Monday, 29 November 2010

My Special Boy's Quilt (finished - yippee)

Back in August (!) I started a quilt for the autistic boy that we childminded. (Blogged about here) Things were up in the air for R: mum wasn't able to keep him, and Dad was living in a different borough who didn't have a school place for him, and the foster parents thought he was going, so accepted a new child ... so my boy has been boarding at school all week, and with dad at weekends, while we waited for dad to move back to this borough so he could stay at his special school (following all this?)

Anyway, this quilt was meant to be a goodbye quilt, but he might be coming back to us, so I decided it needed to become a Christmas present, which meant it needed to be finished!

"Spiral Learning" is a memory boosting technique which is really good for children like R: asking questions and talking about what has happened helps various connection in the brain, so this quilt is all about memories: it includes a motorway sign, the family pets, our names, and favorite activities (counting planes, feeding donkeys, riding a tricycle, spotting bridges, listening to the washing machine etc)

I hope he likes it when we get it to him.

Yesterday we drove to Portsmouth to see my mum: Brian drove and I sewed, and got 80 4 inch squares stitched together in pairs for Trygve's table runner. Today they got ironed (and photographed), so I can get on with them tonight.

I also got a photo of some of the stack and slash blocks

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Working on the to-do-list (and getting distracted)

One of the items on the to-do list is a table runner for my uncle, Trygve, and his wife. They brought me the fabric when they visited in the summer, and as Christmas was ages away I put it to one side. Now, of course, Christmas isn't ages away, so I've had to get moving!

The fabric looked luscious in the stack from the fabric shop (but i forgot to take a photo) and looked pretty yummy after I'd cut it too

I'm making a stack and slash for a coffee table, and a table runner too.

Photos to follow

Meanwhile, I had bookmarked this fab little bag from Ayumills at Pink Penguin. She has given some great instructions, but I confess I simplified it a bit to make this zebra stripe bag.

It's a cute little bag anyway, but also has a cover: she describes it as a lunch bag, but I think it'll be great for bathroom stuff on an over night stay, or for taking hand sewing in the car, or for all sorts of treasures that need to go from A to B. I think a bigger version will make a great handbag too

So having made one ... I simplified the instructions further to make this Christmassy version for my BQL Secret Santa swap, and I have another 7 started on a production line!

Finally, I wanted to show you the postcards I received form Lisa this week: all hand embellished (she has the old sewing machine at Uni with her, but is worried that if she gets it out she may never get back to the essays she is supposed to write!)

Aren't they lovely

Friday, 26 November 2010

India's towel

S-I-L Lisa, is Australia has emailed me with a request: India starts kindergarten in Feb, and each child needs their own sheet (for nap time) and hand towel - it needs to be named, and the child needs to be able to identify it. Definitely an Auntie Benta job!!!

Indi asked for a princess for the towel, and I'm going to work on that after Christmas as it will take a bit of work, but she asked for a rainbow and her name for her sheets, and I worked on that last night.

This is just a first stitch out: some of the lines need to move so they meet the previous colour, but I hope she likes this! (Yellow is always disappointing in designs like this, but you cant have a rainbow without it, so I think the red outline ties it all together, and next time the violet/indigo/blue need to be more different

I also finished the Christmas Ornament for the swap that I'm doing - they were doing well until I realised I had to have a way for them to be attached to a tree ... so now the Santas have a bullet hole in the hat - not so good :-( But time has run out, so they are going in the post on Monday, bullet hole or not!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Busy Day

As I have managed to get Thursdays as a not-employed day, I bounce from a packed Thursday (visiting mum, Lisa, or whoever) to a nothing-at-all-in-the-diary Thursday - and today was one of those!

I've upgraded two sets of blocks into flimsies,

I've got my BQL Secret Santa packages ready to go,

I've done one named fleece blanket, and the next one is on the machine

And baby Hobby's flimsy is as ready as it can be, just waiting for his name

And added later ...

Another three fleeces, hot off the embroidery machine

and another flimsy (I think this one was started about 7 years ago, next stash splurge will see it becoming a charity quilt I think!)

And best of all, STILL no one else is home so I can have a go at stitching out India's rainbow that I've digitised :-) rather than thinking about dinner - yippee

Sunday, 21 November 2010

I won an award!

Teje and her gorgeous Alsatian, Nero, have awarded me a Beautiful Blogger Award... They cant see me blogging in my pyjamas, with my hair unbrushed, but I think even if they could, it's OK as the award is aimed at the blog, not the blogger!

