Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone! Wow, the last few weeks flew by in the lead up to trying to get ready for Christmas!!! I hope you all had a good time? We had lots of family over which was a little bit hectic but fun and lots of special memories were made. I did need a couple of lie in's afterwards though to recover from the mass catering!!!


This year, I actually made a few little presents. I think it was a combination of finding a couple of good patterns and thinking that they would actually be useful to people! First up was a clutch of dumplings. I love this pattern so much and have made quite a few now. I love how you can do QAYG to use up tiny scraps or go bold with a large print. Each one can look so different and I find the one I made myself is so useful for handbag essentials.


Next up was a drawstring pouch for a good friend who's recently taken up knitting. I added a lanyard into the lining so that the teeny tiny zipper pouch could be attached and hopefully keep all the stitch markers and row counters together.


And then on Christmas Eve there was a last minute rush to make a mini drawstring pouch for some cuff links which had been delivered in a plastic bag! Thankfully it was quick to whip up between the making of the mince pies and supervising the decoration of the gingerbread house!!!!


I was lucky enough to get a few crafty things from my Christmas list too - some inspirational books, some fabric and one of those mini-irons which I'm hoping will be useful for small piecing work.

Need to head off now, we're meeting up with friends for the New Year so I wish you all a fabulous and healthy 2015 and see you soon,

Sx

Today's sky ● cloudy but sunny. Yay!

Monday, 8 December 2014

A Scraptastic Quilt!

Oh my gosh, time is flying by at the moment. A few weeks were spent mainly looking after poorly children......we've managed a fairly impressive three weeks of successional illnesses. But Hurrah! I think we've come out the other side of it now - yay! Now it's all the Christmas mayhem of plays, disco's and the like to navigate - along with some last minute pressie making - and then I'm on the home straight!

One of the thing's I've been itching to tell you about for ages is my latest project in Quilt Now (Issue 5). It almost seems daft talking about it now as the next issue is due out in a week or so, but this is the secret sewing that I was working on over the summer and is the biggest quilt I've ever made coming in at 80" square so I feel it warrants a mention!

I have a real love of scrap quilts - I always admire how people put so many different colours together and BAM! it looks amazing - but have never actually made one myself. I'm just too much of a perfectionist and control freak to feel comfortable throwing fabrics together - I always second guess myself as to whether or not those colours really will work together in the end. So when I designed Scraptastic I threw in lots of background/neutral squares to help balance out all the other crazy colours. 


The quilt is made up by making two different sized blocks (lots of each, obviously!) which are then pieced together with partial seams/step-down piecing. It sounds scary, but it really isn't....this was my first attempt (honestly!).
Picture borrowed from Trudi when Scraptastic was on the quilt frame!

I had a chat with the lovely Trudi at FQ Retreat and sent her Scraptastic to work her magic on and wow - she really did the most amazing job, it really made the quilt. I can't wait for it to come home so that I can put it on our bed and snuggle now that the weather is getting colder!!!!

If you have lots of scraps Issue 5 of Quilt Now really is packed full of lovely projects (and I'm not just saying that!) that I want to try out, especially the scrap baskets!

See you soon,

S x

Todays sky ● mostly sunny but cold!

Friday, 14 November 2014

The past week (and a bit!) has been mostly about......

.....making a friendship star block for my local guild which will be made in to quilt for auctioning off for charity next year...

.....making shell pictures for our bathroom. We collected a load of shells from a lovely weekend visiting friends who live (obviously!) near the beach and using some flan tins and plaster of paris each of the kids made a little picture. I'm really pleased with them!

.....starting to quilt my mini for the #igminiswap with some gorgeous variegated Aurifil . I'm really hoping my partner likes this, it will be posted soon so not long to find out!

.....and finally there have been some duvet days! I seem to be averaging a call a week from the school at the moment, but the boys are at least taking it in turns to have a day at home!

Hope you all have a great weekend,

Sx

Todays sky ● cloudy this morning, but lovely and bright this afternoon 


Friday, 24 October 2014

A busy week!

Hey everyone! Is it just me, or is time flying by at warp speed at the moment?! It's been a crazy busy week with harvest festival x 2 (and on the same day too, I debated camping out at the school!) and then a phonics lesson with my 4yr old which included learning how to write 'van'. My 8yr old thought it was hilarious when we were talking about our day over dinner!


