Saturday, 6 February 2016

Quick Makes & Stitch & Craft Show Visit

My week....
I've sewn all my strips together for the panels of my French Braid/ Jelly Roll quilt. Now for a "stitch in the ditch" fest!
I made a few quick items towards the goodies for my quilt club's May event.
Shopping bags......
Children's bags and aprons....
Handy pouches with clear zip pockets. 
Credit and thanks for this idea goes to my blogging buddy 
Event City Trip
Yesterday we took advantage of my 2 free tickets and ventured over to Manchester to visit the Stitch & Craft Show at Event City. I had arranged to go with a friend but her health intervened so I am adding the following pics as a taste for her of a little of what she missed. (Get well soon too!)  It was a good show with so much to see, exhibitions, trade stands and make and takes. The catering facilities were increased and, very wisely, there were groups of 3 or 4 seats suitably placed all around the halls as rest areas.
It was well worth visiting and a step up to last year as we found so much to interest us other than the trade stands. 
Check it out if you fancy a visit as I think it is still on tomorrow.

First a few of my favourite pieces .....

Close up of the detail of fabulous machining skills.

This little panel was beautifully hand embroidered and quite a jewel amongst all the machine stitching.

The following pieces were entries in a competition with "Glimpses of Scotland" as the subject.

This delicate panel was stitched on a piece of an old pianola roll

The detail of this collage of stitched postcards was amazing and it was wonderful to see how this lady, from Denmark, really captured the essence of her holidays in Scotland.

Pauline Walsh produced a really imaginative piece inspired by the distorted image through a glass of whisky.
This pheasant was beautifully stitched and the tiny heather flowers were exquisite.

Here is the winning entry....very imaginative, good fun and well executed but not one I would have chosen or would have on my wall.
I enjoyed seeing the costumes from "Far from the Madding Crowd" but I couldn't believe how tiny the waists were. It's hard to judge from the photos but they must have only been 20 inch at the most.

Over all a good show and my only complaint..... 
I scoured all the trade stands looking for 100% cotton quilting thread and there was only one stand selling any thread at all and that was bog basic cheapo polyester. 
All that fabric to sew and not a reel of thread worthy of using to sew it.

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Cross in my Pocket & Instructions

A couple of years ago I made these little pocket crosses for some special friends and I was pleased that they all loved and treasured them. 
Since then, I was really amazed how that single post has generated so much interest from people all over the world who wanted to make them.
Recently, I made a few more and once again the demand spread amongst friends.
 I decided to update my template, as I had amended various details whilst working on these latest examples, so the new instructions follow.

Make them with love, as I did, and give thanks for all the good things you have.
Now that I am sewing a lot I used some pretty remnants from my fabric stash to make the little pouches, instead of the card wallets I used to make.
Make sure the ribbon is only 3mm wide
You can see in the next photo that the bottom two examples look far neater than the top two.
I have also added one extra square above the cross bar, now making 4 (instead of the 3 in the previous template) which I think gives better balance. 
You can see below.....
It is a bid fiddly to cut them out and the little bits of plastic canvas shoot everywhere but think of it as an act of love! It is a pleasure to see them take form as the ribbon is threaded into the squares and once you've made one or two it really becomes an easy task.

The plastic canvas comes in squares of various sizes but works out very cheaply per cross, for example Abakhan stores, at present, sell a piece 12 inches x 18 inches for £2.60 so that would make approximately a couple of dozen, which would be about 10p each and ribbon would add around another 50p.

If, like me, you manage to count incorrectly and snip the wrong square then the plastic can be patched together (as long as the patch is behind the ribbon areas) by stitching or carefully gluing with Superglue to save wastage. 
Below is my new template sketch...

Here's the special little poem which accompanies the crosses.

Here's a shortened version that can be used;

Here's a little cross
To hold each time you pray
Keep it safely in it's pocket
And close to you all day.
A token of our friendship
And of God's love for you
A reminder He is always there
Your whole life through.


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Quick & Easy Patchwork Bag in Batik & Friday Smile

I've been playing around trying to replicate a bag I spotted at a quilt show in Germany. I couldn't figure out exactly how to make it but managed to transform the patch work panel I prepared into this  finished product.
I don't know if it is right or wrong but it turned into a very simple effective bag construction to make from scraps.
I'm calling it the Twin Peaks Bag! A quick and easy make for gifts or charity sales.
The panel could be plain, fully patchworked and quilted to choice. Whatever!
Mine is made from left over 2 inch Batik strips.
I made a panel approximately 11 inches x 33 inches (22 strips of 2 inches before sewing quarter inch seams).
It was then lined and lightly wadded ... ( or could use Vilene interfacing)
Below, I have laid strips of paper purely to indicate the folds........
Then the Left side is taken up to the top edge, and the Right side down to bottom edge, to first produce this shape......
then it is folded across the central diagonal (bottom left to top right of the purple lining) to produce the bag shape below...

With just two diagonal seams to stitch up, the body of the bag is made.
Add a fastener and a handle and  it will be complete.
The bag can easily be sized up or down. Try it out in newspaper first to see if it is correct before making the panel to size.
TIP! An inside pocket can be added before the lining is sewn in.. just check the positioning.

               Blooming Gorgeous Bargains & Friday Smile
Adding my smile on to Annie's weekly fun as, since I posted this, I found out that Standfast & Barracks factory shop, in Lancaster, will reopen on Saturday after the flooding they suffered in December. 
I buy my Liberty fabrics there at bargain prices and I am in need of stocks to make a king size quilt for my daughter as a wedding gift. I've been longing to get cracking on it but so sad to hear that the shop had been through so much. They have also taken the opportunity to refurbish their shop so there will be a Gala Re-opening Day on Saturday... and I will be there. Yes! I am a fabric-holic!

