Thursday, 31 March 2011

Baby blanket (nightmare)

We've lived in our house for 24 years, and there are a few families still in the road who were here before us.  The first friends we made were Pat and Paul, and their daughter Samantha, who later became big sister to Danielle.  Sam is mum to 4, and Danielle had just had her first baby.  When Sam asked if I could embroider the baby's name onto a blanket, of course I said yes ... then I saw the blanket
I really didn't want to embroider direct onto the blanket, as the stitches would just become straight lines every time they hit those holes.

So I stitched his name onto fleece
and stitched the fleece onto the blanket - phew!

Now I can get on with the patchwork for him from us!

(and another two block lotto blocks :-)

Decisions, decisions

I've had a busy week, and in the odd free time I've had to chose between sewing, or blogging - I chose sewing!  But now I have a free day, so I'm catching up with the blogging before I switch the machine on :-)

The Lower Juniors at school put on a production of Cinderella in the week, and last week they were having problems with their backdrop.  I suggested they stitch tape along the top so they could pull it tighter without ripping ... and somehow I brought home 2 backdrops, about 5m x 3m, each one thickly painted.  The sewing room is about 2.2m x 2.5m, and the worktable is just 18 inches wide, and this fabric was very unwieldy!  A tip posted on the BQL group  had me bringing the ironing board into the sewing room - I lowered it to the same height as the workbench, and put the sewing machine on it, which gave me more space to push and pull the backdrop around
Even so, it was hard work

 and the paint came off as a dust, so goodness knows how much is inside the machine!
I did get a bottle of 'thank you' and a card, and the production went well, so it was worth it - and the tip about the ironing board will be remembered!

I also managed another block for the March block lotto
and a trapunto block for Hilary's textured block

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Stolen Stitches

Not the sort of stolen that means the police were called - the sort where I got some stitching done in non-stitching time!!!

We went to Thorpe park today, as a family birthday trip for great niece Emily (who turned 11 at the beginning of the month), and her dad's girlfriend (and our Au pair 16 years ago), Slavka, whose birthday was on Thursday.  We had a great day, but I don't enjoy many of the rides, so I took my little bag of hexies, and sat sewing and chatting while waiting for the brave ones to have their ride.  I've finished the texture flower, and am going to applique this to a plain block
I also started 8 hexies for a pincushion.  I got these tacked, but the 8th one was a different size template (oops) so I have un-tacked it and pressed the fabric flat and will get on with that tomorrow hopefully.
Apart from that, nothing much creative as we were out from before 9am to about 6, and were exhausted!  I've got two back drops for school to repair tomorrow, and then I might get something pretty under way if I am inspired.  For now, I'm off to bed, but I am delighted that I have remembered that Jackie at Chertsey's applique was a cupcake - phew!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

A week without stitching :-(

I cant believe a week without blogging and nearer two weeks since I did any significant stitching!

I ran my first Fun with Fabrics course at Chertsey Museum last week.  Six ladies came and seemed to enjoy the felt picture applique.  Most of them knew how to sew (Jenny was taught at her convent primary school, and had to stitch at 14 stitches to the inch!!! ) but this was a first in that it was for pleasure rather than compulsory!

We based the designs on ideas from's lovely designs- some ladies following the original, and others going off at a tangent!

From the top, these are



Iris's and



followed by Monica's.

Charmaine made a 3D heart which we stuffed with scraps (but I didn't get a picture).

And Jackie made ... (bother, I've forgotten!!!  It will come to me I hope!)

Windsor Library went well too.  Just three ladies, but they had done their homework so we looked at ways to arrange the Rail Fence blocks, and suggestions for completing the projects (one will be a pillow, another is destined to be a place mat).  They have taken their blocks home again to join the blocks into strips ready for nest time (stull keeping to the easy short 4.5 inch seams!)

At St Michael's Church we had five ladies again (two new), and two sets of visitors.  Lisa learnt how to crochet (again), Janet has started a Rail Fence block, Eileen brought some embroidery to show us and talked about a patchwork that she will bring next time, and Debbie got on with another crochet blanket.  We seem to be heading for an alliterative name ... A Cuppa, a Craft, and a Chat, in Church.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Off Topic - new sitting room floor

On Monday my sitting room looked like this... (self leveling compound)
On Tuesday it looked like this (damp proof course)
 On Wednesday it had another coat of red stuff

 But today it looks like this
and if you get down on your hands and knees, it looks like this :-)
 Ahhhhh - contented sigh

 Oh, and my hexis look like this 

(and thanks to Plum for pointing out that hexis will NEVER make a ball - pentagons will though! LOL)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Making Hexis

Hexagons are probably what non- patchworkers think of if you mention patchwork.  The traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden made up of hundreds (thousands?) of tiny hexagons - usually one in the middle of six, surrounded by 12, to represent a flower, joined to the next flower and to the next.

