Sunday, 30 October 2011

Winter Stitching plans - yikes!

There's just about enough time for me to get off the fence and document my Winter Stitching List, for linking up with the lovely Sarah at Fairyface designs.
FairyFace Designs
And I'm going to cheat a little bit by immediately ticking some things off (is that allowed?!)

OK, in vague calendar order:

October: (yes yes, I know I've only got one day, but these lists are supposed to be challenging, right?!)
  • Finish Brit Bee blocks for Laura
  • Stitch a tree block for Johanna in Bee Europa
  • Make a bag for carrying work folders for friend Nikki's birthday, to her specifications - grey denim, a chosen fishy print and teal (if you know Nikki, you'll know the teal is not optional!)
  • Mark II of the hungry caterpillar draft excluder.  You can read about the original here which looked like anything will be an improvement :)

  • Sort out business cards
  • Sorting out a teensy bit of childcare for November (see below for the reason why!) 

Make enough stock for half a craft fair stall (19th November) and extras for a friend's Christmas fair stall the weekend before.  So I'm thinking I'll aim for the following'll be interesting to see how close I get to these!
  • 10 cushions
  • 5 zippy make-up bags
  • 3 Door stops
  • 5 bags of varying difficulty!
  • 10 fabric covered handbag mirrors
  • 20 fabric covered badges
  • 10-20 Christmas decorations 
Plus November Bee Blocks (stars for Ulrike in Bee Europa) and for Brit Bee, we'll have to wait and see as Miss Hadders is keeping it secret!

PLUS finish my chosen cushion and little extra for my partner in the Brit Quilt Pillow fight!  Don't worry partner, if you're reading, this one will get prioritised above the list above!

  • Finishing the stacked coins quilt, which was the first quilt I ever started.

  • Stock for the shops if needed (cushions, doorstops, draught excluders)
  • Chrimble presents (I'm not listing these here, for fear of being found out!)
  • Adding to my solids stash (hopefully with the proceeds of that craft fair)

New year: (it all gets a bit vague from here on!)
  • Find someone to teach me how to screenprint my own designs onto fabric
  • Stipple something (for non-quilty followers, in case you are worried about my intentions, this means to quilt something in a random pattern!)
  • Make a quilt for me inspired by this one
  • Possibly approach another shop
  • Finish the quilt for Felix, made from the Bee Europa flower blocks
  • Decide on what I'm going to ask for in my month of Brit Bee (how exciting!)

Phew!  Eeeek, writing it down was supposed to help, but now I'm panicking...OK...breathe...

Here's a few cheeky things to cross off the list:

Nikki's birthday was yesterday, and she liked her bag! 

Here is Mark II of The Hungry Caterpillar.  He's about half the size girth-wise (that really does sound sleazy)and not quite so ridiculous looking!  If you want him you can find him in "Made in Hastings" unless he's wiggled off the shelf already :)

Sorry about the comedy staging of this photo, taken at the crazy golf with my phone, having forgotten to get a picture before leaving home!

I will report back on the Bee blocks and the child minding situation in a day or two.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Zippy highs and lows

I've been beavering away this week on craft fair and shop stock.  There's lots of cushions but I'll save those for a future post and today will concentrate on a bit of zippyness! 

I thought zippy pouches would be a good craft fair make because they shouldn't take too long and could be reasonably cheap.  However, I needed to conquer my zip phobia first...cue googling "Easy zippy/zip/zipper/zippered pouch tutorials" - try saying that after a glass of wine!.  Having read a few I sat down to give it a go.

This first one uses a 5" zip and scraps from a cushion I was making.  It's not bad, but just ...O....K.  I used a furnishing fabric for the body, which was fine, but the same fabric was too unwieldy for the zip ends which I couldn't get through the machine properly...lesson learnt.

So then I tried a second larger version, using linen and a few scraps, with a PVC inside and a favourite hot pink zip.

First mistake on this one was forgetting to undo the zip before sewing all the pieces together....and then realising that there was NO way I was going to be able to either undo the zip from the reverse, or turn the purse the right way round..."darn it...unpicker, where are you?"

