Spring resolutions

I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions. I have had the same one for the last 10 years now to do more fun stuff and less housework and boring stuff but have been inspired by the prospect of Spring and a bit more time and nicer weather to think about sorting and getting on with stuff.

I am not going to do this – that would be foolish and would not help support all those lovely  businesses run by hardworking women who share my passion for fabric.

Stash joke

So I am going to tackle the WIP pile! It is not very big but now that I am on a roll with the machine I am going to get the few projects that have been waiting for me to have some serious sewing time sorted.

I am not going to set a time frame for finishing everything but am going to try and complete one a month.

First one to be done is the cover for my new sewing machine. When I bought it in July I promised it a new cover and the poor thing has been languishing under its flimsy plastic one every since.

You may remember that I bought a lovely sewing machine themed spool rack last year and that my lovely children bought me the matching hook set for Christmas.

I found some great sewing machine panels that I thought would maybe look good as a hanging in the craft room and decided that one of those would make a pretty cover.

My chosen panel comes from the Snapshots Quilt Along  held last year by the Fat Quarter Shop blog. This is a great set of patterns and they raised money as well as for each download they suggested that you donate to a children’s hospital.

Here is a picture of the full quilt from Pat Sloan’s blog.

Snapshots quilt along quilt

The block is called Sew On and Sew On and there were some lovely versions made like these ones from the Flickr group by Pam Kitty Morning and Stamperville using the original colourway from the pattern.

Snapshots sewing machine - Flicker Pam Kitty Morning small

Snapshots sewing machine - Flicker  Stamperville small

I got as far as cutting this out last year and then the machine had a bit of wobbly, probably due to lack of nice cover so I had not had chance to sew it together.

So last Sunday I pulled all of the pieces out of the WIPs box and got them assembled.

sewing machine cover 1

The pattern suggests labelling each of the 32 pieces with Alphabitties, those little letter labels seen in the above photo but I don’t have any of those so used normal sticky labels cut into pieces which meant I could put dimensions as well as the pattern colour on to keep track while I sewed them together.

sewing machine cover 2

I found the video of how to sew the picture on the Fat Quarter shop blog very useful, it took a couple of hours but soon had this lovely picture.

sewing machine cover 3

I had thought I had enough fabric to do a single piece back as I had picked up some more of the turquoise print in a local craft shop a couple of months ago but when  I unfolded the fat quarter it had fade marks along all of the fold lines so I had to be creative.

I did a pieced back with some 1 inch patches from the rest of the scraps.

sewing machine cover 4

I just ended up quilting in the ditch, I know I did the machine quilting course a while ago but need a bit more practise before I ruin something I have spent hours on!

So here it is a back and front view over a chair and in situ, went for a simple side tied and bound finish with the last of the turquoise strips.

sewing machine cover 5

sewing machine cover 6

sewing machine cover 7

I am extraordinarily pleased with this, even though it took about 9 hours in total including hand stitching the binding it was well worth it and my machine is very happy!

I am counting this as another project for the Sewing Bucket List – number 11 a project from a PDF pattern.

I also love the camera block they designed for the backing.

Snapshots Camera block -small

Not much crafting will be going on here this weekend, we have Ofsted (government inspectors) due in on Monday at work so have been busy with prep for that and the things I didn’t get done this week I need to do tomorrow.

Roll on next weekend 🙂

Hope you have a nice rest of the weekend and week ahead and see you soon, thanks for visiting.

 

Sewing in PJs

Hello again

There is nothing nicer on a Sunday morning than waking up to find it is lovely and sunny and feeling inspired to spend a few hours in the craft room sewing in your PJs.

I have had a lovely time making another basket and this time I decided to experiment with sizes so I have made a tiny basket!

Tiny basket 1

This one is a quarter of the size of the one I made yesterday, all I did was divide the first 10.5 inch by 16.5 inch piece from the pattern into 4 pieces giving me a lining as well from that same fabric.

The finished basket is 5 inches in length and 3 inches deep and is probably one of the cutest things I have ever made, I love it 🙂

It took about 2 1/2 hours as I did do a lot of hand sewing as well, the handles would not work well on the machine as they are only 2 inches wide to start with so hand sewed them and also stitched down all of the seam allowance on the exterior as with the foam lining in they are quite bulky.

