Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Disappearing Shoo Fly - Complete!

 I last blogged about this on the 23rd June - and somewhere between then and now I actually got around to completing it!

Here it is, quilted and bound.
 I really enjoyed this quilting - somewhere between a clamshell and a baptist fan.  I tried to get a variety of sizes going in a variety of directions, and only got 'boxed in' once, which I thought wasn't too bad!  I was trying to keep it fairly loose so that this baby quilt wasn't too stiff.
Some Riley Blake zig zag on the back worked well with the bright colours on the front, but not so well  that I wanted to use it for the binding, although I did consider it.

I used a gentler pale blue with creamy stars on, and I'm very pleased with the outcome.  Probably a donation quilt, it will join the pile in the cupboard for the moment.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Lockdown Block

Our local Mayor has invited all residents of Richmond Borough to contribute to a 'lockdown memorial quilt'.

I think that it's an interesting idea, and I started to wonder about designs, and what my thoughts were during the time of lockdown.

I realised that they were a bit of a mixed bag, some good, some bad - so I was going to have a 'two sides' vibe going on.

 I wanted the fact that it was based in health / medicine to be the biggest feature, so used the symbol for medicine and healing (the Rod of Asclepius) and a simplified rainbow - so often seen to represent thanks to the NHS and other key workers - to make the key parts of a set of scales.

I added COVID-19 to the rod, and Lockdown 2020 to the base.

Then I added in some of the words that were important - so great things, like 'The Royal Mail', contrasted with 'Missing out' and 'Cancelled plans'.

Finally I added my name and those of my family members in the corners.  Originally I was going to put one name in each corner, but couldn't bear to put any of us under the weight of the lockdown 'bad' - so put a house symbol there and moved both girls names to the left hand side.

It will be fascinating to see the project when it is complete!

Wednesday, 15 July 2020


 Woo hoo!

Today is day 100 of this year's #the100dayproject !

So, this morning I added my 100th home to the piece I've been working on, then set to to back and bind it, adding hanging 'corners' along the way.

It's been a lot of fun to come up with different designs.
 And fun to try out different techniques.

 A mix of hand and machine techniques, sometimes aiming for precision, sometimes being a little more cavalier with the ideas.
 And playing with the different colours!

I was aiming for a rainbow from the centre, but with added pink (why not?  I like it!) on the outer corners.
Not a great photo, but for the moment it's replaced my mini 'storm at sea' hanging between the two windows in my living room.

It can stay there at least until I decide whether to add some clear beads to the grid junctions between the homes.

Off to think about working on the kingfisher habitat quilt now!

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Progress this week

 I''ve carried on with my A3 challenge piece this week.

First pinning various patches of different tones and textures to the front.
 Then stitching them down.  Wish that I'd used a cream coloured thread instead of white, but I'm not planning to re-do it.
 Then, with the reverse side up, and my tracing of my design upside down, I worked on stitching the lines on.
 I used grey thread for the buildings in the background, black for the wall, fence and bridge and everything else in the foreground.

I have since added a blue line for the water line at the edge of the river, but it may yet become black.....  and that's as far as I've got.  I need to add weed, water, ivy, colour on the graffiti, and some willow leaves to hang in front of it, so plenty still to work on!
I've also made some more of these.

Teen size....

....and adult size, and plenty of wash bags for them too, as we find out how best to use them when out and about.

I still don't quite know where my sewing time disappears to sometimes!

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Kindness and Care

 I'm lucky to have good friends and good family.  During this strange period in our lives, I am cheered by thoughtful gifts and cards arriving now and then - jewels amongst the mess that life sometimes seems to be.

This 'survival kit' from Benta (thanks Benta!) made me laugh (and enjoy the chocolate that she sent - there were extra chocolate hearts for me to share with the family!).
 These cards and  the beautiful beaded 'wild woman' have arrived from Avril (thanks Avril!).  What wonderful workmanship - something to aspire to!  I feel warmer everytime I look at them.

In addition, we've had neighbours sharing vegetable plants, family sending cards, and friends sharing products from around the world
(I now know and love birch syrup, for example).

Thank you, everyone!  It's all appreciated.

This week I've been working on my kingfisher pin 'habitat'.

It doesn't scream "kingfisher" does it?

Yet this is a composite of what I saw where I was standing when I saw a kingfisher earlier this year!

My photos are shown here....
 I've really struggled to get a sense of the urban built environment with the juxtaposition of the river and the greening of the area by nature.

I've decided to make the stitching quite formal (or at least, that's the intention!) and then will work to put nature in over the top - by adding some leaves to look through, adding green weed to the bike in the river.  In fact, in real life, the bike is hardly visible now, three weeks on, as there is so much weed grown around it.
 The way I'm building up the primary layer isn't a neat process!  I've got all my pale fabrics out and spread about whilst I add small patches of them to the linen type base layer.

Later, stitching and some colouring will follow, before adding the green leaves and so on.
I'm basing my work on the technique shown by Wendy Dolan which I used on a couple of pieces just over three years ago.

I'm still pleased with this image of my house - but it was easier as it was from just one photo so I didn't have to create the design!

I'm happy, working away on my project and setting aside other matters for the time that I am working on it.  Hope that you are finding happiness too, in whatever way you can.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Colourful Quilt Top

 It all started well.

Half square triangles neatly trimmed.  Tick
 Shoo fly block laid out.  Tick.
 Shoo fly block.  Sewn.  Tick.
 Block cut apart.  Tick.
 Blocks rotated.  Tick.
 Block sewn together.  Errrr....... no.  I don't know how I managed to put them together differently from the way that they were arranged before I sewed them!  I obviously failed to sew the right sides of the two halves together.

