Back Home from Holiday!

Back home from holiday!

Boo ūüôĀ

My new camping blanket made from fabric called “Windy Days” came in handy and was appropriately titled!

blue green patchwork blocks blanket

new camping blanket

windy days are good for surfing!

sea and surf

gransdon catching a wave

 

not so good for watching so thank goodness for the beach tent – cosy behind the gauze flap!

mum and kids in beach tent

Inside the beach tent – Cosy!

 

 

we ¬†are a messy group of 16 covering 3 generations on the beach and there’s always something to look for, someone to chase after, or someone taking their sunhat off (again) !

family set up on the beach

Messy beach day!

It was a lovely week though tiring.  At the end of the day it was nice to have my sweet little caravan to come home to for a cuppa!

inside of small caravan showing red seats

newly covered seats and cushions!

red covered bench seating in caravan

bench seats

 

I enjoy making things for my caravan and the awning, ¬†especially when I use things from my stash. ¬†However, I’m off to the Festival of Quilts next week so I might just acquire a teensy-weensy bit more fabric ….. ūüôā ¬†…….. It’s good to be back home from holiday!

Using a Seam Ripper – aka Frogging!

I’ve really enjoyed making the ’round the world’ pram quilt and am finally at the binding stage. ¬†I had to look at a you tube video again to remind myself about making mitred corners – can’t seem to retain any information on how to do things like that any more! I also made a lot of use of my seam ripper – aka frogging! Rip it Rip it Rip it! ¬†Here is the quilt just before binding.

Pink and cream pram quilt

Round the World Pram Quilt

I decided not to over quilt it and just do some heart shaped lines in the middle with straight lines round the outside. The centre heart is made using variegated quilting thread and an embroidery stitch, whilst the  overlapping hearts are in delicate Aurifil thread.

Despite using the seam ripper rather a lot I still have some points not matching! The worst thing though was sewing a whole strip of pink spotty border on wrong way up! And of course it was the last one and so just when I was about to stop for the night grrrrr. ¬†This is why it’s often better to stop when you’re tired rather than keep going to try and finnish things! ¬†Whilst I was frogging away I remembered the blog post I read somewhere about using seam rippers correctly and how amazed the writer was that they had used it incorrectly for years. ¬†It was quite funny because I had inadvertently realised there was a better way to use them only a few months before I read the blog post but I thought it was just me being silly – never thought other people might be using it the wrong way too!

So, how do you use yours? If you pick at the seam, breaking the thread every few stitches, and pulling out sections bit by bit, as I used to do, you will be amazed to find there is a much faster way to frog! I have tried to take a picture of how it should be used but it was quite hard to get it to clearly show the action. ¬†Basically you hold the seam vertically in your two hands and then run the ripper downwards between the two pieces of fabric, – parting the seam easily and quickly. It can be tricky to hold the fabric and use the ripper, but once you get in position it’s fab!

Seam ripper and pink cotton fabric seam

Pushing the ripper vertically down the seam

If you’ve never tried it like this you’ll be so excited you’ll be hoping you make a mistake just to hear the satisfying riiiippppppyyyyy noise!😃

I’m linking up with Handmade Monday again at Lucy a Blossom Crafts now!

 

 

 

 

 

Patchwork Quilts and working in the Garden!

Now finally I have finished the sewing and quilting part of the grandsons’ superhero quilts I have to force myself to do the ‘finishing off’ – getting rid of all the pesky thread ends and tidying things up – boo – the worst bit for me. ¬†Here is part of one of the quilts with Sonic – but can you make out what I have free-motioned in the blue space between Max and Sonic?

Patchwork quilt in blue and red with super heroes on it

The mine craft stay cool square!

The other thing I’ve been doing this week is wading through the workload of the e-course I mentioned last week, It’s very intense but it does focus your mind on your hobby/business very well. And the best bit about being unable to go out much? It means my ‘office’ and my admin work is wherever I choose to make it!

Garden scene with cup of tea

My workspace!

There’s a lovely feeling about drinking a cup o’ tea in the garden and working in the shade! Don’t think it’s going to last though as cold and rain will return

Recovering and Inspiration from Flowers!

Well I can not quite believe it but I can actually stand up straight and walk upright again! Yes I went into hospital a week ago – (HAPPY FRIDAY!) – ¬†for the injections under sedation and so far they seem to have made a good improvement to my pain levels!¬† Gone is the excruciating electric shock pain in my leg which is so debilitating, and in its place is a low backache and hip-ache, which, is normal at this point, and should improve as time goes on, although it’s not guaranteed.

I am so happy to be better I haven’t been able to keep from trying out a little time in the sewing room although I am trying to be sensible and not do too much too quick.

This is what I have started to make, two small lap quilts for my grandsons which I will back with fleece.

