Friday 13 July 2012

No progress on quilting this week  - plenty of other unwanted excitement including a trip to the sick kids hospital with smallest child following a dramatic fainting episode combined with cracking her head on the laminate floor.  Instead there was a little more therapeutic embroidery (can highly recommend this for calm).

There is no plan to this embroidery at all - the tree could have been a coconut palm or a weeping willow but morphed into a larch as it went along, partly because I'm trying out new stitches and the cones were the result of learning french knots.

I'm not at all happy with the baby and may unpick it and start again - please contain your excitement:-)

The guest advice post on the Plum and June blog hop this week was from Kati of From the Blue Chair  It was a really good article about her reasons for blogging and her determination to stick to these and continue to go her own way.

Like almost everyone else, I guess, I started blogging because I love learning and making things - and wanted to share this process warts and all with like-minded people. It's very easy (well it is for me!) to worry that perhaps the things you make aren't good enough, or "original" enough, or perhaps just coming off the production line fast enough! I think I will start a Slow Blog movement - want to join me?!

Please check out the latest hops on the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop. This week Rebecca made a clever travel bingo, and Marti made some pretty colourful placemats.

July 12
    Rebecca from Sew Festive Handmade
    Marti from 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks

July 17
    Katie from Kati's Quilting
    Claire from Sewing over Pins
    Caroline from Quilting in the Cold

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Embroidery WIP

There seems to be a lot of embroidery going on in the quilt world at the moment and it's really inspiring!  I love Jo Avery's embroidery and this, at Needles Pins and Baking Tins is really fun.  

A while back I made this mini-quilt and have been wanting to try to do an embroidered version so I started working on this:

You can see I have no idea what I'm doing - I could vaguely remember lazy daisy stitch, but everything else is a bit mad.  It took a while to realise I could separate some of the strands from the embroidery thread for finer stitches, and look what I did at the back!

Apart from the general untidiness, I managed to catch the edge of the fabric and am going to have to cut it free so I can get the finished thing out of the hoop.  (I am ashamed to say, I also sewed it to the lap of my trousers...)

Still I like her little face and I'm going to keep going - how else to learn?!

Please visit the following blogs on the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop today:

 Jenelle from Echinops and Aster  

Monday 9 July 2012

A little while back I posted an admiring comment on [Amy's] Crafty Shenanigans - her mosaic of makes for June was really impressive and I thought it would be a long time before I could do one like that in a month (I'm a bit slow).  Amy sent me an encouraging e-mail, followed by this little package in the post:

She had very sweetly put together a little kit, complete with instructions, for making a flower brooch. Her idea was that it was so easy and satisfying to make that perhaps I would have something extra to show at the end of the month!   I made it yesterday afternoon while watching Andy Murray's valiant effort at Wimbledon.

I can see why she called it a "procrastination brooch" - it was fun to make and I can imagine sewing lots of these while I should be doing other things! 

Thank you, Amy!

Sunday 8 July 2012

A bit of a linky post

Now that I've got my tutorial done (good thing for everyone concerned - I was not an attentive or patient mother:-) I've been finishing off the top of stack of coins.  In the end I decided, having consulted my wise readers, not to sash in linen between the stacks but made a couple of extras, joined them all and added a border in the linen instead.

It's proving impossible to get a decent sunny picture of the whole top, but here's a close-up:

To give you an idea what it's like here I have watered this hanging basked twice in two months.

Thank you very much to everyone from the hop who dropped in and left a comment.  I try to reply to all comments, but sometimes the commenter is a "no-reply" blogger.    If you don't hear back, this may be why.  Find out about what it means and what to do about it here (or google "no-reply blogger").

Sometimes, too, I can't pay a return visit to a blog because the address isn't visible when I click on a commenter's profile picture.   Amanda at Fabric Engineer has just posted a little tutorial on how to make sure your blog shows up - here.

And......another handy link.  Some bloggers like to use word verification to avoid spammers, but I thought I'd turned it off on my own blog.  I found I hadn't when Chrissie D posted this tutorial!

Final link  - for anyone who's read to the bottom of this post - Lynne at Lily's Quilts has an amazing giveaway. She's offering an Oakshott Cottons colourbox.    A mere 1236 entrants so far:-)  I'm off to get my entry in with fingers and toes crossed.  Please let it be me.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Let's Get Acquainted!

Today I'm one of the hosting blogs on Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop Day.  If you are visiting for the first time, hello, welcome and thank you for dropping in!

I'm Catherine and live in Scotland with a husband, two children, a 15-year old cat, a goldfish and numerous clothes moths.  I used to work in publishing but now I'm a happy gardener. 

How long have you been quilting? - My  grandma taught me to do English paper piecing when I was little and I really got interested in patchwork again last year.   I think having very small children is sometimes a bit like Groundhog Day, or the Dark Ages, and I disappeared into it and didn't do any making for a while! Now I'm trying to get back in the habit.

