Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sunday sewing, again

Ok, on my list today, I have; trousers for the Hatter. Jacket for the dormouse. Tabard for the Knave. The latest block from Leila, and last Fridays FMQ. Which I haven't started yet. Panic,  panic. I mean,  the starburst, which I haven't practiced yet.

In my defence it has been quite a week. I have had a visitor for the week, who wished to sew, so I had to share my machine when I wasn't working, with two young ladies, instead of just with one- I am very glad to share my machine, but I still get less opportunity, when I am sharing, so that is my excuse, and I am sticking to it.

Then I had to clear the dining room, where my sewing machines are usually permanently available, as my parents have recently celebrated 60 years of marriage, and I was feeding them, and my brother and his wife, and two of my kids were home, so eight round the table, warrants the dining room being used, I think. And it was lovely, Everyone was ok, and it was good to see a tidy, no, a tidier, room for a short while. This morning, machines come back again, and my visitor has gone, so there are only two of us needing the flat bed again.

Highest priority has to be a costume item. So I have had in my head to make a card for the youngster being the knave of hearts. I simplified it down as far as I possibly could, searched through my stash and this is what came out.

Elastic at the shoulders, and at the waist, under this will be a cat suit in black, which has had sleeves attached with red strips on a black ground, red cuff at the elbow,and gold trim round the cuff. I may yet embroider facial details on, but the important thing is that she is clothed!

So having that out of the way, I thought I was allowed a little playtime.
Leila's block is next on the list. Paper piecing. Hmm. I did not think it would be difficult (it wasn't). And I did think it would give a good result (it did). I was concerned that there would be a lot of wasted paper. And there is.
It was suggested we print 5 copies of the template, and use one for a pattern, and sew on the others, to end with four pieced 'square-in-a-square's. Which makes sense. And I printed one on each end of the paper, so only used three pieces of paper.
The test square was spot on, which kept things simple.

I think from the waste alone I am not a major fan. Add to that, when putting the individual squares together, I managed to get one upside down, spot the mistaken mistake, unpick it, I am still using the short stitch, so unpicking is more difficult....

and then managed to sew a row on upside down. More unpicking. And I am still using that shortened stitch...

However, I finally have a result. And not too unhappy with it either. The placement of the stripes is fortuitous, though had I planned better, it would have been the same. I was just too aggravated to be planning at the time.

 Not the quickest or best result of my life. But I did it. And with her skill builder, it is just that, Building skills, whether I choose to use them at a later date, that is a different matter.

And now for the FMQ bit. This week it is 'Bright Star' well I think I may have produced a bright spider web, or possibly some bright tram lines. Any votes?

Here is attempt no. 1
 front viewand the back I was reasonably happy, because there were no nests on the back and at least some of my lines looked fairly straight. I haven't looked at anyone else's attempts yet of course, so I may be less pleased after that.
I acquired, in the week, a set of  'lid twisters' which are grippy, and feel I have more control of the fabric with these.
Anyway, I was happy enough with this to make another attempt. Whether try 2 is any improvement I leave to personal opinion. But I am feeling a bit more confident that I will eventually get there.
it is the patch at the bottom which is the second attempt. this is on an edge, which does make maneuvering a little more difficult. And the back?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

I hope this dress fits Alice, as I have only received measurements, and never seen the child. I made the ties on the apron too short, so will redo them, the apron skirt may also be too short- in which case, whole new apron. C'est la vie. We will see. 

Friday, 21 October 2011

tile practice

The latest pattern for fmq- this is the front, I started at the top, and got larger and larger as I got down to the bottom of the area. Whether that is an improvement is debatable of course... 
and this is the back, complete with 'nests of bobbin thread.

As you can see, I cannot sew in a straight line, I cannot sew on top of a line I have sewn already, and I cannot do square corners. Not much to work on there then. 

