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.

2015 Finishes 2

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

Advertisements

Foot²Freestyle: Time to play!

Hello everyone,

I have news……QUILTY news! That’s news of the very best kind in my opinion.

block swap logo

Today is the launch of a block swap I’m taking part in called Foot Square Freestyle. Twelve quilters from across the globe, including yours truly, will be busy making three, one foot square blocks for each of the other eleven ladies in the group. Our names were drawn out of a hat to see who would be receiving their blocks on each of the next twelve months. I’m Miss November 🙂 However, Miss June is Esther from The Netherlands. She will be receiving eleven scrumptious packages from all of the other swappers this month. She will make three more blocks of her own, making a total of 36 blocks. In fact, she can add as many as she wishes. She might even decide to do something completely different with her collection. Who knows? All will be revealed later 🙂 My blocks are ready to post so keep an eye on your letter box Esther!

Anyway, this isn’t just any old block swap. It has been expertly devised and organised by Kate and Sue from Australia. So, thanks to both ladies for getting this swap underway.

We were all asked to choose up to three colours for the blocks we wished to receive. Foot Square Freestyle is all about freedom and freestyle. We have all entered into the spirit of having fun with the blocks we give and receive. I chose to request bright blue and purple blocks and I am really excited to see how everyone interprets my brief. That’s all part of the fun isn’t it? Part of me can’t wait until the blocks I’ve made are received thousands of miles from here and another part of me is thinking “What if she doesn’t like them?” That’s quite scary for me. Well, I suppose they could always send them back because I LOVE THEM! LOL

Here is a photo of my favourite quilt that you may have seen here before. I finished it about three years ago.

Blue and purple quilt

These weren’t complicated blocks to sew. I think I made the entire quilt top in a few days and it’s a whopper. It’s the colours that make me love this quilt so much. That’s why I chose them for my swap blocks. I love solids and marbled fabrics most of all, so if my swaps have some of those it would make me very happy. I’ve got quite a long time to wait for my turn and I know my parcels will be held up in the Christmas post. That doesn’t stop me being excited already 🙂

If you stop by now and again I’ll keep you up to date with our progress. Isn’t sewing fun?

I hope you have lots of quilty sunshine today where you live.

Avis x

The Loyal Union Sampler Block 3/121

Hi everyone,

You may recall from a previous post that I had sewn the second block of The Loyal Union Sampler from the book by Jennifer Chiaverini. I wasn’t entirely happy with how my Y-seams turned out. A couple of readers suggested that hand sewing Y-seams might give a better finish than machine sewing. I had initially used the templates provided in the book to sew the units and decided this time, not only to sew the Y-seams by hand, but also to make my own foundation paper templates for the block units. Anyway, I hope you agree that my latest version of Abigail’s Swing has improved. It isn’t perfect, just improved. I’m definitely learning new skills along the way and that has to be good!

CIMG4175The third block is also finished. This one is called A House Divided. It was so much easier to sew than Abigail’s Swing.

A House Divided (2)

I’ve also got the fourth block finished which I’ll share with you later. If you’d like a sneak preview, take a look at my sidebar to the right. You should see the Loyal Union Sampler, building as I finish the blocks. This is so much fun! I could get addicted to making these tinies.

I’m quite enjoying foundation paper piecing lately 🙂 In fact, I’m loving it so much that my next gift is made using that method. I can’t show you the full project yet because the intended recipient sometimes reads my ramblings. Here are a couple of photos of my progress. I’ll share the final photos in a future post. I hope you like it.

CIMG4168

This one shows the quilting.

CIMG4170

There’s a few more small projects on my to-do list at the moment. I’d better get a move on. I hope you are all getting plenty of time to sew this weekend. I’ve had a lot of fun 🙂

Avis x

It’s time to make Christmas Decorations

Good evening everyone,

You may remember that I started making Christmas decorations early last year.

CIMG3120

I’ve finally got around to putting a photo tutorial together for this one. All you need is two small pieces of fabric, a button, ribbon, thread and a needle. I made mine on the Green Mean Sewing Machine but you could make some by hand if you wish.

Cut one circle of about eight inches diameter from each of two contrasting fabrics. I drew around a pan lid but you could use a small plate etc.

CIMG3098

 Pin right sides together.

CIMG3099

Sew a quarter inch seam around the edge, leaving about two inches open for turning.

CIMG3100

CIMG3101

Turn inside out and smooth the edges with a pen or other blunt instrument.

CIMG3102

My opening is at the top of this photo.

CIMG3103

Turn the raw edges of the opening to the inside and hand sew to close it. Then top stitch one quarter of an inch all the way around the edge.

CIMG3105

 Fold in half.

CIMG3106

Fold in half again. Finger press the folds at the very edges of the circle. You will need the positions of the folds for the next steps.

CIMG3107

Sew through the fold positions from front to back close to the edge.

CIMG3108

Sew through a couple of times to secure it. Don’t break the thread.

CIMG3109

Re-fold, if necessary, to find the next stitch point.

CIMG3110

Now sew through the right fold from front to back.

