• Fan Blade

    Thursday, 8 October, 2015

     Hello again - this week I'm in Alexandra Palace, with Lady Sew and Sew, at the Knitting and Stitching show - do come and see us - we are on stand G16/17.
    I'm demonstrating the Big Shot, Big Shot Plus and the Big Shot Express - which is the electric model.
    Along with lots of  Bigz Dies - both old and new.
    As promised I've used one of the new dies this week - it's the Fan Blade - 660459 http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660459/sizzix-bigz-l-die-fan-blade-30-degrees-
    and I'm going to be using this die for a couple of weeks to show different effects.
    I used 3 different fabrics and cut out 4 fan blades in each -
    With right sides of fabric together I joined the 12 blades together in sequence to create a circle (take care to keep your seam allowance precise) -
    Press the seams flat, and trim the threads.
    Stitch around the edge of the circle - 1/4"/6mm from the edge -

    and then press the hem allowance to the wrong side - and pin in place to the background fabric -
    the circle is 7"/18cm in diameter, and the centre circle is 1/2"/1.3cm - the choice is to cut a 1"/2.5cm circle to cover the hole - or use a button.
    You can hand or machine stitch the piece in place.
    Now at this moment I'm not sure what project I am going to create - so I am going to leave it just pinned onto the background for the moment.
    Next week I'm going to use the same die to create a different effect and then I may combine them to create a cushion of a table runner.
    So enjoy the autumn colours and plan some lovely sewing for the darker evenings.
    I hope to see some of you at the show sometime.

  • Newish - Kaleidoscope die

    Thursday, 1 October, 2015

    Now it's October and the days are shorter it's time to look at some of our latest dies before starting on Christmas projects.
    This week I'm showing the Kaleidoscope die - 660182, its not the latest die but I haven't used it yet -  http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660182/sizzix-bigz-l-die-kaleidoscope-6-1-2-assembled
    I can remember as a child being fascinated with a kaleidoscope viewer, and would look at it for a long time - this doesn't have quite the versatility - but with the use of different colours you will be able to create a diverse pattern.
    For this blog I am only using 4 fabrics because it is just to show how the die shapes create the pattern.
    For each block you will need  25 x13cm/10" x 5" of fabrics 1 and 2 and 18 x 9cm/7" x 3 1/2" of fabric 3
    Using the die and the Big Shot (http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660200/sizzix-big-shot-machine-only-white-gray) or Big Shot plus (http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660020/sizzix-big-shot-plus-machine-only-white-gray) cut 4 large triangles from fabrics 1 and 2, and cut 4 small triangles in fabric 3 -
    (the small triangle is a lighter blue - but doesn't show up too well on this background) 
    Join the large triangles together in pairs-
    then join the pairs together -
    and then join the 2 halves together -

    Stitch the small triangles to the four corners to complete the block -
    Press the whole block -
    At this point you can either make more blocks using the same fabrics and alternating which fabric you add the small triangle to - or you could make all the blocks in different fabrics - making a lovely kaleidoscope of colour - the choice is yours!
     For now I have just made 2 different blocks -
    I might make up some more of these and see where the colours lead me, and I can already see the beginning of an illusion of a curve - so this could be fun, but that's all I have time for now.
    I'm off to enjoy a bit more of this late sunshine!
    Next week I'm demonstrating the ~Big Shot Machines, and the Bigz dies at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, alongside Lady Sew and Sew - sorry I don't know the stand number - but do come and say hello.

  • Carpenters Wheel quillow

    Thursday, 24 September, 2015

    The name quillow may be new to you - it means a quilt that folds into a pillow - or cushion. I love these and made some for each of my daughters as they went to university.
    The carpenters wheel block, made with 2" squares and half square triangles, (dies used - 659831
    http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/659831/sizzix-bigz-die-half-square-triangles-2-1-2-assembled-square and 657607 -http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/657607/sizzix-bigz-die-square-2-finished-2-1-2-unfinished, with the Big Shot Machine - http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660200/sizzix-big-shot-machine-only-white-gray) is a 16" square - so cut an 18" square in wadding and backing fabric. Layer the backing, wadding and cushion front together, pin and then quilt together.
    Trim the wadding and backing to the same size as the cushion front.
    Cut another piece of backing fabric the same size and
    Trim the wadding and backing to the same size as the cushion front.
    Cut another piece of backing fabric the same size and place on top of the cushion front and stitch around 3 sides (now you could leave the backing off when you are quilting but I like to quilt with a fabric on the back not just the wadding - but that's just personal choice)
    Turn the cushion right side out and press.
    For the quilt part I have used 1.8m by 112cm wide,of a plain black and a small print, and cut a piece of wadding to match.
    As I don't want to add a binding to the quilt I layered on fabric right side up, on the wadding.
    The cushion is placed in the middle of one end, matching raw edges, and then the other quilt fabric is placed right side down, over the top -
    Pin through all layers and stitch together, using a 1/4" or 6mm seam allowance, and leaving an opening of 12"/ 30cm in one side.
    Turn the quillow right side out, and slip stitch the open edges together.
    Quilt as desired - leaving the cushion free at the end -
    To complete flip the cushion onto the quilt, so that the pieced front is against the quilt, pin the sides to the quilt - and stitch in place, leaving the top edge open -
    (this photo should show black - but I'm not sure what happened to the colour!!)
    Turn the quillow over so that the pocket is underneath, fold the sides in to match the width of the cushion, then fold the length into 4, to match the cushion side.
    All that remains is to turn the cushion right side out, with all of the quilt inside - and that's it folks -
    A useful cushion, that doubles as a quilt for a cold evening.
    Next week I'll show off one of our new dies - and then the following week I'll be at the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace - so maybe I'll see some of you there.

