Thursday, 29 December 2011

mosaic making

Oh my goodness! I didn't know if I could do it at all!
The thing is, there is another amazing giveaway, from Quokka quilts, with Fat Quarter shop, for a whole set of fabrics, making a competition for Bloggers choice. So not as simple as , oh yes, just put your name down. No, this time there is some time to be spent just drooling over fabrics and learning how to put them into, and change which ones are in, a mosaic.
Yes I had a very red face at times. No, I did not (quite) cry with frustration, but with a bit of encouragement from afar (thank you so much, I nearly gave up)I have made up and saved two mosaics. But which to enter, or whether to start again on a completely different tack. I just do not know. And the mosaics were created without benefit of daughters! And why can I not just magic all these fabrics into my house anyway. Not just the mosaic ones, but the very lovely others which could just make their home here?

So what did I do?
First I love purples and blues. Combinations of these, with the relief of a bit of green,are readily found in the batiks section,lovely swirly mixes of colour, bleeding into each other. So as I played and changed things round a bit, the purples disappeared, and the blues into turquoise seemed to come forward. A few fabrics from other sections demanded entry, to give a change in visual texture and weight, so that it would not end up too bland. Lightened up with some plains which felt right.

So that was one.

I also love rich dense jewel colours, and there is this lovely focused print, with blues and greens. And of course amazing rich accompaniments. So which way to turn?

I think I need to go here, with the rich colours and print mosaic.

I could really go to town with this little lot. The yellow picks up a colour in the focus fabric, and there would need to be some very fussy cutting going on, but the intense colours really do it for me.  And should I be very lucky indeed, there will be whole half yards coming along!
But look at what everyone else has been doing. There are some wonderful mosaics put up.
I know a few of you have done your mosaics, and they too are lovely, how you did them so quickly I do not know, but I am enjoying browsing round them too.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Applique as fun?

I have had a wonderful time. I was getting withdrawal symptoms, too long with my machine away, so my favourite husband brought her down for me and I got on with block 21.
A lot of thought went into this one. We were told to use whichever method we fancied, and produce a piece of applique, but it must have an inward point, and an outward point. Obvious example being a heart, or petals on certain flowers, but there is a lot of choice, as you can go in any direction. So I looked at all sorts. There were the free patterns online. A lovely tutorial here, and several books at home. I was absolutely into floral. Pretty tulips, or perhaps poppies, but shortage of red fabrics kind of put me off. So where does one go after that?

Well, this is where I went.
and then here, and I ended up with something quite
different from what I had thought.

Something a bit like this, with beads added for eyes, and some finishing embroidery to mark out the gill covers. I think it still needs a little something, but I am thinking about that one too.

And now I have to tidy up again. Back to real life tomorrow, full day at work, and I need the house tidy for the weekend.

Sadly, DD2 has now gone down with the sicky bug that is doing the rounds, and is lying poorly in bed, my parents oven has gone pop, so they cannot cook, so the resupply team is heading over tonight, though I cannot abandon DD2, so I am not sure who is staying to look after her. One of us will, (and happily) but my parents will be disappointed.
I am waiting for the third disaster. Hmm.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Block 21

I hope everyone had a lovely and reasonably peaceful Christmas Day, whatever your affiliations. It was a quietand comfortab;e day here, with all three of my children , now of course, really young adults, saying they have been thoroughly spoilt, I got a few things I wanted as well- have you seen Ginger Giraffe, half way down the page, I know she is a cheat make, but I love her- a new cutting mat appeared, my current one is 20 years old and has the scars to prove it, the markings are disappearing, so a new one was in order. a lovely bookfor applique and folded flowers, oh you know the score.
And the handbags went down a treat, both girls seem very pleased, elder daughter tells me she will blog about hers, so I think she must be very pleased, and I know younger daughter is pleased, even though she saw them being made. here is the first one, with not a very clear shot, but a slip pocket and a phone pocket, and I put in a key tag, but couldn't get a swivel clip to attach. Now I know what it is called, thank you, Hadley, for the information!So I shall have to acquire some and add this on as an extra, late.

