Sunday, 30 November 2014

My Cousin and a Consequences Coincidence

The third month of the Consequences Round Robin from Richmond and Kew quilters has landed an Africa themed quilt on my workbench.  For the previous quilts I have made a patchwork block and also a machine embroidered block.  The embroidered blocks may not be what people want, so these are a sort of extra block which they can use or not, but I've had fun making.

For "Africa" this machine embroidered extra block could have been easy: elephants against the sunset, a lion's face . . . but I had an idea nagging in the back of my mind, and I was trying to see if it would be OK

Meanwhile I got on with the more traditional patchwork block.  This lady could have been paper pieced, or foundation pieced, but I created her by adding roughly shaped scraps of fabric together in strips (apron then dress then sides, bodice then arms then sides, face then hat then headdress then sides) then the strips added.
(inspired by a block seen on Pinterest, but I don't know where it originated from)

Meanwhile the 'other' idea kept nagging away.  My reluctance was due there being a long explanation behind it, but finally I thought sod it, it's an amazing story, and people can choose whether to read it or not!

I have a cousin called Kire: as well as being gorgeous on the outside (hang on I'll show you what I mean, guesses as to her age are welcome) she's gorgeous on the inside, and oh so talented.  Meet Kire Godal

She is a film maker, working with Discovery Chanel and National Geographic amongst others, and living, by coincidence, in Kenya.  She recently made a film about Lion Guardians, and it was nominated for a Wild Screen award ("considered the equivalent of the “Oscar” by wildlife film makers worldwide")  The film, a campaign film, is used to train Maasai Warriors who are becoming Lion Guardians.  Lion Guardians is an amazing conservation programme, re-educating the Maasai Warriors into a new relationship with lions

So my second Africa block tells the story of the Lion Guardians:

It's a fairly subtle embroidery: goldy orange on stone fabric, but it reads:

Lion Guardians
Traditionally Maasai males would kill a lion to 
reach manhood and warrior status - 
endangering the numbers in the lion prides.

Today the Lion Guardian conservation programme
recruits and trains Maasai men to track the lions,
collect DNA samples and produce identity cards
for them.  this confers a sense of ownership
and pride amongst the men, forming a vanguard to
prevent other Maasai men from hunting lions

The Guardians get  to know 'their' lion -
searching for it daily, and can warn cattle
herders if they are letting cattle graze too
close to the lions.  In searching for their lion
they also track and return stray cattle, and
can take groups of tourists to a pretty much
guaranteed lion sighting

I hope she likes them

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Pretty Perfect Pumpkins

If practice makes perfect, I must be close to perfect at stitching the Pumpkins Pre-School logo onto shirts and sweatshirts - I've done loads this week!


We've changed the logo slightly, I'm really pleased with this version


At last released from that design, I made a gift for the Richmond and Kew quilters Secret Santa Lucky Dip. With a limit of £3 it was either going to be cr@p or hand made - I hope the recipient doesn't think it's both!!



My last job today was to man a craft table at the St Andrews church's Christmas Tree Festival. It meant I got to spend two hours colouring with kids - don't mind if I do! The church was filled with trees created or decorated by individuals, families, groups, or classes in the village. Crafty Church & St Michaels's Sunday School created a star themed tree


But ours was very boring compared to some of the others: the badminton club used shuttlecocks to make angels, and one of the preschools had penguins from footprints sliding down icy slides on their tree!

Now I'm home for the evening and thinking I just might bind the red linen quilt - Amanda at MonkeyButtons has found me some dark red for the binding


Monday, 24 November 2014

Binding Bother, and Bags

My Red Linens quilt is now assembled onto a really soft fleece, but I've run out of red linen so I cant bind it :-(
 Fingers crossed I can get something suitable soon.

 I seem to have been on a bit of a bag run recently.  Lisa has a rucksack for her travels.  It's already been to Norway, Amsterdam and Arizona, now New York, and soon Australia.  She's been buying patches of the places she visits and has stitched them on

She wanted contact details on the bag, so I stitched a luggage tag that I make quite often, but stitched it on rather than  tying it on.  For those who know her there is a delicious irony that it's next to the Lost badge!  (message on day one in NY regarding how she found her way back to the apartment "I did try three different directions before accidentally stumbling across the right road")

I've used up a lot of donated furnishing fabrics, and made 5 tote bags to be sold at the church stall 

And I've made one VW Combi bag for a customer, and another just to use up the rest of the fabric (both reversible, with one small and one large pocket, sub-divided into 3, plus a key/wallet strap )

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Recent Round Up

Life seems to be about choices - do I choose to sew? Or choose to blog? The choice has been "sew" for the last few days, so I thought I'd show you what I've chosen to sew:

I made some bags for a friend who runs a weekly raffle at a club she runs (slimmingworld, slowly but getting there, thanks for asking)

And I joined the Magna Carta ladies - we started putting the blocks together:
 isn't it looking fab!

And I made a basket

In other news, Lisa is having fun being a tourist in New York

Same choices next week . . . Unless I can choose not to work?
 Posted with BlogsyPosted with Blogsy

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Hadley's HSTs (copied)

A while ago I got the ladies at my church group sewing: we were making paper pieced string blocks and got this far 

We discussed who we were making it for, and unanimously agreed it had to be one of two ladies - Vikki or Sheila - lovely ladies from church - both of whom were fighting cancer.

Sadly Vikki died before we got much further, and while I know the quilt wasn't to blame, I kicked it into a corner in disgust, and couldn't bring myself to work on it while I was in mourning for such a lovely lady. I eventually got into the right frame of mind to finish the quilt for Sheila, and she died. Another lovely lady, such a loss to the village .  Another period of mourning :- (

Again I fell unable to complete the string quilt.  It has too many sad memories! At house group last Sunday Mandy made an observation - maybe its time to give up on this and start something else. I'm not sure it's a permanent surrender, but I think she's right that I need to move on at the moment.

