• Any one for coffee?

    Thursday, 18 September, 2014

     Yes that's right - the coffee table is finished and it's time to sit back and relax - and at least in North Wales it's a lovely mild afternoon with a pale blue sky - just right to sit back and enjoy.
    To create the top I had a piece of hardboard cut to the inset size of the table. I marked a grid onto the hardboard and drilled holes for the thread for the buttons.
    I covered the hardboard with 1" foam and then covered that with grey wool fabric, smoothing it out across the foam.
    Using the Big Shot and Bigz die I cut 18 circles to use to cover buttons for the top.

    It made covering the buttons even easier - especially as I used a 'self cover button tool'
    Insert the fabric and the button top into the soft rubber holder, place the back over the button and press in with the rigid plastic tool - so easy -

    I then stitched the buttons through the foam and the hardboard - tying the threads at the back to give some tension.
    The edges of the grey fabric were laced together to hold in place.
    It's then really simple to place the top into the top of the table - and now it's an attractive unique piece of furniture.

    Now to plan some projects for Christmas!!!
    Until next week have fun.

  • Coffee Table challenge!

    Thursday, 11 September, 2014

    How are you enjoying our extended summer - I've just sat outside to enjoy the sun whilst having my lunch - I guess there probably won't be too many more days like today so I decided to make the most of it!
    Meanwhile back in the workroom -

    I've covered the sides of the table with 1" foam - cut into strips 1" deeper than the side - I've notched the foam where it goes around a corner - I used a wide double sided tape to fix the it to the table.
    Meanwhile I had extended the strip of patchwork that I had started last week so that it was a bit longer that the circumference of the table (just as a reminder I used the 10" Dresden plate die with my Big Shot
    I turned the table right way up and stretched the fabric up over the foam and onto the inside edge of the coffee table side and stapled in place - it is a little tricky and you may need an extra pair of hands to get started - 

    and the corners are sort of pleated together like this -

    and so it looks like this -
    I'm going to try taping the staples in further with a small hammer later - for today this is what it looks like -
    Next week I'm going to cover the buttons and make the padded top - that should be a lot easier than all this stapling - so until next week - enjoy the extended summer.

  • Under cover coffee table

    Thursday, 4 September, 2014


    How are you this week? I'm recovering from looking after my gorgeous granddaughters - Oona decided that last week was the time to cut 2 new teeth - which explained the sleepless nights.
    However in the middle of it all their dresses were altered and here they are, as promised-
    Abi, on the left wasn't very well - but did manage to play her part walking down the aisle -
     and Eve enjoyed every moment of the day -
     So now back to work - and the coffee table -
    I have used 
    10" Dresden Plate Bigz L die - 660120 to cut the fabrics to go around the sides of the coffee table. I'm mixing the patterns and colours to create quite a random effect.
    The plain grey fabric is going to cover the middle and I'm going to cover some buttons, to stud the top, using the same fabrics, and I will pad the sides and to give a softer finish.
    Next week I hope to have the sides finished and maybe the buttons covered - I'm looking forward to seeing how this will work - and then I may need to cover other things!!!
    I'll be in touch again next week - meanwhile enjoy the last few days of summer.

  • Cotton and Steel

    Thursday, 28 August, 2014

    Hello - how is  your week turning out? I have my 3 grand-daughters staying with me this week - they are 1,3 and 5 - so as you can imagine there hasn't been a lot of sewing going on here! Well I have been altering some dresses for them as they are flower girls at a wedding next week - so I'll save showing you  their photo until they are all scrubbed and dressed up next week!
    Needless to say I haven't had a moment to finish the bird table runner from last week - even though 5.30 a.m., has become a normal time in my day - so I'm afraid I'll have to postpone showing the finished item.
    So why is the blog called Cotton and Steel this week - well it's because I have a selection of fabrics from the collection to start a new project -

    There are quite a lot of fabrics in the fun new collection by some talented new designers - I love all the new colour and print mixes coming onto the market this year and hope it will continue for a long time. 
    I have been given these to make a padded cover and top for a coffee table - we saw a picture of one we liked but decided that the budget wouldn't stretch to buying it - so we are going to make our own variation - so watch this space over the next few weeks to see how it progresses - and if it turns out the way we imagine!
    Well the sun is shining and I have some little girls waiting to go shopping for a present for a birthday party tomorrow. When we come back we are going to use the Big - Shot and some Bigz dies to cut paper and card shapes to make some birthday cards and gift tags.
    It won't be long now until bedtime - not the girls - mine!!
    That's all for this week - I'm off to have some fun with 3 little beauties - more sewing news next time.

