Sunday, 29 May 2011

A couple of finishes (woohoo!)

Before I got pregnant I worked for a big financial services company. During this time (15 years!) I don't think anyone would have ever said "You know Ceri, she's the one that's great at finishing things off!". People generally play to their strengths, and finishing things off just isn't one of mine.

The thing is I've decided (with the arrival of Felix) to try a different lifestyle for a while and I'm not part of a team any more (who used to help with me with the finishing off!) I'm just me, so I have to curb my natural tendency to always pick new ideas at the expense of finishing old ones.

Anyway, in the spirit of this, I decided not to doing anything new this weekend, and have so far completed the two outstanding projects - the cushions I showed you as work in progress in the last post.

There's still quite a list of "started-but-not finisheds" in the fabric pile, but I felt that with two finishes under my belt I could quite legitimately reward myself with a large pile of fabric when we went to IKEA today - don't you agree?


PS Possibly two of my strengths are: a) shopping and b) presenting a convincing argument :)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Work in progress every other Wednesday #6

Here's the latest update (lots of starts, very few finishes - what does that say about me?!) linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced!
Completed projects:
One - the Bee Blocks for the first month of Brit Bee.  Those of you who read my post entitled "My difficult Love-affair with half-square triangles" will know that it was with some trepidation that I tackled these!  They are done and winging their way to Trudi, and actually I'm pretty happy with them. I won't pretend it was an epiphany and Half-Square Triangles are now easy-peasy, but careful prep did cut down unpicking time substantially (although not altogether!).  Bee rules, no pictures allowed until all blocks have been received, so he is a little close-up so you can see the gorgeous fabrics that Trudi sent us to use.

 Work in progress:
  • Sliced Coins quilt.Still no progress.
  • Supernova quilt-along. Oh no, this one has also stalled due to more pressing things on my list, but actually my brother's baby is due on 13th June so could be here anytime now, I'd better pull my socks up!
  • Baby quilts for the shop - You've seen the progress with the second baby quilt it is.. still deciding whether to sash in white, grey or natural linen...need to get of the fence, Ceri!
  • Cushions for the shop - two more underway here. For the first, I opted for something simple with similar colours to another I made for the shop that sold quickly. Here's the top, it will be backed in dark grey soft furnishing fabric with a contrast binding on the envelope.
For the second, I thought I'd try something different as I've been meaning to try Ticker tape quilts since seeing all the bottled rainbow quilts online.  This cushion top used natural linen as a base with scraps from my bag.  I love the fact that this one was kind of free, since I didn't cut into any new fabric!  It took longer than the pieced ones but arranging the scraps of fabric was really fun, I'll see if this one sells because I could definitely turn out more of these. (note: loose threads have since been removed and it looks a lot better!)
  • Dress a girl around the world.  As a reminder, this is a project to make a simple pillowcase dress that can be sent to areas of poverty so that all little girls can own a lovely outfit.  Here are a couple of girls rocking their outfits in Haiti.
Louise from Sew Scrumptious is organising a mass sew-along to make as many dresses as possible to donate to this cause. So if you fancy taking up the challenge, go visit Louise's blog and volunteer.. oh and click here to see the tutorial for the dress if you're undecided as to whether you're up to it!

I've got the pattern sorted and picked two selections of fabric, and this is where I need some help..
I picked fabrics that I have enough of, and that aren't too precious because, not being a dressmaker, I am not sure I'm going to get it right first time!

Option A is a piece of vintage cotton with an autumn leaf print that my next-door neighbour donated to feed my fabric addiction.  To jazz it up a bit, I thought I'd top and tail the dress with two bands of this snazzy fabric that picks out the greens, browns and oranges in the leaf print.  But, as you can see, it's not exactly  traditional girly dress colours

Option B is a safer choice of a pink flowery print, probably with a fuchsia pink band around the bottom.  But there's bound to be lots of dresses like this one!

So which would you go for?  Alternative autumn or safe and summery?

Votes very much appreciated so I can stop dithering and get on with it :)


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Car booty!

