Saturday, January 04, 2020

The Year Review

Crumbs. 2019 was not my year for making stuff.

I felt a bit like my sewing mojo was absent. I moved house and left the sewing machine in storage. My daughter decided to steal my evenings by staying up later and my dingy house was too dark and too cramped for much stuff.

I did hand sew all my smitten blocks but they still need stitching together.

I did make mum a quilt, but I forgot to photograph it before I gave it to her.

All in all, not a lot happened. No time, no space. No mojo.

But this year, I already feel different. This year I am planning to go to Birmingham in August. I know it’s a long way off, but this is the first year for a long time I have felt the great need to go. I miss it!

This year my resolution is to get my sewing machine serviced and set up a space in our newly renovated space when we move back in at Easter. It might not be fully finished till June, but surely there will be some small corner I can set up in. I now have Tuesdays more or less free so there is a small bit of time to dedicate to it.

But... let's just aim for small projects.

I decided to set up an instagram account just for craft things. On that I decided to post my #makenine2020 goals. None of the images are mine so here are the deets. Just search the names on Instagram for full info.

1. A Bear Scraps scrappy quilt @emsscrapbag in the colour way of @makervalley
2. A Safety Scarf by the aspirational @westknits
3. A Brimfield Star block quilt by @messyjesse1
4. A little Shashiko and natural dyeing
5. A Divided basket by @noodlehead531
6. An improve block using a pickle dish
7. A Jet Set Sewing Station by @messyjesse1
8. A Postcards from Sweden quilt by @jeliquilts
9. A Wee Braw Bag by @sweetcinnamonroses

The Bear quilt is the most ambitious. I might not make it with that one... But you know Positive Mental Attitude guys!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Economy block

20190907-1480179 So the weeks are running out before I have to pack the house up and we have to live out of suitcases for 4 months whilst our house is being renovated. That's a while different worry! If you are interested in that then I have a instagram account for the moneypit (@baystonmoneypit). In the meantime, I am trying to pack all my sewing stuff away. This involves picking up each thing in my sewing area and desperately trying to finish off whyever I got it out before it's locked away in storage for 6 months.

I found I have loads of scraps. I keep finding new repositories of them and joining them together to form one huge scrap bag. It's really made me realise I need some more scrap busting projects. Some scraps are so precious that I never use them which is just stupid. So before they get locked away I decided to do a little side project.

I didn't really have any idea what I was making. I started out by making one of mum's blocks in scraps. Of course I ballsed up the pattern slightly and came out with a slightly different block, but I am pretty happy. It's not very accurate but I feel with scraps you can afford to be lax with measuring and ironing and just go with the flow.

20190907-1480182So I thought maybe I would make it into a big project bag. I love a project bag. So I made a big block.

20190907-1480177Then I made another scrappy block. I used some Strawberry Fayre swatches I found in a drawer and some thangle cutoffs I must have made ages a go. I like the little log cabin block. Then I realised it was going to make a huge bag which looked a bit silly.

20190907-1480193 So I made some economy blocks which I have always wanted to make.

20190912-1480200 And before I really thought it through, I had made a sewing machine mat! I have wanted to make my own for such a long time. My mum gave me one, but it's nice to change these things round.


Ta-da! The economy blocks work perfectly as pockets. Each one is lined in different scraps. I am so happy with it. It even has a little thin pocket at the edge for the crochet hook I use to drag threads through the feet and poke fabric with. I can honestly say that I love every scrap of fabric in it. And now I get to stare at it every time I am sewing.

So in two weeks I will say goodbye to this dark, little corner. I am not sure where the new sewing nook is going to be, but I am secretly hoping the small back room can become the sewing room. It's much lighter and spacious. I wouldn't know what to do with all that space. We'll see. That feels a long way off. I feel sad to put the machine away. I have two weeks left to frantically sew stuff!

Monday, July 01, 2019

What's Next?

I have almost finished the Smitten quilt. Just the side blocks to complete, then to sew it together. It'll probably take me another year. But it does get me thinking about what't the next big project? I'm not really sure. Lots of things are floating around.

