Sunday, December 30, 2012

Carseat Quilt

20121229-P1230986.jpgWe keep going out in the car without a blanket for the carseat which attaches to the buggy. You need something you can really tuck in as Penelope likes to kick. It's been so windy and cold of late that I decided that the perfect solution would be to use some of our old cashmere jumpers which are riddled with holes but which are incredibly soft and warm. I have kept them hoping that there would be some use for them so in a fit of industry I very clumsily chopped off the arms of one, sewed them to the main body and made this double layer quilt. You can still see the cashmere label at the bottom!

20121229-P1230982.jpg The whole thing took about half an hour. I wasn't very exact. I just wanted to get out of the house so we could go for a windy walk. But I did manage a few embellishments. I added some ribbon tags which would help with keeping the sides tucked in and also give her something to play with. I thought they might be dangerous if I left them open loops so I sewed them shut.

20121229-P1230985.jpg I was worried that the holes would weaken it so I sewed a few strips across the middle in fluro thread. I never got round to the crochet edging. I might make another bigger one when I find the rest of the jumpers. I'll spend more time on that one and do it properly!

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Year Review


So let's compare this time last year with now.

Things I made this year
1. Crochet snood. I made two of these in the end one large, one small just so I could perfect the stitch. Otherwise my crochet has been poor this year.
2. A Sewing machine mat for Rachel's birthday.
3. The Swoon quilt. This was a huge project. It's the biggest quilt I have ever made. I won't be making such a monster for a while, but I am glad I did it.
4. The Swoon offset quilt. Technically it's not quite finished as I have to sew a bit of the binding but it was so close and I have so little to show for 2012 that I thought I would include it. I'm glad I managed to use up all my leftovers as the Swoon is quite wasteful.
5. The elephant mobile for Penelope.
6. The appliqué moses basket quilt. A hit! it's been washed loads and is all nice and soft now.
7. Pen's hexagon diamond paper pieced quilt. Although small, this was epic in terms of man hours invested in it. I am really pleased with it.
8. A pincushion. It didn't take very long which made it good fun. I am quite surprised how much I enjoyed log cabin. I can feel a new project brewing.

Unfinished projects from 2011
20121228-IMG_2481.jpg 1. The Sawtooth Star Quilt. I have done loads on it. I just need to finish sewing the top together. I don't have the space to baste it though so it might have to wait until I have got rid of all our boxes of stuff we still haven't unpacked.

20121228-P1230964.jpg 2. The rainbow Hexagon quilt. It just needs tacking together but I have no space to lie it flat on. It's not that big so I will have to see it can make space somewhere.

20121228-P1230969.jpg 3. The postage stamp quilt. it's a whole heap of work still left to do unless I make it a bit smaller which I might well do.

New projects
1. I'd like to make this scrap quilt, but I think it is the fabrics which make it so I need to think long and hard about them. I like these and these fabrics.

20121228-P1230976.jpg 2. Car quilt. We need a warm blanket for the car seat, something soft that tucks in. It occurred to me that I have kept a pile of old cashmere jumpers somewhere which I could layer together to make a super warm, soft mini quilt. I could crochet the edges like this. I even have some wool for it.

Petra Prins Quilt Kit 3. My Petra Prins kit still waiting for a rainy day. I think it's time to crack it out this year!

Things I saw at Chilford 4. I'd like to make this little Maggie Wise quilt. Mum bought me the material and pattern for my birthday.

5. I'd like to make an Irish chain quilt like this or this or this.

None! Boooo. I have been kind of busy though so I thought I would give myself a break. I am all about learning from books these days.

Resolutions for 2013
To continue finishing things off instead of starting big new projects
To not buy new fabric
To get back into sewing now that Penelope is a bit more independent
To do more knitting and crochet so I don't forget

Resolutions from last year
Slim down my project cupboard - I think I did pretty well on that score.
Sift out any fabric that isn't in my a list - haven't got very far with this.
Finish the hexagon quilt so I can put it away and have a break from these technicolour projects I seem to keep doing. Time for some subtle colours. - I think my Liberty fabric quilts are much more subtle and less 'modern'.
Keep up with the crochet. So I don't forget what I learn. - I need to get back this, especially now that Jess has put me to shame with this!

That's it!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pin Cushion

20121218-P1230941.jpg I managed to make one Christmas present this year; a pin cushion for Ray. I didn't think I would ever have enough handsfree time in which to do it, but Penny is getting much better at napping on her own now so I get a few pockets of time. It was a Jeni Baker pattern on Make which Jess had pinned on Pinterest

20121218-P1230933.jpg I had a few fat quarters of Woodland Tails by Riley Blake. I had to fill in the blanks with a few different fabrics.

