Tuesday 30 October 2012

Warm Charm Stars

If you . . .

Take a scrummy Charm Pack of warm colours

Remove the cream and tan ones which don't blend as well as the others, chop the cream ones into 4 tall thin triangles

Stitch the triangles onto one corner of the charms

Actually plan a top based on the colours and blocks available

 Lay them out on the design wall bed and check you still like the design

Use numbered pins to identify each row

 Stitch the blocks together in rows

And then stitch the rows together, you get this top of random stars,

and a very contended feeling.  Thank you Jackie for the very inspiring fabric x x 

Sunday 28 October 2012

Perfect Post 4 & 5

Yes, today I actually have TWO packages to show you, one more liberated star from my lovely friends at the Star of Africa Bee, and a goodie bag of I-Spy quilts from the just as lovely Avril at Stitchin Science

The Bee Star star block has a flag in the middle - do you recognise it?  (I didn't!)  It is the Latvian Flag, and the block comes from Fiona who sent it from Riga in Latvia,

Fiona also snuck in a fridge magnet and a bar of chocolate - I even managed to photograph it before it, um, evaporated.  Thank you Fiona, all very much appreciated :-)

And these I-Spy goodies will be put to very good use, thank you Avril

Saturday 27 October 2012

Perfect Post 3

A third squishy arrived earlier this week, but I haven't had the opportunity to get to the PC and load the photos

This came from Irene in Guatemala, her needlework, as well as her imagination, is amazing.

The flower is the Mohja Blanca (white nun) and is the national flower of Guatemala, you can click on this picture of her letter to read more about it.

She also mentions in her letter these additional fabrics she very kindly sent me, as well as  a very useful sized purse

Thank you Irene, thank You!!!!!!

Thursday 25 October 2012

Flimsey Finishes

OK, not actually *finishes* . . . but one flimsey has been pieced and pressed,
This one has been hand pieced,it was my summer holiday project and I've now used up all my I-Spy 8x4" fabrics.  I have sashed the blocks (or made mortar for the bricks) with Kona Charcoal Solid - I LOVE working with Kona

And another flimsey has been basted, quilted and bordered, so just needs binding

Tuesday 23 October 2012

What 'Cha Got Cooking?

Just to prove I do use the oven occasionally!  Jackie's recipe soda bread, will be ready in 35 mins, yum yum

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Monday 22 October 2012

Marbling Mess

I've done marbling onto paper with the children before, so when I saw this kit recently for marbling onto fabric I bought it straight way

I'd forgotten how much preparation there was - you need to make a sort of jelly for the paints to float on, and that take 24 hours.  Then I didn't read the instructions properly at all so didn't prepare the fabric, or dilute the paints.

But it didn't stop God Daughter and I having a GREAT time making a marbled mess!

Saturday 20 October 2012

Perfect Post 2

And today postie brought me *another* super squishie -  this African Bee is such fun!!!

This block was from Patti who blogs at Retired to Quilt (doesn't that blog name alone make you jealous!)

Patti sent me a fab star block staring Anne of Green Gables

And she added some goodies too, including scrummy honey, and a beautiful card, thank you thank you thank you Patti x x x

This month we are all making blocks for Nicky.  She has asked for  blocks inspired by literature from our neighbourhood.  Does anyone know of any literature based around the Thames, or Windsor, Slough, or Staines?  I've got as far as John Betjamin's poem about bombs falling on Slough or Ali G from Staines - there *must* be something better!

Friday 19 October 2012

Perfect Post

Last week I received a Bee Block from Nicky, Mrs Sew and Sow, she's based in the UK.  Today my first international star block arrived, from Cindy who blogs at Tops to Treasures 
Star of Africa

Not only a fab star, but a lovely collection of goodies fell out of the envelope too, thank you thank you thank you Cindy!!!!

This month's Fun with Fabric at Chertsey Museum saw Jacqui teaching us how to make Padded and Raised Work - this was our inspiration piece. 

If you want to see the Chertsey ladies' Show and Tell work - their creations in the last month - click over to FunWithFabric

Thursday 18 October 2012

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Happy Hexies (I Spy Stars)

These are one of my "in front of the TV" projects.  Each side measures just 1".  I will end up with a pieced hexi with 7" sides and will then bulk it out to a usable size. (and will probably have a total aversion to hexies and paper piecing!)

