Friday, 28 May 2010

Another sewing Sesh!

I think I'm in the midst of a bit of a sewing frenzy. I don't seem to be able to stop myself. After lunch on Wednesday, I decided a needed a new bag to use for my sewing class, as my patchwork one (eyes right) has been taken over with the crochet blanket. So, with just over an hour to make it before I picked up the boy, I turned this old skirt and thrifted pillowcase, into

... this, shabby chic, very worn looking hobo bag.

Perfecto. Certainly holds quite a lot actually. Then yesterday, I thought it was about time I used up my lovely Amy Butler print that I purchased back in February and was still languishing on my shelf. But what to make? In the end I settled for Heather Ross's Trapeze Dress (from Weekend Sewing), except I made it into a top.

I didn't have any tracing paper, so had to lay the pattern on some newspaper and then used my unpicker to prick holes around the pattern, but I cut out it out. It was a bit tedious, but worth it.

The pink is a lot brighter than it looks here and looks fab with a pink cardi I have. Nice to pop on over jeans (it covers the bum), with the said cardi.

Parents are back today, so I guess the machine will have to be put away for another week. Sigh. It's reverse psychology, isn't it? The minute it's out of bounds is the exact minute I HAVE to make something ... Shall have to content myself with knitting the summer top and doing a few more hexes. Have a good weekend, all!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


Today, the grandparents left us for a few days, to give us a break (they're coming back again). As my father left, he asked "what are you doing today?" and I thought, hmmm, good question. It's a funny thing that when you have visitors you spend so much time planning things for them that when they go - even briefly - you're kind of left dangling, from all the activity.

Recently, I got around to purchasing this book. I read Amanda's brilliant blog regularly, and read her previous book, The Creative Family, from cover to cover in almost one sitting. I love her ideas, her ethics and her seemingly endless energy - anyone who can homeschool 4 kids and have enough time to make their own sanitary towels is a wonderwoman, in my book. Anyhow, again I was totally inspired by this book as it really made me think about how much we waste in life these days - not just the food we fling out at the end of the week, but the clothes we can't wait to get rid of, just because we've never worn them, or the idea of buying dusters (for instance). What I'm trying to say is it really struck a chord that perhaps I do waste too much and perhaps I should think a bit more about recyling and repurposing stuff. And it's quite good fun and a challenge too.

So, this morning, I decided to do something about this waistcoat thing that I knitted a year or two ago and has been clogging up the bottom of my wardrobe ever since because it isn't really 'me', to be honest. I used Rowan All Seasons cotton which, we know, is not cheap. I like the colour and I thought okay, let's unravel it and use it for something else.

And this evening I started knitting this - a much nicer summer top which I hope I will actually wear this time.
It's from this book, in case you were wondering (you can see the original waistcoat, bottom right).

Meanwhile, after winding the wool, I got thinking about the last lot of the boy's old clothes which I hadn't yet thrown out. There were 5 pairs of jeans that were too small, but with holes in the knee so no good to pass on. Why not make them into shorts I thought? Okay for playing out in, surely?

But then I was left with these.

Now. Of course, normally I would have slung them in the bin, but today I had a flash of inspiration. My mind was thinking 're-purpose, re-purpose' and - lo and behold - a mere 5 hours later 4 new placemats were (re)born!

Talk about chuffed to bits! I used some blue and white ticking I already had, some soft denim chambray for the backing and binding which I also already had, and some left-over cotton batting (from the boy's quilt) for the middles.

I tell you what is so extra nice about these - they are soooo soft because the denim from the jeans had been washed so much, it's really soft, as is the other materials used. Also, I have enough of the pale blue chambray to make a matching set of napkins! Hurrah for me! And hurrah for Amanda!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Phew! What a scorcher!

Well a combo a grandparents staying and 3 scorching hot days has meant a dreadful lack of posting, for which I apologise.

We didn't have a pump to fit the paddling pool, so the boy had to make do with a rather squashed effort - but it was so hot, he was happy anyway.

Fun was had at the beach today - a sand monster appeared,

... and then disappeared in the sea.

But what about the stitching, I hear you ask? Well, I've been hexing in the garden ...

so nice to sit in the sun and stitch away. I think it will just be a cushion cover actually - perhaps not a quilt (!!). And then the evenings have been spent piecing together the granny square blanket.

I still have 2 more long rows to add - I was thinking of doing it long and thin, like a shawl for the summer evenings, but now I'm thinking it might be a bit too thin so - guess what - more squares are needed (hurrah!). I guess that means another visit to the wool shop ... sigh ...

Friday, 14 May 2010

Edege of your pants!

Well I expect you've been on the edge of your pants, just waiting for me to reveal this quilt (not). So here it is

Can you see the crinkling effect? I love it.

The boy was fairly thrilled with it, although slightly more thrilled with his new Cars DVD which he got yesterday (even though it was merely a replacement, as his first one was scratched and worn out due to constant use). Who am I to compete with the god that is Lightening McQueen?

But now, of course, I have no sewing project!! Help! Actually, my parents are visiting for the next 3 weeks which rather puts my machine out of action because they are staying in the spare room where my sewing corner is. Bummer :( (not that I don't want to see my parents of course ;). But I did have a bit of a light bulb moment. You see, even though these quilts are super lovely, the real, bare bones of an 'heirloom' quilt in my book is the traditional hexagonal one, hand-stitched, totally random. You sometimes see them in antique shops (rarely in charity shops) and I just gravitate towards them like a moth to a flame.

So I thought, well I have a very large bag of scraps from all the different projects I've done in my house - cushions, quilts, mats, etc - scraps that are too small to make anything with but I saved really for applique projects. Why not start a quilt then, I thought? So I've printed off some hexes from the computer and ... may the cutting begin. I just hope it's not as addictive as the crochet granny squares otherwise my whole house is going to be overrun with squares and hexes :)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Oooh you ... tinker!

