Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Quilty Finish!

 I've been meaning to make a Carpenter's Wheel for years.

OK, so this is an easy version of it.  Perhaps it's a Carpenter's Star instead of a Carpenter's Wheel - I've never been good at knowing what pattern / block names are, I'm afraid.
Finally, scrap sorting / scrap busting in lockdown has prompted me to take it from the 'one day' list and move it to the 'do it now' list!

I extended the size of it with sashing and blocks of more charm squares (I have no more blue, green or neutral charm squares left).

It reached 66" x 44" which is a good size for me to quilt.
 Shame that I still managed a tuck or two in the back!  I clearly need more practice again!

Pieced backing.  I was delighted to find this peice of 'nummer' from Ikea, which only needed extending in one direction.
 I thought that I'd got enough grey left to bind the quilt, but I was wrong, so it has a brighter binding than I'd been intending, but all from stash, which is a good thing, and quite cheery.
 Alongside my quilty finish there were another couple of batches of these.
This batch made with cord elastic rather than flat elastic - all that I could get for the price I wanted to pay / in the time that I wanted to get it.

Happy sewing, everyone!

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

It's all about the.... homes?!?  No, not really - although I'm on day 37/100 on the #100dayproject - and I'm very happy with how the neighbourhood is shaping up!  I'm still having fun using different techniques and colours to make these little jewels.  Some more complex than others!
But the rest of my sewing?  I've bowed to the invitable and made masks.

My version is a triple layer (quilting fabric outer, breathable  non woven polypropylene middle, and a soft cotton jersey by the skin.

There is a pipe cleaner sewn into a channel at the top so it can fit closely around the nose.

Different fabrics for different family members.

I 've tried to make it as easy as possible to put on and off.  It has a long length of elastic and a cord toggle to make wearing and adjusting them straighforward.
 They are made in two sizes - teens and adults.
I shall make them for my (extended) family, and then stop.  Already I've had to order more elastic and more cord toggles.  Thank goodness for all the people who are still working in the companies that provide these items!

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Sending a Hug

 After a second elderly relative said how much they were missing hugs, we decided to take action.

Two metres of plain fabric, about 20" deep, a Sharpie pen colour chosen by each member of the family, and a dry bit of cardboard to keep the fabric clean and dry (more or less!).

Then each of us lay down with our arms stretched out and were traced around with our pen colour.

Sentiments and signatures added.
 A second, petterned, fabric sewn on, turned through, top stitched.
 And there you are, a hug in a stole (rather than a stolen hug).  Now they've been sent (and received!) the recipients can have hugs as tight as they like for as long as they like.

Of course I know that it isn't really the same.  But we've shown three people that we are thinking of them and raised a smile or two in the process.
My next project was to tackle my 'leaders and enders' nine patches.  Each one finishes at 3" square, so I tend to do something else to bring the size up a bit in order to make a bigger 'something' from them.

More on this next week, I hope!

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Mini Tutorial - Floating Hexies

 I decided that I wanted to make something simple - and this is based on the excellent pattern in Pam and Nicky Lintott's 'New Ways with Jelly Rolls' for a quilt back.

Too good to hide away on a back, in my opinion!
 So I've made mine with just two fabrics.  One for the hexies, one for the background.
You need to cut 4.5" strips x WoF.  I cut four strips for the dark purple, and seven for the background.  You need to add extra half hexies at the ends which is why you need more background shapes.
 Then use your 60 degree ruler, and use the lines between the 8" and 3.5" lines to cut the half hexie shapes, flipping the ruler round after each cut to be as economical with the fabric as possible.

Next sew them together to make strips - you can see below how to create the hexagons from two strips.

I planned a 3 - 4 - 3 layout.  Once you lay them out you can see where to add the extra background half hexies.
 I liked laying mine out to make sure that I'd got the right number (facing the right way!) in each strip.  You can see here that I was part way through the process and needed to add more sections at some of the strip ends.

When you are happy with your strips, line them up and sew together.  Work out where the hexagons are going to be to work out how each pair of strips will line up.

The ends will look something like this.

You need to cut them off to make a straight edge (generating more scraps to play with, of course!).