Also had to hand stitch with Perle thread as it was too small to topstich by machine and wanted to add some buttons as well. I am also proud of the way that the seams match, was not trying to pattern match honest!

This will stay in my craft room and will be used for collecting scraps when cutting. Will absolutely have to make more of these, we have a Bank Holiday weekend coming up so I know where I will be.

I am counting this as number 15, something doll sized,  from my Sewing Bucket List which I have extended into 2016.

See you soon, thanks for visiting and have a nice week ahead.

What I did on my holidays … or what I did in 2015

Hello everyone, inspired by lots of other people doing review of activities posts I thought that I would take a look back at what I managed in 2015.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, (except for the perennial one of doing less housework and more fun things), but do like thinking about what the year might bring.

I did set myself a number of goals for that year, 12 quilt blocks with our Block of the Month organised by Helen from knitting group, 26 books to be read and 17 sewing projects from the Sewing Bucket List.

I didn’t get any of them completed fully but on the positive side this means I still have things to work on for this year 🙂

I finished 5 of the quilt blocks and have another one cut out but have been having a few issues with my new machine 😦 so need to spend some time sorting that out before any serious quilt making happens.

I have enjoyed the challenge and it has made me a lot more accurate and confident about piecing and if I hadn’t been doing so much other sewing would have managed all of these.

I have read lots and lots of books this year but got diverted from the list so ended up only completing 11 out of the 26.

My current favourite diversion is my discovery of Debbie Macomber, I really enjoyed watching the adaptation of her Cedar Cove series on Netflix in the summer and as usual picked up a couple of her Blossom Street series in a charity shop in Spain recently and am now hooked! Appropriate for a series that starts with the story of a yarn shop.

Blossom street novel

Have ordered four more of these to take to Spain for my next holiday, yes Alison what happened to not buying any more books until all the ones you had were read?

As for the sewing list 7 out of 17 and again lots of other diversions off to stitch Jenny’s beautiful designs and to make lots of medieval kit and a couple of extra things for the sewing room.

Other things I accomplished not on the list, lots and lots of hexagon piecing, my favourites being the pincushions and needlecases with Liberty fabric.

And learning to knit in the round, the wristwarmers and the little knitted pincushions were my first success with this.

The discovery of Jenny’s embroidery which gave me lots of beautiful things to stitch, my favourite so far are her birds, this one is now in my craft room.

So challenges for 2016 then. Well to finish all these lists, to improve my skills at making quilt blocks.

I still have lots of lovely things I want to make for the craft room and think that single blocks to use as mini quilts is probably a better option than trying to make anything bigger.

2016 will definitely be a year of more embroidery and challenging myself to use different stitches.

As for knitting goals definitely lots more of Julie’s little animals, the mouse is coming along very well and love the speed at which I can complete them.

What about you, any challenges that you want to tackle in 2016?

Have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting.

The pincushion and thread catcher

Hello, as promised here are the details about the Simply Solids class  last weekend.

I have wanted one of these thread catchers for years, having seen them in magazines and on blogs, so was really pleased when I saw the class advertised.

I would really love to do a City and Guilds Embroidery or Quilting course but sadly can’t find one near me. Instead I have decided to sign up for one off classes to work on specific things when I can.

I did a Gillian Travis one  earlier in the summer which taught me new applique skills and how to free motion quilt. I still need to finish that once these block of the month challenges are done but really enjoyed seeing how other people designed and the inspiration of Gillian’s work.

That is the lovely thing about classes, I could have bought books or patterns that went through the techniques of that applique style and this weekend’s class but it is so much nicer to spend a day with like-minded people learning things face to face.

I got the chance to use up my last few pieces of these fabrics. Here are all the squares laid out for the thread catcher and pincushion sections.

Simply Solids workshop

Simply Solids workshop 2

Am now down to only the tiniest scraps of the patterns for string style pincushions so will have to use something else for the planned sewing machine cover.

There were only two of us in the class, the other person being my lovely friend Helen from knitting which was a very nice surprise. I have not seen here for a while as she has been busy moving house and I have been out of circulation.

