Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year, all.  

May 2014 be all that you want it to be.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Yesterday Morning ...

...after the boys had gone to school I sat down at my sewing machine and made this.  A member of staff at one of the boys' schools is retiring and over the years we've had many laughs and shared many things  - one of them being a mutual love of, yes, donkeys (I feel as if I'm at a confessional!).    Anything hand-made is slightly more personal and, love them or hate them, a mug rug is the perfect answer for someone of my sewing ability.  So without further ado, here is the aforementioned object.

I love Laurie Wisbrun's fabric designs.  I've had this stashed for ages.

I backed it with something I picked up in a fabric store in Bude, Cornwall, one holiday.   I think it's a polycotton.  It's bound with my favourite Architextures in black (soon to appear as a quilt binding).


I also had just enough of this ribbon in my stash - very timely, I thought. 

Have a lovely weekend, all.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

All kinds of deliciousness...

My eldest went back to school today, so I was up much earlier than of late.  Rather than head straight for the computer with my first cup of tea (as is my wont), this morning I sat down next to the open french doors with this...  

...and savoured the early morning stillness.   The air was still cool, but the sunshine hinted at the temperatures predicted later today here in the South East.

My younger son and I then enjoyed this..

..for breakfast.  Sunshine on a plate for me (yes, one of those evocations of mine, as is the smokiness of my ubiquitous cup of redbush tea - I've always one at my elbow).

Now on to business!  We've just had an wonderful family holiday where we visited old friends and spent a long time with not-often-enough-seen family.  There were a few quilty opportunities on this holiday.  I visited the actual bricks-and-mortar...

look at these Kona cottons

My camera phone pics really don't do this store justice.  Light, bright and spacious - and with bolts and bolts and bolts of wonderful fabric.  There is a squashy sofa area with lots of magazines.  The cutting table in the centre is enormous.  There were some incredible quilts on the walls - unfortunately pics not usable. To the two lovely, helpful ladies who we spoke to and who gave us great holiday tips too - thank you.

Off to the park now to enjoy the sunshine - more fabric bliss next time. 


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Here's another one I finished earlier...

...many, many months earlier.  

This is a quilt I made for my eldest son.  The fabric is one of my favourites, Shweshwe, a traditional South African waxed fabric.  As I grew up there, the smell and look of the fabric is incredibly evocative for me and will forever be associated with memories of singing sunshine and cool interiors of houses.    

The traditional colours of Shweshwe were indigo, red and brown.  Now it's also available in bright pinks, oranges and purples, amongst others.  A wide selection can be found here.  Every now and then limited edition prints are brought out - for example I have a pair of Nelson Mandela print cushions, and gave an American friend an Obama print cushion. 

As mentioned, Shweshwe is waxed, which means it has to be washed at a fairly high temperature before using.  Serious fray alert too. 
The pattern is from one of Pam & Nicky Lintott's jelly roll quilt books.  I cut the strips myself and alternated Kona white and Essex stone linen in the blocks.  The border is solid Shweshwe - not easy to find - I found it at last year's Knitting & Stitching Show at Ally Pally and snapped up the lot.  

what's left on the design wall after the cats had attempted to scale it...
cat photo or quilt photo?
 I had to be patient in finding the right binding for this quilt too - and once I found it there was no doubt - I almost had to wait for it to be designed!  It's Sarah Jane's Stripes in red from her "Children at Play" line.  

The back is no more than a poly-cotton navy sheet.  I can't believe how difficult it was to find a cotton sheet.  I quilted in the ditch with YSL Soft Touch in a gentle stone colour.  

spot the legacy of the cat in this picture!

 My son is very pleased with his quilt, although he has subsequently decided to change the colours in his bedroom.  Never mind, the quilt looks lovely on the chair on the upstairs landing, next to the bookshelf containing all my quilting books.  It just needs a cushion to match!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Sooo frustrating....

....nothing new to show!.   The plans were all good - my quilting buddy was coming round for a day of crafting and spot of lunch - the sewing machine was good to go and I planned to spend the day basting and quilting my previously blogged WIP (I always think big!).   My littlest man wasn't well so I kept him home.  No problem.

The problems began when I laid the backing, wadding and top onto the dining table and couldn't get them to fit.  My eminently sensible friend suggested we lay everything out flat on the lawn to see what was amiss.  What WAS amiss was the the backing wasn't big enough - I thought I'd finished it!

I'd put everything away, so well that I couldn't find ANY of the original fabric I'd used.  So there's some that doesn't match (we are talking white here - my friend observed that I was anal about some things that she would let go ...).   I then started piecing, or should I say unpicking.....every little piece, I got something wrong, sometimes more than once... and this is making-it-up-as-you-go-along type sewing.  The only rules were my rules - and I got them wrong.

So, nothing to showcase, except Truffle giving the batting the seal of approval*.

*Quilter's Dream Cotton

However, we did have a lovely lunch and agreed that Gu baked cheesecake desserts are the best!  We're brainstorming ideas for the surfeit of Gu pots that we both seem to be accumulating....ideas welcome!

Oh, and I did order the binding for the quilt.  A clue, it features the words Architextures and Sketch in the fabric description.   

Thursday, 6 June 2013

After a fairly lengthy blogging hiatus...

...I'm back.  Yay.  In spite of no recent blog posts I have been extremely (creatively) busy. 

I took part in my very first swap - The Very Berry Handmade ATC Swap.  Thank you so much Ali for organising and co-ordinating such a fun swap.  There is so much inspiring talent out there.

I received this: 

from Jackie - incorporating all my favourite elements - irises, Liberty prints, beading, bright colours and a dragonfly.  Thank you Jackie, it's beautiful.

I sent this:

to Chris at UK City Crafter  (a blog choc-full of gorgeous and very accomplished craftiness).  Chris, thank you for your lovely feedback - hugely appreciated :-)

This swap was a stretch for me, firstly once again putting myself out there (still getting used to that) and secondly, sewing on such a diddy scale.  I was amazed at how much I enjoyed it (shoulders hunched over my Bernina, Bernina, Bernina of an evening)!   I also enjoyed the knitting - I initially started out on bigger needles and eventually visited a local yarn shop, requesting "the smallest DPN's you have, please".  Many (many) attempts later I had a little t-shirt I was happy to use.  The merino yarn I'd bought back in Easter from a lovely little yarn shop on the canal in Bude, North Cornwall.  The liberty prints were from my stash - I'd no idea I had so much green. 

Now for the next bit of creative busyness - those of you who've glanced at my Flickr stream will no doubt have spotted some dolls - Blythe dolls to be exact.   Two months ago I had never heard of Blythe.  Whilst browsing a quilting blog (can't remember which) I came across a doll - and followed a thread - which led me into a phenomenally creative world of fashion, photography and art - all encompassed in a doll!   I've rediscovered knitting (I've been churning out dolly knits), I've been sewing and designing little dresses and skirts, and my next aim is to seriously improve my photography skills - which can only benefit these blog shots of mine!   Playing with colours and techniques on a smaller scale is fun and I especially enjoy the more frequent satisfaction of projects rapidly completed in the midst of the ongoing (enjoyable) maelstrom of family, work and school that is my life.  For those interested more can be found here.

I'm now ready for a big project again and my next quilt will be......
(tell you next time x).