March in a Nutshell

March has been a good sewing month and started with a fabulous sewing weekend away.  During the weekend I made a lot of these for a secret quilt project. Today I sat down and finished a whole load more. I now have about 240 of them and worked out I still need to make another 100 to get enough for a large quilt. Back to the cutting mat.

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another make (and finish) was my table runner

Other projects this month have been a birthday gift for my friend Susy. This is the unfinished version. The finished version (which I forgot to photograph) was nicely framed in an embroidery hoop. It’s is for her new sewing room. I really enjoyed making it and I’m definitely going to do more paper pieced hoop pictures.

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I also whipped up a few infinity scarves from some free fabric from the Sewing Directory Exeter meet up at the start of the month.  It was very light cotton (not sure of the proper name) so no good for quilting. They are super easy to make and I ended up with so many I gave a couple to the other two sewing weekend ladies Emily and Mary.

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I didn’t think I’d made much this month as life as been busy with work, college and kids.  There are still have a few days to go but it’s 9th birthday weekend in our house! I hope you’ve had a fun and productive month.

Tumbler

When I went a away on my sewing weekend, I decided to make a covering for our living room coffee table. It’s an ancient Ikea table that has seen a lot of action and to be honest needs covering up! Its quite big so it usually just ends up covered in junk.

During the Great UK Fabric De-stash, I bought bag of precut charms. I was delighted to find the bag contained about one third Kokka Japanese linen. They are absolutely divine.

I trimmed as little as I could to turn the charm squares into tumbler shapes.

I added a border of Essex linen The backing is some dusky pink linen I bought from my local fabric shop. Its the perfect match in its muted-ness (is that a word!?)

My husband suggested a dark blue binding to complement the Essex linen. He’s good with colour my husband!

So here it is in situ and out in the garden – also being photo bombed by the cat!

I totally love how it turned out. The colours are just up my street!

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Sewing, Sunshine and Friends.

I’m just back from a wonderful sewing weekend with my friends Susy, Emily and Mary. It was fantastic to be away from the demands of family life and just sew, drink tea (and wine) chat and laugh. The weather was glorious, so we had lunch outside on the patio and could sew with the sunshine streaming in through the open doors. Heavenly! Here are a few photos: The cottage : 20140310-140125.jpgThe sewing: 20140310-140202.jpgOther activities (?): 20140310-140338.jpgA few other random things! 20140310-140420.jpg look at all our handmade bags! We all took different projects to work on and it was amazing to see what we could achieve with all that uninterrupted time. I can’t wait to plan the next one!

A Little Make

After my quilt finish I needed a quick and easy one-evening make. I’d bought this lovely tea cup fabric in the online destash and it just screamed ‘make me into a tea cosy’!! So I did. I used a lovely simple pattern by Messy Jesse
It ended up a bit snug on my tea pot as my fabrics crept about a bit with quilting. I’d recommend cutting out your rectangles a bit bigger than you need then trimming down after quilting. I used Shards from Cut out and Keep for the binding and lining and I quilted it with a turquoise Aurifil thread.

I’ve been up to other sewing but also doing lots of prep for a sewing weekend away in a few days with my very favourite sewing buddies!

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Oh and my tea pot collection, I think I need some more tea cosies!

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Falling off the Wagon in Style.

About a month ago after a fabric-buying blow out, I felt I needed to cleanse my overindulgent side and pledged to join fabriholics anonymous a group of sewists and bloggers who are fasting from fabric purchases.

So now it’s confession time. My husband has just returned from a work trip to New York and mentioned before he left (knowing full-well that I was fasting, naughty!) that he’d have time to pick up some fabric for me.

The opportunity to buy so cheaply from the USA, shipping & customs-free was too good to pass up!

I found this great little etsy shop called Pins & Needles

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They very kindly organised a custom listing for me and my husband just went and picked up the big bag of gorgeousness! He also bought me a beautiful Japanese dressmaking book and the ladies at PIns & Needles put in a little bundle of surprise fat quarters.

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I did think about putting it all away until July in an attempt to redeem myself but I think it’s a bit late for that!

I still hold true to my pledge to use what I have from my stash and I won’t be going out of my way to buy fabric for any specific projects unless I can use what I have. I just have a bit more to choose from now!

