Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Spring sewing...

Wasn't it great having a Bank holiday weekend? With sunshine thrown in for good measure! I enjoyed plenty of sewing time and a little gardening. 

Having never made a pincushion, somehow I decided to cut the squares and make six in one go... They look good nestled in the Christmas tree, but had I made a prototype, I would have cut the squares a little bigger! They end up as 4 inches square, which was quite fiddly to sew.

However, that's a few gifts ready! I've also been busy preparing a hand-sewn mini quilt, for a swap I'm in. These are the latest two blocks...

 I still haven't completely decided on the layout and final design, but need to do that next.

If my pincushions were tiny, these St Louis blocks certainly aren't! I'm enjoying making them, although my one complaint would be that they come together so fast, you don't get much sewing therapy out of each block ;-) However, I think it will be a nice quilt when it's done...

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Curve balls...

This morning I received the most beautiful Artist Trading Card, as part of the swap organised by Ali...

I really hit the jackpot here, and hope this sweet white rabbit brings me lots of luck! 

As one swap ends, I am already busy with the next one! This one in predominantly taking place on instagram, where I am @patchyroses. The aim is to make a handstitched mini quilt, for a surprise partner. This is where I'm up to so far, they may not all make the final piece...

My wish list is long, and for some time I've been tucking away fat quarters ready for a St Louis 16 patch. The design does use most of a fat quarter, but leaves a little bit left over, handy for smaller projects. My need for the leftovers is, ironically, what has kick started the sewing! I rather like this first block...

And the curve ball? During the Easter holidays, Rosie and I were meant to go to Madrid, where we were very much looking forward to meeting Mavi.  With bags packed, and just hours to go before we were due to leave, I received an email cancelling the flight! The next few hours were very stressful, involving the poorest of customer service from the airline, and we were forced to abandon the trip. However, with some fast thinking, we looked into holiday cottages, found a great last minute deal, and headed off to Cornwall...

Only 24 hours after we were supposed to land in Madrid, we were tucking into cream tea in Port Isaac! We ended up enjoying the most fabulous week - eight days of constant sunshine and blue skies, with empty beaches and turquoise sea :-)

We loved visiting the Old Post Office in Tintagel, and the beautiful little church of St Enodoc, where Sir John Betjeman is buried.

Obviously I googled patchwork shops, and we made a trip to a lovely studio in Launceston. They had just put on a quilting exhibition, which included an amazing replica of the church of St Enodoc...

 This was the kind of scenery we enjoyed all week - so unspoilt.

 You may know Port Isaac as the village where Doc Martin is filmed. I thought the programme had ended, but who should turn up to film the new series, but Martin Clunes himself :-)

Martin, and the cast and crew, were fabulous. He made such a fuss of the dog, and there were no objections to us enjoying watching the filming - a fascinating experience!

All in all, I had such a relaxing holiday, coming home very refreshed. Oh, and someone else voted it the best week of her life... ;-)

Friday, 3 April 2015

Gift giving

Thank you so much for all the kind comments about Mount Rose :-) Rosie was thrilled to read your encouragement, and enjoyed feeling part of the blogging community. Her teacher was so supportive and impressed that she sent Rosie off to show the quilt to the head teacher! She's been very fortunate to be in such a nurturing environment.

My own sewing lately has been all about gifts... I've now made three mug rugs, following Julie's great tutorial. One has already been received, although the recipient refuses to put her mug on it and plans to hang it on the wall instead ;-)

I've only made one of these cosmetic bags before, using Liberty scraps. I still keep all my Liberty separate to other fabrics and store even the tiniest bits! This design is time consuming, but well worth it when I want something a bit special.

Lastly, a teenage friend donated a generous bag of clothing to Rosie, including several lovely coats. We felt it deserved a little thank you... Rachel's room was recently decorated in green and cream, so we made her a little bag to match. With the long handle, she can hook it over a door handle.

 I really can't believe it's April already - this term has flown by, and been incredibly busy. Wishing you all a happy and peaceful Easter.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Mount Rose

...alternatively titled: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

This month, Rosie's class were set geography homework. They had to do anything they liked on the topic of mountains - the teacher suggested a model, a picture, or a project. Rosie flew out of school that day, already firmly decided she was making a patchwork quilt ;-) 

She had already googled and discovered that there really is a Mount Rose, in Nevada. Best of all, it lends itself well to a quilt design, being a fairly straightforward mountain, snow capped, and with pine trees round the base.

