Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Lazy labels, Blocking Quilts and more.

So many things to do, and lots of quilts that needed labels.  I wish that I'd labelled them as I was going along, of course!  I decided to do a 'quick and dirty' solution:  printing the information onto pre-treated fabric, iron to fix it, iron it onto fusible and then cut the labels and iron them onto the quilts.

Of course, I know that the quilts that will be washed need to have some stitching around the labels too, but it was a great way to add the information I wanted onto these quilts.

 I also decided to take the plunge and wash my Love Entwined quilt with synthrapol (to get rid of the dye runs) and block it to help it lie flat against the wall when it was hung.

I took advice (thanks Avril!) and set it out like so:

1) lay down a plastic sheet.

 2) lay down a sheet (or in my case duvet cover), smoothing out any wrinkles.
 3) lay out the dampened quilt on top.  Gently pull into shape.  I used a large square ruler to check the corners and a meter rule to measure the sides.
 4) Using a long straight edge (I used my meter rule again) pin the quilt out keeping the edges as straight as possible.

 5) Allow it to dry undisturbed!  It should lay flat, a bit like damp stretching a piece of embroidery!
 One of my 'things to do' was celebrate my birthday.  Not the planned trip to the cinema to see the Bill Bryson film, Walk in the Woods, but a trip to see the author himself at the Kew literary festival!  Big thanks to my lovely SIL and niece who gave up their tickets so that DH and I could go.

Wonderfully entertaining talk and a wonderful surprise to be able to go!
Back home to my quilting and after finishing the binding on the large part of my Dear Jane quilt I decided that it needed blocking too.

This time I wasn't brave enough to put it into the washing machine (I know that some of the seam allowances from the blocks made years ago are too narrow!) so it had to make do with a heavy spritz of water before being pinned.

I'm pleased with how its looking and should be able to show you a picture of it hung up next week!  A milestone indeed!

I hope that your week has been as much fun as mine!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Show stopper!

Don't you think that's an amazing cake?

My lovely DH took a secret day off work, borrowed his sister's kitchen, and spent the day baking and decorating his first ever cakes (one chocolate, one lemon) to make the thread spool, complete with lemon buttercream icing, and strawberry lace thread, as well as the quilt, scissors and needle.

A real show stopper (fans of The Great British Bakeoff will be familiar with the term!).

Isn't it wonderful?  I was very touched by the whole effort that had gone into the secret making of this, ready for my birthday.

I realise that I should really be taking photos of the wonderful fabric post cards, hand made cards and sewing themed cards that I received - and the lovely hand sewn presents that I had from Benta - but perhaps that's something for another day.

After all, now I've got cake to eat.......!!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Hurrah for Sewing!

At last!  Some proper sewing on a new project!  It seems ages since I've started a new quilt (in fact it is nearly two months, which is quite a long time for me!).

After wondering about various book based projects, I finally decided to start a 'Farmers Wife' quilt.  These are the first four blocks that I've made - not picking a colour scheme, just picking fabrics out of the scrap box that were the right sizes and shapes!  I'm thinking that I'm going to make 50 blocks and sash them as the book suggests, to make a lap quilt.

I bought the book 'blind' (online).  I was surprised that between the book and the CD that there weren't any full size skeletons of the blocks.
 I'd got so used to the way that I'd made my Dear Jane blocks that I hadn't really considered that this might not be possible in the next book that I chose - what a lack of imagination I have!

Still, as I am lucky enough to own Quilt Pro software, I've been re-creating the blocks, making a note of the rotary cut block sizes (or when appropriate printing out the blocks for foundation piecing) and getting on with making them quite happily.

It feels good to have started a new project - even if the blocks feel large (6 1/2" square - a full 2" bigger each way than the Dear Jane blocks!).

My other project this week has been to use sheer fabrics to make fabric postcards.

To be honest, I'm a bit disappointed with myself.  These use a technique that I saw Kim Tittichai demonstrating.  You bond misty fuse or bond-a-web to sheers, stamp images on them, then cut them out with a soldering iron before applying them to a base fabric.

