Monday, February 27, 2012

Still Sewing - Not Packing

Only because I had a few essential bits to do!

I had to finish Sofias baby quilt, she was born last Monday, I cant wait to meet her and give her a cuddle. Hopefully she enjoys her quilt.

Its backed in a lovely flannelette and is soooo soft. I did a self binding too. When I start up Tutorial Tuesdays again then I will be doing one for this type of binding. It was so quick and easy, I had the whole thing bound in about 30 mins!

And the sun shined today, it felt like spring, it was wonderful

I also had to change one of my bee blocks. I originally made this block for the 4x5 bee with a white background because I was too hasty and didn't check colours properly! Re-made with Kona Ash and it looks much better

Starting my mini

Have you been enjoying all the eye candy thats been popping up in relation to Jennifers Modern Mini Challenge? I know that I have, wow some people are so talented and creative, It just makes me wish that I had time to create everything that pops into my head.

I have however found a tiny amount of time to start on a mini for me, for Jennifers challenge. I really wanted to join in on this but then I thought for a while that moving continents might get in the way of that. However I have now started and hopefully I will finish (I keep putting off the packing though, I guess I should do that and then sew!)

Recently I have been loving art with a washed out, muted palette, and im finding that im really influenced by illustration. I have been pinning alot recently, these are just a few that I love

And its these that have influenced my mini.
Its got a long way to go and im not even sure that its going to turn out as I imagine it, but its definitely going to remind me of home if nothing else!

P.S Im not doing to well on this not sewing or blogging in exchange for packing! I have however booked tickets, we fly out next Sunday!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sundays Sewing Space - Very Kerry Berry

This week I have a lovely colourful treat in store for you, the workspace of Kerry from Very Kerry Berry.  Im sure most of you are familiar with Kerry's fabulous work, she puts colours and fabrics together brilliantly. It was seeing some of her amazing work that got me interested in Paper Piecing, Kerry does a lot of foundation piecing and has some great tutorials and links on her blog.

And not only is her work vibrant and colourful but so is her workspace, lets go have a poke about

Where is your Sewing Space?
I am in the backroom.  It would’ve once been the dining room but now is multipurpose as a music room, office and sewing space.  We live in a small house so this room is jam packed with a piano, desk, computer, phone, radio, printer, cutting table, storage, books and work stuff!

What 3 words do you feel best describes it?
Light, messy, busy

What are your most important things in there?
It gets a lot of sunlight that makes it warm and bright, great for sewing.  My most important thing is a floor standing daylight angle poise so I can sew easily when it gets dark!  I do love my sewing machine, won in a competition at the The Sewing Directory.
Machine at work

How is the room laid out?
I have my sewing/ironing/cutting all close together in a U shape.  The ironing board is a portable cheapo Ikea purchase that sits on top of an old wooden trolley on casters so it can be moved around.  I use a travel iron rather than a full size as I find them too heavy.  I also store threads, scrap boxes and stamps in the trolley.  My sewing machine is on a vintage Singer sewing machine cabinet that also has built in drawers and secret cupboards.  The cutting table is 1960s Formica kitchen table with folding flaps.  Occasionally I can even see the crosshatch pattern on the Formica, but most of the time it is covered with ‘works in progress’. 

Do you have anything in the room for inspiration?
I have a lot of sewing swap gifts, pouches and pincushions from sewing friends and I like to have those around me.  I use the pouches to store different supplies and I like to be able to see them too so I have stuff arranged all around the room.  I keep all my sewing books in here as well vintage paper ephemera, old cookbooks, magazines etc and boxes of vintage aprons, tea towels and sewing notions.
Pouches for storage

Pin cushions on the storage rack above my machine

Where do you keep your fabric stash and how do you organise it?
I tend to have small amounts, half a yard or less and I keep it in a multitude of boxes and drawers and sewing boxes.  All my vintage fabric is kept with other vintage and the scraps are sorted into themed zip loc bags.  My modern stash is kept in themed drawers- cute/text/patterns/Suzkuko/Kumiko /solids/linen etc.  I do seem to spend a lot of time getting bits out and putting bits away but I do know where everything goes and generally where to find it.  I cringe when I see the pretty pictures of sewing rooms with fabric neatly stacked on open shelves.  It looks so lovely but all I can think of is how it will fade and weaken.

