Thursday, 30 January 2014

Oops, she did it again...

A few weeks' ago, Miss PatchyRose dropped a hint that she would rather like a Pants Bag which looked like a strawberry... I joked about it to the Queen of Pants Bags, who promptly offered to make it :-) I'm fairly sure the offer was based on her amazing generosity, rather than the fear I would make a hash of her fabulous tutorial! In the end, I agreed, so long as it was a two-way swap, and we get to send something in return. Just look what arrived today...


It is absolutely a work of art, the photos don't do it justice! I'm not sure which Miss PR loved the most, the front or the back...


Even the inside and the channel for the pull cord reflect the outer fabrics, in reverse:


And here it is scrunched up...


I suspect mummy made items will lose their appeal now! Fortunately, to spur me on, I also received some cute fabrics in the post today from Catherine. She hasn't succumbed to economy fever, but I recently sent her some bits for another project, and she kindly reciprocated with some inspired choices for my economy centres:


In another few days I really hope to be able to get on with the economy blocks, without other projects being in the way. The fact that it rained all day yesterday, not stopping for a single second, was very productive on the sewing front! I managed to quilt both panels for cushions covers - 


And sew up the first set of pinwheels - 


The little nearly finished projects are that bit closer to being done! However, I now face the dilemma of what to send Glinda as a thank you - how on earth do you compete with a strawberry?!?






Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Lowering the volume

Hooray for just squeaking in with a finished quilt top before the end of January...




Apologies for the dark photos. The weather button seems to have been stuck on rain for weeks now, and the weather technicians are clearly failing to fix the fault. On brighter news though, following Julie's genius tip for sewing the 'wasted' corners together before trimming them, I ended up with lots of pinwheels...


Thirty two in fact, enough for two cushion covers, to go on the sofa with the quilt. They did need trimming, but it was definitely worth tidying them up.


Mary kindly offered to do a centre piece swap for our economy blocks. This really spurred me on, as it felt much more worth while cutting into new fat quarters to make a square for Mary and one for myself. Just as well, as fussy cutting takes forever! As I'm using 4 inch centres, I sent these to Mary, with a few extra charm squares:

 

In return, Mary sent me a fabulous selection, and amazingly we managed not to send each other any identical fabrics!




My economy blocks are on hold for the moment, while I finish a few other things. Economies are really fun, but lead to heaps of fabric being scattered all around the sewing room, which is not so helpful if other projects are also underway. However, these cushion covers are also now complete and pinned for quilting - 



I have also done my next strip for the sewing bee, and my goodness what a challenge that was! Amy's starter strip is stunning, and three more beautiful pieces had been added to it. Thankfully I had some appropriate fabrics, and went with a simple design which works well in the context of the whole quilt top so far.



Thank you for all the kind comments on my last post. We were really touched by people's sweetness, as well as all the lovely messages (and cake!) which came from our real life friends. Without the boss, these two are now learning to get along, which is great.





Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Blocking along...

Ok, so it's nul points for originality, but I have succumbed to the economy block craze which seems to have infected most of blogland! Admittedly, it's the first time I've managed to join any sort of sewalong at the time it took place, generally I've caught up months later. This one happened to coincide with me already wanting to do something with the few bits of feature fabric in my possession, so it's actually serving a purpose...


Only four done so far, but these are a little larger than the standard block, and come out at nearly 9 inches.


I definitely wouldn't have enough central fabrics for hundreds of these, but will hopefully manage a small, fun quilt. Would anyone in the UK be interested in a small swap of a few centre pieces? I could probably find around a dozen to send. My centres start off as 4 inches square, which is what I would need to receive in a swap, but I could send a different size.


Last week I purchased the fabrics on the right from Seamstar, and was promptly lead astray again to add the ones on the left, this time from The Village Haberdashery. Unfortunately there was a slight error in my order, but that is being sorted out. The fabric with the birds on isn't the one I ordered, but I have been told to keep it! So, do I include it in the quilt? This is what I have in mind so far...


In sadder news this week, we were all heartbroken to have to say goodbye to our beautiful black cat, Meggy. She was nearly eighteen, and had lived with my husband and I for over seventeen years, enriching our lives in so many ways. We are hugely thankful for the time we had with her, but miss her terribly.
 

