Tag Archive | sewing

Applique Afternoon

I’ve run out of black cotton material for my hand-sewn quilt and I’m not in the mood to start my machine quilt today, too tired, so I thought I’d do something a little different instead. Applique.

Owl and Moon

Owl and Moon

I haven’t sewn it on the background yet, that will have to wait for another day but I’m quite pleased with it. I love using up my scrap stash and this is perfect.

It would make a nice Christmas present…..now there’s an idea 🙂

Making rainbows

Hand-sewn triangle quilt

Hand-sewn triangle quilt

I have a new quilt in progress, but this time I am sewing it by hand rather than use my sewing machine.

This has turned out to be a good idea as I can do bits and bobs during my daily commute to work on the train, and over the last few days when I have been confined to bed with a nasty sore throat and sinus infection, I have been able to pick it up for short intervals.

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Coming together triangles and hexies

I am still experimenting with simple patterns and shapes before deciding which more detailed project to do next. As well as doing this quilt by hand, I also have my next machine-quilt material in the form of a Moda Jellyroll, ready to put together when I feel better.

This is PB&J by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics and I can’t wait to get going on sewing the strips together.

PB&J by BasicGrey by

PB&J by BasicGrey by Moda

Crafting, including quilting, is a great hobby to have for anyone who is restricted in the level of activity they can do. Before my M.E/CFS diagnosis I would spend most of my free time forcing myself to be active; swimming, golf, heavy gardening anything physical that I could manage. I would wonder then why I ended up totally exhausted.

These days, I have different hobbies. Thankfully my 18 year old son now has his own circle of friends he can play sports with, leaving me to focus on more gentle interests. I do miss the activity.I hate being so restricted and having to turn down team-building social events after work because it means late nights. I hate having to weigh up the pros and cons of doing any activity before I make a decision but there are compensations.

My wonderful friend Colleen who has early-onset Parkinson’s Disease has a fantastic approach to dealing with her illness. For every activity she finds herself unable to do anymore as a result of the PD, she finds something else she can do. As a result she”fills the gaps” and learns lots of new skills as a result. Good on Colleen and I’m learning to adopt her approach.

Whilst my golf clubs are gathering dust in the garage and my garden is not as immaculate as I would like, I now have a new quilt on my bed, my niece’s wedding scrapbook part completed, a handmade card for any occasion and a material stash that anyone would be proud of. I love colour and apart from my garden in full bloom, nothing provides such vivid and varied colour like a craft stash!

It’s like living with a rainbow everyday.

Free sewing patterns

I love making things and have recently rekindled my relationship with my sewing machine. I’d forgotten how much I like sewing and in particular, making things that I can use. My hubby calls me “gadget woman” as I am a sucker for quirky and colourful things around the house and if it’s a bit different from the norm, it’s immediately on my wanted list.

I sometimes look through magazines and go to friends houses and think that I too would like a clean-looking, minimalist, sophisticated and every-thing-matching home. For me, that would take up too much time and energy and therefore I continue with making things from bits and pieces and fabrics in the colour and patterns that are my latest fad.

Coming back to the sewing arena I have been most grateful and amazed by the number of sewing and craft blogs on the internet many of them producing great tutorials and allowing others free access to their patterns. I have made use of these recently and I have put together a selection of my favourites so far. A big thank you to all these Bloggers for their generosity and clear instructions. I’ve had great fun making your makes.

Pink Penguin-fabric basket tutorial

I originally made the mini-basket then adapted the pattern to make a laundry basket and basket just the right size to fit a packet of baby wipes. A delightful pattern with many options.

Cotton wool/bath bomb mini basket

Cotton wool/bath bomb mini basket

Baby wipes basket

Baby wipes basket

Laundry basket

Laundry basket

Sewn Up by TeresaDownUnder-Patchwork tote bag

I have made two of these in different colourways and love them. they are strong and roomy and the instructions are very easy to follow. I have had loads of compliments and I’m sure it won’t be long before I make another.

Back view

Back view

My new patchwork tote bag-front view

My new patchwork tote bag-front view

It even stands up on its own

It even stands up on its own

The Daily Stitch-(The Village Haberdashery) Hot Water Bottle cover

I love this pattern and although it takes me quite a long time to make one (I make up the patchwork pieces rather than use whole pieces of material) it’s well worth it. I have made one to match my quilt, laundry basket and Scottie Dog in Moda Padstow fabric by Cabbages and Roses.

