Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What I bought

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Postage Stamp Revival

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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?

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Fasset's shot cotton, colour artemisa

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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

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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.

Print

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.

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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.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Magic wand making

Magic wand
We had our first dressing up day at nursery. I feel this is the beginning of something. I am quite into the idea of not spending money on all this if possible, except if it's in order to make something from scratch. I did have a look at all the Disney princess dresses in ASDA and secretly think how amazing I would have felt in one of those, but NO, we are going to with hold if possible. Famous last words...

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So it was superheros and princess' day at nursery, neither of which Penelope has any concept of, but she does get what a ballerina is so I thought we'd just do that instead. My neighbour had given us a lovely handmade satin tutu so we didn't need to buy anything! But I thought I would use this opportunity to make this great magic wand.

Wand I didn't understand how to print out the star shape at the right size, it kept coming out small so I just drew up my own pattern really based on, well, not very much. It worked out fine though.

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I also didn't bother with the bow as Penelope would just have ripped it off. I just sewed neatly round the edge and it looked fine. My eyes are also a bit smaller but they were all I had. They are probably easy to pull off and swallow but at least they are small enough to just go straight through! Not bad for an hour's work in front of the TV.

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A great tutorial in all. I love the loop on the end for hanging it up, what a good idea! The fabric is plain white brushed cotton for the star, a left over scrap from a tescos pillowcase. The black and white candy stripe is a poplin from a new website I found called Calico Laine. It's annoying really, as it's the kind of thing they sell in my local craft shop, but I can only get there on certain days so I just ordered the stripe off the web. It was the same sort of price and the site has lots of stuff. I am all in for fabrics that are around £5 a metre. I was so dispirited by the price of jersey fabrics the other day. I mean honestly, it's cheaper by far just to buy clothes then to buy jersey at £18 a metre. Where is all the £5 a metre fabric these days? Where are the bargains? Sigh

Day 309 - Ballerina waiting Here's a really rubbish picture of the ballerina waiting to be let in at nursery. She basically just dragged the wand around with her all day, but at least it wasn't a stick wand she cold whack other children with. Poor thing is looking a bit bent already so maybe it was responsible for some soft violence, but it survived the day which is good.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hexagon Bag

20140625-P1350920 Completed! Horray! Another bag to throw on the pile of project bags. This is the front. I am not sure about the air mail block, but otherwise I love it.

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Behold! The back! Pretty similar to the front really.

So upon review...

The pattern is easy to follow but I don't think the template matches up with the number of Hexes. I would make them 4" next time. I also ballsed up the lining but that's my own fault.

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I quilted the lining to the front so I just sewed it all together and bias binded the seams rather than making a separate lining and stitching it in. I don't mind how I did it. I quite like seeing the stitching. The whole bag feels a bit flimsy though. It collapses when you put it down into a quilted blob. I wish I had added a bit of interfacing.

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I also added a bigger pocket. I just wanted something I could slip my iphone into and my wallet. In all honesty, without a zip or fastening, the bag isn't really that useful as a handbag as I think someone could easily slip their hand in that gaping side hole. Plus I sewed the pocket in by hand which I don't think is great from a wear and tear factor. But as a project bag/day trip bag it works perfectly.

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The handles are also different and I had to make up how to attach them. I made material bits to secure the wooden handles which were the same width as the hexes so it would look neat. They came out a little long though. They do flop nicely over the top though which pleases me.
So all in all, a successful project.

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Time to delve back into the project notebook and see what's next on the cards. Another bag? there is a more secure one I would like to try. Or some shorts for Penelope or some harem trousers to make her look like she eats lentils and quinoa rather than chicken dippers and smiley faces. Or a card holder for my credit cards or something else! These small projects are working out perfectly.

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And the ongoing bigger idea is to make something for myself. It's difficult though as it requires more fabric so more money and I worry I will basically make some kind of sack. I ordered some swatches from the cheap Fabric Mill up north. I was thinking maybe a winter flannel Tova dress. That's why the check is in there. Can I wear that much check? As Rachel pointed out, we are too young to wear that much linen. We need to have lumpy feet and sandals for that, so the linen swatches are out. The flowers are not as soft and dainty as they looked so they are out. And the cream stripe is lovely, but am I a cream person? I wish I could just see a fabric and go 'YES!' I did see some lovely fabric in RayStitch so I might go back there and see if the price is prohibitive.