Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Baubles by the Dozen

I don't like to mention it, but where has time gone! It is months since my last post, May in fact, but life threw a curve ball that I had to deal with. 
My friend died in June after a long painful period of time in hospital and nursing homes and as a result we have had to pick up the pieces and clear her home and remains of her life. Hard in many ways both physically and mentally. Life goes on and we are finally coming to grips with it all and at last I have managed a little burst of crafting.
Some few months ago before I was otherwise involved, I made a Christmas bauble at a Quilters Guild workshop, given by the talented quilter, Emma Galbraith, and I really enjoyed it even though to me it was totally the wrong time to be making Christmas items. As a result I started playing around with the original idea and I have made so many ready to give to friends and family. With no sewing, or even glue, involved they are so quick and easy to produce as the fabric only has to be pushed into the styrofoam balls. Cord, braid or ribbon hides any imperfections and defines the segments. It's a great way to use up small scraps of fabric too.
The 8cm balls are 2 for £1 in "The Works"book/craft shop but in bulk on the net they are available at only 30p each.
I tried using Liberty Tana Lawn fabric and I rather like them. I think they will be great to have a bowl full around the home all year, not just for Christmas.
The beading effect braid trim below is available by the metre in gold, silver, black and pearl
This is my original bauble made at the workshop.
My sister in law spotted a panel at the Quilt Exhibition of my group so I have had a go at making one for her. The Nativity characters/craft buttons were bought on line from HoardersHeaven. Jane there was so helpful and they have such an amazing variety available, at reasonable prices.
 Take a look here...

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Liberty Collection - a Few Finishes and Quick Makes

No blogging for me for a while as, due to a friend's illness, I have been busy and occupied elsewhere for much of my time so I turned to small UFOs when ever I had a few spare minutes.
I made a doll quilt set from scraps of pastel Liberty Tana Lawn, my favourite fabric to stitch.
This little specimen is only 14ins x 16 ins approx) The squares are 2ins finished.

I found this quilt top and finished it successfully with cross hatch machine quilting. 
It measures approx 50ins x72ins

I hand stitched the hexagons for this little lap quilt over a couple of years during my travels. 

A few small quickly made items for my quilt group's forthcoming show.
Bright pot holders from scraps.
Round pochette style key holders.
and a few more cushions for the tombola.
Small makes when I need a bit of sewing relaxation therapy. It does it for me.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Easy Peasy Patchwork Bag and a Scrap Quilt

Almost three years ago, my DD2 treated me to some fabulous Kaffe Fassett fabric to make a quilt just for myself. It is always hard to cut into any special gorgeous treasured fabric and I stroked it and drooled over it from time to time but recently I decided to go for it. 
First I made a big Stash & Slash quilt top which is now ready for sandwiching and finishing but there were enough scraps left over plus one spare Stash & Slash Block. I used the block as the central feature and added, joined and bodged together lots of the small pieces to make this extra 1.5 yard square gem. I am so pleased to see it finished and looking like this instead of just a bundle of scraps in a basket.
It was manageable enough to machine quilt it myself and I stitched in the ditch over the main body with random waves around the border. 
Even the binding is made from scraps joined together 

My Easy Peasy Bags
I have made several of these easy peasy bags for friends and they proved very popular, so I thought I would make some towards the sales table at our July exhibition.
My first attempts were made using strips of batik but any choice of patchwork or quilting is suitable, just make a panel to size first.
I have been asked for pattern and instructions so often so I'm posting photos of the stages to make them here.
I bought a metre of this ready, 2 sided, padded and quilted fabric at one of the big shows for only £5 and it has made 4 bags and a little zipper bag too. 
It also save me time! Should have bought more!
The bags can be adjusted up or down in size but here I show panels for one medium (10.5 x 30.5 inches) and one larger bag (13 x 38 inches). They are bound with 2.5 wide fabric, pressed in half along the length, sewn around the edge of the panel then turned to the other side and stitched by hand or machine to bind the edges. Alternatively, bias binding can be used.

To construct the bag turn in the corners, as below. 
(It helps to pin, or clamp together, the two triangular areas before the next fold)
Next, if you envisage the central square area and fold the panel diagonally from top left corner to bottom right as indicated.......
The two points will be at the top.
The bag will take shape, as below, and will be complete as soon as you stitch together (on both sides), where the two edges, meet from A to B.
As this fabric is double sided I machined a zig zag stitch, using invisible thread. It can then be used successfully on either side as a reversible bag.

To finish;

To fasten, add a large button on either side and use an elastic pony tail ring as the loop to fasten over the buttons. 
Handles can be made from the matching fabric to the desired length or from webbing as I did on my first batik bag. 
There are many options to personalise the bag such as an inside pocket, a loop for keys etc.
The leftovers made a neat little make up bag.
Shout out if you need any more information and, whilst at first it can seem complex, it soon comes into shape.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Spring is Sprung

