Monday, September 01, 2014

One inch Hexagon Purse


Another day, another piecing project to keep me occupied on the sofa. I am mad for it. Rachel and I decided to make mini hexagon purses. There are two that inspired me. This one by Jessie or this one by Leila. The second comes with a tutorial so I went for that. I finally went through all the dusty bags of Liberty fabric that mum gave me and separated it into tiny scraps and folded pieces which are now in their own special box. Some of them smell of my aunt, which I know is an odd thing to say, but she was infested with moth and was always using various moth deterrents which stank. Whenever I smell that same caustic, musty smell I think of her. One bag smells of that so I am afeared it will have moth, but I just stuffed it all in together so it's too late now!


My hexagons are going to be 1" as I got a bit scared when I saw how small the 1/2" templates were. They seem tiny at 1". I got my templates from Totally Patchwork. They don't seem to show any templates less than 1 1/4" on their website, but the man on the stall at Birmingham assured me you could just ring up and buy more. Maybe I'll make the proper smaller version if I feel bold.


My flex band is 5" though instead of 3 1/2", probably because I wasn't thinking when I saw it at Birmingham.


I've been using my wonder clips a bit to secure my fabric but you don't really need to. I find little appliqué pins a bit easier to be honest. but mostly I just use my fingers. It makes me think that 1/2" wouldn't be too bad after all. I stopped using the fabric glue as I find it hard to get the papers out afterwards and you don't get that satisfactory bump in the fabric edge to sew into. I am probably not gluing well, but I just thought it easier to sit their mindlessly sewing.


I didn't even cut my shapes very accurately but the more I do this kind of work, the more I realise you don't really have to. You can keep them square if you like. I just try not to waste fabric. So you can imagine me just dipping into my scrap bag, sniffing moth smell and watching the Bake Off. That's my rock n roll lifestyle.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ikea Teddy Bed

So I bought the Ikea Doll Bed. I had been thinking about it for some time. I thought that the pillow, mattress and blanket which come with it were pretty basic though. The pillow isn't even a pillow. It just wasn't cutting it. So I set about improving it. First I stained the pieces of wood with dark oak wood stain 3 times. Then I varnished them with matt varnish twice. All before construction. Then I set about making some new bedding with the stash of cheap fabric I bought from Birmingham at Fabrics Galore.

Firstly a new mattress
I just cut two layers of scrap wadding and covered it with grey stripe on one side and the grey dots on the other. It's not like a teddy is going to complain about it being hard. I bound it with some neon yellow ribbon I had so it matched the neon yellow thread I used to glam it up a bit. The Paul Smith grey stripe material worked really well but snapped my needle as the fabric was so fine.

Here is the other side. Simply flip it over and you have a new bed!

Secondly, a pillow
The pillow form itself I made using the white percale offcuts from Empress Mills which I got for £3.50. It's lovely soft fabric, a really great bargain. Now I want to go back and buy a whole load of it. The only purchase other than the bed that I had to make was the hollow fibre to fill the pillow form which was only £1.85 from my local craft shop. Then I made a matching removable pillowcase which I am pleased about.

20140831-P1370047 Thirdly, a duvet
What can I say? I had all the stuffing and plenty of the percale left so I just went for it and even sewed it into sections like a proper duvet. Then I made a matching duvet cover. It's a little baggy but aren't they all?

20140831-P1370060 Fourthly, a quilt!
I managed to finally finish off the jacob's coat quilt. I took it away on holiday and just went for it. It was really enjoyable. It used 100 petal shapes so I really needed two sets of Kim's precut petal shapes which I spoke about here. It was really nice to have such a variety of patterns. It made it look really antique. I had to make up the second lot myself which is a bit of a shame as it means there are some repeats in there, but I had all of mums dressmaking scraps and my own considerable stash.

I think Rachel's cat looks very cosy here.

