Saturday, 30 November 2013

Creating Cushions

A great Friday night creating cushions with four ladies at Chertsey Museum


Oh, and I got paid too!!


Ain't life grand!


Friday, 29 November 2013

Sorbet Square Sewing

I picked up some really pretty sorbet shades fabric a few days ago, it feels like cotton, but is only poly cotton (I tested it with a lighter), but it was too pretty to leave behind in the shop

I cut  5 inch strips across the width of the fabric, stitched the strips together and then cross cut (again at 5 inches) and staggered them as I stitched them back together

Nothing very technical, but a fun quick make and very cheerful fabric

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Blog Botheration

Just a brief post, Plum emailed me as she couldn't post a comment - has anyone else had the same problem?

Plum wrote " its not really liking me trying to leave a comment – I had to have a couple of goes the other day too.  I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned it, but for the last few weeks your blog has wanted me to accept seeing all content, including non-secure content (or whatever the wording in the little cream box is that comes up).  Have you changed something about it?"

I haven't changed anything, but don't know if the problem is me or Plum.  Please message me if you are having problems too. Benta@SLIKstitches[dot]co[dot]uk

It's no fun reading a blog with no pics, so here's a recent finish, all bound and waiting for a new home. :-)

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Inspired Ideas

A number of my friends have asked me, over the years, for *very* basic sewing help, and it transpires that people exist without so much as a needle and thread - I know, it beggars belief doesn't it!

I decided that group of friends (who luckily don't visit this blog) should be introduced to this wonderful world whether they like it or not, so I have been collecting stuff for a sewing kit

 or two or three

They should be useful, but look boring, but my thinking kinda stopped there.  Then when I was blog surfing, I saw that the lovely Plum has made some Christmassy Pouches, and that gave me the inspiration I needed - not that mine are anything like hers, but I hadn't thought of making a pouch for the sewing kits.

I used the Fat Quarter bag method that is my go-to draw string bag, but reduced the size

So that the sewing kits will fit inside

I made quite a few

And now just need to get some thin blue ribbon to finish them off

Inspired - thanks Plum

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

School Sewing

I still haven't been near a sewing machine this week, (although I have hopes for tomorrow) but I did set up a production line at the school evening class - although only 4 ladies came, we had three machinists, and one cutter, plus a 3 year old rubbish collector 

Resulting in 7 finished angel outfits and 5 under construction, 

Just 4 more sewing hours until the nativity!!!!!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Fun at the Farm

The girls at Broom Farm are getting in the Christmas spirit:  
Will I get this finished for Christmas?  
Will Santa bring me a sewing machine for Christmas? 
Can we have Christmas cake next week?
(Probably, maybe, yes)

I did get some work out of them: (even if I still haven't been near a machine!)

A silk log cabin cushion, appliqué for bunting, a reversible summer dress (!) and a cricket quilt . . .

And a gorgeous dinosaur based on one from Pepper Pig (?)

As usual, more/individual photos and details on the other blog:

Now off to today's second class -  let's see how many angels we get done!

Random Roundup

I haven't been near my sewing machine this weekend: I've been working as kitchen fitter's mate, finally installing and oiling work surfaces in my kitchen

And I've been pattern designer's mate to my mum as she helps a friend of mine make pattern pieces

So we can make a six layered jacket for her for this sport

Not Fencing, but sword fighting which seems far more brutal, but the suppliers make for men, not very curvy ladies!

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!

Friday, 22 November 2013

A Finish and A Follow Up

I have finished the quilt I was making for a friend for a Christening next weekend where she is God Mother

She's seen it on Facebook, and is very happy with it.

I usually cut my picture fabrics into 8 inch squares for the simpler I-Spy quilts, but cut these in half to make this brick effect quilt, which meant I had the other halves sitting in a pile.  I also got the news that one of our teachers has finally given birth . . . to a baby girl!

I cut some 2.5" strips of pink and attached a strip of pink to each picture rectangle

 I fired up the embroidery machine, and embroidered the baby's name

 And now just need to finish sewing on the binding before I next see her!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Super Strings & Homework Help

Back in April (APRIL!!!!) the lovely Jen from Quilter in the Closet sent me some string blocks that she didn't think she would use.  They were great but 14 blocks does not a quilt top make, so it has been in the back of my mind to make some more blocks.

I got hold of some thin paper a few days ago, and at about the same time realised that my 'string' drawers were kind of full

So I cut the paper into 12.5" squares, layed a strip of white down the centre diagonally, and stitched a coloured strip either side

and kept going until I had six blocks made (sadly I easily managed not to repeat any fabric, and have hardly made a dent in the string drawers!)

So one I have trimmed them to size I will have 20 blocks and will be ready to made another flimsey

On another matter . . . I was approached by two mums in the playground this week, on behalf of children who left our school last year to join a middle school (unusually for UK, we only have children until Yr 4/age 9 as Windsor has a three school system rather than a two school system). 

