Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Boxy Pocket Pouch [A Finish]

I've been joining in with  Tuppence Ha'Penny's sew along making items from the Stitched Sewing Organizers book by Aneela Hoey. This week's project is the Boxy Pocket Pouch and is another of the projects on my original must-make list. However, I decided to complicate matters this time round and use cork fabric for the first time! And those cacti - it was always going to be that fabric for the pocket!

First up, my learnings on cork fabric. It's much thinner than I expected. But it's thicker than regular fabric - always a good plan when you known a project is going to involve turning things through and sewing through multiple layers. It doesn't seem to be as robust as regular fabric, so I was very careful not to be too rough when I turned this pouch through. It's not keen on the iron. I very carefully added some interfacing to it - it warped a tiny bit, but seems to have regained its previous appearance now. The heavier weight meant I probably didn't need that interfacing in the first place.... my overall impression is that it's nice, but not really, in my opinion, nice enough for the extra faff.

The pattern cannot be faulted. Again. I blindly followed the instructions (with a quilt pattern I can read instructions and get a sense of where I'm going, and even pick out steps where something isn't quite right. With bag making I am entirely blind). And after 2 hours of sewing (and an hour of preparing the fabric) I had a boxy pouch with some pretty great pockets! The technique for getting a neat finish on that cactus pocket is just amazing. I made life hard for myself at one point by missing out a step, but fudged my way through, and started ticking off the steps as I did them after that! My only issue with this pouch is that the lining seems a bit baggy - and that could be all about my seams allowances rather than anything else. One point gave me a lot of bother: there are zipper tabs at each end of the zip, and when made from cork and combined with all the other layers at that point, my machine was having none of it. It refused to sew through the layers. In the end I hand-turned it, and when it skipped the stitch I brought the needle down in the same place again and again until it caught. Not ideal, but in the end I had enough stitches for it to all hold together. If I were making it again, I would still add the tabs, as they are a nice finishing touch, but I would do them in the contrast fabric, not cork!

This was the point where I had boxed the corners and was ready to turn it through. My husband made sure to be in the room when I did that - he thought it would be funny and not go right. But the magic worked again and he was disappointed.

I love the look of this pouch - it would make a great gift as it looks really special - and it is very roomy, but I've found that the pouch doesn't open very wide and easily falls back to the closed position even with the zip open. I think this is a "great for carrying stuff and storing stuff" pouch but not a "great for working directly from" pouch. Nevermind - I've already found some excellent projects in the book that fall into that second category! And I still keep looking at this pouch in amazement that I actually made it!

Friday, 10 November 2017

Down the Rabbit Hole

It has been months since we talked about my Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt on this blog. There's a very good reason for that - I didn't touch it! This is a block of the month programme from Sarah Fielke and it combines templates, hand applique, bias applique, foundation piecing.... you name it, it has every technique going, and right from the start I knew it was going to be a huge challenge. I got through the first couple of months a little behind, but then in month three, we had to applique, by hand, the tiniest, fiddliest little leaves going... and that's where the wheels came off. I had 24 to add and the first one I did is still the best.

Over the summer I did work ahead a bit, but the next section - 40 tiny houses with paper pieced roofs didn't go quickly either... I knew that the next borders were heavy on the hand applique, so in September I made a decision: If this quilt was ever going to be finished, and I would like to finish it, then hand applique just wasn't the way forward. I switched tactics and committed to machine applique using fusible sticky-stuff and a machine blanket stitch - the fact that my Husqvarna does a very lovely machine blanket stitch definitely helped in this decision! However, I also decided that the leaves I had started appliquing by hand in the centre needed to be finished by hand. With a little help from a friend who took pity on me and stitched a couple, and the new found energy my decision had brought, I finished the applique. I also embroidered the very centre of the centre - I'd had the idea in my head for months but never got round to it.

And I can now confirm that the centre of my medallion, which should have been finished in April, is now finished!

