Thursday, 31 March 2011

I still love Spoonflower

I still love Spoonflower, the fabric printing website, despite them not putting my Dizzy Dinosaur design through to the next round of the Project Selvage competition!.   This is because:

a) All of the 75 semi-finalist designs are super professional looking.  I was very impressed, and felt all of them were deserving of their place. There are some real gems in the selection and I really think Michael Miller should produce more than one new line of fabric from this competition. Go check it out if you get time.


b) Look at my labels!   

 I printed these using the Spoonflower website because most other fabric label websites I found only allow you to choose text, but not your own logo/fonts.   I ordered a yard and got at least 400 labels, now who's the professional eh?   :)

Til tomorrow x

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

More sewing (and shopping!) than blogging this week

I've been a bit quiet on the blog front this week.  This is because I found that whole evenings were consumed by browsing other blogs, updating Flickr and writing posts and I wasn't actually getting any sewing done.  Please, other bloggers, tell me I am not alone in in this affliction/addiction? :)

Anyway, to redress the balance and more importantly meet the deadline for the cushions I am making for a local shop, I've been a busy stitching bee over the last few evenings.  I've pieced four cushion tops and am going to start on the backs tonight, pictures will follow when they're complete to prove I've not just been bunking off :)

In the meantime, I made a little fabric shopping trip to Eastbourne today.  Felix has decided that sleeping in her cot during the day is "so last month" and therefore trips in the car or buggy are a good way of getting her to have a rest (this is my excuse, and I'm sticking to it).  This was also the last of my splurges on fabric for a while as I've decided not to return to work for a bit.

First stop, a new find, The Owl and Sewing Cat, which stocks a great range of modern US fabrics.   I bought this lovely selection of prints:

Plus some polka dots.  Can one own too many polka dots?  Clearly the answer to this question is no :)

And a couple of fat quarters that I couldn't resist.

I then headed over to C+H fabrics, which have a more standard selection but do my favourite shot cotton in grey which I'm using for the cushions.  I finished their roll (3.9m) and also went for small amounts of other tones to try and break me out of my current grey addiction  - except that another grey linen snuck in somehow - how did that get there? :)

Ooo and to top it all, I found this pattern in a charity shop (for 50p) as Felix and I were wandering about

It's definitely been a successful shopping day :)


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Work in progress wednesday!

Hmmmm, this week there seems to be an awful lot of work in progress, and not a lot getting done!  It's prompted me to link up with WIP Wednesday held over at Freshly Pieced to help me focus on making some decent progress with these projects in the next week!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

OK, here goes:

Work in progress:
  • Sliced coins quilt - this one is on hold until the lovely Metro circles in Fuchsia I've ordered for the backing arrives!
  • Bee Europa March Block - Muriel asked us for a strip rather than a block and sent me these lovely purples. 
 Here's a little sneak preview, it's not quite finished but well on the way

New projects started this week:
  • Cushions - my exciting news this week is that a gorgeous little shop in Hastings Old town wants to stock my cushions (yeay, and double yeay!)  They are taking 4 to start with and like the spring greens used on the sample I sent them.  I managed to cut three cushion tops the other morning when little F had an unusually long sleep.

  • Supernova quiltalong - Here's the fabric selection I'm mulling over for this quilt - 9 stars all in different colourways.  The thing is, I daren't move these piles of fabric from our bedroom floor now, in case I forget what I've decided!

Projects completed this week: (just one!)
  • Charley Harper Quiltalong Mouse for Felix's room.  You can read about this here
Right..back to it :)


Thursday, 17 March 2011

Meet Charley and a growing To-do list

Yeay!  The mouse has arrived! Click here to see the previous work in progress and inspiration for my Charley Harper Quiltalong efforts. And since he is a Charley Harper creation, I had to name my version in his creators honour!   This measures approximately 21 x 18 inches is a wall hanging for Felix's room which is currently lime green and grey but with no other scheme (it used to be our room)  So not only do I now have a piece of wall art, I have the beginnings of a theme for her room (think murals of trees and other woodland creatures!)

