Friday, 31 March 2017

Sampler Quilt Block 1 - Teeny

The one good thing about hand quilting is that you get hours of time to think about the design for your next one.

You should have seen Little M's face when I gave her big sister the log cabin quilt, she said, 'Is there one for me? 'Of course there is,' I replied, 'it's just bubbling around inside my head at the moment'

Looking up last week from my sewing machine sitting position, I was admiring my shelf revamp using sticky fabric when I spotted the jar on the bottom right. It contains lots of little squares and triangles I put aside when I last had a chop up of my scraps to make the rainbow quilt. There's a starting point there in that jar I thought...

The squares are all 5x5cm. I started to sew them together, you know just for fun, in my usual gung ho attitude to quilting which omits any kind of measuring, planning or preparation.

These 81 squares made a pleasing quilt block measuring 13 x 13". This is my starting point, I may have to cut it down at a later date. I am now going to make some more blocks around this size using different patterns and shapes. Essentially I am going to make my own version of a sampler quilt inspired by kerryberry.

So here it is, Block 1 of Meg's Sampler quilt.

It goes without saying, I am trying to use up stash I already have. I have a few more blocks in my head so I will try and find the right materials in that oh so surprising craft cupboard.

Any other ideas you think I could try for blocks?

Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Spring, Eggs and Lambs

I've whizzed up some spring coloured yarn ends into a few Easter decorations.

There are some nice patterns on Dinki Dots blog. I had to make my ones with smaller rounds to accommodate the smaller plastic eggs I had but still fun all the same!

I definitely know it is Spring now that I have held a couple of my dad's lambs. He asked if I could walk down the steep hill of the field and bring up a ewe and two lambs he had heard bleating in the dark the night before. I just couldn't see them... but they are there, right in the centre. That is the place she decided to give birth. 

I was surprised to see twins because Hebridean sheep only usually have singles.

 There was a male and a female with the softest fleece and bandiest legs. I carried them up the hill and the ewe followed me. We put them in the sheds for tonight while they are still really young. Dad saw Mr Fox around last night. 

I then set off over the hilly ground once more to look for another one I could hear.

Jo xx

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Ta dah! Log Cabin Quilt

The story of my latest completed quilt.

I can clean my windows or I can sit and hand quilt. I have been opting for the latter... The quilt blocks have gone together on my quilt and thankfully, they have slightly less of an air of swastika about them than when I last reported to you.

As I am on a stash diet this year, I learnt how to join pieces of batting together using this tutorial. It has made quite a difference to the space now available in the drawers under the spare bed. I kept buying a new pack to have a whole piece when I made a quilt leaving quite bulky pieces left over. They are all the same weight/content so it was fine to join them together.

The fabric jelly rolls were bought as described here in Jan 2016

The backing is a double bed sheet, not even a new one. I rifled around the airing cupboard and found a double sheet from a bed set from years ago, we have a king sized bed now.

 The hand quilting is a really enjoyable part for me but it does knock a bit of a hole in the end of your finger so I bought this prym thimble last year which is sized so it is very comfortable. (I can't remember which letter I am) 

Thread-wise, I just used up lots of silko from vintage reels because it is always good quality thick thread. When I ran out, I used top-stitching thread. I didn't even care what colour it was, I was just happy emptying half used reels.

There was a purchase required to complete this project. I bought 10 metres of spotty bias binding. It is a good one which I have used many times. It is extra wide at 30mm so it makes a great border edge. I sew it on with the machine then turn it over to sew a complete round by hand. Very satisfying and very neat.

At the last minute, as I was emptying my yarn bowl to put things back in their homes, I spotted a transfer from DMC which I had not used in the sewing drawer. It fitted exactly in the corner where I had just landed at the end of the quilting. I stuck it on and finished off the thread, added the date and my girl's initials. It comes off in warm water to reveal the design, I gave mine a full machine wash and hung it to dry on the clothes maid.

Tah Dah!

My Log Cabin quilt is all finished and it cost £10.00 for the fabric  18 months ago and £11.97 for the bias binding, the rest was cupboard salvaged. I'm enjoying these moments with my girl who is as pleased as can be. 

Thank you for taking the time to look at this long quilt story. Today I have linked up with Sum of their stories for Handmade Monday Jo x

Friday, 24 March 2017

Staple Shift Sewing

My all time favourite style of dress is the shift dress in its varies forms. By far the biggest selection of shift dress patterns I own, and use, are the 1960's shift styles - so many variations with collars, inseam pockets, different seam lines and sleeve lengths.

