Friday, 27 September 2013


In week one of my class Sew A Long, we made stitch and flip mugmats - one of my students, Ray, took it a stage further (quite a few stages actually) and made these mugmats, tablemats & runner.

Project two was the Moda Bake Shop dispenser for carrier bags as described in this post. Madeline immediately saw it as a bolster cushion cover and using the same dimensions made just that! (what you can't see are the lovely covered buttons on each end)

And then this week was Project 3, Quilted spectacle cases - this is a basic quilted pouch which can be adapted for so many different purposes. In yesterday's class everyone made their pouch within the class time, didn't they do well.

Meanwhile, in Beginners class this week, the ladies were learning Half Square Triangles (HSTs) and I also showed off my Frixion pen that I got in my Stitch Gathering Goodie Bag - I hadn't used one before and we had such a laugh watching the instant disappearance - it opens up all sorts of possibilities for secret agent work!
Anyway, it all must have put me in the mood for HSTs 'cos I made a few today using some Oakshott charms that I acquired recently - they look very smart & subtle, I just need to think what to make with them now.....................

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Great Tapestry of Scotland

Last Friday, as a special birthday treat for my OH, we went through to Edinburgh to see The Great Tapestry of Scotland. (Lucky man isn't he)
For those of you who have not heard of it, the tapestry is technically 160 panels of intricate & beautifully crafted embroider/crewel work that depicts the history of Scotland from the Ice Age right up to the modern day. It was crafted by 1000 people in Scotland and for more info I recommend you visit the official site.
The tapestry was exhibited for 3 weeks until 21st September, in the Parliament Building at Holyrood.
This is one of the side views as we walked around the building. And then we joined the queue - we were told the estimated time to get in would be about 1hour!!
But time passed quickly in such beautiful surroundings.
Not long now.........this post is going to get a bit picture heavy now, I couldn't resist snapping away. So in no particular order....................

Can you spot Andy Murray?

This one is for you Sarah

This one celebrates the hospital where I was born.

If any of that has whetted your appetite, the exhibition is to embark upon a world tour - maybe it will come near to where you live. If so, don't miss it.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Class Roundup - Project 2

Over the past two weeks my classes have been working really hard on Project 2 of my Sew A Long. Rachel of psiquilt graciously gave me the go ahead to use her pattern from the Moda Bake Shop to make a Grocery Bag Dispenser, or as we might describe it, something to hold plastic bags!
 Many of us already have such a beast, usually fashioned from an old tea towel but for this project we were going upmarket to the luxury version, the fully quilted one! Oh yes!!
One of the things I love about my classes is the variation of fabrics that are used, the creeping in of modern cottons, the exchange of ideas and the wacky ideas that emerge.
As soon as I showed my samples, one lady immediately thought of adapting it to make a bolster cushion cover. Another was asked by her daughter to make one a wee bit smaller, to hold, wait for it - doggy poo bags! These were my samples, bizarre colour quality, think my camera was at wrong setting! The one in the middle was as per the original, made from 16 charms. The one on the right from just one piece of fabric about fat 1/4 sized, and the one on the left was my scaled down version, made from 9 charms for the doggy lovers.......the dog owners in class felt it could go a bit smaller, perhaps using an orphan 12" block would be a good way to go.
This is more like the real colour.

Anyway, this project is quick, easy, and would make a useful gift. For those who are a bit scared to FMQ a big quilt it would make a great practice piece. For the lining, which will not be seen, use up some former fat 1/4 purchases that just make you gasp in horror now. Use it all up. Here are some pics of work in progress. So far this term, classes are really industrious.
Oops, spot the upside down pic.

Monday, 16 September 2013

An Explosive Week

So a week ago Sunday, I remember it was still warm & sunny and I got my Bee blocks done - my first ones were for Karen in Bee a Brit Stingy. She asked for Hourglass blocks to finish at 9" and with a 30s feel.
Hope these fit the bill - as requested I managed to slip in tiny bits of Liberty.

I also got my blocks done for Judith's Bee Blessed, nice easy ones this month to ease us all back in.

Technology almost got the better of me this week. Remember I got a new laptop n April for my birthday? Well, of course as it has Windows 8, it is not compatible with my antique Lexmark printer. Last year we upgraded Lexi to an Advent but I didn't like it, it wouldn't print wirelessly and ink seemed to be only available from PC World at a premium. Also, when you got the low ink warning it just went totally in the huff and stopped printing whereas my old trusty Lexmark would keep going until you could barely read anything - ha!
So, as I had a large stockpile of ink for Lexi I chose to hook up the old laptop to the printer until said ink ran out completely. But, old laptop caught a virus and last Wednesday, with a class in the evening and handouts to print - it croaked. Out came Advent from the loft (still with me?) and OH installed it on my new laptop and then offered to shoot off for some ink.
I should really have put a bet on somewhere, because he came back, not with ink, but with another printer, Mr Predictable. The new baby is a Canon and I am tickled pink to be able to sit in one room and hit "print" and then collect later............(today however, I got the low ink warning already, because mean old Canon only put in low yield cartridges, shame on you)
Fast forward to Thursday morning class. There we all were, labouring over our Sew A Long project, when, flash, bang, wallop - the iron blew up - actually burned a nick in the edge of the soleplate. It also manged to fuse all the sockets in the Community Centre - oops! Luckily our Jannie (janitor) put it all right and no sewing machine was harmed in the excitement.
So yes, I had to go buy a new iron....sigh.
Add to all that, the continuing drama we are having with Scottish Power / Scottish Gas over a tortuous switch in energy and I am about done with electrics!!

