quilt

A little quilting … bit of a faff this time! Very little crafting indeed this week.

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It’s been a quiet week craftwise,  with much time taken up elsewhere with family illness and a little bit of work.

 

A few weeks ago I began a machine stitched baby playmat.  I kept the urge back to post pics here as I was planning to post when it was finished.  I briefly worked on the playmat two days ago, a little time for me and for my sanity! I still have a little way to go – craftwise that it, sanity well who can tell!

The playmat was supposed to be a quick and easy project.  A few weeks ago, the piecing went well, fabulous fabric donated by a friend.  I pieced the front, THEN I accidently cut the backing too small!  Grrr, I dashed out and purchased an alternative fabric.  I sewed the back and front together like a pillowcase, intending to pop in  the wadding and simply do some formed of ‘tied’ quilting.  That’s where I had left it until this week.

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So what’s a magazine got to do with quilting? There are no sewing patterns in this one ….

Have you ever tried to insert wadding through a small gap in one side of a pillowcase shape and try and make it reach all the edges?  It doesn’t work – wadding is way too flexible.  It clung to the fabric in all the wrong places. I had imagined it would be like putting a duvet in a duvet cover.  It isn’t!  I ended up flipping the ‘pillowcase’ inside out again and attempted to tack the wadding to the wrong side of the front of the playmat. There was one major hurdle – I had to avoid tacking the wadding to both the front and the back as I then wanted to flip it right side out, seam the gap and then tie the quilt as planned.  Some might say ‘why didn’t she just undo the seam around the whole thing and tack the wadding to one part?’  I have no idea why I didn’t do that! So, this wasn’t like a standard quilt where you have three layers and then bind the edges afterwards. I came up with this weird method of inserting a magazine into the gap and moving it beneath each part as I tacked.  I could pin and tack through the wadding and the front without the pins and stitches going right through to the other layer.  Here’s a pic mid process with a hint of what the back will look like.

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A touch of dotty blue makes the back a calm colour . What colours do you think the top will be?

I shall finish this before the recipient arrives in June.  I had just run out of me time this week and was slightly traumatised by the effort this took!

Watch this blog for the finished article.

Total other craftings this week – three hexagon shapes cut and tacked to card for my hand quilted hexi project.  Long way to go on this one.  Twelve rows of knitting, shaping armholes for an ongoing project. Not so much to still do, the bulk is done. I am just at the fiddly parts, not a project to take when hospital visiting. I have a new one for just that next time.

Bye for now.

 

Heirlooms? No Family Crafted Items survived, but memories do. A little current patchwork therapy too !

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I just read a lovely post, Blankets and Blessings, by thechickengrandma.wordpress.com and it has made me feel thoughtful about life, past and present (reblogged here on my site for interest and musings).

We all come from somewhere and someone.  When we are gone what do we pass on?

What kind of material history do we leave?  Some people say it’s not the material stuff that matters, and true, memories might matter more.  However, I am sure I am not the only one who would love to have more physical reminders occasionally.

I lost both parents (a mother and a stepfather I considered as my father for 30 years) but I often still feel a little lost myself, like a ship without a compass. I am in my 40’s, with a family of my own, and siblings too.  My parents were great influences, and of course I took them for granted, as all children do. I have many wonderful memories, and can pull those up in times of sadness.  I also have a couple of pieces of jewellery, of no value at all apart from sentimental.

There wasn’t a big collection of family hand me downs, not a heirloom christening gown, wedding dresses, memory quilts.  My mother and grandmother crafted all the time, however, nothing much was really kept.  Once it outgrew it’s purpose or fashion changed,  it was usually gifted to charity (that in itself is a kind and brilliant thing).   Perhaps some would say this was also a blessing, my siblings probably would, clearing the house there was lots of ‘stuff’. I kind of miss my grandmother’s handmade hexi quilt for one thing. I remember her making it, showing me how to cut hexigan shapes with card and cover them in fabric and I remember the quilt on her spare bed. Indeed, I have used this method myself to quilt and it reminds me of her (see below!). I miss my mother’s wedding dress. She had made it herself in 1961, though that’s a whole story in itself (my mother and true father divorced and my sister and I as children were allowed to play dressing up with her wedding dress!)   My mother sewed and knitted, she dabbled with macrame, tatting, crochet, many other things.  I remember she made floral displays from coloured stockings and wire (one even for her best friend’s wedding tiara!).  She made cards too sometimes.  She was pretty much an all-rounder craftwise (oh the hundreds of tea cosies she made for a local charity shop too.. flew off their shelves like hot cakes!) Nan was slightly less so, but she still knitted and sewed, and as a keen WI member she baked cakes and made jam, even writing this I can smell her kitchen.  The one thing I have of my Nan’s is a mixing bowl and I love using it occasionally, though also terrified of accidently breaking it as well. My Dad’s material legacy to me is very little, it’s more things he said and things he did that make me smile.

