Tuesday 31 July 2012

Zakka - Boudoir Basket

At first, when I was studying this next project, I didn't think I'd use it for the table as a bread basket - my choice of fabric changed its style a bit.
Recently I told the story of my friend Caryl who comes to class, sometimes bearing fabric samples for "distribution". These samples, once taking centre stage in furnishing stores are retired to landfill apparently - so Caryl's friend rescues them, and we in class willingly relieve her of most of the booty.
I also mentioned recently, the tea towels I bought on holiday. One of those was pulled for use in this project.
The tea towel is on the left, is 100% cotton but heavy, like a linen. The "sample" on the right is 100% linen, quite a fine one, with a tiny metallic, splodge like pattern that tones well with the tea towel. The trims were all part of the sample.
The cotton was quite coarse and frayed a good bit. The linen had a mind of its own and was tricky to cut straight without it moving. The construction of the basket was familiar and I kept to the instructions this week as far as dimensions were concerned. I used the cotton for the base lining to give a bit more body.
I fussy cut the tea towel so the word Paris lay across the front of the basket.
  And, on the back, I used a piece of the sample trim. Waste not........
    and, the inside shot,
I finished it off with a blingy button from my button jar. 
No,. it won't be used for bread - I rather fancy it being located in a bedroom, full of pretty soaps or the like - I am calling it my Zakka Boudoir Basket - it was fun, and quick, to make.
As always, I am linking to Lindsey's blog where you can check out the other Zakka makes.

Monday 30 July 2012

Merry Christmas....

....in July. Yes, it was that time of year again when my classes kick off with a workshop dedicated to making something Christmassy.
This year we indulged ourselves all day by making delightful Santas from Tone Finnanger's book, Crafting Christmas Gifts.
                                 Group photo call, if you like this, see more on the slideshow..........

As usual, the sun shone most of the day, the hours passed more quickly than on normal days, and the company was excellent. Thanks ladies.

Saturday 28 July 2012

A Salutory Tale

Yesterday, during an uncharacteristic flurry of housework, my Dyson made a heart rending wail and stopped. There was an unpleasant burning smell so I whipped out the plug quick smart.
 I reckoned it was time for some TLC........I took out the washable filter, and washed it........then I turned the vac upside down and was horrified to see how much thread was wrapped around the brush/roller......this is something my husband has often mentioned (oops)..........I had to CUT it all out and the resulting pile of thread was quickly binned in my haste to hide the evidence. Suffice to say it would have stuffed a large pincushion!!
The filter had to dry for 12hrs so I gave the matter no more thought until this morning when I casually mentioned it to my OH - together we plugged it in and got the same result.I had obviously succeeded in burning out the motor. 
Luckily for me there wasn't too much in the way of accusation being directed at me - we bought this Dyson a couple of years back when the last one was suffocated with building dust and debris.. 15 all.
When we purchased it, we had just moved house, didn't have a lot of spare cash for new vacuum cleaners so I sourced one from a company that sells refurbished Dysons.Great value for money, good product, it was like new. We have ordered another today. I thought some of you might like to check your vacuum cleaners.............
On a cheerier note -
I finished my bee blocks for Judith's Bee Blessed.
                                                      I knitted a hat for Ava for winter,
                    and I added the final borders to my Topsy quilt, it now measures 60" square.

and I have enough fabric left to piece a backing, always a bonus when you suddenly have unexpected necessities to buy...
I hope you are all enjoying your weekend.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Zakka & more...........

Well, it's week 17 already in the Zakka sew a long.
I dipped out of last week's scrap "ribbon" and cut straight to the linen bag for this week. When I looked at the size of this little bag, I reckoned it might be just right for a Kindle........or two.
I didn't really stick to the instructions, I do that with recipes too.
First of all I decided I wanted to use wadding in the bag. Then I thought cutting the front in one piece made sense, also the lining.
I embellished the linen front and had great fun with it, adding all sorts of bits and bobs. I then laid the front on to some wadding and then very lightly added a couple of rows of quilting.
I cut the lining fabric half an inch longer than the outer, stitched the front & back together along the short sides. I then rearranged it so the right sides were still facing each other but now with the seams lying across the centre. I stitched the sides, leaving a gap in the lining for turning. When it is turned through, the little extra lining makes a mock binding. I had also stitched in a little "rattail" cord to make a loop.
                                                                  And the Kindle fits.
Other finished stuff this week - I made a quick, "cheater" quilt for my little 2 yr old nephew. Elmo was requested and had to be obtained from the US. The Fat Quarter shop came to my rescue.
Next Sunday is my first workshop of the new session, Christmas in July, and we are making this little fella.-
He is from Tone Finnanger's book, Crafting Christmas Gifts, and a requirement of the workshop is the purchase of the book, currently not much more than the cost of a magazine.If I run a workshop based on someone else's work, I usually approach them for permission. In this case, I contacted the publishers but never received a reply, so I reckon all the students buying the book is pretty fair

And still on class samples, I made progress with my NY Beauty variation on my "Topsy" project. It's measuring about 42" square at the moment and I intend increasing it a good bit yet. It's a long time since I actually did any curved piecing and I thoroughly enjoyed putting this together - I am making good use of my Joel Dewberry fabric that I got half price a few months back.............
Today I had a really thoughtful little gift turn up in the post from Helen. 