Thank you Teje and Nero

There is a condition to accepting the award - that I have to post 10 things that you didn't know about me. I see the blog really to keep mum and Jackie (my patchwork twin, but she doesn't blog) up to date with what I'm working on, and there isn't much they don't know. However I have some other lovely people who also come and visit my blog and leave comments so maybe the 10 things are more for you guys ... anyway here goes:

  1. I was born in Norway, but lived in UK since I was two-and-a-half
  2. My Mum, Dad and Brother all live in a different country to where they were brought up: I live within 15 miles of where I was brought up
  3. My blog is called SLIKstitches as my brother's wife had their first baby at the same time as I got an embroidery machine, and they signed their emailed S (my brother's initial) L (his wife, Lisa) I (their daughter's initial) and K (for Kodi the dog!)
  4. My mum is my biggest fan and although she doesn't patchwork, I learned all my sewing skills from her - she is an awesome dressmaker
  5. I was politely invited NOT to take sewing at school - so I did cooking instead - now I don't cook, but I do sew!
  6. 18 months ago I offered a bed for the night to a total stranger, known only through a Yahoo group, and she is now my bested patchwork buddy and we have manage to meet twice last year and twice this year at patchwork shows even though this involves trains and planes. (Love you Jackie)
  7. My family all have assorted quilts that I have made them (mum, mother-in-law, daughters, cats, niece and nephew all have at least two quilts or blankets) , but we don't have one on our bed!
  8. I taught myself to patchwork, and although I have since attended classes, I still do things that are probably crimes to the quilt police
  9. My sewing room is tiny: 2.5m x 2.25m (with 1 square m taken up by a built in cupboard) but as British houses are generally small, I am lucky to have this space, and not to have to put things away every day
  10. I started patchworking 19 years ago when I was sent a quilt for oldest daughter - and I thought "I can do that" ... actually I couldn't then, but I can now!

(my first quilt, now used as my camp blanket!)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Post Card Swaps

I've been making Christmas decorations today (but haven't finished trimming, so no photos yet).

I've received my Home postcard swap from Pam K in Utah, USA, made with card, fabric, feathers, beads, photo, text, embroidery silks ... phew - I'm exhausted just thinking about all the work!!!

Thanks Pam :-)

I also received two of the BQL Windows postcards (from Pauline C and Annette in UK) I love the very different thoughts that have been the inspiration for these cards

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Avoiding the Log Cabin Candle Tree

I have been adopting the suggestion of 15 minutes of play while I am avoiding the Christmas Tree quilt (is this another frog?).

The idea of 15 minutes is just to have fun with no pressure: so for me, whether it is designing on the computer, or stitching a simple embroidery design, or ripping up some more denim... I get my fabric fix and then I can get on with the boring stuff!!!

At home I have been creating other blocks to go with the 18 or so Raw Edge Applique Christmas Trees : just need to decide how best to join them - any ideas?

And at after school club I have getting into Zentangles (and the kids have been doing them too!). Avril gave me the idea as she was doing embroidery that reminded me of Zentangles I don't think I'll progress to the embroidery, but while looking after a room full of monkeys (oops, I mean children) I can doodle :-)

Don't know what I'll do with them though

Monday, 15 November 2010

Candle Christmas Tree Quilt - bleugh

I KNOW that green and blue are next to each other on the colour wheel, and I even had Plum warn me (and Kate prove to me) that dark green and dark blue don't contrast well, but for some reason I chose to ignore all this and expected my dark green tree and dark blue sky to work well together.

Possibly this is because I have invested hours and hours in sewing 1.5 inch squares together for the sky - approximately 500 of the blinking things, all hand sewn in a strip, and they jolly well SHOULD look good together. It isn't too bad lit up by the camera's flash, but I can see that I will have to start on the sky again (light blue this time) and use the current sky on some other project, but I have to say I am a tad pi$$ed off!

(Oh, and also I forgot to put the top triangle on the tree, that will happen - I have LOADS of green strips, chunks and crumbs on the work desk!)

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Rural Jardin flimsy

I managed to get the Rural Jardin finished (at least to a flimsy) yesterday,

and made part of the Secret Santa BQL pressie.

I also finished sewing the 1.5 inch blue blocks into a strip for the Log Cabin Candle quilt, and piece some green piecing to bulk out the tree - phew!

Today - nothing!

We did go to the Remembrance Day Service at church, and I have to share with you the sight as we came out and walked (about 200 of us, with Scouts and Guides etc) past the section which the gas board have dug up, and have had traffic lights for what seems like months ...

How awesome is that? And what's more, the lovely man who arranged it (and came to the service with his wife) donated one to the parish and one to the church!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Rural Jardin Jelly Roll

Jackie and I both got a free Moda Rural Jardin jelly roll when we signed up for a year's subscription for Popular Patchwork at the festival of quilts in August.

Mine has been sat on a shelf while I drooled over it, and waited for inspiration. As I surfed around blogland I saw a number of designs that would work, but this morning, with some help from an inspirational email (thank you Victoria) decided on a sort of rail fence design.