So it was definitely a shift dress style I needed for my Minerva make this month. I thought the fish would be smaller. I was going to make a seamed wrap skirt but I needed a pattern that would not break up the fish image too much. Who wants to wear a skirt covered in headless fish? 

The fabric is a linen viscose blend perfect for a shift dress. I have not lined it but the facings and the bias binding hem all help it to hang well.

This pattern is a free shift dress pull out from a Prima magazine from years ago. I know when I cut this that all the darts are in the right place from the last time I made it.

My latest alteration to the pattern is to adjust for a swayback. I can do this regularly on patterns now at the cutting stage by folding a triangle wedge out of the waist on the back paper pieces. This fitting technique eliminates pooling around the waist and shoulders. You can find a tutorial for it here.

This one joins my other shift dress from the same pattern. That is me with my imaginary fishing rod - can you tell? - larking about in the bathroom trying to get a picture needing a haircut!

Do you like wearing dresses?
Jo xxxxx

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

-3 Photo Shoot

Who would have thought I could write 1000 words about a sewing pattern but I have, especially this brilliant pattern: Simplicity 1332A. It is a pattern review for Sewing World magazine.


The girls chose it from the Minerva website. What a brilliant choice! It encompasses an entire wardrobe in just one pattern. I made the whole shebang over Christmas just so that I could test it all out.

I learnt a new technique for applying net to the hem of the skirt so it is not too scratchy on little legs.

This printed chambray is from Minerva, not too stiff and great for all year round wear. I always make a double casing when I make elasticated skirts for the girls, so much more comfortable for them.

Now don't judge me but it was -3 degrees when I asked them to remove their coats, hats and gloves to get photos for the magazine. This was way back in December. They dutifully posed and then I togged them back up and poured hot chocolate from a pre-prepared flask. I did get some funny looks from other National Trust visitors though.

I really recommend this pattern if you are sewing for girls. It takes you from an easy skirt, to beginners jersey sewing with the T-shirts and leggings, on to the more time consuming gathered cardigan. It has a large size range in the one packet too so I will be dipping in and out of this pattern for a while. 

A real corker!

Thanks for stopping by. Jo xxx

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Knitting Prowess

My knitting prowess is developing. Stranded knitting is so addictive. This took one whole week of evening knitting. 

These fifty-six rows were knitted following a chart from my new favourite book. In February half term on the day of storm Doris we went to a garden centre for an hour or so (our riding day out was cancelled) I bought a knitting book full of images of stormy seas and blowing hair. I thought it would help me use up some odd balls of stash for my pledge this year.

I was so distracted by the awesome photography and designs (and the fact it sounded like the roof was going to blow off) that I did not notice most of the projects were for 4ply yarn. Mmmm, never mind, I can use DK and Aran for the cowls and scarves where size is not crucial. It was a bargain at £4.99 and I immediately shared my book with my friend Mary over at Yurt Furtling and Yarn Tangling. She ordered one too and we kept picking it up and cooing at the pictures over coffee while our brace of girls played together.

I am starting with the wave circle scarf which requires a new technique for me - a provisional cast on. Go Youtube! You cast on, in a strange way, to put your stitches on a spare piece of wool so that they remain live. Then, when you have finished your scarf, you graft them together to make an infinity scarf.

The book has still lived up to its mighty task by encouraging me to use up some donated Beehive 4ply alongside a ball of Drops delight.

The colour runs are a bit long in Drops Delight so I have taken some out of each run to use later in the gloves that go with the scarf. It also means that over 56 rows I get a bit of every colour.

The instructions say follow the 56 rows on the chart and then repeat it seven times!! That's it. But I have to put it down for a while now. This one is a slow burner and I want to continue to enjoy it.

Thanks for dropping by. Jo x

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Making - An ochre cardigan

Cooking - All the fruit up out of the freezer in crumbles

Drinking - Berry tea

Reading - The Complete Gardener by Monty Don

Wanting - Warm weather to stay

Deciding - What seeds to purchase

Enjoying - Life

Loving - My girls developing a sense of humour

Wondering - If I painted our bathroom wall the wrong colour.

Considering - What it would be like to have a family dog

Buying - New Fly London Boots in the Sale for 30 pounds

Disliking - The news at the moment

Watching - The spring bulbs emerge

Wearing - My Aftur nordic jumper

Admiring - My mum

Getting - The itch to go outside

Thinking - About time

Eating - Lime tray bake

Feeling - The change of season

Jo xx

I loved the style of this post and now I feel terrible because I can't remember which blog I saw it on to credit them. If it is you or you know who it is, please let me know. I stole it, I love it and now I can't share it.