The design was therefore easy, though I quickly realised I have very little sky blue and grass green in my modest stash! Rather than have to buy twenty fat quarters, we sent a quick email out to three great bloggy friends, to see if they could possibly send a few scraps. They each responded immediately and equipped us wonderfully well. Thank you so much Julie, Maria and Jennifer!

Rosie sewed each and every one of those triangles herself - pretty good for a ten year old! First into rows, and then she put the rows together. She even pin basted, and then quilted some horizontal lines. It amused me when she sat back, sighed, and announced: you really need a long arm!

We finished late last night, and were out in the garden early this morning for a photo shoot before she took it into school. Does this look like a happy face?!?

I'm such a proud mummy!

Friday, 20 March 2015

The week of small things

This week I finally made a mug rug, using Julie's fabulous pattern...

Taking the photo in the garden makes it look like a huge quilt! However, it is only a 7" by 10" finished piece... Admittedly that is sufficient for a mug and a very big slice of cake ;-)

Being genetically incapable of following a pattern (or a recipe!) I did go with a few tweaks of my own. My background squares are 4", partly because I already had some, but it also worked better with the cat square. I loved Julie's straightline quilting, but didn't fancy having to deal with all the ends created by avoiding quilting over the appliqué. So, I quilted my background first, but only to the wadding. I then added the appliqué, and finally joined the whole front to the backing fabric - which didn't really need quilting. Thanks, Julie, for a great design! 

I then set to work on my next Artist Trading Card. If you haven't come across this swap yet, it is great fun! Ali has now organised this six times, and it's my third go at joining in. The theme is 'Home, sweet home' this time around. For the uninitiated, that little card of mine is a mere 2.5" by 3.5". Some people create stunning pieces that size, there is a whole gallery of them on Flickr. 

For where I'm at, simple tends to suit me best. With the little beads as blossom and flowers, this one is more ornate than the others I've done, but I'm still wondering about a second attempt, creating something more complex... At least I have one in the bag if time runs out!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Pillow talk

Back in January, I had one of those evenings when you just have to sew something... No energy, no inspiration, but needing the quiet, gentle therapy of stitching.

See that pink pillow in the middle? I basically cut a load of charm squares and stitched them together. However, the end result looked so dull, I never even took a photo, and it was only last night that I got round to quilting it...

Then somehow, the finished product ended up quite nice after all, especially when it joined the others on my bed :-)

Isn't it funny, the stages a project goes through?

This little bag is a birthday gift for a wonderful friend, the sort who tells you to call her day or night, and is always there. It was a nice combination of some of the fabrics from the set I received.

After making a duffle bag recently, I started to play around with the leftover pieces. This zipper bag came together easily. Part way through the process, I needed to find my triangle template... After a long hunt, I realised the bag was a perfect way to store all my templates :-)

So now I'm all set for the next sewing retreat! Let's plan one soon :-)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Weekend sewing

Happy March everyone! I've had a lovely weekend: Rosie went away and, although I missed her, I took the opportunity to do things for me :-) Yesterday I felt like I was on holiday - going for lunch at a fabulous Spanish tapas bar in London, followed by the Goya exhibition at Somerset House. Goya was born in the region of Spain where I lived for a year, so the whole day was really refreshing.

Before we left Wales, Jennifer gifted me this wonderful boxed set of 20 fat quarters... It had been on display in her sewing room for a few years, ever since she bought it in America. Thankfully, I don't share her restraint, and opened it up this week!

Jen also gave me this magazine, and I did wonder about using the fabric to make the quilt shown on the front. However, we really don't need another quilt in this house, and I couldn't go shopping for the other supplies.

So, I whipped out my favourites from the set, and blended them with some low volumes from my own collection...

Half a day later, and I'd finished a drawstring bag :-)

I love the end result! No idea what I'll use it for, but it brightens up the door handle to my sewing cupboard... Thanks, Jen :-)

Have a great week!