• Turbulence of butterflies - part 2

    Thursday, 30 July, 2015

     Hello again, I'm starting to get excited about the Festival of Quilts - I hope you are too.
    I have finished the little butterfly quilt that I started last week -
    First of all I hand stitched the butterflies - because I had 5 hours travelling in one day so thought I would put the time to good use.
    I wasn't sure what to do for the quilting - which is done by machine (as I don't have anymore long journeys planned), and then I thought of using the butterfly as a template to draw around to quilt -
     blue butterfly is the template, and I used an air erasable pen to draw around it -
    I only used the large and medium butterflies as templates, and I spaced them in the blank areas of the quilt, and then shadow quilted around some of the fabric butterflies as well.
    I like the back of the quilt too -
     and think I might make some cushions with just quilted butterflies.
    I have started making another butterfly quilt and this time I'm going to fuse the butterflies in place, and then layer up the quilt and stitch around the butterflies as the quilting.
    Meanwhile - I thought the butterfly die would make a nice decoration on a hairband for a baby - so with some white stretch lace, and my trusty Big Shot machine - http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660200/sizzix-big-shot-machine-only-white-gray  and the Echo Park Butterfly Trio Bigz die -http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660448/sizzix-bigz-die-butterfly-trio
    I cut out 1 small and 1 medium butterfly from double sided fabric (I did this by fusing 2 layers of fabric together with heat and bond).
    Then it's really easy to cut the stretch lace to the correct length - and pleat the ends, and overlap and then stitch -
    Pin and then sittch the butterfly in place to conceal the join -
    I stitched initially with back stitch and then added French knots to add texture to the centre.
    I think I'm going to be making quite a few of these!
    So that's all for this week - hope to see you next week at the Festival of Quilts -
    there will be 3 of us demonstrating the Big Shot machines and Bigz dies -
    I will be demonstrating with Lady Sew and Sew,
    Beth will be with Cotton Patch and
    Mandy will be with Abakhan
    Hope to see you next week.

  • A turbulence of butterflies - baby quilt

    Thursday, 23 July, 2015

     I'm not sure this is a correct name for a collection of butterflies but it got stuck in my head!
    A friend has just had a baby girl, and so I thought I'd make a little quilt for her and, as I really like the new Echo Park range of dies, I decided to applique butterflies on it - and this view is where I started - and where the name turbulence originated.
    Here is an image of the die that I have been using - Bigz die 660448
     I decided not to use the butterfly body's to keep the design simple.
     I used Heat and Bond on the wrong side of the fabrics - which I liberated from my stash - which I applied before cutting out.
    I then cut outs of all three sizes of butterflies, and just scattered them over the background fabric, which is a cream print, also from my stash.
    then came the job of trying to arrange them - but not too much so that it remained quite an informal arrangement -
    This was just a bit too rigid - too much of a straight line -
    this was closer - but seemed a bit too wide - so it became this -
    I think I'm happy with this now - so I have to fuse the butterflies onto the background and stitch them! Yes that's all and I was hoping to finish it today - not really realistic but I'll have a go. So next week will follow on with the stitching and quilting of this quilt - hopefully.
    Until then - enjoy the school holidays, and get ready for Festival of Quilts - 2 weeks today - see you there.

  • Final blooms

    Thursday, 16 July, 2015

     It's not such a sunny day today - but the flowers in the garden and on my cushion are still looking lovely.
    I have enjoyed embellishing this cushion, and in fact could have done more - but you have to decide when enough is enough - so for now this is the completed cushion.
    To remind you the die I used is Bigz Die - Flower Layers and Leaves by Dena Designs™ 657690 http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/657690/sizzix-bigz-die-flower-layers-leaves along with the Big Shot Machine http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660200/sizzix-big-shot-machine-only-white-gray to cut e sponge shapes for the printing - I used some silk paints that I've had for a long time for my printing, but you can use any fabric dies for this project.
    So here are the images of the embellishments on the flowers - I've used a mixture of embroidery threads, machine threads, and a selection of beads -
    The net and the beading give some definition to the rather blobby printing!
     Beads and net have added focus to the flowers
    Back stitch around the flowers have added gentle definition at the top of the cushion -

