Friday, 27 February 2015

Living with a sewist::: Threadgate


So, a while ago now, I asked Mr f&f if he would write a guest post for me: I was coming up to a blogiversary of some sort I think and had thought it might be quite fun. There was a fair bit of muttering from Mr f&f it has to be said, my blogiversary came and went and I kind of forgot about it. And then this email landed in my inbox one afternoon. I read it. I cried with laughter (clearly I think he's hilarious, that's why we married!) and then debated what to do with it....but I figured Hey! You're all sewists and just maybe you (or your other half) can relate to this! So, for the next few Fridays I'll be sharing some insights from Behind the Scenes. This week, we start with Threadgate.....so over to Mr f&f.......


“Wow!”  People say.

“Your Wife is so talented!”  They enthuse.

These people see the finished products, the shining exemplars, revealed in all their glory once they’ve been teased into existence over days, weeks, or in some cases months.  Only a few of us live in the wake left by the fabrication of each Fabric-ation.  Of course those who lavish praise on my wife’s creations and labours of love are right to do so.  She is immensely talented and I am proud.  Possibly more so due to the unique vantage point from where I observe the Sewist in her natural environment.  The following are tales of life with a Sewist.



I suppose some Wives pick hairs off their Husbands suits when they return home from work, suspiciously checking colour and length to determine innocence or guilt, acting out a scene from CSI Vegas.  My suit is littered with off cuts of thread, and colleagues at work regularly pluck them from me with an audible tut – clearly suggesting I pay more attention to my appearance.  They cannot comprehend the deviousness of a thread-part.  Like a virus they spread unseen into every part of your life.  I found one in my new car only a few hours after bringing it home.  I’ve found them in bed.  I’ve found them in food cupboards.  In a shameful episode I found a small piece of white thread sheltering in my own belly button whilst getting ready for bed.  I’d started to panic it was a grey hair, and even now I’m not entirely sure if that would’ve been preferable.  If the conditions for life are considered an ability to reproduce and colonise then I humbly suggest thread-parts are destined for world domination.

I'm sure I can't be the only one who inflicts their family members with threads?! Come back next week to see what Mr f&f (allegedly!) has in common with Greg Rutherford......

Sx

Today's sky ● beautiful blue skies with a few clouds

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Smitten Quilt progress::: tips on always being ready to slow sew!


Hello everyone! How have you been? We've just finished half term which was lovely but hectic with the Smalls. I so enjoyed my peaceful cuppa when I came home from the school run this morning, soooo relaxing! I did manage some slow sewing over the past week though and thought I would share some of my processes with you, just in case you're interested! I started out by cutting enough pieces for about 4 blocks: choosing fabrics is always the bit that takes me the longest so I like to play with different selections of fabric over a few days until I'm happy with my combinations. Then each of the block pieces were put together in their own ziplock bag, ready for the next stage.......


Marking up for hand piecing is the bit I'm finding trickiest (read boring!) at the moment! I don't trust myself to be able to eyeball the seam allowances well enough though so I'm going to keep persevering and am trying to embrace the whole process. A while ago I made myself a design board using Lori's fabulous tutorial and on the reverse side I stuck a sheet of sandpaper (this is a trick that I picked up from the lovely Jen Kingwell: if you lay fabric on the sandpaper it doesn't shift around whilst your trying to draw the seam allowances on). My board measures around 9" x 10.5" and is the perfect size for holding 6 small pieces at a time. First I mark each of the dots on the template using either a silver gel/frixion pen (depending on the colour of the fabric). For this diamond, I can then move the template down the shape slightly to match up three of the corner points (as pictured) and draw on my sewing line. I repeat this for the other 5 shapes then pick up the board, rotate it 180* and repeat the process. The sandpaper is so good at gripping the paper that I found the easiest way is to just tip the board upside down so that all the pieces come off! Then they all go back into the ziplock bag so that I have a project bag ready to go!

It did take a while to get my mini project bags all prepped and ready to go but I'm now set for a few weeks of slow sewing! And here are the blocks that I've completed so far....two Large Hexagon 1's and one Small Hexagon 3.



I hope this has been of interest to some you and if you have any other tips to share with me for hand-piecing, I'd really love to hear them!

Sx

Today's sky ● blue skies and cloudy. Could almost feel spring in the air today!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Slow sewing::: a new project


Did you all have a good weekend? Ours was good but boy am I looking forward to the school half term!!! There's been quite a lot of secret sewing going on (check out all those little squares - 240 2.5" squares.....I was almost wishing for a Sizzix by the end of it all!) for swaps and the like, so not too much to show.