That's it.  You have made enough for a runner, perhaps.  Mine finished at 54" x 24".  If you made two it would make a good lap quilt or cot quilt size.

What I actually went on to do was to add deep borders around my central part, before backing / basting / quilting / binding.

The quilt finished at 70" x 46" which is a reasonably useful size for cozying up under.

The backing was a bit random.  Life saver rings and another fabric with a flash of red on it.  Not a bad combination, but perhaps not the best players with the front of the quilt!  Sorry, whoever ends up with this one - but it was sewn with love if that counts for anything.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Mixed Sewing (again!)

 More mini homes as my #the100dayproject2020 offering.

Different techniques, and still throwing in the occasional reference to daily life - like the loaf shaped house at the top to show our home baked bread from the weekend....
 More scrubs bags - now delivered to the London Ambulance service.  Check 'for the love of scrubs' on Facebook if you want to try and find somewhere local to you asking for scrubs / bags / hats / bands.  Some places are very specific about the fabrics that they will accept for various items, and you should plan for everything to be able to be washed at 60oC.
Finally, two blocks for the Richmond and Kew Quilters charity block idea from Marianne - a Trip Around the World type block.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Mixed sewing

 Another rainbow window hanging - as we wanted to have one to show thanks to the key workers using the train station that we overlook.

Thanks to Patch and Dot for the base pattern which you can find here.
 And using the same fabrics, I started my #100dayproject - this year I'm planning to make 100 tiny homes, reflecting on how many of us are currently staying at home - and how grateful I am to have a home that I enjoy being in.

It's been fun so far.  These little fun houses are set on a grid of 2.5" square to make sure that I don't let them get too large!  I plan to keep using a variety of techniques to make them.
 Finally, I've started making a batch of 'scrubs bags' for the London Ambulance service.  Many thanks to my BF who - many years ago - gave me lots of bed linen.  Fabric that hasn't been made into quilt backs is now being pressed into service.
The pillow cases in particular were an easy conversion into drawstring bags - and I'm lucky to have had a roll of cotton tape on hand for the drawstring part of them.

The ones in the pile on the right are cut from a duvet cover, and I made my own 'strings' from the cover too.  More time consuming, but I don't have enough tape to use in all the bags that I plan to make.

Interesting times, as they say, but at least I can still sew.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Lots of Small Projects

This was my completed quilt for the week - roughly 20" square and based on this pattern by Kjersti Smith (thank you Kjerski and Creative Quilting for making it free  to download for April).

Displayed in our window to say 'thanks' to everyone who is still working, whether at home or out on the front line, in service, care and health industries and every other industry too!  We will need all of you who are preventing the economy to completely grinding to a halt, as well as those who are more commonly recognised.  Thank you everyone who is doing their bit to keep the wheels on!
 Here is the start of my scrap busting.
This carpenters wheel has used all my neutral or near neutral charm squares, and most of my blue and purple ones.  At 32" square it needs more to be a useful size, but I will look through my  scraps and 'small yardage' bits to see what falls into place.

I'm so pleased to make this, though, as it has been on my list for years to make!
 Then it was time to make cards.  I may not be able to see family and friends this Easter, but I can share the love by sending a card.
During March there were a number of birthdays that I made cards for too.  I need to get making the ones for April now (and ask my DH to buy some more postage stamps!).

Stay safe, stay well, and stay in!

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Small Victories

 My scraps are finally all sorted (for the moment!)

It's hard to believe that they all fitted into the three plastic drawers, even harder to believe that they all fitted back again!
 But here's the proof!

Neatly sorted.  Either by size, or, with the irregular strips and rectangles, by colour (in the zip lock bags in the middle drawer.

It's left me with decisions about how to use them, of course.  But a decision for another day!

A second small victory?  This floral wreath is complete - a cross stitch piece that I've been working on for an online course (showing that I can use variagated thread - there are only six different threads used here.  Sometimes with thread lengths used 'top to tail' to give variation within a stitch, sometimes just trying to use the darker and lighter colours to pick out different parts of flower heads.

Reminds me of something that my grandma might have liked!