VIntage scraps sorted into zip locks

Fabric Pull- Sewing theme

Do you have any top tips to do with work spaces?
Good lighting and a comfortable chair with adjustable height.  Near the kitchen for tea and a digital radio is essential for me.

What would your ideal workspace look like?
I am always attracted to the aesthetic of a white, airy space with a white wooden desk, a lone vintage sewing machine and the odd stack of carefully selected fabric but in reality it would take me 5 minutes to cover the place in paper, pencils, fabrics, quick unpicks and scissors.  I thrive in a busy, messy environment with stuff everywhere.

Wow I think I could spend ages in there rummaging around and trying to steal all of that fabric, what an amazing stash! That quilt on the sewing machine is lovely and I definitely need to increase my pouch storage after seeing yours! Thank you so much for showing us around

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

No Tutorial Tuesday Day

None today as packing and sorting is going ahead in a major way here. I will leave you with this fab link for a great folded fabric basket tutorial over at Mon Petit Lyons. Great project, I think I will need loads of these to try to be organised once I have moved, now I just need to get my hands on some fabulous Heather Ross fabric!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On the move

Posting is likely to be very few and far between for the next few weeks. Things are go go go with our move, visas are sorted, passports in date and packing has begun. We are officially getting ready to move from England to Australia and are hoping to be off there next week.

We plan on going for a year to test out whether its right for us or not, its a big move but nothings permanent and if its not for us then we will be happy living here, so off to test the waters we go.

Things are so manic here at the moment though, I think that getting the chance to sew, let alone blog is going to be practically impossible. So dont delete me, I will be back from pastures new (hopefully with better photographs due to better light!)

I have some really interesting projects coming up. As soon as I get to Oz, the fabric will be out and I will be sewing up a storm hopefully, it just depends on how much fabric I can stuff hide fit in my suitcase once I have packed clothes, toys, books, husbands work tools!!! I dont think fabric rates highly on the rest of the families priorities for packing.

Luckily my MIL has a studio with everything I need, I will just have to wait patiently for our boxes to arrive sometime after Easter with my lovely fabric (oh how I will miss you in the meantime!)

So I will leave you with some eye candy, my newest purchase which is one of the few bundles that will definitely be coming with me. Just look at this text fabric I got from here on Etsy

Oh and im thinking ahead to the flight, does anyone know the rules on taking sewing stuff, needles, small scissors etc? I have always assumed its not allowed but I have seen people writing about stitching while on their flights so anyone know what is allowed and whats not?

I will be back for Sundays sewing space but Tutorial Tuesdays are on hold for the next couple of weeks. See you Sunday

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sundays Sewing Space - Lily's Quilts

Well what a treat I have in store for you today, Lynne of Lily's quilts is going to show us around her space. Im sure all of you know of Lynne and her amazing work and for those of you that dont then let me tell you a little about her.
Lynne is an fantastic quilter, part of the Fat Quarterly team, wife and mother and to top it all off, a Beyonce look a like!

Thanks Lynne for letting us nose round, let the fun begin

Where is your Sewing Space?
I have taken over the dining room in our house because it is between the kitchen and the sitting room so I'm right in the middle of family life when I'm sewing.  I can even see the tv from where I sit!  We bought our house four years ago from a guy who was very dramatic in his decorating so the dining room is decorated in black red and gold with a huge octagonal table in the middle and high backed red leather chairs all round.  We've had 18 round that table at Xmas - it's a huge space to work on and great for basting quilts. 

What 3 words do you feel best describes it?
 James Bond Casino
What are your most important things in there?
I have a little shoe box next to the machine with everything I need constantly in it - pins, needles, seam rippers, scissors, tweezers for tweaking out recalcitrant threads and facial hairs, thread and also usually some cookies in case of emergencies.

How is the room laid out?
 The colossal octagonal table takes up the whole room and I sew at that.  There is room for other machines at it too so sometimes my sewing buddies bring their machines and we all sit round it sewing and talking.  Who am I kidding, we just talk.  Then behind me there is a kind of little dresser thing and on top of that I have a Primark beach towel which I iron on and then a cutting mat there too.  All around the walls are stacked boxes of fabric, thread, batting and WIPs. 