I joined the strips into pairs: a light with darker, keeping reds with reds and blues with blues.

And then ironed them

I then cut the selvedge to selvedge units into 9 inch units

and started to play around with them

I tried using 'twins' in a mirror image,

and tried dissimilar pairs so it looks woven, and finally decided this was the way I wanted to go.

I am going to be brave, and have my first go at setting these blocks on point (diagonally).

I was just about to start cutting some squares into triangles for the corners, when I realised they weren't actually square - they had ended up 8.5 x 9 inches. (grrrrr)

So I have put them aside for today, and will get back to them tomorrow night.

By the way, I am L-O-V-I-N-G the Moda fabric - it's the first time I have used it, and it's lovely to work with and so soft.

, if you prefer the first layout, don't tell me, it's too late.
Jackie: Jardin is French for garden ... I reckon working with this fabric counts as horticultural homework?

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Just checking in

Just checking in to say that I have been sewing today - I've done round 5 on the Stay At Home Robins, and I've done some stitching on the denim weave blanket. I HAVE taken photos - but the card reader has died, so no photos to post!

Sorry, I'll get them loaded as soon as poss

Edited 11 Nov

NOW I have photos ...

These are the three Stay At Home Robins I am doing with Kate at Stay At Home Robin, I had so many orphan blocks with plenty of extra fabric that I couldn't choose, so went for three!

Click on the link to see the lovely blocks that others have come up with

This, black and white, (with red for a robin) was the first one I started, and I have added some stripes, and some folded flying geese: I enjoyed making these more than I expected (but I did get muddled up with remembering to iron away from the folds, not into them!)

For the baby blue one I added some stripes again, and some slashed stripes

For the pink one I added some stripes (*) and had a go at some of the liberated stars I've been seeing in blogland. I obviously have a problem with spacial awareness as the number of time I had to re-do the 4 pointy blocks is nobody's business! however I like the result, so i might be trying these again.

Next month I am going to force myself to do some half square triangles - either I'll get over my dislike of them, or I'll enforce it, either way, I'll know!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Slik and Quick FQ bags - a tutorial

One of the nieces in America, Megan, is the founder of her High School's Cancer awareness committee. She has managed to get the soccer players playing in pink socks, and has all sorts of plans for raising money and awareness. I decided to make her some FQ bags to sell as I have some fab cancer themed fabrics.

As these lovely little bags are quick to make (*), and are really neat (and have no raw edges) and just take a Fat Quarter each, I thought I'd include a tutorial on how to make them

They just take 1/4 yard fabric and 20 inches of coordinating ribbon. (*They take about 15 minutes each, but with confidence, finger pressing instead of iron pressing, and sewing the channel with the ribbon in place, can be as quick as 10 minutes each)

Take a Fat Quarter of fabric (this is where a yard or metre of fabric is cut into 4 squarish quarters, as opposed to Long Quarters where the fabric is cut into long thin quarters)

If the fabric is directional, place the BOTTOM away from you, otherwise put the selvedge edge away from you. The fabric needs to be wrong side up. Fold down the top edge about 1/2 inch, 1cm, onto the back of the fabric


Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, so the folded edge remains at the top.

Stitch the bag into a tube shape, starting 1 inch/2cm from the top. (lock your stitches by stitching forwards a few stitches, then backwards the same number, then forwards again).

Move the tube so that the seam is now going down the centre of the tube, not the side. Press the seam open

Now fold up the bottom of the bag so it is line with the bottom of the fold (not quite in half) and press the fold. (We are still looking at the wrong side of the fabric)

Open the fold, and stitch along the fold mark, locking stitches at both ends.

Now turn the bottom half of the tube inside-out, pulling it up over the top half. Now you can see the right side of the fabric inside and outside the bag.

Using your original top fold as a guide, fold fabric again and pin to make a channel for the ribbon. You will need to unfold the horizontal fold at the seam, and refold vertically first and then horizontally.

Stitch the channel and thread the ribbon through. Tie the ribbon.

Ta Daaaa!!!!!!!

Brilliant for make up, sewing supplies, ballet slippers, medication, kids toys, gift bags ...

(It is possible to make this into a boxy bag, but that introduces raw edges, so you are on your own if you want to do that!)

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Post Card Swap - multi tasking

I'm in two more postcard swaps this month (as well as the black and white one!) and the themes are Windows and Home. I've decided they are related enough that one design will do for both swaps.

So imagine, if you will, there is a thunderstorm, and you are a cat - the best place to watch is from a window, at home (smug face)

And to make it look more like home, there has to be curtains eh?

Husband is concerned that the postcard may not be accepted by the post office, so I may have to masking tape down the curtains for posting :-(