After that little hiccup, it went quite smoothly.  I added boxed corners to make the perfect (ahem) little make-up bag.  Yeay!  I proudly show it to friend Sarah.

She liked it too, I don't know whether she was just being polite or whether she didn't spot it either...but it was only later that I noticed the daft mistake, did you?!

Yep, my flowers are upside down. 


Third attempt, zippy make-up bag for mum-in-law's birthday.  The zip ends aren't so neat on this one (I left them too long I think) but at least the butterfly is the right way up!

I'll least my zip phobia is almost cured!


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Quilting by Powerpoint

Sorry it's been a bit quiet around here...I've spent the week at Mum and Dads and consequently not had much time to sew or read blogs.  I did have marvellous intentions of catching up a little on the HUGE "To-Do" list so on top of all the baby gear, I diligently packed:
  • My sewing machine and all the accoutrement's
  • Fabrics for the commission I am currently working on
  • Interfacing
  • Freezer paper
  • Thread
  • Two pairs of scissors
  • My unpicker
  • Pins and needles
  • Scraps, in case I wanted to start on something else
It was only halfway around the M25 that I realised that progress would be severely limited by the lack of rotary cutter, mat and quilting rulers......DOH!

Grrrr...undeterred...I finished the applique element of the commission (more on that later) and then did some quilting by PowerPoint...

In case you are wondering what I mean, I use PowerPoint (Microsoft presentation software) to draw up designs.  It's probably not totally suited to quilting designs but since I have spent 15 years of my life using it to get messages across I'm reasonably adept at drawing pictures in it!

So first up, here are the designs for the Brit Bee blocks for Miss October.  Laura asked for stars, so I searched my old patchwork books and found the "Eastern star".  A bit of tweaking to use HSTs rather than diamonds and fit the fabrics I's the PowerPoint version

And I have managed to get this one stitched up, so here's the fabric version...

Block 2 is still on PowerPoint only, but I'm thinking something like this...

If I can stretch the fabric,and if it meets the requirements of Miss Laulipops?!

Next I drew up some designs for the Brit Quilt Pillow Swap.  So, mystery any of these appeal to you?

Number 1: Floating squares, bright prints, sashed in white and all set on natural linen

Number 2: I think you like string quilting, so this design is a trellis of string patches (don't pay attention to the colours, this is the subject of another decision!)

Number 3: Simple but stylish, green and grey rectangles and linen

Number 4:  The Wild card, how about one of those stars above?!

Please help me decide, mystery partner!


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A comedy make!

Apparently, draft excluders are all the rage.  Could I make them to sell?  Heck, yeah, I say!  I start thinking of a design.  The obvious (and with hindsight, sensible) route is to cut two long rectangles from your chosen fabrics and stitch together, stuffed with something a little weighty. End pieces are optional.   "Too easy" I think  "my draft excluders need to stand out in the saturated draft excluder market.... "

So I set out to ruin a perfectly decent design...

Are you ready for this picture?

Brace yourself....

for the unveiling of....the return of the Hungry Caterpillar!

Stopped laughing? 

Shall I explain? I thought adding gathers and therefore lumps would look interesting...and I also totally  misjudged the size such that only a show-jumper would be able to enter the room if this were in the doorway.

I had an inkling it wasn't right so it was with trepidation that I showed James.....he looked (and his face twitched) and he said that draught excluders were meant to be smaller and not such a "feature" in a room and that I should chalk this up to experience...

Anyone got any ideas on how I can repurpose this?  or do you think there's a market for "ride-along" draught excluders?!

In other news I've taken the plunge into my first ever swap.  I've steered clear of these so far due to the pile of other sewing commitments I've got...but at lunchtime yesterday decided that I'm way more productive when there's deadlines (it's only taken me until 37 to realise this!) so filled in the form and snuck in at the last minute.   For the uninitiated (Mums etc!) a secret swap is where you make something for a partner (in this case a cushion) based on what you think they'll like and someone else (who will be a mystery until the parcel arrives!) will make one for you.   Here's my inspiration mosaic (to help my partner know what I'd like...)

Now I'm excited!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Liberty lady...

