Thursday, 30 September 2021

Stash busting

There has not been a lot of sewing going on, but I did manage to make a dent in the stash with some incubator covers requested by my local Project Linus branch.


These were urgently required by a nearby neonatal unit and I managed to get six made, washed and dried in a weekend. The covers only had to be two layers of fabric and required minimal quilting, so this quick and easy project cleared ~12 metres of fabric from my stash.

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Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Festival of Quilts 2021

I didn’t expect to be writing this, but I went to Festival of Quilts on Saturday! Given all the uncertainty this year I’d not taken the risk and bought a ticket, but then I won one in a giveaway last week and decided to take the plunge and venture out. Knowing that this year’s show would be “different”, I wanted flexible train tickets so I wasn’t tied to a return train time. As usual, the simple option for tickets was not the cheapest but I managed to save ~£10 by splitting my journey into three.


The first sign that this year was going to different was that with the earlier opening time and staggered admissions, I wasn’t able to play the usual “spot the quilter” on the train or at the stations. My free ticket was valid for entry after 11am and train times meant I got to the NEC about 10.15am which gave me time to get a coffee beforehand. I’d finished my coffee by 10.45am and there was no problem in getting in to the Halls early. The organisers had taken on extra hall space and going by the list on the website, exhibitor numbers seemed reduced by about 50%. With the extra space it was difficult to gauge how visitor numbers compared to previous years, but one thing that was noticeable was the lack of a “hubbub” about the place.


There was lots of space to view the competition quilts, but I got the impression there were fewer entries than in previous years. Rather the usual photos of the quilts that caught my eye, I decided just to take some photos of quilts with cats on them.


It was much easier to move around the trading stands and many of the traders had time to answer questions about their products and chat about the show in general. One of the smaller traders mentioned that the lack of some of the “big names” had been beneficial as people who would normally head to the names were buying from them instead.

I didn’t particularly “need” anything, but there were a few things that were on my “would be useful or nice to have” list. Unfortunately, with the reduced retail offering, I didn’t spot any of them. However, I didn’t come away empty handed and came home with an eclectic mix of shopping - F8 bundles and a half metre from Oakshott Fabrics; low volume FQs from White Gecko; Dutch heritage prints from The Crafty Quilter; elastic for skirt and legging making (from a stand whose name escapes me); bargain jersey fabric from Project Linus (£5 for 2.5m!); ribbon for Christmas cakes (also found at Project Linus); two hair ornaments from Aid for Burma, one of which might be repurposed as a point turner for corners.


It was a different, but enjoyable experience this year, but I kept waiting for the crowds to appear - all day it had the feeling of being the last hour of the show when everyone starts heading home.

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Thursday, 29 July 2021

Unexpected patchwork

There has been no sewing this month as spare time has been spent in the garden or on days out. It was on a couple of these days out that I came across some unexpected patchwork.

The first was in Levens Hall in Cumbria and is described as the earliest English patchwork. It is believed to have been made in ~1708 by family members of Colonel Sir James Grahme of Levens Hall. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in the hall, but the quilt and bed curtains are described in “Anonymous Needlework: Uncovering British Patchwork 1680-1820”, a PhD thesis by Bridget Long. The thesis (from which I’ve taken the screenshot below) is available online and shows the photos in a higher resolution (document page 259; PDF page 271).

Screenshot from "Anonymous Needlework: Uncovering British Patchwork 1680-1820”,
a PhD thesis by Bridget Long, 2014.

The other unexpected find was in Llangollen in North Wales where, after a walk along the canal, I found the town’s main bridge was covered in a giant patchwork. This was a temporary art work called “Bridges Not Walls” by Luke Jerram and was commissioned by the Eisteddfod. This included some quilts by the public which were positioned alongside the footpath and larger squares of fabric which hung over the arches of the bridge.

 


 More unexpected patchwork is in the offing as I am off to Festival of Quilts at the weekend. I’d not planned on going this year with all the uncertainty about events going ahead, but the decision was made when I won a ticket in a giveaway and it will be interesting to see what’s different this year.

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Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Switching to 5/8” seams

There has been rather a lot of football occupying the TV this month and so I decided to use the time to sew some ⅝” seams on clothes to make a change from the usual ¼” seams on patchwork. I managed to complete a wearable toile of McCalls 7922, but progress on a fleece gillet has been hindered by feline assistance.


 

I made view D of M7922 with quite a few modifications. I straighten the hem across the longest point, omitted the zip, back darts and front band, and I also added a wide neckband to raise the neckline by ~1.5” as without this it would have been lower than I liked. The twist front went together fairly easily, but it was a bit unclear which seam allowances needed neatening and when was best to do it.


As I wasn’t too sure how this would go together and look, I used a bargain fabric from stash but I can see myself making more versions in “proper” fabrics in my stash.

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Monday, 31 May 2021

May's mini makes

I’ve made two “quilts” this month!


However, all it not what it seems – these are miniature quilts made for an online challenge. The blue one is ~9″ square and the blue/pink one is ~5″ square. The idea is that they should look like full sized quilts when photographed with nothing to reference for scale.

They were made using Liberty Tana lawn and the blocks in the blue quilt were foundation paper pieced using the Sew Tiny Sampler pattern from Night Quilter. Each block finishes at 1¼” square, but for something so small, a disproportionate amount of fabric seemed to be needed.

 

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Friday, 30 April 2021

Sewing for a swap

This month's sewing has been a few items for a sewing accessory swap I decided to join. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of one set of items before they were posted, but here is a little scissor case and lanyard I made for one recipient.


Hopefully the other recipient will post photos and I'll be able to show those items too.

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Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Zip it up (and start again)

I’m not sure how describe this month’s sewing – it is a fold out tray that zips up into a box shape that I made for an online challenge of “something with a zip”.


The pattern is based on the free Zola Pen Case, but I shorten it by an inch to make it less like a pencil case. I also omitted the snap on the end of the zip and just sewed the zip to the base to make the handle.


I did try it with a bound zip as per the instructions, but I didn’t like the contrast fabric and zip I initially chose, so I replaced them with a lace zip.


Even though I cursed all the unpicking at the time, I am pleased that I went with the lace zip.

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