 What sort of sewing machine do you have and how do you feel about it?

My husband was strong armed into buying a Janome 7700 Horizon for my birthday two years ago.  There was a deal on at the time, £500 off so I pounced.  He was in Singapore on business when the decision needed to be made and the line kept going fuzzy when I told him HOW MUCH so he was blissfully ignorant really.  I cannot say enough good things about my machine, I love every thing about it, the stadium lighting, the thread cutter, the button you press so the needle always finishes down or up, the many feet, the huge quilting throat, blanket stitch, which is my all time favourite stitch and the fact that it FMQs like a dream.  

Do you have anything in the room for inspiration?
 No!  nothing at all.  My husband and I are still in denial about this being my sewing room - we're still half kidding ourselves that we will one day "dine" in there again so I have not gone the whole hog and converted it into my den.  I have mini quilts hanging up in the kitchen though, to brighten my day.

Where do you keep your fabric stash and how do you organise it?
 My stash is kept in various IKEA plastic tubs.  Ten small tubs for colour sorted scraps.  Ten larger drawers for FQs and half metres, again sorted by colour.  Then a separate big box for solids and a teetering pile of yardage for quilt backings.  I don't normally buy yardage except for quilting backings so I only have four or five fabrics in this pile.  

Do you have any top tips to do with work spaces?
 Only that, if you press on an old towel, it seems to me to do a way better job than pressing on an ironing board.  Also, that if you buy some IKEA tubs to sort your stash, you will use your stash way more than if it's all messed up in random piles here and there - I use my stash way more now than I ever did before sorting. 
What would your ideal workspace look like?
 It would be painted in a light colour and there would be lots of storage on the walls for threads and rulers.  There would be more light - my sewing room is quite dark although I have a lovely view from the window.  And there would be minions doing the boring bits for me - so I could just do the fun bits of every project. 
 Wow what an amazing space, loving the James Bond casino and im seriously jealous of that sewing machine. Thank you Lynne for showing us around, your answers made me laugh out loud, which often happens when I read your blog or tweets, so cheers for taking part and giving us a giggle

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bee Blocks

Wow did I get loads done today, as well as Sofias' baby quilt and finishing my SOL Zipper block, I got my bee blocks done for the 4x5 bee

Well now unfortunately I did one wrong and need to do again (wrong background on this one, it should have been grey)

While the boys are tucked up in bed then I am hoping to go and work on the design for my Sew Out Loud 12th block. Its a competition and the prizes are amazing! Have you seen the pattern and the ones appearing in flickr? They are amazing. I need to design my block for this months Piece Bee With You too, the theme is under the ocean - Im thinking of doing a lobster but we will sea (haha sorry!)

Oh and I really need to get started on my mini for Jennifers modern mini challenge too. So much to do, I really better go get on!

Sew Out Loud QAL - Zipper

I changed my mind, instead of bee blocks I finished up my SOL block and im so pleased with it.

Are you joining in the Sew Out Loud QAL? Even if your not then you should check it out, there is some serious talent joining in on this one and some amazing people designing the blocks.

Block 1 kicked off this week with the wonderful Julianna designing this amazing zipper block

Zipper scheme

Now as I love text fabric and I love paper piecing then I knew this was a QAL I definitely wanted to join in with.
I have been rooting through my stash since this QAL was announced (I had to make a few extra purchases of course!) dividing up fabrics and trying to decide what fabrics/colours etc. I have a few text fabrics but the styles of them all vary so much and some are cotton or cotton linen mix in differing percentages, I felt I didnt have enough that really went together. So I have decided to make some of my own.

As soon as I saw this block I knew what fabric I would design for it and what colours I would go with - Pink and Green!

And I made zip related text fabric. Im really pleased with how it turned out. I did make mine slightly differently to Julianna, I left the green fabric (cosmo cricket, tailor made) whole instead of paper piecing these in strips, I sewed curved seams instead. I also did this with my zip text fabric.