20121218-P1230937.jpg I filled it with millet which is actually a bit light so I'd try something heavier next time. I'd probably make it a bit smaller as well. It's really easy to make. It only took an hour. It makes me think about making a log cabin quilt one day.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wonky Crossstitch

20121210-P1230832.jpg It's not my style to label my quilts, but I decided that I would do so for Penelope's quilt. All my books and most of my sewing stuff is packed away in boxes so when I decided to do some crossstitch I had neither the thread nor the book of alphabets I had bought years a go. So I just decided to do a sloppy job. I drew a plan and then drew it on with fabric pen. It all slopes down as it progresses and the crosses are all different sizes but I decided it was part of its charm. I used variegated quilting thread in the end as it was all I had out.

Cross.jpg It all goes a bit haywire after the first three letters but I think this represents this time well. I only get small pockets of time in which to do any sewing so invariably I cut corners and do things half heartedly. I decided not to do the numbers in the end. They didn't have the same traditional feel for some reason.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Penelope's Quilt

Hexagon Quilt I meant to post some pictures of the finished hexagon quilt then got totally overcome with baby duties. I don't know where the day goes? Anyway here they are!

20121128-P1230672.jpg It was a really time intensive project, more work than Brennan's mini durham quilt by far. I even used different colour thread to quilt the hexagons and stars. I really don't think I would have finished it under normal circumstances. I really enjoyed the process though and I feel that the finished quilt has a soft, oldy-worldy feel to it that I love. There is nothing modern in this quilt. The delicate Liberty fabric seems perfect for this project.

20121128-P1230678.jpg The only shortcut was the binding which I bought readymade as I just came across it in our local craft shop and loved the subtle colour difference between it and the backing.

20121128-P1230690.jpg I might sew Penelope's name on the back as this really is her quilt. Every swollen ankle moment I sewed it. During contractions I bounced on the ball sewing it. I even took it to hospital and let it sit in the labour room in the suitcase. And every late night feed it has sat on the sofa waiting to be finished. Now Penny is three months and normal life is just starting to filter back, it seems fitting that it be finished.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Hexagon diamond quilt done!

Penelope's Quilt
My English paper piecing quilt is finally finished. It has taken a month on the sofa of maternity leave where I worked on it everyday all day, and then 3 months of living with a newborn who will only let me have both hands free for about an hour a day.

Hexagon Quilt
The whole thing feels like a tremendous achievement for me as it represents so much hard work. It's very fragile though. I can already see weak parts where the stitching is loose. I should have tied more knots in the ends of each piece as I went along.

I thought I had so I don't understand why the threads are loose in a few areas. I suppose that I am just used to machining, maybe it's to be expected that there are a few loose bits. Hopefully they will hold up to everyday use.

The end result is really soft.

If you want to make one yourself here is the pattern I created. I printed this out onto thick card (not too thick, more like card you can easily fold in half, 200? 220gms?) 6-10 times and cut the shapes out with a scalpel and ruler. I reused some bits as I went along. I still have lots of fabric left but I didn't want to make the quilt massive. It's really just a cot sized quilt. I'd rather try a different pattern now. Dresden plate perhaps or a Lucy boston style quilt.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Hexagon update

20121023-P1230045.jpg So being one handed all the times means that not a great deal gets done, but recently I have been set free slightly by the play mat my sister gave me. Sometimes she'll happily gaze up at the dangling things for 20 mins! So I have fitted in a little bit of quilting. The top is finished, I basted it really messily and quickly and now I am quilting the stars in pink and green Stef Francis thread and greeny grey for the hexagons. I've noticed some of the hand seams are pretty weak so I hope the quilting holds it together a bit. I love how homemade it looks.


Friday, September 14, 2012

The Arrival of Penelope

Day 7 well day 6 Well English Paper Piecing has drawn to a sudden halt. I packed up everything in my hospital pouch thinking I would busily sewing away during the first stage of labour where contractions are miles apart but that stage didn't seem to work out for me and within 5 hours from start to finish, out came Penny. Penny's favourite thing is to be held so all sewing is OFF. Just eating and drinking is a major breakthrough! I have had some lovely homemade presents though.

Day 9 - My Birthday Some lovely mini bunting. I love the colours. They're from a jelly roll Rachel and I bought years a go at Birmingham which we have always wanted to use. Mine is more purple and is still in its wrapper!

Birthday cloud I have been in love with these clouds for a long time. My Pinterest boards are littered with them

Tiny shoes These shoes are amazing! Penny has not ventured out of sleepsuit yet to be honest. They are just so soft and so easy to put on. She is 10 days old today and everyday she is a little bit bigger and more rebust. I hope all these lovely newborn outfits fit her when I finally get her out of sleepsuits.

Day 1 and Presents! My mum made me my very own babyball. I am so pleased. It is her thing she does for all babies and I have waited a long time for my very own one.