But I do find it slightly easier if I go relatively fast. Why? I don't know. Maybe it is like pirouettes, you just have to go for it.

new attempt at the wave pattern, and drops still dying on me

but when they are all together I feel as if I may be winning a little

fmq, tiles

ok, I decided to be more organised. I have some calico left from another project, and some wadding from something else, so I have a sandwich, and penciled squares onto the top layer. Then I have sewn the lines, to dispose of the need to baste, or pin, so I can 'get to grips' with the FMQ.

And I spent yesterday evening, working on alice's apron including the little pockets, for hanky and gloves

The trim is pink, because the dress will be blue. And now I am working on the bits of dress I can get on with in absence of back of neck to waist measurement. I have bust waist and finished length, but not the last dimension I need... But sleeves are under way, and so is skirt, so I am winning, I hope.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Alice 2

I have learnt. Alice does not always wear blue. Sometimes she is in yellow, and even in pink. Her apron has no frill in Wonderland, but a frill in Looking glass.The ribbon trim contrasts with the dress. If the dress is blue, the trim is pink. If the dress is yellow, the trim is blue. Curiouser and curiouser. Or thereabouts.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


Ok, I may end up very remiss on some of my tasks, as I have Alice, dormouse Hatter and Knave to dress. For a performance next month. And I need to get on with them. Cos I am going away before they start. Should be fun!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

drops of death! or something.

Its ok to laugh.
I should have done this earlier this week, I have been away for the weekend, and come back thinking, I better have a go or the next one will be going and I am running behind trying to catch up all the time.

So I fitted the correct foot on. i adjusted the presser foot tension. I pushed the button. And it wouldn't play. Aaaargh. Why no play today?? Silly thing. I took it all off, and tried again. Still not playing. I could sew but not with my foot.

Eventually, havin searched the manual front to back and back to front- I think There has to be something on the internet?? How stupid can I get. The flashing symbol on the machine tells me exactly why it isn't playing. FGor this foot it insists on putting the feed dogs down, and I hadn't!
The machine is cleverer than I am ( not that that says much) and It knows what I am doing wrong. It just can't shout loud enough to get me to understand.Whew. So feed dogs down and we are off.

Want to see the hopeless result? Unfortunately i forgot to put a strong contrast on to let me see detail of my mess but, I will show you.

This is the back, Grotty picture, but some loops are visible.  And the front?

Unfortunately I have some excellent patches of excess fabric bunching in between the loops. I shall have to have another go, with more contrast, but first go at this pattern, so I am getting somewhere.

I have learnt, I cope better travelling Left to Right. I cope better looping down from the top, rather than up from the bottom. I need lots more practice. And I am dead mean over the fabric I am prepared to use. Anything I like, even if I have no use for it, I don't want to 'waste' on practice. even tough I need the practice and know it is not a waste. Attitude adjustment please.

Now go look at everyone else at fluffy sheep  and see what they have done, 'cos they are all much better than my effort.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Sunday sewing

Yes I had a lovely day, yesterday. I spent a good bit of it playing with fabric some stuff I had from some years ago, and some more recent, and at some point I will get pictures. Just not quite yet. I played with old crafty ideas, and a new pattern and just played, instead of getting on with the dreaded housework.
and at the end of the day, I had produce. I tried two slightly different ways of binding an edge, and have yet to decide which I like better. I can go on thinking about that a while yet . Maybe both? I look at different methods on the net, and they always look better when other folk do them, than when I do. Is it like FMQ? Other peoples looks great, and mine is rubbish...

And then back to today and the usual work round. Feet firmly back on the ground.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Feed my addiction

I have some very pretty fabrics waiting for the right projects to come and play.

  I found this batik, which just sings to me, in a fabric shop which is not really local, but if my local shop (5 miles) hasn't got what I need then Leons may. (14 miles).   The spots and the batik both were at Leons.

