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 🙂

Happy New Year!

Good morning everyone,

I’m just popping in to share a round up of the projects that I finished during 2015. Unfortunately, work got in the way of crafting for most of the year so the number of finishes is limited. I’ve added the F2F blocks to pad it out a bit and make it look like I was really busy crafting. I suppose each month’s blocks are a finish in a way, that is if I’m allowed to stretch the definition of a finish just this once. In a nutshell, I managed to finish one cushion, two quilts and a lot of swap blocks. There are some other finishes over on my other blog Sewing Beside the Sea if you are interested. If you want to read more about the projects you see below, go to my Finished 2015 page.

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Hopefully, next year will be a super crafty year for all of us 🙂 I’m determined to sew more in 2016. Happy New Year!

It’s only taken two months!

Good evening,

I’m trying to catch up on some posts that should have been shared with you ages ago. This one could have been published two months back if I’d had some free time. Life gets in the way of blogging sometimes doesn’t it?

Anyway, a dear friend of mine had a birthday in May. She is the type of person who is always so incredibly busy, making and doing and caring for everyone else, that she rarely makes anything for herself. At times I think her brain is wired in a way which means she doesn’t even think about herself. She’s also been having a tidy up of her crafty goodies and passed some of them onto me. Well, it was about time she had a nice present and as it was her birthday as well, she was doubly deserving.

I’d made a storm at sea block for Esther as part of a recent block swap (see previous post) and decided to make a different part of that block as a cushion front for my friend. Here’s what it looks like.

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I know I’m going to make a lot more of these blocks. They are so striking and I love all the spikey bits. It’s amazing how much enjoyment you can get from making one project, especially when it is for a gift. I kept the quilting very simple so as not to compete with the patchwork design, using variegated thread which has quite a bit of lustre, almost metallic.

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You’ve probably guessed there was a lot of starting and stopping of the machine when quilting around each of the shapes. The quilting alone took a whole day to complete but I enjoyed every minute.

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I decided to experiment and didn’t think it would work, but it did. I had planned to line the cover with the same white solid fabric but didn’t want the dark thread ends or the quilting to show on the inside. So I only quilted through the patchwork and the wadding/batting and then lined it. I was concerned the inside of the machine would clog with fluff  but it didn’t so the inside looks as good as the outside I think.

My friend had no idea what I was making for her. In fact, I thought she might have seen the beginnings of the patchwork when she came to play in my sewing room but I got away with it. Phew!

I promise it won’t be so long before I post again.

Avis x

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

Giveaway/Swap Alert and Something Silly

Hello everyone,

I’m here to promote the latest chicken giveaway swap. Yes, it’s still going after almost a whole year. I can’t quite believe how wonderful everyone has been for continuing the Chicken Run. Thank you so much for supporting us so far and let’s keep it going for another year. If you want to see all the chickens that have been flying around the world so far, just go to the Chicken Run Gallery above.

Annett who lives in Germany has a fantastic blog over at Knettycraft and she is hosting the next giveaway swap. You can pop over to her blog to read all about her wonderful chickens but here is a sneaky peek.

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From the far left there is a chenille chicken (this has to be a first), then a log cabin version followed by the hexy patches one and finally a caramel one. Annett has really tried to make all kinds of chickens to share with you. She just couldn’t stop making chickens! I love her blog and all of her other crafty ideas too.

If you’d like to win one of Annett’s gorgeous brood, all you need to do is follow the instructions in her post here. You will need to agree to make your own chicken to giveaway to someone else around the world after you have received your prize chicken from Annett. Just a few fabric scraps is all it takes to make a chicken. Go on, make someone smile!

You have until the end of 30th November to enter so hurry up and visit Knettycraft Smile.

Now, I’m not going to bore you all with what I’ve been up to since I last posted. You really wouldn’t want to know and it hasn’t been that pleasant Sad smile. However, I did venture into the sewing room a few days ago and you wouldn’t believe how productive I was.

First, I machine embroidered the edge of a crisp white bed sheet using the most gorgeous quilting thread that has a beautiful sheen. Isn’t that pretty?

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Then I made pillow cases to match.

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 Then I started a duvet cover which morphed into a quilt.

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And what is a bed linen set without scatter cushions?

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Have you guessed yet? Have I been rumbled?

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Ha-ha! These are all 1/12 life size and would fit a double bed in a doll’s house. Do I like doll’s houses? No! Do I like dolls? Not at all! Why did I make these tinies? Why not? LOL

Maybe I’ve lost my marbles Open-mouthed smile.