And those little houses? Those are finished too, so hopefully I'll have more progress to share soon!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Fold Up [Sewing Folio [A Finish]

I'm back with another fabulous project from Aneela Hoey's book "Stitched Sewing Organizers". And this project is the reason I bought the book. It's also my first time using vinyl....

It took about an hour to cut and prepare the fabrics, interfacing and wadding. And then another 2 hours to stitch up - I love these quick finishes. This is the first of these projects from the book where I feel that I would like to make it again, and if I did so I would do a better job. I managed to get my interior the wrong way round, so it doesn't quite match the pattern and the pincushion is a bit scruffy I also did my topstitching in two different colours - I had a good reason when I did it, but I think it would have looked better all the same.

The outer fabric is a Dashwood one from a range called Club Tropicana and I just love that green. I also went back to my trademark pink lining on this project. And that vinyl? A breeze. I didn't even have to use the teflon foot, because whenever you sew the vinyl you're actually encasing it in fabric. Such a clever design! I'm really looking forward to using this make - it might just be perfect for one of my EPP projects!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Fabric Trays

I'm back with another make from the Stitched Sewing Organizers book by Aneela Hoey as part of the #stitchedsewingorganizerssal hosted by Tuppen Ha'Penny Quilts. And the more I use this book, the more I love it! Last week was another week I was going to skip: fabric trays. Not very inspiring at first glance, to be honest. Then I started seeing them pop up over on Instagram. On Saturday night, after a rather hrad 24 hours, and with the kids finally in bed, I decided that rather than the many projects I already had on the go, I was going to make these instead.

I cut into my new Comma fabric. I was lucky to get rather a large piece of the black asterisk (?) fabric as part of #getyourquiltywishesgranted3 along with quite a few fat quarters, so I felt I could spare a piece from my quilty plans (still early days...) to use for this project. I matched it up with a couple of prints from Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater. In an ideal world, it would have been nice to use these fabrics for all of it, but the large tray needed more than a fat quarter, and that was all I had. It's a good thing they play so nicely with Comma!

Literally an hour after starting, minimal machine sewing, some time with an iron and interfacing, and I was sitting on the sofa finishing these trays up by hand. And they are perfect for sofa sewing - everything is kept in one place, and everything is accessible. I predict these will become one of my organising staples! And I couldn't resist adding a matching pincushion as well....

The next few weeks of the sew along are for projects I'm desperate to have a go at, including the cover project - the reason I bought the book! So I will be back!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Handy Fold Up Pouch [A Finish]

Have you seen the book "Stitched Sewing Organizers" by Aneela Hoey? It's fantastic. I bought a copy because I liked the cover project, and I can tell you the other projects do not disappoint. Back in October, Tuppence Ha'Penny Quilts started a sew along from the book - a project a week. I love a good sew-along (in case you didn't know) so I'm joining in. But realistically I'm not making every project - just the ones I love. Which it turns out is quite a few.

I started with the Handy Fold Up Pouch - the first project in the book. I made it on a bit of a whim, because it wasn't one I had planned to make. I made the smaller of the two sizes available. It went together in less than an hour and it is the perfect size for my headphones. Add some lovely Rifle Paper fabric with a pink lining and what's not to love! Also, I think magic was involved. I have no idea how the turning through worked, but it did. I shall continue to follow the instructions blindly, because they seem to work!

I've skipped a few weeks since this project, but watch this space, because I just couldn't stay away!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Open Wide Pouch [a Finish]

Back in mid-October we had our long anticipated inaugural North East Modern Quilt Guild Retreat. Five of us spent the weekend in a lovely little cottage on the Northumberland coast. We decided that to commemorate the event, we would have a swap, and we settled on the open wide pouch from Noodlehead.

Of course we decided all of this back in the Spring, and it was the Wednesday before the weekend that I actually finished it! Mostly because I decided to do lots of handwork. The swap was a a secret one, so we knew who we were making for, but not who was making for us - well, one person had worked it out - witchcraft! My partner loves Liberty and Alison Glass - I can't cater to Liberty as I have none, but Alison Glass I can do!

