Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Some more sewing related goodies

Just wanted to show off my sewing related pressies from Christmas - and there are a lot of them! I think the family has got the memo - Amazon wish lists are great new invention.

It will take me quite some time to read through this lot, never mind actually quilting through them!

This is a really boring present but quite a practical one. There was no extension table made for my machine when I bought it but it has come out recently.

Sadly it was really expensive - let's be honest it is just a piece of white plastic. My machine is a bit funny that way in that it mostly has accessories that fit it and only it. Makes it a real pain to buy bobbins. It will be a real help though when doing some free motion quilting. Maybe I will even improve!

Tune in next time for things I made for others and meanwhile here is a bundle for a Christmas table runner that I didn't even get started but I may just do now and store for next year.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Blogger Quilt Festival

Almost a year in the making, but what better time to finish my sampler quilt than the week of Amy's great Blogger Quilt Festival . This time it feels like I really have something to show off!

This quilt is also special because it is the first one I get to keep!

I designed it to go in my living/dining room to match all the yellow and grey in there. But to make it a little more interesting, I decided to go with a sampler design. I thought this would be a good way to expand my knowledge base of quilting in a shortish timeframe.

I tried to go with the widest variety of types of block. So there is some paper piecing, hand stitching, applique, improv and of course standard piecing. I was fortunate and grateful to all the kind bloggers out there who generously post ideas, pictures and all important tutorials that I was able to use to pull together such a stunning variety of blocks. There are some old school blocks in there two like this 9 patch tutorial but with the simple colour scheme I think the overall look is modern.

Although I really enjoyed making this quilt, the time involved was way more than I had anticipated. Not just in sourcing all the different blocks but then working on each for the first time. But the thing I think held me back the most was the quilting. How was I going to pull all these different designs off?

I decided I didn't just want an overall design, so again much research was called on and finally I got this baby quilted! Once I had started doing the different designs to emphasise each block, I became more confident in the look I wanted to achieve. I reckoned as long as this was a sampler quilt, then I should sample as much different types of quilting designs as I could manage. 

There were some blocks where I was just totally winging it. Some I liked better than others. But overall I am proud that I gave each technique a go and I think I got the mix right between simple outline quilting and some heavier free motion quilting.

My first ever feather attempt

Trying out all the different stitches on my machine

For the nerds among you here are it's vital stats:
Block size: Aimed for 12" (probably trimmed a bit smaller, all due to my error!)
Overall Size: 56" x 72" (or as I like to say big enough to snuggle under in front of TV - and maybe even room for two!
Filling: Bamboo wadding

The back - almost as pretty as the front

Very Autumnal

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The one with the "fleg"

I am so happy for my cousin's wife that she has achieved British citizenship by a test so vigorous that I am not sure all who reside here naturally would actually pass. Especially considering English is not her first language.

So as usual to celebrate any occasion, I made something!

This quilt is to celebrate her dual citizenship and to keep her Thai toes warm on Irish winter nights!

The pattern is adapted from Lily Quilts on Moda Bake Shop. The secret pillow pattern is one of the first that my mother-in-law learnt and I love the one she made for me.

I have to confess it wasn't all plain sailing with this one though. Because the two patterns were different sizes I had to wing it a bit but as usual got it wrong. The pillow was meant to be 18.5" which making a slightly smaller quilt I did not think I would need. So I made it 12" sq to fit in with the blue stripe on the back. You, of course will have spotted that there is no way a quilt will fold up into a 12" sq and you would be right!
So I had to add a few boarders and eventually ended up with something more like 14.5" sq.

Anyway the most important thing is that she loved her present which also doubled as a 30th birthday present.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Could IckleTomato please come to goods in...

The hot weather and time off at the weekend led us to the beach but it was a beach that just happened to be near a fabric shop. Now I wonder how that happened...
Anyway, these were the goodies I picked up in The Crafters Basket Sligo Ireland.
And just while we're on the subject of stashing, I thought I would share some recent gifts (from others and sometimes myself!)

Way back at Christmas, my family came up trumps with some great sewing related presents.