Max's quilt!

Max’s quilt!

Some of max's favourite characters!

Some of max’s favourite characters!

As you can see, at nearly 8, the elder grandson is into Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario (as well as Minecraft but I don’t know how I’d do that!). I won’t be selling anything like this as the images are copyrighted, I am just cutting them out and sewing into the family gifts!

It’s not as neat as it could be as I probably should have waited till I was a little for comfortable before beginning!¬† I did feel though that I couldn’t start the crib quilt for my new expected granddaughter without giving the boys something first!

Here’s what I will be working on next:

pinks and creams colours in fabrics

pink and cream fat quarters

Lovely pinks – fat quarters from Create and Craft – I do enjoy the sewing and patchwork shows but you do have to be strong and resist buying everything!

As well as sewing quilt for the children I was very inspired by the colours of some flowers I received for Mothers’ Day and have managed to select some cotton yarn which I hope I can make into a delicate blanket for the new baby as she is due in July so cotton will be quite appropriate.

pale pink and cream rose

Vintage rose from boquet

Here are the cottons I have selected:

drops cotton balls

cotton yarn in vintage rose colours

The cotton in the picture is a little lighter than in reality but not too much so is quite a good match.  This will keep me going as soon as I have finished the Simply Crochet Poncho РI will not let myself start anything before that is complete or it will be too hot to wear it!!

I will now be popping over to Planet Penny Happy Friday and Handmade Monday to see what else has been going on while I was away!

Penrose Tiling!

Penrose tiling Рwhat on earth has that got to do with crafting you may ask?!  Well DH recently bought me a quilting book called Geometrical Quilts by Pat Store which is full of quilts all based on Рyou guessed it! Рgeometrical patterns!  They are all beautiful but some are more complicated to make than others.  So while I am going to my weekly patchwork class but not able to carry heavy things like a cutting board and templates etc,  I thought I would try one of the quilts which is based on English Paper Piecing (EPP) method.

My choice was the Penrose Tiling quilt – the book describes this as¬†“two differently shaped diamonds (36 and 72 degrees) to make tesselating shapes based on a regular pentagon or decadon which do not otherwise tessellate”¬† [Storey In practice this has meant drawing lots of paper diamonds and covering them with fabric in the traditional EPP technique

cutting out paper diamonds and covering them with fabric

covering the paper shapes

Of course before I started I had to choose my fabrics and plan out which colours would go where in the design.   I chose a fat quarter pack of various shades of purple as well as the lovely green batik fabric from my stash!   I chose these as there is a photograph in the book of a quilt which I really liked and so I have based my design on this.

pueple and green fabric diamonds

arranging the shapes to build up the layers

fabric and paper diamond shapes

trying to get the pattern right!

It’s quite hard working out how all the diamonds fit together and deciding which fabric to use for each round of shapes. ¬†At each round I have to keep trying out the pattern!

purple and green fabric diamnonds

arranging all the layers

So although this Penrose tiling¬†is quite complicated and tiring it is¬†a good project for when you can’t walk/carry/machine sew any much at all. (Boo sciatica – how I loathe thee!)¬†¬† This as far as I have got at the moment but I really ¬†hope to show you the progress to a mini quilt over the next couple of weeks!

Now I am going to link up with Handmade Monday as usual but over on it’s new home at Lucy Blossom Crafts¬† Thank you to Vicky for taking over the hosting!

Rag Quilt and Crochet Bag

Well after a lot of thinking I decided my crochet circle would be a bag!¬† However it isn’t really looking like one and is more like a sombrero!¬† I am following an Attic 24 pattern so it should turn out ok but I am wondering if floppy cotton was not the right yarn as the original pattern is in merino. Oh well – perhaps an interfaced fabric lining will be required to give it some form!

crochet bag in cotton yarn

bag base and 12 rows on

The other thing I decided to make this week was a quilt for me to take on holiday in a couple of weeks – it’s using up lots of the stash I recently received and as it’s a rag quilt it was fairly easy to make compared with¬† making a quilt top and then quilting it to a base.

I made some¬†quilt ‘sandwiches’ first, then quilted each ‘sandwich’ with a cross of stitching.¬†These were then sewed together in long lines and then the lines joined up – all had a half inch seam allowance for fraying later.

floral fabric and cotton wadding

quilt sandwich showing the wadding / batting

quilting yellow floral fabric

diagonal stitching to quilt the ‘sandwiches’

quilting purple fabric quilt

using the walking foot to quilt the edges

After sewing all the quilted squares together I made some long sashing strips in bright purple and made long rectangular ‘sandwiches’ to sew right round each edge.¬† I quilted these separately with¬† long diagonal lines and then finally a line right round the egde of the quilt leaving a half an inch seam allowance for fraying.

