Sunday, 8 November 2015


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.

 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 !


Monday, 14 September 2015

Wedding present

We were invited to a wedding. Lovely. Plenty of notice and so pleased to accept the invitation, for a good friend's daughter's wedding...

As it transpired, the fates conspired against us and we were unable to attend. Other priorities had to be made. So sorry. i am still hoping to see photos... But anyway, a gift had to be made.

Taking things to the extreme, you may know I am a fan of portholes?  So, I thought, a cushion with portholes... But we do want this to be totally special? yes...

How about portholes in letter shapes? well, some letters happen to be easier than others...

It took quite some doing... but I finally got there... No telling how blue the air got at times...

 No prizes for guessing bride and groom's names!
 Staged on my daughters bed...

And a modern take on the other side, just so they can ditch the kitsch if they wish!  I do hope they like it .

Sunday, 13 September 2015


Having decided on a new project I have been getting on with it... and I have managed 9 blocks so far this weekend... back to the fray!  but just now they are kind of secret... You will have to wait!

Having made damson jam, it is always good to share a little.. so two pots trotted off to a new home, with nice wee hats on their heads, and a cosy little basket to sit in for the journey..  The recipient loves owls, so I found a few to go with her jam...
I even lined the little basket the jars went in with some owls.. 

I think another time I would make the dividing flap attach to the sides of the basket, so it did not fold down, but this was an experiment, and I was quite pleased with the result.. 

Then another friend did not possess a hottle bottle... and sometimes the comfort that a hottie gives just cannot be replaced by any other source of warmth... As there is a small one also in the household, it felt right to make a hottle bottle cover for both Mum and Small... 

I wonder who will win which one?

I know the dinosaurs are intended for Small, but you just never quite know!

These hottle bottle covers are a quick and easy make. Can you tell I had fun?

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Flying to a finish...

My last flying geese managed to come through for the 'take your time' swap with those Lazy Bums...

It is obligatory to get something wrong, isn't it?

so I obliged here, attempting to sew the background on wrong side to right side...

Luckily I spotted it pretty quickly, and was able to put measures in place to remedy the situation...Ok, ok, I got the stitch ripper out and sewed it on correctly!

Which gives me this block...

 And then this one flew in to land,

the fourth block.. 
closely followed by the fourth one, here...

I used freezer paper piecing, and was able to reuse the same papers as I had used for Lizzie's blocks and May's blocks...

I did make one fresh one, as it had lost a lot of it's sticky properties... But I would choose freezer paper again, as it is reusable., And I like the crisp result with FPP, it is the waste that upsets my natural frugality... Ok, natural meanness!  No dressing it up for you!

So, all these are to wing their way across the pond, to a new home in USA.. soon...

 Editing to join with Scraptastic Tuesday- handicapped by lack of easy access to putting photos onto the computer just now...

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