CIMG3111

Pull the thread until the right hand side meets the previous stitches. Secure with a couple of stitches. Don’t break the thread.

CIMG3112

Now sew through the left fold from front to back.

CIMG3113

Pull the thread so it comes together like this.

CIMG3114

Secure with a couple of stitches. Don’t break the thread. Flatten the back to make a square with the four petals standing up.

CIMG3115

Open out one of the petals.

CIMG3116

 Turn it to the back.

CIMG3117

Tidy it up. Repeat with the other three petals.

CIMG3118

You’re almost there…

CIMG3119

Sew a button to the centre and add some pretty ribbon to the top for hanging then you are done.

CIMG3120

Off you go and make a few for your Christmas trees now. Has anyone been Christmas shopping yet?

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial Smile

Avis x

Wibbly wobbly…

Good afternoon everyone,

Does anyone else remember the song we used to sing while playing “two baller” against any available high wall when we were kids?

It went like this……

Jelly on a plate, jelly on a plate, wibbly wobbly wibbly wobbly, jelly on a plate.

Next verse….

Fly on the wall, fly on the wall, knock it off, knock it off, fly on the wall.

Do you know any more verses? There were lots. I bet you knew loads of other two baller or playground songs too.

OK that’s the nostalgia over for today. I have a problem which I suspect cannot be solved. However, if you can help me solve it, I’ll be over the moon! Here goes.

Look at the state of these cutting mats.

CIMG3398

My new mats are on the bottom, centimetres on one side and inches on the other Smile but I love my old mats. They’ve gone all wibbly wobbly Sad smile. Now, I can hear you all telling me off for doing the unthinkable and I know it’s all my fault that they’ve ended up like this. Have I made your blood pressure rise? The time has come to replace them anyway because they aren’t repairing themselves as they used to but I’d still like to make use of them on my sewing table next to, or even under, my mean green sewing machine. Any suggestions on how to get them flat again will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

I’m still working on the batik blocks with partial seams from the previous post and they are looking lush. I’ve got 18 finished and I need 35. Then I’ll decide whether to include sashing. No need to rush decisions is there?

Finally, just a quick mention to all my lovely new readers from around the world. Welcome aboard! If you haven’t already found me on Facebook and Instagram, see if you can find me over there. You’ll get more sneaky peeks of up and coming projects and I’d love to see what you are up to as well. I bet you can guess my name 😉  I love to read your comments and emails so keep them coming. Isn’t blogging fun?

Avis x

A finish and a new project

Good morning lovely crafters!

The sun is shining and it’s blowing a bit of a bluster outside today. What a perfect day to do some patchwork. Yesterday, while I was working (playing) in my sewing room, the rain was bouncing off the windows. I love listening to rain. I went to my table by the window to cut more fabric as the sun made its appearance and, as I looked across to the sea, there was the biggest, brightest rainbow I have ever seen. I stood for what seemed like forever, staring at it and trying to find both ends, wondering where the pot of gold would be and then I came to my senses and went to get the camera. Typical! Flat batteries! Oh well, I’ll have to be content with the lovely memory but I’m quite sad not to be able to share it with you today. Hopefully, you can all remember being mesmerised by a rainbow wherever you are in the world. Aren’t they magical?

So, what have I been up to? I could share such a long list with you but I’ll stick to the crafting. You might remember a few weeks ago that I showed this photo of some fabrics waiting for a project.

CIMG3380

Well, I eventually decided to make some modern blocks and actually got the quilt finished much quicker than the time it took me to decide what to do. That often happens with me. I rarely use a bought pattern, preferring to do my own sketches and maths. Then, away I go to hide in the sewing room with my green mean sewing machine.

I came up with a simple design with clean lines, just what this fabric needed I think. I’m in love with these prints, so subtle and calming, most unlike me Smile.

CIMG3394

I reserved some of my favourite print from this bundle for the binding and decided on a crisp white backing. The quilting reflects my coastal location Smile.

CIMG3378

I found making this quilt very therapeutic. I have no idea why. Anyway, it’ll soon be for sale in my shop and will hopefully make someone else feel good too Smile.

What else have I been up to? Well, most of you will already know that I love to sew in all sorts of ways. My cross stitch on my other blog is coming along very nicely. It’s now time for me to think what I want to hand sew next as the current SAL project is almost complete. There are so many ideas and much inspiration out there, especially on all of your lovely blogs, that it makes it so much harder to decide. I just want to do everything!

Next up, I have news to report on the Bali Pops that my lovely sister bought for me. They have worked their way to the top of the fabric pile and now must be made into something beautiful. I love these colours Smile.

CIMG3391

I’ve spent several days, spinning ideas around in my head and sketching design ideas. I eventually decided that these fabrics would look fabulous with solid black. Yes black! I was thinking stained glass, wrought iron….yes, black would work great with this block.

Then my other half pulled a face! He had planted the seed of dilemma. Usually, he says things like “Don’t ask me, you know best when it comes to colours.” or “You decide, I’ll like whatever you choose to make” but this time I got a pulled face. Do your friends and family generally leave the decisions up to you? Do you ask for an opinion about fabrics and designs?

