Friday, 30 September 2011

A welcome roundup!

Today saw the end of my Welcome Wallhanging class.  Here are a few of the finished ones:

For most of the ladies, this was their first introduction to free motion quilting, and they thoroughly enjoyed this sketching technique.  

Well done girls for being brave and trying something new!  The results are amazing!  Display with pride & big cheesy grins!

Tomorrow is our 2nd meet up of the Bee Blessed group.  We will be piecing together many of the wonky star blocks we have received and made.  Thank you everyone for donating stars - from all over the world (I received 2 today from Morocco!).  I'm really excited about showing you the pictures of the pieced quilts.

I also received these lovelies in the post today:

There's something retro 70's about these prints I think!  Or is that just me feeling my age today?

Laura Jane is Miss October in our Brit Bee, and has themed this month as STAR month.  We get to do whatever we want, as long as it is something to do with stars.  Can't wait!  And thanks LJ for the treats too (what's the betting I won't get any as soon as my 3 see them!!).

And last, but not least, a glimpse of a wee charm pack pattern I'm working on (test driving it out on some of the scrappy charms I won from Pickle Dish a while ago - love these colours).

There will be another row down the right hand side - my design board isn't big enough!
Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Introducing ..... The Boxy Bag

The final instalment in my bag series is The Boxy Bag.

This one was gifted to my mum on Mother's Day earlier this year.
I use stiff denim for these bags, because it holds the wonderful boxy structure.

This pattern came about almost by accident!  It's actually taken from the Modern Maud pattern template and I had a moment earlier this year of 'I wonder what would happen if I did this ....'  and so the Boxy Bag was born!

My mum uses hers for transporting her books around.  They are bigger than those trendy 'lunch box' style bags that you see about, and are v.sturdy.

A stylish yet practical bag.

Well I hope you've enjoyed my wee bag series.  In a few weeks time these lovelies (& more) will be destined for my sister's salon, hopefully to find new owners!

Have a fab Friday!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Introducing ..... 'Martha May'

We are now day 3 into my wee bag series.

Say hello to 'Martha May'!

A zippered version

Same pockets on the back as the front

More IKEA fabric!!

These 2 are slightly smaller than Modern Maud, and are actually the result of my playing around with the Bag for Life pattern I sketched out (it's amazing what you end up with compared to what you start with!).

So what do you think of the new addition to the family?

In other news, yesterday I received my first Small Goodie Swap parcel - all the way from Australia!

Just look at all these lovelies, incl. Denise Schmidt scraps - yum!

The back of the mugrug is as gorgeous as the front!
Thank you Kat for these gorgeous and beautifully made gifts.  When I first saw the pics of them on flickr I almost shouted at the computer 'pleeeease be mine', and was gob-smacked when I opened the parcel!  I think I'm the envy of one or two other swap members in the group, tee hee!

We each get 2 parcels in this swap, so I've still got one more to look forward to.  Hmmmm, I wonder who it will be from?

And last but not least, I've signed up to Emily's (Strawberry Patch) Christmas Charm Swap.

Emily needs 28 participants, each to purchase a meter of fabric and cut it into 56 charm squares of 5". We then post the fabric to her, Emily mixes them up and sends us back 28 different prints with 2 squares of each!  Sounds fab doesn't it?  Now Emily doesn't yet have 28 people signed up yet, and we can't run the swap with less than 28, so pleeeeeese hop on over to Emily's and get signed up. 

And when you do, you'll have lovely fabrics to get working on the irresistible swap over at Susan's blog Canadian Abroad!

Phew!  I think that's all I need to tell you about today.  Have good one whatever you get up to!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Introducing ..... 'Joanie'

Ok, so this is post no.2 on my bag series this week.

I've just the one Joanie to show you - she was v.time consuming and demanding to make, as I was adapting a pattern as I went!

This mustard velour wasn't easy to work with, but it's super soft and so tactile, you would be forgiven for just wanting to sit and stroke this bag!

The sturdy IKEA fabric adds structure to the bag, and as always, the base is reinforced.

Joanie is really a first cousin of Maud because I adapted the Maud pattern to get this design.

This is a good tip for all you prospective bag makers out there, start with your first pattern design, and then make changes and adapt it here and there to get a new design and a brand new bag. 

I would like to get another Joanie done for the sale in a few weeks time, just so she doesn't feel like 'Billy No Mates!'

Well, that's your intro to Joanie, hope you like her!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Introducing ...... 'Modern Maud'

I thought I'd delay the suspense no longer and show you what I've been working on the past few weeks.

I've decided to sell a few things in my sister's hair/beauty salon in the run up to Christmas.  First up is 'Modern Maud':

zippered inner pocket
Maud was the name of my Grandmother, whose cast iron treadle Singer got me started sewing as a child (I didn't use an electric machine until I was 30!).

So I thought it fitting to name a bag after her.  I made this pattern last year, but have added a few wee extras, like a zippered pocket in the blue cord version, reinforced handles & base.

I've used some IKEA fabrics in these new bags, as well as wadding & some recycled materials (you know me!).  These 2 bags are spacious and sturdy and would make great shopping or book bags.

Hope you like them, and more importantly, I hope they sell!  

Next instalment of 'Introducing ...' tomorrow.  Have a wonderful start to your week.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A Glorious Day!

