Monday 28 February 2011

working for others

Over the weekend I did two more blocks for Hilary.  This first one is just quilted at 1.5 inch intervals,
while this second one is one inch postage stamp blocks, quilted at two inch intervals.   I tried it in this spotty pink fabric first, and decided quilting at half inch was too much. It may be that the small squares and the quilting is too much, but it's get auditioned at the end and we'll see.
On Saturday night and Sunday I helped my God Daughter and her mum make outfits for World Book Day this week: Thing 1 (from The Cat in The Hat), and Winnie the Pooh.  We made both outfits the same size, and the Thing 1 circle is hand stitch so both outfits can be used for other things
Today I was helping at Poppies Children's Centre.  I forgot to take a photo of the completed Opening Ceremony Plaque, but it looked good, and Louise, the manager, was really pleased with it.  I cant be there tomorrow afternoon, but I painted this field for them to use as the background for the craft session with the great and the good tomorrow, and finally found a way for Kate to make the concave petals.
I also got told that the notice board was mine to liven up!  I'd made some felt poppy drawing pins, and used their borders to make a patchwork effect, and sugar paper to make 'grass'.  As I left, Kate was cutting cloud shapes to go on the red to display photos.
I still have three bags of fleeces to do for Suzanne, but they can be done later in the week - now I'm off for a bath and then my bed!

Thursday 24 February 2011

Bright Forest

As I was going to sleep last night I had an idea how to arrange the black and bright trees that I won from Block Lotto in December

Astonishingly, I still remembered it when I woke up this morning!  I would have finished earlier had I not stitched one drop of trees upside down, but it now a quilt top, on a fleece blanket, ready for binding when I'm next in the mood for binding.


I also finished the binding on the Landscape for the BQL swap.  If another member likes this, then I will get to choose someone else's wall hanging, and if no-one likes this, then I am very happy to keep it :-)

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Long post - lots of stuff :-)

I've been working on the to-do list today, and have a few thing crossed off:  I have done 5 t-shirts for a friend's sons and their friends who are doing a sponsored cycle ride to raise money to buy games for the children's ward at the local hospital.  Harry is diabetic, and Adam had meningitis earlier this year, so they know the shortcomings of the children's ward VERY well!
Then I did a few more blocks for Hilary's tactile quilt.  This spiral is machine embroidered in a rope motif which feels really nice to my fingers and I know Hilary's fingers are much more sensitive then mine
This block uses 5mm fusible bias tape
and this one is folded flying geese
Then I finished a flag I've been working on.  Friends have a real flagpole in their garden (Phil puts up the Norwegian flag when he knows I'm coming round!) and we made a flag for Natalie's 21st a few years ago, and now #2 is coming up for his 21st!  Somehow I got conned into making this - Liz has a far fancier embroidery machine herself, but there you go!
 I struggled to put the flag somewhere to photograph it, but I think a solution may be on the horizon (pardon the pun....)  As I look out of my bedroom window, I see lots of sheds in Dales' garden.  He stores books in them, which he sells on-line. 
But wait a minute ... what is that to the left of the log cabin?  (It's OK, you don't need to zoom in, I've done it for you).  He seems to be building a look-out post. 
(Maybe so if the Thames floods he can look out for pirates??)  Actually I'm not too bothered about the "why" question - my immediate thought was that it would be ideal to hang quilts from so they could be photographed!

My last task today was related to a tapestry the school has been asked to do. We are one of a number of schools making a 1m x 1m tapestry of our local area.  These will all be joined together and will be part of the Olympic celebrations.  My friend Jane has been given the job, and came to ask me for ideas.  The kids are expected to plan the work and to decorate the tapestry, which is based on rug canvas.  I thought that fabric strips could be woven (using plastic craft needles) through the canvas giving a watery effect.  I'm sure it will work for tree trunks, leaves etc too.

Good grief, what a long post !!!

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Blogging Awards

In the lovely world of blogging there are some lovely people, and there are some people who are very tardy in acknowledging their loveliness.  Sadly, I am in the second group. :-(

Recently Teje and her Alsatian Nero, over at Nero's Post and Patch Blog, AND Hadley over at the bizarrely named Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle Blog have very kindly awarded me two different awards, and I have only just got around to acknowledging the award, and thanking them - So thank you Nero and Teje, and Hadley.

I now have to tell you some things about me, and then nominate some other blogs for the awards ...

  • The first thing I think I need to tell you about me is  that I do not have the technical ability to post the award Logos here - what a dunce!
  • Second:  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, but my mum is knitting one for us
  • I am scared and excited about going freelance, teaching crafts and sewing, but very excited to have the opportunity.
  • I LOVE boxes and having places to put things.  I have a huge collection of boxes, and love the philosophy of "a place for everything and everything in its place" ... but I'm still untidy
  • I have loads of things on my too-do list, and yet I sit here at the computer reading blogs and adding to mine!
Now for the blogs I think you should visit ... Two of my blogging friends have become real friends too, as they live just half an hour away by train ... please go have a look at Plum's blog, and at Avril's to see what they've been up to.

