Thursday 28 November 2013

WIPing along

Taking a break from bunting (which I've started dreaming about at night) to do a bit of experimenting.

A gold leaf for a golden wedding.

I thought the one above was too autumnal so perhaps not good psychology...This is my current favourite but I need to practice a bit with finishing and ending the fancy stitch.

I love the backs though.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

New to Me in November

I'm linking up with Fiona for New To Me this month - I've dropped out of sight a bit for the last couple of weeks because I've been up to a few new things and on a bit of a learning curve as I went along.

First a bit of charm swapping - the Low Volume Charm Swap run by Rachael at the Floral Suitcase.   After a lot of deliberating about what exactly constitutes low volume I got lucky as Sarah did a post on low volume fabrics currently on sale - what a star!  I've got two spots in the swap so I should be receiving 2 bundles of 56 squares.  I'm quite excited about this but I have been putting off cutting up my fabrics out of terror at the hideous responsibility of doing it for other people and the fear of getting marks from my iron on the fabric, or cutting it squint. Now it's done!

I've found recently that when fabric comes off the bolt folded the pattern sometimes seems to banana in the middle, so after ironing my first fabric out flat I had to fold it in half by matching up the selvedges while holding it up to the light so I could make sure that the pattern line ran straight across.

Some stamp making - totally inspired by Fiona's own.

And finally I bet almost everyone who makes stuff has a little nagging voice of self-doubt but I decided to ignore it anyway and try making stuff to sell.  I'm dipping my toe in the shallow end by starting with bunting - and little bags to put it in - and giving it to a friend to sell in her shop.

I've made about 40 metres of it so far - here's hoping.

As well as the bunting, I've been making Liberty fabric brooches using charm squares from Very Berry Fabrics (tutorial here, shortly to be updated).

This is my favourite.

It's turning into really useful experience, partly because I'm realising just how little my hourly "wage" will be after deducting costs, which probably isn't news to anyone who does this for a living.  It's also useful from the point of view of learning about perfectionism and finishing things off properly.

Do you make things to sell?  Where do you sell your work?  And do you have a handy formula for pricing - or do you wing it?

Meanwhile, if you know anyone who would like to buy Christmas bunting, you can point them my way;-)

Friday 22 November 2013

Slow Blog Linky

This month the Slow Blog linky has become a moveable feast and is being hosted by Willit who has written a great post about life and creativity and blogging.

When I first started blogging it was because I love making things, and I wanted to engage with the community of other people who like doing the same.   We can't always be as productive as we would like because there are other things going on in life - and we can't always blog as often as we would like for the same reason.  It is difficult not to feel inadequate in the face of apparent super-productivity, and to worry that without having a constant virtual presence you are going to drop out of the loop, so Slow Blogging (at least my variation on the theme) is about declaring your intention to try not to compare yourself to other people, and to show a little support for fellow Slow Bloggers.

If you're a Slow Blogger, please visit and link up - the linky stays open for a week!

Wednesday 13 November 2013

WIP Wednesday

Despite having a bit of a whinge about how hard I find the discipline of following a pattern, I'm getting very fond of this quilt in progress.

I now have all the triangles sewn together (there are some shameful cropped points, but I don't think anyone would really notice).

I'm going to customise it slightly by adding a border all round:  my daughter, who this is for, and I are just debating whether it should be pink, acqua or red.  (Or even the neutral, with a stripe of one of those...!)  What do you think?  Either way it's going to be a fun piece, I hope.  

I haven't decided how to quilt it but at the moment I think it would be nice to add to the colour madness with some perle hand stitching.

Other WIPS include some teeny-tiny crazy patchwork panels using the smallest of scraps left over from Liberty projects - some scraps are only a centimetre or so wide.  Because they are so small I have used a different crazy patchwork technique to the one I used for my Komebukuro bags - more about this soon.

I'm linking up with

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday 12 November 2013

How to make bunting - a faster and less fiddly method

Last year I made Christmas bunting. I used what is probably the usual method - ie laboriously cut loads of triangles, sew them together, turn inside out and then string together.

That's obviously the way to do it if you are using scraps but I realised that there is a way of sewing and cutting them which just helps to make the process a bit faster and less fiddly, if you have the luxury of yardage.

From a piece of cardboard cut a triangle template the size you want your flags to be including your seam allowances all round.   You can see how I have used the angle marks on my quilting ruler to cut an equilateral triangle.  Your triangle can be any kind you choose.

 Now cut two strips of your material as tall as your template.  (I chose a triangle size which meant I could cut four strips from a fat quarter.)   Obviously they can be wider than mine if you are using a full width of fabric - having a wider strip speeds up the process further.

Place down right sides together.  (Do be careful to make sure that directional fabrics are running the right way).

Now flipping your template as you go, mark off a row of triangles like this, using your favourite erasable pen - I love my Frixion pen which was in my Stitch Gathering goody bag - or even a pencil will do the trick.

Mark a triangle.
Flip and mark again
And again...
Do this until you have gone along the length of your fabric strips.

