Friday, 30 March 2012

A good cause

Lynne at Lily's Quilts wrote the other day about a charity called Siblings Together that provides much-needed opportunities for siblings being looked after separately in the care system to spend time together at summer camps. She thought it would be a wonderful idea if these children could be given a quilt to take home with them after their holiday as a reminder of the time that they have spent with their siblings.

Quilts for Siblings Together

I am so pleased that I am able to donate a quilt to this wonderful charity. There are plenty of opportunities to help with quilts, blocks, fabric donations and more over in the flickr group
why do quilts always look so wonky in photos?
It feels good to be able to give something back. I'm hoping that I will have the time over the next couple of months to make some blocks to contribute to another quilt. The more the merrier, right?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

I'm on it!

I finished the top and basted on Sunday, and am about a third of the way through the quilting. She hasn't seen it yet. Looks like I might just make it in time!
I put this burst of activity down to the fact that I have started running again, for the first time in years. I used to run quite a lot - about 4 miles three times a week - but fell out of the habit a few years ago. Ever since then I have wanted to start again, but never seemed to be able to get off my backside to do it. I'm glad I have. It makes so much difference to my mood and my energy levels. I can take on the world when I have been for a run. There is also the added benefit of being able to eat more without feeling like a pig. Bonus.

Let's see if I can keep it up!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

What are the chances?

That I can get this finished in the next three weeks.

I'm making this quilt for my daughter Rachel who is turning 12 on the tenth of April. It's the New Wave pattern from Oh Fransson, made in Innocent Crush. I love these fabrics - the colours are so gorgeous. Rachel has a bit of a thing for colour order (I can't imagine where she gets that from, ahem) and these fabrics do that so well. I haven't made a bed-size quilt for her since she was about 7, and it is pretty babyish. Time for something a little more grown up, I think.
I plan on hand quilting this with coordinating perle cottons in the white stripes. I was going to try and hide it until it was finished, but I really don't think that will be possible. I'll just pretend it's not for her instead. Of course, that has the added advantage that if she hates it I will have time to buy her a gift instead!

I finished my rose stars this morning! Now on to the 34 joining pieces. Onward and upward!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 19 March 2012

I may have said this before

I really hate keeping secrets!
The London Fat Quarterly retreat is coming up in June (make time go faster!) and Trash has organised a little sample swap. Basically, people are randomly assigned to groups of five and everyone makes four of the same item to swap with the other members of the group. We won't know who is in our group until the day of the retreat, so there is no stalking to be done. This is both liberating and scary.
I've made quilted coasters for people before. I like the way that they are absorbent and don't do that annoying thing where they stick to the bottom of your cup and then fall off with a loud clatter that makes the cat jump off your lap. Anything that prevents the cat jumping off your lap has to be good, right?
I thought that I would use selvedges, because who else would appreciate them other than a load of fabric obsessed quilty types. I've been saving my selvedges for ages. I don't get that many because I tend to only buy fat quarters, but there were enough to piece the fronts of four sets of coasters.
The first set is finished, and the others are sitting and looking at me. I like the way that they fit together like a puzzle - I made a 10 inch square and then cut it into four pieces for each set. 
I might make a little drawstring bag to put them in, but I guess I should try to keep at least something a surprise!

In other news, I made a(nother) Figure 8 scarf last week. The last one was made with flannel and it is perfect on days that are not too freezing, but the lovely Annie at the Village Haberdashery is selling special 'scarf cuts' of Loulouthi velveteen and matching voiles. Annie knew I was on the lookout for some and emailed me to let me know that it was in stock. Of course I couldn't stop at just the scarf materials. She's a smart girl!
Sewing this up was so quick and easy thanks to the perfect cutting, and now my neck is toasty on even the coldest of days. I don't know about you, but I find that if my neck is warm the rest of me follows. And you can't get much cosier than this!

Linking up with Canoe Ridge Creations for Sew Modern Monday

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Sunday, 18 March 2012

It's all about the journey

Or so they say.
I've completed all but two of my rose stars. Just to mix things up a little I thought I would start to sew them together. I've opted for plain white as the background , given the huge number of prints and colours in the blocks themselves. That and the fact that I am terminally indecisive. Oh, and I have a load of white ikea sheets lying around just waiting to be cut up. I use them a lot when I need plain colours, as the backing and binding here and here, the sashing here and here, and in these cushions. They are really cheap, and unlike other (fancier) sheets are about the same weave as quilting cottons. 
Each of the blocks took about three hours from start to finish. There are 27 of them. I don't want to do that maths. I have really enjoyed sewing them; handstitching is so relaxing and sociable (relatively). It's so lovely that they are all basically the same, and yet so completely different.

Sewing them all together into a quilt top though - that might be a different story!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Time marches on

I'm not sure where the last six years have disappeared to. Thankfully there is some evidence of their passing in the increasing size of the children.

six years ago

It's funny to think that my baby is the same age as his biggest sister was when he was born. I thought she was so grown up at the time - the perils of being the oldest child, I suppose.

last month (taken by John)

Happy birthday, sweet boy. Don't grow up too fast, ok?

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Presents for me, presents for the boy

With all the hand sewing that's been going on around here lately I had come to the conclusion that I really should be more careful about where I stick my needle. I tend to just poke it into the arm of the couch, but I was getting worried that I might absentmindedly stick it into the cat.
I saw this spectacular armrest pincushion a while back, but it looked way too complicated. So I took the main design features (weighted pincushion, pocket, little bag thingy for bits of thread) and sort of made it up as I went along. It is basically the same, just a bit bigger and slightly less detailed in terms of its construction.

It is made from a real mish-mash of fabrics. Some Little Apples, Amy Butler Love, Tanya Whelan and Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow, all of which have been lurking for a while in my scrap pile. 
I am especially pleased with the marvellously coordinated button. I knew that having a giant hoard collection of buttons would pay off eventually!

In other news, it is the boy's 6th birthday tomorrow. He has made a series of very specific gift requests (including Lego, unsurprisingly) with the result that he knows exactly what he is getting, which always strikes me as being a bit of a shame. I decided to get him a couple of little things (Spongebob stickers, shiny pens, a cuddly toy lion) so that he could actually open something unexpected. Of course, I was really just looking for an excuse to make one of these fabulous drawstring bags that have been popping up all over the interwebs. 

The pattern was so brilliantly written and easy to follow that I couldn't stop at one. And now the girls want them too. Ah well, I think I can force myself to make more!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Adventures with thangles

I heard about Thangles a few weeks ago, and of course had to try them out immediately. I love HSTs, but all that trimming drives me to distraction and Thangles are a fantastic and easy way to make a whole load of HSTs from strips of fabric. 
I bought the teeniest sizes they had (to make 1/2 inch and 1 inch finished HSTs) and pulled out some of my precious Oakshott shot cottons. They really were so easy to use, although the loose weave of the fabric made the tiny ones a bit tricky.
The points are pretty good though, even on the 1/2 inch squares. I'm really pleased with how they came out.

I love the way the colours of the shot cottons play against each other. It's up on the wall with my other recent minis - if I go insane again they won't need to put me in a padded cell!

The edges are straight in real life, I promise!
The quilt is about 13 by 12 inches. See, I said those HSTs were tiny!

Linking up with Ellison Lane Quilts for the Modern Mini Quilt challenge, and Canoe Ridge Creations for the Festival of HSTs.
Modern Mini Challenge