So, what will my own craft legacy be – if anything?  I knit, I sew, I dabble.  I have a son who has never wanted to craft and has no interest in anything I make.  I have a husband who tolerates the crafting chaos, and fakes an interest in completed items! I have gifted various knitted and sewn things to friends over the years and currently am doing so for new babies in the family and for friends.  Perhaps they will become their family heirlooms, or perhaps not.  Who knows?  I would like to think in years ahead someone might find something I made in a long lost storage box and be delighted to rediscover it!

Many current WIPS. One is this …..

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I started with a few hexagons about six years ago, a project that was going to be a large cushion, but having rediscovered it I am going to make a lot more and turn it all into a throw for a sofa.  Not an urgent project, more like an ergonomic past time that will be dipped into over months and years!  Don’t expect to see the finished item here too soon! 

Signing out for now. Feeling nostalgic having had a couple of recent big family celebrations.
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A week of stitching

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Over the Easter weekend I was poorly, but I did get a little stitching in before the weekend and a lot (a lot!) since then. I’ve been having a sewfest (if there is a word – or if there isn’t one, there should be).  It’s been like an obsession.  Whenever I could I sat and stitched, pieced fabrics together, played with design,  patchworked, quilted, sorted fabrics, etc.  I’ve made mistakes, undone the mistakes, restitched, rejigged old patterns, browsed sewing books and so on and so on.  It’s been total indulgence in my crafting world.

I started with the beginnings of a bright green and orange quilted playmat, the cutest nursery prints, mostly fabrics donated to me by a very good friend.  She heard I was sorting out my stash and thought she would add to it. It was so much fun chopping up fabric and piecing it back together.  The top went well and I was on a roll!  In fact, we sat and quilted together. The backing was not quite as successful… more later.

Next I undid a peg bag I had started two weeks ago – I wasn’t pleased with it, slightly skew on the measurings.

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Second time lucky – ta dah!

 

Then I was sorting through some more of the fabric from the same friend. I found the beginnings of a baby patchwork quilt – I asked what she might have been making and for whom – she couldn’t remember! There were random sized strips stitched together – the prettiest designs in pinks and yellows.  I turned it into a bag, lining it with dotty pink fabric from my stash (so I did get to use some of my fabric after all).  I tried to follow a pattern in a book – which presumed you knew a lot about making bags – well, that was fun (sarcastically said, there was more than one attempt with the lining and a lot of frustration!)  Still, you learn a lot as you go sometimes, and I learnt a lot this time!.

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Then I still had some of the same fabric left.  I pieced it, backed it, quilted it, chopped it, added a zip – and voila – a fabric pouch. I based this on a previous project, which I still use as a make up pouch.  However, my own one had nasty raw seams inside.  This one, has posh french seaming. Having only done french seams once before I was quite proud of myself. Now who wouldn’t be happy to have this for girly bits and bobs such as hair accessories?

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And then that pouch got a brother – in blues and greens – maybe not for hair accessories this time –  for a picnic bag/day out bag to store tissues and wet wipes 

You can see a few things went well.  Back to the first project, that baby quilt.  I attempted the backing, totally off kilter – I was still feeling under the weather.  I should never craft when I am poorly. Whether it’s sewing or knitting, it just does not go well! So, off came No 1 backing.  A trip to a fabric shop later (why is it sometimes your stash does just not have the right fabric for the job?)  and No 2 backing was perfect.  Just to add the quilt padding, stitching the opening and then maybe hand tying, or maybe not – when finished it will be on show here.