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Sunday 14 October 2012

Bowled Over 2

Lots of people were very nice about my bag tutorial, and about my bowls, so I'll be making some more in the future and have the memory of a goldfish, here goes another attempt at instructions:

First a bit of maths (dont panic, I've done it for you!)

5.5" bowl needs a base circle (D) of 6", and a side (C) finishing at 17.25" round (cut to 17.75")
6.5" bowl needs a base circle (D) of 7", and a side (C) finishing at 20.50" round (cut to 21.00")
7.5" bowl needs a base circle (D) of 8", and a side (C) finishing at 23.50" round (cut to 24.00")
8.5" bowl needs a base circle (D) of 9", and a side (C) finishing at 28.25" round (cut to 28.75")

(To calculare other sizes: C=π D.  This means Circumference = 22/7 x Diameter, [plus 0.5" for both measurements] - or add a comment and I'll work it out for you, LOL)

So I started with legs from a pair of jeans  I cut the hem off, leaving a C value of 20 inches, so I needed a 7inch circle for the base (*).  Alternatively I could cut a strip 7" x 20.50 and make it into a tube the same size as the jeans leg.  If so I would leave a 4" gap mid seam to make life easier later on

Once I'd cut these out I folded both the leg and the circle in half and marked the folds with pins, and then in half again matching the pins, so I could mark the 1/4s.

I then pinned the base to the sides matching first the pins and   then between them, and then stitched.

I did the same again with the other leg.  This could be a contrasting fabric instead.  the denim is quite firm -  if I were using two patchwork fabrics I would have added stabiliser

One needs to be turned right way, the other stays inside out

Put the right way one inside the other (right sides together), and pin them together,  I put a length on jumbo rikrak around between the two pieces.

The untidy ends of the rikrak need to stay visable at this point, so they will be hidden later.  Stitch all the way around the top.  (for this denim bowl I needed to leave a turning hole here at the top as I didn't want to open a leg seam)

Turn the whole lot through the hole that was left either in the side seam or the top, then I pinned and top stitched in order to close the hole.  If you left a side hole, this can be slip stitched close now.

Ta Da!!!!!! 

If I had used contrasting fabrics the bowl would be reversible, but on this version there isn't any point in reversing it as both look the same!!!!

(* To make yourself a template for the base:  get a piece of paper bigger than the diameter required.  Mark an X in the centre.  Position a ruler so the half way measurement is on the cross (ie for a 7" circle, put 3.5" ruler mark on the X) and mark the 0 and the 7" positions on your paper.  Move the ruler a bit clockwise and repeat.  Carry on like this until you have enough marks that you are happy to join them into a circle.  So long as you have marked both measurements, and always lined up the middle measurement with the X you will be creating a dot-to-dot circle)

Bowled Over

After making bags last week, there were pieces of the fabric left over, not big enough to make bags from, and not small enough to scrap, so I made a bowl, and another one and another one

Those first three went to good homes, but I also I made this one from a donated pair of jeans' legs.

Hope you all had a good weekend

Saturday 13 October 2012

Envy Post

I was very excited to see postie walking along my road today, as I thought, (hoped) I knew what she might have for me.

You might remember I joined a Japanese Charm Swap back in August.

The idea of Japanese charms is not that they have Japanese theme, but rather that they are made in Japan, and the Japanese fabrics generally have a similarity that the prints are all small scale.  So even with just a 5" square (a 'charm' square) the pattern is repeated enough times that you get several images.

So 56 of us bought a metre each of a different Japanese fabric, cut it into 5" squares and posted them off to the lovely Sarah.  Once she had them all, she played a kind of game of patience, and created 56 stacks of all different charms, and then on Thursday posted them all out to us.

So very excitingly this little stack came through my letter box this morning

And when it gets dealt out, it looks like this (be still my beating heart)

(My stack is still pristine - Sarah stacked them perfectly and I am happy to stroke and fondle, so I stole the photo from Sarah's own blog, hope you don't mind S!!!!)

Thursday 11 October 2012

Happy Hexies

I haven't shown these for a while: the flowers are not joined to each other, but there are 10 competed flowers - I think I've been watching too much TV, that would explain why the hand sewing shows more quantity than machine sewing, LOL

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Wednesday 10 October 2012

How to Make a Bag

OK, not how to make *any* bag, but here are instructions for how to make my slouch bag or a variation of it.

I'm writing these instructions for me, to cut down on the scraps of paper floating around the sewing room, but feel free to use them if you want :-)  I apologise for the style of instructions, I find it very difficult to write coheriently but briefly!