A third victory?  Not so small, this one.  My BF had her lumpectomy (a victory in itself in these uncertain times) and the cancer hasn't spread into the lymph node!  Hurrah!  Thank heavens for screening programs...... and what a shame that they are temporarily closed in many places at the moment, for obvious reasons.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Sunshine and Showers

The joy of celebrating a birthday in the family.
 Even if the 'proper' celebration turns out to be over a video call with other family members.

We can create sunshine wherever possible.
Impossible to get away from the showers, though. 

So when many are facing CV and the related issues, I am worried about my best friend who needs to have surgery for breast cancer.  I've made her a cushion and a 'wiggly bag', but won't know for sure whether her surgery will go ahead tomorrow, or, as it is classified as 'non-essential' it will have to be cancelled.  Of course, I also won't know whether the post services from here to Australia will work in their usual timeframes!

We wait to hear and we hope.

In the meantime our umbrellas (of self distancing, being kind, doing what we can to help others) are up.

Stay safe and well, everyone.  I hope that you find enough sunshine to make rainbows of your own personal showers.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Scrap Busting

 When your scraps are trying to break out of your drawers you know that it's time to take action!

The labels giving sizes on each of the drawers are more good intentions, or a once, now distant, dream.  What actually happens is that I just stuff scraps in there at the end of a project.

 They didn't look less full once I'd pulled them out from the unit - but I did discover that the bottom drawer is still full from last time I had a good sort out.  Oops!  Those bags will be added to over the next couple of weeks, I'm sure.
The contents of just one drawer - which represents several hours of cutting ahead of me.  I'll be working to my usual sizes.

  • 10" squares
  • 5" squares
  • 3.5" squares
  • 2.5" strips
  • 2" strips
  • 1.5" squares
  • Odd bits and odd strips
These are sizes that I can use up easily.  Anything smaller than either 1.5" square or 1.25" strip gets thrown away.
Once I've finished all the cutting (I expect that it will take a couple of weeks, doing it just sometimes to not over do the shoulder or wrist efforts required) it will be time to decide how I'm going to use them.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Orange Peel Quilt

 Remember that I started this quilt a few weeks ago?

It's been a slow finish (half term, other projects and events getting in the way of sewing time!) but it's finally complete!
 I made the orange peel blocks that I'd made into a medallion, and then raided the 'small yardage' piles to add borders.

I have to be honest.  I'd wanted to add a border of the dark pink  too, but it didn't quite work out for me.

Then I thought that it would make a great binding, before looking at the colourful zig zag I'd chosen for the back and realising that there was no pink in it to speak to.....
 I had fun with the quilting.  Can you see here the loopy fill on the segments?  Then I used a meander in between.

The quilt finished at about 42" square.
Isn't this a jazzy back?  So pleased with it!

Another one on the pile for Project Linus.

Now to go and think about what to make next!  I have a list, so perhaps it will be something from that.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Mother's Delight! A perfect Mother's Day Gift.

 Aren't these gorgeous?

A rainbow of reusable 100% cotton facial cleaning pads.

A brilliant replacement for people who use those 'throw away' cotton pads or disposable wipes.

Made by my lovely younger daughter!

Available from her Etsy shop here

 You can buy rainbow sets.  You can buy sets of 5 or 10 or 15 wipes (approx 3" square).  You can buy sets of 4 larger wipes (approx 5" square).

Why are they square?  Because she wants to create goods with the least possible waste, so rejected the idea of round pads.

Why are they 100% cotton?  Because she wanted something that would wash easily with your general wash, not need special attention.
 My little angle (she's lovely!) is raising money for an expedition to Borneo next year with her school, when she will get involved in community and environmental projects there. 

She choose to make and sell these wipes to not only raise money, but also try to encourage people to take one more small step to removing disposable goods from their lives.

Perhaps you'd like some?  Perhaps they would be the ideal gift for your mum on Mothers Day?

They are sold in a reusable storage bag, neatly labelled with what they are.

She delights me, as she is being productive, creative, and using her sewing skills (yay for all crafters!).

You can see here, she has stock ready to select and send!

Once more, AngelicCleansing.

or, if you can get to Twickenham, you can find her products in The People Hive, Heath Road, alongside FabWraps - the perfect wrapping for your gift from my elder daughter!