As for what’s going on around me the rest of the week? We are currently having a new roof on our house.  There is noise and chaos surrounding me! I am squirrelled away indoors.  Occasionally I step out of the front door, look up for falling debris, before offering the roofers more tea and biscuits.  A happy builder is one full of tea and biscuits I find! So far, so good. Two skips full of 80+year clay tiles, one wasps nest discovered.

Bye for now.  Back to creating.

Quilted beginning of something .. a few weeks of creation and a show of textile artistry.

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Quilted beginning of something

I haven’t decided what it’s going to be yet!

 

I just discovered this draft blog post from a while ago – I was ‘cleaning’ up things on my laptop – I can’t believe I missed posting this.  I guess at the time my blogging practice was poor or the internet signal failed and I just didn’t remember to press ‘send’ .  What a fail!

Well, this lovely piece of patchwork turned into a sewing machine cover.  I have been sewing quite a lot over the last two weeks and every time I reveal my machine it brings me a little delight.

I have a Juki HZL-e80 machine purchased a few years ago from World of Sewing in Bromley, Kent.  https://www.worldofsewing.com

Yesterday, whilst sewing with a friend – a lovely day spent together quilting – more to follow on my next post about that – we were chatting about what we like about our machines and why we bought them.  For me, it was several things – the automatic needle threader,  thread cutter attachment, the use of a stop/start button as an alternative to a foot pedal, the fact you can slow the sewing speed down (from hare to a tortoise!), the selection of embroidery stitches, the weight of the machine – at the time it was a huge leap up from my second hand old Singer which had been struggling on for eons!  I guess, you can make more with the correct tools.  I was so fed up with my old machine grabbing the thread around the bobbin spool and it was clunky and so heavy to move from the cupboard to the table.

I am so inspired by what I see friends make and from the online world, either through blogs or Pinterest (there’s how to lose a few hours!).  I have been loving my latest creative weeks – there are not enough hours in the day to sew and to knit!  I am between ‘real’ jobs and it’s been marvellous to just enjoy creating and trying to use some of my fabric and yarn stash.

I love to see what others make – even considered eventually opening my own Etsy shop, but that’s a long way off.

At a recent trip to a local craft fair – a recce to see what sells (!) – there was a fantastic textile exhibition.  I loved one person’s work in particular, which included a mini hexagan patchwork quilt (no photo here), embroidery of the most colourful kind, and other embroideries on reclaimed antimassacars !  Adding just a few photos – on this occasion real snapshots only.

I hope you like what you see here.

 

A little sewing progress

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I’ve been under the weather so not written for a few days and have a little catching up to do in many ways.

I was able to get a couple of crafty things done, in between resting and being a mum for a few days now Number 1 son (and only son) is home for the Easter holidays.

Two mini embroidery hoops, stitched, embroideryhoopssewn, already popped to the local cafe to add to their collection of pretty things for sale.  I am so lucky to showcase my items for sale, love The Teashop at Downe, for this opportunity. (And I have sold a couple of tiny items so that’s a good start!) I am still keeping to the ‘teashop’ ‘cakeshop’ theme deliberately.  These are about 10cm in diameter, they looked fabulous hanging from little hooks on the dresser in the shop!

Over two days I finished knitting another top down baby cardigan – a replica of one I made a couple of weeks ago. That worked out fine, using a finer yarn so the top came out smaller, which was perfect.  I tried to sew the buttons on the day after the knitting was done, in the fug of being under the weather.  Ha ha, crafting was not a good idea that day!  Even three buttons was a challenge.  You know those days when you can’t sew on buttons to match the buttonholes?   It was one of those. So, a job for today and to show here when finished.   Great pattern on Ravelry.com All-In-One Sleeveless Baby Top (6 months) & (9 – 12 months) by marianna mel

I also have plans to make a small quilted playmat for another friend’s baby due in the summer.  We’ve just been told to expect a boy so I have a great selection of ‘boys’ fabric in my stash and a lovely friend has donated more so watch this space.  I am a basic patchworker so look at the fabric rather than the technique when you see it!

