Friday, 26 February 2021

Joshua's Santa Sack [A Finish]

Four years ago I made Santa Sacks for Mia and Jessica (I can't believe it was that long ago!). I had planned to do stockings for them, but I couldn't find a pattern I liked that was big enough to take presents without having to be too careful to buy small ones, but not so big that it would cost a fortune to fill... my husband's family always had pillowcases rather than stockings growing up, so a drawstring bag seemed like a great compromise.

When I made those original Santa Sacks, I only had Mia and Jess. We knew that we wanted to have a third child, but obviously we didn't know whether it would be a boy or a girl. So I made sure I had enough matching fabric in case we had another girl. Well, it's just as well we didn't cause I have no idea where that safe place is that I put that fabric! And it was just a bit too girly for Josh anyway. 

Last Christmas I picked up some green snow-globe fabric. I ran out of time (and inclination) to make the Santa Sack last year (Josh had a pillowcase on Christmas day, but at 11 month's old I got away with it. He's a bit more savvy at 23 months, so I had to find time and inclination this year!) I paired the fabric up with some plain red, and added in black and white, and then did the same design as I did for the girls - a raw edge applique stocking, and raw edge applique names, though Josh's is in a different font.

The drawstring is made using this tutorial from Jeni Baker, but I adjusted the sizes to what I thought looked right. These photos were taken without the drawstring, because even though I ordered it in plenty of time, it didn't actually arrive until Christmas Eve.

Pleased to have this one ticked off my list: it was filled with lots of lovelies on Christmas morning and I'm sure it will be loved for many years to come.

p.s. if you read the blog post I've linked to about the girls' santa sacks you'll see that the cord I bought wasn't quite long enough and I was going to swap it out for next year.... four years later and I still haven't done that!

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Joshua's Advent Calendar [A Finish]

 Last Christmas, Joshua was just 11 months old. I got away with a few things... like he didn't have his own santa sack or his own advent calendar. Fast forward 12 months and there is no way I'd get away with it again - he's very aware of what the girls have and is determined not to be treated different (makes for some interesting tantrums to be honest). 

I did start an advent calendar for him last year, but I didn't make any real progress. I put it on my Finish Along list in Q1 and Q2 last year thinking how good it would be to get it finished nice and early in the year and not be in a rush come November. But that's just not how we roll... and once Christmas is over, I really don't want to be doing Christmas sewing anymore, so inevitably it was a November rush! No the rushiest rush... I think I had three or four days to spare, but certainly not leisurely,

The starting point for the advent calendar was a picture I pinned on Pinterest when I first used Pinterest, well and truly pre-children. It was a triptych of reindeers. The link is now well and truly dead, so I don't actually know the original source (I have a vague memory that it was a set of rubber stamps...). I looked at it as a design when I was planning Mia's advent calendar, but I wanted something I could make a bit girlier. I looked at it again when I made Jess's advent calendar, but again, it wasn't quite right. But as soon as I knew I was expecting a boy, I knew this would be his advent calendar!

The three pictures are hand embroidered over a background which has been colour tinted. It's a technique I learned when I made this sampler and I really love the way it gives some extra colour without having to do solid embroidery.

The pockets are assorted prints and then I use rubber stamps to add the numbers. I also added a small amount of hand quilting. Rather than binding the quilt, I've bagged it out and top-stitched the edge. This is how I did Mia's as well, but Jessica's is bound, You can see all three advent calendars together here.

I think Josh liked it!

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Christmas Cheer [A Finish]

 I've fallen in love hook, line and sinker with all of Corinne Sovey's patterns! I started piecing Christmas Cheer alongside Hocus Pocus - some of the techniques are the same, but there are also different ways of creating a similar look - whilst this quilt looks straightforward it makes use of multiple techniques - applique, foundation piecing, inset circles and regular piecing. 

I pieced these blocks during our weekly guild zoom sewing sessions on a Monday night - whilst the last year hasn't been the easiest, this is one of the besy things to come out of it. I spend more time chatting with this lovely bunch of sewers now than I ever did when we could see each other in real life, and I really hope we continue with these sessions once the world rights itself! Three of us were busy piecing this quilt and it was lovely to progress together.

I adore the backing of this quilt. It was a duvet cover I picked up at Asda last Christmas (or maybe even the Christmas before) and it is absolutely perfect for our family - little snowglobes containing all of our favourite things: unicorns, flamingos, zebras, cacti, robots, cats, dinosaurs. I have to confess I was a little worried my kids would prefer the back to the front. The girls were thrilled to get the two pillow cases for their beds during December. And there's enough of the backing left to make some Christmas bunting for next year too - if I get time!

I had a ball quilting this: Because it's for us there was no pressure to get it perfect, and even thought I like the organic straight lines of hocus pocus, I knew there was scope for so much more. So for Christmas Cheer I went to town and custom quilted every block. Some were more successful than others, but here are some of my favourites!

Finished and ready for snuggles well in time for Christmas 2020 - I must add a label to it! Our lockdown Christmas quilt!