Happy Unbirthday to Meeeeeee!

Good Evening,

What a lovely surprise dropped through my letterbox today. My good friend Claire has been sending out her unbirthday gifts again and I was one of the lucky recipients. Isn’t it gorgeous?

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Claire has been making lots of lovely lavender sachets like this one but mine doesn’t have lavender in it. All perfumes make me sneeze and I have a particular problem with lavender so she made an exception just for me 🙂

Here’s the reverse.

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I already have a tiny cross stitched biscornu which Claire made and sent to me a few years ago. It sits on my sewing machine and I use it as a pin cushion every time I sew.

I’m going to use this new happy, bright, cheerful, jazzy number as my cross stitch needle cushion. I can’t stop smiling! Thank you very much Claire 🙂

Third birthday in December!

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate it) and you are now ready for the New Year.

The title of this post is ambiguous. Does someone in my family have a third birthday? Or do we have three birthdays in December? The answer to both questions is yes. My Dad, sister and great niece all have birthdays this month and my great niece will also be three years old. She’s growing up so fast!

I sent an email to my nephew to find out whether she had a Santa list and, if so, what was on it. One thing she was hoping Santa would bring was a cot for her dolls. I did a bit of searching on-line and found several. After reading the reviews I decided to go for this one from John Lewis. I’m not being paid for advertising here. I’m just really happy with the quality of the cot. It came with its own pink bedding consisting of a thin mattress, a pillow and cover, as in the first photo below.

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As her birthday is also in December so I decided to make a patchwork quilt to match the cot as a birthday gift. My sister was concerned that I was burning the midnight oil (what’s new?) but I had to come clean. The real reason I chose to buy a cot from the list was so that I would have an excuse to sew LOL. I definitely don’t like dolls as you learned in my previous post.

Here’s the quilt I made, complete with 1960’s lace trim from my late Aunt Edith’s sewing box. Is that 4 generations? It’s a simple design with girly pink floral fabrics to match the cot.

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The reverse is crisp white with a gingham ribbon trim.

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There’s pillows to match.

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They look pretty together. Mix and match…

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Next, the five star hotel look…

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Or florabunda shabby chic Smile

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Anyway, I had so much fun making them and I hope she enjoys playing with them for a long time.

Happy New Year!

Avis x

A Birthday Bag!

Hi Everyone,

I can finally show you what I’ve been up to lately. It was my sister’s birthday recently and she had mentioned ages ago that she was looking for a new knitting bag. So I just had to make one and hope that she didn’t buy one in the meantime. I did consider giving her one of these three bags that I’d made earlier but decided that she had already seen them and that a knitting bag should be bigger than these.

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Then the scraps of a Bali Pops jelly roll were calling to me. My sister had actually bought the Bali Pops for me (for my birthday) and I’d already made a quilt top from them. There was still plenty left and I had some lovely matching solid fabrics to go with them. Maybe, she wouldn’t like the idea of me using a present from her to make something to give back…hmm. I decided I was only using the scraps and that way she would be getting fabrics that I knew she would love otherwise she would never have bought them for me in the first place Smile. I searched the internet for a bag pattern that was just right. However, I wasted a lot of time. I just couldn’t find anything the right size with all of the pockets that I wanted etc. After several days of thinking, sketching, measuring and head scratching I came up with this.

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There are three pockets behind the batik fabrics panel on each of the front and back. The middle pockets are the perfect size for knitting patterns or books. The base is flat and large enough for the knitting to lie down, even if it is on large chunky needles and there’s plenty of room inside for all of the yarn for a whole project.

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I used straight line quilting so as not to compete with the gorgeous fabrics. The quilting continues on the wrap-around base.

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There are two lined patch pockets inside. One is big enough to take large scissors and the other is for buttons etc.

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Plus I added a loop at each side to thread the yarn through.

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Once I’d decided how I wanted the bag to look and how to put it together, the sewing part was easy. The bulk of the work was in the design process. I’ll definitely make more bags like this one.

My sister really liked it which was good news too. That makes me very happy Smile.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Avis x

Eye Candy for Fabric Lovers and a Puzzle!

Hi everyone,

Be warned! This post is full to busting of fabric photos. I make no excuses, my jaw is still on the floor since my daughter arrived home from India last night. I have been spoiled, THOROUGHLY spoiled and I just had to share some photos with you so you can imagine what I will be getting up to over the next few months. You have got no idea how pleased I am that she travels light with a large suitcase!