I also made myself a new bag!!!!! I am so very pleased with it - it turned out exactly how I had hoped, and I am super chuffed that my pattern matching worked - check out that front pocket!!!!!

It caused me quite a bit of head-scratching I'll be honest, and I had to recut one side panel to make it work, but it all came together in the end. The pattern I used is Michelle Patterns Messenger Bag - I'm reviewing it over on Sara's blog today as part of Purse Palooza (eek!) if you'd like to read about it in more detail - and I will definitely be making more of these. It would make an excellent Christmas present don't you think?

Other than that, my week has mainly involved receiving fabric parcels - yay! I was the lucky winner of a Fly Away bundle from Fabric HQ.....

Lots of Siblings Together bee blocks have been arriving - I asked everyone to make scrappy trips with no set theme, so it's going to be a riot of colour (and will hopefully all come together in the end!)...

And I treated myself to one of Karen's gorgeous scrap packs, so now I just need to decide on what to make with it all!

Hope you've all had a good week? The kids finish for half term today so sewing might be tricky over the next week, but I'll give it a good go! In the meantime, Mr f&f have got a weekend away by ourselves. I might be just a little excited!

Speak soon,

Sx

Todays sky ● overcast and drizzly. Boo!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Oakshott Autumn Blog Hop::: Falling Vista Lap Quilt tutorial

Helloooo everyone and welcome if you've popped over from Lynne's blog! I'm so excited to kick off the Oakshott Autumn blog hop, there's some amazing bloggers taking part so I can't wait to see all the reveals over the next week or so!
The Oakshott Autumn Blog Hop

So, let's crack on shall we?! When I first saw the autumn bundle my heart did a little skippity jump - I love autumn! It's my most favourite season with all the colours and the need for warm winter clothing and cosy knits! My first thought was a maple leaf quilt but then I started thinking of the view as I drive towards Wales and the hillsides full of trees changing colours. It really is spectacular and was my inspiration for this quilt::: Falling Vista

And because when it's autumn there's nothing better than snuggling under a warm and cosy quilt, I've backed it with fleece for extra snuggle factor!

*** I would like to say a huge thank you to Oakshott for providing the fabrics and Aurifil for providing the variegated thread ***

Materials
1 x Oakshott Colourshott Autumn F8 Bundle (21 F8s)
3/4yd  Oakshott Colourshott Celebes (background fabric)
1/2yd Oakshott Colourshott Iris (binding)
2yds extra wide fleece (or 4yds backing fabric and wadding)
Tree Template (download here)
Cardboard
Tinfoil

Finished size of lap quilt: 50" x 55"

Please remember to read through all the instructions before starting.

Cutting Instructions
Print out a copy of the Tree Template. Make another template out of cardboard - I kept a seam allowance at the bottom of the template to ensure that there would be enough overlap when appliquéing the shapes down.

Press each F8 before folding into thirds.

Use the template and cut around with a minimum 3/8" allowance. I found it easiest to do with a rotary cutter.

Three shapes per F8 will give you 63 trees

NOTE: if using printed fabrics you will need to cut your fabric strip into thirds (for a rectangle approximately 9" x 10")and layer them right side down in order to ensure that all trees go in the same direction

Cut the binding fabric into 5 x 2.5" strips by the width of the fabric

Preparing the trees
To prepare each of the trees for appliquéing;

A::: Lay down a piece of tinfoil, fabric (right side town) and cardboard template.
B::: Ease the tinfoil around the curved edge of the template. Press with an iron.
C::: Gently unfold the tinfoil and remove the cardboard template.
D::: Turn the tree over to give a final press.

Repeat for each tree shapes. You can use starch to stabilise the shapes.

Making the quilt
Lay the background fabric on a flat surface.

Place the trees on the background to arrange the layout as per the diagram. Once you are happy with the colour placement, pick the pieces up working left to right for each row, place in a pile and label them to keep in the correct order.

Starting with row one, take the first tree and place on the right hand side of the background fabric and pin in place.

Using the paper template as a guide - both above the trees and within the trees (as pictured) place the second tree in position and pin in place. Continue across the width of the fabric until the whole row is in place

Applique the shapes onto the background. This could be done by hand using slip-stitch. I used the sewing machine set to a narrow zig-zag using Aurifil variegated thread.