Here is her pincushion in progress. The pincushion part is filled with a muslin bag of sand at the end which gives it the weight needed to hang from a sewing desk.

Simply Solids workshop 3

Simply Solids workshop 4

I am very pleased with the result, there are a few bits where the joins are not perfect but it is pretty and very useful. I think I need to make at least two more, one for downstairs and one for my Mum.

They also go very well with my new pincushion and needlebook set, my craftroom will look so co-ordinated!

Simply Solids workshop 5

Here are all our efforts in a row – and one with all the pins in that Lisa, ‘made earlier’, as a demo model. I love the measuring tape fabric that she has lining the demo model.

Simply Solids workshop 6

Justine was also there working on a cushion as a demo for the shop, it is filled with such lovely things, the example quilts they have on the walls are beautiful and it always inspires me to visit, (and to buy fabric but more of that in a later post!)

Here is Justine sewing and Helen diving into the scrap bin!

Simply Solids workshop 7

The pattern for the thread catcher and pincushion is available here as a Kindle download  for £2.24 and there are very detailed instructions at the Simply Solids blog here.

I am counting this as Number 6 on my 2015 Sewing Bucket List challenge – a project made from scraps.

Looking forward to a lovely crafting weekend when I shall be mainly working on more quilt blocks – might even get caught up by the end of Nov, you never know.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

A woodland wedding with wellies!

Hello everyone

I can finally reveal the wedding outfit that I have been working on for so long as we celebrated my brother’s wedding this weekend. The jacket and shirt were finally finished with three days to go before the wedding!

We had a brilliant time, without a doubt one of the loveliest weddings I have ever been to, full of personal touches from Ben and Amanda that made it really special and very memorable. There are not many weddings where the bride gets to drive a tractor as part of the day!

Amanda works at Oakwell Hall, a beautiful Tudor house and country park so most of the wedding took place there. They did have a short legal ceremony at the Registry office, here are all the family with them after signing the register.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 1

Amanda had chosen a gorgeous silk brocade for me to make the wedding jacket from, with black silk collar and cuffs. I also made a linen shirt and Amanda’s Mum stitched a blackwork acorn design on the collar and cuffs.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 17

Ben and Amanda's wedding 10

Ben and Amanda's wedding 11

Ben and Amanda's wedding 12

The most important part of the day for them was an exchange of rings in the woodland that is part of the parkland, Amanda helped to build the faith circle where we sat for that ceremony.

It was brilliant, starting with Amanda in her tractor leading all of the guests from the hall to the circle where we were all given bubbles to blow as the bride arrived.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 7

Here are the kids and their cousins Sam and Sarah enjoying the bubbles.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 8

The ceremony featured wooden rings that Ben and Amanda had made themselves and very moving vows where they promised to be each others ‘forever friends’ and go on adventures together.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 9

We had all been asked to wear wellies or colourful boots for that part of the ceremony so here are mine, my sister Jackie’s and Ellie’s boots in the leaves.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 13

Ben and Amanda's wedding 14

Ben and Amanda's wedding 15

The reception took place in the barn which had been decorated with bunting made by Amanda’s Mum Eileen and sister Kate. Ben and Amanda love wood-turning and had made all of the serving platters for the cheeses as well as a mushroom for each guest as a wedding favour.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 4

Ben and Amanda's wedding 3

It was Ben’s 50th birthday as well as their wedding and so they had a woodland cake with models of their two cats on and a wedding cheese cake, they also made all of these little mice to decorate the cakes.

Ben and Amanda's wedding 2

Ben and Amanda's wedding 16

The evening ended with a fantastic firework display, one of Ben’s favourite things.

A wonderful day made all the more special by the fact that they did everything themselves, with help from friends and family, from the food to the decorating all of it was very much the way they wanted it to be.

This is one of my favourite pictures from the day, Ben in a very fetching apron serving the canapés!

Ben and Amanda's wedding 6

The kids have gone home now so it is all very quiet and I am looking forward to a very relaxing afternoon catching up with some Christmas stitching. Have a happy week ahead, see you soon and thanks for visiting.

Just in time making!

