Sunday, January 29, 2012

Postage Stamp Techniques

Postage Stamp Block Postage Stamp Block

So after not doing very much so far this year, I decided to get back to making my postage stamp blocks. I was surprised when I saw my latest block next to my first test block. My first one is rubbish! It made me realise that I've adopted several techniques to make the block neater. It slows the process down, but I think it's worth it. I thought I would write them down so I remember.

The process I used was to sew two fabric panels together, press them flat with an iron then trim one edge to 3/4" from the seam. The process is then repeated by sewing another panel to the short bit of fabric and pressing and trimming that until you have 6 strips in total. Then I trim the starting edge. Hey presto you have a long strip of 6. I make 6 of these strip units then I begin to sew the strips together at the shortest edge and do the same pressing flat and trimming technique. I admit, I haven't tried it any other way, but it seems to work pretty well.

So that's the basic process. Here are the things that help with the accuracy.

Spray starch the fabric, starch thinner lawn fabrics twice.

Take time to cut the material accurately. It saves time later.

Consider the grain of the fabric. One side will have more give. I sewed the tighter grain together first so I could utilise the stretchier grain when I needed to pull and push seams to align.

Postage Stamp Block
Sew the seams in opposite direction.

Feel along the seams and line them up as you feed them through the machine.

Push and pull fabric to line up at the seams. Don't pull so much that the fabric warps though.

Postage Stamp Block Use a 1/4 inch foot with a guard at the side.

Use the markings on the machine plate to guide in the fabric. Decide what mark to use and stick to it. (I have even practiced doing this to get it right).

Postage Stamp Block

Use a good ruler. A wide one allows you to make sure everything lines up.

Don't cut fabrics to the right width then sew them. Sew them, press flat, then trim them.

Don't put too much pressure on the iron and warp fabric. Take time to press it and do a little tugging to make seams straight.

Iron everything all the time. I just leave the iron on.

That's it so far. But I am only through 40 blocks out of about 80 I think.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Making buttons


So I have been experimenting with this shell cowl pattern I saw on Persia Lou. The main bit is easy but the ending rib I am having trouble with. So I did one the right size, then a big one so I could see the stitches better. I chose a wool where I knew I would be able to see the stitches clearly. It's Patons Fab Big which is cheap but really soft. I got mine in John Lewis.


It was really easy to do! Now I just need to undo the rib on the smaller version and finish that one off. I have made all my buttons though which is good. The big ones are harder to get the edges perfect, but they're alright if you don't look too closely.


The Year Review


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

Things I made this year

1. A silver necklace. I've never worn it. It just didn't float my boat in the end.
2. A sewing case. I use them all the time!
3. The second speaker quilt
4. A knitted monster for Arthur
5. The crazy quilt which was an unfinished project last year
6. The The Stripey old sheet quilt which keeps me warm on the sofa
7. The yellow quilt I made in a weekend
8. The iPad case like mums
9. The pincusion organiser for Rachel
10. The crochet cowl I made on the course
11. The crochet roll for Sam

Unfinished projects from 2011
1. My cable knitting practice squares
2. My Petra Prins kit still waiting for a rainy day
3. The Sawtooth Star Quilt which I haven't even started so it sort of doesn't count
4. The Hexagon quilt. It just sits at my feet waiting for one last row
5. The Swoon Quilt. This is a new project unstarted so it doesn't count yet
6. The Worn & Washed quilt I started on Kim's course
7. My postage stamp quilt. it's a whole heap of work!

I did Kim's quilting course
Made do and mend's crochet course
Rebecca's silver pendant course

so I feel good about that.

Resolutions for 2011
To finish things off instead of starting big new projects - I reckon getting 11 projects finished this last year is pretty good on that score

To improve my knitting - I learnt to circular knit and I am much much better at crochet so I feel good about that

Resolutions for 2012
I'd really like to slim down my project cupboard mostly by finishing things off, but I think I might also need to sift out any fabric that isn't in my a list.
I'd like to finish this 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.
Keep up with the crochet. So I don't forget what I learn.

That's it! Phew