 I don't know where I got the seahorses, but they go with the batik beautifully.
Quilting fabric I have a choice. I always forget Bambers, (10 miles)  which is really a sewing machine shop, where they are mega helpful and really care that you get the right machine, but have a fabric and haberdashery upstairs too. And we have a tiny little local shop which shuts at funny times, which also does some Quilting cottons, and are really helpful, but with limited range. But if I really want quilting stuff I need to go to Patchfinders, who also do delicious workshops. But they are 25-30 miles away.Or wait 'til I visit DD who has a fantastic place almost on her doorstep, which is hidden away in an industrial estate, and took us a lot of trawling around to find even when we knew it was there.

But they gave me these (sold me..)


The richness of these sing to me.
I was in patchfinders and saw and fell in love with this
  such a dainty print, and lovely colour. Sadly, I had nothing else that would go with it. So I had to find a few helpers...

and now I need a project to go with them.

When I was FMQ- ing I had a silly happen. This has never happened before. I removed the spool from the top of the machine, to put another colour on, and the thread leapt half off the spool in my hand!

I have tried to gently persuade it back on, but I am not convinced it will run right again. It just looks birds nesty. Humph.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

green mountain star
 so, at the end of last month, we had a choice of bonus blocks to make, and I chose this one. It was a bit 'bitty' and there were a lot of corners that really didn't match well. Overall, the block is attractive, but fiddly. The geese are made with a one seam method, and give a really pretty folded edge result.
string block
This is this weeks block in the skill builder, I am not sure I would want a whole quilt of them, but it does work.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Free motion? or what

So, I decided to have a go at Fluffy Sheeps free motion workshop.
I set up the machine.Change the presser foot.  Decided to go for a strong contrast thread, so I could see just how bad things are. Then I started. First off, the bobbin tension managed to be far too tight. So I end up with a gathered layered rag.
RIP it out.
this is the underneath side.

Let us try again. Rethread the bobbin.  Same result. See the right hand end of the left hand patch? (is that English? just about?)

So I changed the foot back to a conventional foot, and lifted the feed dogs again to see how that went. The left hand end is the result. Well, I thought that looked grand. But... it isn't free motion quilting, is it?

Ok Back to the start. Now my lovely posh new machine has a cheating facility. Why not just use the cheat mode? It is a special foot for free sewing, which is supposed to keep stitches fairly even.

Result is the right hand square.Not too bad, but somehow, the non free motion just looks better. I think the tension is better. Perhaps I need to play with presser foot tension or something!

so now I am going to try to post the front, but the computer is not necessarily co-operating...

Left most- normal machine use. Raggy bit- first attempts, tension up the spout- Right side FMQ
All I can say is, I tried. Keep practising?

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Sorry, I am back, see Kiki's giveaway

I have just seen, poor Keira on Its So Kiki is feeling poorly. She is also hosting a fabric giveaway, so have a little look, and let her know she is being thought about!

Cows again

 So the first thing was to check my layout. Which I did. Carefully. And then sewed it wrong, so it ended up as the mirror image. Never mind, I think it looks ok.

I added sashing at the side and top of two from the middle and bottom rows, and just to the side of two from the top row, and to the top of the remaining blocks in the middle and bottom  row.  Then joined up in the rows and lastly connected the threee rows. A border followed.

pinning the layers

finished quilt
This house block from the skill builderby Leila really centre detail                                           makes this quilt a little bit special. I can sort of feel a quilt full of houses coming along.... 

I took the quilt along and gave it to my dear friend, who loves cows, and loves chickens, and I think she was very pleased with it. I forgot to take a picture of the label, but it is labelled on the back, specially for her!

I have to tell you, also, that Lynne from Lily's quilts is doing a series on Gifts for quilters, and she is doing an accompanying giveaway, with some lovely coloured circle fabric. It cannot do any harm to have a look...

The other interesting join in thing is fluffy sheep, doing a free motion quilting remote workshop. The idea is that we do a little bit every week, and so become capable and confident. I am hoping to give it a go, thoufgh I may well start off by being behind! Procrastination rules!

cows come home

It is late, time I was in bed but I have just finished the cow quilt, and cannot wait to say it!. Photos tomorrrow, at a respectable hour-if I can.

Night night all,
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