Thursday 20 December 2012

Jolly Merry Holly Berry

This time last year I had only had a blog for a couple of weeks and had just made my first ever quilts using machine piecing.

This blogging experiment has been a lot of fun.  I am still on a steep learning curve but it definitely was the incentive I wanted to Do More Stuff...

... and I have 'met' some really nice fellow bloggers.  I'd like wish you a very merry time over the holidays and a fantastic 2013.
Happy Christmas!

Back next year!

Sunday 9 December 2012

Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop

There is only one day left to vote at Quokka Quilts for the EPP blocks made for the Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop. I think there is no doubt there is going to be a runaway winner in the European section, and there are some absolute beauties there so I am just very excited and grateful to have had any votes at all for my flowery/nautical block.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Camping and Caravanning Hooded Quilt-Wrap

Earlier this year I made this:

It's the towel-lined hooded quilt-wrap that I designed for my spot on the Let's get Acquainted blog hop and it was made to act as picnic blanket/cosy wrap for swimming, and trips to the beach, etc.  The tutorial is here, and I have just updated it a little to include details of a new version:

This one is backed with a cosy fleece, has a lined hood for extra warmth, and is ideal for taking camping - use it as a spare blanket over your sleeping bag, and wear it to keep you warm round the camp fire!

The top is made from a layer cake of Lily Ashbury's beautiful Tradewinds fabric, using the alternative method for sewing HSTs which is very quick, but you could use any design, even whole-cloth.

It is lovely and snuggly and my youngest daughter loves using it to curl up in on the sofa, or spread over her bed.

Eyes glued to the telly...

If you have a quilt top waiting to be backed you could even run one up for Christmas!  

Fresh Poppy Design

Plum and June

Friday 30 November 2012

Slow Bloggers Linky

Can it really be December tomorrow?  Anyway, time to look back over November and take stock.  Here in the land of the slow blogger it has been a mixed month.  For the last week we have been living in chaos because we are having a new suite put in our tiny and previously horrid bathroom. This involves using a bucket to flush the loo and washing in a saucepan, so it's a bit like camping (just as cold too because the heating has to be off most of the time) but for some reason it's been quite good for productivity - it must be the adrenalin:-)

So, I have finished my bunting, and made a tutorial for Liberty brooches.  I also have two quilts in meaningful stages of progress and not on the back burner.

Other highlights of the month include falling backwards into a rosebush in front of my gardening group of small school children and shouting "Bollocks" really loudly.   What about you?!   If you would like to share a little creeping progress, and the events of your month, please do link up below.

Knotted Cotton

Wednesday 28 November 2012

WIP Wednesday

Leaves quilt has been put aside at the moment while I try to clear my pile of some other projects.  I've been working on the quilt top I'm making with Lily Ashbury's Tradewinds.   I love these beautiful bright colours.

It's going to be for one of my children.  Does anyone else find it hard to find your own personal style?  Maybe you shouldn't be pinned down to one thing, but it does make interior design problematic:-)  I really love things with quite a restrained colour palette, but then I also really admire things which are very bright and colourful. Making things for my kids is rather handy, because I can really go for it!

Talking restrained colour palette, I've been making Christmas bunting with my lovely star bundle.

So far I have made ten metres, and I have fabric for another two and a half - so it's going to work out at about £1.40 a metre.    I'm so happy with it - the fabric is a lovely slubby natural cotton (calico? muslin?), and I found a wide bias binding in exactly the same colour to string the flags on.  It looks quite classy and "Country Living Magazine";-)   I had to hang it up on the window temporarily to photograph because I'm mean about not having decorations up until the week before Christmas - but I'll post a picture of the whole thing in situ then.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday 26 November 2012

How to make an origami Liberty fabric brooch

(Please don't pin all the images in this tutorial, thank you :-)

A while back I had learned to make origami lotus flowers at an event at our local botanic gardens and was inspired to make fabric ones into pincushions - you can see my tutorial here.

How about brooches?!

I'm so pleased with them -  but you probably can't go wrong with Liberty.   I thought they might make good stocking fillers/teacher presents, or how about using them to embellish a bag or purse?