  • Mystery block part 2

    Thursday, 17 September, 2015

     In a little while the block will be revealed - and I love it - it is complex but I think worth the effort so to continue - join your rectangles together to make squares - you will make 4 of each - (remember to press the seams flat open) -
    ant then join the squares together like this, again you will make 4 of each -

    and then join together like this - so that you have 4 quarters of the block -
    Lay the 4 quarters out - so that you join them together in the right arrangement -
     and then stitch them together to create your complete block -
    I know this block as Carpenters Wheel - and I love the 3-D effect. As my father was a carpenter it reminds me of him. I had hoped to make a table runner by making 3 of these blocks - but I don't have enough fabric so this will become a cushion - so look out for next week to see how this cushion becomes a quilt!!! 

  • Mystery block - part 1

    Thursday, 10 September, 2015

     Recently I had the privilege of demonstrating at a trade show in Lillestrom in Norway, with Global Hobby. I had a lovely time and came away with quite a few half-square triangles and squares cut - and I really liked some of the fabrics - so here we start the mystery block -
    this is a 16" finished block and you will need a long quarter of each fabric for the block - and make it easier for yourself by choosing non directional fabric - believe me it will be a lot easier! and you need clear distinction between the light medium and dark fabrics to get the best effect.
    You need to cut 32 x 2 1/2" half-square triangles from each fabric - using the Big Shot http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660200/sizzix-big-shot-machine-only-white-gray
    and Bigz die - 659831 http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/659831/sizzix-bigz-die-half-square-triangles-2-1-2-assembled-square
    and 12 x 2 1/2" square in light and 4 in dark, using the Bigz die 657607 http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/657607/sizzix-bigz-die-square-2-finished-2-1-2-unfinished
    Join the triangles together to make 16 squares in each colour combination, (and press the seams flat open because of the complexity and number of seams that join) -
    Join 16 squares together to make 8 rectangles like this -
    and then join the remaining squares into rectangles, 4 of each -
    So this will give you 32 rectangles and next time you'll see how to put them together for the complete block.
    Happy sewing

  • Back to school - kit bag

    Thursday, 3 September, 2015

     It's the beginning of September and now suddenly it's back to school, and my granddaughter, Abi is starting school - so this week I'm making a little bag for her P.E. kit -

    I have used 4 floral prints from the Little Bird Told Me fabric range from Lewis and Irene -
    38cm x 30cms for the bag, and small pieces for the letters and flowers.
    I fused web to the back of the fabrics for the letters and flowers before cutting them out - it makes it so much easier when stitching the shapes in place - no pins needed!
    I used the Big Shot machine and the following dies to cut out the flowers and letters -
    Flower, layers and leaves, by Dena Designs - 657690 -
    for the capital  - Lollipop Shadow Capital letters - 657892
    and for the lower case letters - Lollipop Shadow Lower Case letters - 660112
    Remember when cutting out letters the fabric needs to be right side down on the die because the letters and cut in reverse.
    The letters and flowers were fused into place one side of the bag -
    I placed the letters about 12cm from the bottom edge, and 5cm in from the edge, but this doesn't have to be exact., and added the flowers underneath and to one side. I stitched all the letters and flowers in place as this bag may take quite a bit of hard use!.
    To make the bag I folded it in half, right sides together and stitched the side and bottom - leaving a 2cm opening 2.5cm from the top -
    and I used a zig-zag stitch to neaten the raw edges.
    A 1cm fold was made around the top edge, onto the wrong side, and then folded over again 2 .5cm and stitched down -

    The opening in the side seam allows a ribbon to be threaded through as a drawstring.
    The bad is complete and can be turned right side out ready for use. If you like you can pull the ribbon through so that the knot is hidden inside.
    I think I might have to make a new bag for her big sister - but that can wait until later.
    Next week is a mystery.
    Have fun stitching.