I know what you're thinking - what sewing stuff? This is all just boxes and books! But think of the storage possibilities...
These are all my little squares for my Tokyo Subway Map Quilt by Oh Fransson. The sign was from my sister who has the cheek to comment on my messy sewing room! The dresses book was from my mother- in-law and has some fabulous inspiration in it like this gorgeous Farah Fawcett style wrap dress.

And just recently my friend was in Scotland and totally surprised me by bringing back this beauty!

Of course your nearest and dearest could never buy all that you possibly need (or want) so that is when you just have to treat yourself - like all the time!
So here is the haul from Spain. As you can see not as much compared with other trips as devastatingly one of the local fabric shops in Malaga had closed. Grr recession. The bits and bobs are from what our family calls the Chinese shop up the town! It is a hyper bazaar that my sister discovered and it is full of everything you imagine comes to Europe from China. Anyway there is always much cheapness and good for stocking up on random items. Oh and you might noticed I've bought more storage!
I love the big chunky zips in the back there. Perfect for bags.
And finally...
Spotted these ribbon sets in TK Maxx here at home and couldn't resist. They are so great for tag blankets and wrapping up quilt gift sets.
So now I reckon I have all bases covered - just about!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Back at the wheel

Hey rat fans...I'm back with a quick baby set gift I was able to make at the weekend. It felt good to be at the sewing machine again.
This is the first time I made this particular pair of booties by a pattern by ithinksew.com and I was really pleased with the result. They came together well after. Had made an oops cut the first time round.
The matching tag blanket came together really quickly and is just a simple patchwork of 36 2" squares. I think with the little eye spy animal prints this looks quite effective for something so simple.

I used a thicker filling than usual to give it plenty of oomph in the puffy department. The back was the print that got it all started as the recipient had chosen it but I knew the print would be too large for the shoes but when I looked I found I had loads of fabrics which I could pull together to compliment it.

And finally, I did something slightly different with the name. Normally I would just write the name of the baby and date of birth on their quilt with a laundry marker but when I did it for this it didn't come out so nice. It was too obvious on such a small scale. So I used my machine to embroider on the name. Easy and quick right? After much pursing of the manual and many attempts, I eventually worked out all the options to produce this sweet little square.

All wrapped and away to happy customer.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Jungle path

The blog may have been quiet for a while but the sewing machine definitely hasn't been. First to show you was a baby quilt done in double quick time (I always forget my deadlines until they are upon me).

I used the Jungle Path pattern by Jessica Kelly from ModaBakeShop.

It wasn't until I was finished that I realised that I hadn't actually followed the instructions correctly! Not that it matters. I still have a gorgeous quilt finish. I think it is one I am most pleased with in terms of technical ability.

All the practice done on different quilts seems to be coming together to give a really good finish. I used Elizabeth's technique of kind of robot quilting (much more suitable for a boy's quilt than standard meandering). I am proud of how this looks, as sometimes I think my quilting really spoils the quilt top because it is so bad. But with this I think I nailed it!

Not that there aren't' any oops bits...

 What nearly broke my heart though was the thread. I bought two 100m rolls thinking that would be plenty for a cot size quilt... where does it all go? With a deadline looming, I had to just work on and try and use some extra thread which was a bit greeny but hopefully the recipient won't mind.


I have had to remove my Goodnight Pooh Bear quilt from Etsy as it has also gone to a good home. But don't forget you can order one just like it in a pink/grey colourway, (or in a completely different pattern to it!) by contacting me.

Price £50.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway away winner

Thanks to all of you who visited my blog and took the time to answer the questions. I enjoyed reading all of your comments and was sad to think that there could only be one winner. However, I think I've learned a few things common to all quilters:

We all want more fabric - even when we cannot have the time to possibly use it all!
We'd much prefer to visit a shop in person to touch and feel said fabric - only price and location prohibit us.
And most of us have long suffering partners who adorably not only put up with our crafting exploits but encourage and motivate us too. I know I am truly blessed in that sense.

So enough of these ponderings - on to the winner. As I said the number was going to be picked by my beloved who chose at random: # 7!!!

Congratulations Mimi Love, who said:

I rarely ever buy for a specific project, I buy what catches my eye and worry later whether or not I have anything to coordinate with it :)

Thanks again to all who entered - I hope you won somewhere. I never do!!!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

If you've arrived here from Sew Mama Sew's blog - hello, welcome, please take a look around. But straight on to the giveaway, which you are definitely here for!