The hardest part if snipping all the seams for the fraying but it’s worth is when you take the quilt out of the tumble drier and it’s all soft and lovely!¬† It’ll certainly keep me cosy of the cross channel ferry!

 

pastel shades of floral fabric rag quilt

finished quilt

I’m rather late for Handmade Monday as I was at a Boyzone concert in beautiful ¬†Delamere forest yesterday but that’s another story!

Boyzone in Delamere Forest

Boyzone in Delamere Forest

Tidy not Tangled: Hillarys Blinds Competiton

Happy Mothers’ Day for¬†this weekend!¬† I am late linking up to Handmade Monday as I was enjoying myself too much on Sunday to do the link up!

Do untidy baskets and bags of yarn get you down as much as they do me?  I have been so fed up of having to sort out and untangle my balls of yarn everytime I start to crochet I have been trying to design a storage method which would allow me to have several colours on the go at once but keep them all separate, tidy,  NOT TANGLED!  Soooo much time spent untangling instead of creating does not make for a stress free enjoyable hobby!

So when I read about the Hillary’s Blinds Country Crafts¬†Competition for bloggers to design something using some of their fabric I had an idea! The fabric I chose (from a choice of 4) was Calluna Amethyst, a beautiful upholstery weight fabric with a cream background with splodges of amethyst, emerald, gold and ruby, very pretty and so much my type of colours!¬† The free sample was 39×39 inches and the design was up to the blogger!¬† Exciting!

fabric

 

In my craft room I have a purple open weave plastic basket for keeping fabric bits in.¬†If I put my yarn in this I could feed the ends of each ball through¬†a¬†hole and tie¬†them to the side to keep each one tidy!¬† Only one disadvantage – not very pretty for the living room – but this is where the Hillary’s fabric came in!¬† A pretty cover for a yarn storage basket!

empty-basket-with-open-sides

So how do you make it?

First you need to measure the height and circumference of your basket or box, or whatever you are covering and cut a rectangle accordingly – ie the size in height and length plus a couple of inches for hemming and seaming.

Now turn down one of the long edges half an inch and iron it flat, then turn this down again half an inch and pin in place.  Sew this to make a neat hemmed top edge. You can see in the picture I have aligned my 1/4 inch foot with the left side of the hem instead of the usual right side, this is to ensure I capture the turned under fabric as I sew!

hemming-the-top

Now fold your rectangle right sides together and check if the piece needs trimming to neaten it up and if so do this now before sewing up the side seams.

Now you have a circular tube of fabric which you put your basket into – this bit is quite fiddly but keep going till you have the cover round the basket up to the top row of holes. If you find the fabric is too small just unpick the side seam and add in a contrasting panel – no-one will know it wasn’t part of your original design!

Now you make some ties to keep the cover in place!  Take your cover off again. I used some grosgrain ribbon from my stash but bias binding would be good, or you could make some ties from the remaining fabric.  Anyway, cut 4 lengths of your ties, each 12 inches long.  Fold each in half and pin to the top edge of the cover with the folded end about half an inch down and the two ends pointing straight upwards.  The four should be equally space round the top.

tie-pinned-in-place

 

Start by putting the first one over the side seam and then place the others accordingly. Sew over each a couple of times to secure in place.  At this point you can also hem the bottom edge or you could simply fold it under the basket and pin it in place or glue it in place Рdepends how quickly you want your basket to use!

Now you can replace your cover and secure the ties to the top row of holes.

empty-basket-ties

So far so good!  I decided to make a loose cover for the top of my basket,  so if you do too you, go ahead!   Put your chosen fabric right sides together and draw on it a circle the same size as the circumference of the basket.   Cut this out and then cut out one of fusible interfacing or ordinary interlining as well.  Either iron on the interfacing or pin the interlining to one of the wrong sides of your circles.

circles-and-interlining

 

You should now have the fabric still right sides together but one has interfacing on the back making a third top circle.  Sew the round the circumference of the three circles using a 1/4 inch machine foot aligned to the right hand edge of the top circle. Leave a gap of 4 inches for turning to the right side. Snip into the seam allowance round the circle being careful not to cut the stitch line.

clipping-into-circle-seam

Turn right sides  out and turn under the fabric in the gap and pin it so the the circle is now complete.

pinning-the-gap

You can now just hand sew the  gap together and have the top as it is or you could quilt it.  You can get quite a nice effect even with an ordinary machine foot.  Although I have a walking foot and a free motion foot I have finished my top cover off with the normal foot to show you how it can be done.  Put the needle into the centre of your top circle and start to sew forward and round, guiding the fabric with both hands so that it turns as you sew  to make concentric circles,  spreading out from the middle to the very edge where  you take in the pinned gap area and so close it up.

close-up-circles

finished-quilted-top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All that remains now is to choose your yarn balls and put them into your basket with the end of each going through a different hole in the side and tied to the top.  Do not tie up the colour you are working with, just poke this through a hole and up to your work area. Every time  you need to change colour just tie up the one you are working with and untie one of the others!  You now have a  pretty and very practical basket and no more tangled yarn!!