For those of you that are interested, here is a run down of how he was created (ignore the next paragraph if you're not!) I used only fabrics from my stash so he's a bit of a freebie...
I pieced strips of patchwork cotton together with a piece of soft brown furnishing fabric (learning: should have interfaced this!).  The hole was marked with a dinner plate, cut out and bound with chenille wool. The leaves are all stash cotton fabrics that have been fused to felt. I machine stitched the detail and only attached them at the centre line so they would stick out and add to the 3D effect.  The lizard is fused and then stitched on - I used my free motion embroidery foot to work his feet. The mouse is pieced, with appliqued nose and eyes and machine stitched whiskers.  The whole piece is lightly quilted with a lime green backing and I intend to add a chocolate brown binding.
He may not be the most sophisticated mouse in town but I think Felix will love him :)

Oooo, and I'm linking up with the fabulous Quilt Story (love their blog!) and Fabric Tuesday to share a little Charley joy :)

Fresh Poppy Design

Now to the growing To-do list.  I got some exciting crafty news yesterday which will add to my list (more about that in another post with any luck) and being a glutton for punishment I've also signed up for the Supernova quiltalong over at Freshly Pieced.  This is a gorgeous looking quilt and doing it will hopefully help me learn a few more techniques!  My brother has asked for a quilt/playmat for his bump (little girl due in June) so I'm thinking this might be the perfect gift!
Supernova Quilt-Along with Freshly Pieced

Yikes, better get cracking!


Monday, 14 March 2011

Plan C (or should that be third time lucky?)

Remember my plan for the Charley Harper Quiltalong? the little mouse.

Well.........last night that mousehole caused me more than a little bother. 

I decided that I want my wall hanging to be textured, so I used a heavyweight but soft furnishing fabric for the background.  I did a few tests with ribbon, string, fabric etc and then opted for a lime green furry trim (which is actually the selvedge from a chenille fabric). Let's call this Plan A....

Because Plan A required me to fix the trim behind the hole, I cut my mousehole first, using a dinner plate for size.  I then machine stitched green furry trim to hole.....

Yikes!  My mousehole became frilly!  This was really not the look I was after.  Possibly strengthening the fabric with interfacing first would have reduced this effect, but too late for me.  

I cut out the green furry trim and went with Plan B for my (slightly bigger) mousehole.  Plan B involved stitching twine to the outside of the hole.

I had tested this but the result.......messy, and because I'd already cut the hole, the edges of the fabric were on show, all too slapdash. 

I went to bed grumpy!

I woke up at 6am with a brain wave, and Plan C was formed. I got up and actually made a start on it before little Felix woke up at 7.  Basically I have bound the edges with a grey chenille wool that I had in my stash, using the largest darning needle I could lay my hands on.  I kept going until the edges and the string from plan B were completely covered...and finally, I like the result!  It's textured and raises up slightly so the mouse really will be in the hole.

Here's progress so far.  The mouse is next, let's hope he's easier :)


Thursday, 10 March 2011

First time for everything (including Charley Harper)

I'm taking part in the Charley Harper Quiltalong.  I thought I'd give this a go because I've never:

a) Built a patchwork block inspired by a picture before
b) Joined in a Quiltalong before
c) Heard of Charley Harper (sorry folks!)

These felt like good reasons to join in, so I set about trying to find an image.  Hmmm more tricky than I thought as there are SO MANY great pictures. Hours later, propped up in bed with my laptop and with multiple google searches (most of which annoyingly also brought back Charlie Sheen!) I had a shortlist of images.  My aim, to make a wall hanging for Felix's room.

Here are some of the nearly picks!.

I had to discard fab book illustrations like this one because they're not really appropriate for a child's room.

And this Otter is uber cute, but not challenging enough, I thought.

Family Owlbum :) sooooo nearly made it....

But instead I opted for colour, and am using a little segment of a woodland scene.  See the bottom left hand corner?

That's what I'm going to base my wall hanging on!

Having decided, I faced my next challenge.  How the heck to set about it?!  I need a plan.....

and here it is!  A mixture of traditional patchwork piecing, applique and free motion stitching (all in my head at the moment!).  I really want to bind the hole that the mouse is looking out of, but have never bound a circle before...anyone done this?  I'd love to hear from you if you have, or if you've got any other ideas for my mouse!


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Sunny day out and new hairclips!

