Monday, 26 December 2011

It's a Hoot!

When we travelled to America at Easter, I was armed with a list of fabrics I'd spotted online and hoped to purchase. High on the list was the It's a Hoot! line by Moda. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find much, but did come home with half a yard of the owls in pink. Then, over the summer, we were in Norfolk for a weekend and I called into one of my favourite patchwork shops in the UK, where I was delighted to find a charm pack of the whole range. It took a while to decide how to combine the fabrics, and in the end I couldn't bear to chop up the charm squares! Initially I tried several ways of laying them out in a random fashion, and mixing up the different colours. I wish I'd taken photos for you to see how badly that didn't work! When I finally spread them out in colour order, I was really happy with the effect it created.


Once the layout was decided, I went for simple sashing in blue all around them, creating a sofa throw.


The larger piece was saved to use as the backing...


I'm really pleased with the final product. It has gone away now as it was a Christmas present for some owl lovers and will hopefully keep them warm.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

There are lots of nice Christmas tree skirts all over blogland, and many free patterns too. However, we generally have a tree in a bucket, ever hopeful that it will survive to the following year... On that basis, a conventional festive quilt was the best option for us. It was easy to whip one up in lots of squares in christmassy colours.


I love the backing that I chose for this one, using a hessian fabric for most of it. 


It was easy to quilt in simple lines, quilting in the ditch. We're all really pleased with how it looks under our tree.


Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful new year.




Tuesday, 20 December 2011

And all his friends and relations...

Our gingerbread man advent calendar proved so popular, that he now has a host of little friends and relations which have been sent off as gifts to other people. These smaller ones work well with a large pocket full of sweets. The tissue holders were mentioned in a previous post, and have been a very useful present to give to teachers and friends.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Thank you!

Well, yesterday was my birthday, and very lovely falling on a Sunday and giving me a whole weekend of fun. We had a fabulous day in London on Saturday, watching Sleeping Beauty at the Royal Opera House, which was absolutely amazing. Then a busy and nice day yesterday, with Christmas dinner (really) and singing in a Christmas carol service which lots of kind friends came to.
I received a number of lovely birthday presents, but I'm just going to show you the two crafty ones. First up is this incredible scarf from my MIL. It's a real work of art, I can't tell at all how she made it, but it works perfectly with my purple jacket.


The other crafty gift was from a bookclub friend, who cunningly combined my two loves of reading and sewing with this very cute tin of pins in the style of a book! Very apt!


All in all, a great birthday, and if you're reading this via Facebook, thanks for all the nice birthday wishes!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Small steps to quilting...

Thank you so much to everyone who has contacted me about the blog! It's been lovely to get so many comments either here, on Facebook, or though email. I really appreciate you all taking the time to let me know what you think, and it's been great to meet some new people from around the world too!

Susie and I lived with each other at university, a 'few' years ago... She emailed to say she'd been inspired to have a crafternoon with her younger daughter, and has resurrected a quilt she'd once begun and then stashed away. Sounds like it's on its way to being finished now, and Susie and I are planing to get together in the new year to look at quilting it. Great!

That got me thinking about how to start off on the actual quilting process once the patchwork is done. One of the things I did was to make a few doll quilts, which made a great Christmas present, as Mr PatchyRose also assembled and painted a bed to go with them.




Working on a smaller sized quilt is so much easier, and enables you to build up different techniques. Having said, that, I am pretty much stuck in a rut of straight line quilting, with the odd deviation into diagonal lines LOL... I love the little quilt above, which was completely inspired by a similar one on a blog I read. I am totally kicking myself that I can't now find the original one to link to :-( 




I also made this quilt in different green fabrics, with yoyos for decoration.




Little Miss PatchyRose has also since made one of her own:




It was great fun working with her on this!

The bed and quilts went down very well on Christmas day... Teddy wasted no time!!!


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Tea for two

Well, I'm not particularly patriotic, but I did whip up a couple of cushions...




They look lovely on these two little chairs, which were actually mine as a child, though the green one has been re-painted since then!




Just perfect when you want a quiet little tea party.


And a close up of some of our regular teatime food...

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Keeping it warm

One of the most inspired gifts we ever gave was an annual subscription to Simply Knitting magazine... Not only did this keep my MIL happy and busy, but we have received many lovely knitted presents as a result :-) This teacosy has to be one of my absolute favourites, and it fits perfectly on my blue and white spotty teapot.



If, like me, you need the tea piping hot and plenty of it, then try one of these to keep the mug warm...



These two went off as gifts to teachers, but I have my own collection too. The strawberry is a beautiful bookmark which arrived in the same parcel.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Happy Advent!

It all began with seeing something in a magazine and thinking I could make that easily myself...




And so our gingerbread man advent calendar came into being!




