Thursday, 26 April 2012

Zakka Style Sew Along - Sewing Kit

It's week 4 of the Zakka Style Sew Along and time for the sewing kit.
After the success of the denim with last weeks pin cushion I decided to use it again for this project. The instructions were very clear and it came together very quickly.
Instead of the leather thongs for the ties (which I didn't have) I have used the hems of the jeans and as I don't have many stamps I quilted a circle from the interior fabric to the front of the pouch.
The green spot fabric is from the shoe bag my Boden pumps came in and the trim is from Joan's Scrap bag.
This is going to be my new traveling kit, but I could see a few of these being made for presents. I'm even thinking of altering the layout, so the pocket run along the bottom with more smaller divisions for crochet hocks and dpns!? A nice hooky roll could come from this project.
Please go and have a look in the Flickr group, the projects are stunning, they have some amazing fabrics and are all so professional looking than my rustic one!!! Also if you'd like to know more about the Sew Along please go over to Lindsey at L R Stitched to have a peek. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tuesday's Tallies - a hexagon update

Well, at long last I can say I have started the border!!
I got myself off to John Lewis yesterday and picked up the colours to finish the last few hexagons and the orange (Florence 350)  for the first row of the border.
I only started last night, (and have already unraveled it once!!) but it's fairly quick. The only problem is all the ends......Now, I did spend a lot of time at different stages of this blanket sewing the ends in, but there seems to be a massive amount still to do. I am finding it easier with a new needle I picked up at my lys, they are by Pony and are so easy to use.
They have large eyes, so it makes it easier to thread the wool and stops it splitting. They are also blunt so there's no tearing of the wool as you use it and they are quiet (!!) safe for children to use. 
So here is the progress so far.
And the blanket tucked behind it!! 
I love how the orange is pulling it all together and after a two break from crochet I loved sitting there last night hooking away at it. I can feel a Ta-Dah! in the near future at last.
The original pattern is from here and all yarn used is Rowan Handknit Cotton if anyone would like to know.
I'm off to unload the third wash of the day and try and find any spare hanging space around the house, as it's been raining here for what feels like days!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Granny Squares for Siblings Together

Several weeks ago, I read a post over at Lynne's blog Lily's Quilts about a charity Siblings Together which helps siblings that are separated by the care system spend quality time together. This can be at activity days or holidays where the children can have fun and build a relationships with their siblings. What she hoped to achieve was to get enough quilts that each child that spent time at the residential camp in the sumer,  would leave with a quilt that was for THEM. Not to be left at a foster home, or shared with someone else, but was for them to take with them, to remember the time that they spent with their sibling or siblings. I really wanted to do something, but was worried my quilting was at the early stages and that a child would not want my offerings!! Then I read this post by Katy at I'm a Ginger Monkey and it really hit home! She put it so well. And made me ask myself, what would I do if something happened to me and my husband? Who would have our 3? It a lot to ask someone! We are a small family, my husband has no siblings and I have a sister who has chose not to have children (and is very happy with her choice). Our parents are not getting younger......we have had some very interesting discussions!!
Anyway.....I knew I could make a quilt to offer for the children. I was lucky enough to win a charm pack from Jenna at SewHappyGeek a while ago and was undecided what to use it for.
Scoot by Deena Rutter for Riley Blake
So I popped to my local quilt shop, and bought some spots and soilds to add to it and then ordered another charm pack online (as she doesn't stock Riley Blake). These are what I have come up with. 
The block is Granny Squares and the pattern is from Blue Elephant Stitches. The photo is awful as the weather has not been kind the last few days!! I've got enough charm squares to make another 8 squares so it should be a fair size. 
The quilts that are being donated are amazing, please pop over to the Flickr Group to see them. There are also several discussions there, about people having fabric but no time and others having time but no fabric, so lots of sharing, posting fabric and an enormous amount of generosity within those threads. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Zakka Style Pin Cushion

