Saturday, 28 December 2013

A pre Christmas birthday gift.

Anwen's best friend outside of school (our friend's daughter) had her eighth birthday in early December. Every year I ask "What would Elen like for her birthday?" Every year I get the same reply. "As long as it has a pony/horse on it she'll be happy".

This would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that this is the same reply that everyone gets before her birthday and before Christmas, and with every year that passes I'm more and more concious that there's a chance that I'll get her something that she already has or that someone else will get her the same gift!

With this in mind I've had my eye out for horse themed fabric for months so imagine my delight when I stumbled across this during my Christmas shopping a week before her birthday (how I found myself in a fabric shop whilst Christmas shopping I have no idea ;-)

Stampede (Muti) by Clarke and Clarke
It's a home dec weight 100% cotton and I was sure that I'd be able to rustle up something out of it so I bought 2m at £9.99 a meter.

Around a week later I thought that I'd best get started. I timed myself and over the course of a day it took me seven hours (actual sewing time) to turn a small fussy cut piece of this fabric, some raspberry coloured fabric from Ikea and an old pillowcase into this.

I started by quilting the main fabric backed with a layer of cotton wadding with organic straight lines spaced unevenly apart with a variegated Gutterman Sulky thread. I LOVE the effect that this gave.

I then raw edge appliquéd the fussy cut horse.

Made some piping for the first time in over ten years!

And lined it with an Ikea pillowcase that I got in a car boot sale for a £1 (complete with matching fitted sheet and duvet cover destined for quilt backs)

And then boxed the corners.

And then we had a finished bag/tote!

Which Marged modelled all too happily. (She's walking quite well now, and keeps Mam VERY busy!)

Although it is a little big for her ;0)

All it needed to finish it off were a few horsey themed knick knacks and I was done.

I'd love to be able to say that Elen gushed over this when she opened it but Grandad arrived as she was unwrapping and he had new riding boots! Oh well, you win some, you lose some!

The materials for this came in on quite a low budget which made me think that I might be able to make some to sell (should I ever feel confident enough to sell at a craft fair) but seven hours? For one bag? I really enjoy sewing (read: love sewing) but for me to sell my makes I'd wan't to make at least approaching minimum wage for my troubles! I wander if I could speed things along a bit if I mass produced?........

My little angel

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Mine was lovely, as soon as the day itself arrived, why, oh why do I set myself impossible targets?

There were many VERY late nights in the run up as I'd decided that I wanted to make as many of my gifts as possible. There was also the small matter of an angel to dress!

On Sunday Anwen was an angel in the Sunday School nativity. So on Saturday I started on her dress....

Now this is the third year that Anwen has been an Angel (she's also been a horse (?) and a star - thankfully the school sources their own costumes :-) . The first year (when she was three) I made a ramshackle dress without a pattern out of an old cream sheet. Last year I bought plenty of fabric to make her a new dress but when she tried on her old dress to see how much bigger I needed to go I decided that 'slightly snug' would do and that I'd save myself the bother.

This year there was no doubt that a new dress was needed so a got out an old pattern (Burda - sorry I'm too lazy to go and find it for the name) that I'd previously used to make the bolero Anwen wore to our wedding went went looking for the fabric that I'd bought last year. And I looked, and looked, and looked. Despite having a good tidy up of my stash a few weeks ago I couldn't find the fabric anywhere! I could find a scrap of satiny fabric left over from making a bag to match my wedding dress, but I like an angel dress to be full length - not to the knee! There was nothing for it I would have to make the 60min round trip to my LQS which in reality would mean 2 hours lost sewing time by the time I'd gotten ready (what, you actually brush your hair even if your not leaving the house?) and factored in chatting time at the store.

I decided to call in to the butchers in the village first and then popped into the charity shop opposite to see if they'd had any more vintage sheets in (they had!). Well would you believe it? They had the most disgusting shiny cream sheet! Now how someone could have slept on that was beyond me, but it had definitely been used as the nasty bobbling on one half of the sheet showed. But the other half was pristine! Endaf was most surprised when I arrived home after only twenty minutes!

