Friday, 31 January 2014

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama's moment and here's mine...

{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Vintage sheet giant log cabin.

There was no pressing urgency to finish this quilt, but there was so little left to do that I finished it anyway. It's always good to finish things.

This one started back here, and comes out in rainbow colour order.
 (And it isn't that I'm avoiding Theo's quilt. That's coming on quite fast now, the quilting isn't everything I might have dreamed of, but it's done. And I've half finished the binding. But I'm only working on that when Theo isn't around, since although he knows I'm making him a quilt he hasn't seen it yet.)

This one is just backed with a nice, easy vintage sheet.

And almost all of the fabrics on the front are from vintage sheets too. The red at the centre of my 'rainbow' is from an old, old scrap I scavenged from my Mum's old fabric stash, and there's an old table cloth in there too.

It's quite small so the square spiral quilting was very straightforward. All in all it was a very well behaved quilt.

And definitely this large log cabin design is one I'll do again with different fabric/colour choices. There's another lovely blog I'm going to link up with today - My Quilt Infatuation on 'Needle and Thread Thursday'. There are so many beautiful quilts there to have a browse through (try the 'My Quilts' link along the top), including a few along the same design lines as my little picnic quilt here - have a look at this one:

By a strange coincidence this was the very same quilt that set me off wanting to try this giant log cabin design in the first place (only I spotted it via 'The Crafty Pod' initially, which is where the link in my first post took you, so it's great to be sending you off on a link straight to the source this time around!).

Anyway, hopefully you can now see why I want to try the design again in a different fabric/colour choice. Watch this space!

And I'll be back tomorrow with a photo, Sally.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A feel good quilt

I really wanted the song for today to be 'It's a new dawn, it's a new day.....and I'm feeling good!' And although it started off a bit wobbly, it did improve and ended up pretty good.

It helped that, instead of diving straight back in with Theo's pig of a quilt, I started off by finishing this quilt top instead.

It began back here as my antidote to Theo's quilt and it certainly worked that way today too. It's been my feel good quilt so far! It was incredibly simple but I really like it. And I've got a very clear idea of how I want to quilt it too. The one thing I'm still not sure on is the binding. Last chance to help me out here - do I go with a safe, plain yellow, or a more daring contrast (torquiose or purple perhaps?) or go with the black and white fabric I've been leaning towards?

What do you think?

I think I'll play around with this kind of idea for a quilt again in the near future, but in a more random way. I really like different views of the quilt when it's not all spread out, when it is looking more random.

And the cat is a fan too!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced again today for WIP Wednesday. And I'll be back again tomorrow, Sally.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

A mad buy!

It's not been a good day today. Nothing terrible, nobody ill, the house hasn't burned down, I haven't crashed the car - just a nothing going right kind of day. A feeling useless and uninspired kind of day. Which wasn't the best timing because I did think I might do a post today largely about 'inspiration'. Clearly I am not in the best frame of mind to make a good job of that, so it's been postponed!

I'm not sure what has been the problem today - the incessant rain and Theo's quilt are obvious sore points. The incessant rain is fairly self explanatory. And as for Theo's quilt, I got it out this morning and the quilting I did last week looked rubbish! Completely and utterly rubbish. It had to be unpicked! Unfortunately, after I'd spent ages unpicking, I didn't do much better trying to re-quilt it today. Most likely I'll get it out tomorrow and decide it needs unpicking again!

You see what I mean? I'm in a 'can't do', defeatist and defeated kind of mood! There have been lots of other, niggly little things along the way too. And then, of course, I didn't have anything planned for tea and so, clearly in the mood I'm in, I couldn't think of anything to make. And even the contents of the fridge were uninspiring! Do you have days like that?

My post on 'Inspiration' was going to be tied up with a new mini quilt, based very much around one of my favourite quotes. But if I had to have a quote for today it might very well come from the Carpenters song - 'Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down'! Possibly the opening line - 'Talking to myself and feeling old'! I wonder what a mini quilt for that quote might look like?!