After not really doing anything much quilting based this year, I suddenly feel a bit desperate. In a few weeks we need to pack up our home. I am avoiding it. Sigh. I haven't packed a thing. Have not thrown one thing away nor sorted through any of my crap in our cellar. I can't face any of it.

I look forlornly at my little sewing corner and know that I'll have to pack it away for at least 6 months or try and take a condensed version with me. Maybe just enough for one or two projects should I feel the need. If I get all the bits ready now then I can make a compact box of bits and do my best.

Here are some options...

Moda Dessert Sampler

Moda Pattern I've had this pattern since my birthday. I can't decide what fabrics I would use, hence it't been on the backburner whilst I mull it over. I'd really like to use a collection so it all matches. It's a lovely book with really clear patterns.

moda dessert quilt
I just want it to be perfect. Sew Lux made it last year and blogged every block which would really help. There was a quilt a long so there are lots of block examples out there. I think it might be too big of a project to be my 'move' project though.

moda dessert quilt
It's a huge beast when you see it all laid out together. I love sampler quilts though as nothing gets too repetitive. That's a lot of fabric to sort out and precut though. You could just make random blocks but I like it when the fabric sort of matches and is thought through. I do have some Tula Pink fabrics which I bought for a Jen Kingwell quilt, but which would look good here.

brimfield block
I also have this pattern which I got from mum for Christmas. I am mega excited about it. I am not sure whether to use my precious Liberty prints for it, my Tula Pink ones or my bundle of solids. This is a strong contender because I can do it without my sewing machine. I would just need to decide what the background fabric would be. As luck would have it, my finest, most expensive white Egyptian duvet cover just ripped in the wash. For a few seconds I was gutted, then I thought about how much fabric was left there which I could use for a quilt! Kismet!

IMG_1306Mum was throwing out some of her old quilting mags last time I went home, plus she bought me one that she knew I liked. Out of them I found these great patterns.

I think this would be great in less flowery fabrics, but half the size and without the thick border.

This mini in solids without the wide border would make a great 'speaker quilt' which I have been tasked to make. It's nice and small which makes it very achievable.

I've been planning to make a pickle dish quilt for ages. I ummed and ahhed about buying Kaffe Fassett's Quilt Romance at Birmingham two years a go just for the great pickle dish pattern in it. The only downside was that every other pattern in the book was not my cup of tea so it felt excessive buying the entire book. I literally just want to photocopy that pattern and return the book! This small version would be easy to whip up and I love the solids. I have a bundle of pinks somewhere which would be perfect.

I love the colours in this fabric and how cosy it feels. It looks pretty big but I could just make a lap version.

Mum bought me a copy of Quilt Now which came with this Midsummer Nights dream quilt pattern and a great ruler. I do love rulers. I think I would just like to make one of these blocks. I love the orange, reds and pinks.

I think i'd just make a few blocks of this and not have so much solid colour inbetween them.

I'd also like to make an economy block quilt. I love My Paper Crane's one. Spoonflower offer a 10% discount for new customers so I ordered some of this fabric and a few of Heidi's other samples. I like the easiness of this pattern. And it's foundation piecing which I really like as it's so perfect. And the pattern is free!

So that's all the newish things rolling around my head. I am floundering trying to decide what to do. I need to ask Rachel and see if she will join me.

I might end up doing nothing, as to be honest, there seems to be no time these days. But I think if I get all the fabric cut and ready and packed in a tote bag. I can take it with me and it will be my extended holiday project. Yes, moving out for 6 months into a pokey flat whilst the house is gutted is going to be our 'extended summer holiday'. Joy!

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Bear Paw Quilt

Mum made all her quilting friends some bear paw blocks for a gift a few months ago. It's my all time favourite block along with the similar maple leaf block. She gave me one! How special am I? I thought it was a really nice idea. I love my block. It's so her. It's just in her colours. I decided to make mine into a quilt, trying my best to use mum's sort of fabrics and colours. It seemed like a good excuse to make one of my favourite blocks.

I am not sure about the very dark purple one in the middle. I am going to call this my mum quilt. I am trying to stick to her kinds of greens and dark purples. It's hard because I automatically veer towards my sorts of fabrics which tend to be louder and lighter. Mum mixes patterns with batiks which I tend not to do. But I am trying.