She was very fortunate to be invited to spend two months with her wonderful local host who made sure she ate well, travelled widely and generally got a taste of what life is really like in India with lots of fun along the way. It has to be the best way to see a new country, sample local culture and customs and make the most of any trip abroad.

If you want to read more about her trip, you can find it in her blog Sun and Cake.

Where’s the fabric, I hear you call….

The instructions were simple, please bring me fabric, sari silk, cotton, batiks, anything that I can make into lovely things. Here are some of the sari silks which are all from Salem in southern India.

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I’m going to have so much fun with these.

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The photos really don’t do them justice. The shimmer and lustre and silky softness is gorgeous.

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Aren’t those tassels lovely?

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There are several designs on each piece and they are all huge!

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Now for the cottons, also from southern India Smile.

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Exciting times are ahead!

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The quality is fantastic, perfect for patchwork and quilting.

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This style can be found on wall murals and works of art.

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This one has an interesting chequered weave which doesn’t show up to the naked eye.

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Some are block or screen printed with one or more dyes.

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This one uses the batik technique with wax. There’s a whole rainbow of underlying colours.

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This one is hand painted with gold dye.

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The purple parade. You all know I love purple Smile

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And finally, some hand painted cottons from Jaipur in northern India.

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The pattern is very sparkly Smile

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The north Indian fabrics are the same good quality, brilliant for all sewing projects.

Now for your puzzle….

This was another of my requests and I really didn’t expect my daughter to find one, let alone bring one home. I’m going to show you a few detailed photos and I want you to guess what it is that she brought me for my birthday which was on Valentine’s Day while she was away. All of the embroidery has been done by hand.

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It would be impossible to show all of the details here so I’ve only picked out some of them. I have no idea how old it is but it is definitely not new. I can only imagine how many hours went into all of the stitching and I’ll treasure it forever Smile.

So, do you know what it is? Would you like to guess?

Have fun guessing!

And finally…. have you heard of the Holi Festival? If not, you can read about it here and see images here.

This is a photo of my daughter on the right and her host (the best tour guide in India) on the left during the Holi Festival. Fun, fun, fun Smile

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Oh, to be young again!

Avis x

Rain, rain, go away! and four little lovelies!

Hi everyone! Happy weekend to you all 🙂

Hopefully, if you are celebrating Christmas next week, you will soon be able to put your feet up after completing all of the very necessary preparations 😉

I’ve had such a busy week that I haven’t been able to think about Christmas as my Mum has had a bit of a flood in her house. We managed to contain it to a tile floored area of the house but there were a couple of inches deep of water which needed constant mopping to fight the latest weather here in the UK. We kept repeating to each other that we were fortunate not to have worse flooding as many homes in the UK have been evacuated for the fourth time since September. Mum is in her 80’s so she has found it all a bit too much to cope with. I don’t remember rain like this in my lifetime. The water table is so high that even a shower is flooding major routes. Today, the rain has been lighter and the wind has changed direction and strength, so we have had time to get outside and put temporary defences in place ready for the next time. We have more heavy rain due over the next few days so fingers are crossed that it stays on the correct side of the doors this time!

I did, however, get time to make the label for an I-Spy quilt for my Great Niece. I made a red one and a blue one last year as we didn’t know whether her Mummy was having a baby girl or a boy. Well, Dani will soon be one year old and she will finally be getting her I-Spy quilt from Santa very soon 😉 I hope she likes it! There are lots of animals and brightly coloured patterns so she can play I-Spy with her parents when she is a little older.

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I love the rainbow thread wiggly quilting which shows up so well on the reverse. I think Dani might want to follow the line with her finger 🙂

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The only part I did this week was the label.

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And here is the first of my four little lovelies today,  Dani…..having just found her treat in my sister’s handmade Advent calendar 🙂

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Three more little lovelies delivered by the postie this week are hanging on my Christmas tree. Do you recognise them?

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Well, these two were made and sent to me by Claire in France. You can find many more that she made here with instructions on how to make them.  Her blog is well worth a visit. Claire posts about cross-stitch and many other sewing projects including patchwork and quilting, as well as sharing tales about her cats and dog. There’s something for everyone. Go and see for yourselves.

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Do you see the little red berries in the photo above? Two of them have been nibbled by a mouse in my garage where we store the decorations. There was also a pile of sunflower seed husks just outside the box. Looks like little mousie has been collecting from the bird table too!

