorial for this kind of backing is Just Jude's great tutorial.  I add a little lining into the backing as I go, but this tutorial never fails to get me neat results.

And hey presto, one grey and yellow drunken curves cushion!  Now all he needs is a newly decorated bedroom to put it!

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Jelly Snowflake QAL

After months of just hand stitching, in July I finally caved and unpacked my sewing machine and some supplies.  Without much of a plan, and existing WIPs yet to be rediscovered among packing boxes, I did start some new projects.  As well as the Scrappy Table Topper which I am using as a sewing machine mat, and my Applique Hearts Boxy Bag, I allowed myself to fall headlong into the Fat Quarter Shop's Jelly Snowflake QAL.

I did talk myself out of it at first, but among the boxes I had re-opened, this Makower Scandi fabric was sitting on top winking at me and pleading to be a snowflake!! Honest ;-)

Week 1 blocks
I think like the embroidery SALs in April, May and June, I have really enjoyed stitching along with something a little bit at a time. There's been no pressure to rush through anything because you do this week's section or blocks and the release of the next part is another week away.  It's a project progressing without pressure and it provided a little structure in a way; structure that Lockdown seemed to wipe clear from my days.

Week 2 blocks

Each week FQS popped up a free pdf for new blocks and each week I cut and sewed them happily. Even though I didn't know how the finished quilt would look - gasp! Risky business! Thankfully, each week was a pleasure - nice simple piecing and very satisfying 'ticking off the list' a little at a time.

Week 3 blocks

At week 3 it was possible to get a better idea of the quilt by laying out the story so far.

Week 4 blocks

At the end of week 4 the centre of the quilt remained a mystery.

Week 5 added centre and borders and sitched all the blocks together

It turned out to be just a 6.5" square of background.  Lots of folks in the IG # opted to piece alternative centres - lots of them look amazing - but I chose to add a square of the same cream/red contrast fabric that I used in the centre of the sawtooth stars.  It works well for me.

Since the Jelly Snowflake pattern finishes at just 50.5" square, I decided to use up the remainder of the Scandi fabrics by piecing some borders.  It was a bit of a brain tease to eek out the fabrics and leave enough for binding but I did manage (even with a cutting error).  It measures 61" square I think. I had to compromise on binding cuts though, as I only had enough of one fabric to cut binding strips at 1.75". So single fold binding it shall be, when the time comes.

I'm quite pleased to have gotten this quilt out of my stash.  Avoiding further purchases at this time feels like a positive achievement!

I'm not sure how I want to quilt this and I need to unearth wadding and backing supplies from somewhere in the box piles, so I'm going to leave it aside for a little bit, but I do fully intend to finish it before December, so that it doesn't become a long term UFO.

The other pleasure in this QAL was that some of my lovely sewing friends joined me on the journey.  It was fun to have stitchy chat about your common project and I'm sure that Trudi and Di and Shiela will have amazing quilts when they are finished, too!

This simple Christmas quilt pattern from FQS is still available if you'd like to have a try yourself!

Monday, 10 August 2020

Response to RetroFabulous

 Hi RetroFabulous!

Apologies for not being able to reply directly to your comment about the Triple Pouch but you are a 'No-reply blogger' and therefore I cannot return your email.

I can't really remember the specific of making the pouch two years ago now, but as the blog post says, it is really important to read every word and just do what it says even if intuitively it might not feel right.  It did come together for me when I did that especially with the folding and tacking parts.  I hope you are able to complete the pouch without too much stress and that your daughter loves it!!

Kind regards.

Multi-coloured Blackwork

You will have noticed that hand stitching featured very heavily throughout my lockdown activity.  Mainly, because of lack of access to my sewing machine, but also I suspect because it felt smaller and more manageable at a time when my head was full to bursting with all sorts of concerns.

Scrolling IG one night I happened upon a reference to Peppermint Purple and was intrigued. Of course, I fell down the rabbit hole into a site of the most beautiful counted blackwork designs.  What I really loved was how modern these designs looked.  I have a history of cross stitching with a little blackwork thrown in, but it has been some time since I opened those supplies and tackled any counted stitch work.  If anything was going to tempt me back in, it was these designs and more specifically a couple that reminded of quilting.

So, I purchased two patterns.  This one is the Rainbow Cross Quilt and I just love how the stitches are worked in all of the colours!  Check out the other quilt inspired rainbow patterns here.

I had forgotten how intense counted work can be, especially on middle-aged eyes, but oh my, the results are lovely.  The grid outlining alone took me hours and hours but now that it is at this stage, it's a lot of fun just to choose one or two of the grid sections to fill when I pick it up again.

