Saturday 30 May 2015

The List and the Lighthouse (Long!)

Yesterday's 'off list' making was almost certainly avoidance tactics - avoiding the Lighthouse Quilt.

The Lighthouse Quilt is specifically requested by my father.  Not just "A" lighthouse quilt, but a quilt depicting the Cape Flattery lighthouse in Washington please thank you very much.

I blogged about starting the quilt, and some photos of the lighthouse here. I made some units for the house and the tower and about 4 months ago it looked like this

It then got put away, but as I've a week off school I knew I should really clear the work table and do something with it.

I didn't like that one building was at an angle, and I didn't like the darkness of the windows and doors, the tower's light section was completely wrong and obviously some sort of land was needed!

I asked Mr Google for some help and found a whole new way of procrastinating!  I found better photos of the lighthouse and the island, Tatoosh:
And a lot of interesting articles about the Washingtom State History page about the island,  the Wiki page for the lighthouse, and article from Lighthouse Friends dot com, and some articles by Heather Bowers whose great grandfather was the lighthouse keeper there for 32 years.  The Lighthouse is no longer manned, and is being returned to the Makah tribe.  The island is virtually untouched by development, and is of interest to the archeological researchers at the Makah Cultural and Research Center, as well as to a variety of universities and environmental research groups. (Links more for my futue reference to save finding them all again)

I also found a few very helpful photos:

 From www.USCG.MIL website

These helped me get a better idea of the layout of the building, and I could see obvious mistakes in the initial layout.

I changed the building so we were looking straight on, I redid the windows and doors: (I know the previous versions were more like the original, but I preferred this lighter look.)  I have removed the tower's light section and will embroider that direct onto the fabric later, and I auditioned green grass and sea grass fabrics.  I also changed the light tower so it came out of the roof,

I then looked  more closely at the pictures and realised I didn't have to choose between the two grasses - I could use both

The next job will be to start preparing the applique pieces.  With serendipitous good timing, Katy posted some applique suggestions this morning, and I happen to have some fusible interfacing, and am now stitching each building part to the interfacing.

(But I've just realised the main building part still needs two windows, so I shall do them first!)

Friday 29 May 2015

List? What List?

I'm fairly sure  I know there is a loooong list of sewing projects that I could be working on, but when I was sorting through charm squares for the Sweet Sixteen Scrappy Swap I found a load of texty charms from a swap a few years ago.

I cut them into 2.5" squares, and used some of the fabrics in the 16 blocks, but there were a lot that really 'wanted' to be used together, but not enough for a quilt.  I started joining them randomly then did some unsewing and joined them in a pattern.

And found myself making a fabric basket!!!

 No idea what I'm going to use it for, but I rather like it!

There were a few blocks left over (I wouldn't want to *plan* and make the required number of blocks would I?) and I'd found a purse frame that I hadn't used at Jackie's back in the spring, so I had a go at that too.  Actually *reading* the instructions make a big difference and it's worked out quite well - just needs hand sewing* tonight to be an actual finish!

(* the instructions say to glue and crimp, but I haven't got any suitable glue)

Thursday 28 May 2015

Blue Bagging

A friend of mine has a sister who needs a wheel chair, and needs a bag that is 'just so' - it need to be small enough that it can hang safely on her chair and big enough to carry all her necessary essentials.

Some years ago she found The Bag and has used it ever since - and it's starting to look a bit sad.

They have tried all sorts of 'almost the same' designs, but with limited success . . .  could I possibly try and make one?

I had photos, and a sheet of measurements

Lynn had thought about making one herself but didn't knw where to start, so I thought I'd include directions here so she can have a go at making one if she wants to

For an unlined bag you'll need:
  • 2 bag pieces each 11 x 10 inches (if using directional fabric orientate these portrait)
  • 2 pockets each 5 x 7.5"
  • 2 straps each 30 x 5* inches (makes 1.25" wide straps)
  • I usually use the fold-in-quarters method.  I cant find any instructions, but this is close (thank you Liz).  Roughly - iron in half, fold raw edges in to the middle line, press them in, fold back in half, stitch along both long sides.
  • OR - If that would be too bulky, or you don't have enough fabric, or you cant press the fabric, cut fabric to 2.5" and use this method (thank you Liz)
  • OR - If you cant be bothered to make the straps, buy 60 inches of webbing that suits your project and use that!
  • Fold one short side over by about 1/2 inch, fold again, and top stitch. 