A::: starting on the left hand side of the shape, zig-zag around the tree. Cut your threads.
B::: Lay the fabric flat, and pick up side of the next overlapping tree.
C::: Pin the next tree in place on the already appliqued tree, and sew around the shape as in step A. D::: Continue along the row until you are finished. Turn your quilt top over and trim away any excess blue fabric behind the trees.

Repeat the above steps for your remaining rows.

NOTE: I was a little organic with the placement of my trees, as allowed by my additional seam allowance, so it is worth being generous with this at your cutting out stage to allow a bit of wiggle room!

When you have finished sewing all of your rows into place, square up your quilt top.

Finishing the Quilt
Make a quilt sandwich from your backing fabric (right side facing down), the wadding  (if using) and the quilt top (right side facing up). Make sure all the layers are nice and smooth with no wrinkles and baste the layers together. Quilt as you prefer – I used a 3-step zigzag in rows 2" apart following the angle of the tree-tops.

Trim any excess backing and wadding fabrics.

Join your binding strips together and bind your quilt in your preferred method.

Snuggle and enjoy!!!

****

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial - if you have any problems with the download (it's my first time trying to create a shareable document, so please bear with me if there are any teething problems) or the pattern then please let me know,

Thanks for popping by and don't forget to check out these fabulous bloggers over the next few days;


22 October     Rossie Hutchinson        r0ssie.blogspot.com
24 October     Mary Menzer                 fairlymerry.blogspot.com
28 October     Alison Dutton                allison-sews.blogspot.com
29 October     Nicholas Ball                 quiltsfromtheattic.wordpress.com
30 October     Kati Spencer                 fromthebluechair.com


Sx

Todays sky ● blue with clouds and very windy!!!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

A busy week

Hey everyone! I can't believe a week has gone by already! I had a great time at the Knitting and Stitching show, although it was very tiring (not helped by the nighttime activities of the people in our neighbouring hotel room, but let's not dwell on that!!!!) and Monday was a bit of a wipe out for me. I don't know how Lynne survived 5 whole days!!!


I've been to this show quite a few times now, and I have to say that this year I felt that there was a lot less choice of fabrics to my taste, especially dressmaking fabrics, which was a bit of a shame. I did managed to pick up these though from Fabrics Galore (which is always worth a visit!): working from top to bottom some home-dec weight for a new bag, a grey jersey for a tunic/dress (I think!) and some fleece for backing a quilt. Which takes me on to.....

....this weeks job which has been appliquéing a quilt together out of glorious Oakshotts and Aurifil, which led to....

....the need to clean the kitchen floor so that I could do some quilt basting! Please tell me it's not just me that does this?! Just some photos of the finished quilt to go and then all will be revealed on Tuesday when I take a turn on the Oakshott Blog Hop - please do check it out as there are some fabulous bloggers taking part.

The Oakshott Autumn Blog Hop

Hope you've had a great week,

Sx

Today's sky ● blue with some clouds

Friday, 10 October 2014

This week was mostly about.....

.....making some clothes for the monkeys, they're a bit less indecent now!!!

.....playing with some Oakshott and and getting ready to play with some Aurifil. Doesn't that sound like a match made in heaven?!

.....pattern testing a new sewing machine pincushion: my old one is starting to look a little tired now and I did a class (eek!) at my local guild yesterday and figured I need to give it a whirl! Am planning to put a tutorial up on the blog next week.

......getting ready for a road trip! I'm heading off to London to visit the Knitting & Stitching show this weekend, I'm as excited about the browsing as I am about having a couple of days away with a friend!!!

Hope you've all had a good week,

Sx

Todays sky ● Changeable!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Fun of the Fair giveaway winner

Hey everyone! Apologies for being a day late, time run away with me!!!

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments, I loved reading about all your loved toys and especially how many of them were handmade, it gives me hope that just maybe my monkey's will be loved in years to come!!!!!

So, I've consulted Mr Random Number generator and the lucky winner is......



Congratulations Arianna, I've sent you an email!

S x

Today's sky ● very changeable!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Fun of the Fair - book tour and giveaway

It was a lovely surprise a couple of weeks ago when I had an email 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 close 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!
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