Sunday, 27 February 2011

Spring Has Sprung & Tiptoeing into the Unknown

While I was cutting out all the leaves for my Make Mine Modern Swap on Flickr, I thought it would be fun to do a little stop frame animation while I played around with where to place them ...

… so, I wrapped my little gorillapod tripod (such a brilliant invention!) round my uplighter and off I went …

Several (about 60) shots later I then imported them all into Windows Movie Maker (it’s a free program that you’ll find tucked away in your program folder) found a public domain birdsong track here and voila!

It was good fun … I’ve also taken shots in reverse to have them all landing on the ground, for an autumn to winter video, which I’ll take a little more time over at a later date …

Anyway, back to the sewing - Next, I fused and appliqued them all on (drat, how dull is that!) and then brought all the thread ends to the back (double drat, even duller) until I ended up with this:


Just a little embroidery left to do and then the batting and backing to baste.

This is where the tiptoeing into the unknown comes in …  As this is meant to be a wall hanging I could leave it completely unquilted but I thought I might have a bash at some FMQ now that Damiel is back to full health … Luckily his full speed is vrooooooooooooom so I think he’s perfect for this kind of thing.

I had a little go earlier today (I’ve never done this before with a fully working machine!) and this is what I got after about 10 minutes of mucking about on a practice piece … From what I’ve gleaned off the intertubes it seems you should pedal to the metal but move the fabric relatively slowly … ?

(excuse the rude drinks coaster bottom left!)

Here’s my dilemma - I really really don’t want to muck this up, as I think it’s looking just how I wanted it to … but I was thinking maybe just a bit of echo quilting round the leaves? Or shall I leave it?

- Any tips and suggestions would be really welcome - Here are some things I’m really not sure about:

  • tension - tighter or looser than normal sewing?
  • stitch length - I’m assuming you set this to 0 or 1?
  • any tips for getting good loops? I seem to be ok in one direction but not the other - they end up being a bit squared off

And finally - do you like my new look?  I had a bit of a tidy up and cut the side columns down to just one on the right … I wanted more room for pics and less clutter … I’ve also amalgamated my static pages in the tabs above, to make room for some stuff I have planned …

Hope all is good wherever you are today … and please leave me some suggestions re. the FMQ if you have the time !!

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!

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Saturday, 19 February 2011

Etiquette for Modern Bloggers - my turn!

Hope you’ve all been following this fantastic week of guest posts hosted here at Flutter Kat’s

Well, today, I’m guesting over there - talking about copyright and other sticky subjects!  Yeah! Me?! 

I’m really excited because it’s my first guest post and I so enjoyed doing it - even if it does go on a bit LOL!

Thank you Kat for inspiring such a fantastic week of blog reading :)


Have a lovely weekend chaps - I’ve got two days of sewing with my lovely friend Barbara … Double Triple Quadruple YAY!!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Creative Stitches and HobbleCrafts Show

Thought I’d do a bit of a post about the Creative Stitches & Hobblecrafts Hobbycrafts show that visited Brighton Centre this weekend.

I read a really funny post here about how the average age of those attending was about 80, so I thought I’d add my thoughts to the pot. 
Now, please don’t get me wrong: I love little old ladies.  I fully intend on being one quite soon.  

What I can’t cope with is flocks of them, all shuffling very slowly into a bottleneck of indecisive inactivity.  I have the same loss of patience in supermarkets (when I’m not helpfully reaching for stuff on the top shelves) and on busy pavements where I often find myself trapped, at the height of Christmas shopping meltdown, by their stealth-like pincer formations.

But I digress.

About 50% of the stands were devoted to papercraft and scrapbooking, and a lot of it really ghastly.  Sorry.  I like paper more than the next (wo)man, but some of this was super tacky.

But, there were some lovely sights along the way, like these giant knitting needles (they had some glorious shawls and rugs on display) beautiful hand dyed wool (but oh so expensive!) and some creative bundles of Fat Quarters.

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There was also this glorious glitter stand - I wanted to scoop up handfuls and throw it into the air, like fairy dust, but they were only selling it in tiny little packets for £1 a pop.  I resisted.  


The high spot was the exhibition area - there were some great examples of embroidery and some quilting here.  

The first section was a “Glimpses From the Sixties” competition

This was absolutely superb!


the petit point stitches were no bigger than a couple of mms!

Liz Taylor in Cleopatra!