Quilting tips - cut accurately, square up and press often.  After that, everything is easy, haha!

Blogging tips - Do reply to comments if you possibly can. When I first started blogging I didn't realise how nice it is to get a reply.   Do try not to worry what other people think.   Don't call a post Hooray for F*t Bot*om Girls as you attract some visitors via search engine who must be very disappointed to land on a quilting blog.

Favourite fabric -  I either get into them and then can't remember what I ever saw in them, or I don't realise how much I love and need them until they're gone.  At the moment I really like plain linen.  I have an embarrassingly small stash, because fabric is expensive and I tend to buy with a project in mind, but I don't feel too guilty for the occasional impulse buy because my husband is a technophile and his purchases are way more expensive than mine. 

Favourite craft book - actually bloggers are so generous with their knowledge that I have learned a lot and got a lot of inspiration from my favourite blogs.  Sometimes I'm quite stubborn too and like trying to work stuff out, even if it means re-inventing the wheel.

Favourite quilting tool - rotary cutter.  Least favourite but most useful - seam ripper

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog - I hope you'll come again!:-)   Please visit my hop-mate Sarah Lou, and finally a big thank you to Beth for organising the party.

My tutorial for the hop is here - please do let me know if anything is unclear, or if you have any other comments or suggestions. Before I start I thought you might like to see a photo of my helper, whose birthday it is today:

Child's picnic quilt and wrap, with hood

My children love to picnic at the beach and and play in the sea until they come out looking faintly blue with cold.   Inspired by hooded towels made out of washcloths, I made this - it's a children's picnic quilt and wrap combo.  I wanted to make something that could be a child's very own - quickly slung in a bag to take to the beach, good to sit on while you have your picnic  - which they could wrap themselves up in at the end of the day. The quilt is small, backed with soft toweling or fleece, and comes with a hood and toggle fastening.

General points: the quilt can be square but a rectangular one has more "wrapability", especially if you were to make one for a bigger child. You can piece a top, or use one piece of cloth.  The quilt has a "top edge" - ie consider the direction of your prints.   Seam allowance is unimportant - just be consistent. 

First, measure your child from the shoulders to just above the ankles.   Or get someone else to do it!

This measurement is the length of the side of a square quilt, or the short side of a rectangular quilt.  For a rectangular quilt, next ask your child to stand with arms extended sideways and measure from fingertip to fingertip, plus six inches - this will be the length of the top edge.  (This gives a good size for wrapping.  You can make the quilt bigger than this, just be aware that you will not want it too big if your child will walk around in it!)  Make a quilt top - pieced or not according to preference.  Remember to consider the direction of any pattern - the quilt has a top edge.   As Beth suggested novelty fabrics as a theme for the blog hop, I used a combination of fishy prints by Hoodie, and some Pezzy.

You will also need a toggle, and a hairband, one piece of toweling or fleece the same size as your top and one rectangle of toweling or fleece 10 inches x 21 inches.  Note: my toweling had different sides - I used the less "loopy" side as it seemed less likely to snag in use. 

First, lay out your small rectangle. We are going to make the hood.  (NB for variations on the hood, including making a lined hood, please see the notes at the bottom of the tutorial.)

Fold in half from left to right.  You are going to stitch along the top edge.

I used a quarter inch seam for neatness and so that the wearer won't feel it. I also zigzagged along the edge to avoid fraying:

 After stitching, open it out:

Now turn right side out - you have made a hood shape.  You can turn and hem the front edge, or bind it:

I bound mine, using this tutorial, attaching on the front:

I zigzag-stitched the edge again in case of fraying:

and attached the back by stitching in the ditch on the front:

Here's the finished hood.  The unbound edge is the shoulder edge:

Lay out your towelling or fleece lining face up. If it is a rectangular quilt have the LONG side at the top.  Find the center and mark it with a pin. Take your finished hood, find the centre of the shoulder edge and lay it on the lining, front edge face down, centre point to centre point,  like this.

Sew the hood to the lining along the shoulder edge using a quarter inch seam.  Because of the way I cut the towelling, I was able to make use of the selvedge edge here and didn't have to worry so much about fraying.  Otherwise I would have zigzagged the edge again.

Lay your lining back down again face up, and flip up the hood:

Smooth it out well then take your quilt top and lay on top of the lining face down.  Pin round the edge with about a million pins, and then sew together using a quarter inch seam, starting just outside the hood, and finishing just before the other edge. This gap is for turning.

Now turn inside out, pull carefully into shape, and stitch the opening closed using your favourite invisible stitch (I use ladder stitch - stitching from right to left),  making sure to tuck in and catch down that hood seam as you sew. 

Now you should topstitch round the edges of the quilt again, to stop the top and lining moving. My quilt top has a narrow border, so I sewed along this. For extra stability, you can add further "quilting" - it's a matter of choice.

