Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Flying FPP

This month I have started a new project as a result of a challenge posted in an online sewing community. The challenge was the “Soaring Compliments” pattern from Bryerpatch Studio.

At first I thought this challenge was not for me – I’ve only done two FPP projects previously and the rainbow colour scheme was not my cup of tea. However, I did a bit of digital colouring in and looked at my stash of Oakshott and the next thing I knew was the challenge had been accepted.
Before the sewing could start, some more computer wizardry was required to print the pattern as a tiled PDF and resize it so I could use the charm squares for the geese. My resized pattern is now ~15” instead of the original 25” and so far the smaller scale has been OK for the flying geese sections.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the pattern comes together at the reduced size.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

January – comings and goings

Just a quick post with a few bits from the tail end of last year and some plans for this year.

Christmas (which seems so long ago) saw some new sewing arrivals for me – a FQ bundle of Liberty’s English Garden quilting cotton and a Fiskars folding ruler.

I’ve no project in mind yet for the Liberty FQs, but I know the ruler will be great to take on the train when I go to Leeds MQG. To make space for the new FQs I destashed a few FQs online, though the net result was still a gain but at least some fabric has found new homes where hopefully it will get used.


After missing 4 months of meetings I finally managed to get to Leeds MQG this month and spent the day sewing some POTC blocks. I’m still working on the joining blocks but now I have decided on the two fabrics for these, once I have a few more made I think it will make it easier to pick the fabrics for the “cross” blocks.

The only other sewing this month has been sewing name tags on to clothes for my Mum who is having to spend some time in a nursing home (and which probably will become a long term stay). For such small items, they seem to take a disproportionally long time to sew.

Next month’s sewing is likely to be a FPP quilt for a friend’s baby which I need to get done it time for her return from maternity leave and her daughter’s first birthday. It is my first attempt at an entire quilt using FPP blocks, but at least if I get stuck I will be able to take it to the next MQG meeting for help and advice.

Friday, 29 December 2017

2017 - my sewing year in numbers

This year has been more productive than last year and finished quilts actually make an appearance in my annual round up. Again, small and quick projects feature quite strongly and for some projects, a needle and thread has been replaced by glue and a brush. I've started a new EPP project (Lucy Boston's Patchwork of the Crosses), but progress has been slow and I have only got as far as chosing the fabric for the linking blocks, and have not started going through my Liberty fabrics for the main blocks.

Not too much fabric has been added to my stash this year, and now Standfast & Barrack no longer sell Liberty lawn in their factory shop, I can't see my Liberty stash increasing much in 2018. I did buy a few dressmaking patterns and fabrics this year, so perhaps some garments will appear in next year's montage.

In summary, this is what I have achieved this year:
  • 6 spotty coasters sewn
  • 5 boxes/cases repurposed and covered in Liberty fabric
  • 4 quilts finished
  • 2 garments refashioned
  • 1 mini quilt stitched
  • 1 cushion made and gifted
  • 1 insulated lunch bag designed and created
  • 1 bag customised with Liberty EPP
  • 1 replacement iPad case completed
  • 1 peek-a-boo pouch made
  • 1 new EPP project started

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Replace and Reuse

Just a couple of quick bits of sewing to report for this month. First up is a replacement iPad case for my godson who left his case (along with the iPad) on a train. This was a very quick make as I had only a couple of hours to make it while he was home from University. I adapted the pattern that is available in my tutorials so that the zipped pocket was quicker and used the first non-girly fabric that came to hand.

The other piece of sewing was to find a way of reusing a skirt of mine that somehow has “shrunk” while it has been hanging in the wardrobe. The length was never quite right on me and seeing as the waist was no longer right now too, there was nothing to lose. I chopped off the skirt just below the zip and made a casing for elastic using a length of Liberty lawn. (The skirt is needlecord which would have been too bulky to fold for a casing.)

Seeing as I never wear tops tucked into skirts, this was a quick fix and resulted in a skirt that is very wearable, but very difficult to photograph.

I might use this method again should any more skirts shrink in the wardrobe 😉.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Last of the Liberty (thank heavens for a stash)

October has been another quiet month sewing-wise, with just one item being made, no sewing progress on my Patchwork of the Crosses quilt, and some news that will impact my Liberty stash.