I have long looked at the Stitched fabric from Alison Glass and dreamed of embroidering it. So I did. And it was such fun. I love the result and a hoop of this has been added to the WIP list - and I'll be keeping that one!

For the reverse I decided on Alison Glass hexagons. I had a bit of a whoopsie with this. I ended up stitching them together in a rainbow but long and thin rather than the short and stumpy that I needed. The seam ripper came out. It's sad how easy it is to take apart hand sewing with a seam ripper.... in order to ensure minimal seam ripping, the rainbow isn't quite as good as I had planned. But I'm still pleased with the overall effect.

And here are all the pouches together after we'd opened our packages (front and back views)

And my pouch, made for me by the lovely Jules!

This is a Finish Along finish, You can find my original list here.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Finish Along Q4: Plans

It's #ridiculouslylongfinishalonglist time again! Who will have more, me or @Archiewonderdog ?

1. Superhero doll for my niece - following the success of the dolls I made for Mia and Jess I bought a panel to make one for my neice.

2. Superhero doll for my husband's cousin's son... and the panel comes with two dolls - a girl and a boy superhero. Even boys are allowed dolls! Though his father may not agree!

3. Fancy Forest baby quilt - another one! This is for good friend's whose baby arrived over the summer, and this is such a great pattern that I'm doing it again! I've cut out all the fabrics since I took this photo and I've got a weekend away coming up and I am going to be doing nothing but block, blocks, Blocks!

4. Speaking of that weekend, we're planning a secret swap - we're each making a zippy pouch. Mine's nearly there....but this is all I can show you for the moment!

5. Allie Owl baby quilt - getting the most out of the Fancy Forest pattern, I'm making another owl-only baby quilt, also for friends who had a baby over the summer - the owls are all cut and ready.

6. It's going to be a busy weekend, because I've cut all the pieces for a big owl quilt too - this is Allie Owl goes large!

7. Christmas Tree Quilt. Last December I made over 70 little Christmas tree blocks - it pushed me over 1000 blocks for 2016 - and now I need to do something with them. I have minky and I have a plan! I am also prepared for the house to be covered in red fluff by the time I'm finished!

8. Jessica's advent calendar: Mia has a mummy-made advent calendar, and this year Jess needs one. I've picked out a design I want to embroider and I'm going to try a technique of colouring in sections using colouring pencils for the first time. I really hope it works! This is the design, stolen from a Christmas card.

9. Gypsy Wife quilt: I'm working on this as a quilt along at the moment, and theoretically it could be finished by Christmas. Realistically this is a less likely entry on the list.

10. Tula Pink Butterfly quilt: another quilt along, another theoretical finish!

11. Neon City: these are the quilt blocks I created as part of #100days100blocks 2016 and it's the sashing that's holding me back.

12: My Original City Sampler: I got this out the cupboard the other day to take fresh photo, and found I'd quilted more than I remembered, but there's still a long way to go. I have Friday afternoons free (sometimes) so maybe a few weeks of Friday afternoons and it will feel closer to a finish.

13. Summer Sampler 2016: I only have a few more blocks to make for this quilt, I already have the sashing and the backing and I know how I want to quilt it.

14. Zippy for nail accessories. I have bitten my nails for as long as I can remember, and then this year, suddenly I stopped. And then I discovered Jamberry nail wraps.... so I need a zippy pouch to keep everything together. I'm going to use a dark fabric left over from the Jane Austen sampler quilt I made last year. It's really pretty, with subtle vintage music and postage images, but it's a really funny not-quite-black so I struggle to use it in anything. Here, it doesn't need to match and I get to show it off. I've also picked out some special scraps - Architextures, Comma, Alison Glass and that purple (top left) is one of my favourites but I've no idea what it is.