  • Half Hexagon cushion cover

    Thursday, 27 August, 2015

     As it's nearly September I've started thinking about back to school and off to Uni - and that I haven't managed to complete many of my half completed projects!
    so I've combined off to Uni and finishing something, and made a cushion to brighten a student room.
    These half hexagon friendship braids have been lying around for ages - obviously they were cut using the Big Shot and the Half Hexagon die - 660175 http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660175/sizzix-bigz-die-5-half-hex

    So I cut some navy fabric stripes using the Big Shot Plus 660020http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660020/sizzix-big-shot-plus-machine-only-white-gray
    and the 2 1/2" strip 658328 http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/658328/sizzix-bigz-xl-25-die-strips-2-1-2-wide , and used them to join 3 of the strips together -

    I trimmed the top and bottom to make the edges straight and then just added a backing in the same navy to complete - I am going to insert a cushion pad and then slip stitch the edges together -
     So I'm feeling pleased with myself - one less thing to finish
    Next week might be back to school - or it might be a mystery quilt.
    Until then have fun sewing.

  • Wonderland Bird Decoration

    Thursday, 20 August, 2015

      HI there. Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I used this same die to decorate a baby bib - well now I'm thinking ahead to Christmas - I know it's early but I don't want to have a mad rush in December -
    Doesn't this make a lovely decoration - and all you have to do is cut out a pair of birds in red - using the Bigz die -http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660887/sizzix-bigz-die-wonderland-bird, and of course a Big Shot Machine - http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660200/sizzix-big-shot-machine-only-white-gray , and cut the a pair of wings and eyes from white felt. 
    I used sparkly red and white felt but plain will work just as well.
    Stitch the wings and eyes in place first, either by hand or machine.

    Then stitch the 2 birds together to complete.
    Now these can just sit on the Christmas tree, or you could string them on ribbon or thread and hang them.
    I have lots more ideas for this die so I think you will be seeing him quite a few more times between now and Christmas.
    By for now.

  • Wedding bunting

    Thursday, 13 August, 2015

     I hope you all enjoyed the Festival of Quilts - it was lovely meeting some of you for the first time and renewing acquaintance with others. I have to admit that I saw very little of the quilts because by the end of each day I was very tired, but I loved those that I did see.
    So back to normal life now - and I have some friends getting married later this month - so I am making bunting for them - I love making bunting - it's so easy especially when using the Bigz Equilateral Triangle die - 660119 - http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660119/sizzix-bigz-l-die-triangle-equilateral-4-3-4-h-x-5-1-2-w-unfinished and the Big Shot Plus Machine - 660020 - http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/660020/sizzix-big-shot-plus-machine-only-white-gray .
    I used the Plus machine because I could fold spare fabric by the side of the die, and not have to cut strips from the fabric
    I can cut 10 triangles from the width of 112 cm fabric, which will make 5 pennants, so you will need 14cm by width of fabric for every 5 pennants you want to make. 
    Here is my selection of fabrics - I have 6 prints and plains, and a plain cream that I have cut double the amount of to make sure that I have enough pennants as I am making 12 m of bunting. I have calculated that I need 7 pennants for each metre.

    Here I have stitch the pennants, R.S. together, leaving the top edge open. I have turned them R.S. out and then pressed a 6 mm seam to the inside, and stitched across. 
    Here they are with the top corners stitches to string - I have quite a few more to stitch but a good film and a glass of wine this evening should see it complete.
    Until next time - keep stitching

  • Bird and bear bibs

    Thursday, 6 August, 2015

     I have some new favourite dies -
    I think these look good on little bibs, but I also have other ideas for Christmas!
    I love the simple shapes - they are ideal for applique - although for the bear I have embroidered the eyes and nose as the pieces are so small.
    To make the bib I cut a triangle 42cm across and 24cm to the point -
    and I cut off the points on the top corners.
    I fused Heat and Bond to the wrong side of mid grey and aqua coloured plain fabrics and, using the die and the Big Shot, cut out the bird in grey and the heart/wing and the eye in aqua
    I fused it in place and then stitched around the shape so that it will withstand multiple washes.
     The backing was cut in towelling, the 2 pieces were stitched, right sides together, leaving an opening in one side -
    When the bib is turned right side out the opening is slip stitched together.
    To complete 2 small pieces of Velcro were stitched on the corners of the bib -
    remember that one piece will be on the right side and the other will be on the wrong side.
    The bear bib is made in the same way, but I fused the pieces on in stages to make the stitching easier -
    If-the scarf is stitched a piece at a time you don't need to keep stopping and starting and securing the ends of the threads
    and I stitched French knots for the eyes, and a few satin stitches for the nose -
    then the bib is put together in the same way as the bird bib.
    I've given one with a bear on it to my daughter for her little boy, and I think I might be making a few more. You can make then personal by adding the baby's name, using one of our alphabet dies - http://www.sizzix.co.uk/product/657837/sizzix-bigz-xl-alphabet-die-word-play is a good size and quite fun because it's irregular.
    That's all for this week - I hope I'll see you at the Festival of Quilts - I have lots of dies to demonstrate - so come and say hello to me on Lady Sew and Sew, or Beth on Cotton Patch, and Mandy on Abakhan.
    Enjoy the show if you're coming, or enjoy some sun and sewing.

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