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!






April 2015 ATC Swap – “Home”

April has been a mixed month! I’ve been trying to complete things for my new granddaughter’s arrival whilst also taking part in the Very Berry Handmade April 2015 ATC swap – “Home”.  It’s too late to join in this one but if you fancy the idea just keep a look out on the blog for the next one, probably in about 2-3 months.    April is my birthday month and we went to South Wales for a few days which rather slowed me up completing my ATC, especially as after a fabulous few days I went and tripped full length on the car park during a rest stop on the way home!  My arms took most of the fall and luckily I don’t seem to have set my sciatica off again but – honestly – I am a danger to myself!!

Firstly let me show you my ATC – the theme was “Home” and so quite open to interpretation. After a short ridiculously long ‘think’ I decided that I am very happy at home when sitting in front of the window in my craft room, sewing, with a large mug of tea at my side! I hope my swap partner likes it!

fabric applique of sewing machine

my ideal day at home!

As I said, it was also my birthday at the end of this month and so I enjoyed myself whilst watching Create and Craft one day by spending some birthday money (thanks Mum!) on this lovely book by Janet Clare.  All the quilts and embroidery pieces are inspired by nature and it’s a very interesting read as well as really making me want to start one of the projects RIGHT NOW!!

Book of Quilts to sew

Birthday Book

The book has all the information for making your own mixed media art pieces as well as quilts.  There are plenty of instructions, such as for ageing fabric and for applique work and also lots of templates to use as you wish.   Two of the quilts which I really want to attempt first are the “Joys of Spring” and “Nature’s Beauties

Pastel quilt with flowers appliqued

Joys of Spring Quilt


I thought I would make my own version of the nature quilt and this spring season is a good time to start taking some photos for my ideas.  The garden has bluebells growing just now so I think they would make a lovely pretty applique!

Well now I am linking up with Handmade Monday at Lucy Blossom Crafts and I’ve just remembered that I need to finish my HM ATC and send it to Lucy, I wonder how many she has received yet?!!


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 – I 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 – what 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 – you guessed it! – geometrical 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!

Blanket Making and Fingerless Gloves

Well as it has turned out I am not doing the Liverpool fair I thought I’d b etter get my items on my Folksy shop!  Gosh it’s a lot of work!  First trying to set up a bright space for taking  the pics, editing them. then writing all the product details up, measuring the items etc!  I’ve only managed to add a couple of new one so far!  It’s not doing my tennis crochet elbow any good either 🙁  I couldn’t mange to write a post last week ‘cos my arm is so sore, but on the bright side, my sciatica has finally gone 🙂

I did manage to make myself another pair of fingerless gloves/arm warmers!

pink, purple, teal and green crocheted fingerless gloves

Fingerless Gloves / Arm Warmers


I am hoping my arm improves soon though as I was so taken with the warm autumnal colours in the Attic 24 Cosy Blanket I ordered the pack!   It arrived in a couple of days in a lovely organza bag and I can’t wait to start it.  As yet I am not sure whether to make the actual Cosy Blanket which Lucy is doing as a CAL from next week, or whether to finally make the ‘As we go stripey blanket’ by Not Your Average Crochet which lots of people were making a few months ago?


Organza bag og wool

Wool Warehouse delivery in Organza bag!

opened bag of wool

Woolly Goodness!

Hopefully by next week I will have made a start one way or the other! Now over to Handmade Monday!

Ocean and Coral Crochet in the Garden

What a lovely day today after torrential rain yesterday! I am sitting in the garden with my new crochet project, writing my blog post and drinking a cup of tea on the swingy seat! I am using cool oceanic and coral crochet colours which is quite restful on the eyes in the glare of the sun!   I think I may have mentioned before how much I love sitting in my little hideaway at the bottom of the garden 🙂 There are birds on the grass right by me, eating the cherries from our tree!!! Every year they eat them before we do and I swear they reccy the tree for weeks leading up to them ripening and then sit on the fence squawking out the information to their cronies! On the day most cherries turn purple and yummy, if we are not at home, we will come back to a bare tree!

cherries ripening in the sun

this is a small selection of the tree!

