Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Almost enough time in the day

Sometimes it's nice when external forces mean that you just can't do some of the things on the list.  I always have so many things in my head that 'need' doing and I never get as much done as I feel I should.  It's something that I constantly beat myself up over.

Last weekend, I just couldn't do some things.  It snowed. Lots. Almost 2ft of snow over a couple of days. So not much could be done in the garden. No biking or running. And the only sewing I could do was those projects that I had the supplies for as there was no point even trying to drive anywhere.

So, one project I hadn't even looked at was the bunting I promised to make for the dining room.  I let Mal pick out the fabric ages ago and just never got around to starting. I quite like making bunting as its a relatively quick (half a day all in) and it looks so smart when it's done.

Even though there was deep snow (for North Wales/Cheshire border, that is deep) there was still an opportunity for some gardening.  I had to clear the snow from the polytunnel anyway so while I was out there I planted five of the early potato tubers.  I was going to experiment by planting some tubers outside and some in the tunnel to see what the difference in growth was - but with the snow around, I don't think I'll be planting the outside ones for a week or two. They'll just have to continue chitting on the window ledge!

The experiment continued with the planting of carrot and turnip seeds in the tunnel - it's a bit early for outside planting but I'm hoping the extra protection will give an early crop.  And as well as them , tomato, chili, sweet pepper, broccoli and sprouts seedlings all went into seed trays to be kicked off on the window ledge.

As well as all that, there was a bit of progress on the Battenburg quilt - I've made over half the blocks now, and the strips for the border are all sewn together.  And I've even sewn some of the binding on the Christmas table mats. I really should crack on with them and get them finished and out of the way.

So all in all, it's been a highly productive weekend!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Trying to be a bit more organised...

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Done a very small bit of research and decided I need to organise my Blog reading a bit better (rather than random links saved in various places, inc pinterest), so followed Knotted Cottons advice and gone with BlogLovin....

Just need to grow the list now, and workout how to embed it in this blog, but in the meantime.... back to the sewing machine!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

So little willpower

I really should have been cracking on with getting some more blocks done for the Battenburg Quilt, but I got distracted again.  Last weekend the post arrived with a Moda Jelly Roll of Eat your Fruit and Veg batik fabric.... The plan for this was to do a strip quilt (best tutorial for this here), so I thought, that'll be quick and easy lets give it a go!

So the first thing to do was mess up the fabrics....

Hopefully this will randomise the order of the strips.

Then it was time to join all the strips on the shortest side, so that you get one continuous very long strip...

Once you've got that, you then fold in half and join on the long side (so it's then half the length, but double the width).

This first join took ages.... And my top thread kept breaking, and the tension was a bit off.

So I decided to clean out my machine (I haven't done it since I got it - I know I'm a bad person).  The large quantity of lint under the needle plate might have something to do with why it was struggling...

Eventually I did the first join, and then the subsequent ones were a lot quicker, until it got to the point where it looked like this!  I just need to work out what to do with it now - I think I might add a black border and binding, should look quite striking with the brightly coloured batiks.  I was planning on giving it away but I am tempted to keep it for me!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Could resist no longer

I've been really strict with myself over the last few months about finishing projects before starting the next one, even though there's fabric already in the house and plans in my head!

But today I was doing a bit of research on disappearing 9 patch patterns and came across a disappearing 4 patch quilt that just looked fantastic (linky). I was planning on using the Dan Bennett Cosmos fat quarter pack to make a trellis style patchwork, but I was so inspired that I completely dropped that idea for the 4 patch. In fact I was so inspired that I once I got home from work I had to drop all the evenings plans (well, it was only running) to start cutting and sewing just so I could complete some blocks.

In the end I managed to complete 4 blocks - and I absolutely adore them... Can't wait to get cracking on the rest, although I did work out that I could make 48 blocks from all the fabric that I've got so it could be a larger quilt than I envisaged, unless some blocks end up on the back....

Friday, 8 March 2013


I decided the general blog was getting to full with Photo A Day posts, so I've moved them all to a new blog:


Quite an easy process - exported complete blog, deleted the non Project365 posts from the XML file, imported the XML file to a new blog.

Job done!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Two hours and we're done

So with the Alfa off on a trek to the Servicing man there was no opportunity for biking tonight, and the epic on call weekend meant that I didn't get everything done that I'd planned.

I did manage to get the fabric cut for my latest quick project though - a bucket hat for my Cousin's one year old from this tutorial.  I'd bought some Riley Blake fabric from Emma's Fabric Studio that was so cute, but then I had a panic that the stripy fabric wouldn't work for the hat.

The project had to be finished this week as I'm seeing them all at the weekend, so tonight was the only opportunity (Thursday is swim night). In the end it only took a couple of hours to put the hat together and it wasn't too complicated.  The sewing of the band to the crown was a bit fiddly - a curved bit to a straight bit always tests me, but I think it turned out OK.  The fabric was just standard weight cotton and I put some heavy weight interfacing on one set of fabric, but I think if I did it again I'd put a lighter weight interfacing on both sets.

All in all, I think not bad for a first attempt.... Unfortunately I don't have a cute one year old handy to model it, so the banister will have to do....

Monday, 4 March 2013

Quilt #2

Back in November I ordered two fat quarter packs of Tanya Whelan's Delilah range from Cotton Patch, with 6 FQ's in a pack that gave me three metres of fabric.  Then when I was in Abakhan I picked up some bargain bin pink swirly fabric that matched with the Delilah range.

I've seen so many fantastic patchwork quilt top patterns, but I wanted to keep this one quick and simple as it was the first time I was doing a quilt of this size (and only the second time I made a quilt!) so I stuck with a really easy block work pattern of rows of 6' by 9' blocks (idea from this snuggly quilt).  I tried to keep the organisation of the blocks a random as possible without creating big areas of one fabric pattern.

Using the big blocks was great as it took so little time to do all the cutting (unlike all those half square triangles for the Bleakley baby quilt!) and in no time at all the quilt top was all sewn together.  There was a lull in proceedings then whilst I finished the baby quilt and Mum's Christmas table-mats, and then last month I  started pinning it all together to start the quilting.

I'm still practising quilting in straight lines, so decided just to sew in one direction across the quilt - I'm really rubbish at quilting in the ditch (the seam where the block rows are sewn together) so I though this would be an ideal time to practise! Towards the end of the quilting I did start to get better at keeping the quilting in the ditch.... sort of.  I really liked the effect of the lines sewn 1/4 inch apart on the cushion that matches the quilt but it would take forever to do that on a quilt this size and I thought it would make the quilt far to stiff. So I decided to do a line 1 inch either side of the seam, and halfway across the block (so 3 inch from the seam).  I also did a line 1/4 inch either side of this halfway seam.  The pattern turned out well - not too much stitching (time taken good!) but enough for interest.

There was enough of the pink swirly fabric to make the binding, and I'd picked up a couple of purple themed fabrics from Abakhan to do the quilt back.

I wasn't that impressed with my hand embroidery so I thought I'd try fabric pen approach for my label, that seems to be what everyone suggests on the Internet.  I ironed the fabric to freezer paper, and then used a permanent fabric pen - I'm quite pleased with the results.