Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Fun of the Fair - book tour and giveaway

It was a lovely surprise a couple of weeks ago from Stitch, Craft Create asking if I would like to take part in Melanie McNeice's book tour. I have to say, I was a little hesitant to start with because to be honest making soft toys kind of scares me......I've attempted a couple but have always ended up with funny shaped heads/scary facial features! However, Melanie is an expert soft-toy maker having written loads of books (and designed fabric too!) so I figured that if anyone could get me over my fear it would be her!

I was sent an ecopy of the book and the front cover of Fun of the Fair is so appealing. I let Little Girl look through the book and after that there was no going back - seals! elephants! lions (oh I love the lion!)! monkeys and the pony that stars on the front cover.

I went for the monkey as this was picked as one of the favourites and I figured that it would be liked by all of the Smalls and set to making three (yes, three!) monkeys!!!! A monkey can easily be made out of a Fat Quarter of fabric - although some careful placement is needed if using directional fabric. I got my felt from here as they had a lovely range of colours and my delivery arrived within a day. 

The pattern directions are very clear and walk you through how to make the toy really well. The only thing I found a little frustrating at first was having to read through the pattern to find out what I was meant to be cutting out of fabric/felt/fusible webbing, so I wrote this on the pattern pieces as I cut them out. As a toy-making newbie, a couple of things I found that helped me were to starting sewing the curves in the middle and working towards the outside lines. I also found it helped to use pins to position buttons/nostrils etc before sewing the facial features in place.

Overall, I had lots of fun making these! I think I even managed to do an alright job of doing the faces, although a couple of the monkeys have got a slightly lopsided smile........next up is making them some clothes as no self-respecting monkey wants to go naked, does it?! I think these are destined to be (dare I say it!) Christmas presents so I'm trying to work on them secretly when the kids aren't around!!!

I have been given a hardcopy of Fun of the Fair to giveaway, so if you would like to have a go at making yourself, or some Smalls a gorgeous soft toy, then please leave me a comment telling me about your favourite toy from when you were a kid! Mine was a giant dungaree-wearing dog which was probably as big as I was when I was about 7.....my Dad bought him home seat-belted in to the front of the car!!!!!!

*Giveaway will closed in a week on Tuesday 7th October, with the winner announced on Wednesday*

S x

Todays sky ● blue skies with a few whispy clouds






Sunday, 28 September 2014

Teardrop Mini

Have you all had a great weekend? Ours has been pretty good as they go,  we even managed some relaxing!!! So, today I'm going to share with you some secret sewing that I've been doing! It's taken me a while to blog about because to be honest I was so excited about it happening and then once it did I wasn't quite sure how to talk about it, so hopefully I'll do a good job!

I submitted an idea to Katy for a mini quilt/cushion cover and now you can find it in Issue 3 of Quilt Now! Eeeeep! Although just a little strange to see my face in a magazine!

The mini is foundation paper-pieced and I got to play with some Alison Glass Field Day mixed in with some low-volume fabrics. There's a mix of machine and hand stitching and I controversially bound it in brown (shock-horror!). 

The most amazing thing was that the issue arrived Saturday morning and on Sunday evening Jennie posted a picture of her already finished Teardrop Mini quilt top - so speedy and about made my day that someone had liked my pattern enough to make it!!!!! Oh, and looking through my pictures vs. the magazine I've realised that I need a professional photographer on call at all times to make my projects look amazing.........!!!!!!

See you soon, 

S x

Todays sky ● gloriously blue!!!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Please meet my new roomie!

Well, I promised to introduce you to someone new didn't I? Please meet Bertha (as named by Little Girl) - a Singer Featherweight 221k born in February 1950.

Isn't she beautiful?! Bertha was my birthday present from Mr f&f. There was a short discussion before purchasing as to whether or not she had a specific use (piecing), was I starting a collection (maybe.....) and what was she able to do (straight stitch........but doesn't she look pretty?!). I 'won' her on eBay and to be fair she's in pretty good condition. There is some damage to the paint work on the bed but on the whole I think she's pretty good. I've given her a bit of a clean and polish and will probably do a bit more when I have some proper time and all this school half day malarkey has finished (next week - woo hoo!).


