sew

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.

pegbag
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!.

tote

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?

fabricpouches
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.

 

 

NaKniCromo done !

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The Ravelry challenge is over today.  To finish what I started –

 

Day 30 – 30th March 2017 – what crafts would I like to learn? There must be a whole host of undiscovered crafts out there, ones I have never had a whiff of!   I can think of a few I am not interested in but there must be so many more and I look forward to finding them.

Day 31 – today – end results – two completed baby jackets, both photographed recently, three quarters of a cardigan for me, also photographed in progress – that’s one thing I had really hoped to complete!  I have sewn as well as knitted – I made felted doughnuts – 10 large, 10 small, 4 embroidery hoops with freehand machine embroidery and hand stitching, a french stick bag – oh I haven’t photographed that yet – that’s for me to take to our house in France.  It’s taken 10 years of saying ‘I really could do with some kind of long bag to keep our bread in!  I have semi-sorted my yarn stash, been shocked at how much I had and why I purchased a lot of it.  I’ve sold 11 lots of yarn in online auctions and gifted two bags of crafting things to charity. All in all my crafting world at home has been attacked and it felt good.

Spring has sprung here in the UK.  Perhaps a lot of this sorting out has been a little bit of a Spring Clean!  I made an awful mess along the way!

magnolia

 

Books, sewing, family, France, knitting, cooking – in no particular order – what’s important to me

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I knit, I sew, I am a wife, mother, lover of France and French things, I like to cook, I also love to read and belong to a book club.  My book club is not high brow.  Is my book club unusual?  I don’t think so.  I meet friends once a month, we talk about a book or two, we talk about life as well. We take it in turns to choose the book.  We usually avoid biographies and we definitely avoid science fiction.

goodmetravelswith

Over the years we’ve delved into a large handful of titles, sometimes with a similar theme, sometimes not.  We have loved some, hated some, been on the fence about some, wished we hadn’t read some, been embarrassed about some (!)  We all agree sometimes the title/blurb isn’t one we would personally opt for but we all read each others choices.  Well, we all try to read them, very occasionally someone is beaten, either because they are struggling with content or running out of reading time.  (We are all human, no one gets beaten up for not finishing or enjoying a book!)  I took offence at some of the words in Virginia Ironside’s article about book clubs.  Thank goodness the world and it’s inhabitants aren’t all the same!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4261782/Why-hate-book-clubs-author-VIRGINIA-IRONSIDE.html?ito=email_share_article-top

I go to two craft clubs.  One is knit-only.  One is for whatever craft you are enjoying at the moment.  Nobody criticise’s each others work or enjoyment of it.  Are crafters more complimentary to each other?  As Ms Ironside says ‘you get something at the end of a knitting bee’.  I get something at the end of a book club meeting – a good feeling inside that I spent some time with friends

Don’t criticise something somebody else does just because you don’t like it yourself. Respect other people.

pinkgreenknit

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Plans to knit and to sew and to create not just think about it !

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I just read Jenny Stilwell’s blog and it made me think how I didn’t keep up with my own 2016 plans. https://jensewsandknits.com/author/flickchickknits/

I quote ‘Sewing has really fallen by the wayside in 2016 and in the coming year I will be sewing a minimum of 4 hours every week. This will be put in my calender as a normal appointment and I plan on treating it as a work date so cannot be cancelled unless I am away.’

What a great idea.  I have often felt guilty to put my creative time above other things and although I have crafted a lot over the years, I have never formally made time for it unless it has been at a club outside the home.  I have for 2 years given myself ‘me time’ at a lovely craft and coffee club on a Thursday morning – it’s a great meet up of like-minded crafters and we have crafted together and sunk many a cappucino whilst putting the world to rights.  However, it isn’t intense crafting time, distractions are indeed welcome and indeed meeting the others during that time in part is for companionship and inspiration is plentiful.  I do not give up my Thursday mornings unless there is an emergency! However, I just don’t seem to get enough actual crafting done some weeks.  I shall seriously think about popping formal crafting time into my diary just like a work appointment.  Thank you Jen, I feel almost like I have had permission to do so!  Thursdays may become the day for myself and my needles, be it knitting or sewing ones.

Saying that… I haven’t been idle since 2017 began.  Last weekend I made the most gorgeous baby blanket.  I loved it! I loved the yarn! I loved the pattern! I love the finished item!  I feel I have found delight again in knitting.  I have knitted for years, have many WIPs, have had successes and disasters, but this one project was such a pure pleasure to make. It was quick, it worked, it is a gift ready well before the gift date. It is the first of many new projects for 2017.

 

 

 

In need of knitting and sewing therapy – so thankful for this morning

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padded coathangers 2 nov 14What a shattering week it has been.  A week of disappointments and frustrations.  I am over tired, have been over-wrought and thank goodness the week is almost over itself!  (It’s now Saturday afternoon. When do you say your week begins, Sundays or Mondays?  For me it is Mondays.  I digress…)

A frustrating week: buses were late, trains cancelled, colleagues absent, work extreme, teenager a ‘stroppy’ teenager.  The weather turned cold and chilly, the skies were grey all day and to see photos on line of my hubby in the Dubai sunshine enjoying his holiday (oops, business trip!) added to the despair of the week.  Disappointments briefly: work ethic not being appreciated, being a good mother, being a successful wife.  There were a few bright lights, namely a morning spent with friends on Thursday and a satisfying parents evening giving praise to my teenager (no strops that evening from either of us, wahay!).

When I am a lone parent for a few days I revel in the chaos of my life and home.  I rule the roost, I tidy when I want to (usually half an hour before anyone else comes over), I craft more and generally have a ‘break’ from week to week routine.  This week it just has not worked out that way.  The knitting did not take off – I kept running out of time to knit – my time management sucked.  The sewing remained on the dining table space, left neglected and unloved.

So thank goodness for this morning! Look what I made – mine is the navy spotted one.  Four friends met and sewed together.  The lovely Carrie helped us make a padded coathanger (one friend popped in to say hi, sup a coffee and did not stay long, so did not sew).  This has been a project on the back burner for months.  Twice we had arranged to meet and make it but with all of us and our chaotic lives it wasn’t until today that it actually happened.  Friends, sewing needles, fabric, girl heaven.  Therapy in a couple of hours.