This week I'm linking up to the fabulous slow blogger movement. Not that I've been all that slow lately, but I love the ethos of blogging as and when I am able, and not under pressure.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The R Bag

Hooray for a finish, and just before Friday! The R bag is complete, making for a happy little customer :-) 


 There's more on this in my last post, so let's stick to photos for now...


A nice bright interior, and a slightly quirky approach for the back...


It's now packed and ready for R's first singing lesson at the weekend. With perfect timing, the next wave of fabric fell through the door today!


Following a blog mention, I succumbed to the sale at Seamstar. This was a new shop to me, but I was really impressed with the website, and will no doubt be back for more... Such lovely packaging, too! Here's what I bought:


I absolutely love this combination! I'm so torn, as I don't really maintain much of a stash, and could do with a few non-specific fabrics... But these look so great together, I'm hoping to think of a 5 fabric project to put them in. 


Warmest seat in the house?!?

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Blocks!

Generally speaking, I sew with a project in mind. It may take some time to come to fruition, and there may be several going on at once, but there is usually a plan of some sort. Lately though, I've been feeling I should experiment more, and try a few blocks just to improve my skills. There have been some stunning blocks emerging in our sewing bee, as well as a few doing the rounds on the blogosphere. First up, I went for HSTs mixed with solid grey...


This wasn't anything challenging, and I went for the incredibly simple charm square approach. 


What was new to me, was the combination of bright colours with the solid grey. I wouldn't normally pay for a charm pack of plain grey, but the Black Friday price tag made it easy! I love the look of these, and soon had two large blocks whipped up...



My daughter starts singing lessons at the weekend, and was keen to have a new bag for her music. I wondered about using these, but the bag would come out rather large... Also, although she fancied it, by then I was thinking what great cushions these would make! Just need to add another column to square them off. So, needing to create a more tempting block for the music bag, I came up with this layout:


With seconds to spare before school pick up, I managed to sew them together, and leave them strategically arranged with the backing fabric and the lining...



Thankfully, she is thrilled with the idea! Just got to finish the bag now. In the meantime, I was also tempted to try a block which Julie has written a great tutorial for. Julie is fast becoming a sewing guru, and sharing brilliant tips and ideas. I've seen plenty of beautiful curved blocks, but never before attempted one myself using machine sewing. I deliberately picked some charm squares which could be spared if it all went horribly wrong, but Julie's guidance was brilliant and resulted in this:



It definitely wasn't perfect, and I needed to trim the four pieces before joining them. However, the fact that it's not going in the bin is a huge result! Even the back looks fine...



If you haven't tried this, do have a look at the tutorial. Must admit, it was a relief to find I had an 8 inch bowl in the kitchen cupboard, so could skip stage 1! It was, however, my first use of freezer paper, despite having had some for years. 


As ever, I've had good company in the sewing room today! 





Sunday, 5 January 2014

New year, new quilt

Totally loving my latest venture into low volume patchwork! 



These blocks are easy to make, so I'm half way there now towards the sofa throw...


Along with the unexpected bonus of all the pinwheels made from the otherwise wasted corners. Since each blocks yields two pinwheels, I should be able to make two cushions covers to match the sofa throw. Thanks, Julie, for the inspiration!


I wasn't planning a big recap of 2013, as I wasn't sure I had much to show. However, it was a year of big changes for me, and there are some thank yous I would love to say. These photos show the beautiful gifts which Miss PR and myself received from around blogland this year, all from people we have yet to meet! In addition, I won a $50 giveaway from Southern Fabric, and really appreciate their generosity. A huge thank you to the many fabulous bloggy friends out there :-)


As well as getting to know many bloggers so much better, I entered my first two charm swaps. The low volumes are already featured above, and the rainbow charms appear in the giant star below, along with just a few of my favourite makes last year. My other new venture was to join a sewing bee, known as the Strip Bee. This has been a wonderful challenge, with the latest strip pushing me right out of my comfort zone! No photos yet, the big reveals come in March.


I was also able to visit two exhibitions, the Kaffe Fassett one and the Festival of Quilts. Both were hugely inspiring!


Lastly, 2013 was the year of the dog here! Poppy the puppy arrived just a year ago, and has been an absolute delight. I spent the first eight months as a stay at home puppy owner, which was a wonderful time. By the summer, I was itching for something more, and managed to get a new job as a charity fundraiser, so a total career change after eighteen years of teaching! I absolute love it, and ended the year feeling very fortunate. The last thank you goes to my regular helpers and supporters...


Wishing you all a wonderful 2014!