Last but not least, my final little lovely 🙂

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This snowflake pinwheel blew all the way from Crete 😀 It is the creation of  Teje who writes a great blog about her sewing projects, knitting and crochet. She is often joined by her assistants, two dogs and a cat. You can find the pinwheels here. The rest of Teje’s blog is full of lovely ideas with beautiful sunny photographs. So if you would like to warm up this winter, pop over for a browse.

As soon as we have a day with some reasonable daylight, I will photograph and post about my latest finished project. Hopefully there will also be some time to sew this weekend.

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my previous scarf post, where you saw my knitting for the first time. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas around the world. Also, I wish for you and your families, a very happy, healthy new year 😀

Best wishes,

Avis x

 

 

Another secret revealed!

Hi everybody 🙂

Happy birthday to my sister!!

At last I can reveal my sparkly scarf project which I made for my sister’s birthday. A few weeks ago we took my Mum to Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show and my sister admired the sparkly scarves on display at one of the stands. She would have bought one but we quickly realised they were selling the yarn to make them and not the finished articles. Everyone is so busy at this time of year. She knew there would be no time to knit for herself so we walked away.

Then, I had an opportunity 😉 I rushed back to the stall while my Mum and sister were “lost in the crowds” and bought the yarn. To be honest, I didn’t relish the thought of knitting with it as the texture is quite lumpy bumpy. However, it is a lot softer than it looks and it knit up really fast on large needles. I am really pleased with the result.

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It would have looked better modelled on a black outfit…..but I don’t have one ha-ha!

I hope you are all well and still have a little time to craft before the holiday. Lots of you must be holding back secret projects until after Christmas. Looks like it is going to be a very revealing New Year 😀 I can’t wait to see what you have all been up to!!

Avis x

 

All’s well that ends well…..

I suppose my birthday started yesterday….with a visit from my big sister 🙂 She brought me fab prezzies!! There was a gorgeous calendar full of photos of her beautiful new baby Grand Daughter, the book of The Great British Bake Off which has the recipes from the TV programme, Belgian chocs mmm AND the icing on the cake, a lovely new quilting book 🙂 She really does spoil me!!

So, today is my real birthday. DH presented me with the Moda charm packs which I chose a couple of weeks ago and ordered from a lovely Etsy seller in America. Who could want for more…..quilting heaven 🙂

Well, I can’t wait to get sewing with those charm packs but I still have quilt tops ready to quilt and finish so I decided to be disciplined and attempt something I’ve wanted to do for ages…..make my own pantograph and use it on a quilt. I have never used pantographs. In fact, I’ve only ever quilted three tops. So this is either brave or stupid or both. I do enjoy a challenge, especially when I have all day to do it.

I started by getting out the quilt top and checking the block size. I’d had an idea about what type of design I wanted to do for a while. The blocks are 8 inches square.

It took a lot of drawing and redrawing to get to this final spiral for the size I wanted which was within a 4 inch square. I drew around the outside square so the repeats were easy to position later.

Then I traced the design onto some baking paper and went over the line on both sides with pencil.

As long as the line starts and ends in the same position on the outer square, the pattern will continue.

 And so on…..repeating the pattern to fill the page. 

This was fun! I got quite carried away 🙂 Reflecting and off-setting the original design to create more.

And another…..

And finally…..

So, all I needed to do was photocopy a few of these, overlap and tape together in a long pattern piece. WRONG!!! My graph paper was in centimetres not inches!!! Aaarghh!! My design was inside an 8 cm square not a 4 inch one. I’d so enjoyed this morning, drawing out the patterns 😦

Luckily my printer/copier enlarges images PHEW! but I needed to calculate the scale of enlargement. Well, 25 mm is more or less 1 inch so I enlarged by scale factor 1.25. When I measured the print, it was fine. All’s well that ends well 🙂

As you can see, the enlargement meant I could only get part of the design on one A4 sheet. So I printed two, chopped off the bits I needed and made a new A4 size one.

That was good! Four designs fitted my 8 inch square perfectly. I copied more, then overlapped and taped them together, then laid them along the table.

With a bit of repositioning of the quilt on the frame and making sure the quilting would be correctly positioned when I started, I was ready to go. I was so nervous about spoiling the quilt top BUT it worked 🙂

The last photo shows the back. It isn’t perfect but I’m pleased with it. Over the next few days, I should get the binding done. I’ll let you see the finished result. Watch this space 🙂

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