Anyway, I'm sure you don't want to read any more of my depressing bleating (although I could 'happily' bleat quite a bit more!). So I'll get to the only point of this post.

In my bleak state of mind I ended up taking a quick trip to the tip/dump/recycling centre - I've had a load of things that needed to be taken for a while (I've been putting it off), and today I accidentally broke a very large piece of glass in a very large picture frame (another of the niggly things that went wrong), so I decided I'd really better go there and get rid of all the dangerous sharp bits of glass too (after I'd cut myself on one, of course!).

As well as recycling waste they also have bits and pieces for sale. And today, in my nothing going right mood, I found my strangest, recycled buy ever. A mini clock tower.

When I say mini - it's not actually that mini. It's probably 3 feet high. Goodness knows what I'm going to do with it, BUT it was sitting out in the rain looking just as pathetic and sorry for itself as I felt, with water streaming down it. It seems to be made of marine ply so it's sort of designed for outside I would think, but, as you can see, it's not finished, and it would definitely have deteriorated fast if left out in the rain for long. I couldn't leave it there! Especially as they only wanted £4 for it!

It's got a clock on 2 faces. Here's the other one:

One of them is missing it's round piece of glass. And then the other 2 faces of the tower are blank. I really, really, really don't have a clue what I'm going to do with it. Harry will think I'm completely bonkers! I would ask for suggestions, but probably the only suggestions anyone would come up with would be along the lines of - 'Take it back to the tip, you idiot!' - so I won't ask!

So, I'm afraid that's it for today. Hopefully tomorrow will be better!


Monday, 27 January 2014

Flower Hexagon Mini Quilt

I had quite a few moments over the weekend when I squeezed in little bits of hand sewing, so I thought I'd show you where I'm up to with my mini flower hexagon quilt (started here).

I got all the hexagons sewn together, and now have a huge amount of respect for anyone who makes an entire quilt this way! Once they were all secure I removed the paper hexagons.

Here's the reverse

Today I started on the quilting side of it. First off I cut out a piece of old wool blanket for the middle.

I cut this slightly smaller because I'm not planning on binding this quilt, so I wanted to be sure the white didn't show through between the outer 2 layers once it's finished.

Obviously it's perfectly possible to bind a hexie quilt, but because of the shape it would be much more fiddly than usual, whichever way I did it. I think my favourite way I've seen of doing it is like this:

On pinterest here
But, since this is a mini quilt destined to hang on the wall, the back is never going to show. So doing something like that seems a bit over the top to me. And since the hexies all have a 'hem' turned under from the paper piecing already, I thought I'd be lazy and just use a piece of wool for the backing and sew the layers together very carefully around the edge. If it looks rubbish I'll have to have a quick rethink!

Anyway back to the quilting. Next up I cut out my backing from a piece of a good, yellow wool blanket.

You might notice there's a slight gap on one side of one hexie. I'd like to say this is deliberate, or even perhaps that Maria decided she'd help me and snipped it off, but neither would be true.

I'm not quite sure what happened, one second it was going to be the exact size and then the next I'd stupidly chopped the wrong bit! But, as I said, the back is never going to show, and I really couldn't be bothered to cut another piece out from the start - I'm very lazy! So I decided once I've finished it I'll put something on that patch which will also work as a way of hanging it up - no idea what yet mind you!

So, again, back to the quilting. I really like quilting mini quilts because they're so much easier to manoeuvre through the sewing machine (given their small size obviously), so I always feel much more confident about trying something a bit more interesting and detailed than I might usually. I decided I'd quilt mini flowers in each of the hexagons. I drew my petal shapes in first (water soluble pen at the ready).

And then they were quite straightforward to machine sew.

Here's the first one done:

But that's as far as I got today I'm afraid, 18 more to go, and then a quote to add.

I've got a bit of child free time tomorrow, so I'm hoping to crack on with Theo's quilt. If only it were as easy to quilt as this one!


