Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Announcing ........!

.... my new Etsy Pattern Shop!

This has been in the making since last September!  

I'm not big into selling the actual items that I make, but I love providing people with the means to get creative and sew for themselves.  So I thought that I may as well sell the patterns that I design for teaching in class, and it also gives me the opportunity to sell one or two other items if I feel like it e.g. handbags etc.

I don't mind if there isn't a huge take up rate for these patterns - but I know that even if only 1 sells now and again, then that is another person I've hopefully inspired and helped to make something they will love. 

At the moment there are only a few patterns available, but I have a tonne more waiting to be written up, proof read and loaded up!

I'd love it if you would pop over even just to have a wee look and tell me what you think!  I'm always open to suggestions on how to improve things.  Oh, and feel free to spread the word!  Just click on the Etsy button at the side and you will (hopefully) be taken to my shop!

Have fun!

P.s. Thank you to those of you who have proof read patterns and helped this 'techno numpty' make this possible!  You know who you are! Jxo

Monday, 30 January 2012

For Ladies That Lunch!

My brother's partner's birthday is coming up and I've been wanting to try out Ayumi's Bento Bag pattern for a while.

It only took me a couple of hours this morning, including piecing the front and back (thank you Fi for the gorgeous scraps).

The cover will have drawstrings, and underneath this there is more lining.
My brother and his partner run their own Estate Agency in England, so I was thinking this would make a great wee lunch bag to take into the office.  And as Ayumi suggested, I made the inner lining from wipeable fabric, just in case of any spills.

I've just to get some cord now to make the drawstrings, and this pressie is ready to be posted across the Irish Sea!

Have a happy Monday!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Feast of Colour!

Yesterday, we had another great Bee Blessed afternoon.  

As usual, I forgot to take lots of decent pics of our fun and frolicks (I get so engrossed in what we're doing!).  But I do have one from the afternoon:

This is one of 4 log cabin quilts currently in production, affectionately known as the red & green one!  We also have a blue one, a pink one and a brown/cream one.  They are all at various stages of being quilted at the moment, so not too far away from a few more finished items to giveaway.

We are also responding to 2 recently highlighted needs, a quilt for a gentleman and a quilt for a family who are going through a rough time at the moment.

We've decided to make the gentleman a traditional log cabin quilt, but with a twist!  For the family, we are going to use the accumulating sampler blocks which you have been so generous in donating, alongside those we have been making.

Here are some we have gathered together already.

And here are other more softer blocks, which I thought I'd lay out together to let you see.  This may or may not grow into another quilt in its current form!

So you can see we are making progress in our ultimate aim of blessing those in need with quilts made with love.  Thank you for being a part of that.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The War is Won!

I'm excited to show you my finished Civil War Quilt!

This is a 70th Birthday present for my Dad, who is widely read in Military History, the American Civil War in particular.

On the back are personalised messages from all the members of his immediate family.

The decision to quilt it with condensed 3/4" lines wasn't so much a decision as an organic process.  But I really like it and for me it echos the stripes in the American flag, symbolised by this block:

Each block represents a diary entry from the 'Diary of a Civil War Quilt' book, written by women who lived the civil war.  

I love quilts that have a story to tell.  And this quilt is a story for my dad and about my dad.  This will be handed over on 12th February, and I can't wait!  

So that's my big news for today!

This afternoon is Bee Blessed, so I'll hopefully have more pics on our progress for you tomorrow.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A New Class!

Before I tell you about my new class, a wee update on Dad's Civil War Quilt.

My gorilla arms recovered enough today to get the quilting finished & the binding made.

The binding has been sewn onto the front, and I can now enjoy my favourite stage - hand sewing the binding down onto the back!

Tonight we are looking around my youngest daughter's prospective new school for September, so not sure if I'll get much more sewing done.  But hopefully I'll have a finished quilt to reveal by the end of the week.

And now some news for my local readers!

Due to increasing interest from folks wanting to learn how to sew, I'm starting a new class after Easter.

'Machine Sewing For Beginners'  

This a 6 week introductory course, aimed at anyone who wants to learn how to understand and use a sewing machine, or become reaquainted with some long lost sewing skills!  

Here are the sorts of topics we'll be looking at:
* How to thread your machine & fill the bobbin
* Understanding the buttons and dials
* Understanding, measuring and cutting fabric
* Sewing & ironing 1/4" seams
* Essential equipment
* Making a simple cushion

For course dates and prices click here.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in this course please pass on these details, or email me to put your name down (places are limited).

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Between the Lines!

I've been doing nothing but quilting the past 2 days, and feel like my arms could rival a gorilla!

I went up to the sewing room yesterday morning, fully intending on just quilting a diagonal line through each block, both ways.

But never one to stick to the original plan, I thought the one-directional lines were more appealing, did a few more either side of each line, and then thought 'what the heck' and quilted the whole darn thing in condensed diagonal lines (it's all Hadley's fault!).

Most of them are straight-ish and 3/4" apart, but I found I achieved more accuracy chalking out the lines before hand, rather than using the quilting guide attachment for my machine.

I've just got the border to quilt now, then I can move on to the binding.

Wanna see another recycling tip?  Here's one for you Crochet-ers & Knitters!

Turn one of these ....
You'd be forgiven for thinking that I use this stuff in my cooking!
...into one of these!

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Let the Stitching Begin!