    Extra beads in the centre adds interest -
    French knots at the centre of this flower make it stand out more, while the leaf has been outlined with a single machine thread to gently highlight -
    Here there are 2 leaves embroidered with the same colour - but the top one has thicker stem stitch for the veins, while the lower leaf just has a single thread for variety -
    To complete the cover I stitched a plain back onto it and inserted a cushion pad, slip stitching the opening edges together.
    So here it is completed -

     and here it is in the garden - a bit washed out by the sunlight - but looking good!
    I hope you've enjoyed this little wander into printing and then embellishing, of course you can play with lots of different flower shapes and put more beads, net and embroidery on yours - however you like it enjoy making it!!
    Now I'm going to have a cup of tea and enjoy my cushion and flowers on the patio - and start thinking about Festival of Quilts - which is only 3 weeks away. I hope you've got your tickets and booked travel and accommodation if needed. I see you there.

  • Flowers a plenty part 2

    Thursday, 9 July, 2015

    Today I've had fun embellishing the printed flowers from last week - I had hoped to complete it this week,  but I still have a lot to it.
    I began by cutting lots of flowers and leaves in net, in similar colours to the printed flowers -
     and Bigz die Flower Layers & Leaves by Dena Designs™ 657690
    The idea is to create some 3D flowers in the net, or maybe just to layer them flat on top of the printed flowers. I'm also going to add embroidery, and some beads.
    I began with the large pink flowers at the bottom of the fabric and decided to use large lazy daisy embroidery stitches to give definition on some and then added 2 layers of net to another and stitched in place with long single stitches -
    I folded net daisy like flowers folded in 4 on the yellow leaf shapes, and stitched them in place with small green lazy daisies -
    and on the blue and lilac daisies I added 2 layers of matching net daisies and stitched beads in the middle of each flower to secure - they remind me of clematis.
    Now this is where I'm not sure what is going to happen next - I'm thinking of some smaller embroidery on some of the blue flowers and some stitching on the leaves but I'm not sure if net will feature on the leaves.
    As this is as far as I've got you're going to have to wait until next week to see how far I've progressed and how it's taking shape.
    Now I'm about to sit out on my sun-baked patio and enjoy the new plants we have ready for my husband to plant in the border of the front garden, and a cup of tea.
    Until next week - enjoy the summer and have fun with some sewing.

  • Summer's here - Flowers a plenty

    Thursday, 2 July, 2015

    Phew - it's raining, very gently - but it has made the temperature drop a little. Now don't get me wrong I love the summer - but it is nice that it's cool enough today for me to be able to think straight!
    So I thought I'd have a little fun and see how fabric printing with sponges cut into flower shapes would work - now obviously I've used the amazing Bigz Dies and Big Shot Plus Machine  -http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660020/sizzix-big-shot-plus-machine-only-white-gray because it's the one I have at home.
    So I used the Bigz Die - Flower Layers & Leaves by Dena Designs™ - 657690 to cut the sponges -

    Choose a sponge that is between 1.5cm and 2cm deep - you can use the sponge with scourer attached but buy economy as the more expensive ones are too thick to cut well, but you are more limited on the size shape you can cut -
    I had planned to decorate some t-shirts for my grandchildren - but decided to see how it all worked on some plain cotton. so I laid out newspaper and then plain paper on my dining room table and selected some fabric dyes, along with some plates, and plenty of kitchen roll I was ready to roll!
    I decided to start with the daisy flower and some blue die -
    as you can see the flower on the left in the picture is a bit mis-shappen because I pressed too hard on the sponge - but that can be covered or disguised as we progress.
    I added a darker blue using the same flower shape, and then decided to use the large flower shape with pink - and I don't think I like it - so I'll cover that later -
    so I added some more daisies in a deeper pink and tried over dyeing one of the paler pink flowers.
    I also tried a leaf shape - but there was too much dye on the sponge and it's just a blob -
    When there was less dye on the sponge it was much better -
    but when I tried over dyeing a blue daisy with a yellow circle for the centre - oops!!
    so I decided to add the yellow as petals -
    Why am I showing you this when some of it clearly hasn't worked too well - it's because I want to show  you next week how I have managed to redeem it. I went to a silk painting class a few years ago and the teacher was amazing at showing us how to redeem our mistakes or disasters! and so I want to encourage you too.
    So next week I hope to have added some net or voile, and some embroidery to enhance and to conceal - will it work - I don't  know yet - we'll all have to wait and see!!
    Until next week enjoy the summer sun.