Finally, attach a toggle, about an inch and a half from the hood.  On the other side of the hood attach your hairband like this, by sewing backwards and forwards:

You've done it - admire your handiwork!

Admission:  A bad workman blames his tools, a bad blogger blames the weather.   I had hoped to take beautiful artistic "lifestyle" pics of this in use on the beach, but it has been so wet here that any lifestyle pics will have to follow!

This is my attempt to mock up a beach scene in my living room!:

If you make one, do let me know!

Notes and variations:
  • As an optional extra, you could sew a lined hood to match your quilt top.  Follow the instructions above to make two hoods, one in each fabric.  If you like a bound front edge place one hood inside the other, wrong sides together, and use binding to fix together, before joining to the quilt.  Alternatively, place one inside the other, right sides together, sew along the front edge and turn right side out before joining to the quilt.  
  • Tuck wet swimming shorts or beachcombing finds into the hood before rolling up to bring home from the beach.
  • Be sure to shake any sand out of the hood before wrapping a very small child!
  • Why not make a fleece lined quilt-wrap for camping trips? -it makes an extra blanket to throw over your sleeping bag, and you can wear it to wrap up in round the camp fire!   [Update: like this one which was lined with cosy red fleece, and has a lined hood made with two layers of fleece for extra warmth.  After sewing quilt and lining together, I sewed all the way round, about half an inch from the edge.  This one doesn't have a toggle fastening. ]

  • This tutorial was originally written for the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop, hosted by Plum and June

Tuesday 3 July 2012

[Insert wailing sound here]

The wailing is because I am spending all my time separating the horridest small snarling children instead of getting on with the tutorial for my spot on the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop which I share with Sarah Lou on Thursday.   (This is how we generally spend the first couple of days of a holiday until we hit our stride.)  I had an idea for this tutorial such a long time ago, but have put off actually doing it to the last minute AGAIN.  Will I never learn?   Some of the wailing is coming from the children but quite a lot of it is coming from inside my head.

I must be getting a bit of sewing done though because I've just tried reaching for the foot pedal on my laptop.

Here's a sneaky peak:

Lobster Red

Please do go and visit today's hosts on the Hop, who are:

Di from Willowbeck Designs
Jennifer from Knotted Thread

This is such an inspiring blog hop because of the tutorial each participant is posting as part of their day.  This time Di is showing how to make a postage stamp cushion cover - it's a really lovely scrap buster.  Jennifer's tutorial is not up at the minute (transatlantic timing) but I'll be going over to have another look later.

Monday 2 July 2012

Siblings Together Linky at Lily's Quilts

Earlier this year, Lynne met one of the trustees of the charity Siblings Together, and learned about the summer holiday camps they run to reunite siblings who are in care and have been separated.  They thought it would be lovely if every child who attended one of the camps over the summer could take away a quilt of their very own.  This lovely idea blossomed and many, many beautiful quilts have been made - each with a label with a space for siblings to write messages for each other. 

Lynne has invited people who made or contributed towards quilts to link up and celebrate this fantastic group achievement.  I hadn't made a full-size quilt before but I really wanted to be involved - I grew up with three siblings and though we fought and scratched and bickered I would have hated to be separated from them.  I made two quilts:

Star pieced using fabric donated by Vicki

Quilt for a teenage boy

I'm just happy but not surprised, that this project has been so successful and glad to have been able to join in.

In her post today Lynne is also publicising the launch of 100 Quilts for 100 Kids,

Swim, Bike, Quilt

 so do have a look - and she is offering a giveaway of lovely fabric.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Time Travelling

I was pulling things out from under the bed and came across this box of treasure:

There is a whole bundle of 60s and 70s cotton/polycotton, together with all these hexies

which I pieced round bits of Italian revision when I was about 15 (and had very neat handwriting):

One of the bits of fabric is actually this:

It's a tiered skirt I had sewed a year earlier, which I hoped would help me get off with a boy in my class!  I went potato picking to earn enough money for cowboy boots to wear with this skirt, but lost confidence and never bought them.  I didn't get the boy either - I was generally hopeless even if I did have neat handwriting and we just looked longingly at each other across the floor of the school disco.  I think I was supposed to ask my friend to ask his friend to ask him if he fancied a slow dance. 

Earlier me:   if only you knew what you know now.  But what to make with the hexies?!

Do you have some fabric with a story attached?   Something from a special piece of clothing, or that was given to you by someone else?  I'd really like to hear about it.

If you like life stories, I thought this one in Live a Colorful Life's Farmer's Wife series was very touching.

It's the first of the month (July, who'd have thought it...) and I'm linking up to the Small Blog Meet at Lily's Quilts today - it's for bloggers with under 50 readers and it's always fun for discovering new blogs.  If you're visiting, hello:-)

Lily's Quilts


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