Friday, 24 January 2014

This Moment

A link to Soulemama's moment and here's mine...

{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Snowflake Star

I know, I know, I wasn't going to post anything today. But, I had a newsletter from Piggy & Dirt e-mailed to me today. They have an Etsy shop which sells beautiful glass stars. I've bought a couple of stars from them in the past and now I'm on their mailing list. Anyway, it reminded me that I bought one of their stars as a Christmas present for someone this year, but I liked it too much and decided I had to keep it for myself.

It looks much better in daylight, especially with sunshine streaming through it.

Only it's been sitting in a cupboard and not hanging up looking gorgeous. And, especially as it has a little snowflake in the centre, I thought it would be perfect as part of my post-Christmas Winter decorating and decided it had to be hung up straight away.

Not only that, but it needed a quick little make to go with it. So, while the tea was in the oven, I sewed up an easy little Winter banner to hang with it.

Another photo that could have done with a bit of natural light!
 It's still looking a little on the bare side, maybe it needs a few more snowflakes? Anyway. the banner is from some lovely soft wool (a skirt in a previous life), just with white fabric letters sewn on to it.

And I thought I'd really better share it all with you straight away, rather than wait for some sunshine for my photos, because my Piggy and Dirt newsletter informed me that they are having a brief 20% off sale at the moment. It's only until 25th January, the code is LOVE2014, in honour of Valentine's Day - they have lots of heart themed stars at the moment. So if you're struggling to think of a present for someone, or just love stars yourself, go and have a look at their shop. They do have lots of beautiful stars, like this one for instance:

Now this is obviously how to take a photo!

 That's it for tonight. Back tomorrow with that photo still, and then maybe I'll skip Saturday instead of today!


PS By the way, if you're wondering, I've still got quite a lot to do on Theo's quilt. My 4 hours sewing dwindled away to more like 2 what with one thing and another. I managed to get the middle section quilted, which I'm really hoping is going to be the trickiest bit out of the way now - it wasn't much fun. So still quite a bit of quilting to go and the binding. But Theo is very forgiving and happy to wait. And he seems to have had a good birthday anyway.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Insect Quilt Back

I'm going to try and be brief tonight since it's a bit late. Quick update on Theo's insect quilt. I finished the front on Monday (it's looking good, but you'll have to wait for the whole quilt to be finished to see it properly, you can see half of it here in my previous post). Yesterday and today I've been working on the back. I wanted to make the back quite personal in some way and decided to have a go at doing a picture of Theo on there. It seemed like a good idea at the time!

I used this photo from the Summer as my inspiration.

It's a photo I love and it's a very typical Theo stance. I also thought it might be relatively easy, given that it's mainly in silhouette, and I could see how I could adapt it to an insect themed picture. I drew the outline on bondaweb, ironed it on to a plain white piece of fabric and cut it out carefully. Then I ironed it on to a different white piece of fabric - the shades are slightly different so the outline stands out a little. And then I machine embroidered around it and added some detail - hair, eyes etc. I didn't do very well taking photos but here it is slightly further down the line.

The bondaweb process transposed the picture.
I added grass and a dragonfly for Theo to be intent upon, and I thought I'd better give him some clothes and pop his name on there - just so people actually realise it's supposed to be him! (You can see a wet patch around his name in the photo above, I'd just rinsed off the soluble pen marks I'd used to guide my sewing.)

Here he is a bit closer.

I found it very difficult to capture a really good likeness in such a simple, black and white, line drawing. I was itching to put some paint on there to help me, but unfortunately I didn't think that was a good option on a quilt that will need washing regularly. I was very tempted to try and add some shading with more stitching too but I wasn't confident enough that it would improve things so I decided to keep it as it was. It's not perfect but I do see a little bit of Theo in there (Maria didn't help matters - when I asked her who she thought it was she went through about 10 different people before suggesting Theo!).

Today I've been building up from the picture to create the whole quilt back - mainly log cabin style. I like the way it kind of frames the picture with this design. Here are a few photos of the process.

