Wednesday 26 October 2016

Addicted to Finishes!

I'm thrilled to share another finish!

These batik blocks had been hanging around for ages  - I made them so long ago that I can't even remember when!  Clearly leftovers from a Jelly Roll - I'm guessing from about 5 years ago - they must have been aging in my scrap drawer since then.

When I put them up on the design wall I could see why I hadn't got any further with making anything with them.  The blocks were just too 'mushy'.  Most of patches within them don't have sufficient contrast to show the piecing - grrr!

I thought that some sashing might help them.  Of course, I forgot (AGAIN!) that although I *think* that this fabric is mostly black, it doesn't 'read' as black!  I only have tiny scraps of this left now, so at least I won't be able to get it wrong another time.  Even so, it doesn't look too bad with these bright blocks - at least there is a colour contrast even if there is no tone contrast!

I bound it in orange print - nice and cheerful - and quilted it with orange thread too.  Having never been a big fan of orange before I've been enjoying it recently, since making the quilt including some for my SiL.

Great to have another finish.  This one is 36" square and will probably go to Project Linus.

Hope that you are enjoying some pre-Halloween sewing too!

Wednesday 19 October 2016

New Gadget!

 My ever lovely, ever thoughtful big sister was clearly paying attention last month when I was rigging up  a 'light box' with a sewing machine extender table and some camping lights.

For my birthday I received the most stylish light box that I've ever seen!

Thin like a computer tablet, but with a surface that you can draw on and a control for how bright the light is.
 I had seen some rather lovely miniature Baltimore style applique (one of the traditional suitcase collection quilts on loan from the Quilters Guild that I saw through Richmond and Kew Quilters) so I thought that I'd trace some positioning squares with wash away pen and then work on making the applique pieces for them.

Turns out that the ones that I was most attracted to were ones that could be turned into simple stitcheries..... so that's what I've done instead!

Such a great product - it even comes with a bag to store it in, so you don't have to crush it in a stack of stuff, but can easily hang it within easy reach - genius!  I'm really pleased with it!
My other sewing related task this week was to pull out this stack of fabrics for a mystery quilt that I'm planning to make with RKQ too.

Next I need to cut them up, following the first step of the mystery.

Happy sewing, everyone!

PS For those who are interested, the light box I have been given is a 'Vario' A4 light box - they also make an A3 size in a similar format.  Available from Amazon and I'm sure other places too!  NAYY

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes

Another WIP which has been on going for a few months is finally complete!

Thanks for DD2 (for only needing one shoe liner to make her shoes fit perfectly) and to Debbie for the fabulous green and gold fabric (the photos don't do the colour justice - it's a lovely dark emerald) for helping to make this happen.

Quilt ideas come from the strangest places!
 I used the liner to make a matching stencil out of freezer paper.  Then I used Markel paint stick and rubbing plates to make the other shoe shapes.

Stitching the shoe liner on, then stitching around the edges of the stencilled shapes followed (once the paint stick had cured and stopped smelling!).

Then came lots of kantha style stitching.  Fun to decide which lines to echo and when to make breaks in the stitching.
 I bought some lovely variegated Sashiko thread from The Cotton Patch in the summer. This project shows it beautifully!

And why 'Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes'?  I don't know!  I've always loved the song, and I think that the idea of having decorated sole 'prints' like these made me think of it again.

Fun, and I need to get on and find a place for this to hang.

Not much machine work to show this week - but I have started back on the 365 challenge.  I'm running something over 2 months behind at the moment, so plenty to do if I'm to catch up by the end of the year!  I'm not making any promises, even to myself about this particular project!

Happy October sewing, everyone!

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Tutorial: Fabric Key Tray

 You know how it is.  You need a quick make because you want to give something that you've made, but you are meeting your friend in half an hour so you are up against it time-wise.

Never fear!  You can make a great key keeper / bon bon tray and still have time for a quick brush of your hair and a slick of lip stick before you meet them!
 All you need is 4 charm squares (5" squares) and a 6 1/2" square of wadding.

1. Sew the charm squares into a four patch.  I quite like making this with two pairs placed diagonally, but I've made it with four separate fabrics too.

2. When you've sewn and pressed your 4 patch, place the wadding on it with the points of the wadding on the seams of the 4 patch.

Secure it with a little fusible spray or a couple of tacking stitches.
 3. Fold the 4 patch in half, right sides together along one of the long seams.

Sew along both short ends with a 1/4" seam.
 Here it is with the seams showing.
4. Open out the 'pouch' shape so that it resembles a square. 

Match the short seams in the middle and sew the long seam, leaving a gap in the middle of one of the patches (does that make sense?  It's best that it isn't at one end of the seam and I prefer it not to go over where the other seams meet up).

5. Turn through and poke the corners into nice sharp 90 degree shapes.

You should have a padded 'hourglass' block.

6. Ladder stitch the opening closed using matching thread to try and keep it invisible.
7. Measure 1" in from each corner and mark both on the edges and where the lines match on the diagonal seam (with a disappearing pen).
8. Quilt as desired - I like to run a line of stitching near the edge of the block and to join up the dots that you've made.  This second square is the outer limit of the base of the key keeper.  I kept within this line and added some squiggly quilting.

Machine or hand quilting?  It's entirely up to you.  Machine quilting is quicker if you are short of time.....
9. Using a doubled thread that matches your fabric, catch together those marks that you made on the outer edges of the block.

Sew them together tightly and they should form neat corners.
10. When you have completed all four corners you have finished your gift!  Of course, you could always gift one to yourself as well as making them for friends!
Hand quilting? machine quilting? A mixture?  One of each shown here.

Of course, if you don't want to use your sewing machine these are easy to make by hand.  No more than 90 minutes from start to finish, unless you go mad with the quilting!

Many thanks to Lis from Piece'n'Peace for the original idea for how to make the block.

I hope that you enjoy making these little trays - plenty of time to get started and to make a pile before Christmas comes along!