Mine just look a bit......I'm not sure, not exciting enough!  I think that using a patterned background might have helped (adding the Inktense pencil 'clouds' was a good improvement to these cards), but I think that really, I should have tried pushing myself a bit to try something with more textural and visual interest!

This is a good technique - and leaves you with lovely fabric 'stickers' - but I'm not sure that I really exploited the sheer element of the fabrics.  I need to try something else with organzas when I've got a bit more energy to put into it!

On the plus side, I've got lots of 'stickers' left over, I've tried a new technique that might suit other projects better and I've re-learned how easy it is to cut sheers with a soldering iron!  Good learning outcomes!

Hope that you are learning more about your crafts this week too!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015


 One of the benefits of sorting my craft room out is that I come across things that I need to deal with.  The time has come to decide whether I'm going to do something useful with these items or consign them to the bin (or more likely the local scrapstore - recycling project - charity shop or similar).

I came across two A4 journal quilts.  For some time they haven't commanded wall space in the house.  I had put them into my projects cupboard intending to make book covers out of them.  Of course, the sizing wasn't quite right for an A5 cover, so the project languished.

Now, with my new found love of a zippy pouch (!) I decided that I'd be able to repurpose them into small bags.
I machine stitched a zip to one short end, sewed up the sides and then hand stitched the second side of the zip to the other short end.

It only took a few minutes and I was pleased enough with the result to be able to give it to one of my friends.  A great result all round!

Another great result this week was being able to go to my monthly quilting meeting.  One of the members, Julie, ran a great workshop on thermofax printing.  Turns out that it's great fun, quite easy, and wouldn't take up too much storage space if I was to invest in some of the screens.....on no, I remember, I'm trying to thin out equipment, not buy more!  Perhaps I should leave the thermofax idea on the back burner for the moment!

I hope that you are managing some early autumn crafting too.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Ticking Along

 Over a month since I machine sewed the binding around this cot quilt - but now it's finished!  34" square, I like the patterns on this 'disappearing' block.  I still think that it would be best with scrappy blocks or just using two fabrics, though. If you squint at the screen you get a better idea of the overall pattern.  I'll have to put it on the list for when I get the urge to make another speedy pieced quilt!
The 'original' sewing this week was (another!) zippy pouch.  Now that I have the knack of making these, its hard to stop producing them for birthdays and small gifts!

This week I'm hoping to get some Dear Jane binding done.  Good to be able to have some easy hand sewing to cosy up in front of the TV with!

I'm also starting to look through my quilt books for a longer term project.  I had thought that once I'd finished 'Dear Jane' I'd move on to 'Dear Hannah' by the same author.  However, now that I've taken it down and had a good look at it, I realise that it seems a bit schizophrenic.  I'm not sure that the pieced blocks and the applique blocks (Brenda P mixed blocks from two historic quilts) work together as well as I'd like them too.  Perhaps I'll take a selection of each and make two smaller projects. 

I've also wondered about Susan Briscoe's 1718 coverlet.  Hard to choose what to do!  I rather think that my mini storm at sea might be resurrected in the meantime.  Small and not too demanding in terms of brain power!

Any other suggestions?  I'm after something that it is a mix of machine and hand sewing, lots of variety moving to a 'common goal' of a finished quilt.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Still Beavering Away.

Not much in the way of sewing still - just this little gift set of zippy pouch, covered notebook and tissue holder.

I'm still working away at putting  my sewing space back to rights.  I'm making progress but I've been a bit tired (bloomin' M.E. and the summer holidays!) so it's taking longer than I want it too.

Ho hum!  Still, every box I empty is a box closer to getting it finished - so any progress is good progress.

My quilting group is having it's show in a couple of months, so my next sewing related task is to complete the entry forms for any quilts I want to exhibit.  Well, that and actually finishing the quilts that I'd like to share - I still need to square up and bind the larger part of my Dear Jane!

Hope that you're enjoying some late summer sewing!