Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sampler Quilt 8 and 9 - Brick Wall

Seriously, I have been making stuff faster than I have days to blog about them so look out there might be a bit of a barrage this week before we go on holiday in Whit week. First up...

...I made another block of teeny squares because I just love this combination of 64 5cm squares;it used up more little bits too. Then I made a brick wall out of rectangles using pieces that were 4.5 x 8.5cm. It seems a bit less accurate but I cut these with scissors instead of the rotary cutter because I ran out of sharp blades and to me, it is very noticeable.

Still more scraps to go at. I have a few more ideas now that Amy from Love made my Home has sent me some fabric after a craft clear out. Thanks Amy. They have got the creative juices flowing.

Is it me or is this pile still the same size as the last time I posted a quilt block post?? Spooky...

Thanks for looking. Jo x

Friday, 19 May 2017

Summer Trousers


I am looking for a good trouser fit - aren't we all? To hone my skills I have chosen a useful fall back pattern: Newlook K6217. It is simple without pockets, fly or complex waistband so I can concentrate on getting the crotch fitting correct.

I measured my front crotch measurement and it was smaller than the pattern so I took a wedge out.

I measured my back crotch and it was 1" larger than the pattern so I added half inch to the back crotch seam (to allow for each piece)

Hey presto! Better fitting trousers. They don't lower at the back as I bend down and I don't have an unsightly fold at the front when I stand up. I still have some other wrinkling issues but for now these are grand.

The fabric is from myfabrics (sale purchase from Spring 2016) A firm stretch cotton drill which also helps for the smooth fitting of trousers for anyone who has to basically add an inch to their back side! 

I am going to wear these on the aeroplane when I go on holiday because they are comfortable and stretchy.

Jo xx

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

WIP Wednesday

This is getting longer...

The brim on this is getting wider...

This now has a partner...

This bowl gets filled and refilled...

Knitting, crochet, knitting, crochet. Just to keep you guessing. Hope you are having a good week. Jo x

Monday, 15 May 2017

A Little Stitching

I don't do a great deal of stitching but I always fall back in love with it when I do. This little project bag was a perfect way to fall in love all over again. 

The threads and drawstring bag are from DMC given to me at the CHSI show back in February. The colours play out as you sew. The design is drawn onto a sticky fabric called Magic Sheet which is temporary by washing it off at the end. Draw your design, sew, wash and hey presto! your very own piece of stitching design. 

My design was simple, nothing too intricate that would make me stuff it back under the sofa. I have a short attention span.

I peeled the back off, stuck it to the bag and got stitching.

The self colouring yarn was the inspiration for the self striping sock design. It is naive but I like it.

It washes off and then I gave it a final press.

Ready to fill with a sock knitting project.

You can see Julia's here. She made one too. Thanks for dropping by. Jo xx

Thanks for sharing your childhood toy stories and memories. I enjoyed reading them and showing my big girl how pleased you were with her sewing machine handiwork. :)

Friday, 12 May 2017

Clothkits 1979

I hope this post brings happy memories for some people, I know it will for one of my good friends. Two years ago I bought this vintage clothkit kit from ebay for £2.12. It caught my eye because my mum made me one of these dolls in 1979, I was born in 1973.I planned to make this one for one of my girls but then didn't get around to it. Now that big Sis is nine and shows promise on the sewing machine I thought she might like to make it for herself.

She loved it. First she took great joy in counting how many clothes she could make for the doll from this one piece of material that we worked out was 38 years old! She was fascinated with all the little details.
22nd January
She made the handbag first and then started on the doll. It has taken many months but she has persevered. She stuffed the arms and legs firmly with a chopstick.

26th January
28th January
Machine sewing around the arms and legs was easy for her as well as sewing around the head but even I grappled with trying to keep the stuffing in the body as I attached the legs.

5th February - The dress PART 1
I liked that she anticipated each item of clothing with relish. It has been a collection which she has looked forward to completing. A rare thing these days when children can binge on anything from films, to book box sets to cheap toys. It made me feel quite old fashioned and wholesome to have given her this experience - 'character building' I would call it.

12th Feb - The dress PART 2
I listened to a debate on the radio about how mixed race and ethnic minority families were still finding it hard to get dolls with different coloured skins and hair texture alongside main stream choices in shops rather than making a specialised search online. This radio feature reminded me of my little purchase I had tucked away in my craft stash. It seems astounding to me that this is still a difficult purchase for families in the UK in 2017.

16th March Dungarees
She made the dungarees but the blouse was a fiddle too far. Even I found it hard to manage such small seam allowances under the machine. 