I think she might have been in secret discussions with my other half - it's his constant bugbear, the amount of thread that lies around the house - with this new thread catcher, I have high hopes that my messy tendencies will be a thing of the past!

Friday 20 July 2012

So Charming

 Has anyone else spotted this new member of the Moda Bakery?
Here I am, browsing the Fat Quarter shop's "coming soon" selection and I was pausing over this range by Sandy Gervais, an old favourite of mine. This particular selection is a mini charm pack -
42 x 2.5" squares - how sweet!
Whatever next??

Flirt Mini Charm Pack Sandy Gervais for Moda Fabrics

Flirt Mini Charm Pack includes 42 2.5" squares.
Mini Charm Pack includes duplicates of some prints.
Price will be $4.50.

Expected shipment date of November 2012. 

Wednesday 18 July 2012


My new session of classes start 4 weeks tonight Yes, time for the ladies of Ayrshire to leave the beaches early, pack away the picnic baskets and cover up the BBQs............time instead to purchase new blades for their rotary cutters and embrace a new year of P & Q!
This year, as well as my usual brand new Beginners' class, I am offering a choice of two projects - The first one is called Home is Where the Heart Is and is a gentle introduction into designing a quilted piece of work based on a location close to the heart - we will be covering the elements of design in a reasonably simple way, leading up to the creation of unique pieces of work.This course was inspired by this little quilt that I made last year

which in turn was inspired by this quilt that I made for a friend from a Gloria Loughman pattern.

My second project I have named Topsy, as it's a quilt project that keeps on growing. It started out life in 2006 as a Christmas in July project.

Following the instructions for this quilt, it is possible to make lots of items, from mug mats to cushions & table runners to the actual quilt.But not in Christmas colours.

and as a variation on a theme,

and for those who want more of a challenge,

So, for me, at the moment it's lots of prep. Today, I made the Kaleidoscope block which will be finished as a cushion.
I also got started on the Bee Blessed blocks for July/August  - I started but didn't finish as I had no suitable fabric for the centres. Sad, but true.

Just as well I am off on a day out tomorrow that will take in rather a nice quilt shop..................

Sunday 15 July 2012

Busy Bee

I have had quite a productive week following my Heffalump production line.......

I made a start on my BQS3 quilt - I am possibly going to make this in three sections or I might join the sections together.
I am not happy with the side sections - I think I will prefer the strips to lie straight, I feel the angles detract from the lines of the centre piece. Anyway, I have already unpicked all those strips................

Next, I made a couple of coin trays, for little gifts.

And then I got stuck in to some class preparation. I have two main projects next session and this will be the centre block for one of them, I'll explain more when I have made a bit more of this sample.

And finally, today, I finished up my Spring Carnival project.

This was my holiday project, I prepped much of it before going off on holiday and spent many happy evenings stitching. I have really taken to EPP after avoiding it for so many years. But how could I resist such a super project. When I saw Katy's version of Spring Carnival I was smitten.
But.........I have a bad habit of rushing into fabric choice. The above fabric was some of a large bundle that I won last year. I planned it out quite carefully, fussy cutting some of the flowers but now it is complete I can see I have lost some of the circular movement due to my colour placement. I still like it, even though it really doesn't fit into any location in my own house - I planned to turn it into a large floor cushion cover but it measures about 30" x 26" so is a little big for my floor cushion. I might just make it into a wall hanging as I do find it quite interesting to look at......and I have enjoyed the process.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Zakka Sew a Long - Week 15

Imagine - 15 weeks already! The Zakka sew a long has been fun, I haven't joined in with every single project but have made quite a few now.
This week it's the turn of the elephant bookmark and I did consider giving it a miss but then thought, "how long will it take?", I'll make one..............
and then two,
things go better in threes,
but I didn't make them as bookmarks, I lightly stuffed the ears and decided they could be strung together , like elephant bunting - but their ears got in the way, so I opted for this,.......
......................a wall decoration for a child's room. Now I wonder who I could give it to?
The wee bodies and ears were put together in about an hour, and all the embellishing completed whilst watching tv later on. Fun.

Monday 9 July 2012

Monday Memories #17

For my classes in 2009/10, I designed and made Pic'n'Mix. Year on year I have faithful members of my classes who return to take on new projects and challenges and they mix in with others who perhaps have only completed  a beginners' course.
So, I try to come up with projects that will suit all - something that will provide enough scope and challenge for those who want to experiment a bit, but easy enough for the less experienced quilters.
There was a lot to learn in this quilt - lots of foundation piecing, how to make multiple HSTs, different ways to make flying geese, and lots of advice and tips on the actual quilting.
Here are some of the beauties that were made and shown off in 2010.

 Ooh, I enjoyed looking at them all again - hope you did too!

Friday 6 July 2012

I'm Over It

Remember the parcels I was waiting for? I had a bad feeling and this morning it played out - the horrid card from the PO was delivered saying I had to go pick up my parcel and I had to pay too!