Fortunately the lovely girl is a true mini-me, and prefers to know what is happening rather than have surprises. Therefore, just like last year, each pocket contains a mini Lindor Chocolate and a small bauble which goes straight onto her little pink tree!





Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Crochet

I'm no expert at crochet, but my good friend, Melanie, taught me the basics when we were students and living in a shared house without a television. We had some fun evenings, with several girls sitting around making blankets. More recently I have been influenced by this amazing blog, which is full of inspiration. Then I came across this lovely book, and used the pattern to make the circular cushion. It wasn't completely straightforward, but overall I'm pleased with how it turned out.


Back to the simple stuff, and I made this little pram blanket for a colleague who had a baby recently.


On this blanket I did the easy work, and my mother-in-law made all the beautiful flowers and butterflies. This one gets used to snuggle under by lovely girl when she's watching television. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Christmas gift ideas

These gorgeous little gift bags were made from the pattern blogged about here! It is a wonderful pattern, so easy to make and so adaptable.


Add in a tissue holder, from here...



... with some chocolates or jam, and you have a great Christmas gift ready to go.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Rocking chair

Last year my lovely girl wrote to Father Christmas nice and early (September... LOL). Thanks to an act of cunning on the part of her godmother, who she asked to take her to the post box, we were later able to check on what she had requested! Thankfully she does not ask for much, but she does it in style: it was a beautiful, artistic letter, with pictures all around it, asking for a rocking chair...Father Christmas is pretty shrewd, and it seems he knew mummy would enjoy this project more than any of his elves. So, he acquired a rocking chair in plenty of time (maybe even Father Christmas uses ebay?) and left it in the garage with a note for mummy to sort it out.


The quilt is made out of the amazing Far, far away II range of fabric, which I ordered online from America. It's quite heavy fabric, and with the beautiful images it works well in simple designs.




Fortunately the seat was very easy to cover, as it lifts straight out of the base. I used the same fabric to back the quilt, and then to re-cover a stool which is a great match, and had come out of my grandmother's cellar when we cleared her house.



To quilt this, I used the traditional method of hand tying. I rarely, if ever, see this method on blogs now, but I love the effect it creates, especially on a thicker, heavier quilt.




The beautiful linen mouse came from here and was another Christmas present. Beth's linen animals are amazing, and I totally recommend them if you are still looking for this year's presents. Her packaging in itself is an art form! Have a look at her wonderful foxes.


Finally, cat and mouse...


Saturday, 19 November 2011

Christmas quilting...


I can't yet blog anything I've made for this year's Christmas presents, but here's one from last year that went to my lovely cousin and his wife. I chose to stick to a simple design with clean lines and straightforward quilting.


Friday, 18 November 2011

Festive jam!

Another lovely friend dropped round a bag of fabric last week. Amongst it was this gorgeous red silk, perfect for festive jam lids for the church Christmas fair.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Amy Butler...

It didn't take me long to discover the amazing fabric designer, Amy Butler. I loved this range of pink fabrics too much to cut them down, and arranging them as large squares was just right for this small quilt.




It now lies over a chair which I rescued from my grandmother's house clearance, and which is where I sit and listen to my daughter practising the piano.


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Ruby

A quilt for a ruby wedding anniversary... Forty 'nine patches' to represent forty years of marriage, each with a ruby square in the middle. All in blue and white as the favourite colours of the recipients.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Pretty patchwork bags...

I made several of these last year, as birthday presents for some of my lovely girl's special friends on their seventh birthdays. Obviously she got one too ;-)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Quilty cats...

Last year I made this quilt for my lovely friend, Emma, as a special birthday present. Unfortunately I have found that polka dot fabrics don't photograph well, but the quilt turned out really nicely. The first photo was taken at our house, but when I saw it on her futon it was great to see how well it coordinated, which was a complete fluke as I hadn't realised she'd bought new curtains.








Obviously you can't master a cat quilt design without making another one for the cat...





Monday, 7 November 2011

Fabricky friends!

About the time I finished my first quilt, two people kindly passed on their own fabric supplies. In both cases they'd bought pre-cut patchwork pieces, and eventually decided they were unlikely to use them. My good friend, Melanie, gave me enough fabric to make an entire quilt for my daughter, largely using pre-cut squares which sewed together very quickly. As a thank you, I made her this mini version of Insanity, which she enjoys using as a sofa throw, especially as I used her childhood curtains as the backing. All the fabrics in it had come via her mum I think, so it is a sentimental quilt.


When I was a child, I can remember Laura Ashley selling pre-cut packs of patchwork pieces. It seems that both Melanie's mum and my mother-in-law must have had the same idea, as coincidentally they both purchased packs of hexagons from the same fabric range. Between the two sets, I have ended up with enough to make a whole quilt one day. I've got as far as arranging the design, but it will be some time post-Insanity before I start sewing them together. Unfortunately they are not quite accurate enough to use the machine, so that will be another hand-sewing task...