Across the Pond

I am just back from a wonderful week in Canada visiting two fabulous friends.  Naturally I took a few handmade gifts with me…

Firstly for Rachael and her daughter Amelie these Noodle head zip pouches – which I’ve made a few of in the past. They got filled with goodies from England (they moved to Canada 6 years ago). I couldn’t quite fit in the giant jar of Marmite I took for them.

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Next I went to stay with my Canadian friend Ellen. We’ve known each other for nearly 20 years. As its been 10 years since my last visit, I decided her 40th birthday was enough of an excuse for another trip.

For her birthday I made a paper pieced table runner. The inspiration for which came from a blog called Wombat Quilts. I love Cath’s quilts and she has tons of free patterns. I was quite glad I didn’t attempt a whole quilt – paper piecing is hard work.

Here are some photos I took before I left and one of it in situ on Ellen’s coffee table. Her husband Marc was very helpful and sent me photos of the living room and measurement of the coffee table. As you can see it fits and it looks great.

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Lastly I made some more zip pouches for  Ellen’s children Cohen and Ingrid, filled with some classic British sweets.

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It was a fabulous trip and I had so much fun with my lovely friends, I was spoilt rotten with lovely food, wine, coffee and trips out to do things and visit people – and it snowed!!!

It wouldn’t have been possible with out my husband at home holding the fort during half term, (whilst juggling work!) and my mum for helping out as well.

It’s good to get away and remember who you are and who you were before you became a wife and mother. Going away always gives me a fresh perspective on life and a new appreciation of home and family. I have remembered how boring it is to travel a long way on your own – give me some squabbling children any day!

Rachael and I. Ellen and I.

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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.

Quilting and Me

I’ve been recently pondering why I am a slightly reluctant quilter. Every day I see beautiful things created by my friends of the online sewing community and I wonder how they manage to be so productive – many of them also busy working mums.

One my sticking points is the location of my sewing space – which I’m hoping to work out a solution to over Christmas (watch this space!). The other is that I really hate cutting – big pile of fabric, mat and rotary cutter type scenario agggh!

Far too much accuracy needed and if I switch off, I end up taking off an inch too much or slicing it wonky. Hate it! I’ve had a bit pile of vintage FQ’s sitting waiting to be cut for the last 3 months – I imagine there is probably a layer of dust on them by now!

I guess I’m starting to learn bout what kind of sewist I am. What I most enjoy is digging through my scraps and improvising, sewing together strips or doing a bit of a scrappy block. 20131220-120040.jpgVery nice but not very do-able for a big project.

The other day this popped up in my blog feed. Not only did I fall in love with its beauty but I had one of those light-bulb moments. This quilt is made using a technique called foundation piecing or paper piecing. It’s too complicated to explain here but Kerry has a fantastic blog post about it here.
My lovely local sewing friends showed me how to do this when we met up for a bit of festive making last month – and I made these

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So with my new found skill I thought I’d tackle a quilt block myself.

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And another…

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What I really like about it is you don’t have to spend hours at the cutting mat before you can get started, you cut as you go. Although you do have to be accurate in some ways – it’s not a precise fabric cutting exercise. Hallelujah!

I may have found my niche!

I’ve decided to go with a grey/pink grey/aqua theme using solids and print…I have an order of solids on the way, hopefully in time to do a bit of post-Christmas sewing.

Have a great Christmas!