The Forth

My low volume quilt is finished. My 4th ever quilt but a first in lots of ways.
First time I have crated my own layout (apart from the blocks); First time using 80/20 batting; first time doing mitred borders; first pieced backing; first time doing curvy quilting; first time hand stitching on the binding.

It’s been lots of experimental fun and I totally love it! The sun came out today so I whipped outside for some photos. I only got a few before a big black cloud rolled back over . It’s now having the crinkle treatment in the washing machine.

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Quietly Quilting

I am enjoying making some good progress on my low volume quilt. It’s the first time I’ve put together a quilt top layout myself and not followed a pattern or tutorial. Though what I ended up with didn’t always match the plan in my head. Like having to re-attach more sashing so I could do mitred borders. I wasn’t hugely annoyed about this as I was happy that the process was teaching me lots rather than the result being perfect. This is the finished quilt top:

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I was planning for it to be a bit bigger but when I added more borders it just looked too much, so I’ve gone for a slightly useless size!

I had some trouble when I starred quilting. Lots of puckers and scrunching up. I unpicked about a mile of stitching and re-basted it.

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It was much better after that but I concluded it was a combination of things:

Getting used to my new machines walking foot, which doesn’t like going fast at all. Going fast results in really uneven stitches. A thicker-fluffier batting than I’ve used before, which had a tendency to scrunch up. I solved this by lowering the feed dogs a notch but then this made it harder to control the quilt.

As my husband said: it wouldn’t be a proper quilt without a bit if heartache!

The rest of it has been great and I’ve really enjoyed seeing the cosy quilt texture appear. It’s a magical transformation; my favourite bit! I’ve even tried out some wavy quilting.

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Some finished photos soon I hope or when the sun finally comes out!

#destash and a Fabric Fast

So last night was the very crazy Instagram UK fabric de-stash party.

For those who don’t know this where lots of sewing enthusiasts and fabric hoarders have a clear out and sell what they don’t want via Instagram.

There were some fabulous things up for grabs and the excitement was immense.

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Yes, I went a little crazy and today feels a bit like ‘the morning after the night before’;  As the paypal invoices roll into my in-box I’m struggling to remember what I bought…and no, I didn’t even sell anything to fund this shopping spree!

So lying in bed last night feeling a tad guilty, I decided that I really do have enough fabric to last me the rest of the year, or at least the next 6 months, so I’m going to sign myself up to Fabriholics Anonymous, a group of self confessed fabric buyers and hoarders.  I’m committing to 6 months from today, so here are my goals and my commitment.

GOALS:

- To use the fabric I already have.
- Finish projects I’ve started without distraction by shifting to other new beautiful fabric.
- Stop buying fabric.
- Save the money I would have spent
FABRIC FAST RULES:
1) No fabric purchases for 6 months beginning January 1, 2014.   (20th January for me!)
2) At 6 months re-evaluate status and decide whether to keep going for full year.  Evaluation July 1, 2014.
3) Create a UFO list and complete them!
4) Exceptions
  • Backing: purchasing a backing to finish a quilt top is permissible.  However, attempting to use fabric in your possession for a backing is preferable.
  • Books and Magazine purchases are allowed as they are not fabric.  Notions acceptable too.
  • Swap Mama Fabric: if hosting a swap you are permitted to by fabric to execute swap duties, but you may not join a swap simply for the sake of being able to buy fabric!
  • Quilts for Publication: if you are making a quilt for a publication and need certain fabric to execute it correctly then that is a major exception – who can blame you?There you go, I think it will be great. I have tons of lovely fabric and I’m really excited about using it!

Hoo hoo!

Some good friends of ours recently had their second baby and of course I jumped at the chance to sew them something. After a bit of head scratching I decided on something decorative. I’d seen some lovely ideas for embroidery hoops in this months Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine.
With my new found skill of paper piecing I opted to make this cute little owl which I found the pattern for on craftsy.

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He was a little fiddly in places (especially those feet!) and certainly stretched my skills! Getting the back tidy involved lots of double sided tape, not really my cup of tea but I persisted! I re-sized the pattern a bit smaller but needn’t have as he fitted fine. Leaving it bigger would have made it easier!
I was totally thrilled with him and really wanted to keep him. I’d love to make more. I think they’d make great Christmas gifts.