Requirements to make reversible slouch bag (one fabric is referred to as the lining, but the bag will be reversible):
  • 2 x half metre of fabric.  I use two fairly stiff fabrics and no stabiliser, if one or both fabrics are soft, then also add at least one layer of stabilising stuff
  • 1m of 1.5" wide webbing (or 6 inch x width of fabric) for straps
  • 2 D rings (optional)
Fold one fabric in half width ways and again in half length ways.  Cut scoop out from the selvedge edge so it looks like a folded vest top

 Repeat with the second fabric, using the first as a pattern piece so they are the same.

Do you want a pocket?  
You can use the waste from 
the scoop to add a pocket
 to the inside, or the outside,
 or both.  Add pockets now.

Take the two fabric pieces, and pin the lining 'necks' to the outer 'necks', right sides together. 

(Do you want a flap or some sort of tie to allow you to close the bag? Prepare them now, from scraps.  The flap or ties need to been placed between the fabric, sandwiched so you can only see the very edge, and stitched in place as the neck is stitched -add a loop of elastic or a keyring attachment to the flap and then place a suitable button so the bag can be closed?)

Stitch the necks.

Now you are going to stitch both bags closed along the sides, all apart from a 5inch gap in one side of the least favourite fabric (the lining)

Now create two straps from with the webbing or the extra length of fabric:   

Take the 6"xWOF piece-  (fold in half length ways, press.  Then open and fold the raw edges in to the fold, press and fold again.  Open up the ends, fold under the short edge, and re-fold along the long edge, pin  at regular intervals.  Now stitch along both edges to finish the strap.)

There are 2 unstitched openings at the top of the bag, sort of where the shoulders would be if it were a vest top.  Open these so there is one fabric either side of the opening.  The strap needs to be placed so it is mostly inside the bag (between the two fabrics), with just a raw edge peeping out through this opening.

The opening can be reduced if it is much bigger than the strap, or the strap can be pleated it it is bigger then the opening.

 If a boxed bottom is required, create that now. [see this link for how to create one], I used a 2 inches) repeat 4 times, once for each corner

Now turn everything through the hole you left in the lining.  Top stitch around the 'neck',  stitch down the end of one of the straps to secure the two D rings (optional), and slip stitch the opening closed.

The straps can be adjusted either by knotting, or by adjusting the strap through the D rings.


Monday 8 October 2012

Is it A Bee? Is It A Dog?

The first Bee block has arrived today from Nicky in West Sussex: isn't he lovely!

Just to show how the stars will fit together (tesselate), here is mine and Nicky's together

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Saturday 6 October 2012

Bag Lady

I spent a lovely afternoon a few days ago making bags!
Hope you are managing some creative time too.

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Tuesday 2 October 2012

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that

I wish I hadn't typed that post title, now I cant get that song out of my head - serves me right!

A few random photos for today's post.  After meeting Annabelle recently the sneaky lady posted a photo of mum and I on her blog (right at the end of a long post), so I thought I'd return the compliment - so here are Annabelle and I in her sunny conservatory - and yes we both have uncontrollable grey / white hair!

I'm now taking you from the Home Counties over the sea to Portugal.  Just two photos from my recent girly weekend to  Lisbon: I love these window decorations - buttons strung onto fishing wire

. . . and when the waiter asked if we wanted a pitcher of beer rather than 6 medium glasses we never expected to have one of these brought to the table!!!  It was fab, and the centre column of ice kept the beer ice cold even in the direct sunlight (I want one!)

And finally, two lizards for Jen from the African Bee swap.  I tried to make one out of hot dots: I cut the lizard shape out of the dots and ironed them onto the fabric, but couldn't work out how to get the foil to then stick to the dots, so I abandoned that plan, and simply bond-a-webbed another one onto fabric, and stitched around him in a green blanket stitch in Lisbon (a well travelled lizard!)  Apologies for the rubbish pic, I thought it was better, and he's been packaged up now ready to continue his travels, this time to Jen's in California, along with a budgie and a hedgehog!

However, in the mean time, Jacqui emailed me with the instructions on how to use the hot dots - doh, I had to melt them again with the foil on top!  I did a positive, and a negative, and although I have sent both, I have only taken a pic of the negative one as I think he's the better one.  I did embroider around his body as one of the Pearle cottons that Plum sent me was the perfect colour, so Sparkles is on his way with Boris!