Penny on The Small Quilts I have also had so many lovely quilts from my mum and from Rachel. I mean loads! I am so pleased. They are all beautiful. When life quietens down a bit I plan to take photos of each one. I planned to take photos of everyones presents next to Penny, but life is moving so fast and my babybrain is definitely not keeping up!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Hexagon Progress

Hexagons So I was hoping to be able to finish this project before the new addition to the family arrived but as my mum tells me, slow projects are suposed to be slow. This represents a month of sitting on the sofa so far. It's amazing how small it looks for all the time invested in it. I'm not quite sure how big I am going to make it. I am worried I will put it down and never finish it. At the moment I am set on adding 6 more horizontal rows. Then I will stand back and assess how I feel about it. I definitely enjoy the process so if I get the time then I might well continue with it.

Hexagons Here's the back. It's a bit messy because my seams are 1/2 inch not 1/4 but it works for me. It still seems to lie pretty flat. I also put lots if knots in it when I reach a corner to make it tight and to help if any of it should unravel.

Hexagons I reuse the templates a lot as it seems to save time. You can see I only take the ones out which aren't open at the edges.

Hexagons They're a bit bent but it doesn't seem to make any difference to the end result. So I have got a big stack of them ready to reuse and I have cut lots of fabric ready to be tacked down.

Packing up Here is my bulging travel sewing kit. I could really do with a tin, but this will do. I have created a mini filing system out of bits of cut down old envelopes so I can keep the colours in some order. I have bought a new reel of thread and loaded up with sharp needles. I am going to pack this in my hospital bag and try and get some tacking done during my sejourn in the maternity ward from Monday. We'll see if I actually feel like doing any. I just thought that then this whole quilt will hold the memory of this very memorable time. I do like it when objects hold memories.

Thursday, August 23, 2012



Hexapattern.jpg So you can see how far I have got. If I were to make this a newborn quilt then I'd be nearly there. I drew up a diagram to help show me where the pink stars should be. But. I could make it bigger. I am not sure if I can hack that much more work though!

Hexapattern_cot.jpg This would be a cot sized quilt. Well a bit less tall but it would fit well I think. The orange square reminds me how far I am now and shows just how much more there would be to do. I wouldn't even be half way! Yikes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Liberty Fabric

20120823-P1220179.jpg Here is the Liberty fabric I am using for the hexagon quilt. I noticed that not only are people seeming to do little english paper piecing projects, but there are also mini Liberty projects popping up of late. Above is my green fabric with one pink diamond.

20120823-P1220177.jpg I alternate between two pink options on the diamonds.

20120823-P1220175.jpg And here is the pink diamond. I thought it might be useful to keep a record of the fabrics I was using as they seem to have a lifespan and are not always available at Liberties. I would hate to run out and not be able to find anymore. I managed to work out all the fabric names except the moth one. Any heads up as to what it's called would be great!

Pink Liberty 1. Nancy-Ann-B-Tana-Lawn. 2. Liberty-moths. (this is the one I am unsure of the name) 3. Eloise-C-Tana-Lawn. 4. Mabelle-C-tana-lawn. 5. Fairford-A-Tana-Lawn. 6. Edenham-L-Tana-Lawn.

Green Liberty 1. Capel-L-Tana-Lawn. 2. Lauren-B-Tana-Lawn. 3. Mabelle-B-tana-lawn. 4. Meadow-F-tana-lawn. 5. Mitsi-C-Tana-Lawn. 6. Lilians-Berries-B-Tana-Lawn.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hexagon update

Hexs So not that much to report. It's slow work and there have been guests to entertain over the weekend. I did manage to sew some bits on the bus though which was good and I have just cut out lots more fabric. You can see that I allow more than 1/4" seam. My seams are more like 1/2" and I don't really measure them I just cut them roughly in chunks of layers.

Hexs I've done Hexs just from whole squares and it works perfectly, it's just because these are so small and easy to cut that I have bothered cutting them out. The diamonds I would cut out but even they could just be rectangles. I don't think it really makes that much difference to the bulk of the finished product and actually I find them easier to tack as often the material moves and seams get smaller as you turn the template often leaving you with a super small last seam. Having more generous seams to begin with means less going backwards.

Hexs I might invest in some new Clover Black Gold Needles Applique / Sharps (No.9-10-12) needles that the Katy at Fat Quarterly recommends and some of the Clover Wonder Clips as they look quite useful. But you know, I don't really need them. I am just always tempted by pretty things. I've been reading all their EPP tutorials, they're really good if you want to understand how to do it from the ground up. I've got a really old book that was made in the 70's which I have had since I was little with everything in it. I think it was my sisters as she made a cushion when she was young and started making some flowers which have been abandoned in a plastic bag in my room for years.