In the virtual world, how can I choose ... Go and make yourself a cuppa, and then go for a trip around the world.  Go and see Wilma at her blog, and Beth at Love Laugh Quilt (see what Beth has done with some house blocks I couldn't see a use for!) and Nelly at Nelly's Junk Drawer.  I also recommend Malia at Yesterday on Tuesday (love the blog name) and Sue at her blog , and the aptly named Not Enough Time To Craft blog.  Jo at Bear Paw has some great ideas, and Victoria needs to remember that even if she doesn't have time to live up to She's Crafty, she still should be posting regular photos of that gorgeous baby!!!  Finally, Beate who is taking a break from crafting, but has some awesome photos, and Amo,also have very enjoyable blogs

Phew! (but any of the others shown on the left are worth a vist if you still have some of you tea left!!!)

Want a Giggle?

As I've mentioned here before, I am going to go free-lance for a year from July: teaching sewing and crafts at (hopefully) a local library, museum, children's centre and church hall.  I may not be able to make a living at it, but a recent inheritance has allowed me to give it a try without jeopardising the mortgage payments!
I went to the bank to open a business account, and the advisor suggested 3rd party Liability insurance.  It's not a bad idea, so she phoned the broker to get a quote.  One of the questions was whether I traded with USA or Canada.  Well, I do sell about one embroidery design a month through ETSY, and yes a number of those sales go to USA.
Husband is an odd job (handy) man.  He works with plumbing, electrics, power tools etc, all of which are higher risk (you would think) than my pins and needles, occasional hot glue gun, and of course $2 PED designs emailed to USA.
Husband's premium is £170 pa, mine (and I had to ask the man to repeat it 3 times) would be seven hundred and thirty one pounds and forty seven pence .. why so high?  Because I trade with USA!!!

Sunday 20 February 2011

What a week!

This has been a busy week, and an even busier weekend - but that was partly my fault for putting all the free-lance work and volunteering in the same weekend!

On Saturday I ran the Fun with Fabric course at Windsor Library, and got all the class started on a two colour rail fence block.  We looked at English paper piecing, and foundation piecing, and moved onto easier ideas, and I introduced them to rotary cutters and self healing boards!

They all chose two fabrics and cut some 2.5 inch strips and have gone home with a stack of strips and 'homework' to make 15 or so rail fence blocks.

Saturday afternoon was at Church - we had five of us there.  I got on with lining the old stoles, while Beryl, Debbie and June all tried to teach Lisa how to crochet!  Beryl also has started some rail fence blocks!

In the evening I did this sample for Chertsey Museum and for Windsor Fire Station craft centre.
I had great fun finding things I could weave, and I think the kids will too.
 I have also tried this idea of weaving using a paper plate.  I think it's too slow moving for kids to get much from, but Kate pointed out that this could be adapted to go with our Poppy theme for the new children's Centre
This brings me to Sunday - after church there was time for a quick lunch then I was helping Kate at the Natural History Museum ... in Eton!  Yes there is a little N H M outpost just 5 miles from here, and it's free!  Kate had run a treasure hunt for kids, but I had a great time too, and then I came home to work on an embroidery for her.

The new Broom farm Children's Centre has it's official opening next week.  Just two week's notice, and the manager is away for one of those weeks, so I'm helping get crafts and displays reading for the great and the good next week.  Kate has asked me to do an embroidered plaque, so that was this evening's task.

The craft has been planned and I'll take photos of that later when it exists, but the embroidery needs to be frames, so I needed to get a move on with that.  This photo is a shot of the computer screen, but you can see the logo and the colours. 
 And here are two parts of the embroidery.  I'll join them together and add some wadding, then Kate can take it to a framer, and hopefully it will be ready in time.  (The colours are more vivid than shown in the photo)

Monday 14 February 2011

SLIK Stitches goes freelance

Well I'm in shock - but delighted.

I have been booked to teach "Fun With Fabric" at Chertsey Museum for one Friday a month for 12 months ... and, what's more ... they are going to PAY ME!!!!!!


Sorry no photos, but you can picture me ... I am doing a happy dance, and now (deep breath), I need to go and lay down in a darkened room as I'm feeling a bit giddy and over excited!

Sunday 13 February 2011

a bit more exciting

A while ago I made this, thinking maybe for the BQL skinny wall quilt swap.  I made this one because the first one was too small, and this one is actually no better (they are supposed to be about A3 size)
This evening I was 'helping' Brian finish Lisa's floor, and the landing floor (this means I was on call for hooving and an extra pair (LOL) of hands when needed) and I decided to have a go at another skinny hanging.  I haven't really enjoyed free motion quilting as I've had problems with tension, but I had a new foot that I hadn't tried and figured I'd give it a go, and I could always hide the back!