I love Monday's!
The sun is shining (ocassionally) and the house is quiet and all mine!

I found out on Saturday that 

1. My Mouthy Stitches Swap Mama is the one and only Hadley (Flying Blind On A Rocket Cycle).  Btw, Hadley's recently finished Constellation Quilt is definitely worth a look!

2. And my swap partner is ............................ I'm not allowed to tell you of course (being a secret swap an' all!).

But I'm chuffed with who I've been assigned to make for.  I've been stalking and the old coggs have been whirring.  This is what I've come up with so far:

At this stage I'm just playing around with shape, structure and construction.  But I'm going to push myself a bit on this one, and maybe try some new things (isn't that what swaps are all about!).

I've also started quilting my Dad's Civil War quilt.

I just couldn't bring myself to fmq squiggles and stipples all over my precious geometric blocks!  So I'm going to stick with something more subtle, in keeping with the geometric nature of the design.

I'm going to try and get this quilted today, start on the binding and be finished ahead of schedule! (famous last words!).

Enjoy your Monday, it's the last one for a whole week!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

A Few Recycling Ideas!

As I patiently wait to find out who my Mouthy Stitches swap partner will be (tonight's the night!) I thought I'd show you a couple of things I've recycled.

Baby daughter wants a doorstop, because her sisters each have one in their rooms, and at the grand old age of 10, she's wanting a bit more privacy!

So take an unwanted pair of gaudy orange Benetton trousers ....

no I didn't buy them, they were hand-me-downs!
 .... some delicious scraps that totally represent the personality of this child, and follow Elizabeth Hartman's tutorial to get this:

Fill with 1.5kg of dried peas, and that's one happy child!

The other thing I've recycled is a shower curtain for when I'm spray basting smaller items.

I don't think I'll ever go back to pinning and tacking again, but spraying smaller items in ones sewing room inevitably leaves sticky residue on mats and surfaces.

So lay down a machine washable shower curtain on the floor, and spray til your heart's content!  

After several uses, when the shower curtain becomes too sticky, simply throw in the washing machine, let it dry and then you're good to go again!

I also reuse clean shower curtains in the linings of wash bags and beach bags!!

So that's your recycling tips for today.

I'm all ready now for my all important flickr mail tonight, got me some of these ...

...and then the stalking begins!

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Spring (?) Cleaning!

I'm very blessed to have a sewing room in my home. Yesterday, I took into it like a woman possessed!

I had several objectives in mind.

1. Hasta La Vista Jerry!

Yes, Mr Mouse has been having midnight rave parties in the walls of my bedroom, disturbing my much needed beauty sleep.  His 'front door' is in my sewing room, so I pulled everything out to get the poison in!  Goodnight Mr J!

2. I swapped around the 2 tables in my room so that I could set up my extendable table, ready for fmq my Dad's Civil War quilt (the table my machine was on previously is so badly bowed in the middle nothing sits straight on it!).

That's a Supreme Slider Mat for FMQ.  Never used one before so I'll let you know how I get on!

3. I thought it was about time to have a rigorous clear out of material I just know I won't use anytime soon.  Ready for something staggering?  I filled 10 bin bags of stuff I no longer need, 6 of which went to the charity shop this morning.  

These other 4 will go to the fabric recycling skip in the local dump.  

We are talking about curtains, bedding and clothes that I've been hoarding collecting for some time now.  In addition to this, I filled a ginormous suitcase of stuff I want to keep, but just not in my sewing room.  It was soooo fat I couldn't zip it, and it took 2 of us to carry it into our walk-in-loft.  There was also a blue IKEA bag full of stuff too which I'm keeping in the loft.  So this is what the fabric section looks like now.

You have to imagine more cubed storage on top of these, all stuffed with fabric, and even more piled on top right up to the ceiling!

4. It's difficult to clean a room that is so full of stuff, so this was my opportunity to give the place a really good clean.

And this box was custom made for me by a very talented friend, to elevate my cutting mat and try and save the ol' back a bit longer!

So that was my day, from morning til evening!

I have muscles aching where I didn't even know I had places, but boy does it feel good!

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Quilt Full of Memories!

After some angst (don't ask!) I got the back of my dad's civil war quilt pieced.

These blocks have all been hand written, drawn and decorated by 17 members of my family: my mum, siblings, partners and all the grandchildren.  An extra block was thrown in to round the number of blocks to 18.

Close up of one of the blocks
Now I have to baste this beast and quilt it (yikes!).  Thanks everyone for your wonderfully creative quilty suggestions.  I really liked Ceri's idea .....

... but I just don't feel confident enough to keep those fmq lines straight enough!

I'm gearing myself up for some large scale stippling all over the quilt, because I can't think of another quilting design that will suit both the front and the back, and one that I am confident enough to have a go at on this large scale.

So I guess now I just have to roll up my sleeves and get on with it!

If you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know I've been beaten by the beast!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Pins & Needles

Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions on what to put into the Sewing Bits & Bobs pouch I made for my friend.
I decided to go with Nicky's suggestion - a matching pincushion and needlecase.

And here they are!

This is actually my first needlecase!  It's only 3" square, but I love it!

And 'thank you' to Terri for sending me some gorgeous little scraps - they came in v.useful!

Now we have a matching set, ready to be wrapped up for the birthday girl on Saturday!

Happy Monday!