I've also been pondering a new project......I know, another one! But there's a reason for this one! Life has been quite hectic recently, nothing overly serious just lots of things all building up and I confess to feeling a bit emotionally worn-out. Why is it that in the parenting books they always warn you about the sleepless nights but no-one really tells you about the emotional wranglings of guiding children through school?! Anyhow, what with stuff and some deadline sewing it got me to thinking about going s-l-o-w and taking time to enjoy the process. Back when I started the blog, it was to record the making of my Sky Blanket and one of the things I really enjoyed about it was making time to crochet for just 10-15mins a day, quite often after lunch with a nice cuppa. It became a lovely daily ritual and is something I've been missing. So when Amitie Textiles had a pattern sale a couple of weeks ago, I bought their new Smitten Pattern and ordered some templates from Amazon (they were a really good price but if you order them please be warned that they come from the States so take a little while to arrive!).


And last night I made a hesitant start.....I'm thinking of making it mostly out of Denyse Schmidt fabrics. I've been collecting a few ever since I started quilting although I'm not sure if I've got enough variety so I might add in the odd blender here and there. So this is a test version of Large Hexy One, all hand-pieced and my plan is to do a little bit each day, even if only for 5-10mins. I'm quite liking it so far!

Sx

Today's sky ● beautifully blue.....almost made me feel like spring is on the way!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Whoosh.......January's gone!

It's been quite a busy month really, although I can't quite believe that we're already in February! First up was the making of a snowdrop block. Quite a while ago now, there was a call on IG to help contribute towards a community quilt project: everyone who took part would send in a block, they would be joined into a quilt and be put on display at the Snowdrop Festival in Shaftesbury, 13th-22nd February. I went for quite a simple, delicate design - much like the the snowdrop! - and used fusible wadding on each of the petals to give them a trapunto effect before appliquéing them on to the background. If you do happen to go to the festival then I would love to see some pictures!


Theres been some secret sewing.....sneak peaks of a commission and a swap project.


Probably the thing that I'm proudest of in January is actually tidying my sewing space - I can now see surfaces and  carpet (although I'm guessing it will only last until I'm halfway through a big project!). I still need to have a proper sort out of fabric but it is now a nice space to spend time in - this was taken late at night to capture the moment!!!!


And in my spring clean, I've put two tops on the 'to quilt' pile: first up 'A Study in Blue' for Boy 1. I started this last year and really want to get it finished before March as there's a bit a fabric which says 5 and in March he's 6 so I need to get a shifty on!

Next up is a William Morris quilt, this was finished back last year and is only the second or third quilt that I made. I like it but it's not as bright as some of my more recent quilts (I think I scarred Hadley for life when I posted this on IG!) and to be honest I've been stuck for inspiration on how to quilt it. Anyhow, Jo posted a sneak peak of a new quilt on IG (again with the IG! I'm over there quite a lot as @fabricandflowersuk if you'd like to follow me!) quilted in leaf pattern. That seems a perfect match with William Morris and then when I met with Carol this week she very kindly offered me a play on her longarm frame, so hopefully we'll get a date in the diary soon.

And finally, I made some more knickers! I've tweaked the pattern and attached the elastic in a different way. And guess what?! I'm going to be teaching how to make these in a couple of weeks time so, if you live in Gloucestershire and fancy an evening of sewing, giggling, a glass of bubbly and maybe a chocolate brownie or two then please do drop me a line as it would be great to see you.



Hope you all have a great weekend,

Sx

Today's sky ● mostly overcast but I have seen some blue sky!







Monday, 12 January 2015

2014: The year that...


...was Speedy-Fast (although based on the fact that I'm doing my first post of 2015 on the 12th day you could argue that this year is going the same way!). There's so much sewing I did that never got blogged, either because they were private commissions or just because. This year I'm going to aim for  shorter but more frequent posts!


...saw me having my first patterns published. So exciting! I've really enjoyed making and pattern writing for Simply Solids, Fat Quarterly and Quilt Now and hope to do more over the coming year.


...I took part in instagram swaps. They were so much fun - it's a great way for finding and getting to know lots of new quilty peeps, and my sewing room wall is starting to fill with inspiration! I've already signed up to another two - #ukminiswap and #makefriendsswap and I'm sure there'll be one or two more before the end of the year!!! You can find me on IG as @fabricandflowersuk.


...was thought provoking. With Littlest Boy starting school last September, I admit to having been thrown into a bit of a spin......Where am I going? What am I doing? and I'm still not entirely sure that I've got all the answers yet. I have at least now got a few ideas though which I guess is a good starting point so hopefully I'll begin tackling this next phase in my life very soon......(although there's always that WIP pile which doesn't seem to be going down to keep me busy!!!)

Hope you're all having a good start to 2015 and see you soon, 

S x

Todays sky ● grey, miserable and very rainy
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