OK, so third date is going fine so far (see previous post if you are totally confused by this statement!) and all my half square triangles are stitched and trimmed.   I struggled to think of an original "in progress" photo (following bee rules and not giving away what's been stitched) so instead opted for the cute factor and snapped a couple of aforementioned half square triangles on sleeping Felix! She is so darned cute I couldn't resist (yes, yes, I know all mums say that!)

Other than that, no sewing progress. Our weekends are taken up with the lovely George and Kaitlyn who are James' children so we spent this morning at a car boot sale which is their idea of heaven (do you know how much stuff you can buy for £1 if you really try??!!).  They came away loaded with a sword/gun, a blue pony, a spider and web, sticky things that you throw at windows etc etc whilst I found the following vintage bargains:

A set of 4 drinking glasses

And this gorgeous set of egg cosies (I'm not sure how useful these are, but how cool is the fabric?)

Before I got pregnant I used to sell at antiques and collectables fairs (mostly vintage handbags and 50s/60s stuff) so these items are both destined for the basement until I find time to do one again!

Poor old James bravely pushed Felix around and kept her occupied whilst the three of us ran excitedly from stall to stall (or is that boot to boot?), so I've just made him kedgeree with smoked haddock from Hastings old town to make it up to him :)


Thursday, 19 May 2011

My difficult love affair with Half-Square triangles

For those of you not in the know, a half square triangle is a square patchwork block made up of two triangles sewn together.    Here's my story..

The glance across a crowded room
By itself a half square triangle is not that impressive, but put a load of them together and be a bit clever about how you arrange them, and you can come up with all sorts of lovely patterns. I've seen them on Flickr, I've seen them on blogger, and I so want to try these myself!

The first date - rose tinted spectacles
I first tackled these in the Supernova quilt (still to be finished) and although I realised that if you are not precise there will be compatibility issues (trouble matching the points of the triangles when you come to sew them together!), the triangles were small and manageable, and the fabrics forgiving. As a result, I was in love.

The difficult second date
OK, so I thought I'd have a practice before the all important THIRD date (see below).  This time, with baby quilt No.2 for the shop.  I stuck with rainbow colours, but opted for a diamond design inspired by one I spotted here at the quilt festival.  I painstakingly trimmed my triangles (ahem!), and stitched what I thought were perfect 1/4 " seams, but to no avail. ....imagine much cursing, pinning, stretching of fabric and unpicking etc. I must have unpicked at least 50% of the seams in order to get everything to match.  Arrrgh!!!!! The second date has gone on too long, stretching over two evenings so far, and I've still got to do the borders, decide on a back, quilt it and bind it....

But heck, I do still love the half-square triangle..which is a good job as I've already committed to a third date...

The important third date
It turns out that the first block for the Brit Bee is made up of half square triangles. I'm half excited and half petrified - wish me luck girls, it's tonight!


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Bloggers quilt festival and flip-flop faux-pas seems last Wednesday's post in which I introduced the rainbow baby quilt has been permanently eaten by  I'm not whingeing though, because I used to work in IT and I know just how this happens, and also because it gives me an excuse to put another picture of it here, and enter it in Amy's Bloggers online quilt festival!.    If you've seen this quilt before, feel free to skip down to the next paragraph to read about flip-flops :)
For those who haven't seen this before, this rainbow baby quilt measures 25" x 32" and is the first quilt I've submitted to the local craft gallery that is stocking some of my stuff.  I tried to keep the colours gender neutral as I guess this will likely be bought as a gift.  It's backed in a grey linen with a rainbow stripe and even though I kept it simple to keep costs down, I totally love it :) and fortunately they liked it too -  it was still a bit of a wrench handing it over the counter last week :)

Nothing new to show you on the sewing front this weekend, we've had a weekend of shopping.  Today we went to Canterbury to track down some Habitat lights for the new kitchen and whilst wandering through the town centre, guess what I saw?  A sign for "The sewing shop" - my eyes light up and I bound gleefully over to the shop, only to be sadly disappointed as it's closed.  Obviously I felt obliged to press my nose to the window and gaze at the fabrics whilst my family pretended they don't know me.