I do generally feel that life is too short for stuff like this, but every so often there is a reason to try something new.  I thought that a hexi block would be suitable for Hilary's textured quilt.  I did look at buying pre-cut hexi templates from ebay, but with P&P they became too expensive, so I found who offer separeated hexis in a choice of sizes, and who offer joined hexis.  (I've tried the separated ones so far, they are more bother to cut out, but may be more accurate)

So: I've cut the hexagons, and I punch two holes for the pin, and pinned each one to a square cut from a 2.5 inch jelly roll, and then trimmed the corners

I folded one fabric edge along the edge of the card template, and started tacking in the middle of this side, from the back.  Needle to the front then to the back just before the corner.  Fold down side two of the fabric, and bring the needle down into the fold, to the front, and back just before the corner.  Carry on.  Because we started in the moddle of the first side, it is possible to have all the folds layong clockwise (or anti clockwise)
 Voila, one hexi.  Once these have been whipped or ladder stitched together I can remove the card templates and use them again
These will be joined in a flat arrangement to make an 8 inch block for the texture quilt, but I am also going to copy Hadley's idea, and make a child's ball (or dodecahedron apparently, thank for the maths lesson Hadley) out of bigger hexagons and brighter fabric.

I've also finished another texture block - folded nine patch.  I struggled with the instructions in the book, so sort of made it up as I went along.  I love the block, but I think it wastes loads of fabric.  Thank you Jackie for sending me the strips from your jelly roll - much appreciated!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Done some sewing :-)

Today I've finished three black bin bags full of fleeces to be embroidered, I've made pinwheel blocks from the batiks and arranged them, and I've arranged the Arnold's Attic vanishing 9 patch blocks (the ones in the earth colours)

I've pinned the two patchworks in strips, and I'll need to sew them fairly promptly as I've only got 4 pins left!  My bed is fairly high which is great for pinning, but rubbish for getting photos of blocks!

(Now that I've got Windows 7 I cant seem to turn these photo, so please feel free to tip your head to the left if it helps!)

So these are the pinwheel blocks
and these are the vanishing 9 patch blocks
My Poppies opening ceremony plaque was shown in the local papers: two photos of the plaque, one including the lady Mayor, and none of anything else.  A bit of a result for me, but a shame for the organisers and all the mums and kids who turned up
and a final photo is of the lovely sunset that I saw when I was upstairs pinning the blocks
Now I have a busy week coming up: 5 hour, 9 hour and 6 hour days at school at the beginning of the week, and then  teaching at the museum, at the library and at the church at the end of the week.  Added to this we lose access to the sitting room tomorrow morning for 4 days while the new floor is laid, and sometime I need to get something for Brian's birthday on Saturday.  Ho hum.  Of course I will NEED to do some sewing if only to get my pins back!!!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Feeling better

Whoever invented Night Nurse and Day Nurse capsules deserves a knighthood.  I'm sure I remember, as a kid, Night Nurse having the colour and consistency of washing up liquid, but I got capsules and they have done the trick.  (mind you my grandfather used to say that a cold lasted 7 days without remedies, and just a week if you took something for it, he also reckoned that Whiskey was his favourite of all the cold cures that didn't work)

Possibly one of the I'm-feeling-better reasons was two packets of loveliness that arrived in the post:  I have taken part in the BQL skinny quilt swap, and the ladies sending quilts to me have been far more efficient than I have.

this lovely quilt came from Ann, the squares are just one inch each, and the quilting pattern is lovely

and this came from Marian - she dyed the fabric herself, and the simple quilting really brings out the design

So that's why I'm feeling better, but my memory - still rubbish ... where was I?  ... Oh yes, so I have cut up my lovely Moda batiks into 10 inch squares, stitched them together in pairs [see here for method] cut them into triangles
 and opened and ironed them into half square triangles (HSTs).
(I really aught to get a new ironing board cover, it's AWFUL!)

Now I'm pinning them together and should get twenty two 12" pinwheels.  While I'm doing that the embroidery machine is plodding through 20 fleeces for a local builder, and then 30 polo shirts for a transport company, so I'm earning the money to pay for the fabrics :-)

And now I've just seen the time ... nearly midnight, so Good Night!!!

Thursday, 10 March 2011


that's how I'm feeling, bleugh :-(

It meant I couldn't be bothered to post about a lovely silk workshop I went to at my friend Sarah's house (thank you Jacqui) where I made this
and this

and this,

with dying the silk "hankies" in the microwave and then stretching them and pinning them to a board and painting a watery gluey stuff.  I think this will look good on a white canvas board on Lisa's wall

I managed to order some fabrics, and while the thought of them arriving did nothing to cheer me up, the sight of the package in the postman's hands did help a bit.  They are going to be big pinwheels, and have no particular destination in mind, they are just because I LOVE the fabrics - Moda's "Girl's Best Friend".

I have however managed to make two blocks for the March Block Lotto, and a baby one for a postcard for Lisa.  These are disappearing 4 patches (or D4P)
Yet again I'm having to work 5 afternoons at the after school club, but roll on next week when I'll just do three, and car start late on Tuesday, so no alarm clock mornings for 11 days!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Not a lot!

I have hardly made it into the sewing room this week - extra hours overtime at school covering for a colleague who's dad had a heart attack (:-( as well as additional hours at the children's centre, and the new sitting room floor is being put in on Monday and we have to empty the room by then!  Anyway, I have sold an embroidery design on the ETSY site, which is always a happy occasion - another $1:50 into the coffers!