Thursday, 17 July 2014

Feeling lucky...

Weather permitting, this Saturday I will be having my first PatchyRose sale of quilts, cushions and bags! I was offered this spot only a week ago, and have been sewing every spare moment ever since... 

This plus quilt was inspired by a beautiful fat cross one which Maryse made recently. I kept mine to the width of the backing fabric, then made a large coordinating cushion. In all honesty, these have to be some of my favourite quilty things I've ever made, so I will be more than happy if noone buys them! Dipping my toe into the waters of a sale is only a result of our house being full to capacity, so I need to sell purely to make more... Quilters' logic!

Next up I used some of the gorgeous Catnap fabrics to whip up a tote bag and a matching zipped bag. Again, I will happily absorb these for my own use! There's definitely more sewing in the pipeline though, as I also won a giveaway!! I will admit to feeling a little embarrassed, as I am sure I have now won more than my fair share... As a result, I am now being very restrained, and not entering any more for a while! 

This particular one was kindly given by Carla, who works in this amazing looking quilt shop. Carla was recently able to create two different charm packs for the shop, and then allowed to give a pair away on her blog :-) Honestly, if I ever needed a personal shopper for quilt fabrics, I would go to Carla! Above shows the low volume pack, and below is a 'modern' pack.

I cannot wait to get started on these! Carla and I must share similar taste, ironically we have both just made very similar plus quilts without knowing it... I did check on the shop website for these charm packs, but didn't see them listed. If you would like to purchase some yourself, I imagine you could contact them and mention the packs which Carla made! Thank you, Carla.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

This was the week...

When I finished my Scrappy Dappy Doo quilt!

This was a really fun quilt to make, and a happy finish. I used a very special backing fabric, although it needed a little extra top and bottom...

I haven't been a huge fan of green since wearing school uniform, but I really love these pearl bracelets! 

This would make a perfect and quirky looking quilt for a single bed. Whereas this...

...was also finished this week, albeit a few months after it began! This will be lovely for a little girl, and would fit either a cot bed or a single bed as a nice throw.

I love those whimsical characters, engrossed in reading their books! And the sweet dandelions...

I keep thinking that I must make the effort and venture into selling a few quilts, even if it just pays for the materials... Production will only increase here, as this was also the week that Miss PatchyRose competed for the sewing machine... At first I reassured her that I hope to buy a new one soon, and then she can have mine! But by the evening, I realised we can't wait that long... So, my dear Granny's old Singer (1970s I think) came down from the loft and went into the guest room :-)

Oh, I felt quite choked up, and I hope my Granny is smiling down on us! I am certainly smiling, when I am sewing I can just glance round and see this across the landing - 

This week also brought more fabric from America:

A whole fat quarter bundle of it! Such a gorgeous range, I couldn't resist. I'm not sure I've ever had a FQ bundle - any ideas what to make with it?!?

I may merge the grey with it, and the cats will join my other pieces of Catnap in a quilt.

This was my first venture into scrap packs. This pack was labelled cool colours, and was all fat 16ths, so the full width of fabric - quite a bargain for £5! For a while I have been cutting strips off my half yard and bigger pieces, aiming for a strip quilt at some point. Some of the new pieces can be added to my collection so far...

Finally, in the parcel I also ordered a scrap pack of neutrals. The jury's out on this one... Many of them are black, which I wouldn't personally call neutral.

These aren't what I would choose, but there is a lot there for the money, and maybe it will be good to be pushed outside my comfort zone... Or just find someone who loves black and white!

Lastly, I am so excited to be doing the Big Stitch Swap, organised by Cindy and Sarah. I've not done a swap like this before, and I am really enjoying the banter so far. This was the inspiration board which I prepared for my partner. Ideally there would be more hand quilting and stitching in there, but I panicked about using other people's photos and so stuck to what I could find amongst the members of the group ;-) It is a simple swap, we are each making one item and sending it off to one person - but noone knows who is sewing for them! 

So far I've pulled out some possible fabrics for my partner, but no sewing as yet...

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Zipped pouch...

I hesitate to call this a tutorial... Some of my Bee pals asked for a demonstration of how I make my zipped pouches, using tabs at the ends of the zips. Although I showed them in person, they asked for a photo prompt to refer to later. So, here it is! There are many tutorials like this online, but if you want to use this one and anything is unclear, please do ask.

Firstly, prepare patchwork pieces for the front and back panels.Quilt these - I used my new favourite product: fusible fleece! The zip I used was an 8 inch, so I made my panels 11 inches wide, to allow an extra 1.5 inches either side.

To accommodate that extra 1.5 inches, I cut fabric which was at least 3 inches as it needs folding. Place the fold by the zip, use a zipper foot, and sew very slowly... Repeat both ends of the zip. Then take one lining piece. For my linings, I cut pieces exactly the same width as the front and back panels, but about a quarter of an inch shorter. This just helps them fit more neatly once inside the bag.

Arrange the zip so the top edge is exactly flush with the top edge of the lining. The pins in the above photo are just securing it, you won't be sewing anywhere near them. Now place the front panel face down on top - if it is directional, make sure the top is by the zip. Pin carefully through the front panel, zip and lining piece.

Now sew slowly, using the zipper foot and feeling your way along the edge of the zip.

It helps to open things out and move the zipper pull as you go, so you don't have to sew past the extra bulk. 

