Tuesday 30 June 2015

The Week that Was

As school starts to wind down for the summer holidays my job seems to get more and more manic - I certainly earn that six week holiday! Being busy at work means I'm just coming home and collapsing in the evenings, and we seem to be busier on summer weekends than winter weekends!
All this means hardly any sewing! The few things I have managed have included some t-shirts and a baby quilt for customers,

and a rope bowl for me - inspired partly by the t-shirt yarn bowls we made at Chertsey museum, and partly by Svetlana's current obsession. I can see I'll need lots of practice, but I'm loving the organic shape.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Sunday and Stars

I had a lovely day on Sunday: No pics but I went to Sandown Racecourse - to the National Quilt Championships.  Lots of inspiration,  lots of vendors and lots of fun.

I managed to meet a fellow blogger  - Kate North from Kate's Quilting.  We have followed each other for many years, and my children are only a few years older than hers.  She kindly sent me some unwanted wool a year or so ago - it was great to meet up over a coffee.

I managed to do my bit for the quilting economy and bought a few bits and pieces:

All *Mostly* for projects already on the go, or at least at planning stage!

The white is for the top I've recently been working on

It needed a border of white, so as soon as I got home I set to chopping up the fabric and adding squares around the outside.

Next it needs to be chopped up again.  I'm making a Whirly Gig / Lil Twister quilt,  I first knew this as a Square Dance design.  I've made a few in the past

I love the end result, but haven't made one for quite a while.

I wrote a tutorial at my last attempt, and approached that from the "I have a template, what size blocks do I need to cut", angle - whereas this quilt is approached from the "I have charm squares, what size template do I need?" angle.

So, I started with charm squares (5") and joined them with 1/4" seams, leaving me with, give or take a smidgen, 4.5" finished blocks.

A bit of trial and error showed me I needed 3.75" templates, with the diagonal starting 3/4" from the corner.  You can see I made paper templates to start with to ensure they almost met but didn't overlap. 

When I was sure I had the right size I made myself a plastic one

And started drawing on my quilt

Some lines are separated by a small amount

Others are on top of each other - luckily none actually overlapped so my template is the right size, its just some of my piecing that's a bit off

Once I'd drawn all over my top, I started to cut out the new squares

Each of these new squares just then needs to be twisted slightly anti-clockwise and pinned to its neighbour.  Its easiest (well I think it is) to start by cutting  and pinning one square at a time

But after a while I started cutting a whole strip's worth.

The white in the second and third columns don't look like stars, but are actually two stars wide.  My plan is to quilt just inside each star with a suitable thread so the white stars stand out

I'm now about half way through the cutting and pinning stage.  There is a far bit of waste, as there is an unused square between each pair of star blocks, but I plan to use them in the border, like in this one

Back to cutting and pinning :-)

Saturday 20 June 2015

Super Saturday

British Schools know how to put on a Summer Fete!

It was my school's turn this weekend, (along with thousands of others I'm sure) and we had a great day: Pimms, burgers and about a hundred different types of cakes with tea and coffee were on offer, and stalls were selling plants, toys, books etc, as well as numerous tombola stalls.

Nearly all the stuff had been donated by the parents, who then came out in their hundreds to let the children buy or win it back!

I had a stall and had a few quilts and bags on display, and had my baby Brother embroidery machine set up with a basket of brightly coloured flannels (wash cloths) by my side

I embroidered over a dozen flannels there, and came home with orders for another 9, plus bunting,

and I even sold a quilt - the pink zigzag one!

I've now spent the evening at the bigger Brother finishing the orders, and reckon its now about time for a celebratory glass of wine!

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Teenagers and Tears

There are always complaints about teenagers and young adults: no respect, only thinking of themselves, getting drunk and fighting, you know the usual from sensational TV documentaries.

Well today a just-past teenager, (a 21 year old) and his friend made me cry! With relief and at their thoughtfulness!

Jackie's youngest is spending the summer on the west coast of America. I know he was planning on San Francisco, but when this BBC alert came in, I think my heart stopped


I immediately messaged Jackie to check he was ok, and got this message in reply

I could breathe again! She followed up with this info, and that's what made me cry!


There is hope for the world if half asleep young lads can make the connection between what has happened to people in another city and what their Mam's will be thinking at home.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who didn't get such a reassuring message xxx


Sunday 14 June 2015

Bits and Pieces

I embroidered a shawl for a Christening for a customer

I had a go at designing a rope embroidery for the borders on the lighthouse:

 not sure about these

And I finally stitched the remaining Jenny Bayer charms into a top.  The while pack was a gift just over a year ago

and the dark ones were used in this project

leaving the medium and light ones.

