Tuesday 28 May 2013

Did I ever show you....?

 .....that I actually finished my sewing caddy? Here it is without contents, handle, accessories.
 Here it is with the needle case and pin cushion, showing a different pocket front.
 This is what it looks like with the handle and contents ready for a sewing workshop (not that I have any planned at the moment, but one can always hope!).
Another view, showing my remaining stock of home-made hand-dyed fabrics (unsurprisingly low on fresh yellow and green fabrics!).

Overall I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, even if it's slightly larger than I'd originally thought it was going to be.

I finished it a couple of weeks ago, its just as soon as I move onto something else I get caught up with that instead!

Wednesday 22 May 2013

The week of Seaweed!

 Now I realise that this doesn't look like much seaweed for a week, but in all honesty it's been a week and half...... and no, I can't quite work out how I've managed so little sewing either!

Each padded seaweed frond took me a total of almost an hour.  I'm pleased to say that the folded hexie flower was MUCH faster, but doesn't really relate to the seaside theme of the applique block that is still more in my head than made in fabric!

If you are interested these were the stages in seaweed production:  Machine sew around shape.  Cut and clip around shape.  Turn it right way out (a struggle with these tiny bladderwrack 'bobbles'!).  Stuff.  Sew up back.  Poke into best shape possible.

I'm pleased to say that my examples of shirring (I haven't shown you the duller straight shirring - pleased though I was with the effect!) were both fast and rewarding.  A girl needs some instant gratification, even when pursuing a hobby!

Funnily enough, I might have discarded shirring as a method of getting texture, as I'd never really understood about hand winding the shirring elastic onto the bobbin before I saw it on The Great British Sewing Bee!  Not that I saw them doing meander shirring like this, I hasten to add.

Isn't the texture fab?  I just need to stabilise this around the edge to make it entirely usable and quite exciting!

Hope that you are enjoying crafty fun this week, whether it be fast or slow!

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Remembering Liba (and some Dear Jane)

This is one panel of a round robin quilt that I made with some members of my quilt group (Richmond and Kew Quilters) a couple of years ago.  This particular panel was made by Liba, who was the oldest member of the group.

My title for the project was 'dancing hens in a magical moonlit garden'.

Liba used a wonderful printed panel and added some beautiful, delicate applique.

I am trying to show you the detail of the embroidered embellishment she used.  Isn't it great?

I think that these chicks are looking for their supper and a bit of a sit down before they carry on dancing!

Liba died earlier this year.  She was in her nineties, so although it's a shame, I don't feel that she died 'out of her time'.  I remember her with great affection and a deep admiration for her zest for quilting and ability to keep sewing into very old age.  I hope that I am able to do the same with the same enthusiasm that she showed.

So why am I telling you this?  When she died she left a project that was incomplete - a Dear Jane quilt.  She also left some fabric (of course, she was, after all, a quilter!).  One of her friends, Ruth, assisted by some other members the group, have put together packs of fabric and patterns for each of the blocks that are left to make.   If, as a group, we can finish all the blocks then we can put it together and use it as the raffle quilt at our next exhibition.  It's too soon to sell you raffle tickets, but in another 18 months or so I'll be reminding you of this post!

 Last night I pulled out a lucky dip of three (and was quite relieved not to get any that screamed 'applique' at me.  Brenda P  - author of Dear Jane - might say "Finished is better than perfect." but she has never seen my small scale applique attempts.  She might have to rephrase if she did!

As it happens, I also have a partially completed Dear Jane quilt.  It is several years since I've made any progress on it, despite good intentions and setting myself stitching goals every January!

This morning I have made two DJ blocks from Liba's fabrics.  The photo shows K-12.  Liba's fabrics on the left, my original version on the right.

Here is block G-10.  I've enjoyed making them both, but I'm leaving the trickiest looking of the three blocks I collected until another day.

I've enjoyed remembering Liba as I stitched, and I hope that everyone else who has picked up blocks to make does the same.

Of course, the best legacy that Liba could leave me is the motivation to make forward progress on my own Dear Jane.  I think that it is time to start making up my own 'block packs' for sewing so that I can kick myself into a restart.  Just three more rows and I'll have finished the square part of the quilt!

Perhaps you have a project that's stalled?  I wish you well in re-finding the mo-jo required to take it to completion.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Caddy Pockets Again!

 I'm still making non-block patchwork pockets for my sewing caddy!  Still using the fabrics that I chose last week, and still thinking that they look very spring like!
This one didn't photograph well, but it's a scoop shaped pocket which should be a useful shape.

This is the little needle case that  I've made to hang off the caddy.  Inside it's just got two leaves of felt and a popper to keep it all closed.  Simple but fun.

It doesn't look like much sewing has happened this week, and to be honest that would be a fair assessment.  On the other hand my DD's no longer share a room - my energy has been used up helping to move furniture around!

It has been quite sweet.  The old 'spare room' had 23 quilts on the walls in total, which all came down in order to present a blank canvas to the DD who was moving into it.  The girls sat down and looked at them all and have chosen a total of 18 quilts to go back onto their walls!  I'm quite touched.

Right, back to pocket construction!

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Spring Cheerfulness!

 I've started work on my sewing caddy, using a lovely spring selection of my hand dyed fabrics.  These blocks are 5" square finished - that's three pockets made.....

This is a much smaller block - just 1 1/4" square! It's quite small for a pin cushion, but pretty, even if not practical!  it has made me think about making a miniature quilt all over again....  I really like the idea but I'm not sure that I can bring off the accuracy required to make a really successful miniature.

 Here are the main parts of the caddy laid out, ready for pockets to be added, fancy bits constructed and clipped on, and the whole thing to be sewn up.

These are the fabrics that I pulled to start off with, but I've had to add a couple of others as there isn't quite enough fabric to make everything that I want to.

This is the biggest move away from my spring palette - and I'm not completely sure that a lavender warmer is really a sewing accessory, it just feels that way to me, as scarcely a day goes by without me using my faithful pair! 

This is a real treat - my old one was scorched and smelled more of burnt wheat than lavender.  This one, freshly made this morning, smells wonderful!  For anyone else that wants to use orphan blocks or just some ordinary fabric, I made a calico liner 'pillow' of 17 1/2" x 7", using 550g of mixed rice and pearl barley and 50g of lavender split into four equal pockets.  The outer cover was 22" x 8" - The extra length I used to make an internal overlap to hold the rice pillow in place.  The back of mine is made of cotton velvet - a luxury - actually the back of the old cover, which still seemed in good condition.

Two minutes in a microwave to heat it (or at least, 2 in mine, it might be different in yours!) and there will be comforting warmth. 

Happy spring, happy May Day!