The children had been asked to collect examples of fabrics: woven, knitted, and bonded or felted, and the look of panic on the mums faces said it all!

I have found samples for them both (not too difficult you understand) but I'm not gluing them into place - the kids can work out which is which!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Button Basics

A few people asked for instructions for the Button Infinity Necklaces I taught at Chertsey Museum recently.

These chunky button necklaces take about 120 buttons - make sure you have plenty before you start, or maybe make a bracelet first.

To start you need 2 x 2m lengths of plastic elastic cord.  (I have used red cord simply so the photos are clearer, but I usually use this stretchy elastic cord which I get from Baker Ross, £3 for 30m.  You can use sewing elastic, but the ends keep splaying and it gets difficult to poke it through the buttons. )
Holding the two lengths together, find the middle and tie a knot leaving a small button sized loop. 

Take 4 buttons and thread one onto each length of cord, (in and out, through both holes so they lay along the cord).  Push them up to the knot (this is a single [a single thread for each button] stage)

Next take any two cords, and use them both to attach another button, and the remaining two cords to attach a 6th.  Push them as far up to the others as you can. This is a twin stage (two cords to each button)

Repeat another single stage followed by another twin stage, and that's pretty much all you do until you have run out of patience or buttons!  You will always need to use a different two cords to last time, or you will get 'holes' in the necklace

When you get to the end, tie a knot in all 4 cords, then thread a final button on, and tie another knot outside the button
I then try and poke those cords back to the underside of the button and tie them off again.  You can then push this final button through the loop you created at the start.  You shouldn't need to do this to wear it as you can stretch the elastic to put it over your head or wrist

Things to think about: 
  • The smaller the gap between each button and the next, the chunkier it will finish.  
  • If  you want a 'middle' like my turquoise one has, you can use two bigger buttons back to back.: Use a necklace they you know is the right length as a measure to know when you have reached the middle.
  • The stretchy cord doesn't really like to knot: give it a really good tug to stop in unknotting.  A *really* good tug - it won't shouldn't break
  • use a variety of button sizes as you go so you don't have just small or just big left at the end
  • An alternative which gives a slightly less chunky finish is to add three buttons at each stage: one twin and two singles - that is two cords into one button, and the other two cords into a button each, then take one of the previous twins, and a previous single and make them into the new twins.  Keep changing, to avoid holes.
Any questions - feel free to ask, otherwise, have fun!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Museum Makes

I forgot to include the Show and Tell projects from Friday's Fun With Fabric at Chertsey Museum: these were the button pictures that were started in October's class and have now been finished:

A flower basket

and two trees

After these and the November button necklaces, my button stash is now looking a little sad :-(

EDIT: I now can't see the post I made with the button necklaces, so here they are again

Monday, 18 November 2013

Monday Mayhem

I'm currently teaching two classes on a Monday, after having worked at school for 4 hours first , so it takes me a bit of time to get my head round what I'm teaching - luckily they get on with it!

At Broom Farm ... A quilt

A reversible dress

And a dinosaur

amongst other things!

And at the evening class I'm trying to teach basic dressmaking, how to read a pattern, and how to use a sewing machine, while trying to create 30 costumes for the school nativity play in a few weeks time!

All working hard . . .

And our first finish:

Hmmm, four more sewing hours before the performance,  we'll need to get a wiggle on!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sizzix Sunday

DD#2, Niki, has been to Florida for ten days to stay with my dad, Grandpa Neill, and Grandma Eileen, and knows that there are certain expectations from her mother

She had to leave room in her case to bring back a few sizzix dies that were either far cheaper in the states, or simply not available here, and she was to go and do a little fabric shopping.

She was let off the fabric shopping as Eileen took on that duty, and did a great job:

 So I'm now itching to start two new quilts!!!!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Menopausal Memory and Craft it Forward

A long time ago, the lovely Hadley took part in a Craft it Forward event and apparently I was one of the lucky chosen few in the next link.

Unfortunately, due to having no memory (I'm blaming it on my age) I have absolutely *no* memory of this at all (although I can see our discussion on her post) and therefore had no anticipation of anything, but the upside is that I got a fab surprise when this arrived:

(complete with Hello Kitty tape)

As if the outside wasn't lovely enough, the inside was even better

Thank you, thank you, thank you my lovely friend!

But, of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch needle case - there is a responsibility attached to eating that chocolate, and accepting the needle case - I now have to "Craft it Forward" - which means I have to send a little something to five people!

In Hadley's words:
 I am sure you are waiting to see how you can be in on the Craft It Forward action!
The rules are simple...
The first 5 interested people with blogs to comment below, will receive something handmade from me in the next 12 months.  Simple.
When those 5 receive their goodies, they must blog about it and then repeat the offer, ad infinitum.

So you can get commenting, and I can get thinking and making!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Button Fun

At Chertsey Museum today we made chunky button "infinity" necklaces: based on these

The ladies made these 
and have a bit of homework to do before we next meet up!!