Don't cut your triangles out yet.  Instead, using your preferred seam allowance, you are going to sew seams on either side of your pencil lines. The quickest and easiest way is to zigzag up and down the triangles.  Go one way first - and if you sew as in the diagram below you can stop just before you reach the edge of the fabric, drop your needle, and pivot to turn without having to take the fabric out.

When you get to the end,  zigzag back the other way (shown in red)

You can now press your sewn strip to set all the seams in one go!

Now take your sewn strip, and cut along your pen marks in between your stitching - just like you do when making HSTs.

Voila! - a nice little pile of flags waiting to be turned inside out.

Snip the ends to reduce bulk and turn right side out.

I still never manage a very pointy point - if you have a good tip, please let me know.

Do you want to make even easier and faster bunting?  Just mark and sew your strips right sides out, and cut along the lines with pinking shears.

Either way, you're now ready to insert into your folded bias binding/cotton tape/ribbon and sew along. Leave a space between the flags, or butt them up together, whichever you prefer.

All those little offcuts from the ends of your strips can be cut down and made into mini bunting, which looks sweet wrapped round a Christmas tree.

I'm linking up to Fabric Tuesday!

Fresh Poppy Design

Friday 8 November 2013


It is the onset of winter and I don't like grey days.
Whatever I am doing, there is always something else that I ought to be doing.
I want to own lots of nice fabric and threads because I want to make stuff out of it - if I had the time anyway.
And I would like to go to White Stuff and buy almost their entire shop so that I look like a yummy mummy instead of being permanently dressed in jeans and mud.  (Yes, that is shallow:-)

Probably that sounds like everyone else's life too, except for White Stuff and the mud, so I will stop whingeing, grow up, get a grip and count the many ways in which I am lucky - like receiving this card from Geraldine as part of the Very Berry Handmade ATC swap:

It's just brilliant!

Feeling better now.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday 7 November 2013

Komebukuro Bag!

I've posted a how-to on the blog today.  It took ages to write and I'm not sure how comprehensible my instructions are so I'd be very grateful for any (kind) suggestions about how to improve them!

And, if you would like to help out by making a bag and giving me your thoughts in the next month I will send one reader your own lovely maxi pack of Liberty scraps to use.

How to Make a Komebukuro Bag - Part 2, General Construction

How to Make a Komebukuro Bag - Part 1 showed how I made the exteriors for two bags.

So, if you have decided to make a bag, settled on the finished size and made your sides here's what you need to finish it.

How to make a Komebukuro Bag - Part 1 Liberty Patchwork exteriors

I have got round to sorting the process photos I took when making my Komebukuro bags (here and here) and thought I would post a bit of a how-to in case anyone was curious. [edited to add links, sorry!]

These bags (originally made to contain rice) are quilted so they have a bit of structure to them, and being square and flat bottomed sit nicely on the floor or on a shelf when full.  I made the larger one above - great for knitting wools or a crochet project perhaps - and the smaller one below which could happily contain a stack of fat quarters.

The construction of the bag is quite straightforward, and you could make up the exterior in any way you like and to any size you want so I don't include measurements but just show how I constructed my two versions, with instructions for assembling the bag in another post.   If anything is unclear, or if you find it difficult to work out your own measurements, please do let me know.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

WIP Wednesday

This is what my living room floor has looked like since Monday - good thing I have a tolerant husband.

I have pieced all my strips for my version of this quilt and decided to include some Klona sashing to contain the triangles so I have just been consulting with my daughter about the colour.  The mini quilt is my Klona swatchcard quilt!

I kept the key so I actually use it as a reference.  It does not photograph well, but is one of my all time favourite makes.  It is okay to say that, I hope!

Linking up to

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday 3 November 2013

Fresh Sewing Day

Finishes: three Artist Trading Cards on an autumn theme for the Very Berry Handmade swap (see the loveliness on flickr), another music bag, and 10 metres of halloween bunting made with my youngest from Ebay bargain orange felt and black bias binding.  It was all hand stitched as we were away from the sewing machine so we were quite chuffed with ourselves.

I should also have photographed this room after the children's halloween party it was tidied up for...

WIPs: Unfortunately getting the car through its MOT meant no fabric purchases so I am temporarily and frustratingly stuck in the middle of two quilts, Big Pebbles, and Leaves, but this did mean I got out a third quilt I started at the Stitch Gathering, in a class taught by Fiona of Poppy Makes.

Fiona's fab quilt is  here.  Mine is being made from Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill, and Natural Seeded Klona.  I am struggling with it slightly because it is someone else's pattern and I find that hard as I like going my own way, but I wanted to learn something new and it is a great pattern so I am determined to make it for one of my daughters.  I have all the pieces cut and paired. Three quilts in progress is a record so I'm hoping for a finish soon.

Incoming: a week of happy post.  This book was my winnings (by luck, rather than merit) at Celtic Thistle Stitches Holiday Memory competition.

Thank you so much to Fiona - I look forward to next year's competition, and the book is my current bed-time reading.

And this pencil case arrived from Fran:

It is for one of the Misses Knotted Cotton in return for  the music bag I sent Miss Patchy Rose.  It is lovely and so beautifully made I might just have to keep it for myself;-)

A good month!

Lily's Quilts


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