Saturday, 2 January 2016

The lovely things made for me this year...

This is really self explanatory, I was lucky enough to have lots of hand made and home made things this year,


Not that tea is drunk in this house... no, no tea to speak of...

Our manky teacosy was replaced by this beauty made by my younger daughter-

 she has been doing a LOT of applique this year..


















All those snowflakes appliqued by herself, and beautifully done too...



and I requested a pouch to take the bits that accompanied my Christmas present  ( and birthday, even unto the seventh generation....)
Yes, I got a new overlocker. Which has been a boon.

My old one which has given faithful service for about 25 years seized- in the middle of costume sewing season! Aaaargh! so we went out and bought a new one before Christmas, but it had to be my pressie...  and it came with all sorts of bits and pieces which need to be kept together really. Yes, more applique from my daughter!

and then there were those wonderful swap Christmas tree ornaments...
 A lovely Santa au jete, my snowflake dangle, snowman heart, Christmas bunny, dove of peace ( an extra with the bunny, gorgeous!), pretty red heart and the Christmouse! Thank you MQT swappers!




and these also came my way, the black birdie made by my son, who has started sewing, at the grand old age of ( well, maybe I shouldn't say, but he is my eldest...), a bonny fabric folded decoration from a friend, and the cheery pompom from someone I work with.

There were a couple of other new ornaments, though not home made,

The blue star, two glass teapots and a bauble were all new this Christmas.


And then, last but definitely not least, this gorgeous soft silk and alpaca scarf was woven for me by my elder daughter! It is sewn in a loop, so it doubles round my neck and is lovely and soft and warm, without feeling as if I am being strangled. I have been using it regularly, and can confirm that it is 100% lovely!











Sunday, 27 December 2015

getting there... getting there.. whops! I blinked and missed it!

It has been a frantic month! sewing costumes and then getting present sewing done, all of a rush! Several gifts had to be changed, I just had no time to do what had been planned, but here are a few photos...
First, did your house receive a visitor?   Ours certainly did, 
and I think he stopped for a nap, perhaps we were the final stop, but he was just caught going back to take his weary reindeer home, after all their efforts...

So, what did we find ?  All sorts of goodies came our way,


Including this lovely Christmas tree skirt, made secretly by my younger daughter, Frantically secreted in the room with the sewing machine and working away to get it done without me seeing anything! and then, sneaky child ( yes, she is fully an adult really) comes down in the wee smalls to put it round the tree- when everyone has already put presents round the tree- so she has to move them all, put skirt into place and reposition all presents...

I shall do a quick round up of some of the makes I made, and then, later, a post of all the makes received as well...







There are the main ones, yes, it was a well cushioned Christmas this year, there were some I failed to get photos of, but I think you can see why I was so busy? Of all these only the top one on the left was made before December started! The rest has had to be made in a tearing hurry to get all done in reasonable time, with the last couple of bits having to be made once Christmas was over...

I hope you all had as good a Christmas as we did, with no floods or disasters, and look forward to a 'makey' 2016.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Stitchscape open day

A new resource has opened not too far from me. Just down the road a bit... Stitchscape. 


There used to be a pub on the corner, but it fell into the same old state as a lot of such establishments have, and shut down. Then refurbishment happened and it turned into a suite of offices, and into one of these offices has entered the really fun and friendly Diane.

Diane had a dream, of a sewing space where groups of friendly sewing folk could congregate, and sew a little, laugh a little and have a deal of fun... and today she held an open day.

Cups of tea, mince pies, and chatter and viewing of the facilities, a large surface for cutting out, several big tables to set up sewing machines, a Sissix, and an electronic, computer linked cricut...


and friendly Diane helping someone design a named Christmas stocking for a child.


Diane also organises workshops, with a good variety and user friendly time options, so many workshops run in the day or in the evening for those of us who may also have to work!

Come the New Year I can see myself attending perhaps a little more often than may be ideal...she will get fed up with my inanities!

This bright friendly room has on site parking, and is in easy access of the motorways, and seems to me to be a great venue for the North-west..

I had fun there today, even though I was only looking and not sewing! and here is a selection of views round the place, showing work she has done for workshops, as well as inspirational books, and fabric available to buy, for the project she had arranged on the day!




the usual gubbins! we all have to have a place.... 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

snowflakes

Yes, I joined another swap.

This was a Christmas ornament swap, yes, I know, way too early, but that is how it goes. I was put into a group with 5 other lovely sewing ladies and we each were to make six of the same ornament, and send one to the other five, and, of course, keep the last one. So, I made some snowflakes.

look!
 I made stabiliser design patterns, to enable me to make them somewhat similar
 I decided on little beaded stars for the bottom of the decoration, so spent a happy session making these..










































and then when all were hung up together I felt they would do nicely!

the first couple have already arrived at their destination, so, there may be a few new pretties coming this way over the next few weeks!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The buttonhole Trials...