Measure up 2" from the bottom of one bag piece, and pin a pocket, right sides together, hemmed edge hanging below the bag, on the centre of this line. Stitch with 1/4 inch seam

Flip pocket up so it's now in the right place.  Repeat with second side. Press

Take one strap, and starting at bottom of bag, pin it so it overlaps the pocket edge along it's middle all the way to the top of the bag

Repeat with the second bag piece and the second strap.  Once you've done both, line them up bottom to bottom so you can check the strap ends are aligned.  Not essential, but annoying if they don't!

Stitch each strap starting at the bottom, up to 1.5" from the top, across, and down the other side.  I found it easiest if I pined or clipped a measured piece of paper at the top so I knew when to turn

Once all 4 strap pieces have been stitched they also have completed the pockets

Placethe two units right sides together and pin the sides and the bottoms together.


In order to box the bottom of the bag we are using this method: Cut a 1.5 square from each bottom corner:  Stitch the side and bottom seams, locking the stitch at each start and stop.

NOTE: you are only stitching the sides and the bottom, where you can see I've pinned -  NOT around the cut out bit

Your bottom should now look like this (but maybe a bit neater!!!!)

Now manipulate the fabric so the two seam ends meet, and the two cut corners are pulled away from each other (annoyingly my photo of this stage is worse than my usual photos, sorry but the link shows it well)

Turn right sides out, fold top edge over 3/8 inch ish, fold again, pin and stitch to hem it


My first version was made from a pack of two tea towels from Poundland - so it cost £1 in fabric!

The second version is actually lined and has internal pockets as well as external ones.  It used 24 inches / 60 cm of 42" wide fabric.

Ann also mentioned a wipeable version.  The previous two are machine machine washable, but I thought I'd have a go with vinyl (thank goodness for the non-stick machine foot)  This was unlined (I couldn't cope with the thought of turning through a small opening), and took 30 x 20 inches fabric.

I used slightly sturdier fabric than usual patchwork fabric, which resulted in lovely sturdy bags.  The pocket position reinforces the base and they keep their shape and stand up really well.  I think they'd make a good project bag or lunch bag too.  It look me 3 hours to make two, and each one uses about £8 of fabric

Hope Ann likes them!

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Parenting Problem

The ironing board is always set up in my house, with the iron ready to use at a moment's notice, but this is for *fabric* not clothes.

I have taught all the family how to carefully hang out wet clothes so as to avoid the need to iron them (and yes maybe my standards in that dept are lower than some).

So I have clearly not taught the girls the life skill of ironing clothes

Husband used to iron shirts before he met me, but did them the man's way:

And clearly *did* pass on that life skill

Although maybe not as well as he thought

So BOTH parents failed to teach that particular lesson!!!

Monday 25 May 2015

Sweet Sixteen Scrappy Blocks

I may have got a bit carried away making these sweet 16 scrappy blocks:

I made five pairs . . .

 Than another five . . .

And I have some single blocks plus lots of strips left over

Don't they look fab together!

Ive made 30 odd so far and have plenty of scraps left, and Jackie is making some too,  and Sue is sending some over to be swapped with duplicates, so by the time Jackie comes over in early July we'll have enough between us to make a top each

Saturday 23 May 2015

T-Shirt Bowls

Yep, t-shirts turned into bowls! Another fun evening at Chertsey Museum!!!

I really enjoyed last night's class: I showed the dozen ladies how to cut up a tshirt to make yarn (we used this method from Mollie Makes ) and then we had a go at using it to make bowls

What do you reckon?


Aren't they looking great?


Friday 22 May 2015

Amy's Bloggers' Quilt Festival 2015 (part 2)

I think I've just got time to submit a second entry to the 2015 Spring Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  If you seriously don't know anything about it, just click here

My Second entry is this bright and fun Rainbow Quilt. 

I was involved in a rainbow charm swap a few years ago and waited until I knew the right project for them!

Amy has called this category ROYGBIV for the seven classic colours of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet), but as quilters we know that a colour wheel has SIX colours and its only a short leap to understand that a rainbow has the same.  I was told that in the 15th century (or so) the church felt that as 6 was associated with the devil (the number of the anti-Christ being 666) it was a bit dodgy having six colours in the rainbow so they kind of added indigo!

Anyhow, I blogged about making it here, and my "rainbow" quit goes under the far less romantic name of "LJ 7R"  This is due to the conversation I have with myself as I'm joining the blocks together: "L, J, L, J, L, J" followed by "7, R, 7, R, 7, R". 