Normally, when I order from the US, I try to keep my spends reasonable but still "worth it" when compared to UK prices, taking into consideration shipping costs.
This time, I was waiting for a meatier than usual order - 9 yards, yes, the whole 9 yards!!
I have been watching this fabric for a wee while but it went out of stock very quickly at Hawthorne Threads & Fabricworm - the only two sources I could find. Imagine my delight when I got back from hols to find Hawthorne Threads had restocked - yippee.
So this is Sheila's tip for the top - Velocity, by Jessica Hogarth, a British designer.!!
And here is what I got -
There are other funky options in this line but I am planning a quilt for my son who is sadly quite conservative in his tastes.
As usual, it is also going to be a class sample first. Every so often I run a triple series of workshops to allow folks to make any size of quilt they desire, but to show them how to Quilt As You Go. This year I am changing it from my usual quilt pattern and opting for a strippy - it will be reversible and heavily quilted.
Don't hold your breath for a finish - the third of the three workshops isn't until January 2013!!
So - going back to the VAT & PO charges - I reviewed my whole purchase and my fabric still came in at
 £9 yd, so I am happy. And, it wasn't available in the UK when I wanted it!

I'm thinking of building an ark......

........anyone know of a good tutorial?

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Late Bulletin

Heavy Weather

You know those days when you should be doing stuff, but you can't quite be bothered?
That's today, or at least, this morning.
I have so much sewing I could be doing but wasted invested some time instead making a new header, not before time.
Then some more time making a new button....still a wip.
In a wee burst of energy I went off into the garden and managed about half an hour's heavy weeding before the rain came on. At that point I made the stupid decision to leave the washing out - hmm, it's been rained on  so much it's going to need spun again - duh!!
Was looking forward to Andy Murray's match at Wimbledon and knew he was on later in the afternoon, so stirred myself into action and hit my sewing room..........
...............but not to sew. I started clearing shelves, and throwing out paperwork and old magazines etc.
Andy is now on court, and to keep my nerves steady, I am going through files of patterns, thinning and weeding, very satisfying.
Part of my blah feeling is my impatience - I have been waiting for a couple of parcels from the US and hoped they might have arrived by now, haven't seen a glimpse of a red van in days!
So, in order to add a couple of pics to my post I'll show you some of my holiday buys.
This first one is from Spotlight - thanks Hadley. She mentioned this store to me before I left on holiday and my sister very kindly took us straight there one day, in Cairns. It's a big chain and a bit of an Aladdin's cave. Not a dedicated quilting shop, they have homewares and furnishing fabrics by the ton too. I had seen some of this Melbourne fabric in flickr and thought I'd look out for it so was chuffed to find it there.It seems to be a cotton/linen mix.
 Believe it or not, I don't buy a lot of novelty fabrics but when we visited Port Douglas Sunday markets there was one patchwork stall selling items made by the seller - there was a really fun quilt made using this next "cartoon" print, I will have fun playing with it.
 And these two were just plain corny and I can see me making some fun item for a certain small person in my life.Both of these prints were bought at the Sydney Quilt Show.
 The show was held in three exhibition halls down at Darling Harbour and my friend Delia and I were really looking forward to our day. I would say 2/3 of the space was given over to traders, lots of traditional Japanese stands, lots of Australian folksy sort of stands and many others similar to what we see at home.
Fabric was just as expensive as it is here in the UK, if not a little more and we found only one stand selling the modern fabrics that we are getting used to seeing online.It was also very expensive but it was exciting to see rolls of Melody Miller, bales of Lottie Jansdotter, "in the flesh".
As for exhibited quilts, we were quite surprised to see just so many huge, traditional ones. I always have the impression that Australia is big on art quilts and hoped to have seen more - there was, thankfully, one Gloria Loughman on show.
And then yesterday I read this post by Shevvy and it really made me pause for thought.

Mindful of my future Zakka projects I bought a bag handle, some teeny clothes pegs, and some fun tapes, as well as a lovely Christmas kit from Annie Down's stand.
 My next purchases were from Target! Two sets of tea towels that will never see a wet dish.
The ones in the first picture are 100% cotton but feel like linen.
 This next set is also all cotton and just cute. I have plans for these tea towels but I'll share with you another day.
Well, I am surrounded by mess, Andy is now fighting to stay in the 2nd set, and I must go peel a potato or two.
C'mon Muzza!!

Monday 2 July 2012

A Great Cause

Quilts for Siblings Together
Today, I am linking up with Lynne and her Siblings Together linky party. It was back in March when she put out a call for quilts for kids who are separated from their siblings within our UK social services system.
I had made a quilt that I termed my "first modern quilt" and it really didn't have a recipient in mind, until I read  about Siblings Together.
One of the reasons I was happy to help was because my daughter Jenny works with troubled teens in a residential facility. Some kids don't stand a chance do they?
If you pop over to Lynne's blog, you can read more about this very worthwhile cause and check out some of the fantastic quilts that were made.
                                      I really hope it helped brighten one young person's day.


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