At the start of the month, I met up with Di whom I follow on Instagram. Di was in Liverpool for a few days and was looking for suggestions of where to go and what to see. We arranged to meet for lunch followed by a trip to the craft cotton bargain baskets at Abakhans. I didn’t want to turn up empty-handed, so I made a quick “Peek-a-Boo” pouch using the free pattern from Sew She Can. Unfortunately I forgot to put anything in the pockets when taking the photos, so you’ll have to take my word that there is a vinyl pocket on the inside.

I had warned Di that the craft cotton baskets can be a bit hit and miss at times, but we struck lucky on our visit. I found some Tula Pink and Art Gallery Fabric; Di found some backing to complete a cushion and started planning ahead with the purchase of some Christmas fabric.

Although I’ve not got any further with my Patchwork of the Crosses quilt, I have got as far as deciding on the final fabric for the joining blocks – the centre squares will be in Liberty “Penny”. I've not sewn any of these blocks yet, but Photoshop gave me an indication of how they might look.

Talking of Liberty, I was saddened to learn last month that Standfast and Barracks will no longer be selling Liberty seconds in their factory shop. Apparently printing has been moved to Como in Italy, which probably explains the lack of newer designs and the half-price sale in the Lancaster outlet. I bought a few metres of the Wild Cat design (from the Autumn/Winter 2016 collection) before they stopped selling on Ebay, but it looks as though this will be the last of my bargain Liberty purchases.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Little bits of Liberty for a little quilt

It is now about 5 years since I made my first quilt and in those years I have never made a mini quilt. Well, that has changed now. A call went out for a competition for mini quilt for a forum I belong to and I thought I would give it a go. 

A few choice words were said when I realised my design was more suitable to working in centimetres than inches if it were to meet the size requirements, but freezer paper and an “add a quarter” ruler came to the rescue enabling me to cut metric-sized shapes with a quarter inch seam. Once I had decided on the placement of the fabrics, piecing the quilt was quick, though there was one tricky square that required two partial seams – another planning failure on my part.

I used Liberty lawn for the backing and a piece of microfleece for the wadding as traditional wadding was too thick/stiff for such a small project. When it came to the quilting, I was tempted to reach for the walking foot, but took the advantage of the manageable size of the quilt to try some FMQ. I used Aurifil 50 wt in a dark grey as it blended with most of the fabrics, but contrasted with a few of the darker pieces. Quilting was kept fairly sparse so as not to add any extra stiffness and the design is probably best described as a “meandering square” and was chosen to reflect the shapes of the piecing. A narrow double fold binding, again in Liberty lawn, was applied and hand stitched to the back, making the finished quilt ~8.5 x 10.5”.

I don’t for one minute think it will win the competition (not enough batiks!), but it has used up some Liberty scraps and was a chance to try a bit of free motion quilting.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Delayed Delivery

I started making these two quilts for Project Linus at the beginning of last year and it has taken me over 18 months from cutting the fabric to getting them delivered. It is a good job quilts don’t have a use by date.

The corner triangles add a splash of colour and a little bit of interest for the quilting. As I use fleece for the backing and no wadding, I don’t have to worry about quilting distances and so a simple one way diagonal was enough to hold the layers together. With the exception of the binding, the fabrics and batting were from my stash.

As a change from the usual washing line photos, here’s an attempt at a styled photo of one of the quilts on the garden bench. In addition to the dinosaurs, there are also bees, birds and stars on some of the squares.

To make further inroads into my stash (which in theory should be getting smaller, though any change in size is not obvious yet), I made some more sheets for Alder Hey from fabrics that had been stashed and unused for several years. My local Project Linus co-ordinator not only takes in quilts, but also sheets, so it was nice to add these to the quilt parcel.

In contrast to the slow progress of these two quilts, this Mr Men and Little Misses quilt was cut, quilted and delivered to my godson in less than a week. This cheap and cheerful quilt is made from two charity shop polycotton duvet covers and I was certainly "Little Miss Make-it-up-as-I-go-along" when it came to working out what size of irregular sashing was needed.

The shape and bold outline of each character was ideal for FMQ and had the bonus of creating "ghost" figures on the back of the quilt.

Now these three quilts are completed, I can think about what to make next. A friend's daughter is 4 months old, so if I start now, she might get a quilt for her first birthday!