Despite me not having followed a pattern since making the aforementioned bolero three years ago (with a LOT of help from my mum) the dress came together quite easily until I started putting the zip in....

ummmmm...Don't think it's supposed to look like that!
Out came Mr Seamripper and with a little gentle persuasion we got a result.

Well, as long as you don't look too closely at my top stitching!

As soon as I'd hemmed it we had a little fashion show in the garden.

Please excuse the 'camera smile'
Not too bad, even if I do say so myself! Now you see those wings? It's just a piece of cardboard spray painted gold and edged with some marabou - but can you imagine how big they looked on her two years ago? (She was three at the time!) Oh, and what do you think Endaf found in the bag with the wings in the attic? Only two meters of fabric, what else!

Anyway, we enjoyed the performance immensely, and Marged even managed not drown the kids voices when she was shouting her sister's name!

Just one last picture showing Anwen in front of the pulpit/organ in our beautiful chapel. We really are so lucky to live so close to such a beautiful building with such a strong and healthy Sunday School. x

Sunday, 15 December 2013

and we have a WINNER!

So last night I asked husband dearest to pull a name from the hat (or Coco Pops bowl even)...

and doesn't he look ecstatic to be a part of my little giveaway? 

and this is what came out..

just in case you can't read my scrawl in the terrible night time pic is says Katherine.

So it looks like my little charms are going to be crossing the Atlantic to Calgary.

Speaking of those charms, I've spent most of today turning pillowcases into 5" squares

I hate the light at this time of year - believe me the colours are actually a lot brighter that this.
When I took this picture I'd only managed to cut 18 different prints but an afternoon without the kids means that I now have 23 different prints cut into charms and I haven't even started on the sheets themselves! As mush as I want to carry on I have some handmade Christmas gifts that I would like to make so the sheets are going back into the attic until after the big day.

Hopefully I won't leave it quite so long before posting again but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you!

So just in case I don't 'see' you before the 25th

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Hello again! (and a little giveaway)

GIVEAWAY CLOSED. Congratulations Katherine!

Here we are again, over a month since my last blog post. I could blame myself and the fact that I'm essentially a lazy person, but instead I'm going to blame Instagram :-)

I have actually done quite a bit of sewing and have quite a few things to show but I thought that I'd break myself back in gently with a short post.

Most of you already know that Sew Mama Sew are holding their bi-annual giveaway day/week at the moment. I thought that I'd join in the fun and have my own little giveaway here, after all, I've won a few giveaways in the last few months so it's only right that I give a little back.

So up for grabs I have two generous cut skinny quarters from my vintage Liberty stash and a little stack of 42x5" charm squares cut from my vintage sheet collection (made up of 21 different prints)

I haven't finished cutting them up yet but I wanted to get the picture before the sun went down!,
The charms will be cut from the pillowcase shown.

A closer picture of the Liberty on offer. (for some reason blogger insists on turning the picture upside down!)

What do you need to be in with the chance of winning this little bundle? Leave a comment. Any kind of comment. But if you can't think of anything to say how about sharing what your current vice is? (Mine's vintage sheets - I had a sort out the other night and was quite disgusted with myself when I saw them all together!)

My own little 'vintage mountain'.

I'm not going to actually going to link up with the Sew Mama Sew page as I'm scared that my little blog wouldn't be able to cope with all that attention! I've leave the giveaway open until Saturday nightish (14th December) and then pull a name out of a hat (or some other vessel) and let the winner know via email.

Open internationally.

No reply bloggers need not apply. (not sure what a NRBlogger is? Read this. If in doubt leave your email address in your comment.)


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2013 - Cara's Quilt

You been on Instagram lately? You completely green eyed of all those lucky enough to make it to Quilt Market in Houston? Me too!

Thankfully, Amy of Amy's Creative Side fame came up with the Blogger's Quilt Festival a few years ago so that all of us mere mortals wouldn't feel that we were missing out completely! I've only been blogging since earlier this year and didn't have anything to enter in the spring festival and to tell the truth I feel as if I'm aiming a little high entering this year but what the heck - it's only a little bit of fun.