IMG_3045

wool in basket

finished-basket-end

Quilting and Finishing Off

Non stop quilting this week combined with sewing in the ends and adding fastenings to all the things I’ve made over the last few weeks!¬† I hate the finishing off bit – I’d much rather do the designing and initial making!¬† If I ever have a business that requires staff then that is the first thing I would delegate!¬† In the meantime I have to rely on family and so drafted in my mum for a sewing on buttons and press studs day!¬†¬† We drank tea and chatted while we sewed and it was a nice relaxing change from all the machining.

patchwork bag with stippling

Strip patchwork bag with stippling

I think  that my favourite thing is making patchwork bags and pouches !  I hope they sell at the fair as I am taking quite a range of items to London so that I can get some feel for what in the future I should be concentrating on, ie  the items which sold or which I felt people liked.

 

tablet covers in psychedelic hippy fabric
hippy fabric bags and tablet covers

 

 

 

I¬†have¬†also been making a disappearing 9 patch quilt top – I learnt this on a Craftsy class ages ago and have been wanting to make one ever since.¬† It’s quite easy and yet looks like it has more sewing than it really does!

Disappearing Nine Patch Quilt top
Disappearing Nine Patch

 

 

 

 

Anyway I’d better get back to it!¬† Just linking up with Handmade Monday for the usual Sunday evening stroll round¬† blogland.¬† See you there!

 

 

Free Motion Quilting

Ooh it was an exciting day yesterday!¬† Of course it was the Dr Who 50th Birthday show but I¬†was also on a free motion quilting course!¬† I had a lovely day learning how to free motion quilt (it’s not easy!).¬† Basically it sounds great – no keeping to straight lines – you can just wibbly wobbly all over the place – but actually that’s quite hard to do evenly!¬† Anyway I am now a lot better than before I went and so hope to be doing lots of quilted items with this free motion style of quilting in the future.¬† Here is one thing we did learning how to do different types of stippling!¬† – some loose threads there as this was just a first practice!

cream fabric with self coloured stippling

stippling

 

As well as the course I was also getting ready for my first big fair in 3 weeks!  The passes came on Friday!  I was so excited!

exhibitor pass for Handmade Christmas at the 02

exhibitor passes

And lastly, I have been working with my ‘hippy’ fabric – I have loved every minute of it as I¬† really am just an old hippy!!¬† These would be great for free motion quilting I think – swirly hippy psychedelic patterns!! (more loose threads as these are not finished off yet).

tablet covers in psychedelic hippy fabric

hippy fabric bags and tablet covers

And now over to Handmade Monday!  I love my Sunday evening stroll round the blogs!

 

 

 

 

Hippy Quilt has Ears!

Well this week I have been quite a lot busier crafting wise.¬†¬† I have been making things for my camping holiday as every year I go away for a few days with my old friend and our assorted¬†children and grandchildren.¬† I go in my Dandy camper,¬†this¬†is¬†a cross between a trailer tent and a camper¬†and ¬†can be put up in 15 mins!¬† It has a proper bed, a settee and¬† 2 proper windows so ¬†I have just made some new curtains,¬†cushions and bunting for mine and finished off the hippy type quilt I have been making. I posted about making the top from a jelly roll a few week’s ago in this post here.¬† Now it has a fluffy inside and a soft fleecy backing!¬† The fleece is from IKEA and is quite heavy so I should be really warm on chilly nights in a Welsh field!¬† I don’t know about everyone else, but I tend to rush things which are for myself and end up with something which isn’t quite how it was intended to be.¬† I make so much for selling which has to be perfect that I get sloppy when it’s only for me.

quilt with fleecy backing sewn into pointy ears

my hippy quilt with it’s ears!

Hence when¬†sewing on ¬†the fleece backing I ended up with it sort of twisted and misaligned as I came to the end of the row (I never pin in place when it’s my own stuff!)

Anyway¬† fortunately I had a brilliant idea and made the extra fleecy at each corner into a feature – the quilt now has ‘ears’

I have been thinking recently that I should be more careful with things I make for my own use as it doesn’t make a very good advert for my business really!

Well I’m off to continue packing – it’s a thunderstorm outside at the moment – I really hope it’s not like this tomorrow on the Lleyn Peninsula!!¬†¬†¬† My plan is to be sunbathing and swimming this coming week whilst my husband gets on with all the jobs here that need doing!¬† ūüôā

But first¬†it’s over to Handmade Monday for a look at what everyone else has been doing! See you next week with some pictures of my glamped up Dandy!