The sunshine does my soul good!

It's been another glorious day here, sunny, breezy at times, and even warm!

In our house today there has been cooking, cleaning, baking, sewing & gardening - and it's still the afternoon!

Here's what I got done today:

I got the back finished for my Across the Sea QAL cot quilt.  I wanted to keep a wee bit of white around the crosses so they wouldn't completely disappear into the solid blue.  Although if I was doing the bordered cross again, I would have those outer white tips blue!

Can anyone tell me why the back is so much bigger than the front?  I know that Nicky found this the case too!  Are we Numpty's Utd, or is there a logical reason?

My youngest daughter (10) loves to sew and is a natural on the sewing machine.  

Under my supervision, she made this mugrug for herself, choose all the fabrics from my scraps, pieced it, & quilted it with a variegated thread, having lots of fun using Mr Pfaff's more decorative side!

The cupcakes were made today by my eldest daughter!
And I can now reveal who one of my Small Goodie Swap partners was, cos she opened her parcel from me today!

Do you remember these?

Jan (Isisjem) got her parcel during the week and her mum hid it from her until opening day today! The blue handbag in the middle is based on Jan's 241 tote bag that she made recently.

Hop on over to the flickr group to see the full package that Jan received (my daughter made her a cupcake pin topper which was v.cute!).

Well that's all for now!

I hope you are having a great weekend, wherever you are!

Ooops!  Almost forgot to tell you that my Glorious Day today started with an email from Cindy telling me I'd won a Saffron Craig $25 voucher as part of Cindy's Start Your Own Series.  Thanks Cindy!  

If you've ever thought about starting up a wee business, check out Cindy's guest blogger interviews - v.informative.  

Bye for now!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Use Every Wee Bit!

Well it's the end of a busy week!

I don't know about you, but I'm pooped!  But I'm pleased to say we've had some gorgeous, sunny days here in N.I. this week, and there's a lovely Autumn feel to the air!

As always, the things I've been working on this week I can't show you yet (soon I promise!), so I'm going to give you a wee tute on how to use up every last wee bit of fabric shavings, you know those bits that end up all over your cutting mat after trimming blocks and hsts?

We'll here's a cool way to turn them into a new type of fabric.  

As far as I know this product doesn't have an official name - I learnt it at college and it wasn't called anything then, but if you know the official name of this craft, please let me know.

1. Save up your fabric shavings & wee bits of offcuts that are too small to be useful (you can also cut up wee bits of fluffy wool, ribbon, sparkly threads etc.).

Bigger pieces will need to be snipped down smaller.
 2. Take a piece of plain sheeting/calico and lay a load of shavings on top.  You can colour code your savings as I have done here, or have a multi-coloured mess!  Make sure it's thick enough to cover the backing fabric, but not too thick to sew over.

3. Lay a piece of water soluble fabric over the top and pin/sew round the edges.  This stuff is really cool - you can get different brands in a craft shop or online.  I've used Avalon Water Soluble Embroidery Fabric by Madeira.

4. Now sew, sew, sew over the top of the w.s.fabric, either by free motion quilting or straight & wavy lines all over.  Try not to leave any big gaps where the shavings can later escape from.

5. When you have stitched this to within an inch of its life, take the pins out and under a luke warm tap or in a sink/basin, allow the w.s.fabric to melt away (it goes a bit slimy as it melts off so rinse it well).

6.  Give your new piece of fabric a good squeeze to get the water out and then allow it to dry on the radiator.

7.  When dry, draw your desired shapes on the back and cut out.  If you want to, sew more stitching on top to highlight details, for example veins in leaves, or sew on beads, sequins etc.

8. You can now use your fabric shapes to embellish/decorate cards, cushions, make letters or Christmas decorations etc. etc. The possibilities are endless!

Another way to use this wonderful water soluble fabric is to roughly sketch a shape on to it & then put it into an embroidery hoop.  Repeated sewing and shading with thread will close all the gaps, so that when you take the fabric off the hoop and dissolve the w.s.fabric you are left with a completely embroidered shape.

Have fun & let your imagination run wild!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Wee Blocks!

I love the opportunities that this blogging community offers us to help and care for others.

A friend of mine, Karen (Listen to the Birds Sing) is a very talented patchworker, who is going to Thailand in November.  Karen is appealing for block donations for patchworked bed covers she is bringing out for the child victims of sex trafficking.  Have a look at her original post here, launching her charity bee Kind Stitches.

These wee blocks are super quick and easy to make (only 6.5").  Why not rustle up a few for Karen, and have a look at what others have made in the flickr group.

Here's a few I've made:

Today I was on the receiving end of this blogging community goodness.

Thank you to Leanne for these fab wonky star blocks for Bee Blessed, all the way from Canada, and the adorable coasters for me and Sarah!  

I saw these on Leanne's blog when she made them and drooled over them!
Folks from my church are amazed when I tell them that Bee Blessed is supported by blogger friends from all around the world!

Finally, photographic evidence that I have been working on my Across the Sea QAL back.

I really don't want to apologise for the sun shining in, but it doesn't make for a great pic!
One of these days I'm going to reveal to you all the other delights I've been making and squirrelling away, but I think I'll hold off a little longer!