Im not sure whether I will do all blocks in this colour scheme, I think I will see what speaks to me for each block, if they all go together then thats cool, I will do a quilt, If not then the blocks will pop up in all sorts of other projects. I am going to aim to use my own fabric in each block though. I cant wait to see next weeks block now, I wonder what Kirie will do?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sofias' baby quilt

I whipped up half of this baby quilt the other day, and as Buddy is having his lunchtime nap at the moment I thought I would quickly finish up the top.

A very easy, simple one made of 5" squares, but oh so pretty for a new baby girl.

My friend is having her second baby any day now and they know its a girl and they are calling her Sofia, so a pretty baby quilt for a baby girl with a very pretty name.

The sky is grey here, but this does prove that the sun is actually out

Now while Buddy is still asleep maybe I can get my 4x5 bee blocks done! off to sew, bye

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wow thats Amazing mummy

That is what Lawson my sometimes adorable 3 year old said to me as I took this off the sewing machine yesterday morning

He then saw the back and said 'wow love hearts, I have love hearts in my tummy' to which I told him that it was in his chest and pointed it out to him, he then put his hand to his neck and said 'im holding my love heart mummy'. Somedays I cant believe how much I utterly adore my boys somedays I want to kill them yesterday they were both adorable and cute and funny, and they let me sew.

There were 2 birthdays at crafty campers last night so I was frantically trying to finish off pressies in time. I made this wall hanging from some cotton doillies that I bought from a charity shop and I dyed them with various cold water dyes, leaving them in for different lengths of time to get varying shades.

I did an invisible binding which I think looks good on wall hangings, stops them from looking so much like a quilt. I was originally going to make this a table runner and just stitch the doillies together and not bother backing them. I then realised that table runners need quite regular washing and I dont know how colour fast my dyes will be so I thought a wall hanging would be better as it never needs to be washed hopefully!

As well as recycling the doillies I also used an old merino wool blanket instead of wadding. I often do this, whenever I find old pure wool blankets in charity shops I snap them up to use inside quilts. Lovely and snuggly and much cheaper than buying wadding (although maybe thicker than I liked for a wall hanging)

My second present was this shopper bag, I killed 2 birds with one stone as it was a WIP that I have had sat in a box for ages, I jazzed it up with a pinwheel patch pocket and fully lined it in some lovely soft deep red fabric.
( I apologise for the truely terrible photos, it was dark by the time I had finished and as they had to be given straight away I had no time to wait for light!)

I think that both pressies were well received. Now I need to get on with my bee blocks and work on some projects that are actually for me!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday No. 7

Another week gone past, this year seems to be flying. This week for my tutorial I gave you

Scrappy Improv Cross Block

Now what about you, have you written a tut, or used one and posted about it? It must be fabric related! If so link em up

Lawson and Lotti

Scrappy Cross Block Tutorial

I have a nice simple but effective one for you today, scrappy and a bit improv. By the end you should get something like this

Ok so for this you will need:
Background fabric, cut to the size you want your block to be (mine is 12.5")
Variety of scraps in colours of your choice, width depends on the size you want your cross to be, mine were approx 3" wide

Firstly sew you scraps together in any order that you want (sew with a 1/4" seam throughout), you want to end up with 2 scrappy strips, each measuring a few inches longer than your desired block size (mine measured about 16")
 Press seams and trim sides
 Chose the angle that you want to cut through your background block, cut using a ruler and rotary cutter
 Sew one of your scrappy strips to one of the cut edges of your block, press, then trim away any overhang (this makes it easier to line up the other part of the background block)
 Line up the other piece of the background, sew and press

 Decide where you want the next scrappy strip to go and cut.

 Sew your scrappy strip onto one side, press and trim
 Because you want to ensure that the  strip you have just cut through lines up on both sides of your new strip, your block will not line up on the outer edges, this is fine, we have allowed plenty of extra so we can trim down to size at the end. Line up strip and sew the other background piece on. Press and trim

and voila
Nice and simple but looks great.

This block can be done with so many variations, you can keep adding strips and build it up further

Or how cool would it be to do a giant version of this as a quilt instead of individual quilt blocks

I have started a flickr group so if you do ever use one of my tuts then please post photos, I would love to see