I managed to incorporate some of my reject wonky blocks into the plan, the ones I quite liked!

And I finally got it finished late tonight. I'm afraid I found it almost impossible to take a photo of it laid out on the floor. It's too big and there was no one else awake to hold it up for me. So the angle on this photo makes it look pretty weird...

But it does actually look really good and I'm happy with it. Only problem is, his birthday is tomorrow. I've got about 4 hours during the day when I'm child free and I can ignore all housework and try and get it finished. But I'm not sure that'll be enough to put it together, quilt it and bind it. Especially as it is so large. And especially as I don't know how I'm going to quilt it yet - how I'd like to quilt the back isn't at all how I'd want to quilt the front, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I'm going to sleep on it and hope I wake up with a solution.

I might skip a post tomorrow (unless by some miracle I get the quilt finished and photographed - don't hold your breath!) so most likely I'll be back Friday with a photo for the week.


PS Linking up with a slightly late WIP Wednesday over on Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Snowy Winter Appliques

During Autumn I had pumpkins and other Autumn themed decorations dotted around the house. They stayed out right through to Christmas decorations going up. Now the Christmas decorations have come down the house is feeling  a little on the bare side and in need of some new  dressing – Winter dressing. And I came up with a plan inspired by another of our children’s books – Snowflakes.

It’s a very sweet book about a little girl who moves from her home in the city to a very different new home in the country. It’s all strange and she feels like she doesn’t fit in. But it begins to snow and she realises that, just as ‘every snowflake is different, every snowflake is perfect’, she may be different but she’s perfect as well. This is one of the values that we've always most tried to encourage the children to have. To stay true to their own individuality (and boy, are they all strong individuals!) and also to accept others' differences and individuality too. So I love this story. And I also love the illustrations. I think they capture the emotions of the characters really well, and particularly they capture the magic and joy of snow. Here are a couple to hopefully show you what I mean.

This next one is possibly my favourite.

It just makes me desperate for it to snow round here so we can go sledging!

And I've used it to make a sketch which I'm going to convert into an applique picture.

And I have plans for 2 more simple applique pictures. A nice, easy snowman which I've started...

And a snowflake, which again I've started but not got too far with yet either...

I'm using bondaweb to hold the fabric in place, then I'll be machine stitching around it.
I used a very basic snowflake template (here) to get me started with the snowflake, and then I made it slightly more intricate. I'm going to embroider the words from the book - 'Every snowflake is different, every snowflake is perfect' - underneath the snowflake.

All 3 pictures are going to go in embroidery hoops and hang together in a little group on the wall. I think they'll look lovely, just got to get them done.

Back again tomorrow, Sally.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Froggy Inspiration

Supposedly it's been the most depressing day of the year today - Blue Monday. We've had sunshine here again today and it hasn't felt at all depressing. But Maria and I have also been reading (quite a few times!) one of our favourite books:

It's been a favourite with all the children and is quite well worn!
And if we had been at all depressed this would have cheered us up without a doubt!

How could anyone be miserable when faced with this handsome, happy frog?

Have you read it?

If you have then hopefully you'll know what I mean. If you haven't, and you have young children, look out for a copy (look out for a copy even if you don't have young children!).

Anyway, after reading it the 5th or 6th time today I decided that it would be very good inspiration for a mini quilt. A special mini quilt in defiance of Blue Monday. I haven't got very far with the idea so far. I'm not sure whether or not to go with one of the pictures in the book or a different frog. Perhaps something like this:
Maria and I had a little drawing session together earlier which allowed me to have a go at a quick sketch, but I'm not sure yet. I like this frog and I like the book frog. I think I need to sleep on it and maybe decide what fabric I'm going to use first.

But it just goes to show quilt inspiration can come from all sorts of areas. I often find children's books are an excellent source. There's another make I have on the go at the moment from a different children's book, if I get myself organised I might get it to a point I can show you tomorrow. Back then, Sally.