There was this lovely piece too:

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  the detail was simply beautiful!
Beer Today Gone Tomorrow by Maggie Danks

and some really fab dyeing and stitching:

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Daisy Chain by Jenny Rolfe

My favourite part was a little mini exhibition of corsetry 
- check out that bunting!  Knickers!?  Genius!

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self portrait with corset made from bras!

So, all in all a fun few hours, but ultimately I don’t think I’d go again unless I needed something like a new ruler … (more of that another day!)

 The problem wasn’t the little old lady brigade at all.  It was the lack of any evidence that ‘modern quilting’ exists in the UK, either on the selling or exhibiting side of things.

The lady at the Quilter’s Guild stand admitted that she had no idea that there was a quilting community on this here interweb.  I was aghast.  She asked me if I wanted to write an article about it for them, but then informed me I’d have to stump up the £37 annual membership first.  No thanks, not just now …

But my ultimate high spot of the day ??


Oh yes!  Impossible to find here in Brighton - and now I’m on an applique melt down … Yay!

I am so so happy to be a part of a wonderful online community - thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave me comments and support along the way.*  

It means so much more now I know just how difficult it is to find this on my own doorstep!

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*Talking of which … make sure you pop over here to Flutter Kat’s and stay in touch with this great week of posts … there’s some great stuff being discussed …

Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day - Follow Your Passion - Treat People with Kindness - Keep it Real

Just a little breathtaking bit of passion and artistry from Cirque Phenix to kick start the old day … 

As in love, as in life, as in blogging - good manners and kind human behaviour help the world go round just that bit more sweetly -

So, if you missed it, you should pop on over to Diary of a Flutter.Kat  to read yesterday’s Day One of a week of guest posts on Good Etiquette for the Modern Blogger - First off was Angela from Cut to Pieces - a lovely, perfectly balanced post to kick the week off -

Be sure to Keep an eye on Flutter.Kat’s blog all week - there’s bound to be some interesting discussion in the comments! - I’m guesting later in the week (with a short novel! LOL) - I’ll let you know when …

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sunday in the Park with Hexies - Giveaway on Lily’s Quilts + New Quilt at Moda Bakeshop!

Lily's Quilts
Pop on over here to Moda Bakeshop to see my lovely online friend, Lynne from Lily’s Quilts, unveil her Bakeshop debut Hexagon Park.  I’m so pleased that this will bring a shedload  new visitors to Lynne’s blog - she does some really amazing quilting and is so generous with her knowledge and advice!

It’s a really super pattern (Hexies? Tick! Beautiful? Tick! Even I can understand the instructions? Tick!) and it showcases perfectly the gorgeous Sherbet Pips line for Moda from Aneela Hoey @ Comfort Stitching.

Now, the Brucie Bonus here is that Lynne is also doing a giveaway on her blog for a layer cake of Sherbet Pips, so there’s no excuse for one lucky winner not to have a go at her wonderful pattern!
So, make sure you pop over there (remember to come back later though!) you’ve got until morning of Sunday 27th (a day earlier if outside the UK) - don’t forget, this line is not available here until March, so like Lynne’s quilt, it’s a precious thing :)

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

- sew fresh fabrics - scrap quilting bee -

Talk about keeping busy! 

The lovely people at Sew Fresh Fabrics have been feverishly sending out little packages of scraps to those of us who signed up for round one, to make a 12.5” x 12.5” block that will go toward quilts for Project Linus … Sounds good to me … (and we can keep any leftovers! Yay!)  My block is for a girl's quilt.


So, I thought I’d start by doing the centre with this lovely block from I_like_orange_too … It involves strip/foundation piecing, which is something I’ve never tried before … 


How much fun is that?  - and sooooo quick! 
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I then went kind of improv on the rest of it … All I added from my stash was the cerise polka dot to give it a bit more of a girly thing ...


I really like it, although I would never have used any of those florals before … hmmm, I’m seeing patterns quite differently these days - much more in terms of how they interact with solids … Interesting how our ‘eye’ changes, isn’t it?

I'm entering this and the BendyBloodyMary block into Quilt Story's Block Party - Have you entered anything?  Hurry on over (click the banner below) deadline is Wednesday 9th - there are three categories - Traditional, Modern and Art ...

Now to focus on my Urban Home Goods & Make Mine Modern Swaps … yay!

What new things do you have your eye on trying this year?


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