Monday, 22 December 2014

Moustache [a finish]

Remember the Moustache cushion front I showed you? Well now it's a cushion cover. And it's wrapped!

I trimmed down the piece I showed a couple of weeks ago, then added what I'm calling a peeped binding. I'm not sure what it's actually called... I took 1" strips of red yardage and folded them in half length-ways. I then basted them onto the cushion front within the seam allowance. I also basted the pieces of the envelope back to the front, as I didn't trust the fabric not to move about with that many layers!

Once in place I added the binding, made from the same fabric as the cushion body (so thicker to work with than regular binding), then brought it to the front and top-stitched it in place with a small amount of the red still showing. I love how this adds interest without being piping!

This is my second scrappy cushion made in a similar manner and I'm planning a quilt in the same techniques in the new year (along with a few other things!).

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Scarves and zippy pouches - some final Christmassy finishes

Just four more sleeps! So over at disorganized HQ it's time we started doing some preparations. In an attempt to avoid the Christmas crowds all of our presents have been bought online, or homemade (with the odd exception we picked up earlier in the year). I did a big food shop on Thursday night (but forgot things, so Michael will have to go again!). We finally bought a Christmas tree - a real one.

But we couldn't find the lights from last year, so had to buy new ones. And today I finished making those final presents!

I've made three more infinity scarves, all using the same pattern from Tie Dye Diva as the one I made for myself a few weeks ago. Two are inspired by last weekend's trip to Edinburgh. We picked up tartan scarves on the Royal Mile - it's the tartan of the Frasers of Balquhiddar - what a great name! Linda pickedu p some dress-making fabric and the two together have worked rather well. One of the fabrics was only 54" wide and I couldn't be bothered to piece it to get the recommended 60" length for a scarf - and it works well being that little bit tighter.

Infinity scarves are very difficult to photographed when not worn (and I'm not modelling them for you).

The third scarf is made from a random green fabric and a stretchy black fabric. It's the first time I've worked with this type of fabric and I fell into some stonking pitfalls - like stretching one fabric and not the other when sewing a seam. I knew the theory, so was trying hard to avoid it, so it's only affected a short section, and I figure once it's being worn, no one will notice.

And then I moved on top zips: I've made a couple of Sew Together Bags recently (to be revealed after those four remaining sleeps), but needed a few "straightforward" pouches as well. I decided to try the Two In One Pouch by s.o.t.a.k handmade for the first one. What a great pattern! Last night I watched Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and not only completed this zippy pouch, but one of the infinity scarves too! The outside is from one of the many Art Gallery Ranges from this year, and I picked up the turquoise with some Bike Path for the inside panel. It's lined in a Kona grey.

This is the small size pouch (there are two size options in the pattern) and it's perfect as a way of giving a gift voucher at Christmas! There will definitely be more of these in my future - I want one of the larger ones!

One present left: another zippy pouch. This time more straightforward - I'd planned this one for ages, but only got to it today. It started the quarter as this:

And ends the quarter as this.

 It's a pouch pattern I put together based on a few different tutorials and my own measurements. I particularly love the zipper ends (tutorial by Very Berry Kerry). On the outside of the pouch I pieced a ring of flying geese (pattern by Jeli Quilts) but shrunk the templates for a 6" block. All of the coloured geese except two came from my scrap bucket! I did some cross-hatch quilting, trying not to detract from the piecing, and lined the pouch with the shot cotton in turquoise that I picked out months back.

Those two zippy pouches will be hard to give away! The second is a tick from my Finish Along List, so in just a few weeks time, I'll be linking up with Katy (I'm still hoping to squeeze a few more finishes in!)

Finish Along 2014
And I've got to show you my second Dinosaur - not a Christmas present, but only made on Friday - here she is with Mia's dino!
All of that sounds very organized doesn't it: but the house looks like a bomb has hit it, none of the present are wrapped (and if you think you are getting a Christmas card, dream on) and I'm convinced I'm going to forget to get the joint of pork out of the freezer with enough time for it to defrost before I have to roast for it 7 HOURS! It's a big piece of pork. I'll wish you a merry Christmas (but I might pop by again before the big day!).