Ta ta for now. Have a great day.

 

 

Quilted beginning of something

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So, again it’s being a while since I blogged.  Dare I say I am back on track and intend to be back on WordPress more often?  I was having a mini cupboard sort out (that’s a mini sort out, not a sort out of a mini cupboard!) and found these little star quilted patches.  I put them together, added the long strips either side then ran out of steam …. I think when I made them (a few years ago now), as well as having a play with fabric and a new craft book, I thought I would make a quilt.  Ha ha ha, say those who know me, rolling their eyes skyward.  Another over ambitious project.  I absolutely love blues and whites together so this time I thought maybe ‘a cushion cover’, then realize i do not have a space in a room where blue and white would be shown off to effect.  I am now thinking of either a knitting needle case, making sure the stars are uppermost so I can see them every time I go into my craft room or maybe a sewing machine cover. I am learning not be over ambitious with my crafting.  I may have many projects but none are large and many are portable. 

In the last month my crocheted granny square blanket has grown, though the aran wool is warm to work with so that has been put aside in favour of a DROPs cotton shrug or wrap – I say either as it is being created as I work on it. For non knitters that may sound weird, but there may be other knitters who will understand!  It began as a tunic top, though working from a girls pattern rather than a ladies, despite sizing it upwards, it has not grown enough and I know it will not fit me as a tunic top.  I love the colours – teal, raspberry and lime green (sounds ghastly, watch this space!) and I will not rip it back, so I shall get to a certain point and decide what it will eventually become. 

I have also nearly finished a fabric summer top.  You see, I have been busy making rather than blogging!  I have also been getting stuck into a new ‘real’ job, travelling up to London three days a week.  I knit or crochet on the train and bus, get a few strange looks along the way, and have only been approached with interest once!  I don’t think there are many fellow travelers around my way who craft or maybe there WIPs are too big to bring along!  Who knows?!Image

Granny Squares is my latest thing …. this week anyway!

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I haven’t blogged for a while… oops …. Life, eh?!   New job and all the stresses so far …

My knitting has come to a halt. My sewing has come to a halt.  I am going great guns with a little crochet at the moment though.  I think it was the need for something portable that fuelled this and last weeks granny square frenzy.  I was wondering just what to take whilst travelling on the bus and train recently.  I have a purple cardigan on knitting pins which kind of called out to me but I decided it was just too bulky to carry every day. I’d gotten to the sewing up stage and I know that is something I can never contemplate whilst travelling!  Sewing is probably the worst part of knitting to me.  I put it off time and time again!

A ‘lifetime’ ago I used to have a daily commute of 90mins and I went through a phase of enjoying hand quilting.  I remember the pile of hexagons in my bag, on my lap, falling on the floor, the hunt for the missing sewing needle ….. I must have been a nightmare fellow traveler but in the bliss of youth didn’t give it a second thought! Then I moved onto knitting (hurrah), resurrecting a craft I had neglected for years.  It was so fab for me – all that time just sitting in one place – happily knitting away – chatting to friends around me (I was one of those who commuted the same long distance regularly, collecting fellow commuters as friends along the way – oh it was a ball some mornings! I even gained a boyfriend on this journey, years before I was married of course!  He and hubby are not one and the same, thank goodness.)   The knitting was definitely more successful, though the occasional dropped knitting needle was a real ache!  Of course, the days the needles went were those when I was sat next to strangers, those usually grumpy middle aged men in suits who were not impressed to be asked to stand up whilst I rooted inbetween our seat cushions!  As I said, I was probably not a great fellow passenger then but didn’t realize it.  I apologise if you were one of those asked to move on the 06.37 Hastings to Cannon Street train in the early 1990’s.

So, recent train journeys are much shorter and so far I have not made ‘friends’ with others, but I have noticed some surreptitious glances my way – whether this is wonder or horror at what I am doing I have yet to work out.  Sharing this with my teenage son he reckons it was horror, but then he reckons his mum is just not ‘normal’, ha ha.  I shall not change who I am, I love living in a woolly place and to sit idle is just not ‘me’.

A pile of granny squares in the pic … this is just the beginning.