I then glanced down and to my horror, look what I saw:

I mean, seriously, who does this?! I can't believe that I left the house with two different flip-flops on and didn't even notice....what a fruit-loop.

Gave me an excuse to pop into a cool shop and add to my flip flop family though :)

PS If you get a moment, click here to be transported to the quilt festival and be inspired by all the lovely work!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Happy toes

See those toes?  You may not be able to tell from the picture, but those are happy toes....because

a) I completed the main piece of my Supernova top last night
b) I purchased a walking foot for my machine so I can quilt this baby
c) My other baby only got me up once in the night (trust me, this is good going, based on recent form!)

Happy Sunday!

:) x

Friday, 6 May 2011

Sorry Lizzy!

James forgot Lizzy's birthday.  I say James because Lizzy is his gorgeous little sister, but probably our responsibility is joint :).  So sorry Lizzy, as a tiny little gesture to make it up to you, I used Felix's sleep time today to stitch up a couple of rug mugs (coasters!) for you and Tommy in your favourite colour....can you guess whose is whose?

Yet more productivity - I have been stitching like a frenzied stitchy woman (imagine smoke pouring from the sewing machine and more than a couple of unpicked seams) over the last couple of nights and have almost got the supernova quilt top together (pictures in the next day or so I hope).  For a little light relief I also pieced the mini rainbow baby quilt I'm working on, and for something so simple I'm kind of in love with it...I hope that's not too arrogant!  we all love what we sew (sometimes!) don't we?


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Work in progress (every other) wednesday #4

Is it that time again?  Blimey. I find myself constantly amazed and impressed by how productive some people in blog-world are, completing quilts nearly every week..anyway, here's my (slightly less impressive!) run-down .. (linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly pieced!)

Projects Completed:


  • Bee Block for Miriam in Bee Europa.  Miriam asked us to use this picture as inspiration

and I came up with this - extra points if you can spot the piece of the picture I used?  (James failed this test - not sure if that's down to his fabric related concentration issues, or my sewing.... )

In doing this, I had to give myself a crash course in piecing curves and circles as Miriam prefers piecing to applique.  The circles and I had a minor punch-up, but we're sort of friends again now :)

Work in progress:
  • Sliced Coins quilt.Still no progress.  I fear I have moved on.
  • Supernova quilt-along.   Progress, but not as fast as I would like it!  All the coloured blocks are complete and I've decided on a colour order, and started stitching the blocks together..
  I was originally intending to follow the traditional rainbow sequence (Richard of York etc) but mum-in-law and mum both thought the red was probably too close to the orange. Have rearranged them to mix the colours up.  This also works better for my border which is going to be bright solids that match the square they are bordering (if that makes sense).  I've also bought this print for the back and this stripey fabric for the binding. Just a small case of sewing it all together now (ha ha)
  • Baby quilt for shop - I'm going to make one to start with and test the appetite for this sort of thing in the little shop in Hastings.  Here's the decisions so far: Colours - rainbow (hoping it will appeal to both sexes!), Design - simple stripey blocks, nothing complicated because I need to make a little profit! Size - finding this a bit tricky, the shop owner thought small buggy/pram blankets would go well, so I'm going 22"x28" (or thereabouts!).  Here's the cut pieces so far...

Projects taken on but not yet started (worryingly a growing list!):
  • Dress a girl around the world
  • Dining room chair cushions for my brother
  • Bench cushion for my oldest friend (clarify: the one I've known the longest, she's not ancient!)
  • Brit Bee - the first block for Trudi is a LynneBobSquarepants block by Lynne (aka Lily's Quilts).   Trudi has very kindly cut the fabric and given us good instructions, but I'm still worried about my seams not matching!  More on this one when I start it!
  • Sock monsters (like the original Mr Stripey) for my friend Sarah to give to two little girls she knows.  I think the brief will be pink so I'm on the lookout for pink stripey socks!
Crack on...