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Slainte [a finish]

This was a project where I did all the hard work, then ignored it for ages. And when I picked it up again it came together really quickly.

This mini came about from two things: firstly the Big Stitch Swap where someone made a hoop with the word "stitch" embroidered in the style of chemical elements. Secondly, there is a whole in the wall above our telly where a picture use to hang before we hung our telly. On the first count I thought it was a great idea and started researching other words I could spell from chemical elements (some are very rude...). On the second count, we are far, far too lazy to remove the rawl-plug and fill in the hole and get a smidgen of paint to cover it!

I looked through all of the English words you could make from real elements (I avoided the websites that make up elements for you so you can spell any word). I was tempted with 'La "Cuisine"' or 'welcome to the "circus"' where cuisine and circus could be spelled. But it turns out that the Gaelic word "Slainte" (pick your accent acute or grave depending on where you are) can be spelled. It means "cheers" or "good health".

Why Gaelic, I hear you ask. I'm not Scottish. I'm not Irish. But I do love the traditional music of both of these fabulous countries, and Slainte comes up fairly regularly. So I don't feel too fraudulent using it. Plus I'm a language student. And I'd run out of ideas in French, Italian and German, and I can't remember a word of Portuguese....

Anywaaaay - back to the quilt: I've use Art Gallery Pure Elements in black and white (I don't know the technical names). The big letters are appliqued on by machine. The smaller text and numbers are embroidered in two strands of DMC 310. The black borders are peeped seams (I think that's what they are called). I cut my fabric 1" wide and pressed it in half length-ways. I then used a big stitch and a 1/8" seam allowance and basted them around the edges of the embroidered blocks. Then when I added the white sashing, I stitched them into the seam properly, leaving just 1/4" showing. This is one of the few times I press my seams closed, as otherwise the black would show through the white.

The quilting is pretty simple - echoing inside and outside the black borders. And the binding is sewn down by hand to keep it as narrow as possible and mirror the peeped seams.

A little bit of blue tac and my wall is perfect again!

This is aother tick on my Q4 Finish Along list!

Finish Along 2014

Friday, 19 December 2014

Hydrangea [a finish]

You may remember my little Brother got married in September to his fiancee Michaela. You can read about it and see some more photos of the wedding in this post.

This was Michaela's bouquet and inspired by the colours here and this pin from my embroidery Pinterest board, I made them a small momento of the day.

A more modern take on the traditional wedding sampler:

The embroidery is all done in two strands of DMC threads in varying colours using lazy daisy stitch and lots of French knots.

I used this tutorial for the leaf, and I love how it turned out! I finished this back in October but I've just been able to give it to them, and as I don't know if they read my blog, I can only now share the finish!

This is another tick on Q4 Finish Along list. You can find my original list here!

Finish Along 2014

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

WIP Wednesday [Happy]

I have had some fantastic happy mail this last week! Firstly - a new lap top battery! Slightly dull, but rather important... then a package from Lin over at St. Victor Quilts, who sent me a lovely crochet book for my mother-in-law, and included this beautiful little postcard.

It's the second she has sent me and I realise I've never shared the first one either. Aren't these both amazing - I have no idea how she does it, but they are absolutely stunning!

I took advantage of Sew Me a Song's cheap postage for Black Friday and ordered a little Christmas present for myself. Even being hit by £20 customs charge this was a great deal. I haven't opened my package yet - it's from Mum and will be opened on Christmas morning!

And the same day my IG Mini Swap mini quilt arrived. Just a few days earlier my partner had received hers, so I can now reveal that I made for Julie at Distant Pickles and she made for me! Look at the gorgeous quilt I received:

And some fabulous extras, which Mia seemed to think were for her!

We had a fantastic weekend away in Edinburgh: Michael and I met there, in student accomodation about 100 yards from the hotel we stayed in this weekend.
Pentland Hills from the Castle Esplanade

It's the first time we'd been back together since we moved out of Edinburgh 6 years ago. It felt to 'easy' to be back there. We were joined by Michael's Mum, my parents, and my brother, Rob, and his wife, Michaela, and had a mini Christmas as Rob and Michaela will spend Christmas in Sweden with her family.