Look at this photo and you'll maybe see why:

Some people call it floating squares, I call it LJ 7R, but I hope you'll all call it bright and beautiful!!!

Thursday 21 May 2015

Bloggers Quilt Festival

If you haven't looked at any quilters blogs this week you might not know that there is s Bloggers Quilt Festival in progress, but you would be in a tiny minority!!!

Amy does a great job twice a year giving all quilters a place where they can show off their favourite creations.  You can visit by using this link 

I'm a bit late getting my post up this year, but I really wanted to enter this hand pieced and hand quilted quilt made for my best friend's first grandchild (I'm hugely jealous that she's got one and I haven't, but love that she, and her daughter, are happy to share him - to the extent that I am his Granny Benta!)

His quilt took ages - years in fact, but I'm really chuffed with it!

Monday 18 May 2015

Happy Hexies

A few weeks ago I started a new (sigh) hexie project

It's grown to this


And I've just had a delivery of more grey. Sadly not exactly the same, but that's my fault for not knowing what the original was called!

I think it wont be too bad as the rainbow will separate the greys, and d'you know what? I don't mind if there are two shades of grey!!! I will soon stop going all the way round and let it grow top and bottom so it becomes a rectangle - probably more use than an enormous hexie!



Sunday 17 May 2015

Sweet Sixteen Scrappy Swap (and Stupidity)

Jackie had a really good idea - we should do scrappy blocks, but make two of each and swap the spares.

We discussed various blocks, and finally decided on a 16 patch where alternates were white ish, and the others are using up whatever we've got - it would be fun to see if we can have each patterned square as a unique fabric.

Jackie started yesterday with this one

and I had a play this afternoon (rubbish day at work so I needed therapy!)

I rooted through my far-too-full strips box

And paired a whole load of strips with fabric that was white or certainly low volume

And joined them together and cut them up and rejoined them:

So a 16 patch needs to be 4 x 4 yes? And I need to think double to make one for Jackie too?

Well in my mind that was a lot of doubling. It was only after I'd joined each one to white and pressed them that I realised I had enough not for TWO sweet 16 blocks, but FOUR!
Anyone else want to make and swap some sweet 16 blocks????

Friday 15 May 2015

Wefting and Warping and Weaving

I'm gradually getting the hang of this woven quilt.  I'm adding instructions here for myself for when I make another one, but of course they are for anyone else to use too.

I'm going to refer to weft and warp - if you have problems remembering which is which this may help:

wEFT goes right to LEFT

while warP goes toP to bottom

I had a jelly roll which split more or less into darkish fabrics and lightish fabrics (EDIT: my jelly roll had two strips of each fabric, if there was just one this would only come out as about 47 x 36".   I added 2.5 yards of black, also cut into 2.5 strips) 

I used 11 light fabrics for the weft: for each one I used TWO  width-of-fabric strip, 2.5 inches wide, cut into six strips each measuring 2.5 x 6.5 inches.  These got labelled A to K.

I used 11 darker fabrics for the warp: for each one I used TWO width-of-fabric (wof) strip, 2.5 inches wide.  

I used black as my background: I cut 22 wof strips from yardage.

From each pair of warp strips, one got paired with two black strips and stitched so it had a black strip each side.  I pressed the seams to the black fabric

The other warp strip of each fabric got cut into 6.5" strips.

I sub cut the black-warp-black strips into 2.5" strips, and matched them with the 6.5" strips of the same fabric.

 And I clipped them together labelled 1 to 11

And breathe - you have done all the prep and are ready to start creating

Starting with the number 1 warp fabric, I took two black-warp-black units, and stitched them to each side of a weft fabric to make a + block.

I repeated with all the odd numbered warps, and press the seams out to the darker fabric

These blocks (above) are becoming the bottom edge of the quilt.  You can now see some of them in the right place.  I now only need to pop the even numbered warp fabrics into place and they are already to be stitched together to make the row.

Alternate rows are slightly different:  If you see the top row here it needs a red-with-white-spots warp on the left but it also needs a black-weft-black unit to the very left.

Luckily this row will only need 5 "+" blocks, so once they've been made using the even numbered warp units, and there will be one weft left over.  That one needs to have black top and bottom, and then needs to be sub cut into two 2.5" units which will be the first and last units in the row

Clear as mud?

My head is hurting, so I'm just going to give up typing and go and look at the beautifulness that is my progressing weft and warp weaving quilt :-)

(photographed at 90 degrees, so the weft and the warp are swapped here, sorry)