15. Always zippy. I made a Harry Potter inspired zippy pouch earlier in the year and subtle hints were made by family members... I hope to make two, but I'll count one as a win! Both are cut out....and if you squint hard, you can see the "pattern".

16. Pineapple Farm: because my list needed a bit more Elizabeth Hartman on it! This will be a Christmas present - all of the background and a couple of blocks are cut, now to raid my stash for the rest of the pineapples!

17. Narwhal hoop - a recent magazine had a brilliant little narwhal cushion. My daughters were reading the magazine with me and Mia made it quite clear that this would look nice on her wall...

18. And whilst reading the same magazine, Jessica made it clear that she wanted the dog quilt in it - I've been looking for a really good dog quilt for a few months for her so this was perfect. I'm hoping to make it as a Christmas present - Mia got her cat quilt when she was this age.

19. And if Mia is going to have a hoop (see narwhal above), then so is Jessica. I found a lovely dinosaur who fits the bill perfectly!

20.Moccasin Dresden: I am putting it on the list again, because an evening on the sofa hand-sewing this and it will be done. I don't like it very much, but I'd rather it were finished, than continue to sit there obnoxiously!

21. Fruit and Petals: time for a rethink on this project. I don't like it. I don't like the colours, I don't like the applique. I do love the embroideries. So I'm going to take it apart and find something to do with just the embroideries. I am still waiting for inspiration.

22. On a mission to clear some of the unloved projects from my WIP list (don't faint @Archiewonderdog), I'm also listing this EPP block I made. I had a vision of a whole quilt but that isn't going to happen - if only because I've repurposed half the fabrics for it. I think this will make a nice (large) pincushion don't you? Or maybe a zippy pouch. Again - I don't know what exactly it will be, but it will be finished!

23. Threadfolk embroidery: I need to get this finished, because the latest Threadfolk embroidery has just been released and there is absolutely no question about it - I will be doing it! Go take a peek!

24. Family of Owls: this has sat on my WIP list for a long time, and the reality is it won't be finished as originally planned - a lap quilt. I have four blocks in various stages of completion and I need to do something with them. I need inspiration for this one too! The right-hand owl isn't blond - he will have buttons for eyes....

25. Mini half-hexies: started on a whim, but I know exactly what these will become!

26: #52weekswiththequiltersplanner orange and green quilt: I think I have enough blocks, just make them into something!

27: #52weekswiththequiltersplanner teal and purple - this one needs a couple more blocks but I have all the fabric to complete the quilt top.

28: Row row row cushion: it's Jessica's favourite nursery rhyme, and Mia already has a twinkle, twinkle cushion! I've picked out this mini charm pack for it, and sketched out the words.

29. Baa baa Black sheep cushion: for friends who are about to have a baby girl and have a sheep themed nursery. I picked up this fabric but need to add in some fabrics to you know, make it less dull!

30. Scrunchies for Mia: since Mia started nursery she loves wearing a scrunchie in her hair - it takes me back to when I was little. She calls them flowers, but we only have school coloured ones - dark green. It can't be that hard to make scrunchies so I've pulled out these fabrics. And wouldn't they make great stocking fillers? I'f I get three made I'm counting that as a Finish Along success - if I don't put it here, it'll never happen! The blue floral is a fat quarter she picked herself last time I took her to a fabric shop, and the green on top is leftover from a dress I made when she was tiny.

31: Leftover Garland City Cushion: I have four blocks leftover and loads of scraps so I think a cushion to match the girls Advent quilts is in order!

32: But of course, that will have to be two cushions, not one!

33: And in an effort to get rid of these leftover blocks from Alba's quilt, I'm going to make a little blanket to fit in a child's pram - because that's what we're planning to get Jess for Christmas!

There we go. There are quite a few items on this list which should be quick finishes if I can just make some decision and find a few hours, so I'm hopeful for another successful quarter! My current WIP list stands at a measly 84 - if I get all these done it will be looking very sad indeed.