24th April 2017 Blouse and Shorts
She took the doll and the dress (those were the ones she made fully) along with a stick puppet and her crochet teddy to get her Toymaker Brownie badge. She made a little poster of some of these photos with captions about how she made the items. How about that? 

All I have left now are the original instructions and packing invoice with the last piece of fabric from the sheet. I think I will make her a scrapbook page about her experience for her album.

PS. We had to make one tiny modification. It really bothered Big sis that she did not have a nose so I had to draw one on with fabric pen. It was nerve racking I can tell you. Can you imagine if she had made all of that over four months for me to ruin it with a wonky nose!

Any happy childhood memories stirred? 
Did someone ever make you something special?
 Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Sampler Quilt block 5, 6 and 7- Applique

Up close, it is not up to much but this quilt block uses two pieces of fabric that have been in my patch box for aeons, it was given to me - I think it might be from a duvet cover. The fabric with the butterfly on has been saved for just the right moment, I didn't know when that would be, but this is it.

I have been making some of my quilt blocks quite roughly and then I will be measuring them carefully and squaring them off. This is because lots of my fabric does not have a good straight edge and I like car crash quilting - it feels fun and free.

On its own the block looked a bit flat compared to the other smaller pieced ones so I drew a butterfly freehand on paper to make a little template and cut them out. I am very rusty using machine embroidery but I like the informal feel, you know me, very 'informal'!

Another applique block I have tried is a four patch square with hearts on. The Hearts came from Amy in a box of unwanted craft items and straight away I had a use for them - they were already cut out so I just zigzaged them on with the machine. Instant.

Three more blocks for Meg's Sampler Quilt. Laid out on the floor, it is starting to look really interesting. 
Jo xxx

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Threadcatcher and pin cushion

I don't want a sports car or a mansion, my wants and needs are very modest. However, I have really wanted a threadcatcher since I saw some variations on Pinterest!

This one features a chicken. The pincushion is weighted and the bucket is for threads. The bucket lining pulls outwards so that you can empty it easily. I really enjoyed making it.

Here he is sitting on my Singer sewing machine being put to good use. A great item to make for yourself or as a gift for a sewing pal. 

   Thanks for stopping by. Jo x

Friday, 5 May 2017

Sewing for Children

People often say to me why do you bother making clothes for your girls when you can buy them so cheaply? but to me sewing is easier than negotiating at the shops with two small children and ethically, I am not contributing to so much consumer waste.

In the Easter holiday week there was an ideal example. Bis Sis had grown out of her leggings - again. We bought three pairs at a cheap shop in a hurry because everyone was hungry and tired of shopping (we had already done sandals) but when we got home they were wrong, all wrong: legs just the right length, waist huge and bum too small. How can that be? How can a girls waist need to be bigger than her bottom!

I pulled out my trusty Ottobre magazine and traced off a pair of leggings. I made this top (same as the strawberry one) and leggings in ninety minutes. Perfectly fabulous with her dungaree skirt. As for the cost, they did not cost me a penny. It is leftover fabric from my last Bettine dress.

She loved me for it too which is always a bonus!
Jo xxxxx

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Seriously Good Family Days

We have seriously had our best few family days for a long time last May day weekend, we have finally kicked the monotony of being inside a lot over Winter. In no particular order...

Bluebell walking in the woods

Laughing together - the sign says 'please close the gate' !!!

Great views

Teaching the girls the photography rule of three

The tooth fairy came - Little M has been waiting for so long for her first one at the age of seven and a half;she was the last one in her class.

Walking and training our dog, Bruce, who is now allowed out with other dogs and people.

Catching lambs and castrating rams with my Dad, it's not all fun!

Big Sis can catch them, sex them and put them in the right holding pen with me. Little M preferred to stay watching from the gallery.

Everyone has been eating well, without people complaining, I consider this a personal achievement. This is chocolate cake with melted easter eggs inside but stuffed pork, wild garlic pesto, asparagus, green beans, coconut milk rice pudding and more spicy food have all been eaten with gusto lately. Fennel was still met with a flat refusal!

It is made using our 'Cake in a Mug' One Mug gives us all a tablespoon each. It takes three minutes in the microwave and the girls can do them on their own (now). We have one each which we were given as gifts by our next door neighbour, they are all different recipes.

The girls went horse riding with some friends.

Other weekend highlights, I know there is more! Bloke and I went out for a meal followed by watching our friends band AND the childrne slept at my dads so we had a lie in, I made a few more squares for a crochet blanket and a fingerless glove with a grafted thumb. Phew! 

Happy Days. 
You have to write all about them so you remember them 
in the not so good times, which someone reminded me poignantly this week. Thanks Sarah. Jo xxx