 I chopped up the last on my Kona white and had just enough for this

I'll get some more white for the outside and will eventually chop this up again to make a square dance / lil' twister top like this one

Finally, at the village fair yesterday there were a few vintage cars and other vehicles - including a Burrell traction engine. Having designed this one a while ago

I was thrilled to see this one in real life

Friday 12 June 2015

Seaside and a Swap and a Soporific Subject

The Lighthouse quilt is progressing.  It may not look any different than in previous photos, but its now all attached rather than just laid in place

I used Katy's suggestion, and  stitched the applique down with a machine blanket stitch - it's all lovely and crisp.

I'm now thinking about borders and the possibility of getting this long arm quilted.  I can see in my mind how the rocks and the grass and the sea and the clouds should be quilted, but I know I don't have the skills.

Postie brought me a super squishie this morning - Sue had decided to make some too, and by swapping we all get more variety of fabric - thanks Sue, I'll get yours to the post office early next week

This weekend sees the 800th anniversary of the signing sealing of the Magna Carta - a charter agreed by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. (taken from Wiki). 

Legend has it that it was sealed on an island in the Thames, near Runnymede.  Since then the Thames has moved south west, towards Runnymede. . .

. . . and therefore the island must now be part of Wraysbury. . . so claim those in Wraysbury who are interested.  Runnymede has its own claim, and so does Old Windsor and a lot of other local villages.

They all seem to be ignoring the fact that the charter was good for the rich but not so good for us common folk, and the one sealed 800 years ago was so rubbish it was replaced a year later and in 1217 AND 1225 and 1297.  There are probably hundreds of event celebrating this anniversary - in Wraysbury we have had a flower show and are having tea parties, theme village fairs, concerts etc.  Runnymede has a big event which needs this enormous construction

There are flotillas on the Thames, a visit from the Queen, all sorts of riverside gardens being opened to the public, serving cream teas, and at least two fabric related creations.

The Magna Carta Quilters have created a huge collection measuring 30 foot by 7 foot.  I'm sure it is beautifully made, but I have to say I prefer our Wraysbury Wall hanging which is now hanging in St Andrew's Church.  I haven't seen it framed and up myself, but was sent this photo

Hope you have a good weekend!  Apart from the village fair I'm hoping to avoid anything that has the MC words associated with it!

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Departure into Dressmaking

I am most very definitely NOT a dressmaker - leaving aside that fact that my mum IS a dressmaker and any attempts in the past have been swiftly sorted by mum, I have issues with following instructions!

If you've read many posts on this blog you will know that I prefer to look at a finished item and have a go at making it myself rather than read instructions. (A quick look at the SLIK and Quick tab on this blog show 30 odd items, of which at least 3/4 are where I've "re-invested the wheel" rather than follow instructions!)

But, I've been seeing lots of basic tunics on Pinterest, and as well as Nessa who sews a lot, Janine has recently made a tunic, and I finally decided to take the plunge and take a departure into dressmaking.

I remembered Clothkits from childhood, and had heard they were trading again, so asked Mr Google, and found their website.  What I *remembered* were dresses etc printed onto fabric, like this:

What looks like fuzzy lines are the cutting lines for different sizes. 

So that's what I expected when I ordered this

What I got was *real dressmaking* stuff!  fabric, paper pattern, thread and oh good grief, a ZIP!  All included so I had no excuse not to start!

I didn't want to use the lovely linen on my first attempt as I'm not a standard size, so I used some donated fabric and gave it a go (do excuse Niki's bedroom as my backdrop, she has the only even half length mirror in the house)

I need to talk to mum about a few alterations, but I'm rather chuffed that (a) I followed all the instructions - they were really well written, and (b) noticed that the zip was optional (phew) and (c) there was no un-sewing necessary and (d) the pockets and top stitching went fine

Get me - I might be a dressmaker's daughter, but I think I just did some dressmaking!

Sunday 7 June 2015

Woven Windup

A few days ago I assembled the woven blocks quilt, and (since this photo) got the binding machined on, so it just needs the second side hand stitching down.  I used a new fleece from Ikea, a lovely marl grey

 I'm really pleased with the effect of it, although some seams didn't match too well

I actually had enough fabric that it could have been a bit bigger, but I'd run out of fleece so it stopped at Ikea's standard size: 51x67", but that left me with fabric, and I'm trying to finish project fabrics.

Having enjoyed making the white Sweet Sixteen blocks I decided to start one with the leftover Woven strips

I joined together quite a few strips, pressed them, and cross cut them

I'll need to arrange them a bit more randomly, as my *actually* random attempt has too many fabrics near their twin.

I shall have to used Avril's planned random method - she calls it Randoku - random, but not repeating in a block, column or row!