The other bag was the third one I have made, The first was for a PIF  back in September. Only one person actually volunteered to join in, and they have been poorly, so not said anything bloggy about their stuff for a while, hopefully they are getting a bit better, so after the fuss dies down, I will show what I sent, but, there are still a couple of possible places if anyone can be bothered. (no, don't be offended, Cayt, I didn't think you wanted to join, you have enough on your plate, and just wanted to comment on the cows!)

My younger daughters bag, in among the dross of sewing frantically, is this lovely sagey green. The zip pocket in the back worked beautifully due to a tutorial here, and I made basically the same bag for each of them, but DD2's bag is deeper and less wide than DD1. The shoulder straps are a good length for putting over your shoulder and clutching the bag under your arm. both bags are made with a furniture suede outer, and lined in a variety of 'craft cotton' all bought by weight from that money sink, Abakhan. I could always spend a fortune when I go there.

here is a construction image, showing where not to place your magnetic closure, if placed here, the flap does not cover the opening...
 However, if you move the flap you can add a cute little motif,to cover your mistake. It would have been easier to accomplish this, had I realised before I finished the top edge of the bag, but perhaps a better lesson learned this way?

And there is one divider in this bag, with a zip closure. NowI have to make one for me too!
And my Dad didn't believe I had made them!
And my son has requested a male version, for carrying his book on the tube, so I will have to discuss that with him.

Question. If you make a Kindle cover, will the magnetic closure upset it? would Velcro be more suitable?

I am sure some of you remember Alice happening? I have been given this lovely picture of my little stars, and they have all written messages on the back. The March Hare was made for my own daughter some years ago, and it was good that it came back into use this time.

And I finally got to finishing my hand sewn applique block for Leila's skill builder. I think it looks unloved. This is probably because I did not love doing it.
Next time I am machining! Promise.
The spotty circle was done by the gathering round a template method, and the fourth method, sewing interfacing onto the right side and making a hole to turn through, I thought the worst method for me, as the circles ended up very wonky, and had to be carefully positioned, to hide the wonks.  so that was the two smallest circles, and the overlapping flower was another needle turn version. So that is my finished block.

And I am starting to think about the next block, another applique, but we can do whichever system we choose.

I will try to take a photo of my sewing room, clean and tidy, as it's alternative disguise of a dining room, and very little evidence of sewing there. Machines are away, as we are entertaining my brother and his wife, and my parents later this week, and we always have friends round for New Year, and pull crackers at midnight, because they are TT. It is normally a fun evening, but some extras may be in the mix this year, so I am crossed fingers for that. I am missing the machine already, but needs must.

All for now, the bread is about to beep, and must be dealt with.

Monday, 19 December 2011

dolly clothes, take two

Well, yes, she has done the second lot of dolls clothes, with me at work, so no interference at all. The second doll is apparently a little bigger than the first, so she has sized it up, and made it, and it looks great. Ready to look?

Isn't Sarah a little star! And hasn't DD2 done a super job on the outfit.

Sarah manages to fill both outfits, though they are different sizes.
Flower buttons on the little one, hearts on the slightly larger one.
And Sarah is back in her own clothes now, and heading up the stairs to bed!

The two sets, same but different. DD will take these and check they fit while littlest girl is napping, and bigger girl is at school. Then home and wrap, and back Wednesday for leaving with the Mum, and that will be her last day at work until New Year.

Some of us are working up till Christmas Eve.

Yes, OK, some have to work on Christmas Day too, so I shall not complain!

What have you made today? - I have made nothing at all! Another day tomorrow. No, I am at work again- so nothing tomorrow either. Sigh.

daughter sewing

What else did I  get up to yesterday?

My DD2 minds two little girls, three days a week, and she decided to make dolls clothes for their Christmas gifts. We have an old Burda pattern for Dolly dungarees and top, so out it came and a delightful set has been made, and the second one cut out and overlocked ready to go. I have had to 'borrow' my other daughters doll, to model these, without asking too, Sorry darling! hope you do not object too much- it is entirely my guilt and responsibility, I will see that Baby Sarah gets her own clothes back on and is back in place before you are next home! Counting down the days now, 5 sleeps and I get that hug! It was just that the other dolls in the house were in the attic, so...

