A Sewing Getaway

In 3 weeks time I am heading off on a little sewing adventure. Inspired by Mary’s tales of her visit to the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London last year, I duly signed up for this years instalment.

I’m travelling up with Mary and new local sewing friends Susy and Emily.

So to introduce myself, I’m Jo, from Devon. I’ve been sewing for just over a year, with pretty much no previous experience.

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It’s fair to say I’ve sewn everything in sight since I got aquatinted with my machine. Numerous bags a few quilts and lots of other fun stuff. I love it!

Apart from meeting lots of great people from the blogging world. I am really looking forward to learning some new things at the retreat. I know I’m doing Lucie Summer’s portholes class and Kerry’s fantasy fabric shop off the top of my head.

I’m looking forward to reading all about the rest of you!

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….and breathe!

I am very happy to say I have finished (conquered) my seaside quilt top.

Phew, that was tough!

I’ve been reflecting lots on this.Β  what went wrong? and when did it go wrong?Β  Merrily sewing rows of blocks together started off fine, then they started not lining up – then REALLY not lining up. So I stopped and realised I had some huge discrepancies in size. Different size squares are never going to sit together in a nice neat grid.

I did some unpicking and re-sewing, which then lead to more problems. Re-size one block then you have to do it to the next one too – and on and on.

My frustration growing by the hour. I unpicked and re-sewed one row three times I think trying to get it right (these are long rows – think double bed). As I went a long I eventually worked out the best way to rectify the problem and by the last two rows I had it sussed.

So what have I learnt? (said in tone of disgruntled child)…..

  • Check before you pin, then check before you sew, then check again just before it goes under the needle!
  • I assumed (naively) that all my cutting and sewing would result in perfect 8.5 x 8.5″ blocks and didn’t think to measure them.
  • I could possibly blame my tools – is my 1/4″ sewing foot actually 1/4″?
  • My cutting could do with being more accurate!

I am also very happy to say that my backing fabric is the right size – another phew! I worked out and ordered what I thought would be enough before I started the quilt. I had everything crossed that this would still be the case – and it was!

Instead of a photo, imagine me with a big smile!

Now I’m off for a run to burn off all my nervous energy.

It’s All Gone a Bit Wonky

Sewing isn’t all triumph and beauty. It can all get a bit frustrating and demoralising too. Determined not to only share the good bits; here are my wonky seams.

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After a few of these I thought I should measure my quilt blocks (which are made up of different combinations of fabric) and they are all different sizes!!! which means they will never all line up neatly.The solids are 8.5″ but the strips and small squares are only 8″. What have i done wrong? Was it my cutting? the pattern? (probably not) my seam allowances?
I’m baffled, annoyed and feel like giving up……
On the bright side there are a few perfect joins.

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Sewing in the Sun

Today the weather was lovely (again!) AND (after doing various family errands) I wanted to sew. I always struggle to justify sitting inside on a sunny day. My office/sewing desk is on a rather dark gloomy side of the house. So I decided to take the sewing to the sunshine. I set up on the garden table and had a few happy few hours working on my quilt top. Only drawback was it was a bit breezy which meant things blowing away -including the thread out of my needle. Other than that it was glorious!

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Yesterday I visited the Contemporary Craft Fair in Bovey Tracey. I’ve never been before (I think the rain put me off last year). I was just awe struck by all the beautiful things being exhibited. I wanted to buy so much! There are so many talented crafters out there and all of an amazingly high calibre! I bought this little paper cut framed picture by Lucy Large. It’s gorgeous.

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I also had a lovely catch up with my mum and an ice cream on a stripey deck chair.

Summer is Here!

I lay in bed last night having a panic that its only 7 weeks until the kids summer holidays begin and we go camping. That’s when I wanted to have my seaside quilt finished!

I started this project at Christmas and got all the cutting and alot of the sewing done before we went to New Zealand. Then I got happily distracted with making the baby quilt.

So, 7 weeks sounds like a long time but it’s really not with the busyness of the summer term and the fact that my binding fabric is still winging its way from the U.S.

So today with only an hour until school pick up I got on with finishing the last few blocks. Then while the kids stared brainlessly at CBBC I had a very peaceful time out in the sunshine ‘auditioning’ all the blocks on the lawn.
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After much pondering and rearranging I pinned them onto a sheet.
Here it is attached to the office window blind so I can ponder it a bit more. It’s a bit of a monster! I have no idea how I will quit such a giant with my tiny little machine.

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Safe Arrival

Last Friday I parcelled up my baby quilt and tentatively handed it over to the lady in the post office. As I was paying for my next day delivery she muttered that it wouldn’t get there until Tuesday because of the bank holiday. Honestly I didn’t care how long it took, just as long as it was ‘safe’!

This is my first experience of putting a quilt in the post. I did feel a little nervy! It got there fine (but not until Wednesday!) and was very happily received by my step brother and his wife. It’s lovely to be able to create such a unique and special gift.

To finish here is a photo of Ellen wearing the apron I made for her birthday. Yes, it was rather big but at least it will fit her for a while! Here she’s doing a bit of half term baking.

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