  • Pinwheel Pencil case

    Thursday, 25 June, 2015

    Hello again, I thought it would be nice to do some patchwork this week and decided to use the smallest half-square triangles to make a pencil case -

    You will need –
    5” x 20” in 2 co-ordinating fabrics, 1 light and 1 dark, for the pinwheels
    6” x 40” navy fabric for the outside and lining of pencil case                                                                               
    1 x 10” navy zip

    Sizzix® Bigz™ Die Half-Square Triangles, 1” finished 659983 http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/659983/sizzix-bigz-die-half-square-triangles-1-1-2-assembled-square 
    Using the Big Shot machine and the die cut 40 triangles out of each of the patterned fabrics.
    Stitch 1 light and 1 dark triangle together to make a square, repeat with all the triangles.
    Press the seams together towards the darker colour
    Stitch 1 pair of squares together – see photo below.
    Press the seams and then stitch 1 pair of rectangles together to make a square, taking care to match the points in the middle.
    Join the squares together in 2 sets of 5 to make 2 strips.
    Cut the navy fabric into 2 pieces 2 1/4" x 10 1/2", 2 pieces 4" x 10 1/2" these 4 pieces are for the outside, and 2 pieces 6" x 10 1/2" for the lining.
    Stitch a 2 1/4" and 4 " piece either side of a pinwheel strip, and press. Repeat to make the 2nd side.
    To put the zip in - lay it across the top edge of one of the outside pieces -
    lay a lining piece on top, matching the edges, and stitch, with a 1/2" seam - when opened to the right side it will look like this -
    Repeat with the other side of the zip. Now open the zip at least half way.
    Lay the outside pieces, right sides together, pin, matching the raw edges.

    Stitch around the 3 sides, back stitching at each end to secure the seam.
    Repeat with the lining - but leave a 5" opening in the bottom edge.
    Trim off the extra length of the zip at both ends.
    Turn the pencil case right side out -
    Stitch the open edges together, and tuck lining inside the pencil case.
    Not quite such a quick project as I thought it would be - but still fun, and if I start now I might make enough for all of the grandchildren for September term at school.
    I'm off now to enjoy a cup of tea in the garden, while the sun is still shining.
    See you next week.

