Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Sewing with a View

 As I sit and sew this week I'm looking out from across an old rose garden to the rolling surf of the North Devon Coast.  It's easy to be distracted by the roses, day lilies and glorious selection of trees (as well as by the members of my lovely extended family!).  I'm not sure that I'll get quite as much sewing done as usual, but I'll be giving it my best shot!

I am lucky to have a family that understands that I can't join them on jaunts to the beach and even luckier that I have a hobby that (mostly) distracts me from minding that I can't join in with them as much as I'd like to.

So far I have managed to put this small quilt top together.  I had these scrap HSTs from another project (2 years ago?  three?  Certainly they've been nagging me from the back of my sewing table for a while now).  I finally got them pressed, squared up and laid out this design to use most of them up. It will become a small wall hanging - which might have happened this week if I'd thought to bring along an appropriate backing fabric. (finished size 17 1/2" square).
I made a little sister for this piece as well.  This is only 10 1/2" square (and needs pressing, yes, I know) so will probably have borders of the fabrics used in it to bring it up to the size of a cushion cover.  This pretty much follows today's Quilt Pro 'block of the day' and was just right for the left over HSTs that I had, with the addition of just a few solid squares.  Always nice to be able to use up scraps like these in a purposeful manner.

Finally, this is some of the prep work for my first Love Entwined zigzag border.  These are machine stitched, but the corners are going to be pieced over paper.  I'm thinking that I'm going to join them all to make one frame shaped unit which I will then hand sew onto the background, but I'm not sure if that's the best approach or not.  Perhaps I just need to spend a bit longer looking at the view and mulling it over!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Rose Band

 This has been a week of making ruched roses.  I don't think that I'll ever be tired of seeing how a 22" x 2" strip of fabric can be sewn with zig zags of running stitch and drawn up into these highly textured roses.  Aren't they fun?

I added them to a band that had been quilted with a loose leaf design with a few extra leaves added for additional interest.  It's very bold dimensional applique!

That's another hat band finished.

My other applique, on Love Entwined, is a lot flatter.  I've added a little more to it this week, but hope to make even more progress next week.  I might even stretch to a photo!

With hat bands on the increase, it was time to start the hat!

It was time to draw out the shape of hat brim that I wanted (more brim to shade me at the front than the back, as I get irritated if a car head rest tries to tip my hat off if it has a wide brim all around) before starting to construct the hat.

The most fun bit so far?  Adding the brim wire using a zipper foot tight up to it, which has given it a lovely defined edge.

I hoped to finish it today but had to waste time and energy sorting out a washing machine flood - at least in this weather the floor is drying very quickly!  Just the outer crown  and some stitching on the brim to add with a little bias binding to complete the look inside.  It does look plain, doesn't it?  I hope that's an advantage when showing off the different bands I hope to make.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Insetting my Compass

 This week I've made some more cords.  In fact I worked so hard on my cords and beaded cords that I gave myself a blister on my finger - ouch!

Needless to say I decided to something else after that, but I've forgotten to take a photo of the ruched fabric flowers that followed that little escapade.

My other sewing this week has been to complete the compass ring for Love Entwined and add it to my background fabric.  Here's how I did it.

Having appliqued the compass onto the ring with the little dots, I decided to inset that part into the background fabric.  I suspect that I'm not quite doing it to the pattern, but I don't think that it matters, as it's my version of what is being provided!

I started by gluing two pieces of freezer paper together, shiny sides out.

Then I used my trusty pair of compasses to draw a circle (my circle cutter isn't big enough for this size, unfortunately!). 

Using the fold lines on the paper I was able to line the 'hole' up in the centre of my background fabric (which I'd already machine basted the straight and diagonal lines on).
 Then I cut out the centre circle of fabric.

After this I used baking parchment on the circle template and 'tack' ironed it to the background fabric in exactly the right place.
Then it was time to carefully clip the seam allowance to within three threads of the edge of the hole and iron it all down.  Having 'shiny' freezer paper facing both ways holds the fabric to the template beautifully.
The next step was to turn the background fabric the right way up (isn't it lovely? it is a Kona Cotton solid called 'Cloud') and put the compass into the window that is just the right size.  I made sure that the points were facing the right way along the basting lines - I didn't want a wonky compass!

I ironed again (baking parchment underneath this time so that I didn't get freezer paper sticking to the ironing board where it was bigger than the compass.

This will stick the insert - for me the compass and ring - to the background fabric.

It was simple to run a line of stitching around to hold it all together before removing the freezer paper and trimming the compass insert to make it neat.

I wish that I'd ironed it before taking this photo - it lies flat in real life!

This week I hope to make some more progress on this quilt, as well as carry on with my C&G stuff which has fallen by the wayside slightly.

Less than a week until the school holidays start and my DD's are able to 'help' with my sewing, so any precision work needs to be thought through now!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Cords and a Hat Band

 I've been having fun this week turning threads into cords in various ways (read 'trimmings part of C&G course) for this particular turning in my crafting skill set!).

Orange isn't my 'go to' colour, but it happened that I'd got a bundle of threads with no other particular use, so, as shown here, I used some of them for wrapping to make this thick cord.

I've also used braid circles, finger knotting, plaiting, zigzag over sewing  and all sorts of other threads along side these in order to make lots of different cords.

Next week I aim to find ways of joining some of them in order to make more substantial braids and trims - or at least, that is the plan!
 My hand stitching this week has been concentrated on this scrumple finish hat band.  I started by using a meander shirring pattern on some fabric. 

After stabilising it I added hand stitching in two different variegated threads and a scattering of beads.

The whole thing was more time consuming than I expected, but also very relaxing!  It required less concentration than any of the other stitching that I'd prepared, so was easier for me to work on during the hot weather that we've been having.

I'm off to hope for a return of grey skies and more moderate temperatures, and to think of more cunning cord making plans!   I should, of course, be making the hat for this to be the band of!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

All at Sea with a Mariner's Compass

 I haven't done oodles of sewing this week, but to make up for it, what I've done I've done twice!

This was my first attempt at the central Mariner's Compass for Love Entwined.  I didn't pay enough attention to position of the green back ground / blue points, and when I sewed it to the background I found that I hadn't really been careful enough with my circle template, so although on one side the points went neatly to the edge, they were stranded nearer the middle on the other side.
I decided that it was going to be easier to remake the entire compass than to try salvaging bits from the first one, so yesterday I re-made it, a little less hastily!

I should have re-balanced the colours in both photos - the pink is actually a hot pink and works beautifully with the other others, a mix of (my own!) hand-dyes and commercial prints.
The quilt is destined to take about 35 yards of fabric in total, and apart from the background (about 7 1/2 yards) I'm hoping to make it mainly from my stash.  I'm thinking cheerful and scrappy.

Next task on this is to applique 3/8" circles around the compass (32 of them!).  Or use fusible, or sequins, or buttons, or something.  I've got links to at least 4 different methods of making tiny applique circles, so I'm hoping that one at least will work for me.

Can you tell that the back basted tree has moved down the list temporarily?  I've stitched about a third of it and it's so wonderfully portable that I plan to just keep it in my handbag ready for 'swimming mum' and 'ballet mum' type moments when I'm sitting and waiting. 

Hope that you have a fun stitching week too!