We ate lots, talked lots, and spent quite a while browsing the Christmas market. And on Sunday morning I found Bretzel - my favourite!

And then I got an email on Monday to tell me that I had won one of the prizes in Leanne and Nicky's Scraptastic Tuesday!

I've done a bit of sewing too! I have a few finishes to share with you in the coming days, and a few finishes I can't share for another week. What I can show you are these hashtag blocks.

I've had a good week, but the news brings a new horror every day at the moment. Molli Sparkles over in Sydney is fighting back with some quilts for the families of the two Australian heroes who lost their lives this week. If you would like to contribute blocks to this cause, then head over to Joshua's blog and get the details  here and here #glitteratitotherescue # sewingforsydney

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

WIP Wednesday [moustache]

It feels like I haven't done any sewing in ages, but it's actually only been since Sunday. On Monday I basted five quilts (yes - five. There is a lot of quilting in my future). But I didn't sew. Yesterday I made some mosaics for the swaps I've accidentally signed up for! But I didn't sew. Tonight I came home with a cough and a headache and dead tired. But after we'd put Her Majesty to bed and had tea, I made myself sit down at the sewing machine. And boy do I feel better. This is what I made.

I pulled out the red scrap bag, drew a moustache, and started piecing (in much the same way as the turquoise cushion I shared yesterday). It's possible I'm starting to find this kind of piecing comfortable...

I didn't touch my stash, my fat quarters or any yardage (except the grey which was bought for this purpose) - all scraps. 

I have to say that the moustache shape made the circle seem easy. I struggled a bit with the ends, even though I had consciously made them rounded. 

This will be a cushion in the very near future!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Scraptastic Cushion

I am insanely pleased with this finish - most of it was just a little bit outside of my comfort zone...

Months and months ago Susan (Canadian Abroad) hosted an Instagram giveaway - repost the project she had made which you liked most and she would make you one. I reposted a gorgeous scrappy cushion (you can see it here). Only one member of my family followed me on Instagram at that point, and she decided that she liked the cushion: "can you make a cushion like that?"... "possibly."..."in turquoise and grey?" My family are known for their subtlety - this was the same family member who when I was first brought home from University to meet my boyfriend's family (after dating for just two weeks) asked if she could be a bridesmaid. Any sensible woman would have run a mile. But we did let her be a bridesmaid.

I figured this would make a great Christmas present! I dug out my turquoise scraps and got my husband to do a sneaky colour match. And then I did some improv piecing. I'm still not comfortable with this but I'm getting happier. The circle insert of the cushion is made entirely from my scrap box, and made no dent in my scraps whatsoever: there's some Karen Lewis screen printed scraps, some Tula, some Art Gallery, a fair few solids, a batik and some Tilda (that's what I can identify anyway).

The grey fabric is quite strange. It looks like needecord - a bit. But it isn't. I don't really know what it is, but it has some texture to it which makes it a bit more interesting than just a plain dye. It's also wider, so I got the whole cushion (front and back) from one width of fabric (there's enough left to make another three cushions - don't hold your breath). It was also stretchier.

I used the technique from Pile O Fabric's Skill Builder BOM up to the point where I didn't have starch and the glue didn't stick. So I top-stitched it in place, rather than hiding my stitches as she does.

I thought about adding piping. I've only made piping once and I don't remember enjoying it. I do remember breaking at least 2 needles. So I went on a ric rac hunt and found the perfect turquoise, which I basted to the cushion before the final seam. And once done it needed a final top-stitch round the edge. I think it would have looked a bit dull without it, but this could have gone badly wrong - there was a lot of breath holding and finger crossing with this step.

I'm going to link this up with Leanne and Nicky - Scraptastic Tuesday!

Scraptastic Tuesday

I'm now thinking about the feasibility of a moustache shaped opening... is that a step too far?