  • Father's day - super hero, superstar

    Thursday, 18 June, 2015

    As promised another blog for Father's day - and it's quick as well, glasses case and a phone cover -
    All you need is a tie or too - now I raided my husbands ties - but I did ask - take a hint that if you use his best tie he isn't really going to like what you've made with it.
    If you love him dearly but he embarrasses you so much - then make sure that the tie you choose, from his wardrobe, charity shop or store, is really outlandish and choose crazy colours for the lettering!
    One word - the tie does need to be quite wide because we are going it make a glasses case, or a phone cover.
    I used the Bigz™ XL Alphabet Die - Word Play by Tim Holtz® -657837 http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/657837/sizzix-bigz-xl-alphabet-die-word-play
    or you can use the BigShot™ 660200http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660200/sizzix-big-shot-machine-only-white-gray
    For alternative items I also used Bigz™ Die Stars 656339 http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/656339/sizzix-bigz-die-stars
    and Bigz™ Die Heartfelt by Tim Holtz -660233 http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660233/sizzix-bigz-die-heartfelt
    You will also need a small amount of fusible web (Heat and Bond, Bondaweb or similar) and a similar small amount of fabric for the letters.
    Fuse the web to the wrong side of the fabric for the lettering and cut out the letters that you need - for the first glasses case I'm using  1 each of s u p h o, and 2 each of e and r.
    For the glasses case - I measured the glasses 15cm and added a couple of cm for ease and then doubled it - so I cut the tie to 40cm long. 
    As I am going to stitch letters onto the right side I undid the stitching on the back of the tie, and opened it out flat. (Now I forgot to take a photo with the tie open so we are looking at my next tie)
    Arrange the letters within the length you need for the glasses and then fuse them in place and stitch them -
    The back of the tie is re-stitched and the narrow hem is turned in and stitched -
    Next fold the tie so that the 'case' is the right length, and pin the layers together -
     and stitch the layers together.
    Add a button and a ribbon loop to complete the case -

    this one is because everyone knows that if you take off, or put on your glasses you can become a superhero!!
    Which then led me to think of a super star -
    and then I thought of a cover for a phone  - the tie needs to be cut to about 30cm for this and because it is smaller the word had to be shorter - so -
    Hope you like these and are tempted to make one or two, and maybe keep one yourself!
    Have fun, enjoy the weekend.

  • Tool roll for Father's Day

    Thursday, 11 June, 2015

    For several weeks now I've been convinced that Father's Day is this coming Sunday - BUT I was  wrong - so I may even be able to create another Father's Day gift next week.
    I used to find it difficult to find things to give to my Dad - but I think he would have loved this -
    He was a carpenter and he often helped with jobs around our home - and so this would have been very helpful when moving his tools around.
    Now I will give you the measurements for the one I have made, but you can vary the size and the sections to suit the tools that your father, husband, boyfriend, grandpa, uses.
    You will need a strong piece of fabric - I had a heavy twill type fabric, but you could use denim or canvas ( if you re-cycle a pair of old jeans please make sure they aren't his favourite old jeans!!)
    80cm x 50cm (31" x 19 1/2")
    3 pieces of cotton fabric 15cm (6") square in different colours.
    45cm x 15 cm (18" x 6") fusible web.
    1m (1yd) heavy ribbon
    Cut the fusible web into 3 x 15cm (6") squares and fuse to the wrong side of the cotton squares.
    Select the letters that you need on each die and cut out - remember to place the fabric right side down on the die when cutting.
    Arrange the letters on one end of the main fabric about 10cm in from the right, 6cms from the bottom edge, and 15cms from the left side. Fuse, and then stitch in place -

     Fold the raw edge of the left edge to the wrong side and zig zag stitch. 
    Make a fold 15cm from the edge and stitch a 2cm seam from the fold to the neatened edge -
    and make a double fold and stitch to neaten the rest of the edge. Turn right side out, and repeat with the other end. This creates the pocket section
    Mark the compartments along the pocket section - I made my sections 9cm (3 1/2") to fit the tools, but your tools may be different sizes so measure before stitching - I stitched along the bottom edge for 9cm, then stitched up to the edge, and double stitched at the top before stitching back to the bottom, and repeated along the length of the roll -
    Next I made a narrow double fold along the last raw edge and stitched with a straight stitch, then folded the edge over 8cm to create a flap. Stitch along the fold.
    Finally - I put the tools in the roll,
    and rolled it up to find where to stitch the tie -
    I stitched the ribbon tie just above the line of the pockets and reinforced with several rows of stitching.
    I apologise for the rather scruffy tools but they are rather old now!
    It's quite a quick project, and I hope it's useful, as I mentioned before it can be adapted to take all sorts of different tools, or cables.
    That's all for now - I'll be back next week.