Moda Padstow

Moda Padstow

Penny Dog Patchwork-Easy Peasy phone pouch

Again I have made a few of these in different colours and they certainly keep my home and work mobiles safe and sound. My first attempt was amusing as I managed to sew it up so that the side pocket was upside down but since then, have mastered the pattern! It may be easy peasy but you still need to think about what you are doing 🙂

Mobile phone cover

Mobile phone cover

Easy peasy phone case

Easy peasy phone case

CrazyKitsy-Cat doorstop pattern and tutorial

A great pattern and when filled with pebbles (I did feel a bit strange stuffing pebbles up the cats’ bottom) it’s a really effective doorstop. Its such a quirky shape, so cat-like it captures the essence of felines perfectly.

Cat doorstop

Cat doorstop

CrazyKitsy doorstop

CrazyKitsy doorstop

Fun and funky-all these items are quite easy to make as long as you take your time and follow the instructions carefully. I hope you have as much enjoyment out of making them as I did.

Mystery quilt

I am relatively new to the craft of patchwork quilting and the more I find out about this fascinating pastime, the more I realise I don’t know much!

Today I went to a local quilt exhibition and discovered yet more quilting delights and surprises. The exhibition was hosted by the Lutterworth Piecemakers, a quilting club based in South Leicestershire. There was a number of standalone designs, beautiful quilts clearly made with love and so much patience, but what really caught my imagination were the “mystery” quilts.

The idea of a mystery quilt is that a person designs the eventual finished quilt, then month by month, provides the group with a panel to complete based on given instructions. Each individual quilter can choose their own colourway and add their own embellishments and interpretation of the instructions so that at the end of the given period, when all the panels are finally put together, bordered, quilted and bound, you get a series of “same but different” finished results.

It is amazing how different the same design can look in different colours so that there can be no two quilts the same. Incredible. Here are some examples of the finished quilts and the individual panels which make up the whole.

The mystery quilt is called “House and Home”

It was a lovely couple of hours wandering around admiring the details and hard work which has gone in to making these heirlooms. One lady had taken 6 years to complete hers.

We even had time for two cups of tea and a piece of cake whilst talking to some quilting afficianados who could have been talking a different language….jelly rolls, fat quarters, layer cakes, in the ditch, long-arm quilter…..etc etc. As a novice, I could have been quite overwhelmed, but as I keep telling everyone. How difficult can it be? It’s only sewing in straight lines!

I may have to change my opinion!

Slowly, slowly catchy monkey

Over the last few weeks I have been working hard at putting all the advice provided by Doc Fraser into place so that I make sure that I rest at regular intervals and taper my enthusiasm for all things in front of me. It has been hard but I am reaping the benefits of more energy and willingness to engage with my fellow man. Most people believe me to be an outgoing, sociable and confident person but in fact nothing can be further from the truth and in times of stress I tend to withdraw.

I am now almost back to “normal” ; presenting training sessions at work, telephoning my clients to arrange meetings and generally taking an interest in my work and home life. It is only now that I feel better that I realise just how ill I have been. I would even go as far as saying that it was touch and go at one stage as I fought against the negativity and preoccupation that I would be better off dead.

Thankfully, those days are behind me for the time being and I am now determined to carry on as before, working and living as best I can.

Creativity is again at the forefront of my recovery, and my latest wheeze is patchwork. If it’s not patchwork, it’s not in!

My new Moda fabrics Padstow design bedroom!

Door stop

A friend of mine asked whether I make doorstops. A bit random but hey, that’s friends for you.

“No, I have never made a doorstop but I can try. What sort of doorstop would you like?”

“A cat”

“Mmmmmmm….let me think about that one (!)”

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“Something like this?”

“Purrrrrrfect!”

Patchwork bags & baskets

My latest wheeze is making patchwork tote bags and mini-baskets. A girl can never have enough bags and they are an easy thing to run up quickly when you see some nice material. Sometimes you don’t really want to make a huge family-heirloom quilt which take forever (well it does me) so bags are good.

The little baskets are made courtesy of Ayumi, Pink Penguin, who very generously makes her Fabric Basket pattern and instructions freely available on the ‘net. I love these and I can see myself making a few for Christmas presents to hold bath bombs (Lush, Rose Jam Bubbleroons!), or nice chocolates.

Fabric Basket-Moda fabrics "Padstow"

Fabric Basket-Moda fabrics “Padstow”

Last year I made  patchwork tote bag which I was pleased with, but as I made it completely with scrap fabric, I wasn’t wholly satisfied with the colour scheme. I saw some gorgeous, gorgeous new material in the fabric shop at the weekend and so I decided to make me another bag but this time choosing my fabric and colours. I use the instructions available from Teresadownunder as I find the pattern and instructions easy to follow and the end product is both lovely to look at and practical.

Here is my latest make;

My new patchwork tote bag

My new patchwork tote bag