My daughter has sewn the clothes, but I have maintained my supervisory (interfering) role, telling her what to sew, and when. And I get all the satisfaction of a finished result, without the work!
Do you not think that some young lady will be pleased to receive these clothes for her baby? I think they are two lucky lasses to have my daughter dressing their usually naked babies for Christmas!
With luck, she will make the other one while I am at work tomorrow, and I will be able to show off what she has made, with no effort on my part at all!

The dress that Baby Sarah normally wears is thae same fabric as these trews, but she has a pink blouse,  her Mamma made these a few years ago. All good practice for making your own! And she has put these skills to good use since.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

block number 20

Ok so now we are starting to get into 'real applique'. The stuff where you pin and sew, and do not get the Bondaweb out. Mostly hand sewing. For the record, I do not enjoy hand sewing. At times I have done enough of it to cause calluses on my finger tips, but I do not like it. I cannot get on with thimbles either. They are too big and manage to make my finger sweaty at the same time.
We are just doing circles this time, and Leila says we can machine or hand sew, but really, if it is done by these techniques, hand sewing it is. And, in for a penny...

 I have a neat little circle cutter that I used to make template circles out of craft paper, and then used these as patterns for my circles.

So first technique, needle turn applique. This is as simple as it sounds, and produces a really good result, where you can scarcely see the stitches. I was quite pleased with the result.

not quite a circle, in places, but not too bad for the first attempt.
Next up, a freezer paper method, cut out the shape in freezer paper(bought by the metre, or by A4 sheets at certain shops, or available on the inter-thingy, if you are so inclined- not the same as our baking parchment, though I am tempted to see what that does in like circumstances- anyone tried it? So you cut out your shape, spray starch, and iron the seam allowance over. Remove freezer paper, and pin and sew in place.

So the larger circle  was freezer papered, a little easier than needle turn, but very similar in the end.

I have several circles cut and ready to go, but Am not sure if I will use all of them, depends how it looks when I get there.
The other two methods Leila wants us to try are yet to come, but I shall get there!

Monday, 12 December 2011


Thanks for the very helpful suggestion, Rainbow Hare,
I have done much as you suggest. I opened the seam where the lining and the outer meet at the top of the bag, moved my closure to the right level, and then did a cute mini applique to cover the damage. It will, of course, be hidden when the bag is shut, but is a sweet secret, to be seen on opening. So I am happy. I have then topstitched back together again. I will post pictures, but not till after Christmas. Oh, All right, another mini sneaky,
Anything else really has to wait!

Cindy at Fluffy Sheep is back up and running, all moved in, I trust, and doing a giveaway again. I don't think I would be so well organised!

Sunday, 11 December 2011


What can I do. I have attached a magnetic fastener in the wrong place. To move it properly I have to take the whole thing apart, cut a new front, and put it all back together. Is there an alternative/ Has anyone managed to get it so very wrong and salvage the situation, without the complete remake?

If so, I would be very grateful for advice on sorting it out. My own fault, third time I have made this bag and I didn't read the instructions this time- I assumed I knew what I was doing!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Finished One

It is surprisingly difficult, when you are trying to make a Christmas present for someone, when you share the sewing machine with them. As it is, it will not be a surprise for them, but, there are two daughters and therefore two presents, so daughter at home will not know which one is for her, (especially as I have yet to decide...) although she does know they are to get one each! so the smallest sneak preview of one,
I amy show more later on, if I remember.

I am also planning to make a brooch for a sister-in law, but yet to decide just what. Christmas cards are getting urgent, so, am I busy this weekend? I guess I am. Very. And I would like to make more folded decorations, to make additions to presents for Christmas generally. And cucumber pickle, because so many of them love it. I guess I better go and get busy.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Block 19

The first applique block is done. This went so easily, and so smoothly that I almost feel I cheated. I have been using Bondaweb for so many years, that I would be surprised if it did cause a problem though. Ready to look?
Now tell me that doesn't look effective?
I am really coming round to applique blocks. Why do I not mind the waste of backing paper from the bondaweb? I don't know. Logic tells me it is no better than paper piecing, but I really do not mind when it is bondawebbed. Anyway, I am pleased with my result.

