Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Japanese Folded Squares & Needle Case Prize

I haven't managed to blog very much of late, as I've been so busy. 
The Brighton wing of my family spent last week with us so I was out and about having fun with the Curly Girlies and I'm still helping out my friend who is ill. 

Here's a catch up of my latest makes before I fly off to Germany tomorrow to visit the rest of my family. I'll be leaving DH home alone to fend for himself and as much as, at first, he enjoys some chill out time on his own, he gets fed up after a couple of days and loves to have me home again. Aaaahh!

Here's my windmill bag, made after I spotted one on Carol's Alcoholinky Blog. Just like me, she has turned to fabric and is making some super stuff . Thanks to Carol who was kind enough to share the secrets of how to make this fun bag. Mine (below) is not yet finished as I haven't decided on details for the handles and fastener. I must say that I do love the zingy colours of the batik fabrics.
With being out and about so much my stitching has mainly been on the go and so I managed a few more hand stitched Japanese folded patchwork squares. 
I was inspired by Lorna, a member of  my quilting group, who made this beautiful black and white quilt using this technique.
The Front View of Lorna's finished quilt....
The back looks good too....
Such a super impressive result. It measures 12 x 19 squares.......228 in total so I still have to make quite a few before mine is finished!

When I posted on 25th March I had stitched 24 squares and by my post of 8th April it was up to 63........ 
so now can you guess my new total to date? 
For the nearest guess there will be a small handmade prize and this is open to all followers, just leave your guess in a comment.
For the prize....
 I will make a needle case for the winner in colours of their choice.
If you don't sew you can choose a note book with a fabric cover and pockets.

Here's the stash all squashed into the basket for you to study..... are there squares underneath or not? That's for me to know and you to GUESS!
Take a look at the earlier posts to see the previous totals.
I'm aiming to make these into a hand stitched double sized quilt and so they will all have to be stitched together. 
What a thrill it will be to finish it but I wonder how long it will take me?
I'll close the voting when I return from Germany and if more than one person guesses correctly I will draw from the correct ones for a winner.

I have already made some needle cases as gifts for my friends.
Tiny 2 1/2 inch squares of batik fabric here which were a bit intricate to finish quite as neatly as the 4 1/2 inch squares.

Triangles of Liberty Tana Lawn for this one.

A bit easier for this one made of recycled vintage dress fabrics.

You too could soon own one of these needle cases... just take a guess at the number of squares to date.

I custom made a small zip pouch to hold all I need to make more squares whilst on my travels so this will come with me to Germany tomorrow.

Bye for now!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

WOYWW 253 & Pirate Party Plans

Hah, Haaarrrh, Me 'Arties!  Splice the Mainbrace!
Yo, Ho, Ho and a Bottle of Rum! Shiver Me Timbers!
For the first time in months and months I have had inky fingers so I thought I'd better get it on record and join in with WOYWW No 253 to record this phenomenon.

 For a full explanation of WOYWW and why so many crafters, from all around the world, join in with this weekly event then a visit to Julia's Stamping Ground will provide all you need to know and lots more besides.

Here on my sunlit desk I was stamping, (yes! I did say stamping) little tags to go on the fabric bags which is my DD2's idea and an unusual way to invite all the little children to my little grand daughter's birthday party. It's still a few months away but I need to plan ahead so I can take them with me to Germany when I visit in a few weeks time.
Got a great idea from LLJ to set up a "Walk the Plank" game with blue fabric for the sea! Thanks Jan.
You may guess it's going to be a Pirate Party
These little swag bags will have a tiny bottle inside bearing a message with the invitation details.
I have a reel of skulls and cross bone adhesive tape which may come in handy to wrap up a "pass the parcel" game.
I've also made bigger booty bags, with appliquéd skulls and cross bones, to hold the take home goodies for all the children and inside, amongst other things, will be golden dubloons....ie., chocolate coins.
Here's the Lady Pirate outfit for the birthday girl...... and No! I didn't make it this time as it was a bargain buy in Sainsbury's supermarket, where they now stock some excellent fancy dress costumes.
I've  continued with my hand stitched patchwork project during spare minutes travelling etc., and I have made 63 Japanese Folded patchwork squares. They soon mount up and my total so far took around 3 weeks.
My finishing touch is to share one of my favourite plants in our garden, this beautiful camellia.  My DD2 bought it for me in Woolworths about 20 years ago, when it was about 10 inches high, for just £1.99. It is worth it's weight in gold for all the pleasure it brings each year and I think of DD2 and all my far off family whenever it blooms.