I will leave you with a sewing related tip -
If like me, you use Aurifil thread, you will know how long one of the 1300m spools last. But, sometimes you do end up with one of these.......

Next time, don't throw it away. You might also have some spools of alternative origin that look like this..
I have quite a few as I also have an embroidery machine so have collected different brands over time. I find this particular style of spool has a tendency to wind its thread around the spool holder which usually results in the thread snapping. Enter Mr Aurifil empty spool.
Just twist off the bottom, and fit it to your bottomless spool. Perfect!!

Friday, 6 September 2013

My Week

I can hardly believe it's almost a week since Fresh Sewing Day - I did finish the binding on the little I Spy quilt but seem to have not taken a photo yet, will do for the end of this month. It is a success and Ava seems to love it - result
I had three classes resume this week - this term, I have four classes all following the same programme and it is a zakka inspired Sew A Long. I so enjoyed taking part in the first online Zakka SAL last summer that it sowed the seeds of this plan for my classes.
There will be eight projects taking everyone up to Christmas (sorry, the C word again).
We started off simply with a Stitch and Flip mug mat - although some of the projects might at first seem simple, I am hoping most of the ladies will pick up tips, tricks & techniques along the way. After just one project lots of ladies are saying how good it feels to make something small and to take it home finished.
I didn't capture everything but did snap a few samples.........


I also managed a little sewing for myself - I did this week's project from Ayumi's Patchwork Please SAL. I hadn't tried a zipped pouch like this before with the zip going round the bend and it was ok, I didn't end up going round the bend - the instructions were straightforward and I am pretty pleased with the result.
The contrast fabric was a textured plain which tends to fray a bit so I did stabilise it with some interfacing.

Summer continued here right up to yesterday. But last night the temperature took a dip and I reckon we might have slipped into Autumn.....ah well, I am rather fond of Autumn.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

August - A Busy Month

Very busy, although I don't seem to have a whole lot of sewing to show - some has been done but can't be shared just yet as it is all for my class projects.

August got off to a great start with a trip to Birmingham and The Festival of Quilts - I did want to do a post about some of the quilt highlights but I shall make do here with just one link for you, do visit, these were art quilts and so thought provoking. If I had had lots and lots of spare cash I would not have hesitated to buy this one..

The artist who produced this quilt is Annabel Rainbow - my photography does it no justice so do go to her website for a better look. For example - the contours of the lady's body is actually fmq'd words and oh, the words! You will be able to read them in their entirety HERE.

The weekend following FoQ was my first workshop of the new season, Christmas in August & my lovely ladies made a pile of lovely cushions.
The following weekend saw the Stitch Gathering which I have so recently posted about so I won't repeat, will just say, roll on next year.

Then, this week, my new Beginners' class started as well as one of my other non beginner classes. Next week three more classes resume so I am back into the old routine, and it feels good!!

I did manage a bit of ticket & nametag for Edinburgh

I started a flannel quilt for a gift............

Those bears are now all stitched down but no further progress.

I made a Storm Trooper gym bag,

and my latest project was a quickie - several months ago, I did a sort of Scrap Vomit exercise in class.My sample turned into a cushion which has strangely, become a favourite of mine despite the boggin' fabrics.

Recently, little Ava was sitting beside said cushion and suddenly declared - "quack quack!" There is a tiny yellow bird on one of those tiny squares and in that moment I "got" what I Spy quilts are all about and decided I wanted to make her one - I had a pile of Japanese charms from a swap last year so set to one morning and got the blocks done in jig time. I grouped the charms rather anally into fours of similar - ish colours and then added sashing in a cream Essex linen. Corner blocks were added to the borders after cutting two border strips too short.............Wadding was added a day or two later along with the backing - I had some beigey flannel and thought that might make it a cosy wee quilt. It is now quilted, simple lines to echo all the seam lines.  I have cut the binding but time has been against me to show a total finish, hoping to get it done later today. meanwhile here is I Spy for Ava.

She has already spotted a couple of woof woofs. Result!!

I am linking to Lynn's Fresh Sewing Day, as always.


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