  • Birds on a line - table runner

    Thursday, 21 August, 2014

    Hello. the Festival of Quilts already seems a long time ago and Christmas projects now beckon! which feels crazy - but that's the way the deadlines work. - So before I really start thinking about Christmas - and ideas for decorations and quick gifts to make I thought I'd show you some of the table runners I made for the Festival.,
    This week I'm featuring the Birds on a line - it uses a Bigz Die - Bird w/Wing #2 by Rachel Bright - 659824 , which are appliqued into place -

    You can either make it using co-ordinating fabrics or use up some of those scraps you've been stockpiling.
    For the background, and backing, I used a cream on cream print - 48" x 44". Cut into 4 pieces 12" x 44". Join 2 pieces together to make a long strip, and repeat with the other 2 pieces for the backing.
    Choose your fabrics for the birds - you will need fabric 6" x 5" for each bird, and I made 14 birds.

    Before cutting the birds and wings iron a fusible web to the wrong side of the fabrics, then cut using die 659824 - I cut the birds with fabric RS and WS up so that they would face in both directions.
    Remove the backing from the fabrics and arrange along the length of the table runner, and then fuse in place. (At this point I reduced the length of the table runner to 82")
    Mix and match the wings on the birds, and fuse in place.
    I stitched the birds in place using a narrow zig-zag stitch in matching colours.

    Now as you can see I've added a binding but haven't quilted it yet - I know this is the wrong way to do things but it was the only way this table runner was going to be useable at the show!!
    I selected one of my fabrics for the binding and I cut 1 1/2" strips to give a total of 190" - I joined the pieces together to make a long strip.
    Layer up the backing, a piece of wadding 12" x 84" and then lay the top RS up and pin/tack the layers together.
    I then stitched the binding RS to the top of the runner, pressed to the wrong side, turned under a 1/4" seam allowance and slip stitched it to the back of the runner.

    So now I have to decide how to finish this - I can't make up my mind whether to create a 'washing line' for the birds to sit on - or to create 'twigs' with machine stitching.
    I'll let you know which I chose next time.
    The birds would also look good on a cushion, or pillows, and you could also make someplace mats to match the table runner.
    Or thinking about Christmas how about making some in silver fabric to hang on a tree - my ideas are now running away with me so I it's time for me to go!!!
    Have fun stitching.

  • Did you enjoy the show?

    Thursday, 14 August, 2014

    Well I hope you did.
    As always I am very tired after the Festival of Quilts - 27 workshops in 4 days is a lot, but as always it means that I met a lot of lovely ladies, and we also had a few lovely gents join us this year.
    The only down side for me is that I hardly saw any of the quilts on display - just a quick run round after the show had closed on Saturday evening, and also I don't have much time to be tempted to spend my money - although our stand was right by a rather lovely fabric stand which did cost me a bit - photos to follow in the next few weeks showing my creations.
    So for now I thought I'd show you the project we made at the show -


    a useful jewellery roll using one of the new Nel Whatmore applique dies -
    I think I'm going to have some fun with this die - I'm planning a little clutch bag with lots of beads or sequins on it for the Christmas session.
    Nik from The Cotton Patch had also been very busy creating a couple of new quilt kits which were on display at the show -
    This quilt was made using the 5" Half Hexagon die - and almost creates a 3D effect
     and this quilt uses another of my favourite dies  10" Dresden Plate -
    I love the vivid colours Nik used in this one.
    Well that's all for now folks - back to work on a quilt for Christmas.
    Next week I'll show you some of the completed ( yes I am giving myself a pat on the back ) table runners we used at the Festival of Quilts - as long as I've located the boxes they were packed in!!
    Enjoy stroking your purchases, reading your books, dreaming of having time to make lots of new projects. How about a nice cuppa?

  • The Festival of Quilts - it's begun!

    Friday, 8 August, 2014

    Hello from sunny Birmingham - yes we have a lovely blue sky over the NEC, and there are so many lovely stands, and quilts on display.

    I've already purchased some fabric -  just a little to make some fabric books for my youngest grand-daughter - and that was before the show started!!!