I hope you didn’t mind me playing games with you there. Were you duped?

Avis x

Another year over…

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the quilting zone. I’ve been concentrating on lots of hand stitching over at Sewing Beside the Sea. I’m sure the quilting bug will find me again when my sewing room warms up a bit. At the moment it is far too cosy in the living room sitting with my feet up, doing a bit of blackwork, cross stitch, knitting and crochet….not all at the same time of course!

I was just updating the “Finished 2013” page above and I can’t believe how many things I managed to complete, especially as it has been such a busy year for me apart from sewing. I’ve enjoyed every single project as well as reading all of the lovely comments and emails from people along the way. Your blogs have been very inspirational too, so I have many ideas stored up for future projects in 2014.

Here is a little gallery of my finished projects this year. Please note that from May onwards, I only included patchwork and quilting projects on this blog. So, if you’d like to see the hand sewn projects from then on, just hop over to Sewing Beside the Sea. If you’d like to visit any of the posts relating to the pictures in the gallery, just go to the “Finished 2013” page above and then click on the photo.

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you have lots of exciting projects lined up for 2014 🙂 Now….where did those chocolates go?

Avis x

Pillow talk!

Following my post about the chevron pillow/cushion cover, I’ve received emails asking me how I made it. So I thought it would be a good excuse to make more covers and write a tutorial at the same time. My cover is quilted through three layers on the front and is fully lined. The closure is envelope style. I’m sure many of you already make covers in your own way but this is my way. I like it because it doesn’t require buttons or zippers, though you could add them if you wish. Also, there are no fabric scraps left.

Here is my chevron version again, in case you missed it.

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And the quilting.

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Materials

You will need: 19.5 inches (half a metre) off the roll for the outside of the cover and the same size for the lining, assuming that both fabrics are 42 inches wide. Also, a piece of wadding/batting which is about 21 x 21 inches.

Method

1. Cut the selvedge edges off both sides of both pieces of fabric. I chose bright orange with white spots for the outer fabric and white lining.

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2.Lay the lining fabric to one side. Cut a square which is 19.5 x 19.5 inches from the outer fabric. Cut the remainder in half to give two rectangles measuring 19.5 x 12 inches approx. If yours is slightly bigger than 12 inches, that’s fine. It will give a larger overlap on the envelope closure.

3. Repeat with the lining fabric to obtain exactly the same sized pieces as you did for the outer fabric.

4. Take one rectangle of each fabric and place them right sides together.

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5. Sew a one quarter inch seam along one 19.5 inch side. Repeat with the other two rectangles.

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6. Lay these pieces on the pressing board with the outer fabric uppermost and the new seam at the top. Lift the uppermost fabric and press away from you so the seam is pressed towards the outer fabric.

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7. Now put the rectangles with wrong sides together and press along the seam so that the outer fabric is just peeping around the edge. Trim the lining in line with the main fabric along the long edge. Repeat with the other rectangles. The back pieces are now finished.  

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8. Next, the quilted front of the cover. Lay the wadding/batting flat on the table. Place the wrong side of the lining square on top of the wadding. Make sure it is lying square and smooth it out.

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9. There should be a small amount of wadding all around the edge of the lining which you should trim away so they are both the same size.

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10. Carefully, turn the double layer square over and place the outer fabric on top. You should now have lining on the bottom, wadding in the middle and the outer fabric on top.

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11. Sew along one side through all three layers, close to the edge. This will anchor this side ready for quilting. Place pins at intervals through all layers.

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12. Quilt as desired. For this cover, I folded my square in half and sewed a line along the fold from the stitched edge to the opposite side. I then attached my little gadget to the machine so that I could sew lines parallel to the first one at intervals of 1.5 inches.

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13. I then folded my square in half diagonally, sewed a line along the fold and repeated the paralell lines process.

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14. Now, all we need to do is sew all of the pieces together to make the cover. Lay the quilted square on the table with the right side uppermost. Place one of the rectangles with the lining uppermost at the edge of the square. Pin in position.

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15. Now pin the other rectangle to the other side of the square. If you are using fabric that has a pattern with a right way up, now is the time to change positions if you need to. Don’t wait until after it has been sewn together.