Ok peeps, I've finally plucked up the courage and jumped on the Zakka Style Sew Along. It is being hosted by Lindsey at LR stitched  and what I loved is that you could dip in and out at anytime.  I was bought the book for Mother's day and really want to join in, but it being the Easter holidays made it difficult to find the time to concentrate!! (3 little people + 1 mum = no peace)
I was also a little wary of starting with the tote bag, my sewing is still quite rusty and it seemed like a big project! There is also the small point of not wanting to cut into my costly linen and then not like what I'd put together. Then I saw this post by Mary Emmens, WOW! She had used denim (from old jeans) instead of the linen. Not only would this save on cost, but it looked fantastic!! I liked the look of sturdiness it gave the tote, also I think denim is just so practical. When I get a chance (!!) I will get around to making this bag and I think I will be using the denim too.

So, I'm starting on week 3, and it is the turn of the pin cushion. I dug out a ripped pair of jeans I had been saving (hoarding according to the Husband!) and cut into them. I also was lucky enough to have some pretty fabric from Joan's Fabric Scrap Bags from Flaming Nora. This is what I came up with.

I'm really pleased with it, I also popped in a magnet behind the floral fabric so it could hold a few safety pins as well. 
I hope to send this off to my sister as a present, as she has just bought herself a sewing machine, but I might just keep it myself!!
I'm not sure if I will keep up with every project each week, but I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do. Especially the sewing kit next week....... 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

My first quilt is finished!!!!!

I have finally quilted, bound and washed my very first quilt, and I am completely ecststic!!!!!

Pre washing
It all started back in January when I signed up to the SewHappyGeek QAL, each week Jenna posted the tutorial for the squares or square for the week and we all shared our progress in the Flickr group.
There was a real mix of abilities in the QAL so I never felt like I was drowning and Jenna was so helpful replying to individual emails with questions I had. She also helped people by creating mock-ups of their final layout ideas on her software.

Over the Easter weekend I basted it and managed to quilt it, I took the advice of Celtic Thistle to Echo quilt the blocks. She was told it was very forgiving to beginners, as you sew ¼ inch from the seams and can highlight the main features of the block. She was so right, it didn't show my mistakes and gave the back a wonderful stitched image of the blocks. 
This last week I have been sitting on the sofa of an evening hand sewing the binding to the back of the quilt. Which has been quiet therapeutic!
So, on Saturday it was finally ready for it first wash. This was the stage that really worried me, would all the stitches fall out, would the fabrics shrink too much or would the colours run!! I put a tweet out to any quilters to ask for any do's or don't and was advised as I hadn't pre washed all the fabrics to use Colours Catcher sheets. I popped to the shops to ensure the quilt didn't come out pink when I could help prevent it.

I also took masses of photos of proof that the quilt looks perfect before the wash!!
After it came out of the machine (still in one piece!) I popped it on the line and waited for it to dry. As soon as it was, I ran around the house placing it on several beds, showing the back and the front of the quilt. (By this point the kids thought I had lost the plot!!)

It's finished size is 50' x 65' and fits perfectly on a single bed. But I have a feeling that this will be staying down stairs being taken from sofa to sofa!

Now for the stats:
Pattern:  Sew Happy Geek
Fabric:  Delighted! by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake

I used 9 fat quarters of the patterned fabric (I think) and 1 meter of white for the blocks. I then bought more of the Kona white solid, red and turquoise patterned for the backs and sashing.

I am amazed that I have made this quilt and also so proud of the backing. As you could do whatever you wanted, I liked the idea of up scaling the sashing and cornerstones from the front and think it looks really good as a quilt of its own!

I have truly been bitten by the quilting bug and can't wait to get cracking on the next fact I might even have started it..... here's a quick peek of some of this weeks cutting!

Sorry to add one last photo of it, but here it is all folded and ready to be used!

I hope I haven't bored you, I'm of to catch up with some blog reading. I hope you had a wonderfully productive crafty weekend or did something fun!! xxx

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Hexagons, fun and a rocky road!!