    So did I manage to make everything ready for the show - yes I did  - and we think the stand looks fantastic as you can see -

    I love the new colours for the bunting and the table runners - apparently they are this summer's wedding colours.

    The workshops are in full swing -

    if you want to join in remember to come early to get a seat at stand E1, or visit our demonstrators who are with The Cotton Patch, Lady Sew and Sew, Abakhan Fabrics and Popular Patchwork.

    Enjoy the show - I'll show you my highlights during the next couple of weeks.

  • Festival Madness

    Thursday, 31 July, 2014

     OK so that's a slight exaggeration - but if you have a look
    then you'll see that there is still quite a bit of work to do - but after a while - all this will look like this --
     432 workshop kits - all neatly packed in individual plastic bags - ready and waiting for all of you to come and take part in the workshop!! We'll be on stand  E1 and workshops start at 10.15 each day - they're free - chance to have a try out of the Big Shot and Bigz Die. ( also a chance to take the weight off your feet!)
    We will also have demonstrators with Abakhan Fabrics, Cotton Patch, Lady Sew and Sew and Popular Patchwork - it will be difficult to miss us.
    Now you may be wondering how the table runners are coming on - it has taken me 2 days to cut fabric, 2 days to fuse and iron fabric - so they still all have to be finished!!! How many sleeps do I still have until the show  - 7, well only 6 really because we have to set up on Wednesday.
    To find out if I manage to get everything completed in time - you'll just have to come and see me at the show!!!
    Don't forget - E1
    I'm off to pack some more kits - see you next week.

  • Pin cushions and tablerunners!

    Thursday, 24 July, 2014

     Are you enjoying the summer sun? I'm  hoping that it will be sunny tomorrow morning so that I can have breakfast on the patio - I'll pretend I'm on holiday and that the Festival of Quilts is still weeks away!
    I'm working in the office today - and have a fan blowing straight on me - it's the only way not to melt.
    I am making progress with the preparations for the show - this week the pin cushions are all completed - and one of the patchwork table runners is ready to be quilted - I've used the tessellating pinwheel for the table runner - , and the pin cushions were in last weeks blog.

    the next task is to make 2 more patchwork table runners -
    As you can see the pieces are already cut a nd ready to sew - the dies I've used for these are - Equilateral triangle - and the Half Hexagon -
    Without the Big Shot and the Bigz Dies I wouldn't even contemplate trying to get so much done in just under 2 weeks - because I haven't mentioned the applique table runners still to be made.
    I know I've mentioned counting down to an event by the number of sleeps - well in this case I feel it might be a case of how many sleepless nights are left!!!
    Well I'm going to switch from the computer to the sewing machine and see how much I can accomplish this afternoon.
    I hope you can keep cool and enjoy the summer.

  • Countdown to Festival of Quilts!

    Thursday, 17 July, 2014

    In just 3 weeks time the show will be open and in full swing! As I write this I'm holding down the panic and telling myself calmly that everything will be ready in time! So what has me in such a spin - to start with  - I need to prepare the kits for the workshops - 432 - and make sure that we have all the necessary pins, needles, scissors and threads.
    Then I'm making new pin cushions - to co-ordinate with our new bunting ( which is complete ), and then there are table runners and some cushions for display - so these items will be appearing on this blog over the next few weeks, and of course you'll be able to see the real things if you come by and see us at the Festival.
    So this week I'm previewing the pincushions - I saw a pincushion similar to this one in Love Patchwork and Quilting - so I've adapted it and altered the size a bit to fit in with our dies -

    To make this I used small pieces of 4 fabrics - and the new 1" finished square die -
    This really can use up some of your scraps - and you could start now to make a basket full for little Christmas gifts  -
    Using the appropriate dies and Big Shot  cut 2 x 1 1/2" squares from 2 contrasting fabrics
    Cut 1 x 2 1/2" square from fabric 3 and finally cut a rectangle with the 4th fabric.
    Join the small squares together in pairs -
    and then join the pairs together and join to the larger square -
    Join the front to the rectangle back with right sides together - leaving one end open turn right side out
    Stuff the pin cushion and slip stitch the opening shut.
    Attach ribbon around the middle to complete -
    I think it's cute - and if you slipped some plastic or cardboard in the back then you could attach elastic to the back and make it a wrist pin cushion.
    So 1 down 15 more to go!!
    More projects with new dies next week - and it will be only 2 weeks until the show - have you got your tickets yet?
    Have fun.

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