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16. Sew all the way around the cover through all layers. Take care to stitch slowly over the thicker parts where the fabrics overlap. If you have a serger, this stage will be much faster as you will be able to sew a seam and overlock the edges at the same time.

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17. I don’t have a serger so I switched to zig-zag stitch and sewed around the outside edge of the seam. Trim the edge and snip across the corners.

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18. Turn the cover to the right way, press the edges and insert a pad. Stand back and admire Smile.

Here is my finished cushion. I hope you like it.

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I couldn’t stop!

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I quilted this one with another different pattern, keeping it simple.

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Here they are all together.

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Sunshine versus sewing!

Hi everyone,

I hope you are well Smile.

I woke up to glorious sunshine and birdsong today and thought long and hard about whether I should be spending time in the sewing room. However, my new fabric has now arrived and I couldn’t resist the temptation to play.

Here’s what I made.

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The front is quilted in a very plain and simple pattern to complement the chevron fabric design.

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The Mean Green Sewing Machine coped easily with the quilt sandwich. In fact I was having such fun quilting, I also went along the other side of the white chevrons.

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The back, which is not quilted, has an envelope closure with a good overlap.

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I like my cushion covers to have a bit of substance so this one is fully lined.

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I can certainly feel a few more new cushions coming on and there might even be a pattern on the horizon Smile.

I hope you have enjoyed the weekend. Maybe you have had sunshine too. I hope so!

Avis x

Quilt contest now on!

Hi everyone 🙂

I was just catching up on reading my favourite blogs and Teje had posted a link to a quilt contest here. There are lots of wonderful creations to see and some fantastic blogs check out. It isn’t just quilts either! Lots of lovely bags, home accessories and clothes to enjoy.

I’ve entered a quilt, my latest….

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My sewing kit……

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And my cushion…..

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Go on, take a long break and pop over to Ellison Lane Quilts. You’ll be spoiled for choice.

Have a great weekend 😀 Avis x

 

Bazaar or bizarre?

Good evening everyone 🙂 It’s nostalgia time again!

This time, I’d like to take you on a trip through some early 70’s crafts…… the decade of bad taste colour schemes, glam rock, leatherette, Spangles and knitted toilet roll covers. Yes, KNITTED toilet roll covers!!

I’m going to show you a knitting pattern booklet which my Mum had way back then. The booklet which I have here is another original copy which I bought on Ebay last year. Mum’s booklet was given to a charity shop a long time ago. It has been out of print for decades but there are many more editions still available. It is packed with 40 patterns for all of those “must have” household items and luxuries.

Here is the front cover. Twenty pence for 40 patterns!!

Tea cosies and egg cosies. The pink tea cosy is crocheted and the others are knitted.

Some toys……a cross-eyed lion?? The owl and the teddy are crocheted.

Funky cushions to match the psychedelic décor.

Now don’t we all  need one of these? Toilet roll covers 😆

Next up, a cuddly toy tortoise, a knitted snake draught excluder and a doll’s poncho. Sounding like The Generation Game now!

More doll’s clothes and a Granny Squares pram rug. We did love to dress our dollies in the 70’s!

And another draught excluder…..this time crocheted. I wanted one like this 🙂

More tea cosies for huge tea pots 😀

Ooooh, and now we have a hip and trendy, fab and groovy guy sporting a knitted tie. What a cool dude!

A very strange looking flat elephant and a bunny. See the bunny in the flesh yarn later 🙂

Ah now, these hats are back in fashion…..

Pram rugs, hottie covers and……..why not knit yourself a knitting bag?

Here is the back cover. Don’t you just adore those pink lacy knitted bed socks?

Seriously though, an awful lot of money was raised for charity from the ideas in these booklets. Most of the items could be made with scraps of wool that almost everyone had plenty of. I remember making the egg cosies and tea cosies when I was very young and I always wanted to make the sausage dog draught excluder but I never did. This was before the days when I taught myself how to crochet tank tops 😆

These designs really take me back in time. I bet some of the people reading this, either made items from these Bazaar booklets, or maybe had presents bought for them like these. What do you think……Bazaar or bizarre?

Here is a picture of the rabbit I mentioned earlier. I knitted it from the pattern in this book. I think it looks more like a mouse (but it doesn’t have a tail), or a Clanger. It only took a couple of hours to make. The body and legs are knitted in one piece and the dress is removable.

I had fun making it because it is ages since I’ve done any knitting. It was good to practice my pattern reading skills again 🙂

Enjoy the rest of the week!

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