• 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.

  • 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.

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