How do you know if your sewing machine will do the job you want?
This came up when someone I know was thinking about buying their first sewing machine.

Of course, we all have different ideas about these things, and about what we want a sewing machine to do, I make clothing, costumes, and I do patchwork and quilting, and I also make bags and 'stuff'. I am thinking of attempting a bra one day... Don't hold your breath.

I am also quite lucky, in that I have used a variety of machines at one time or another. I started on my Mum's old black and gold Singer. Straight stitch only. Forwards only. No fancy bits. She got that part exchanged for a Pfaff, way back in the 1970s. Nice machine.
I was given a Singer by a Scottish Dancer, I used my MiL's New Home, and I part exchanged the Singer I had been given for a more modern Singer. That was in the 1980s. It was a Singer Serenade, I believe, ( can't be bothered to run upstairs and check- it is still there) and when the tension on that went dodgy I got my beloved Bernina.
Add to that list, the Husqvarna I used on a visit to Amsterdam, ( gorgeous zip function, to die for...drool, Kathinca... best zip insertion I have ever met) and my friend's Brother, and her later Bernina, and I think you can say I have met a few.

So, what advice did I give?

Try the buttonhole function, and the zip insertion, and check what feet are available!

This inevitably led to my having to do sample buttonholes on the three machines currently residing in my house.

Want a look?
 I think you can see, the balance is out. I have one wider spaced line of stitches, at the top, and a narrower spacing under that. There is room for some adjustment on these, with the stitch regulator on it, but you still end up with uneven lines of stitches. Also the gap between the lines is a bit wider than I would prefer, and you end up with a fray-ey bit in the middle. This is the only buttonhole style built in to the Singer.

 The Bernina does a much more acceptable standard buttonhole, and a choice of styles. It also has the lovely feature, that it memorises the first buttonhole, and then reproduces the same buttonhole for multiple times.
I found the keyhole buttonhole slightly less good than I liked, but a second one done over the first gave me a result I would be very happy to use.
 Now, I think, this Brother gives a very good buttonhole result. It has the function to put the button you are using into a bit at the top of the buttonhole foot, and it measures the length required for you. and all three buttonholes are acceptable just as they are.
The only downside for this one is, that there is a little lever to put down when doing the buttonhole which is what actually sets the length, and it will not work without this. This means you cannot really do a buttonhole outwith its pre-determined range. The range is good enough for most purposes though!

Overall though, with all their different features, I still love my Bernina the best....

What do you look at, or would you look at if you were looking for a new machine?

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

a quilt finish

For her birthday, DD2 asked for a quilt. No other requirements, just, Mum, please make me a quilt.
Now the birthday is in early October, and the request came in early September, so, plenty of time to make that quilt, yes?

Well, other than that I also work full time, and have one or two other responsibilities, yes, that is bags of time...

I thought hard about this, but actually, I knew what I wanted to make, and I wanted nice cheery colours,  and to make something she would love despite all the inevitable flaws...
 this is where I started. A simple but scrappy look, And it grew.



slowly I added to it.


























and eventually I had thirteen like this...







which needed twelve to go between...
 
to make this.

Put on a spare bed


 and here is the back
and the obligatory rolled up shot..




Did I make the deadline?    well,  not quite.
The little one came home the week after her birthday, and I did manage to get it done for then.

And, I think she likes it.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

mini arrived

the Mini quilt that is, has arrived with it's new owner, so now I can tell!

The theme had been circles and curves, and I was lucky to receive a partner who said anything goes!
In some ways this makes it easier, because you can do whatever makes you happy, but in other ways it is more difficult, because there are no boundaries, and perhaps she will be disappointed when it does arrive..

Anyway, thinking hard went on and I tried to get to know my partner a little better.. One busy lady! an energetic whirlwind, with a love for animals and her garden..

and slowly thoughts coalesce..  and a lily pond emerged.



 and after all, the theme is round, so a round lily pond seemed indicated. Dinner plates are also round? It is a mini quilt after all.
 Water will be needed for a pond..

Quilted and a line of stitching to indicate the approximate limits
You get a type of film you can sew into your project, dissolve out in warm water, and then set into shape.

petals for a waterlily can be made this way..













and they can be shaped over a rolling pin.

and a water lily constructed,






 and then the pieces played with to produce the preferred composition..
 a little hand stitching did have to be done here. And the binding was hand stitched on the back, too.














So, this is one pond that will not get slimy and sad!



and in keeping with the theme, some drunkards paths for the back...

I think she likes it!

Hers is on it's way to me, so I am looking forward to a surprise mini !








    
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