Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I love Nancy Halvorsen

Nancy Halvorsen is the designer and creater behind Art to Heart.  I've made loads of things out of her books like my Frankeinstein's Monster.  I find her patterns really clear and whatever I've made always seems to turn out like it does in the book!!

So, a Sunday with two of my sewing friends was a great opportunity to try another pattern.  When we get together we like a project we can finish in the day (with time spare for talking and eating).  We chose the Easy Does It For.... series which contains variations on the same makes for the different seasons and selected the table runners. 

Debra made Spring:

Rachel went for Summer:

And I chose Autumn:

Friday, 3 June 2011

Getting excited now...

...I've got a great week planned.  Tomorrow I'm off to the theatre with my brother and littlest nephew which will be great fun.  And following that, we're off to Whitby.  I love the North Yorkshire coast and if this gorgeous weather continues it'll be perfect.

So today I've been doing lots of cleaning, washing and packing.  With a bit of baking thrown in so we don't go hungry while we're away!!  Cheese muffins and chocolate muffins - so that's savoury and sweet - what more do you need :-)

Hope you're enjoying the sunshine too.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Clothkits creation

I have finished and worn my new skirt from Clothkits.  For anyone unfamiliar with Clothkits, the company was originally formed in the late 1960s, produced kits in the 1970s and 80s and was revived a few years ago.  The clothing patterns are printed directly onto fabric, ready to be cut out and sewn up.

My mother made Clothkits clothing for us when we were small and I was delighted when I found they were making kits again.  The website is well worth a visit - including clothing for children, women and lots of other fun makes.

This kit came with everything needed to make the skirt - the design printed onto gorgeous purple cord, a contrasting green cotton for the lining, a zip and thread.

The kit was really easy to  put together and included very clear instructions.  I am delighted with how it turned out and love the little details like the motif on the waistband.

I wore my skirt for the first time with a green t-shirt and shoes and got lots of compliments at work.  Just a hint for anyone making a skirt - don't sew a pin into the lining!!  I only found it when I sat on it in a meeting!!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Let's go fly a kite...

A brilliant day at the Kite Festival at Harewood House in Leeds.  A little bit too blustery for perfect kite flying and the odd shower but that didn't spoil the fun.  I flew a kite which I haven't done for as long as I can remember - kindly lent to my by one of my nephews.  And I came home with a beautiful rainbow kite all of my own thanks to my gorgeous husband.

I'm worn out by now - we seem to have done loads!!  The day started with a large picnic - eaten in the car due to the rain.  We then went on to Hook a Duck, and bungee trampolining.  We saw the penguins and baby pheasants and huge birds of prey.  We even made Red Kite themed hats.  I did model mine but due to hysterical laughter from the rest of the family that photo is not for public consumption!!

As well as the kites, there was a teddy bear theme to the day so Snowy came along for the ride.  He enjoyed the kites but just likes to watch as his paws are too big to hold the string.

I've done some sewing this weekend as well.  A very enjoyable workshop with the very talented and lovely Stephanie Redfern.  I'll sort some photos and then post them too - although there's not much to see yet as I'm mid-design. 

Hope you've had a great weekend too.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Finished in a day

Occasionally I like a project which can be done in a day.  I share this feeling with two local sewing friends and every six weeks or so we have a day together where we sew, eat and chat (not necessarily in that order!).  Sometimes we work on an on-going project, but quite often we pick something which can be done in the day.

Last week we had a day making a Frankenstein's Monster pin-cushion and thread catcher bag from the excellent Sew Necessary by Nancy Halvorsen. 

Isn't he cute!!  I love working from the Art to Heart books.  The projects are gorgeous and, I think, unlike anything else I've seen.  The instructions are always really clear and easy to follow and the patterns are provided full size and ready to go.

The Frankenstein's monster head is stuffed two-thirds full with stuffing and then weighted with split peas at the bottom.  The thread catcher bag includes a small scissors holder at the back. 

The book also includes a bat scissor chatelaine and a witch scissor fob - so I think these will have to be next to complete the Halloween sewing set.  Yes, I know it's May but Halloween makes are too much fun to limit to the autumn.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Scrap Quilt Tutorial - Making Scrap Blocks

This is my first attempt at an on-line tutorial, so I'd really appreciate any feedback, hints or tips which would make it easier to understand / use.  Thanks!

The Scrap Quilt  
(for a picture of a finished quilt see here)
This quilt is great for using up any scraps, spare strips etc which you have collected.  The quilt can be worked a little bit at a time - depending on how many scraps you have.  If you only have enough for a couple of blocks, fine - do them, and then wait for more scraps (or raid a friend's scrap basket).  If you can do a whole quilt - great.

I sort my scraps by colour, but these blocks also look fantastic multi-coloured.  This tutorial is based on a finished block size of 6" but you can work to any size you like.

Before you start
I find it easier to have all my scraps ironed and sorted into small, medium and large before I start.  Anything from about 2" is fine. 

Step 1
Choose some small scraps to work with and sort into pairs.  I find working on about 6 to 10 blocks at a time is best for me.  This means I don't have to get up and down to the iron after every seam.  The pairs don't have to match exactly but should have one edge which is roughly the same length.

Step 2
Put the paired fabrics right sides together and sew down the matched side using a quarter inch seam.  You can 'string-piece' the pairs.  This means you don't cut your cotton after each pair - just leave a small 'string' and then feed the next pair through the machine.  The pieces will come out attached together and can then be snipped apart with small scissors.


Step 3
Carefully iron the seams to one side on each pair - making sure that the fabrics lie flat on the right side. 

You should now have several sewn pairs:

Step 4
Sew a third scrap to each pair.  Make sure you sew a straight seam each time - in the photo on the left I've used a strip which roughly matches one side of the pair.

In the photo below, the scrap I'm attaching has a straight edge which I'm using to line up the seam.  The piece underneath does not have a straight edge, but I'm ignoring this while I sew.

I can just trim the seam after I've sewn it.

Step 5
Keep working on each piece in this way - attach a scrap, trim the seam allowance and iron the seam to one side.  The main point is to make sure that when you attach a piece, any raw edge are enclosed underneath.

The blocks should grow roughly square, but if you find them growing too much in one direction, you can cut them in half and work on each piece separately.

 Keep going until your piece measures more than 7 inches both ways.  

Step 6
When your piece is large enough, use a six and a half inch square ruler to choose your block.  I like to place the ruler at an angle to get more interesting angles and shapes in the block.

If you don't have a square ruler, make yourself a template.  Cut a six and a half inch window into a larger piece of card and you can then use this to choose your block.  

Step 7
Cut out your block - I use a rotary cutter to cut my squares, but if you don't have one, then draw the edges with a pencil and cut with scissors.

Don't dispose of the offcuts - you can use this as the starter piece for your next scrappy block.

Make as many blocks as you need for your quilt!!

Friday, 6 May 2011

My favourite thing to do with scraps....

I love making these scrap quilts.  They are simple to make, use (virtually) any size scraps and are very effective.

I tend to sort my scraps by colour so the quilts end up predominantly one colour but these are equally effective in multi-coloured scraps.  I make my blocks 6" finished. 

This quilt will be sent off to Project Linus.  A fabulous organisation well worth reading about if you've never heard of them.

I'm going to have a go at making a photo tutorial on how to make these blocks.  Never tried a tutorial before so fingers crossed!!  I  hope to get it up over the weekend.