Not much to report on the crafty front today.  Mum and Dad have been visiting and oddly enough I didn't think they'd appreciate it if I sat at the sewing machine all evening, so instead Dad and I thrashed Mum and James at Pictionary (twice).

We did have a lovely sunny day out yesterday in Tenterden and even managed to eat al fresco, as demonstrated by Felix here.

Oh, and I had a lovely surprise yesterday when Mr Postie arrived with a parcel from Supercutetilly - I'd treated myself to some of her 'oh-so-cute' hairclips - which I will hand over to Felix when she's old enough not to eat them, I promise!  In the meantime, they're mine!

Nic's got some more of these, and lots of other lovely tempting things in her folksy shop here.

Thanks Nic, hopefully I can get away with wearing them despite my 37 years :)


Monday, 7 March 2011

Dizzy Dinosaurs

Back to the quilt soon, but on saturday night I tackled another of the "Crafty To-do's" from my ever growing list.  This one was designing a fabric to print using the Spoonflower website.  This would probably have been lower down my list, but I was already on the website, printing InspiredbyFelix labels for my cushions (1m of fabric yields c400 fabric washable labels yeay!).   Anyway, whilst there I spotted "Project Selvage" which is a competition Spoonflower are holding. 

The task is to design a baby boy fabric, the top prize, to design a collection for Michael Miller!   Now, as a relative novice to fabric design, I don't expect to win, or get into the top 75 (on which the public vote), but this competition gave me a focus so I gave it a go.  I've been promised a copy of Illustrator from a friend, but whilst that's on its way, I managed with Powerpoint (years of working in business makes you pretty powerpoint proficient!) and other free Photo programmes. 

After faffing about for a couple of hours, I came up with "Dizzy Dinosaurs"

I have ordered a swatch and entered it into the competition!

Seize the day, I say!


Friday, 4 March 2011

A question of style - free motion stitching

Since seeing all the lovely things that are made using the free-motion machine stitching technique, I decided last week to invest in a special foot for my sewing machine.  It set me back £19.95 (!) so I was somewhat nervous that it would make no difference to my ability to sew interesting shapes!

Here it is, with a spring action to prevent the fabric riding up the needle.

After spending a good ten minutes pondering how to attach the thing, I got started. 

It's early days, but the results are encouraging.  I used iron on interfacing to strengthen some white cotton and some other fabric and then stitched one to the other in various shapes.  I then cut out the shape to reveal the calico underneath. 

What to do with my little shapes?  Well, when I was hugely pregnant with Felix and bored at home I invested in proper badge making machine, so I made use of this and made a few teeny badges.

If you're wondering what the red and green thing is, it was supposed to be a slice of watermelon. A little more practice needed :)

So here's my problem, I'm not sure what my style is when it comes to this sort of thing.  With patchwork I know what I like, and what my signature look is, but with this it feels like I'm starting over (which is not bad, just challenging) ..anyway, I'll persevere and maybe the signature style will pop out somewhere :)
Before you go, head on over to Sew Justine Sew. To celebrate her 100th post she's giving away a gorgeous selection of handmade goodies - definitely worth a visit!


Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A little more quilty progress and a thank you!

First up, here is the latest snap of the baby/lap/little persons quilt I'm working on.  The quilt top is nearly done, it just needs the top and bottom border.  Thank you to James for modelling it :)

But the real thank you is to Tara from Sew Gorgeous for my prize from her giveaway. I won these adorable drawing pins which are destined for my fabric board - I don't know how she thought up doing decorated drawing pins, but I think it's a fabulous idea!

Thanks Tara! 


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Juice of Haddock?

Following my last post with the funny things the kids came out with at the weekend, my Mum emailed to tell me her favourite, and I can't resist publishing it here.  This came from a little boy (now in his 30's!) who's favourite TV programme was......Juice of Haddock!  Get it?    If you're still struggling, the adult translation is at the bottom of this post... :)

Quilt progress now, I've pieced the fabric together in strips with narrow white sashing.  Since taking this pic, I've also cut the rest of the sashing and ironed everything (which took me an age!)

Next step is to put it all together for a finished quilt top yeay!


Juice of Haddock = Dukes of Hazzard