The quilting of the space invader quilt has begun. Actually, I'm probably about 3/4 done! I got it basted last week with the help of my lovely friend Helen, but then of course I had to decide how to quilt it. In the end, I went for simplicity - those wonky straight lines again! To be honest, I have a hard enough time manoevering the quilt through the machine just on the straight lines, so it was unlikely that I would try anything else!
A teeny little fabric purchase. A panel of handprinted fabric from The Little House Martin, as seen on Lu's blog. I couldn't resist, and Fanny/Leanne sweetly included an adorable little house ornament, as well as some little samples of her other prints. The panel is so lovely, I'm not sure I can bear to cut into it, so I'm thinking of turning it into a very simple but beautiful little table mat.
Some more sewing! We are off to a wedding tomorrow, and I had stupidly left everything to the last minute. I have managed to cobble together an outfit &found a lovely cream linen scarf but had no suitable bag to match. However, I did manage to find a piece of cream linen in the stash that was the perfect match, so I set about making myself a little clutch bag. It's actually just a zippered pouch, but I had been inspired by several pleated bags seen on Pinterest so decided to give it a go, and I don't think it turned out too badly. Phew!
Well, I wasn't going to join in this quarter, as I don't think I have a hope in hell's chance of finishing anything in the next three months, but Rhonda quite rightly pointed out that I have nothing to lose, so here's my very small list for the next part of the finish along:-
1. Joe's quilt. So far I have pieced one space invader
2. The scrap quilt, for which I have pieced numerous blocks but, again, still quite away to go to get this one finished.
There's also another wip that was in my last quarter's list, but seeing as Joe is requesting his new quilt asap, I think that is going to take priority, so this is all I'm going to include this time.
The summer hols are almost upon us, so I may be able to scrape some sewing time for myself, but no promises! Let's just wait and see...
Joe is not a crafty boy. As a toddler he was never interested in colouring and that seems to have followed through in that he is, for the most part, not very interested in using any kind of writing/drawing implement. He's also not very keen on getting messy (gluey fingers, that kind of thing.) That caused problems in school but now that he is home I am trying not to get too hung up on the lack of "written work" and instead am just trying to encourage him to use his hands in other creative ways. I think he wants to be creative, he certainly likes looking through the huge selection of craft books that I have purchased over the years, and whilst he will sometimes say to me "can we make that?", often when it comes to it he is just not interested in joining in, or just wants me to do it all for him.
Some of our craft books.
But I am persevering. I continue to buy crafty books, and I have discovered loads of blogs and websites dedicated to crafts for children, which I am showing to him in the hope of sparking an interest. (FYI, I am trying to compile a list so that I can put them all on a page here to share with anyone who's interested.) And sometimes you just have to get on and start doing an activity yourself, with the hope that, once he sees you, he will join in. That's what I did today. I had bought some new paints so I got them out, set out paper, brushes and water and started painting. Sure enough, he came over, joined in (I think the lure of fresh, new paints may have helped a bit!) and painted a picture.
The totally unimaginitive effort at the top is mine, and the bottom one is Joe's. It's a picture of a green and blue wisp (characters from a Sonic video game, of course!) and "the green one is having fun". It made me so happy to see him absorbed in this activity, even if it did only take him 10 minutes. I just need to remember to do this more often.
Last weekend was my dear Daddy's birthday. Every year it gets harder to find something to give him but this year was made much easier as he was getting a Kindle and so I was asked to get him a nice cover for it. As luck would have it, I knew just the lady for the job, my lovely blog friend Emma of Bagladee had made some very pretty leather Kindle covers recently, so I asked her if she might be able to produce something a little more masculine. I asked her to put my Dad's initial, "H" on the front, and this is what she came up with:-
Yesterday I finished making this mini quilt/table runner. I got the urge to make something on Wednesday, while Joe was quietly settled on the sofa with his nose in a new book, and the top came together remarkably quickly, probably because I already had it in mind to make a quilt like this and knew which fabrics I wanted to use so there wasn't too much faffing around, making choices. It's based on the Mod Log Cabin quilt in the Pretty in Patchwork Dollquilts book. I didn't follow the pattern exactly - I didn't embroider the central section as per the book, but fussy cut a square from a piece of fabric I've been hoarding for quite some time. Although I realised that I really could have embroidered over the printed design to add some extra detail, but I was so carried away with making the thing that it slipped my mind until the quilt was almost finished! I have quite a collection of red and grey fabrics now - greys I have been rather obsessed with since I started collecting them for the Heathers quilt, but the reds are a bit of a puzzle as I never wear red and there is no red in the house either!
Wow, thank you so much for all the lovely welcome back and good luck messages! I really do appreciate every single one. We have actually just started home-schooling this week (a little sooner than anticipated) and it is going to take us both a bit of getting used to. I'll try and remember to do a proper post about this soon. I am wildly behind in my blog reading (ironic, since I seem to be on the computer more than ever, ordering books, researching websites and resources etc!) but I promised you a post about the mouth stitches swap, so I thought I'd better just get on and do it before it completely slips out of my memory.