Anyway, I changed my mind and decided on teaming them up with my beloved Moda Bella Solids white. However, next time…. Winking smile

I was really pleased with how the block turned out on paper but then wrestled with how to put it together. It’s all very well, liking what you see on a sketch but transferring it into an actual, physical collection of patches of fabric is another matter as you know. I knew what I wanted to do but there were going to be too many seams for my liking. Partial seams were the answer. I hadn’t done those before but I know several patchworkers who hand stitch and they know all about partial seams. In fact, I’d say they are experts! You can see their wonderful work here, here and here.

Anyway, here are some of the blocks I’ve sewn so far.

CIMG3392

The partial seams were nowhere near as difficult to do as I’d built them up to be in my own head. Minimising the number of seams has been well worth the effort for the finished effect. It’s nice to be challenged now and again and it feels so good to have worked things out for yourself doesn’t it? What’s your latest challenge/achievement, crafting or otherwise?

Today, I’m going for a walk along the cliffs and then, when all of the cobwebs have been blown from between my ears, I might treat myself to sewing together a few more of these batik blocks.

Whatever you choose to do today, enjoy! I’ll be catching up with you all very soon Smile.

Avis x

Some things are so cute!

Hello blogging friends!

I’ve been away for a while and haven’t done a great deal of machine sewing recently. Life just gets in the way sometimes. The cross stitch and knitting are progressing on my other blog but the sewing machine has been gathering dust waiting for me to get time to do a repair. Actually, I did give it a good old service last week and I managed to get a new belt from The Man Who Can.

Image

The rubber belt at the right hand side was the original from the 1950’s and it was shedding rubber dust and kept jumping off, especially when I was refilling the bobbin. So I went to see if my trusted sewing machine fixer man had a replacement that would fit. Well, it was a very tight fit and it was hard to believe the original had stretched so much. In fact, it was also a real pain getting the original one off because the screw holding everything together was so tight. I was about to give up when I noticed the housing for the motor was adjustable so it was out with the screwdriver and on with my mechanical head. So now the motor has been repositioned in two directions and everything is working perfectly again. The machine is now humming rather than doing impressions of a tractor and I no longer have unsightly black dust spraying about every time I sew. I was itching to test it on a new project Smile.

My daughter has been getting a new mobile phone that has a large screen. She asked me a couple of weeks ago whether I could make her a slip case for when it is in her bag. She chose the fabric from my scraps and it stayed on the cutting table until this morning. It’s taken so long to get time to make it. Anyway, the brief was to make a simple lined case with wadding for protection. She didn’t want any fasteners at all so it had to be a perfect fit otherwise the phone would fall out. I didn’t want any of the seams to show so this is what I came up with. I knew it was going to be fiddly and it certainly tried my patience. Anyway, it fits perfectly and the phone doesn’t drop out on its own.

CIMG3338

I like the metallic leaves on the fabric design and the wadding works well.

CIMG3340

The case hugs the phone and my daughter is very happy with it. It might be a small finish but it’s still a finish Smile. However, I’m pleased I don’t have to make phone cases for a living as I wouldn’t get many made in a day!

So that’s all I’ve managed to achieve recently in the sewing department. Now for the cute bit!

The weather here has really improved during recent days. I’m already complaining about the temperature at 21 degrees. Two days of sunshine and I’m looking for the shade. I was busy working the other day, with the doors to the garden wide open and who should I spot on the grass? Spring is definitely here. This little chap spent about an hour foraging out in the open before disappearing off under some shrubbery. I got very little done.

CIMG3336

How cute is he/she? I love hedgehogs because they let us get up close to take photos. Do you have hedgehogs where you live?

That’s it for now. I’m off to catch up with your blogs Smile.

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.

CIMG2933

And the quilting.

CIMG2971

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.

CIMG2939

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.

CIMG2941

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

CIMG2944

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.

CIMG2945

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.  

CIMG2946

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.

CIMG2950

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.

CIMG2951

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.

CIMG2952

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.

CIMG2953

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.

CIMG2957

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

CIMG2969

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.

CIMG2961

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.

CIMG2963

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.

CIMG2964

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.

CIMG2967

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.

CIMG2968

I couldn’t stop!

CIMG2972

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

CIMG2973

Here they are all together.

CIMG2976

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.

CIMG2933

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

CIMG2917

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.

CIMG2928

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

CIMG2930

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

CIMG2931

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

What do you think?

My daughter is staying with us for a couple of days and we have been playing around with a new header for this blog.

Some of you will recall a previous post about my Mean Green Sewing Machine which I inherited from my late Mother-in-law. You helped me to solve my dilemma as to whether I should rescue it from a state of disrepair.

husky1

You can find the post here. I now use this machine for all of my patchwork piecing and it sews beautifully, so I am glad you helped to persuade me to have it fixed.

We decided that the machine deserved to be in the spotlight. What do you think of the header?

Avis x

 

%d bloggers like this: