Friday 27 March 2020

2020 Wk 13 - a finished quilt for an anniversary

The BFL (my father’s initials) quilt was finished earlier this year and has been on my on my bed ever since.   I used some blocks embroidered with free motion quilting, some blocks machine embroidered with designs I created, and mostly some perfect fabrics from various collections designed by Janet Clare.

I am totally in love with this

More details about my quilt are here

As well as having added embroideries that were important to me, the fabrics really spoke to me too

They are all Janet Clare fabrics: sailing ships - my father loved them (my stepmom had to clear 31 boxes of books about, and paintings of sailing ships!), there is wind, rain and seaweed (all featured on holidays to Bergen and to Halsnøy )!  The red cottages are perfect to depict the cottage we visited every holiday, and the blue whales ... our Norwegian family is spread all over the world: USA, Kenya, now Portugal, England and of course Norway, but like blue whales we call to each other across the oceans and support each other.

When I had finished “my” quilt there was enough fabric left for a end-of-the-bed quilt, or a wrap-round-the-shoulders-if-you-are-cold-or-need-a-hug quilt, so I made one for his best friend, my stepmom, too.  It’s been posted to her and I’m hoping it will arrive in time to commemorate the anniversary - I can’t believe he’s been gone two years! 

Thank you to Janet and Tony Clare for the course and the fabrics, thank you to my aunts, cousins and the family for the happy memories, thank you to Susan for being his much loved best friend and for everything you did for him, thank you to the blue whales for the love, thank you to my “Farmor” (grandmother) for recognising the cottage and the island as a treasure for so many future generations, and thank you to my father, BFL, for having been you: love you and miss you

Thursday 26 March 2020

2020 Wk 13 - for a small audience

This post is for a small audience in many ways - a couple of colleagues are not really feeling the fun of home schooling their kids and don’t have a lot of craft resources, whereas, ahem, I do!  So the post is kind of for three lovely youngsters!

I have dug out a whole load of supplies from the childminding days (the benefit of being a hoarder) but where as I can safely get the stuff to them, I can’t pop in and explain the crafts: so this seemed the logical place to do just that!

So here we go!  Have fun Carly and Lora!  Hope something here sparks their imagination! Don’t insist they use the stuff the way I’ve suggested, if anything inspired them to make anything at all that would be great!!!

French Knitting.  They might get bored with this but it’s something they can pick up and put down.  I found that the easiest way to remember the winding on technique was to have the next peg to be wound furthest away from me and then wind a letter “e” .  I have copied the instructions so you each have them.  You each have one that has been started - maybe tie something a bit heavy to the emerging tail to help pull the knitting through.  Use the plastic needle or a tooth pick to lift the old loop over the new loop.  They may not like it at all - not sure any of mine enjoyed it!

Scratchy dinosaurs - probably for B - scratch off the black and reveal bright colours below.  Can be done to show detail on the dinosaur or  most Sunday school kids seemed to want to remove all the black, there is a wooden pen thing in the box for drawing on the black

Paracord  bracelets - you both have some paracord and some instructions, and enough clasps to make a few each.  Once it’s set up it’s  just a repetitive knot .

Flip flop crafts (sorry only two kits) might be fun for the bigger girls, so one in each box

The paper based crafts are also one in each box.  The square is a mandala kit - the stencils are in the base, the idea is that you choose one design and draw it using the stencil, then move the stencil one notch and draw it again.  The roller makes plain paper into embossed paper.  Maybe swap when they've lost interest

Bead bugs - have fun, instructions are included

Stamping - I have clearly had phases where I have bought far too many alphabet stamps so you have some each plus some other wooden stamps and some see-through plastic stamps: (these get stuck onto the Perspex  block, used and then take them off the Perspex box and stick something else on). Hopefully the ink pads still have something left in them - if they have dried up maybe try with a drop of two of water.  I *think* they are washable inks

Weaving coasters.  Instructions are enclosed, you can swap after a while if you want.

Transfer paints.  These are now in plastic bags with some fabric.  If you don’t mind can you pour or pippet small amounts of paint onto a plate or plastic egg cups, it’s best if they don’t get mixed in the pots!  Get the girls to paint a picture (no words, we are going to end up with a mirror image of their picture. They can use paint book sheets or pictures printed from the internet.  Start with smallish images so it will fit under the iron in one go. When the paint is dry set up the ironing board (groan if you like but a bit of magic is going to happen so it’s worth it!)

Get the girls to put their image face down on a corner of the fabric supplied and press for a count of (can’t remember, maybe start with 10) on a synthetic (or 1 dot) heat.   Pressing means put the iron down and count - don’t move it around.  If it’s a big pic you’ll need to lift the iron and put it down again.  Prepare to be amazed.  And now move the picture to another corner of the fabric and press again.  More magic!  I have more synthetic fabric if you need it.