It also reminds me fondly of a lovely, talented, friend who sadly died suddenly around that time, far too early. She also had one in her garden in the just the same position where it could be seen from the living room window.
I leave the carpet of blossoms when they drop on the floor as the birds love to peck the kernels from the centres.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment lately and apologies if I didn't reply due to all my time out visiting my friends in and out of hospital.  I think I might manage to do better this week!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Black Sheep Wools & Fabrics

Last week I finished making this bag, made from the range of fabrics designed by Tim Holtz.
I'd almost finished this table runner which will be converted to a craft seat cover for a friend, just like the one I made for my friend, Neet, recently. (See my earlier post) 
I had heard that my favourite yarn shop had started selling Coats fabrics, so I checked, and amazingly they stocked it so off we toddled to
As I walked in to the new fabric room I had one of those moments when you see someone you know, and I said "Hello, What are you doing here?"!!!  I then realised it was Stuart Hillard who won the Great British Sewing Bee last year on BBC TV. He was so lovely and we had a good chat together by which time I felt as if I really DID know him. He showed me a photo on his iphone of a super  patchwork hanging he's made with dress form shapes die cut from the Tim Holtz Sizzix die, appliqued onto the panels. Really effective.
He was there on a promotional visit in advance of the courses he will soon be giving in the store.
I stocked up on my Tim Holtz fabrics.....
and I also loved the Kaffe Fassett range and this one was perfect to fit in with my Japanese Folded hand stitched squares.
Close up of this "Paperweight" design... I love it.
 My favourite wool shop is now heaven to me now that it also sells such super fabric and haberdashery.
The staff are always so friendly and helpful and they now have an excellent cafe. Their range of quality main brand yarns are all far cheaper than other retailers. 
Perfect for a trip out from further afield, if you are close enough, and there's an ideal parking ground/creche for partners and DH's in the cafe whilst you shop. 
My one and only, long suffering DH (and the best chauffeur I know), sat with a coffee and read his Kindle quite happily.

 I forgot to take more pics but here's the new fabric room....

The eclectic Tim Holtz range in the corner beyond the white post... the stack of bolts I selected are on the cutting table and kept Stacey, in the middle, busy for a while cutting for me!

 The vibrant Kaffe Fassett range in the left corner, below....

Friday, 4 April 2014

Friday Smile, the Field of Hope.

Hello Mountain View..... I'd love you to say Hello!! You pop in so often yet never make contact.
Best wishes from Jo

It's been another busy, stressful week so when we went to visit my friend, who has recently come out of hospital, I thought it would be good for all of us to see the Field of Hope in Sefton Park. 
It was my friend's first step over her door and a big step it was in more ways than one. 
Although she never managed to get out of the car to walk amongst  the daffodils she enjoyed her visit so much and it really lifted her spirits and helped her to feel that this was the first step towards her recovery.
The daffodils were planted quite a few years ago to sponsor Marie Curie services and to give thanks for those who recovered from cancer and also in memory of loved ones.
I ran around for a few minutes snapping haphazardly and enjoying the beautiful, heady smell of field after field of daffodils. I've never seen so many elsewhere and I've never before experienced such a strong fragrance from these cheery Spring flowers.
I hope this cheers you and brings a smile to your face as it did to mine. 
I hope my friends, Brenda and Alison, are soon well again. 
I hope Annie soon moves to her dream house that she waited for so long.
The Field of Hope 
over a million daffodils in Sefton Park
in the heart of Liverpool.