Cara's quilt is only the third quilt that I've pieced by machine, second quilt that I've quilted by machine and third quilt that I've actually finished! Taking this into consideration I think that it would be silly of me to enter it into any category where the piecing/quilting would come under scrutiny but there is a category for Quilt Photographer and although I'm under no illusion that I'm a photographer (I take all my blog photos on my phone) I happen to think that the setting that I chose for my quilt shoot is pretty special so I'll give it a shot!
And I was lucky enough to get a pretty beautiful day!

Last year my brother decided that he wanted to start farming. Luckily for him we were bought up on a farm and although my dad had been renting the land to someone else for the last fifteen plus years it was possible for my brother to take over the lease. So when he asked my husband if he could help out with the hay making we all went up as a family and whilst Endaf and Anwen were helping load the bales onto the trailer (or maybe Anwen wasn't helping as much as hindering) Marged and I took Cara's quilt for a little walk around the farm.

We started in the fields

and used some props

It was a beautiful day, boiling hot and the sun was high in the sky and shining brightly - maybe a little too brightly for a quilt photo shoot but undeterred I soldiered on and looked for slightly more shady spots.

Over some logs under a tree

Hanging out at the stables

But the direct sunlight was still finding it's way to the quilt.

and on the grain silo (with my brother's home made gates)

But eventually I found some shade

Very old shed door

Very new shed door

And then went into some of the outbuildings

Like the lambing barn

and the old milking parlour

I really liked the light in the old milking parlour so I took so a close up shot

and found that the tap was really handy for holding a rolled up quilt!

Then went back outside and got another close up showing a little of the piecing and the quilting.

And after the love that I got for this prop last time we stopped to make a phone call on the way home!

So there you are - a little wander around my childhood home complete with quilt picture overkill!

The Stats:
Pattern - my own
Fabrics - Scraps made by miss-cutting fabrics for Anwen's quilt and an unloved cream polycotton sheet
Finished sizs- 57"x 57"
Pieced - by me on my twelve year old domestic Brother
Quilted - by me on aforementioned Brother. The bulk of the quilt was quilted using a crosshatch design that I marked out first. and then I added a little organic straight line quilting.
Backed - with more of the cream sheet
Thread - pieced using a multitude of different threads using up old spools
            - quilted using mainly Coats 100% cotton in cream with a little Gutterman in pink thrown in.

Please remember to pop over to Amy's and visit some of the other blogs that have entered the festival.


And although I actually finished this quilt way back in the summer I'm celebrating the fact that I finally got around to writing a blog post by linking up to 

Over with Jen at Quilter in the Closet this week 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Let's be more realistic - FAL Q4

So after failing so spectacularly in Q3 I decided that I would be a little more realistic for my Q4 goal setting.

I'm sure that something else will crop up but here are the seven projects that I'd like to get finished before the end of the year, in the order that I intend to tackle them.

1. Anwen's quilt. Quilt top ready? Check. Backing ready? Check. Wadding cut and ready? Check. Binding ready? Check.

Just (ha) need to get this quilted and bound.

Please, don't look too closely at the piecing!

2. Birthday pouches. I'm really ashamed to say that three months after their birthdays Anwen and Esyllt are still waiting for their pouches! The main reason why I stalled is that the pen that I used to mark their names bled and I couldn't remove it. However as I was looking through my WIP ready to compile this list I noticed that the blue marks had vanished so I really should get on and finish these.

Oh, the shame

3. Cian's quilt. As soon as I was told that my cousin had had a little boy I got out an Apple Jacks charm pack and cut some solids to match. I've noticed recently that the main reason why I'm not 100% in love with the quilts that I'm making is because they don't have the same level of negative space as the quilts I admire on-line do so I'm going to add quite a lot of white in a D9P based design.

Solids left over from Marged's quilt.

