Monday 21 February 2011

A Lovely Weekend


I hope you all had lovely weekends - I had the joy of two days sewing with my lovely friend Barbara, who managed to scurry away from her busy family life in Cambridge for the weekend.  

Barbara and I first met as work colleagues (she oversees all the training for the UK, and she’ll hate me for saying it, but she is a truly wonderful person to work with) but we soon bonded over all things stitchy and crafty too.  We are now good, good friends and we’ve been planning a weekend of sewing for about a year!

I thought it would be cool if we both tried things we’ve never done before, so I showed her the string pieced half square triangle I used on my sew fresh fabrics bee block and then plonked my scrap basket in front of her … and off she went!

First came some practice blocks: 


then came an idea for a little cushion for her daughter’s room:


Then, just as things were going so well, Mrs Singer threw a sickie, and her attention to tension disappeared utterly.  Screwdriver, toothbrush (to clean the tension discs) and a bit of swearing later, I suddenly remembered the old ‘if in doubt, change the needle’ tip and then Barbara was back in business.

In the meantime I had a further bash at my swap item for the Urban Home Goods Swap 


… but if I showed you, I’d have to kill you …

circle_of_geese_block… and then I moved on to try something entirely new to me - paper piecing a block for the circular geese colourwheel block … I’ve long admired these and never thought I’d be able to do one, but as that was the whole point of this weekend, I bit the bullet …

I spent a while tracing the template from here at Piece by Number and a lot of time reading (and re-reading) the tutorial from here at The Sometimes Crafter (it’s ace!)

side note/nerd alert:
I run a paperless classroom, and this has infected my home life too - I don’t have a printer, so when I need to make a template for something I use my laptop as a lightbox - just tape tracing paper to your screen and off you go! - cool eh?  Does anyone else do this? 
(Obviously, I have a solid screen on my laptop, you wouldn’t want to do this with a soft squishy one!)
By using Ctrl +/- you can scale up and down your screen size … it’s a quick fix but it works for me …
So, I ended up with lots of these:


and then I went through an agonising hour of Huh? Duh? Whaaat? Ah Yes! Got it! Huh? Duh? Whaat? * repeat until brain has fallen out of ears.

Eventually producing this (don’t laugh!):


I’ve strategically cropped the bottom as I was using scraps and the lemon print wasn’t big enough to line up perfectly … I did this just to see if I was up to it.  And I was.  But the first two pieces were so bloomin mindblowingly Huh? Duh? Whaaat? that I was unsure if I’d ever move on to piece 3, let alone all 9! 

I will definitely come back to this block.  Once I got the whole spatial awareness thing I got quite into it, and the satisfaction was huge.  I just need to make a real one not using flimsy calico and (s)crappy bits …  I was determined to finish so that I’d have some sort of muscle memory of making it for next time!

I also decided that next time it would be a lot easier for me to not have to guess the size of the pieces  - all that flipping from right side of paper to wrong side did my head in - so I’ve cut the pieces out from the template and when I try this again I’ll cut roughly those shapes (with the seam allowance) first … that should take a little of the guesswork out.


Then I moved on to my piece for the Make Mine Modern swap:


I got the trunk drawn, cut, fused and (now) appliqued, and the leaves cut, ready to fuse … but more of that another day …

For the last image, let’s go back to Barbara and her finished cushion cover! 

Her happy face just sums up the immense fun we had this weekend - I hope we don’t leave it another year before the next one!

gif animator


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