I backed it with my precious fat quarter of Betsy fabric which I thought I was never going to use. So I am happy with myself for not hoarding fabric. It's really time to let go. I hate that I hang on to fabric, not wanting to use it as it's too nice. How silly is that?

If you look closely you can see that it's not very neat, but it does look very homemade. I didn't use a quilting frame and I did a lot of it in subdued lighting so it's not very crisp. You can also see how I quilted inbetween the shapes. It didn't take very long. And also I changed my original pattern by doing some blocks 1 1/2" and some 3 1/2, just to make it seem a bit more higgldypiggldy. It's all finished off with my cheap £1.65 bias binding. Done. I just wanted it to look old and a bit careworn which I think it does. Here is one last flat on view of the whole thing.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What I bought

As I said in my last post, I managed to buy quite a lot. I thought I was doing quite well, but I ended up spending every penny of my cash and £2 of rachel's. I did not use my card this year which was a breakthrough. A debit card is a dangerous thing at a quilt show.

We really tried to only buy things for projects we had in mind, as we thought this would save money and stop us splurging. Hmmm. Usually we are not so organised. I was on the hunt for material to make the Noodlehead bag with but nothing sang out to me so that project is on hold. It's very hard to imagine what you would actually carry about with you as a fashion item. I think it requires careful consideration. Saying that, the hexagon bags Rachel and I made turned out to be pretty useful after all my slagging them off as useless. We even got a comment from the lovely people on The Eternal Maker stall. So chuffed.

So first off we went to the usual suspects. Worn and Washed, Sunflower Fabrics, Petra Prins and Fabrics Galore. I managed to NOT buy anything from any of them except Fabrics Galore. I bought some teddy bed sheeting fabric which was only £6 a metre so £3 for a half metre. £9 in total, not bad at all! It's all going to used straight away so it's perfect. The grey spots are lovely, just what I had been looking for. They are going to be the underside of the teddy duvet! And the grey stripes will cover the thin padded mattress. The yellow spots are actually going to be binding on another project. I think I am a bit more excited about this bed than Penelope but I think she just needs lots of bits so she can make and unmake the bed.

I also bought some plain white sheeting offcuts from Empress Mills. They were selling two bundles for £7 so me and Rachel got one each for £3.50. A bargain! It's lovely thin Percale. Perfect to go with Liberty fabric and great for teddy bedding. I need to make my inner duvet and pillow. I just need some stuffing and I am all systems go! The bed has been stained and varnished three times and constructed. I had better get my skates on with the rest.

I also bought some binding for the teddy quilt for £1.65 which is far cheaper than cutting up a fat quarter. Well it probably isn't actually but it's all ready to go! The great thing about all these small projects is that you don't need very much of anything.

So other projects in the pipeline... Rachel and I are going to make the quilt on the cover of the Layer Cake book, we have been thinking about doing it for years. We even bought small Jelly rolls from Birmingham about two years a go. I wanted to buy a few more vintage fat quarters as I really think our rolls are a tad thin. I think I need to lay out everything I have and work out if it is enough. I just need to find the book in the mountain of boxes which are in the cellar curling in the damp. The spots from Fabrics Galore will be the binding. I was inspired by the yellow chevron quilt that Rachel made Penelope. I love the binding on that so much.

The hunt for the Posie gets Cozy improv quilt continues. The fabric is the most important thing. It has to be JUST RIGHT like this or it won't have the same feel. Anyway, now that I have finished all the postage stamp blocks, I am ready to start putting fabric aside for this project and getting started on it. I might have to do it in fits and starts so it doesn't overwhelm me. I love this textured white fabric, it's perfect. And only £2! I was pretty chuffed at my thriftiness at this point. 1/4 of the way round and I was feeling like I might just avoid the quilt show panic splurge after all... I did also buy some stash staples from this stall. Two stripes - see the main pic. They aren't for any kind of project but you have to have a few stripes or spots. I love the deep purple. I am really into purple. I was going to use them as teddy sheeting, but I love them too much! They would make great linings for small purses though. I'll probably just hoard them. I am really trying not to hoard fabric mostly because eventually I stop liking it, what a waste!

Then I did something bad. I committed the crime of buying something I already had for no other purpose than I still liked it and had been unable to use it as I worried that it would all be gone. So I bought another lot! Pointless, but suddenly I was Sméagol and I hads to have it. I probably won't even unwrap them. I love them too much. This also marked a splurge. The Eternal Maker got me. £7 is really not a bargain! Premium fabric alert! It seems like there is a lot of fabric around that is over £10 a metre. It's so lovely, but it's just all getting a bit out of my price league. You think about making a duvet cover and buying three metres of that fabric and suddenly it's £42 investment which is way out of my league. A shame really as the fabric is so soft. So the rule is to avoid the expensive stuff if I can. Ooopps

I love them. Heather Ross's series totally passed me by the first time it came out on gauze but now I am definitely up for it. I think some more zip practice is called for. I decided to make Amanda's star purse as I love it so much.

And as luck would have it, the Kaffe Fasset solids which I have been in search of for a long time were all at The Cotton Patch so I could leaf through them all and twist them in the light looking at the shot effect. I am really into purples and mauves at the moment so I chose two of those to use instead of Amanda's warm greys.

I also bought the zip. I have never seen these zips before but they were so amazing that I had to buy more than one! Splurge! You can buy separate zips any colour you like! I wanted all of them. What a great idea! So although they were all things for a project, I felt like I had hit double figures in the cash department and the flood gates were opening! Gulp.

On the Sunday I felt a little crazed and decided to treat myself to an applique glue pen. I have never used one before. Mum doesn't believe in them. She's all for the old fashioned tacking which is what I have always done until now, but I thought I would splash out and just see how the other half live. I am pretty excited about it. I have been meaning to make this Liberty snap purse by Leila from Where Orchids Grow so now I have some pre cut hexagons (another luxury!) and the pen and the snap. I am all ready! A great sofa project and a pretty thorough tutorial from Leila. I can use my linen fat quarter from The Eternal Maker.

Another thing I have been looking for for a long time is filling for pin cushions. Emery or sharp sand or ground shells gives the cushion a good heaviness and is supposed to sharpen pins not dull them. I've never bought any because the weight makes postage really expensive so I saw this and just bought it. I thought it was pretty expensive considering it is just shells but they look nice and fine and after my lumpy pin cushions I am going to appreciate a good filling. Another luxury like the gluepen really though. Again another Sunday purchase. I was going crazy! Stop stop Stop!

The Shuttle had a great offer going on. 6 solid fat quarters for £5. That is so cheap that I just had to buy two lots! They are perfect stash busters. No particular project in mind but I do use them all the time. So I got some neutrals and some bright pinks and purples.

Oooh, they make me want to make something like this for Penelope's room. They are not quite the same colours as the one Elise made, but I think they would look lovely with a few of the neutrals. I am trying no to create projects which aren't on my projects to do Pinterest board though so it's just a pipe dream.

Mum bought me some patterns for my birthday present which I am pretty excited about. They are both small. One is an intricate star quilt Maria created for a tea tray. What a waste! I am not having tea stains on my beautiful quilt. It is going to be a teddy quilt instead and I shall use Liberty scraps and my neutrals. I am very excited. The other pattern is a sewing case and pin cushion. A tiny intricate log cabin one. I love it. I am going to use Liberty scraps for this. Mumple has given me a whole nag of her dressmaking offcuts so I am all ready to go! Two ace sofa projects which require no thought from me. The quilt is foundation piecing though which I have never done so I will need a lesson from mum as I don't get it at all. I have a feeling I am going to love it though.

And last but not least! A bias binder maker. Another thing I do not need! I have never used one though and I thought I would just buy it without thinking too hard. Jeeez. I went crazy. I feel really guilty, but a little happy that everything is for a project on my project pinboard so I am stocked up for a long time with things to do that don't require any more spending.

Then literally my last mad dash purchase was a real splurge. I decided that if I bought a nice fat 1/4 or 16th of Liberty fabric from every show then I would be expanding on my ever increasing stash of Liberty bits for small projects. I have many ickle projects lined up. If I buy bits then it's not too expensive. Plus I can't buy metres from Liberty as they're £22! Of course I ran into this amazing discount Liberty fabric stall. I mean crazy, amazing. Fabric for £12 a metre! And some stuff that you can't get in many places anymore. They had my all time favourite! I already have two metres of this but I just can't use it. I really want to make Penelope a Maggie Rabbit using it but I couldn't cut into my two metres. So I bought some more! And a few other bits. 3 for £10! I went crazy. I couldn't stop. I felt so guilty afterwards. I LOVE IT. LOVE IT LOVE IT.

That is all, I will now go hide it all and try not to look at it until the guilt settles. Birmingham was ACE.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014

Ahhh another year, another quilt show. Life is pretty peachy. It was a great show. It coincided nicely with the very end of all my maternity savings. As it's my 40th birthday this year I decided to blow some cash and stock up on small projects. I felt a bit bad as really I should save the money as after this I will have nothing, but I felt this was all good for my mental health. Let's buy some stuff!

We saw some great quilts, not that many that were really 'my thing' though. Once again, the nicest ones were the historical ones which you can't photograph. I am so old fashioned, I just love that stuff. I did like this bold single girl quilt.


And I love the sheer work involved in this huge postage stamp quilt. I mean that must have taken years!


In an age dominated by massive Gamal machines and technology, I'm always on the look out for hand piecing and hand quilting. It's just very impressive.


That's all I really took photos of. We didn't spend as long in the quilts this year because we spent Sunday morning doing a course! High excitement. It was my birthday present from Rachel. It was excellent! We loved it. We did the Block Printing for Beginners with Louise Batten


We tried not to go mental like we usually do as it was only an hour long, so we considered ourselves quite chilled. We just experimented.


I really want to buy some white ink and try printing some simple shapes on my linen fat quarter I bought from the Eternal Maker just for this very purpose. I am pleased that the inks are just simple acrylics and all the tools are cheap to find. It's a refreshing change, especially as I am so poor now. More on what I bought tomorrow once I have unpacked it all!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jacob update

So I have been sewing in the evenings. It's so hot though that it's slow going. I suddenly realised that every petal should be on its own square rather than four on a square. I also realised that I should sew all the squares together before putting the petals on them. Oh well, you live and learn. There's no going backwards though so I am just going to carry on but maybe sew the rest of the block backgrounds together before I appliqué any more petals on. Better late than never. Note to self: Next time look up some instructions or think a bit about it.

You can see here that some of my petals have gone over my pencil boundary which probably means that they will be caught in the seam when I sew them up together. D'oh. This could look pretty rubbish. I am hoping it just looks homemade. It takes one evening to complete 4 petals so... well it's going to take a few weeks to complete. Luckily I have until September before Penelope's birthday when I present her with the teddy bed!

I have been creating a mismatch of blocks out of my assortment of plain neutral colours that I have been amassing over the years. Some of these are really old - like the spotted fabric. A few are Kona colours like 'Bone' and three of the nicest came from my beautiful Oakshott bundle I picked up last year from Birmingham which was in danger of still being unopened by the next Birmingham trip. I realise I am a fabric hoarder and I just need to let go. But fabric just looks so pretty all folded up. I just love looking at it. Terrible I know.

And behold! look what Mumple gave me! Her June Tailer desk tidy thingy. I have always love this. It sits on my mum's lovely sewing table and looks very cosy. Mum decided to declutter and look who inherited it complete with all the innards! It was like Christmas!