Above shows the lining, zip and front. Now tuck the lining behind, gently pulling away from the zip.

You now need to repeat the stages above, laying the lining down face up, positioning the zip - which is obviously now attached to half the bag - and then laying the back panel face down.

The whole piece should now look like this...

Time to trim away any excess fabric...

The single most important thing is to open the zip right now! 

Then position the front and back panels face to face, and the two lining panels face to face. You can just see my pink chalk marks on the lining, this is where you want to leave a turning opening.

You can then stitch all round the outside, apart from the turning bit. When you get to the zip ends, gently push the fabric tabs towards the front and back panels.

Use the opening to pull the bag through, and then sew it shut.

There we go, a simple zipped up pouch with neat zip ends!

Miss PatchyRose came running in with her Kindle, to see if it fitted - nope! Good, this one is actually for me :-) Lately I've cut back on making quilts for other people - hardly anyone would realise the expense and the time that go into them. So, we keep the quilts, but I make endless bags and pouches as gifts, and never keep them for myself. 

This one has now joined the shelf of good and special things in my sewing room...

Friday, 27 June 2014

3 in 1

Thank you for all the kind comments following our great quilty weekend, and the wonderful results of a year-long Bee! It was a struggle to come back down to earth this week, but I was fortunate to have a whole day off with no other plans on Wednesday...

First up, I urgently needed to finish this Plus cushion for Mr PatchyRose's birthday. Despite the house full of quilts and cushions, there was nothing that was specifically his, and we all tend to want the best cushions to curl up with! This one is made with fabrics from our recent Florida trip, and also based on a design in the Pillow Pop book which I bought out there.

The cute backing is also from the Catnap range, and again I made a feature of the zip...

There will be quite a line-up on the sofa now, but fewer fights over who gets the cushions!

Next up, I finished off this cushion which I began on the quilt weekend, using generous Jen's scraps.

And lastly, the scraps which didn't make it into the cushion went into this little birthday bag, along with a few of my own pieces -

Not content with letting me loose on her scraps, Jen also donated this fabulous piece of lining fabric, so perfect for a little girl:

At the beginning of the day, I anticipated finishing these three and a couple of quilts too... Optimism is a wonderful thing, but three items in one day isn't bad!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Quilty Magic

About a year ago, Maria kindly organised a sewing bee and invited me to join. We each created a row of patchwork, 40 inches wide, and posted it on to the next person... Those initial strips have now been all around the country, and even to Jersey! This weekend the six ladies of the Strip Bee finally met up in person for the first time, ready to hand over our finished quilt tops...

We were so lucky in all being hosted by Jennifer, who turned her home into a five star hotel for the occasion. We spent Friday evening getting to know one another and relaxing over Pims and a lovely dinner :-) Some of the girls had asked how I do my zips in bags, so I put one together and they made their own:

On Saturday, the final member arrived by train, and the quilt reveal could begin! We drew lots, and Sarah won the right to go first...

I'm sure Sarah brought the glorious sunshine with her, all the way from Jersey, and we can't wait to take her up on her invitation to visit her there! One happy person later, and it was Amy's turn:

Amy is so talented, with a really unique style. She began this quilt with the middle-ish row, with a solid line and a square in the centre. I think we all felt suitably challenged to come up with something for this quilt, and were all relieved when we'd managed and enjoyed the process! Julie was next:

Julie invented a new block for her strip, the third one down. She has a wealth of experience, and writes brilliant tutorials on her blog. I hope she enjoys the variety in this quilt, all brought together by a common colour theme.

As if the sunshine wasn't bright enough, out came Jen's riot of colour! She began this with the third strip down, inviting us to go as wild as her own choice of yellow and pink. The end result suits her cheerful personality down to the ground :-)

Maria started her quilt with the cute row of houses, and I went next adding in the trees. This has gone on to become a really fabulous piece, with everyone excelling themselves! It is a small, but perfectly formed, quilt top, and a suitable piece to thank Maria for her superb organisation of the Bee.

Lastly, it was my turn, and I couldn't have been more delighted! I made the row of stars a year ago, and hadn't seen it since... Jen added the gorgeous row below, using lovely shades of grey and purple, my favourite colours! Amy did the fabulous crosses, using some of my favourite fabrics! Maria knew I loved her houses, and kindly gave me a whole row of them :-) At the top, Julie did those incredible hearts, and Sarah picked out some cute fabrics to showcase!

After all that excitement, we were ready to settle down and read through our notebooks. 

Each person had included a book with their quilt, and everyone wrote in it as they went along...

And if ever we were short of something to read, our perfect hostess has a magazine pile to rival most quilt shops, and kindly sent me home with a few to read on the train!

Hugely generous, Jen also invited us to pick through her scrap drawers. I cut up a selection of 2.5 inch squares, and whipped up a cushion cover as a birthday present for a little girl:


Other people's scraps are certainly more interesting than your own! Too soon, it was time to head home. I'm so grateful to all the girls for a fabulous weekend, and a whole year of fun.

One quick word of apology - I discovered today a number of comments had been left on my blog in the last few months which had never reached me! For some reason, they hadn't emailed through, and were stuck in the system. I'm so sorry if you were one of those people, and I never replied :-( Although I have managed to publish them all today, in retrospect, the technology won't let me respond individually...