Paper dolls - some to cut out and colour in clothes (maybe stick to cardboard first for rigidity) and some to draw on - maybe draw friends or family and make bunting for the bedroom (use needle to sew them onto a length of wool - it’s best it you can do an in and an out on each head or shoulders to stop them turning sideways

Sewing - gulp! I know you are not fans but the older girls might enjoy it.  Tips: I suggest using thread no longer than fingertip to armpit, BUT measure twice that, thread the needle then knot the two ends together (a loop knot- make a loop and push the ends through) now the girls can’t keep unthreading the needle.  But when they have about the length of their hand left of thread they need to stop sewing and tie off this thread. To do this sew a *tiny* stitch and before you pull the thread all the way through push the needle through the loop then pull tight.  Repeat.  Cut the thread at least two fingers width from the end.

The wooden sticks with the notches can be pushed together in a kind of log cabin method - a left and a right then an away and a near.  They can made a good sized box - glue or otherwise join the coloured sticks to make a base

Loom weaving- both looms have been warped (set up) and started.  The principle is that the wefts (the bits you weave in) go under-over-under-over, and if it went over last time it goes under this time. (See the bit I’ve done for you).

Don’t get stressed if the girls don’t get it 100% right it won’t matter.  The wooden block is to slightly raise alternate warps, and the a slight twist raises the other warps.  I find it annoying but they might find it helps.  If they find it confusing seeing the other warp threads you could put a sheet of paper over them.  One set has a wooden shuttle to help pushing the thread through the other has a plastic needle in the box.  The weaving needs to be pushed to the end every time to keep in tidy.  One kit has a wooden comb type of thing, the other will need to use a fork or similar.

These card templates are great for weaving or embroidery.  You have a weaving example each and see the pic for embroidery - they could weave a person (add separate arms and legs - the red one has arms) or embroider their name (and friends’ names?) or a star or just in one hole out of another with different colours. (There are plenty more if they are a success)

Hole punch sets: you have one collection each - feel free to swap as one has alphabet and the other has shapes.  The girls can cut the designs along the edge of a piece of paper (bookmarks?) but can also use the bits they have cut out to stick on things

Tiny photo frames - they can decorate the frames and either cut faces out of old family photos, or draw a tiny pic to put in the frame

Foam stuff - a few bits in each box - stick stuff onto the foam - pritt stick should be fine.  However tempting it is, try not to let them use felt tip pens as they don't dry on the foam and therefore smudge forever!  I've chucked in some felt flowers - dismantle the flowers and you have some felt petals they can stick on

Hema beads - I’ll pick this up when I next go to church.  pic to follow.
arrange the beads on the pegboard - there are a couple of books of ideas and the girls can create their own designs.  Once its finished *carefully* move the board to the ironing board.  using greaseproof paper on top of the design iron it.  You will see through the paper that the beads start to melt and fuse together.  Once the top looks secure give it a minute or two to cool a bit then pull gently way from the board.  Flip the design over and press from the other side and melt that too to make it more robust (once they break repair is nigh on impossible).  It will be too hot for the kids to touch yet.  If it starts to curl press again with the iron and then put a book on top to flatten  They can be used as drinks coasters or hung with thread in the window

"Latch" Wool rug

Long term project but it may interest at least one of the girls
Work from the front - push the crochet hook through a hole and hook the middle of a bit of wool.  Pull it slightly through the hole. Release the hook now push the hook through the loop of wool, and down through an adjoining hole, hook the tails of the wool and pull up through the hole and through the loop.  ( explains, but uses a proper latch hook at we don't have one.  If it's too slow they could use the base fabric and weave lengths of wool under-over-under-over using a needle

Sunday 22 March 2020

2020 Wk 12 - Zip zip zippy day

we were not able to hold Crafty Church yesterday, but I did go and open the church for a time of prayer and reflection, and so I could use the doors/tables to plan a customer's quilt.

All planned now so I can start sewing

I may have done some shopping!    I do have a weakness for pre-wound bobbins and was delighted when I found a UK based site selling them.  Not only much cheaper on postage, but the USA site had pages and pages of machine manufacturers and which bobbin size . . . but my machines weren't on the list.  At, she just listed 4 choices for Brother - nice and easy!

So I treated Lizzie to black bobbins and some pretty colours, and the sewing machine (which doesn't have a name) to a whole load of colours!

Two of the classes that have had to be postponed were for a zippy pouch - one was a machine class and one was hand sewing, but both needed samples, and my hand sewing ladies don't mind if I machine sew a sample for 'their' class.

My problem is that I wont remember the construction methods when I don't to teach these so I am saving my sanity by recording the methods along with the photos here!

The instructions are very "short hand", but if you do want more info just zap me a comment or email

Curt a piece of vinyl into a square or rectangle about 1/2 inch bigger than the size you want the pouch.  Cut the vinyl into 2 where the zip needs to go: could be 50/50 but I usually go for about 1/4 and 3/4 sections.

For all the methods you need to attach the zip to vinyl fabric using favorite method resulting in at least 1/2 inch fabric on both lengths of the zip.  I use this method (use instructions 1-7 here) -   Cut strips of fabric 2" wide fold in half, press, fold edges into the middle, press: you now have zipper binding 1/2" wide

Tuck the edge of one piece of vinyl into to the opening until it's flush with the back, pin or clip in place.  Place on top of the zip tape and sew through the zipper binding, the vinyl and the zip.  repeat on the other side of the zip so the vinyl is now once piece with a zip in it.

