Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Developing a Technique

 I'm a member of a fabric postcard swap group - an offshoot of the well established BQL (British Quilters List) - and each year I take part in a birthday swap.  I get lovely cards on my birthday, and in return I make cards during the year for others in the swap.

Sometimes it's difficult to come up with a new idea, sometimes there is a technique that I want to explore and this is a good chance to do that.
 These are the cards that I've made this month, in the order that I made them, exploring adding stitching to a photo printed on fabric.

The pier for Avril I liked (you can't really see the silver thread that gave a little twinkle to it, trying to replicate the lights coming on at dusk, but it's there!).  I'm not happy with the clouds that I added, though (sorry Avril!).

I liked the sky better on this 'London Postcard' but it was hard to judge how many lines to add to the buildings
This winter scene was my final go at this - and again, the silver doesn't really show up in the photo, but I think that the technique worked well on this.

So, what have I learned?  That the starting photo needs to have a strong focus (and that it might be easier if the main focus is in the foreground), that layers of thread work well if the shades are similar, that the fabric photo and wadding need an additional support for the quilting (paper or interfacing work well) and that its lots of fun!

I've printed onto fabric before, and clearly, I've quilted before, but never combined the two quite like this.  I'd really recommend it as a light hearted and easy way to create something interesting!

I'm off to work on hand finishing the binding for my current little quilt.  Enjoy your crafting this week!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Christmas Decoration Mini Tute

It may seem a little early to be thinking about decking the halls (or the Christmas tree) but my DDs - as part of their Guide Unit - are selling homemade Christmas decorations for charity this weekend, and I thought that I'd supplement their stock.

I started off with some 'cookie cutter' felt stars.  There are many ways of tackling these, but if you would like to make something similar, here is what I did.
 1) Put two pieces of craft felt together and go to town with your fancy decorative machine stitches.

2) Using a cookie cutter, draw your chosen shape(s) onto a piece of paper.  If you want to make things really quick for yourself at the 'pulling apart' stage use tissue paper or easy tear foundation paper.  I chose stars, but it could just have easily have been hearts or bauble shapes.
3) Put the paper onto the felt and stitch around the shapes that you have drawn.

 4) Remove the paper and cut around the stitched shapes just outside the line.

Finally, add a hanging ribbon (perhaps with a button to cover the stitching).  You're done!

I have used the stitched fabric that was left from between the stars to make other shapes for baubles and winged creatures.  These will have a stitched outline added before their ribbon.

Job done!  A quick and easy way to make some decorations.
I also made some Christmas trees - there are instructions for these all over the internet - but in essence I used a pinking edge rotary cutter to cut around an old CD to make green fabric circles.
Then I folded them in half, then 'zig-zaggy' before stitching them down, adding a tree trunk at the bottom.
I have to confess that I even add buttons by machine these days - setting it to satin stitch and being careful to adjust the width depending on the button.

If you make any decorations I hope that you have fun too!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

WIPs on Wednesday

 It's one of those weeks where I don't seem to have made much sewing progress - although I did make a cute robin button brooch under instruction at my quilting group on Monday.

I've been having a look at the WIPs that I have.  Despite a concerted effort to reduce their number earlier in the year, I find that I still have four on the go at the moment.

This one - stacked coins - is a top that I started putting together last week with those 1 1/2" strips that I had left over from the wild women making and some more charm squares.
 This is my mini Storm at Sea.  I dived in with gusto, got annoyed that my sewing wasn't as accurate as I'd like it to be, and have left it to languish beside the sewing machine.  I need to decided whether to unpick and start again (quite unlikely!) or press on and embrace the imperfect but achieve a finish (more my style!)
 This is the most mature of my projects - several years old -hexagon flowers from my late FiL's shirts.  The top three rows are sewn together, the two lower rows need to be sewn together with the spacer hexies from my DH's shirts.  Then I need to decide what I'm going to do with it next.  Possibly just apply it to a piece of fabric and quilt it as is, but I'm not sure.  Suggestions welcome!
 Lastly, this is my 'intended' WIP - if that makes sense.  My 'Farmers Wife' sampler, with the next couple of blocks partly made / pressed.  I'm still working through my scrap box to get pieces of fabric that are large enough for the pieces that I need.

I have, of course, a whole other project, which is to deal with the scraps that I haven't yet tackled.  I saved lots of things in case I used them in my Dear Jane, but they aren't necessarily large enough for the Farmer's Wife blocks.   I think that I need a cutting session to get them into some standard sizes to make them more easily usable - or something - as they are starting to look a bit out of control!
 This week in the UK we enjoyed  the 5th November Bonfire Night / Guy Fawkes Night / Firework Night.

When I stop to think about it, I'm not sure that celebrating either the terrorist attempt to blow up parliament or the burning of an effigy of the person trying to do it is that politically correct. Despite that, I wouldn't like to lose the chance for us to have a community wide day to let off fireworks either - although I'm not sure that the fact that we've been doing it for 410 years is really an excuse!
These photos are jointly titled 'November 6th' - very much the day after the sky sparkle of the night before.

We have our own firework 'show' in our garden.  I'm not sure that the pet hens appreciate it, but we have a great time enjoying DH setting off a multitude of rockets, fountains and other delights.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Its All About the Quilts!

 I haven't blogged since our quilt show - it was great!

This quilt by Marjolijn 'Old Dutch' won the visitors choice award.  My photo doesn't do it justice, but the piecing and quilting are lovely!
 My choice for the award (lovely though Old Dutch and many of the other quilts in the show were!) would have been Avril's 'Alice in Wonderland' quilt, which I think is truly wonderful!

The show went well, with lots of visitors (thank you!) and sales from the craft table, raffles and so on.  I hope that we raised a good amount for our charities.  Well organised by our wonderful committee - big thanks due to them for their hard work!
We also had a Project Linus stand there, manned for all three days by our tireless local rep, Jacquie.

About half the quilts that I make I pass over to Jacquie so that through Project Linus they can be passed on to people who need them.

She does a great job! Thanks Jacquie!

This was my stack of 13 quilts to pass over.  They were a mix of sizes, from single quilt down to  baby quilts.  Some where made with 'new' blocks, some with 'orphan' blocks - and some 'Angelika'd' (my name for using up left over blocks  and scraps at the end of a quilting project)

It feels really satisfying to know that they will go to people who need a little extra hug - love is sewn into all these quilts.
My only real sewing over the last couple of weeks has been this fabric postcard with a purple theme.

That, and helping another 15 or so girls make their own versions of wild women - I wish that I'd taken a group photo of them all!
DD2 has been working on a long term project - a quilt destined for Blue Peter, with a suggestion that if they don't need it, they might like to pass it on to Project Linus too.

I'm happy that she's working on this and hope that her big sister might do a bit more on it as well!

Happy sewing, everyone!