Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Nearly the end of Term!

I've finished my big end of term projects!  This is the fish quilt, which has a fish made by every Junior school child (and this one by me when I needed a focal point for it).  It is approximately 44" x 74".  The fish are backed with Vilene and then 'sketch stitched' down - so the edges will still be quite soft, but should just roll a little once it is washed, rather than fray.  I was impressed with the number of different shapes and sea creatures that the children produced!

The Infants each made at least one stitch in the bird that their classes are called after - with the TA's picking up and finishing them off.  Then the Binca squares (I use the term loosely!) were handed on to me for the cushion covers to be made.  I wish that I'd made it clear that I needed a clear seam allowance for each piece, as some of them are stitched perilously close to the edge of the easy-to-fray Binca.  Still, with stitch and flip over a supporting white fabric, zig-zag stitching and some extra top stitching I hope that these cushions will stand up to normal wear and tear.

Both these projects are for the departing Deputy Head of the girls school.

These projects left me only a little time to make something for DD2's class teacher, who is also leaving the school.  Interestingly, DH tackled me yesterday on the fact that he thought it would be nice if I made something for Mr Folly too - clearly my stitching obsession is starting to rub off on him!  What he hadn't realised was that I'd already made a book cover with a Kingfisher and his name on and passed it on to the class reps for presentation with the vouchers later this week.  What I didn't realise was that I'd done this before I'd remembered to take a photograph of it!

Time now to start thinking about school holidays and the like, and what to pack for going away (apart from my sewing machine, of course that is never in question).  It's now such a 'given' on the holiday that I will be sewing that my nieces bring along their sewing projects (especially the ones that need a little extra help) too, and check to make sure that the collection of FQs will be travelling.  Nothing like promoting sewing to the next generation!

I hope that you too are preparing for sharing sewing projects over the summer.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Great Mail to Receive!

I've had some wonderful quilty mail this week.  Best of all were this pair of A4 sized skinny quilts by Ann Clare - my photos don't do justice to the richness of the stitching and the fabrics.  I'm very pleased with them.

I've also received a book  The Encyclopedia of Quilting and Patchwork as part of my (say it quietly and it won't be so scary, actually, I've only signed up for Module 1, so I'll just see how I get on with it and needn't be worried) C&G course materials.  Then I ordered myself a 9 1/2" ruler as that's the block size that I'd decided on for the samples that we have to make up, and it was on special offer on a site that I was buying something else from.....errrm, a quilt book (Scrap Quilt Sensation by Katherine Guerrier).  Also a couple of lovely 'favourite food' postcards from a BQL swap.

Most of my sewing time has been spent on the fish quilt you had a peek at before.  It's almost finished now, but I'll need a couple of willing helpers to hold it up for me so that I can take a photo of it.

Instead you can see this block - called Nelson's Victory - which is, unusually for me, all hand stitched.  As I was hand stitching it I decided that I might as well choose something with inset seams, as I often don't choose them when I machine stitch.  My plan is to use lots of blues and white as a background for my sample blocks, and then perhaps I'll be able to put them all together at the end.

Hope that you have a happy week.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Take Four Fat Quarters....

 .....and put them with a background fabric, to make a quick and easy 'Cobblestones' quilt!   I did mean to make a tutorial for this, but it's so simple that I don't think that it's needed.  So if I just share with you that each block finishes at 8", so therefore you need to cut 25 x 4.5 " blocks, then 25 sets of 2 x 2.5" x 4.5" strips and 25 matching 2.5" x 8.5" strips you'll probably have all the information that you need.  Remember that you'll only cut half of each from your four FQ's, the rest will need to be cut from your background fabric.  My program says 7/8th of a yard would be enough, I suggest that you use a yard or a metre (depends when and where you buy!) and insert a strip of it into your backing too....

You might have enough fabric from your FQ's for a border or two, and even the binding.  My way was to cut everything left over from the initial FQ cutting into 2.5" strips.  I added two borders, and then got to choose whether or not to carry on and add the other borders, or whether to cut them into 1.25" strips and use to bind the quilt, which is what I actually did.  Of course, if you had five FQ's to start off with you wouldn't face the same dilemma!

My quilt finished up at 44" x 40".  Quick and easy to produce a cute baby or lap quilt - and therefore no excuse for me to have taken so long to quilt it since finishing the top back in March, I think.

This week has turned into 'fish' week.  I'm putting together a whole cloth (didn't I say I'd never make another one?) with raw edge applique fish made by every single child in DD1's junior school, as a leaving present.  The children have been amazingly imaginative with their undersea shapes!

I have to keep coming up for air.....!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

I almost forgot....

I finished my bonnet a couple of weeks ago, the one that I was making for 'Roses from the Heart'  (and more info here too) project, but forgot to put a picture up of the finished item.  I was reminded this week when I got a charming 'thank you' from Christina Henry, who is the founder of the project. 

 I chose the name of 'Mary Evans' - Evans being my maiden name, and added her journey details from one of the convict transport logs.  A few flowers and leaves, and then wavy lines to represent the long sea passage on 'Harmony'.
I am not the best hand embroiderer, but this was a fun and contemplative project to do.  I bought my pattern sheet from somewhere that I can't remember for a nominal £1, but I have found out that you can download it from here if you'd like to make one yourself and send it off.  Christina says that she has about 20,000 bonnets now, so still places for a few thousand more.....

I also bought in a service this week from Ani Catt.  She offers a fabric shape cutting service - brilliant!  You can send her fabric (I pre-backed mine with fusible web) and she will die cut it for you for a small charge. I have some lovely snowflakes for a winter project, and a few blue curlicues too, which were intended as embellishment for a stalled cushion project, but are so lovely that they deserve something more creative (and I've got a new plan for the cushion project, which involves turning it into a medallion for a baby quilt instead, much better!).

I also repaired a block from my 'Supernova' (not so very quilt along, in my case).  It rather looks to me as though a small person in the household had wanted to test my fabric scissors....  I suppose that it could have been her sisters hair (again) so perhaps I shouldn't sigh too deeply!

And talking of DD2's hair.......she and one of her best friends were all dolled up yesterday for their ballet exam - and very proud of their 'ballet hair' (and later, of their certificates!). 

I'm hoping that I'll be able to get a bit more sewing done this week, as so far it looks as though I won't have children at home following strike action or children at home following sickness - fingers crossed at least!

I hope you find time to do all the things that you'd like to accomplish this week too.