Friday, July 29, 2011

We've been sewing

The kids LOVED using these little sewing machines.

The pink one's great for littlies because it has a plastic guard all the way around the needle (but its a pain to thread). In the end I stopped threading it because Dane just loved running the fabric under it and didn't care that he wasn't actually 'sewing' anything.

I just bought a whole bunch of cheap felt from Spotlight which Sarah enjoyed cutting up and sewing back together (she made a little owl but I don't know where its gone now). Felt's great because it doesn't fray.

I've been doing a wee bit of sewing too.  Some little baby pants (tutorial here - just made my cuffs a bit differently).

And matching reversible shoes (tutorial here).  I lined them with flannel so they're extra comfy.

And lastly I made one of Kajsa Wikman's little Tommtu dolls from her book Scandinavian Stictches using Umbrella Prints fabrics (more about the quilt later).

I love the fact that Grace who is 1/4 Finnish now has a Finnish dolly. It's taller than her! I hope she doesn't poke her eye out with it!

Oh, and I just have to show off my new scarf. It's beautifully soft being 100% silk.

It's so grown up but kind of fun at the same time. The colours are gorgeous! Another brilliant design from Saffron Craig (they're available here).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cheater Cloth

Have you ever used cheater cloth? I bought this fabric (Denyse Schmidt's Patchwork Promenade panel from her County Fair collection) years ago. I wanted a quilt by Denyse Schmidt and this was the closest I was going to get to it. Originally I was going to hand quilt it to make it look like it was a pieced top instead of just one big piece of fabric. As time went on and my quilting skills and confidence increased I found I could actually design and make my own quilt tops, so this stayed stashed away in the cupboard. Just before Grace was born I decided this would make a perfect picnic quilt. I've always liked the idea of a picnic quilt, but just couldn't bear the thought of the kids spilling food all over a quilt that I had spent weeks on. This was the perfect solution - quick, hardy (its a heavier weigh decorator cotton) and beautiful!

This quilt was so much fun to quilt! I just did random straightish/wobblyish lines vertically and horizontally, sewing at break-neck speed with wreckless abandon. And my machine goes pretty fast!

I even tried machine binding the edges. It worked okay, but the corners didn't catch all that well, so I had to finish it off with some hand stitching in a few spots. My sister, Amelia, just showed me a great technique to ensure perfect machine binding. I think she'll be posting a tutorial soon :)

We've already used it, and look it has sand all over it...

And fish and chips! I wasn't even a little bit precious about it :)

I finished this quilt before Grace was born but am only just getting around to posting about it now.

I think I'm going to take a little blogging break. Take your pick from the following reasons - my camera's battery is dead and I can't find the charger, Dane popped my camera's SD card into the back of the computer's CD reader, Sarah's about to start school and I want to spend some time with her, Grace is not sleeping well and, quite frankly, I'm exhausted. Once my big girl starts school in a couple of weeks I'll be back to show you what I've been working on. In the mean time, happy quilting!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Gift from the Darling Kaye

I've been waiting by the mailbox for a mystery package from Kaye (of Miss Print) ever since she let me know she'd made something for Grace. You can understand my excitement when this absolutely stunning little cardigan arrived!

It's beautifully made, with perfectly even stitches and gorgeous detail. It's also lovely and soft. I can't believe how clever Kaye is. I wouldn't even know where to start on something like this.

It's been really cold here lately, so Grace will get plenty of wear out of it. Then I'll pack it away for the next bubba (did I just say that?).

Thank you so much Kaye!

Also, I wanted to show you a little covered notebook that I made this morning using Lara's tutorial (over at Chocoate Coated). It looks patchworky, but it's made from a fat quarter of Echino fabric, and it took about 15 minutes (if that). I gave it to my nanna. She lives with us and I thought she could write in it shopping lists for me to get for her and things like that. Ofcourse when she saw it she loved it and declared that it's too special to be used, so it will probably just sit on her dresser looking pretty. I tried to explain that pretty things should be used....

I might have to make another one for me.

I can't help but finish with some pics for my mum and dad overseas...

Friday, July 1, 2011

When "Stack and Slash" just doesn't cut it

I had a fabulous time at the show! Grace was very well behaved in her sling, although I did do a lot of jiggling. Even when Saffron took her for a cuddle, I found myself continuing to dance away!  I didn't bring my camera, so I have nothing to show you, but it was a wonderful day out catching up with friends - Becky, Toni, Saffron, the girls from Material Obsession, and Kelani Fabric - and drooling over fabric. We've only just returned from Sydney so I've been busy unpacking and trying to get back to normal. I wouldn't recommend travelling with a new baby, 3 year old and 5 year old by yourself but we made it! And it was worth it to spend time with family :)

Just before we left for Sydney I had an idea for a quilt using Saffron Craig's new Imaginary Flowers range. She had posted a photo of some lampshades done in her fabrics and they looked gorgeous, so I ran with that idea and "Lampshade Lineup" was born. Most of this was pieced between 11pm and 1am (the only time I have to myself nowadays).

First of all I tried using my trusty old "Stack and Slash" method, freehand curved cutting and piecing. However that kind of wonky, lopsided look just didn't go with the perfectly square lampshades. I've never seen a lopsided lamp stand (it reminds me of what you might come out of a beginners pottery class).

So I bit the bullet and created a template using a cereal box. I wasn't happy with the first one (a bit skinny in the middle), but with a bit of tweaking I came up with something that looked like a lamp stand whether it was right way round or upside down.

This is what happened when I didn't pin - puckers even a iron wont fix!

I initially thought of adding some extra colour to it, but when I lay it out it looked confusing, so I stuck to a consistent background colour.

Although it took a little more effort (templates AND pinning - what's going on!) I'm really happy with how it turned out (they really are beautiful fabrics - especially the "Lean to Stripe") and I'm looking forward to quilting it. I'm thinking of quilting mainly on the background. Feel free to offer suggestions.