The thought rattled around in my mind for a bit, and then I saw the Kona FQs I got from Ireland,

and was reminded of a project Hadley worked on last year -

(Pic stolen from Flying Blind - hope I'm forgiven)

  • Can I cut rainbow FQs into 6" HSTs?
  • Can non-sewing ladies stitch HSTs into squares?
  • Can I easily restitch HSTs if needed?
  • Will these units make a fab flimsy?
I reckon all these can be answered with a YES, so I'm leaving the string quilt to "mature" and we'll work on a copy of Hadley's quilt for a while!

Triangles cut - roll on next house group!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Saturday Stars

Lisa has now left for New York: I consoled myself by moving lots of stuff back into her bedroom!!!!

I celebrated access to my sewing machine by pulling the Jenny Bayer charm pack and a Moda solid charm pack in cream.  This bundle has *nearly* been stitched into a variety of designs, but I finally split it into lights and darks rather than trying to use all. Working with the darks, I added wonky star sections to a quarter or so of the squares 

then started joining in strips of three to make parts of wonky stars:

All stitched, now waiting for the pressing and speed dating stage

At Crafty Church today we made stars for a Christmas tree we are entering into a Christmas Tree Festival in a few weeks time:

Lots of methods, including our craft of the month - felting 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Can't Sew Will Sew

Lisa has moved home - she is temporary, but her stuff is more long term!  It could be as much as a couple of years before she returns to the UK and takes it away again (how am I coping with the thought of her being away for that long? Not well, thanks for asking)

So her stuff is in her room, which means my stuff *isn't* in her room- want to see where it is?
Yep absolutely jam packed into the sewing room!

So for now I can't even get to my computer or sewing machines, let alone use them!

So instead , I'm sewing flowers together;

A girl's got to sew!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Fab Felted Flowers

(This description of how we made these fab flowers is more to remind me than a detailed tutorial)

These are the main ingredients: roving in red, darker red and black, resist (a piece of plastic packing material, it needs to be flexible and cut into a circle a bit bigger than the proposed poppy size) plus a tea towel and some bubble wrap (note to self, white tea towel next time, working with red on red is a tad difficult)

Put the disc on one end of the bubble wrap, on the towel.  Pull fine sections off the roving and lay them so the ends are in the centre hole, spreading out over the edge.

Spray, this helps to anchor them to each other for now (warm water and a little bit of liquid soap)

Flip the other half of the bubble wrap over the top, and flip the bubble wrap sandwich over - lift off the top half of bubble wrap, now you can see the resist and just the ends of the wool.

 Fold all the outer ends of the wool around the edge and towards the side 2 centre, spray

Repeat with side 2 up, and flip and fold the ends onto side 1, spray

Lay just a few strands over the  top of the wool on side 1, spray
Repeat the first steps again: strands onto side one,

 and fold and spray
Then strands onto side two, flip and fold and spray.  If you want to add a few strands of darker red now it the time to do so.

loosely bunch up some black wool, and add it in three points near the middle.  Spray and flip

Put the bubble wrap back over the top, spray the wrap and start stroking the flower through the bubble wrap, gently so as not to risk moving the black sections.  You need to stroke for at least 10 minutes, moving your work around as you go, so you are stroking in all directions.  Flip over, and repeat

When the fibres have all felted together (you cant pull any off), fold it in half and roll firmly between your hands,  then fold back on itself and repeat.  This will have distorted your circle into an oblong, so fold in half (at 90 degrees to the first fold) both ways ad roll again to restore the circle.  It will have shrunk, but the resist wont, so it will look a bit bloated.

Cut around the edge, but just inside the edge, so one side is a bit bigger than the other.  Once you remove the resist it should look something like this (there should be just one piece as the centre will have felted all the way through)
To create the petals, cut the top circle into thirds, from edge to about an inch off the centre.  Do the same to the other side, but offset (see dotted lines)
 Snip the corners off each section

Scrunch in your hand and roll firmly to rough up the cut edges. stretch each leaf width ways so it falls into waves

Take some black roving and wrap it a bit like winding a ball of knitting wool to make a small ball for the centre, roll it between your fingertips for ages, then gently between the balls of your hands until it has felted.

I've almost certainly forgotten some stages, but I plan to have another go, so I'll edit thee notes as appropriate

Sew the ball onto the front, and a pin onto the back, and as always, wear your poppy with pride!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Marvelous Miniatures

I'm taking a break from the embroidery marathon, so I thought I'd tell you about my Friday

I had a lovely afternoon at Chertsey Museum helping the ladies make crafty mug caddies, then I was going back a few hours later to attend a felting class.  One the volunteers, Kaye, who was attending both classes invited me back to hers instead of driving all the way home then back again.

I accepted her offer - with high hopes for a special teat.  Kaye makes miniatures - 1/12th scale, 1/24, 1.48 and even 1/144.  She has brought a few in to show us at Fun With Fabric, but I was really hoping for the guided tour - and I was not disappointed!

I had to serious concentrate on keeping my jaw roughly where it belonged!  A whole room is given over to her creations, and I was like a kid in a candy store - I just couldn't take it all in.

I managed to get a few photos, but you wont get the full experience, sorry, but I can rub it in and tell you it was amazing!

A Tudor house (1/12)

A fabric and patchwork shop

I should have typed "A *tiny* fabric and patchwork shop": 1/48th I think

And shelves and shelves of others

As if I wasn't overawed enough, we then went back to the museum to learn how to make felted poppies - That's tomorrow's post!