I stopped all other sewing yesterday to make a present for Izzy, who's first birthday it is today, and who's party we went to earlier. 

Izzy is a classy one year old, so the average present just wouldn't do....

I knew which fabric I was going to use straight away, some of the precious Liberty print that was part of "the best Christmas present in recent history" from my Aunty Jane.  Izzy wears cute prints and cardigans so I decided on a sleeveless top. I couldn't find any decent (simple!) patterns so I kind of made one up by tracing round a top of Felix's and cutting the sleeves off. I added a basic box pleat at the front and a vintage narrow bias binding (charity shop bargain 10p!). 

It fits Felix perfectly, but darn it, the child wouldn't model for me, so this is the best picture I could get!

And here are Izzy and Felix at the party....and yes that is some kind of food stuck to Felix's foot, she's a classy lady too!


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Work in progress: A scrappy sorry

It's been many moons since I last posted a "work in progress" Wednesday report, but since I've had a little stitching break, I need a list and I hope this might get me back in the swing of things.. here's what's going on at the sewing machine.

Completed projects

Hmm. Nothing new that I haven't blogged about before.  That's worrying!

Work in progress

1) A bag by me!
Having been inspired by the talented Judith from Rags to Bags and The Bag Making Bible, I've decided to have a crack at designing my own bag.  Here is progress so far on what is turning into a rather large satchel/tote/baby bag.  Hopefully you can see what I'm trying to do here...

I've made and constructed the exterior pieces from furnishing fabric with quilting cotton decoration, including two end sections with lined and gathered pockets. The main body and ends have an ultra heavy weight interfacing on them so they are quite stiff (man, getting those curves through the machine was a fight!). I'm planning on adding a little strap with a snap fastener on it and I've pleated the ends so they sit nicely....but here's where my problem arises:

I was going to do a single wide messenger bag strap from end to end, but now I've pleated those ends, I don't know how to attach it.  I might have to go with two looped straps, one on either side, but then it's not really a messenger or a baby bag...and I know from experience that one strap to loop over the buggy handles is the way to go with baby bags!    So any advice would be much appreciated!  Should I go with the double handle (like a shopper) or do you know any way of neatly attaching a single handle to those ends without losing the pleats...?  At the moment, I'm sticking my head in the sand and making the lining!

2) A scrappy sorry
Ok, here's the tale.  My lovely Mum picked me up some fabric in a charity shop recently.  Here it is, she paid all of a pound for it. 

This Jones family are known for speaking their minds, so I'm afraid to say I was a little sniffy about it. "Oh, thanks."  "Erm....Not sure I'll use it, not my sort of thing" "It's a bit twee" "Was it curtains?" etc etc.

With hindsight, that was a bit mean.  Mum had found me some fabric that she thought I might be able to fussy cut little bits out of, especially the little birds in the borders. which is a good idea.

So today I'm trying to prove myself wrong and apologise to Mum in one go.  I'm making her a mat for the centre of her kitchen table. 

Here is the top, made with linen and other scraps from my scrap drawer, and of course fussy cut birds from the aforementioned fabric!  Since this picture, this has been quilted with two layers of cotton wadding (for heat protection) and a matching mid-blue linen backing. I'm hoping to bind it tonight and get it in the post to her....sorry Mum (she says sheepishly) xxxx

3) Sliced Coins quilt and Bee Europa flower quilt - on hold.

Not started yet (in no particular order, this list is worrying!)
  • Present for Izzy - 1st birthday party this weekend!
  • Skirt for Olive
  • Dining room chair cushions for my brother
  • Bag for Nikki, using grey denim and a fab fish print that she's chosen
  • Trousers for Matthew, next size up
  • A whole heap of stock for a craft fair in November
  • Plus top-ups for the shops and Claire's Christmas market
  • Laura's Star Bee Blocks for September (Brit Bee)
  • Johanna's tree block for September (Bee Europa)
  • Bench cushion for Sian
  • Cushions for Holly
  • More makes for Felix, she's my best advertisement!
I think I could go on, but I'm scaring myself :)

I'm linking up with Lee, visit her linky party for more huge lists and lots of inspiring projects.