Someone asked for a little look at some of the fabric I brought back from holiday, so here are the batiks. I was intrigued, as they are panels, with a variation across the panels. And about two metres of cotton cost about £2.40. or thereabouts. So really I couldn't have not brought some home, at that price, and look

They start in these neat little packets, and you take them out and open them up, I have left it folded in half, so snapped the front and then the back of each,
so you get a contrast panel, and a coordinating section

 The red one is strongly red on the one panel, but richly green on the other end. I can't wait to get a project going with this one.

 And the last one is this,
A wonderful green, going into grey on the other end.

All three are quite different from one another, but I love them.

I also brought home a piece of cotton in emerald green, which has already been passed along, which had elephants worked along one border, in gold. Sadly I cannot take a picture, as it has a new home already. And some other bits which will be presents- so no sneak previews I am afraid.

You like?

Catching up

The trouble with going away, no matter how good for you it is, or how enjoyable, or miserable for that matter, is you get behind on things. And have to catch up.
And it seems to take longer to catch up than if you had just kept up. Especially as the other things do not conveniently go away to let you catch up in peace. Housework- do yourself for a day or two, till I have done the sewing I want to. Not that I am any sort of housewife. Other stuff is so much more interesting. But the dust bunnies do not stop breeding just cos I think they are a bore.

So Leila gave us this next block to do, and we are halfway through the skill builder!
Cicle of geese
Another paper pieced block, beautifully explained, so this time I only got it a little bit wrong and only had to rip out one seam. I do not like paper piecing, but I love the result. I will not make a regular practice of it but I can see I may well use it for a quilt in the near future. The separate quarters are constructed, and then put together to create the block. Very effective, and wouldn't a whole quilt in these look amazing?

So halfway- I have used my house block- these are what I am storing

This weeks block, which I am starting to plan, at a few minutes before 8 in the morning, is the first applique block. This uses good old bondaweb- or whatever equivalent, and I am an old hand at the bondaweb, so I hope this one will just work.. famous last words and over-confidence coming to the fore. It is a simple but effective design, so if I get myself going, there may be a post on that later today.

I am missing the FMQ by Fluffy sheep, I sort of missed the last two, with being away and not too well, so they are waiting to catch up. I must then try to join another group, as the group stuff does make me practice, which can only be good. I am liking the look of the feathers Pat is doing and must have a go. But I have lots of other stuff very high on priorities before this. Attic- I need your christmas decorations Disgorge immediately! Living room You need bottoming for Christmas- the first cards have come in- Kitchen Baking is getting urgent, mince pies will not make themselves.

Back later, I hope.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

been away

I have been away. Not all from choice!
First let me moan (mini-moan). I caught a nasty lurgy from my daughter, and after 4 days had to give up and come home from work, and retire to bed. We were off on holiday the next day, so my husband packed for me! and about 4 days later I started to take notice! We were in Thailand, for a special occasion, and it was amazing, and an experience.
We went for 10 days, and got back on Saturday, to find Blogger not behaving. It is still doing strange things- seems to think I want to play tank warfare, when I want to check my settings... Google tells me my account is not recognised- the settings have been reset while I was away and not touching it. Back at work from Monday and my remnant of lurgy is slowly clearing up, but I have a pulled muscle in my ribs and just breahing hurts.

On the plus side I have picked up some lovely bright batiks whilst there, and we saw silk brocade being made, one lovely lady throwing the shuttle,

two ladies either side manipulating the warp threads, and another lady, down below

also manipulating the warp. It takes all four of them to do the job, and produce
this pattern with gold threads. No wonder it is so expensive!

I enjoyed this little side trip!And although I brought a little silk home with me, I didn't bring much, as I wasn't sure what I wanted to make with it.
On the plus side, the Dance school which I was making Alice costumes for have presented me with a picture frame, containing photos of the children wearing the costumes I made, and with lovely messages on the back, from each child. I was so touched, and so pleased to get it. i will now have to find a good place to hang it. They look fabulous. Such a kind thought, by the teachers.

And now, I must get back to some sewing. I am suffering withdrawal from it, and my machine feels positively unloved.

Now, Karen at Lisnaweary Quilts is doing a giveaway, of a go!baby.  so kindly do not go there to put your vote in as there are already far too many of us wanting one!
Oh alright then, you better get across and try to cut me out again! I think it could be a very useful gizmo.
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