This is my crochet – I am using a lovely soft cotton and acrylic mix by Cygnet. It is going to be a holiday bag but it’s so soft and comfy while I am making it I feel I should turn it into a summer blanket!  We are going on the ferry to France and an oceanic and coral coloured bag seemed just the thing, but then so would a cosy blanket for snoozing under on the journey!

crochet bag

this is the bag base with all the colours to use

Oh well decisions!  I will have a think whilst watching Dolly Parton at Glastonbury!  Later I’ll be popping over to Handmade Monday for a catch up with the other blogs.  Hope everyone is having a lovely Glasto-watching weekend too!

Finishing WiPs! – Pixie Coat!

I have been on a roll this week as I finished two WiPs!!  (Only about another 7 to go 🙂  ) Firstly I just had to show off my finished Pixie Coat.  My friend was delighted with it and asked me to upload it to facebook so if you want to see all the pics pop over to my page, The Patchwork Fairy.    But here are some anyway!

pixie coat

Kate posing in her coat!








Then we have me showing how it fans out from the back!

back view of pixie coat

me showing the twirl factor !









I put some felt applique flowers on the back which I sewed over free form embroidery style.  On the front I needle felted a penguin as Kate loves penguins and collects penguiny things!

needle felted red penguin

Needle Felted Penguin









The children at the nursery where Kate works are going to get quite a surprise when she walks in tomorrow!

I am very pleased with the coat, it was the third one I have made. Not all of the jumpers felted properly but as they were my friend’s late Aunty’s  jumpers which I specifically wanted to use for her I went ahead and it’s worked out ok I think! Whilst I would answer any questions about making the coats I am not going to write a tutorial as it wouldn’t be fair to Katwise who is the originator of the coats. So, if anyone fancies making a coat from upcycled jumpers I would recommend buying the Katwise tutorial – it’s a very entertaining read as well as informative!

My other finish this week was a picnic blanket and matching bag.  The stash I recently inherited contained a fabric sample book like you see in a curtain shop.  It was full of rectangles of what looks like 1960s/70s fabric – it has the information sheet intact with a house all done out in the fabric!  It’s not what  wanted for my house but it is great for outside so I carefully pulled all the samples out of the book, washed and ironed them all and then sewed them into a patchwork mat.  There was one large piece which was at the front of the book which has made a great bag for carrying it in.

picnic mat
picnic mat
waterproof backing on mat

waterproof backing on mat

matching bag with matching lining
matching bag with matching lining


folded picnic mat showing waterproof backing

folded picnic mat showing waterproof backing










I can’t take credit for the waterproof backing idea as it’s a shower curtain and I read about this idea on Vicky Myers’ blog!  It’s a very quick and easy way to damp-proof your mat!  I even lined the bag with the curtain too so when the mat goes back in dirty I can wipe the bag clean easily!













That’s all for this week!  As usual I am off to Handmade Monday!  See you there? x


I’ve not done a lot this week.  I decided my quillie rug needed more swiss rolls making so I have been cutting up strips from felted charity shop jumpers!  Charity shops are great for getting materials to work with as long as you take time to check the composition of each item. So many times I have found a beautiful wool jumper only to see it is ‘superwash’ which means it won’t felt!

There was a wool blanket in one local shop for a couple of pounds which would make lots of strips for a rug!  I didn’t buy it though as I have been in the loft and reclaimed 3 huge wool blankets which where my mother-in-laws and which we used for camping carpet and play tents when the children were small.  These should felt up nicely!

I also found a suitcase full of my wool from years ago when I knitted and crocheted a lot of things.  It is all in good condition apart from a musty ‘loft’ smell. Same applies to charity shop wool – it often smells funny to me so I don’t buy it.  I don’t know if you can wash balls of wool without ruining them or whether I should crochet them up into things then wash the finished item?  Can anyone offer any advice on how to make this wool pleasant again?   Hopefully I can reclaim this old stash as it must add up to a fair amount of money in today’s prices!

I’ve also bought a couple of really good quality cotton shirts recently which will make beautiful patchwork fabric!  If you’ve never investigated your local charity shops I would recommend it next time you want some fabric. Even a cotton dress for around £3 will yield plenty of fabric for patchwork or to make bags.

I did manage to finish one WIP this week!  A sundress for me – made from an Abakhan remnant and some lilac cotton jersey from my stash and a home made pattern based on another charity shop sundress!  It actually fits and two people have admired it and asked where I bought it!

I’m now off to the Handmade Monday Linky!!


sundress in poppy flower fabric

sundress in cotton with stretch cotton jersey bodice and straps!

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