  • Little houses doorstop

    Thursday, 4 June, 2015

    Hello again - on a lovely summer day. I know it may not last but it does make me plan for days on the patio - sipping long cool drink, and what do you need to help you relax?
    A doorstop - OK that may not have been your first thought - but you have to admit when you think about it for a while it is a good choice, because how often does the door blow shut just as you get to it while carrying a tray of nibbles and drinks!!
    So here it is -  
    Although I say it myself, I really like this - I've been wondering how to use this die for quite a while and now here it is. As you know I'm often finding new favourite dies, and this is one of them.
    You will need the following to make this -
    30cms x 112cm (12" x 44") fabric for the actual doorstop - as I used a lightweight cotton I added a fusible interfacing to the wrong side to stiffen it. If you use a thicker fabric you do not need to do this.
    6 pieces of contrasting fabrics each 12cm x 20cm (5" x 8") for the houses.
    72cm x 20cm (29" x 8") of fusible web (like Bondaweb or Heat'n'Bond)
    Thread for stitching.
    Buttons for embellishment
    Filling, including something heavy to weight it with.
    To start I cut the plain fabric into the following pieces -
    1 x 62cm x 25cm (25 1/2" x 10") for the sides
    2 x 17cm (6 3/4") squares for the top and bottom
    1 x 17cm x 7cm (6 3/4" x 3")  for the handle
    Fuse the web to the wrong side of the contrasting fabrics, and then using the house die cut out the houses, hearts and roofs. You will need to cut out another roof, and at least 2 extra hearts from each fabric.
    Arrange the house, roofs and hearts along one long side of the fabric and fuse in place -
    I arranged mine in an irregular line, and then I stitch them in place with a straight stitch on my machine.
    Using a mint green thread I created 'grass' along the bottom edge -
    and added buttons for flowers -
    Join the ends of the fabric together with a 1cm (1/2") seam allowance. Use a pin to mark the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 points on the top and bottom edges. With right sides together pin the base to one quarter of the side, and stitch in place, then snip the seam allowance on the side fabric (this is so that you can manipulate the fabric and avoid puckers), do be careful not to cut through the stitching.
    Repeat this so that all four sides are stitched.
    To make the handle make a 1cm fold along each long edge and then fold the handle in half, so that the edges are inside. Stitch both folds, and then stitch the handle to the remaining square -
    and then stitch it in place, leaving an opening on one side -
    Turn the doorstop the right way out and fill with your choice of weight and filling.
    Slip stitch the opening together and it's ready for use ( and I only hope the sun is still shining)
    That's all this week. I hope you can enjoy sun and sewing this week.

  • Little birds for a baby

    Thursday, 28 May, 2015

    The long anticipated baby has arrived - and it's a boy - James Arthur, brother to 3 beautiful girls!
    So there will be a quilt for him - but I really must finish the quilts for two of his sisters and one of his cousins before I start his ( the good news is that all 3 tops are made - I just need to layer them up and quilt them!!)
    So a quick gift is what I need - so here it is -
    a little string of birds that can fix across his pram - I did think of adding some little bells to this but know that my daughter, Naomi, wouldn't appreciate it.
    I used Bigz die 657685 http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/657685/sizzix-bigz-die-birds-3 and the Big Shot http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660200/sizzix-big-shot-machine-only-white-gray  to cut the birds in felt - I chose grey and aqua - cutting 4 birds, 2 wings and 2 eyes in grey, and 2 birds, 4 wings and 4 eyes in aqua.
    I started by stitching the eyes and wings in place, using a small running stitch, but this can also be stitched on a machine. ( remember to make pairs of birds)

    Then I stitched 2 grey birds together, with a length of grey ric rac running through the middle, and adding a little toy stuffing before completing the stitching -
    it just remained to complete the other 2 birds in the same way.
    I now have a little gift to take when I visit again tomorrow.
    An alternative would be to make the birds into a mobile - hanging the birds from ribbon attached to the back.
    I could also make a little quilt to match - or even add a bird to a tiny t-shirt - I'm sure my granddaughters will help me decide on the next thing to make for him.
    So that's all for this week, have fun sewing.

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