Regular readers (are there any??) will know that I was trying to organise a local (UK) scrap swap. I got some lovely scraps from some very nice people :-) In fact they were so nice they did not take anything in return.

As you can see each pack contains mostly small scraps. Some as big as 10" by 15" but none as large as a FQ.  It weighs roughly 200g (that's 7oz for our American cousins)

So I still have some of my bundles left over from then and now I am giving you a chance of winning them by just answering one simple question of your choice:

1. Where is your favourite place to buy fabric? (It can be a bricks and mortar shop near you or an online shop, or even the proverbial man in a pub!)

2. Do you buy for a specific project or are you a hoarder like me?

3. How often does your spouse/partner help you with your crafty endeavours? (Guess who suggested this question?!) Like a human quilt hanger for photos, going to the store, impartial advisor or is he just the money?!!

Answer whichever question you like in a comment below and I will get the subject of no. 3 to pick a random number to choose the winner on 10 May.

For more information on the scrap packs see my previous post here.

Comments are now closed.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Today on my work table...

... modern drunkard's path pinwheels!

I haven't had much inspiration lately and so have been doing all those jobs that you put off because sewing takes over. Of course they are all related to sewing activity so it still counts, right? I tidied my sewing room and have been trying to transform this:

into something useful and manageable:

I have made a bit more progress into larger squares. Does anyone else think that their batting is this precious. Sometimes I feel like giving up halfway through and think - just throw it out and buy a few metres but it is expensive and feels like such a waste. It feels more in the spirit of original quilters to use up bits and pieces rather than always going brand new. I reckon I have salvaged over 2 metres square of the stuff. But do wonder if all thread, sewing machine wear and tear, and electricity is actually making it cost effective!!

Anyway these are going to be the basis of my fabric laundry bins so won't be washed regularly like a quilt. I wouldn't use this patched stuff for a quilt.

Other updates: I have made a quilt back which I may get round to photographing before quilting (which I am still too afraid to start, I finished a bag for a friend's birthday which I will blog about soon. I am stitching 2 scarves for friends involving mainly handsewing. The drunkard's path is for a doorstop for the guest bedroom and was just to get me sewing creatively again. I think it is pretty.

I bet you feel spoiled getting two posts in the space of a week! Don't worry I will be back to my mediocre standard soon. 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Something from the snow

At last my sampler quilt is done!

I thought we had better take some shots while I had the perfect white background - snow! At Easter.

I love the way this shot actually makes the dark grey translucent. 

This quilt is for my living - dining area which is all done in these colours. It kind of grew from a small throw to become this huge 54" x 70" monster. I just couldn't stop trying out all the different blocks.

I have tried to inlcude a range of different techniques, paper piecing which I blogged about a few posts back,  hand sewing hexagons, applique for the bunting, improv and curves.

I think the end result is stunning. Now I just hope I won't ruin it at the quilting stage. Any ideas for particular blocks?

I have made the back which is a mod podge of big chunks of fabric. I had so little of the grey left that it kind of dictated the style of the back. This is the first quilt I have made to keep myself so I'm glad I like it so much. 

Friday, 8 March 2013

Splurge Part 2

I can't believe I haven't blogged about this dress yet because I think it is the most professionally finished item I have ever made!

It was for my niece who was 1 year old in November. 

Look at that buttonhole - professional or what?!

The adorable fabric was bought in Sweden which adds to the quirkiness of it all.

The dress closes at each side with a button and elastic to get it over the child's head.

Now on to something my own size! This is the Hot Patterns 1070 Weekender Monaco Top & Dress pattern (why always such a mouthful?). I made it in a brown marl wool mix and lined with a stretchy satin.

I made the belt with the ends done in the lining fabric just to lift it a bit. I think it turned out ok for a first go. Although the sizing was good (unusual for me!) the look wasn't really what I was expecting. I think the knit was a bit heavy for that. But it is perfectly wearable and got a compliment on one of its first outings! yea!

And finally something for my sister's birthday.

This is the tote from the Sew Mama Sew! website.

This bit wasn't as hard as it looked!

It didn't turn out as big as I had thought it would but it is still a handy bag to have around.

She also got the infinity scarf that I have featured on facebook.