We have had a very fun and family filled Easter weekend here, but I did get some crochet and sewing fitted in. 
Good Friday saw us travel to Windsor for a day out at Legoland!! The boys had no idea where we were going and as soon as they saw the road signs they were so excited.

They are huge Star Wars fans and there is a big display at the moment which they loved and of course we went on lots of rides too!!

Sunday and Monday were the days I could get some crafting fitted in, lots of quilting (which I will post about later in the week) and crocheting my hexagons.
Now, this week should have been my last hexagons and then on to the border...... but the wool gods had other ideas and left me 2 circles short of the orange that is in every center of the hexagons. I couldn't get believe I had to get another ball for 2!! But the lovely Suzanne had left a comment on my last hexagon post which suggested the orange as part of the border. I hadn't thought of the orange, it's a great idea, to use the one colour that is in every hexagon to tie them all together! I haven't got to John Lewis yet to purchase the ball so I'm a few short this week.

See the gaps at the bottom!

With the two hexagons missing and two incomplete I have 248 hexagons joined together in this colourful heavy blanket!! I wont be able to do a complete round of border by next week but will update you next Tuesday with how I'm getting on.

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that today I have been making a delicious Rocky Road with chocolate and sweets from the Easter eggs.

As my eldest son has a severe nut allergy and a fair few other allergy's. This means for him there are lots of chocolate and sweets that he can't eat and I always feel so bad constantly saying he can't have them. So I made him something he could have with some chocolate that I know he is fine with and some of the bars that he doesn't react to. The recipe is by Fiona Carins and what I love is that it just gives you how much of any chocolate you can add. This makes it sooooo flexible and great for us also I did add some raisins so that really should count as one of my fruit One a Day!! ; )
I'm off to read some blogs and have a lovely cup of tea and slice of rocky road xxx

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter quilting..... It is taking a while!!

I am still working hard to get my first quilt through the machine and quilted!!!
It is taking a while and is not perfect....but it is a great learning curve.
Hope you are all having the most amazing Easter Sunday xxx

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Tuesday's Tallies....nearly there!

It's the school Easter holidays here and although we had lots of fun things planned the only place we have been so far is to the doctors!! I had put it all down to teething, as I knew Rose had two molars trying to break through. But after a weekend of no sleep for me and The Husband and a very high temperature for Miss Rose we were at the doctors first thing yesterday morning. The diagnosis is tonsillitis for my poor little pickle and I have to say that she has now developed a voice not dissimilar to a heavy chain smoking old lady!! Our hope is that she will be on the mend by Friday as we've got a day out booked!
Now on to my hexagon progress, I have got all 14 joined up to the blanket and now at the grand total of 
236 colourful hexagon goodness. 

I was hoping as the boys are off from school that they could help me to show the blanket. 
But they couldn't hold it up high enough, so off to the kitchen to stand on the tall sofa.
But we had a Calpol fueled attacker who need to be distracted. 
You can see I'm addicted to Instagram!!!
Eventually, to the yells of Quick mum! we got a wonky photo and then I snuck upstairs to get a uninterrupted photo. 
I know I said I'd hope to be on the border by now......but I think just one more row of hexagons should do it!! I'm so worried that once I start the border I will wish I'd made it just a bit bigger.

I had some wonderful comments last week and some people asked about the border I'm planning on doing. I have had a good look around the Ravelry project page and there were so many different ways people had finished theirs, but as this pattern is from Lucy at Attic 24 I'm going to finish mine the same as she did here. Which is with a row of double crochet and a row of shell edging. She used two colours and I think I will also, although I'm not too sure of which two. It can't be the yellow or darker blue as both of those are discontinued and I need to be able to buy as many as it takes. Any suggestions are gratefully received. 
I know that Carole has not blogged for the One a Day group for a while but I have to keep posting on a Tuesday if I want this blanket to be finished and I'm soooo close. If I didn't have Tuesday's tallies in the back of my mind I would go off and start another project and this would be a forever wip!!! There are other projects on the One a Day group on  Ravelry here
I'm off for a nice tea and chocolate digestive or two!! Toodle pip xx
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