Shopping in Morrisons last week, I spotted these roses reduced to £2.50 (for 15 blooms) I was almost dancing in the aisles. I didn't expect them to last more than a few days but almost a week later they are still glorious.
The patchwork panel on the coffee table is my latest project. I finally undid the ribbon on the jelly roll I won last year and started a French Braid quilt. I'm really enjoying making it and the first strip went together so quickly.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Liberty Christmas Tree & Weeping Windows Poppies

I know, I know.... you can call me mad but I really did think I was finished with Christmas 2015 until I spotted these little Liberty Fabric Trees on pinterest. I am obsessed with Liberty's Tana Lawn and have recently finished my 3rd quilt so I have lots of scraps which will be perfect to use up on these little beauties. I just had to have a trial run so I would have a sample to remind me to make more at the end of this year. They are so quick to make and will be ideal fund raisers, bazaar sellers etc. I think I'll use star buttons for the toppers to keep the vintage look. Must remember to save all my old cotton reels.
Click to see the full information in my November post about the 
(part of the installation which were at the Tower of London)
Only one more week left to see them in Liverpool as they will then be moved to another city after 17th January.

Over Christmas I heard an appeal on BBC Radio Merseyside requesting people to make poppies towards and installation within St George's Hall, which will follow after the Weeping Windows move on.
The appeal was a bit late, as everyone is so busy over the holidays, and the closing date was 9th January, but the ladies of our quiltiing group managed to make a small collection.
Sadly when I delivered them, with only one day to go,  only around 20 others had been handed in towards the project.
Our few included felt poppies, silk, machine and hand embroidery and even some beading. Thanks to everyone who participated and now we'll wait to see just what comes of them.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Patchwork Table Centre & Last of the Christmas Makes

Almost forgot to post pics of this table centre, which I spotted in plenty on pinterest and which is so easy to make. Last of the Christmas makes from me but I'm adding it here as it can be made from suitable fabrics to suit your home decor or table setting for a special dinner, to use all year round, not just for Christmas.
It can be made smaller or slightly larger by just changing the size of the squares.
It can also be hung on a door or wall as a wreath.

It would take bread rolls in the slots for a dinnertime table centre and at Christmas it could hold tiny gifts or wrapped chocolates. 
 It is made from twelve each, of two contrasting 6.5 inch fabric squares (it's optional if you add a border (the green) to one as I did). The squares allow quarter inch seams, so will therefore be 6" when stitched and pressed ready to assemble.
I added a square of iron on Vilene to stiffen them before they were stitched together, leaving a gap to turn them inside out before pressing. 
I stitched the openings up with invisible thread and a small zig zag stitch. 

The bottom squares could also be made in patchwork squares. Lots of options to make it to your own style.
 The completed squares are joined by machining together from the centre point of one side to 1.5 inches from the inner corner.(See diagram below)

As you can see the other corners are joined together with tiny bells which are available from Tiger stores or the Works at reasonable cost. Alternately buttons can be used or they can be tied with narrow ribbons.
 I used a battery operated night light inserted into the top of a large candle. Safer and no wax to drip on the fabric below. Large battery operated candles can be bought nowdays but I recessed a small one into a large real candle.

 I had an idea to insert a glass vase into the centre filled with tiny battery operated fairy lights and baubles but as I'd made this so late I never got around to trying it. An idea for next Christmas.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Liberty Quilt and More Christmas Makes

Here's wishing everyone who pauses here to browse, 
a very Happy Healthy, Peaceful, New Year.

May your troubles be less and your lessons be more.

I haven't been around for a while for one reason or another, (mainly travelling) but here's a little catch up post. 
Despite the horrendous flood conditions in many areas of the Lake District we did manage to take our trip before Christmas. We made the decision to continue with our holiday after various appeals called for visitors to keep supporting the economy there, though we did experience some of traumas that the people were going through. It really did bring home their plight and we could see how valiantly they worked to try to get back to normality. We managed to get out and about to areas that escaped the worst of the ravages and the lodge where we stayed was warm and cosy so we enjoyed a good pre Christmas rest. We are certainly the lucky ones and our hearts go out to the families who had to leave their flooded homes in the midst of Winter and poignantly at Christmas time.

I took my sewing machine along with me and almost finished this Liberty Tana Lawn quilt before we returned home. It is random 5inch patches and looks quite vintage in style. I just love stitching Liberty fabric as it handles so well and the designs are fabulous. They all seem to go together so readily and never date.
 The traditional Liberty design "The Strawberry Thief" made an effective border and I just, only just, had enough to go round.
 The reverse showing the lovely backing fabric.

 I also cut a snowflake style motif to applique on to a custom sized mat to fit a small Christmas side table. I machined blanket stitch around the motif in YSL invisible thread. YSL is the best invisible thread I have ever used as it does not tangle or break in use and I  really do recommend it.
After Christmas, I  made another "feather" Christmas Tree in a brighter fabric which looks so much better than the all green of my previous effort.  Not late for Christmas just early for next year!
I decorated yet another Ikea sewing case as a gift for a friend. This time I chose a Japanese theme.
I really enjoyed doodling  the designs on the cases and colouring them. 
My camera broke whilst we were in the Lake District and DH treated me to a new super duper Nikon which meant I could take some pics around Farfield Mill  in Sedburgh, when we visited. 
I was enthralled by these birds which were made from old cutlery, an amazing piece of recycling!

 Note the fish knives in the tail here.
 These smaller birds are created using teaspoons.

 There is always something new at the mill and the standard of the exhibits is exceptional.
Glassware, pottery, textiles, jewelllery, paintings, wood carving, a walk through history with a super cafe over 4 floors of and old water mill.
Well worth a visit.