Sunday, 28 October 2012

Double '00' Delights!

On Friday night I had a date with this guy:

He didn't disappoint!

And on Saturday I had a date with the gorgeous Bee Blessed gals:

There was much hilarity over the prospect of us making the quilters version of a 'Calendar Girls' Calendar!

Here's a quilt that Sarah made, all ready to be donated:

And just look at how well your crazy patchwork blocks are shaping up:

And to finish off the evening, me, hubby and 2 kids had a date with these crazy animals....

... while the birthday girl and her friends partied on back at the house!

Bag Update:  Once she got over the shock of how big the bag was, she loved it!

And this was inside it:

A new pencil case!

I hope you've had some wonderful dates this weekend!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

New Messenger Bag!

I'm so chuffed to be able to show you this, finally!

My beautiful girl is 17 today, and she is only getting 2 presents!  This bag (which she helped to design) and a laptop to put in it!

Shannon didn't want the flap to come down too far on the front, but instead wanted pockets to be seen.

She choose 2 Ruby prints to compliment the strong denim (I was sewing through 8 layers of denim at one stage - only broke 1 needle - not bad eh!).

Special features include a zippered back pocket:

...a laptop sleeve inside: inner pocket for pens, phone, keys etc.

...and a fully adjustable shoulder strap:

I would have preferred to use silver metalware, but alas they were out of stock!

This is by far the sturdiest bag I've ever made.  Not only was the denim stiffened, but it is reinforced with vilene and the lining was prepped with wadding!

I didn't follow a pattern for this bag because of Shannon's specific requirements, but I did refer to Lisa Lam's Handbag Making Bible once or twice for guidelines on a couple of issues!

It turned out a little bigger than I expected, but at least there is loads of room for school folders as well as a laptop!

At the time of writing this Shannon hasn't yet received it!  So I will update you tomorrow with her verdict on it! (fingers crossed!).

My kids are now off school for half term, so I'm really hoping the sun keeps shining into next week as I take some much needed time off!

Have a fab weekend!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

A Super Quick Play Pouch!

There are several birthdays coming up in my family these next few weeks. 

This afternoon, I made this play pouch for a young niece who loves the colour pink.

When I need a quick, easy project idea, I turn to free motion sketching! It's great for personalising gifts for kids!

It measures 10" x 12" so a great size for popping in a few books and pens - handy for car journeys!  I recycled a child's belt for the wrist strap.

I will be filling this pouch up with treats before posting it over to England.

Hope you are enjoying your week!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Block Party Sampler Quilt!

In class, I am constantly asked questions like

'how much fabric is required to make a quilt' or

'how do I calculate the sashing for X number of blocks' or

'how could I use this fabric in a quilt?'

Often I am put on the spot having to make quick doodles and calculations, working out how much fabric is required for sashing, backing, binding etc.

'I can't take any more WOFs!'

So I thought it was time to teach folks how to make these calculations for themselves (no, I'm really not rubbing my hands in glee wearing a devilish smirk on my face, honest!).

In January I'm running an 8 week course called 'How to Design, Calulate and Make your Own Quilt'.  We will be getting the squared paper & calculators out and letting our creativity loose! 

To help folks develop some block ideas for their quilts, the course will include a Block party!  Now I've never been much of a party girl!  Too much of a 'homey' me!  But invite me to a Block Party and I'll never refuse!!

For almost a year now, when I've wanted to teach myself a new block, or show a class sample, I've made it in red and aqua so that eventually I would have enough blocks gathered together to make a quilt.

So I took my stash of blocks and put them altogether into this sampler quilt for the Block Party.  Working with a simple block formation design is a really good starting place for designing your first quilt and I purposely sashed it to show folks how that works in quilt design.

Now I'll admit samplers aren't the easiest to quilt. Finding a generic pattern to suit so many different blocks is tricky. So I went with a large free motion stipple inside each block and kept the sashing unquilted. 

I'm hoping to have an improv. style quilt made for January too, for those who like to vere away from tradition!

I have folks signing up for this course already!  Let's hope I won't have their brains pickled by the end of it!