I have used some of my precious Liberty fat quarters and a William Morris print I have had for years. I am really liking the result. It really makes me want to go to Birmingham this year.

This is my favourite block. I love this Liberty print.

This green fabric was bought by mum for one of the first quilts I ever made.

I love the little green square from mum's scrap bin in the middle.

I have made eight blocks so far, plus mum's block and I have nine. I have all the pieces cut out and ready for two more blocks. So then I'll have two more left to do. I plan to do plain skip blocks inbetween.

One day I'd love to make this bear paw quilt
Or this one. I love all the sizes. I could make this block all day. It's easy, but it looks great.
And here is a free pattern of the block

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Smitten Update

The pile is growing bigger. I think I have broken the back of this project. Very, very slowly. A great deal of this has been achieved by watching Love Island. I really want to finish them before we move house. The race is on!

I am now onto the last small blocks which come together pretty quickly. It's a nice change of pace.

  Then I just need to do the side bits and sew it all together. I hope it doesn't look like a hot mess.

I like how they've got easier not harder as you progress.
     But is it a hot mess?

Saturday, January 05, 2019

2019 here we come

So there is no last year round up this year. Last year was a sad year in all, but it's over now and I am keen to get back to some sewing tings. I feel that there is a little more time in life these days so I should make the most of it. In honour of this, I bought myself some fabric in the Boxing Day Sales from Sew Hot Fabrics. It's a new shop for me. I was really sad to see that Simply Solids stopped trading this Christmas. What with Strawberry Fayre closing last year, I feel that the retail decline is hitting the quilting industry and this makes me sad.

But the 20% off sale at Sew Hot made me happy! Check out my haul! I follow Laura Cunningham on Instagram and I always love her mix of subtle pink and apricot solids. I have been worrying that my Swoon was just too pattern heavy so I decided to mix it up a bit. Above (top to bottom) you have Kona solids in the following shades mostly influenced by Laura's great haul here:

  • Valentine
  • Punch
  • Woodrose
  • Candy Pink
  • Baby Pink
  • Pale Flesh (previously Shell)
  • Pink
  • Bellini (previously Flesh)
  • Petal
  • Bubblegum
  • Dusty Peach

The first five fabrics are part of a pink fat eight bundle

I also bought a few solids to pad out the Swoon. I really like the Panorama Sunrise Drops in Lipstick on the left and the Hand Picked Triangles in pink. The last one is Dashwood Ditsies Little Trees in Punch which I am not 100% sure about.

I try to keep a reference in my scraggy notebook of the Kona colours I buy. I have a swatch card but they are all so tiny and so many of the fabrics outdate my colour card. Cutting a bit of the salve edge and noting the shade seems to work for me. I also keep salve edges here so I can remember the fabrics.

As for Smitten progress, I have managed to crack on with Small Hexagon Two. I've tried to start using solids more but I soon realised that I didn't have that many to choose from, hence my Xmas purchase.

As a group, I think they are looking better for having some solids in there. I am excited about using the new ones. Hopefully, this year will be better for sewing. I have no real goals apart from finishing the usual backlog. I would like to make one of Laura's bags out of the teatowel Rachel bought me from H&M. More about that later. And I would like to make some economy blocks with my Smitten leftovers. I also think this year might be the year for my Liberty fabric scrap quilt but I always say that! Just doing anything would be a good goal for this year. We'll see. We are undertaking a big house renovation project this year so all my sewing crap might well go into storage for half the year!

Friday, October 26, 2018

A Long Break

It's been a while, I know. The whole of 2018 has been pretty much of a washout so far sewing-wise. Mumple feel ill in January and she is really the driving force in all this quilting and sewing and making mallarky. It just didn't feel the same without her and I just felt too miserable to do anything.

After spending a week with her last week for half term, I am finally realising that she is getting back into sewing as much as she can post-injury and so I should too. It's been a rough year, so it's small steps but just watching her get her act back together has inspired me.

Plus she gave me this beautiful amish quilt she made, which has made me want to get back to sewing. I love the colours and the darkness of it. It's so lovely.


So I have unearthed my Smitten blocks and started on the smaller hexagons. It's slow going. They seem a bit bright and garish in comparison.