The technique is pretty similar to my pincushions, but here is how I made them.   I am sure that there are many ways that this could be perfected - if you think of anything, please do let me know.

Please forgive the terrible lighting (I can't wait until the sun is shining again - when this will be is anyone's guess), and the not very professional paint all over my hands - I've been painting bookshelves.

You will need:
Two 5" liberty charm squares  (this gives you a brooch at around 2" - a smaller square would be possible, but very fiddly - of course you could make a bigger one, like my pincushions).  I get my Liberty charms from the lovely Ali at Very Berry Fabrics.
A piece of Bondaweb/Wonder Under the same size
A piece of felt approximately 2" square
A brooch fitting
A bead or button of choice

1.  Here are my two Liberty squares, and square of Bondaweb.

2.  The Bondaweb has a rough side - the gluey side - and a paper side.  Place the Bondaweb glue side down on the wrong side of one Liberty square, and fix in place by ironing.

3. Carefully peel away the paper, and discard.  You should now have a residue of glue on your Liberty square. Place the second one on top so that the wrong sides are together.  (Obviously not offset, which I did here for clarity!)

4.  Iron in place, and you should now have a double-sided Liberty square which is more responsive to folding.  You could perhaps use thicker fabric, one square only, and starch it (I haven't tried this as I wanted to use Liberty lawn - if you do, let me know!)

5.  Trim up your square, to make sure it is true.

6.  Fold on the diagonal and press lightly to leave a mark.

7.  Do the same on the other diagonal, so that you have found the centre point.

8.  Now, one by one, fold the corners into the middle, pressing them into place with your iron.

9.  Again, take the corners and press them into the middle. The square is getting smaller, so I'm holding it in place with the point of my scissors, so you can see.

10.  Turn it over.

11.  Now once again, fold the corners into the middle. The result should look like this, with some neat folds.

and the other side will look like this, with four flaps..

12.  Turn back over...

...then reach round and take hold of the point of one of those little flaps and gently pull it upwards until it looks like this.  Hold the fold in place with your thumb like this while you do it.

12.  Repeat with all four flaps...

...until you have this.

13. Carefully holding them in place, turn your piece over.  Four more flaps remain at the back.  Just open them out... that the corners of them show in front like this.

14.  Sew a button or bead of your choice to the centre, which also holds the folds in place:

A fabric-covered button would look fab!

For a different look, omit step 13, which gives you a simpler flower.

15.  Seal any raw edges with clear nail varnish, or Fray Stop.

16.  Now sew your square of felt to the back, attach your brooch fitting, and Bob's your uncle.


I made two versions of this brooch.  One used two squares of Liberty, and the other used a square of Liberty backed with a white cotton sheeting.  You can catch a glimpse of white in between the folds at the back, but they are not visible on the front, and it made for a slightly more substantial brooch,

If you want something waterproof you might try Mod-Podging the result.

Would you like to try making one, and let me know if these instructions are clear?  If you are a follower, just let me know in the comments section if you would like one and I will send the first three people a little kit.  Let me know your favourite two colours, and I'll try and oblige from my Liberty stash, though I can't promise!  They are fun to make, and rather addictive.

Linking up to:
Plum and June

Friday 23 November 2012

Really Random Thursday

There has been a lot of cupboard clearing going on in the Knotted Cotton household (displacement activity while plucking up courage to cut into the Oakshott...), and I have been sorting out a pile of stuff to go to the charity shop.  One old loud-speaker had a mysterious rattle.   This is the cause:

Yes:   five toy cows, two sheep, a dinosaur, a giraffe, a deer, a crocodile, a hippo, a panther and a pig, three Easter chicks, two pencils, two gekkos,  a butterfly,  a toy mobile phone, two wooden jigsaw pieces, a tangle of pipecleaners, a baby's hairbrush, an electronic thermometer, four hazelnuts, one parrot finger puppet and a plastic bee had all at one time or another been posted into the small hole at the front of the speaker by small children.

Back to the Oakshott - I had to show you the thread tangle I trimmed away after washing it.  The variety of colour illustrates how the shot cottons are woven - as each shot colour has a different thread woven with the red.   There must be some sort of textile art I could do with this - it's beautiful really!

Linking up to Really Random Thursday

Live A Colorful Life


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