Bertha came with lots of extras, most of them I can figure out but a few others I'm going to have to look in to......working from left to right I think I've got a Edge Stitcher foot, a Rolled Hem Foot, an Adjustable Hemmer (which looks mighty scary!) and I'm not sure about the last one?! Any info would be greatly appreciated.  I'm also going to be on the look out for a buttonhole foot as I've heard great things about them.

The other thing she came with is a musty smell, which isn't so good. I've replaced the felt in the bottom tray and tried to give the case a good clean and leave it out in the sun but it still hasn't gone. I'm wondering if I need to give the actual machine a good clean too? If you have any tips, I'd love to hear them.

I've only had a little go on her so far - I'm halfway through lots of projects and I think the foot pedal is going to take a little getting used to but she stitches beautifully and I can't wait to have more of a play. And maybe an organisation of my room so that I can put her proudly on display!

S x

Todays sky ● blue skies with the occassional stormy cloud

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Some Finishes!

Hello there! Well, that week and a half pretty much whizzed past, didn't it?! Littlest boy is on a phased introduction period at school (they manage to drag it out for 5wks for maximum annoyance!) and I hadn't quite realised just how exhausting doing three school runs a day would be!


Anyhoo, I've been working on some finishes! First up, was my knotted sampler from Thomas Knauer's class at FQR. It was only waiting on some binding and after a bit of a dive through my stash I decided that I should go colourful all the way and that Summersville would be perfect. It will look lovely on the wall I think!


Next up was using the scraps from the Parquet Quilt that I made for Simply Solids. When cutting the blocks I'd ended up with some small leftover strips which I just couldn't bear to part with. So, they were sewn together into a panel and then promptly set aside for the rest of the summer!  Over the weekend inspiration finally hit! I'd been admiring Kerry's dumpling pouch at retreat and after printing out the pattern I discovered that the panel was the perfect size! 

Doesn't it look cute? They're a little fiddly on the zipper and the inside binding, but it's definitely worth it, and will get easier with each make I reckon. And a nice, quick project too which is always a bonus!

I'll be back soon......it was my birthday over the weekend and I've got something very special to show you!

Sx

Todays sky ● overcast and grey but still warm!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Mini Quilt swap and catching up!

Wow - where did those last few weeks go?! There's been so much time spent occupying children and some secret sewing that I've not really had much time to blog. School started back this week though so hopefully things will return back to normal......I was writing my to-do lists yesterday and realised that I hadn't told you all about the Schnitzel & Boo Mini quilt swap that I took part in back in July (sooooo long ago - sorry!) but it was so much fun that I just neeeeeed to, so here goes!


For my partner I made a scrappy churn dash mini - this was a lot inspired by Kerry's quilt but I changed the background to 4" squares (so double the size of the scraps used in the churndash) so that it wasn't a direct copy which led to some playing around with how to inset the outside churndash triangles into the backgound squares. I think it worked out quite well in the end! There was some kantha stitching to outline the churndash and some free-motion loop-de-loops in the low volume background and it was all finished.



I'd mainly used Denyse Schmidt with a little bit of Liberty and Henna thrown in which I just couldn't bear to waste so I used the HST off-cuts to make a little coaster measuring around 6" with some more kantha stitching.....there's a bit of a theme developing here, isn't there?!


In return I recieved this lovely mini from Melissa (with some gorgeous goodies too!) which was the perfect colour scheme and now takes pride of place on my sewing room wall - I love the impact of doing two lines of stitching on top of each other in some places, it really makes it pop!

I had so much fun with this swap that I've signed up for the #IGminiswap - I have my partner so will have to do a bit of stalking now!

Have a great weekend,

S x

Todays sky ● overcast but warm!
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