4. Oakshott quilt. I've lost count of the number of times I've read on-line that Oakshott has to be seen in the flesh to be fully appreciated so I held off buying any until I'd had the chance to see some with my own eyes. That chance came at the Fesitval of Quilts where I made a beeline for the Oakshott stand and fell in love!

It took me quite some time to decide on which collection I was going to go for but eventually decided on Impressions and limited myself to a charm pack. I then scurried of to the Simply Solids stand and the lovely Justine (along with Lu and Nat) helped me choose Essex yarn dyed linen in Flax for the background. I have a plan and have already started cutting the linen. I see very simple piecing and simple straight line quilting in the hope that the Oakshott will shine!

All though this shot has given me another idea for a quilt design.....

5. House quilt. This quilt hasn't progressed since my Q3 goal setting post. Well that's a lie, I did cut the wadding and backing whilst I had the floor clear to cut the wadding for Anwen's quilt. I'm stalling as there's a very large blank canvas on this one and there's no way that the piecing (or the lack of it) is going to hide and quilting mistakes. Must. Get. This. Finished. Before. Baby. Turns, Eighteen.

6. Liberty Bag. I may have mentioned before that a quilt shop (sells quilts not fabric!) in the town where I work sometimes has some vintage Liberty for sale. I have told Jen, the owner, that she's not allowed to put any more out in the shop as my husband is very close to killing me for spending all the housekeeping on fabric. She won't listen. I think that this comes from a sample book. It's home dec weight and just big enough for some fussy cutting which I'm going to pair with some cream sketch and hopefully turn into something that resembles a bag. I've ironed some interfacing onto the sketch and now need to bite the bullet and start cutting the liberty.

7. Kaffe Snowball.I was lucky enough to get a last minute bargain and found myself at a workshop with Kaffe Fassett and Brondon Mably over the summer. I learnt quite a lot about the use of colour and the design process when it comes to making a quilt. I'm ashamed to say that at the end of the workshop I rolled up my flannel design wall and this quilt top has been squashed into a carrier bag since the workshop. I really should take it out and make some progress.(although I'm not holding my breath on this one)

So there we have it. Seven goals. I'd like to think that I'll get them all done and dusted before the end of the year but as the post title says let's be more realistic. My real goal is to make some progress on each of these projects but I'll be really upset with myself if I haven't finished Anwen's quilt and the pouches before the year's end.

Linking up to Leanne at She Can Quilt for the

she can quilt

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Goals - Setting and Missing

Well hello there! I'm not sure that I remember how to do this blogging business. I could go on about life getting in the way yada, yada, yada but I'm sure that you don't really want to hear it so lets get straight to business shall we?

Today's the seventh of October and the last day that I can link up with Leanne over at She Can Quilt with our finishes from Q3 of the Finish Along. You might remember my goal setting post from three months ago where I listed 18 projects that I wanted to finish during the quarter. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha!

I have made progress on some items but only actually finished three - and only one of these qualifies for the FAL as I hadn't started the other two at the start of the quarter.

The list of shame - 

1. Anwen's quilt. Not finished :-( 

I really am struggling to decide on how to quilt this. I think that the main problem is that it's double sided and I really couldn't decide which side to make the front. Soooo.... I've 'unbasted' it and am going to turn it into two separate quilts - one for Anwen's bed and the other as a rather large lap quilt.

Anwen has decided that she want's me to finish the one with her name first and after a lot of deliberation has decided which vintage sheet she would like for the back.

She actually went for the blue sheet at 9 o'clock (not the pink one she's pointing at)
I'm determined to get this one done before the month's out so I'm going to set it as my October goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes over with Shanna at Fiber of All Sorts and Melissa at Sew BitterSweet Designs.

2. Get Shirty. DONE!

Can you see those dark clouds rolling in?
I decided yesterday that I had to get at least one qualifying finish for Q3 so starting quilting during afternoon nap time, got some more done whilst Dadi took Marged for a two mile walk and then just about managed to finish the quilting and attach the binding to one side in time to finish the binding in front of Downton on +1.