You can see that I still have a lot to do.  I'll admit I'm a bit intimidated by the yellow section that's next as it's pretty tricky to see your stitches well, and to be sure you've stitched correctly.  It's been so dull lately too, and that isn't helping.  But, I guess I should try and make the most of summer light while we still have it and stop putting those yellows off!

Let's see if I have any progress to show soon.

Friday, 7 August 2020

Follow Your Dreams Embroidery SAL

Following the huge success of the first Un Chat Dans L'Aiguille SAL, Christel kindly obliged our many requests for a second.  In June, I once again had the pleasure of working through some new and some familiar stitches to complete the stages of this gorgeous butterfly garden design.

For this one, I ordered the pre-printed fabric and the thread pack (and maybe one or two other pretties while I was there).  I must say that the finer printing of the design and the better quality threads than the ones in my stash made more of a difference to the outcome of my stitching than I expected.  Lesson learned.  I also learned quite a number of new and tricky stitches on this one.  Some of them still need a lot of practice but I think I made a fair stab at them.

The video tutorials for this SAL are still available on You Tube if you are interested.  I cannot recommend Christel's teaching enough, please do check her out and keep an eye out for the next SAL planned for sometime in Sept/Oct. I think I heard Christel hint that it might have a Christmas theme.  I will definitely be hoping I have time to participate in that one when it comes around.

Huge thanks to Christel and her team for all the work they generously put in to providing this SAL, and the previous one, during the lockdown days of global pandemic.  It was a refreshing diversion! 

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Lotus Flower Embroidery SAL

A few weeks into my #sewalittlehappinesseveryday sampler I spotted that Christel from Un Chat Dans L'Aiguille was planning to host her first ever Facebook and IG embroidery SAL.  I have long admired Christel's embroideries but thought they might be a little beyond my ability, so this free SAL seemed like a perfect opportunity to try out more complex stitches.

Although it was possible to order a fabric pre-printed with the design and a thread pack, I downloaded the free design and traced Christel's Lotus Flower with my lightbox and water erasable pen and made a thread selection from my stash.   I, and many others, then waited patiently for Monday afternoons from late-April to mid-May when each week's SAL instructions were released on pdf and video tutorials.

It was wonderful to follow along with the FB videos which were hosted live but which I could only manage to watch on replay as I was working during the live transmission.  I learned so much and really loved hearing Christel speak passionately about her craft and her products.  Her teaching was amazing and I will definitely be referring back to some of the video tutorials for stitch refreshing in the future.  They are all available on the You Tube page for Un Chat Dans L'Aiguille.

My little Lotus Flower was bliss to stitch every Monday and Tuesday for four weeks!  Christel's teaching is in French, Spanish and English - really remarkable language skills - and I followed along really well in spite of my initial worry that I wouldn't understand.

I don't have any plans for my finished Lotus embroidery yet.  It was stitched just for sake of it really, but I will keep it somewhere safe until inspiration strikes.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Rainbow Embroidery

We've all seen many rainbows since the beginning of Coronavirus Lockdown.  They've been in our windows to display our unity, our solidarity, our thanks to NHS workers during this pandemic, our hope and reminder of the promise of better days to come.

At the very beginning of our time confined to home, Sarah Edgar of A Happy Little Place was generous enough to share the rainbow sampler pattern she designed for her daughter as a Lockdown homeschooling activity.  You can find the link on Sarah's blog post here.

Little Miss and I had a colouring-in homeschool session with a printed version of the rainbow and pinned it in our front window. But that was just my justification for having a go at stitching it myself ;-)  Simple, colourful and pretty.  Just the ticket for a few, otherwise dull Lockdown hours.

Thank you again, Sarah for sharing your rainbow with us!

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Key Fob Gifts

Last week I got a little production line going to make some key fobs from fabric scraps and woven cotton webbing tape.  Originally, I had intended to make these for my son to share with his friends at the end of his final school exams but since A-level examinations didn't happen in the expected way this year, we're now making them in advance of highly anticipated 'off to university' celebrations next month.

I managed to use up lots of scrappy offcuts from DS's university quilt - all those maths, music, chemistry and physics fabrics for keyfobs for his subject classmates.  I added a few more general fabrics and some for his female friends too.  But then I must confess, they became quite addictive and I made some for future school gifts too. (Miss CT is due to start Primary School in September, so my round of teachers' presents begins all over again.)

I must admit there was highly satisfying therapeutic element to hammering on that hardware 35 times!!

I also whipped up a few pencil cases from the remains of these grey and black science prints which will hopefully be acceptable for DS at university in the physics course he aspires to. He can hide them in a drawer, if not.  Then, because I was in pouch making mode, I pulled some Sweetwater Reunion and created a first aid zippy for him too.  It's a little bigger than I expected it to be but at least he'll have plenty of paracetamol, plasters and savlon to hand should he cut himself making pot noodle for diner ;-)
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