It's time for a smile and after popping in on Annie's Friday Smile over at astitchintime I realised that I needed one to cheer myself so I ventured out before my breakfast to wander around our garden on this sunny morning. 
It has been a bit pressured lately with a friend and a family member in hospitals at opposite sides of the city but seeing Annie's post made me think and realise that it shouldn't stop me smiling.
The magnolia above is magnificent. It NEVER ever flowered for 7 years after planting so I gave it a good talking to. A firm ultimatum that it was a waste of space and would be dug out if it didn't flower the next year. Wow! it has amazed me for over 30 years since my threat......
There are two pink camellias heaving with blossom at either side of the garden.
The squirrels are visiting frequently and they seems to be attracted to the centres of the flowers so I think there must be a tasty kernel to be nibbled.
I cannot bare to clear up these wonderful pink treasures and, at the moment, I have no time so that's my excuse!
I bought this amaryllis bulb for a £ in M&S sales and planted it 4th January.
 It was so slow until 2 weeks ago when it blessed us with two heads of flowers. 
Fabulous value for £1.
I had to cut off the first head and put on in a glass of water as it was top heavy
Here's the gift that keeps on giving!!
Thanks again to my DD2 for this beauty which was bought when she was a student over 20 years ago for £1.99 in Woolworth's as a Mother's Day gift. 
To cheer you if you need more smiles pop over to Annie's Blog... it's free and it's always happy.
I'll take these pics in to show my friend in the care home and hope it works Annie's Magic on her too.
So sorry that I haven't called in for a while but, Annie, you have worked your magic for me today!
My friend moved to respite care yesterday so I am off now to see if she is settling in and will pop in to all the other Friday Smiles later.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Patchwork Clocks, Apron & Cushions

With all the hospital visiting I have been doing lately, with family and friends in different hospitals, I haven't had time or patience to concentrate on a major quilting project so I've been making small items in preparation for my quilt group's Summer Show. 
It has been relaxing, stress free and rewarding for me to still produce some makes.

At our Summer Show all members will make and wear an apron as a means to identify them to the visitors and here is mine, full of appliquéd cotton reels and edged with patchwork from scrap fabric. 
Lots of precious bits of Kaffe Fassett fabric there that I cannot waste!
I managed to make several of these clocks as they are so simple to put together from scrap fabric, fused onto a backing with bondaweb, then machined with a satin stitch. 
This one is my favourite.

                                           Then again I love this colour palette....
Oh, but I also love the cotton reel fabric and swirls is so effective.
The clock movements are readily and cheaply available on the internet and are easily fixed to make the clock complete and active.

I found a few panels of hexagons I had hand stitched ages ago on my travels so I thought they would make up into cushions for the tombola. A quick fix from my stash of UFOs.
My lovely neighbour and friend has passed me so much treasure from clearing out the sewing stash of her sister, who recently died. I made two of her hand embroidered panels into these cushions and think that they turned out really effectively. Thanks and all credit to the handiwork of Evelyn.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Patchwork Nightmare Produces a Cushion

I am in the middle of so many makes but I still made the  mistake of taking on a group project last week.  Most of my quilt group have joined a "block of the week" project and asked me to participate. Just one block a week, I thought, OK, no problem, I'll be learning new things and the result will be a gorgeous quilt in a few months. Let's get started as I had 3 blocks to catch up as the others started whilst I was away in Devon. 
Hours later my heart was pounding and the block was unfinished so I threw it and tried the next one. Impossible instructions and confusing information, so that one almost ended in the bin when I realised that I really don't need this. I enjoy my stitching too much and find it relaxing.... USUALLY. Sooooo, I made the bits and pieces, I was attempting to juggle, into a block of my own and turned it into a pleasant cushion towards the tombola at our forthcoming group exhibition. 
Not perfect  points but, hey ho, it's a cushion!!!
 I also made one of my practise feather blocks into a cushion..... 5 more to go for the show and I love making them so much I intend to use up lots of scrap fabric and make a "feather" quilt.
Finally for this week, I finished "Penelope Patchwork", adding lots of little details. 
Spot the tiny pencil and ruler in her pocket and she just had to have a bag stuffed full of Liberty Tana Lawn fabric. I actually parted with some of my collection of vintage buttons too. 
One of the members of my quilt group pleaded with me to sell Penelope to her but she is going to keep me company in my sewing room.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Patchwork Feathers, Liberty Random Quilt & Patchwork Penelope

At last my Christmas post will not be the top page of my blog. I haven't sewn for ages but I am making up for lost time. 
Well again after the ravages of a nasty virus I'm back in action.
I have been inspired by several blogs to make some feather blocks for cushions to donate to my quilt group tombola stall at our July exhibition. I looked on pinterest and Youtube for patterns and there were so many different versions that I decided to play around and make them up in my own way. I might make them a bit longer but thinner for my quilt. We'll see!
I've made six "experiments" which will go to make cushions and I love them so much that I have now decided to make a quilt. I also want to make some arrow. Such a great way to use up scraps of fabric.
I have finished another of my favourite makes... a Liberty Fabric Quilt top. Random 4 inch squares, easy peasy and so relaxing to sew whilst listenening to the radio. So stress free, calming and therapeutic for me to make.
This style of quilt looks so old fashioned and I love it. It is just manageable to machine quilt and finish all be myself as the Liberty Tana Lawn is light to handle and moves readily through the machine neck.
Recently, my fabric shelves had a good clear out and in doing so I discovered the beginnings of "Patchwork Penelope" hiding under several fat quarters. I enjoyed finishing off the appliqué and now I will back it, bind it, quilt it, then add some buttons, beads and other bits of interest to make her into a hanging.
Penelope was inspired by much larger hangings and drawings of humorous, cartoon style, quilters I had seen on the internet and a few years ago I drew my own smaller version but never finished her and she became a UFO.

I visited the craft show at Event City in Manchester last week. It was a pleasant day out but with not much to interest me. Lots of card making stands, (particularly for lacy die cutting) but very little fabric stands so I didn't manage to buy anything on my little list.
I really enjoyed the Japanese exhibition, linked to a company running tours, and here are a few highlights.

There was a knitted project by people in Cardigan, Wales, of this gigantic cardigan telling the story of the place and it's history.

This clever little piece made excellent use of the fabric print