Well it went really well, so I kept going, and now I have this piece.  
It's pieced and quilted (all raw edge applique), and the back of the quilting is as neat as the front - yay, I love my new foot :-)  The scene is based on the one I did for my Aunt's 90th, but doesn't have the cottage and the boat house on it.  As this is meant to be night (I ran out of day-time-sky fabric LOL) I think the yellow cottage would look out of place, so for now it's just a moon lit beach.  If you click on the picture you can see it enlarged, and one more click will zoom in further.

Anyway, the point is that I have started this for the swap, and whilst I would be disappointed if neither of the other two were picked by anyone, I'd be gutted if this one wasn't, but that's because I love what this represents, and really why should anyone else be interested?

Ho hum.  I shall ponder this while I sleep!

Not very exciting

Not a very exciting weekend - I've embroidered a company logo onto 30 polo shirts, and Brian's put new floors and shelves in Lisa's room

I did however, clean out the fluff from inside the sewing machine (yuck!)
 Niki went to London and spent some time with Lisa... and brought back this awesome postcard for me.  Thank you Lisa, I LOVE it!!!

Friday 11 February 2011

Monday 7 February 2011

Pinwheels (with no triangles!)

These pinwheel blocks are made of triangles - I love pinwheels, but I have an aversion to sewing with triangles ... and this method doesn't use triangles at all!!!

Take two squares, the same size, and line them up right sides together.  Stitch along all 4 sides using 1/4 inch seam
 Cut in half, then in half again making 4 folded triangles
 open the triangles and press (seam to dark fabric, or seams open)
Stitch the squares together first in pairs, then each pair to the other pair.  (Ooops forgot photo of that finished pinwheel)

Having checked that the instructions work, pair up 64 pink and green squares, stitch together on all 4 sides
 cut into 64 triangles
Discover what the 45 degree marking on the ruler is for, and use it to cut each triangle in half again
 You now have 128 little triangles
Iron them all open (seam to darker fabric, or seam open)
Carefully align each pair of these (called half square triangles, or hst for short) and stitch to make a 2 hst unit. Press, then join each 2 hst unit to another one to make a pinwheel
Now you (I) have 31 of these ... and cant quite decide what to do next LOL

Conventionally, they would get put together, but they aren't very well defined  (click on any photo to make it bigger)
I could alternate them with uncut fabric -

BUT should I use the big roses fabric ...

or the paisley fabric ...

or the small roses fabric?

Or I have some small pink gingham, or small green gingham?

Or I could sash them?

I have emailed Julia to ask if she has any plain pink or green in the range as that may be better for either alternate blocks or sashing, but for now they can go into a plastic bag while I wait for inspiration.

Sunday 6 February 2011

Productive weekend

After I mentioned that the Vanishing 9 Patch had to be put away for 2 weeks until I get to mum's, Teje was worried about me, would I be able to survive?  Amo also commented, 'accusing' me of having attacked the 9 patch fabrics - good call Amo!

Anyway, I've now gone on to distract myself from the 9 patches, by attacking another pile of fabric: these are some of the scrummy Aviary fabrics from Julia's shop that have been cut, stitched, cut, cut and ironed to make half square triangles.  They will become pinwheels, and I will show you how, but now I'm on my way out :-)

Hope your weekend went well

Saturday 5 February 2011

Managed some sewing - yippee!

I knew that, as usual, I wouldn't get much sewing done on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (dratted W.O.R.K!), and Thursday wasn't too exciting as I had a dozen fleeces to embroider for a local builder, but yesterday and today have been sewing days :-)

I won an Arnold's Attic Layer Cake (from Moda) in the Christmas Giveaway over on Stash Manicure, and finally (with help from Niki) decided to do a Vanishing Patch, but with 42 squares there wasn't quite enough to make five nine patches.  I had just bought some (reduced) Moda from Julia at CrossPatch, and she'd been really helpful, so I decided to put my trust in her and ask for a few fat quarters in a  fabric/range that coordinated with Arnold's Attic  She came back with Bistro (see to row, middle fabric) which I LOVE! and got 3 meters of it!

So . . . 45 10 inch squares stitched into five 9 patches.  (I carefully chose my favourite fabrics for the corners as they remain whole, and the smallest print for the centre as this will become the smallest section of fabric)

Then each 9 patch is cut into quarters (first in half then in half again)

Leaving me with 20 blocks like this.
I cant go any further yet because I don't have anywhere to lay them out and arrange them how I like them.  However in just under two weeks time I am going to mum's and she has floor space, and a good eye for colours, so we'll do it then, and I can pin them at mum's and bring them home to sew into a flimsy. (Thank you mummy!)

I feel all de-stressed now that I've got some sewing done!

Now I've got 30 t-shirts to embroider for a local transport company - boring, but will pay for the Bistro fabric I just bought, so I cant complain :-)