My blocks are all created from random 2" strips. This means I can trim them down to the 3 1/5" to match the blocks I already have. I am not sure if I like them. I need to get a bit further in and think about it a bit more.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Postage Stamp Revival

So all the postage stamp project has been sifted out from the stash which has now been moved all into the cellar. This should be its final resting place for a while. I have de mothed everything (Oh the loss!) and now everything is tidy, stacked in plastic storage boxes. It's not the easiest thing to access but it's not bad really. It will just take a while to remember where everything is.

Postage I reckon it's high time I finished this project. I am starting to be bored of it already. I want to make a bigger square version for some reason. I started planning this project in 2011! The original pattern is actually bigger than I need now I have measured Penelope's new bed. The quilt would be fine if it was 36"x 60ish". I don't need it to hang over the edges as she finds it too heavy. She's much better with a lighter, smaller quilt really, so she can manage it herself. 36" wide would be the exact width of the bed top and 60" is just a nice round number and would mean it covers 3/4 of the length leaving enough room for pillow space. So I redrew up my plan.

The quilt would now measure 36 x 52" and would use 46 blocks instead of 83! I have already made 40 blocks so I would only need to make 3 and all the border squares. That seems like far less work. Of course now I am to hot and bothered to actually crack on with it. I have threaded up the machine though and laid out the next bits to sew.

I do have to decide on the skip blocks though. Originally I was going to use some lovely soft calico that mum gave me, but I had to mess about and just check if Robert Kaufman's oregano interweave or Kaffe Fasset's shot cotton would be better. They are all lovely and soft. I can't decide so I will probably just stick with the original cream as it is so very soft. What do you think?

Fasset's shot cotton, colour artemisa

20140717-P1360195 Robert Kaufman's oregano interweave chambray

20140717-P1360192 The original calico looking a little bit dark there

For the back I was originally going to use Liberty fabric but I can't really afford that now. I might see what I have left over and cobble some bits together but otherwise I have this lovely soft stripe fabric from Raystitch. It's so soft. I want it to be soft as Penelope often has just a quilt and no duvet so I like the idea of something snug and warm. I was going to do the binding in the stripe but I have enough for the back as well hopefully. Now I just need the wadding. I did have it but the moths dropped eggs into it. I am going to use Dream Puff again as it's so light. I am sure mum will tell me to use Warm and Natural though as it breathes more. She just bought a super-duper roll of it so it's free wadding time for me! Get in!

If I could even just make up these last three blocks then maybe, just maybe I might feel like I have earnt the right to spend some money at Birmingham. At the moment it just feels cheeky when I have really not been very productive since the last one. I only just unpacked my shopping bag from last year!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Doll Bed Jacob's Coat

In the spirit of Birmingham, I have been thinking up new projects. I thought I would put them here to remind myself. I have decided to buy Penelope an Ikea Doll's bed for her teddy. She is into mimicking these days and I think she will get a kick out of bossing teddy into bed every night.

It's also the perfect use for my Worn and Washed hearts and leaves Liberty pack that mum bought me in 2013. I have 50 leaves which could make up a Jacob's Coat quilt. I've been wanting to make one for ages but I don't have enough leaves to do a proper one like this so I thought a more simple Orange Peel one might be a good starting point.

I like this low volume version.
And this one where some petals are just embroidered.
I like this bright one.


So here is my pattern. The blocks are 3" finished making the petals 1 1/2".
The bed is 52cm x 36cm (20.4" x 14.1")
This patterns overall size 15 x 21" (18 blocks = 72 leaves) so I could lose 2 rows and make it 15" square to allow for the pillow. (13 blocks = 52 leaves). Perfect.

I might replace a few of the prints I don't like with some of mum's scraps. It's a really good use for some of the tinier pieces. They are mostly dressmaking scraps from mum's shirts so they are all odds and ends. I might have enough to do all the rows.

I am drawing up some papers with my compass. Old school.