Monday, 22 October 2012

New Classes for 2013

I always get really excited (& a little bit nervous) when I release my program of classes for the next term.

Since September, folks have been asking me what I'll be teaching next year!  Well, you don't have to wait any longer.

You will find the full program of In Stitches classes for January to March here.

I like to rotate some of my projects through all the different classes, but I also try to put some new stuff in there too!

Like English Paper Piecing:

I had decided during the summer to introduce some EPP into my program, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I was convinced it was the right decision. 

I was teaching hand applique (needleturn) and was feeling a little nervous about how this lot of hard-core machinists would take an evening of sitting still working on hand sewing projects.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about!  The entire class loved the peace and quiet and stillness after a busy day, especially as they could sit and chat more!  They were even much easier to teach too!

So I'm really looking forward to introducing them to some EPP next year!  This small wallhanging is a good place to start, and even though hexies seem to be all the rage at the moment, I thought diamonds would give them even more creative possibilities.

Tune in tomorrow for previews on more new projects!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Finally! 2 Finishes!

Actually, I've finished more than 2 things this week, but I can't show you some of them until next week (I can't wait!).

What I can show you today is my 2nd vintage sheets quilt, pieced, quilted, bound and labelled for my v.sweet niece in England.

I'm ashamed to say I started this quilt in the summer, to give hope and comfort to my niece as she goes through a difficult time in her young life. 

The text on the label is from a quote by Anne Frank.  Here is the full quote:

“Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.”

I'm so pleased with how this quilt has turned out, and I'm confident that this vintage/retro loving girl will love it as much as 'The Belfast Hollies' do!

I've also managed to get another handbag pattern completed!  Say hello to Martha May!!

I name all my handbags after particular members of my family, and this one is named after my Nanny Martha.  You may remember seeing another version of this bag as part of my 1 year blogiversary giveaway last December, which Nicky won!

I had to make a few adjustments to the pattern to simplify one or two steps and although I've graded the pattern as 'Intermediate', if you consider yourself a beginner but have tackled a zip before, then you will more than cope with this pattern.

A huge 'thank you' goes to my friend Sarah, who was the perfect choice to test this pattern for me.  Her attention to detail skills are impeccable!  I'm sure she will soon show you her very own Martha May!

The Pattern for Martha May is now available to purchase from my Etsy shop.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

A* Curtain Class!

Today I was hosting my first Curtain Making Workshop. 

You will be relieved to know that I got my very talented friend in to teach and share her knowledge of curtain making! 

Had I not, the results wouldn't have been as fantastic as this:

There was another lady who managed to get away without me snapping a picture of her and her fabulous curtains!

These ladies are now armed with the knowledge of how to measure & cut lengths & widths of curtain fabric, matching pattern repeats, mitred & weighted corners & header tape!  I learned loads myself too!

Well done ladies!  You did brilliantly!  I hope your curtains are now hanging proudly in your homes!

Before I go, just time to tell you about another very talented friend from NI who is now blogging (it's really catching on here - watch this space for more!).

Janette from Zigzag Along is a talented quilter with a great eye for fabrics! Pop on over and say hi!  She's working on the most beautiful Bliss quilt at the moment.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Can you tell what it is yet?

This is my week in sewing pics!  All top secret at the moment, but all will be revealed before October is done!

Oh, and one more thing!

I'm sure you can tell what this is!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Slouch Bag Pattern Available!

I am pleased to announce that my long awaited Slouch Bag Pattern is now available to purchase in my Etsy Pattern Shop.

I taught this pattern at a one day workshop during the summer and it was a great success. 

It has been the bag that I use the most, and have actually worn out the first one I made about 7 years ago, so I'm just waiting for the right vintage fabric to cross my path and I'll be making another one for sure!

These are also great bags for kids, as presents, and also for them to make for themselves.  Two of my daughters brought the bags they made on holiday with them this year:

So if you fancy making yourself, or someone else, an uber comfortable and versatile bag, then maybe this is the one for you!

You can find the Pattern here.

Coming Soon!  Patterns for 'Modern Maud' and 'Martha May' handbags!