Cut internal fabric and external/backing fabric pieces the same size as the prepared vinyl.

Layer fabrics as shown (but so edges match), pin in place

Non- Bias Binding method
Cut length of non-bias binding equal to perimeter plus 8".  Bind as for a quilt.

Bias Binding method
As above, but round the edges of the pouch and bind with bias binding gently easing around the corners

Birthing method (full vinyl front)
Stitch all the way round but leaving a 6" gap for birthing

Birthing method (bordered vinyl)
I prepared the vinyl/window piece by adding a border to the vinyl, then slicing into the fabric border and adding a zip

The birthing method pouches have not been finished so we can look at them layered up in the class.  When birthing remember to turn by putting your hand in where you can feel the zipper pull and turn that section to the outside.

Friday 20 March 2020

2020 Wk 12 - Jelly Roll Race

I finally braved the state in the sewing room, unearthed the started jelly roll race, and finished piecing and quilting it.

I love the total randomness of the blocks!

My lovely niece, Indi, and I recently had an Instagram chat during which she said yes please she would like a quilt for her bed

Music to my ears of course!  What to make?  - Mum brought an Australian Jelly Roll home from Australia for me, from her recent visit to my brother and his family.  It was displayed in the shop made up to  Jelly Roll Race, and that's what caught mum's eye. So that was a good idea, but could I add more to it?. . .Indi has lived all her life in Oz, her mum is quarter Spanish, and her dad is half English and half Norwegian.

They used to have an Akita dog, she did a tandem parachute jump for her 12th (!) birthday and she is a great little driver, accompanying my brother to race tracks when he races.

So a quick shopping trip to Spoonflower added some other relevant (but eclectic)  fabrics:  Hopefully she will see it as a grown up version of an i-spy quilt

Trimming and binding still to be done, then get it sent off to Oz!

Tuesday 17 March 2020

2020 Wk 12 - I'm not going to mention it

The elephant in the room is being ignored!!!!

I've been doing a lot of admin but I've also snuck in some sewing and I'm hoping one will reduce and one will increase.

Mum and I attended a Linus Quilt sewing event at Chertsey Museum last weekend.  We dropped off some donated fabric, I did some sewing and mum did some ironing: we left them with this flimsey

At home I've been looking at this mess . . . and giving up: I don't know where to start tidying it up - there is 3/4 of a jelly roll race buried under there somewhere which could do with finishing . . . another day!

I have been doing some hand sewing though.  This got put away in January looking like this

but I've now started from the other end, so it has progressed to this

Keep safe everyone

Wednesday 11 March 2020

2020 Wk 11 - what I made and what I learned

Richmond and Kew quilters has a challenge that started a few months ago - we were given a random animal “pin” badge and were challenged to make an A3 quilt inspired by the pin.

I got a stag: a beautiful beast that we can sometimes see with a herd of deer in Windsor Great Park which is a few miles away.  The park isn’t very distinctive but it incorporates The Long Walk which is very distinctive.  I designed the castle for the embroidery machine to stitch (in two hoopings, that was fun to match up) then added the start of the Great Walk and the trees.  I did try machine stitching the trees but decided to hand stitch instead ...

And here is the ready-apart-from-binding result

My other sewing this week was close to (are you sitting down?) dressmaking.  I had a sweatshirt that was too short.  I bought some extra red fabric and replaced the lower 8 inches of grey with 14 inches or so of red.  I’m rather chuffed with the result

However it’s not perfect and I have learned quite a bit ...

I learned that rather than zigzagging the hem then stitching it down it would have been better to find a double needle and top stitch that way - it would have saved time and would have stopped the hem edge flipping out.

I learnt that it worked well to join the raw edges about 1/2” from the edge, zigzag the raw edges and then top stitch the seam alliance down

And I learnt that sweatshirt fabric has selvedge edges - doh! 🤦🏼‍♀️  I’ll do better next time!

Friday 6 March 2020

2020 Wk 10 - Resin and crochet recycling

Last weekend the girls and I went to a class making resin jewellery.  We had to wait for the pendants to be delivered as they were still wet when we finished - these came through the letterbox yesterday - they don’t photograph too well but they are gorgeous!

I’ve done some more sample prep for the Well-being class in a few weeks: a version of sashiko

And a version of Kantha (well it will be when I’ve stitched it)

At Chertsey Museum today we were looking at ways to recycle old crochet!  I’d been given a bag load by a local waste recycling centre (they sort through some of the waste and put aside stuff that might be useful to someone, isn’t that great!) and more from a colleague at church: mostly done by her dad and grandmother!  I did check with her it was ok to cut them up and she was happy so this was today’s session!

Some brightly coloured stuff was added to black and to neutral with great effect

And the natural crochet looks great too

Some ladies brought their finished modern hexie projects too - don’t they look great!