Hello everyone

Hope you are all ok, it is a beautiful sunny morning here in Yorkshire and I am looking forward to a lovely weekend of sewing and crafting.

This is the weekend to finish the wedding jacket and make the shirt and I am hosting another crafternoon tomorrow for friends from knitting group to work on Christmas ornaments.

I have been working very hard on all of my stitched things for Sarah’s stall at Yarndale and managed to finish everything just in time last Friday for her to pack up the car and head off. She and Sharon had a great time which I am so glad about, Sarah has worked so hard for this.

Here they all are at Yarndale with the stall, (picture copyright to Sarah).

Sarah and Sharon at Yarndale

She sold a lot of her brilliant book of Elven inspired designs and also some of my things sold as well which is lovely. I was actually hoping that not all of them would sell out, partly as I want some of the stuff for me and for Christmas presents!

If you would like a copy of the book you can get one from Sarah’s website Alder Sign Designs  or individual patterns are available from her Ravelry shop as well.

You will have already seen work in progress pictures of all of these pincushions and needle books but here they all are on my little display stand.

Sarah said it looked really good on her stall and brought people in to have a look at everything else which is nice.

Yarndale 6

Just peeking out behind that are the larger needle cases I made, I my haste I didn’t take pictures of the fronts of these but they had the same large Liberty hexagons on as the rolled ones.

I made two knitting needle cases for circular needles and accessories and two knitting needle rolls for circular needles, I have seen lots available for straight needles but wanted something for circulars now I have learnt to use them.

Yarndale stuff

Yarndale 4

Yarndale 5

As you can see I have been taking full advantage of my new sewing machine’s lovely embroidery stitches for all of these things.

I love my new machine so much and am really looking forward to using it more over the autumn and winter. I have so many lovely quilting projects planned!

The last two accessories cases were for scissors and tape measures.

Yarndale 2

Yarndale 3

I am also counting these as project number 12 on my 2015 Sewing Bucket List which is a bag.

Right off to do some more work now then later a bit of cutting out of the jacket lining. Have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

The first of many

Hello everyone – welcome to another damp weekend in Yorkshire 😉

This weekend I do have some outdoor activities planned, a little planting of the new things I bought while out with Sharon garden centre visiting yesterday and a walk with Ted, so am hoping for some bright spells to do those.

I wanted to share with you the first of my lovely Jenny of Elefantz stitchery patterns. I have just had my first monthly Stitchery Club PDF e-mailed to me and there are some gorgeous Christmas designs which I have started on as ornaments for family.

This earlier design is one of my absolute favourites and will be stitching it again in different colours to frame for my craft room as the sentiment is so good as well as the design being very pretty.

 Jenny of Elefantz stitches booklet

new sewing room - stitches booklet 2

new sewing room - stitches booklet 3

I am not sure where I got the tape measure charm from but the cute clock one is part of a set that Kerry gave me for my birthday.

The fabric came from the Barrington Patchwork shop that we found as part of our National Trust visiting holiday in early June, I knew it would come in handy for stitching related gifts!

new sewing room - stitches booklet 4

new sewing room - stitches booklet 5

new sewing room - stitches booklet 6

new sewing room - stitches booklet 7

I am intending it to be for carrying English Paper Piecing templates and this is going to be added to my Christmas gift pile.

new sewing room - stitches booklet 8

new sewing room - stitches booklet 9

It is a really easy and pleasurable design to stitch and am very pleased with my end result. The binding could be neater and I have attached it to the two sides differently but it is all about learning from experience!

I am also counting this as Project Number 1 on the Sewing Bucket List – a project for your sewing space, ok it’s not for me but I think it still counts!

I am very behind with projects due to the still poorly wrist, it is officially tendonitis and I have to rest as much as possible so will be extending the list into 2016.

This weekend’s crafting activities are to cut out and sew up the ,’toile’ for Amanda’s wedding jacket. On the advice of Karen from, ‘Did You Make That?‘, I am making a mock-up of the jacket from an old sheet to get the sizing right before cutting into the £30 a metre silk brocade!

Will give me a chance to play with my new machine which makes me very happy!

Hope that you have nice things planned as well. Thanks for visiting.