Hadley, my wonderful swap mama, had paired me up with Deanna of Little D & Me. She was a great partner to make for, as she had loads of info on her flickr profile about likes/dislikes etc and she left lots of helpful comments in the group pool, so I came up with the design fairly easily. With regard to the scraps, Deanna had asked for 3" squares as she is making a hexie playmat for her little daughter, and this seemed like fate as I was already cutting 3" squares myself for a future scrap quilt. Here's what I made her:
When I do a swap I always read my partners blog - not just during the stalking process, but right the way through so, although Deanna had only shown some very sneaky peaks of what she was making in the flickr group, she showed her completed pouch in full on her blog. When I saw it and read what she had written about her partners likes (tea, applique, pink & blue) I became convinced that it was for me! This was a secret swap so you are supposed to get something from somebody different from who you are making for (does that make sense?) but I had this hunch that Hadley had been sneaky and paired the two of us together. Of course, I couldn't say anything about this, as I didn't want to give the game away to Deanna! But when the parcel arrived and I recognised the return address I was so happy - I was right! This is what Deanna sent me:
And a lovely selection of scraps too. Thank you so much Deanna, I love my pouch, it was absolutely perfect for me! And big thanks too, to lovely Hadley, for being so sneaky. This was such a great group to be a part of.
Goodness, I'm feeling very out of practice at blog writing! And it's kind of hard to concentrate with the little guy around, so forgive me if I've left out any details!
I'm hoping that once we get into the swing of things I'll be able to find time for more regular blogging, but it will probably be a bit hit and miss for a while longer. Thanks for sticking with me.
In the comments on my last post, Maria asked me how I had made the label on the back of the quilt, so I promised her a little post about how I did it. I simply used some stamps and fabric ink, which is a really easy and fun way to add some extra details to your projects.
This particular label was made by using clear polymer stamps that you mount on an acrylic block.
I bought these two Hero Arts alphabet sets from Bladerubber Stamps. They're not cheap, but it does seem that you get what you pay for. (I also bought a much cheaper set from Hobbycraft but it was rubbish for printing on fabric!)
The letters stick very easily to the acrylic block, and then the beauty of the clear block is that you can then turn it over, check your positioning and see exactly where you are printing!
When printing on fabric I use VersaCraft ink pads, which can be heat set with an iron. I'm sure there are other brands available, just make sure they are suitable for use on fabric.
You can also use normal rubber stamps to print on fabric with great results. Skullandcrossbuns is one of my favourites on etsy and I had a stamp custom made for me with my etsy shop name on, which I use to stamp on cotton tape to make labels.
Press your fabric before you stamp
Place your fabric on a firm, even surface - don't try stamping on your ironing board!
Practice stamping on a piece or paper or scrap fabric first to get a feel for how much ink to add to the stamp and how firmly you need to press down.
If you need to add guidelines to your fabric to help your positioning, don't use a marking pen that will set when you iron it! - (Frixion pens are brilliant for this as they disappear when ironed)
I really enjoy stamping on fabric and am hoping to experiment some more with this and even have a go at making my own stamps. I'm sure there is loads more information out there online about stamping on fabric but my advice would be to just have a go and have fun with it!
Whilst there may not have been any quilts at the quilt show that made me think "ooh, I must make one like that!" it was inspiring enough to make me want to sew something, and on Sunday I really felt the urge. I owed my friend Emma a handmade something for her birthday earlier in January so, after a cryptic tweet asking about colours, I pulled some fabrics out of the cupboard and set to work. I decided that I wanted to make a wonky star mini quilt and I thought that a single colour star on a black background would look pretty cool. Emma had replied to my tweet that she loved pink or turquoise, and I found that I actually had far more turquoise fabrics that I had thought, so turquoise it was. Believe it or not, but this was the first time I had had a go at making a star, but it came together so quickly - I think from the time Emma gave me her colour choices, to the block being finished was probably only about an hour!
I got the quilt sandwich made up and started handquilting inside the star on the Sunday night, and I was going to handquilt around the star, in the black fabric too, but I quickly realised that it is really difficult to hand sew a straight line on black fabric, especially in the evening! So, instead, I machine quilted around the star on Monday and then put on the binding, added a printed label and, hey presto!
I think it turned out pretty well, and Emma received it in the post yesterday and loved it - so it was a success!! I definitely see more stars in my future, as it was really fun to make.
Yesterday I finally completed my zipper pouch for the Mouthy Stitches swap, but I don't want to show the finished article yet in case my partner is snooping and I don't want to give the game away. I have a sneaky feeling that my swap mama made have been a bit crafty with the match ups - but I'll say no more for now, just in case I am completely off track! Here's a little sneaky peak though...