I knew that work would take me to Aberaeron and Cardigan today and as both towns have some beautiful spots where a quilt shoot would be possible I bundled the quilt in the car and hoped I'd get a spare minute in which to take a pic. On my way home I was thinking to myself that it was getting darker earlier everyday and before long after work quilt pics would be impossible. I suddenly remembered that I hadn't taken a picture of Get Shirty! I pulled into the next lay-by, threw the quilt on a hedge and took a few snaps before the light completely vanished. Hence three terrible shots of a crumpled quilt that don't show any of the quilting detail.

Although you can't see it in these pictures I've used three different quilting designs in the four main areas (clockwise from top right) stipple, stars, flowers and loop de loop. I also tried a different quilting design in each of the squares including pebbles, checkerboard, organic fmq straight lines and a square stipple.

I used a cream Coats 100% cotton for the front and am happy with the result but regret my choice of bobbin thread.

You can see the quilting a little better on the back
I used a variegated Gutterman sulky in blues and greens. It was far too dark and shows all my quilting imperfections! I think that a lighter aqua/lime variegated thread would have been better or even maybe a lilac to match the border.

This quilt was only ever supposed to be a practice quilt and will be keeping me company on the sofa until I one day manage to make myself a liberty quilt - hopefully my quilting skills will be vastly improved by then.

3. House quilt. Haven't touched this in ages. No reason why not just need to get my bum in gear. - untouched

4. Nephew's quilt. Done!

My first nephew!!!!!!
And received. Proper blog post to come.

5. A quilt for another baby due at the end of July. Nobody knows what colour (pink or blue) this baby's going to be so I haven't even bought the fabric yet. - Baby boy Cian has arrived and I've got a charm pack to start on.

6, 7, 8 & 9 Osian's, Elisa's, Rhys' and Megan's quilts. I think getting even one of these done during Q3 is a long shot but who knows? Yeah right!

10. Mum's quilt. Before the end of the year? Although her birthday is in October. - I bought her some flowers.

11, 12 & 13 Zig Zag quilt, impromptu along and distribution. These have all moved way down the list. Main reason for this is that they don't have recipients, they're just designs that I'd like to try. Nope - not touched them.

1. Charms cut for Zig Zag quilt        2. Fabric for impromptu           3. Inspiration for distribution

Oh, so only 13 quilts on the list. Completely manageable! (boy do I make myself laugh!)

On top of this there are a few other projects I'd like to get under my belt.

1. A few zipper pouches. Anwen really liked the way I'd appliquéd the butterflies onto Cadi's Quilt and as her birthday is coming up and I have some of the Cocoon fabric leftover I thought I'd make her a zipper pouch. Her friend had her birthday a few weeks back and is still waiting for a pressie and another friend has her birthday two weeks after Anwen. I thought that it would also be nice for Cadi's two sisters to have something to match their sister's quilt. So that's five pouches in total! - I've cut the butterflies out for the applique! 

2. A new bag for me. Done and blogged (but doesn't qualify for the FAL)

3. After moving things around a little at home the little table that used to hold our printer is now next to my corner on the sofa. It was a thrifty find when we first moved in together and the top has seen better days so I thought a little something quilty might do the trick for tarting it up. I might even drag something out of my ancient UFO pile for this one. It will also give me a good opportunity to practice making bias binding and sewing it onto a circular mini quilt. Not even looked at it.

4. Shorts for Anwen. I now have the pattern and the fabric. This is one make I hope to get finished before the end of the week. Autumn's here - this might find it's way on to next years Q2 list!

Hoping to turn a thrifty old skirt into a pair of shorts with the aid of a free (to me) pattern 

5. Shorts for Marged. I seem to have been neglecting Marged recently so depending on how Anwen's shorts go I might try making a pair for Marged out of some fabric from my stash. See as above.

So there we have it. A very disappointing quarter. All that's left to do now is link Get Shirty up to 
she can quilt

And Anwen's quilt to 

Here's hoping for a much more productive fourth quarter!