Tuesday, 29 December 2015

They know me so well!

From my sister, a book of little quilts to admire and perhaps emulate, from DD1, a piece of beautiful fabric, from DD2 a packet of bright buttons and from Benta a wonderful zippy pouch!

Thank you, everyone!  Wonderful sewing related gifts - just what I love best!
 And here are a couple of pillowcases that an elf slipped into the stockings this year, at DD1's particular request.
So rather than the cat being out of the bag, the unicorn and penguin are out of the stocking!

Hope that Santa brought you whatever it was you wished for too!

All good wishes, one and all, for a happy and healthy 2016!  See you next year!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Applique all round!

 Always good when I can show someone else's sewing from within the household!

This is the start of an applique cushion cover that DD1 is making at school, but with some homework requirements over the holidays.

So that she could practice sewing round all those curves, I made a companion piece that could also be a cushion front if we wanted it to be.  These circles range from about 3 1/2" diameter to about 1".  I think that they'd be tough to sew around with a zig zag, but at the moment that's what DD1 is planning to do.  I may demonstrate some different ways of finishing them with stitching (like FMQ, which I think would be much easier on those tight curves!).

Of course, DD1 being how she is, we've dived straight in to stitching on her piece - although so far only zig zagging along the straight edges!  I'll just have to see what happens next!

My applique circles?  CD size, so a bit larger, and without bondaweb to stiffen them.  I have made a little progress since last week, but it's not going to be finished by Christmas as I'd expected.  Ten more circles to add before I can start on the quilting.  Too much other life getting in the way!  Still, I have made progress on it. 

Nothing more to say here before the festivities start in earnest, so HAPPY CHRISTMAS and BEST WISHES FOR A FABULOUS 2016!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Small Sewing (and a gripe!)

 This week I've sewn more than I can show - isn't that always the way at Christmas?

As well as this little set of pouch / notebook cover and tissue holder for one of DD1's class mates, I made another 6 'wild women' brooches as teacher presents (and forgot to take a photo before wrapping them up and sending them off - doh!).

I've also been sewing secretly for the family - so no pics until after Christmas!  All good fun, but time consuming.  I'm ready to get stuck into a quilt again now!

My gripe?  Having ordered sprung scissors (yes, thank you for asking, I've found that they are much more comfortable than regular scissors for me) I was somewhat put out that the only way of getting the smaller scissors out of the protective wrapping was by cutting the orange grip loop.  Don't they have any idea who the audience for these scissors are?  It's a bit chicken and egg to say the least.  I'm lucky (DH happy to be my strong hands when I can't do something) but not everyone can rely on there being someone else around to help them.

Come on Fiskars, you can do better than that!

Right, back to festive cheeriness now!  I'm going to do a little work on this 'stand out from the crowd' quilt.  I just need to applique another 21 red circles onto this piece and then decide what borders to add, given that I don't have any more of this fabric available!

The yellow square is the 'stand out from the crowd' focus, of course.

Hope that you have some fun sewing lined up too!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Quick-to-Make Bird Brooch Tutorial

 I have to admit that this is a variation on an idea that I saw in Quilting Arts Magazine last year - but sufficiently different that I feel that I can share it with you!

It's a continuation of a the photos of fabric playing that I've been doing recently - using a leftover 1/2 sheet of printable fabric that I had lying on top of my printer! (Top tip, if you project doesn't take up a whole page of printable fabric, just peel off the part that you've printed on and cut it off, leaving the backing paper complete, and you'll be able to run it through the printer again when you are ready with another idea).

1) Start off with a photo of a bird.  I turned mine into a grey tone photo, and added a coloured border to it, and printed them out at 2" x 3" or so.
 2)  Next add colour back in with Inktense pencils - I had fun inventing my own bird plumage.
 3) Lay the printed sheet onto a piece of felt.  It will only just be visible when you finish, so don't worry too much about the colour, but choose something that won't clash with the next border fabric you choose if possible.

4) Start adding colour and texture with machine stitching - or hand stitching if you prefer.
 5) Carry on building up your stitching.
 6) Keep going until you are happy with the effects!
 7) Now cut the picture apart.  I like the pinking rotary cutter for this as it makes them look like postage stamps.
 8) Lay the pictures onto another piece of backing fabric and cut out with an 1/8" border.  (I put each piece on the fabric with the bottom and left hand sides aligned with fabric edge, and then cut with an extra 1/4" along the top and right hand edges.  Then I can line the piece up in the centre to get the narrow border that I want).
 9) Now lay these pieces onto a piece of coordinating felt and cut the final 1/8" border.  You may choose between straight and wavy cutting on all these edges!
10) Using either a straight stitch or a tiny zig zag stitch, stitch through all the layers near the edge of the printed layer.  It makes an internal 'frame' and attaches all the layers together neatly.

11) Finally, hand sew a brooch back to the backing felt.

12) Admire your finished brooches (probably before wrapping them up as delightful presents for friends and family)!

You could make Christmas themed brooches with robins or reindeer, you can add beads and bling, you can ring the changes to suit what yourself.

Have fun with them!

If you have a few more minutes spare, you might like to make sock snowmen like me and a couple of my gal pals.
Tutorial here - very quick and easy, needing just one sock, three elastic bands, some rice and some felt scraps.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Fun Finish

 I finally finished this little strippy (well, stacked coins) quilt.

It's only 36" x 42" (so perfect for using a yard of backing fabric!).
 The quilting is in two parts.  I've quilted feathers down the two 'background' strips near the middle - which I've tried to show in more detail here.

The rest of the quilt is covered in a meander stitch.

I love how the quilting really adds to the texture.
Wish that I'd remembered to take a shot of the binding with both the back and the front of the quilt.  It's been in my stash for a while (I was about to say a few months, but it's probably over a year old) and was close enough to the green seeds in the both the background fabric on the front and the green in the different colourway I'd used of the same print (a Je Ne Sais Quoi filler) on the back.