What's worse, is that having sewn this as a test block, I then used it to make all subsequent blocks!

I suppose I should be grateful that all of them are wrongly the same!
 Of course, I didn't manage this lay out straight away - I managed to rotate a couple of the blocks by 90 degrees, so I had to do a little unpicking and reswing.

It was only when the quilt flimsy was complete that I realised my error on the internals of the block!

Doh!  So, not quite like the pattern in the book, but still very bright and fun.  This will rest now until I feel inspired to back, baste and quilt it.
42" square.
We also had a birthday in the household.  DD2 celebrated with socially distanced pizza in the garden on one evening, and afternoon tea with family on the following day.  My Hamilton themed cake wasn't a stunner, but did use only the fondant icing that I had on hand, which was great!

Hope that you've had a good week too!

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Where did the week go?

 Do you like this stage in a project too?  Where it's hard to believe that this small amount of neatly cut fabric will, with the magic of sewing machine and rotary cutter, soon add up to a whole quilt top?

For me, it's just as well that I enjoy this stage, as I cut this fabric last week, but have yet to move it on to the sewing stage!

I'm sure that I've been busy, but I think that the home college / school work support and 'domestic duties' must have been more time consuming this week for some reason.
Glorious colour!

I'm not sure that the white background is a truly useful background colour when the size will be a baby quilt, but at least it will be nice and jolly.

I'm looking forward to trying a 'disappearing' shoo fly block with them.  A pattern from 'Turnabout Patchwork' by Mairal Barreu.

I'm hoping to find more sewing time this week!

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Tutorial - Fabric Travel Pouch / Bag for Masks

 I was thinking through how the masks that I'd made were going to be used.  Some will be used on public transport, taken off (for example, schooling) and then what?  What do you do with your 'grubby' mask?

Obviously you could buy or make a fabric bag to put it in (FabWraps is still open on Etsy and selling bags!) but I wanted something that I could keep clean masks in too - ready for a journey home, say.

So this drawstring bag with pocket was born.  You keep clean masks in the outer pocket, and drop your used masks into the drawstring bag.  When you get home you can drop the whole package into the washing machine.

Genius, if I do say so myself!  So here's a tutorial.  Measurements are for my style of masks (finishing approximately 8.5" x 4")  but I'm sure that you can adjust it for your mask size / shape.
 You need three pieces of fabric and a length of cotton tape.  Two pieces 7" x 14", one piece 7" x 10" (for each bag I cut a 7" across the width of my fabric and added a piece into my scrap bag from the end of it.

Turn a hem on the top of the shorter piece.

Put a button hole in the centre of one of the tall pieces, 2" down from the top.
 Layer up the three pieces as follows with their bottom edges aligned.

  • Right side up, button hole piece with button hole at the top.
  • Right side up, shorter pocket piece.
  • Wrong side up, plain tall piece.
Then sew around three sides - the long sides and the bottom.  I like to reinforce the start, stop and where the top of the pocket it with a 'forwards and backwards'.

 Now turn over 1/4" at the top (and press if liked).
 Next turn over approximately 1.5" to make a neat edge.

This is going to form the channel for your drawstring.
 Sew the channel, less than 1/4" from the folded edge of the fabric, using the free arm on your machine.

Now turn the bag out.  If the pocket looks inside out don't worry - you just need to pull it from inside the bottom corners to make it go the right way round!
 Thread the tape through the channel and knot the ends together.  I used 23" of cotton twill tape, so that I know it it is washable.

Ta-da!  Finished item.

You are ready to load it up with your clean masks in the front pocket, ready for your trip out.
 So, how did I spend my weekend?  Well, this was the batch that I made on Sunday, having done something similar on Saturday (and a few more masks for good luck!).

I hope that the idea is a good one and that it might have some use for you.

And stitching just for me?

More mini homes.  I'm still managing to complete one a day as part of the #100dayproject.

Loving these little bits of silliness!

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Another Glorious Scrap Quilt Finish!

 Do you ever have one of those projects that just ticks along in the background?

This turned out to be one of those!

Nearly a month ago I showed you these little 9 patch squares.

Then I added triangles to bring the size up a little.

Then trimmed.
 Then had to plan out a layout - taking into account the three different grey fabrics that I'd used for the setting triangles (I'm working from stash, using up smaller pieces!).
 Then pair them up with the sashing that I wanted to use, ready to sew
 Time to check that the lines had stayed where I expected them to stay, before adding the longer sashing strips to complete the quilt top.
 So that happened over the course of the month.

Last week I patched up enough wadding (a total of 27 pieces!) to make something large enough to complete the quilt sandwich.

Once it was basted, it didn't take long to quilt it with a wavy line.  Not too dense, I still want it to be cosy.
 I didn't strive too hard to keep them parallel.  Just close enough to have a relationship to each other.
 Here it is, complete.

We already have a family game of 'choose your favourite' - lots of fabrics that we recognise from other projects!

Finishing at 40" x 60" This one is likely to be a keeper.  It's destined for the back of my sofa for the moment.  I'm enjoying it (and enjoying the fact that I managed to get all the sashing fabric facing the same way - I don't usually choose directional fabrics for a reason!).
 Alongside that excitement there were also a few more of these.
 This time with draw string laundry bags for people on a day trip or (later in the year!) an overnight trip.
And button up pouches to keep the clean masks all in one place.

I haven't made one of these simple 'clutch' bags for ages.  Good to find that they are still as simple to make as I remembered!