Remember the jelly roll quilt? Well, believe it or not, it's finished! I only started it - what - 2 weeks ago?, at my Wednesday night sewing class and now it's blinking well finished. And it's not like I've spent ages slaving away on it, because I haven't.

Of course, the fabulous nature of jelly rolls is that you don't have to spend too long cutting the fabrics because it's already in long strips. You just have to cut it off to the lengths you want. And I suppose I must have chosen a pretty straight forward pattern because I only had 40 blocks to assemble before adding the border and binding.

Even the quilting itself was straight forward as I was able to follow the lines of the blocks and quilt either side of each seam.

It's now been washed and ... it's in the dryer being 'crumpled'!! Sorry - you'll have to wait till tomorrow to see the finished item. I don't know if you know about this technique where you wash the quilt and then put it in a very hot dryer and it comes out all crumbled and textured and lovely, as if it's been there for years? I used it for my other quilt - this one -

It's a bit hard to see, but it's crumpled and sort of slightly puckered (nb: the above was made from Alicia's fabulous pattern - she suggests this shrinking technique). I loved the finish of it, and it also gets the first wash out of the way - you know, the one you're slightly anxious about in case the whole things runs or bleeds. Actually, I use Colour Catchers, just in case. I shall reveal the results tomorrow.
Meanwhile, crochet granny hanger no.3 has just rolled hot off the press.

I decided to add this lavender-filled heart, too, as I thought it would make the clothes smell nice.
I like the colours in this one - the jade colour with the pink is slightly more girly than the previous grey I used. Do you think these would make nice pressies for girl friends? I thought perhaps a label saying "I couldn't afford a dress, but here's a hanger to put it on" or something along those lines!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


I found out yesterday that my son's school is taking part in a Sing Up project, where they have to sing a song in school every day. Which accounts for his recent cheery attempts to sing to me. Firstly, we had
"oh when the sailors, oh when the sailors, on when the sailors go marching in ...."
(Try to keep a straight face please)
because we then had 'dem bones' and did you know that
"your knee bone's connected to your ... willy bone ...'? :) :) :) "
God love him.

Monday, 10 May 2010

The Pefect Shopping Trip

You know sometimes, you go shopping and it turns out to be just about the most perfect shopping trip? Well, this is exactly what happened on Saturday. We went over to Kendal as I needed some more wool. So first stop, wool shop.

Purchase no.1 some more gorgeous Debblie Bliss cashmerino to continue along my crocheting way with the granny squares. This blanket will probably end up costing me an arm and a leg, as the wool isn't cheap and I've already clocked up 8 balls (not including the above). Ahem.

However. The boy keeps picking up the squares and rubbing them on his cheek and saying "ahh, so soft mummy", which makes me want to make it the best blanket ever. Plus, they are totally addictive little things these squares and I am loving doing them. Oh, what the hell, I don't need to justify :)

Purchase no.2 a case - to use as a Memory Box for the boy. I have been picturing finding just this very case, in my mind's eye, to put all of the boy's things in that I've saved over the years, e.g. birthday cards, bits of clothing, etc. They are currently in a small box, but it's overflowing, so I needed something a bit more substantial. Now this was found in a shop that was full to the brim with bric-a-brac and bargains galore. The sort of shop you dream of, quite honestly, and best of all - it was all dirt cheap!
So, hot on the heals came purchase no.3 - this little butcher's block thingy.
Just behind the rocking chair in this picture is a little cubbyhole, which is under the 'old' stairs. It is the coolest part of the kitchen - because we have a Stanley (which is like an Aga), the kitchen is always warm and toasty which is great, but sometimes it's hard to find a cool place to store things like cakes. So I needed something to fit into the little space - lo and behold, this little unit was found in the above shop - only 40 quid! Perfect!
And as if this wasn't enough, I still needed some more of the granny coathangers. So, off to Oxfam I went and after asking the man, who had to rummage through his back room, out he popped with these - Purchase no.4 - 10 hangers for £2.50! Hurrah! Now I can get on with some more of these:
Can you imagine how chuffed I was? Flaming marvellous, the lot. Plus, we found a lovely new cafe for lunch - the sort with sofas and leather armchairs, serving crepes (yum!) and it even became a little cinema at night! I mean, talk about - yes, you guessed it - perfect! And 3 out of the 4 items were 'thrifted', which makes it even better in my book ;)

Friday, 7 May 2010

Crochet Crazy

Yes, I seem to be on a bit of a crochet rollercoaster at the moment. Inspired by the likes of Lalabibaby and Posy Gets Cosy recently, I attempted one of these:

and I can't tell you how blinking chuffed I am with it!! I'd always thought that these coat hangers were one step too far down the granny road - however - I take it back because it's just so pretty and really does make your clothes feel special. Imagine a whole wardrobe of different coloured ones, with your dresses draped over them.

Watchout friends, as I think I may be whipping up a few of these for pressies! My only problem is getting hold of the hangers. I know I chucked a whole load of these sort out last year (doh!), and a trip to the local charity shop only produced 2, so I guess I'll be trawling round some more to stock up. Failing that, I'll have to accost some old people in the street ;)
Meanwhile, the boy's patchwork quilt is coming together pretty quickly. I laid the squares out at my sewing class on Wednesday and then we all had a good play around with them to make sure they were 'random' enough - not too many darks together, not too many plains together, etc. It's quite hard to get random right sometimes, isn't it?

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Patchwork mania

This is a patchwork quilt I've been working on for the boy. I'm using a Jelly Roll for it, which makes life so much easier because all the material is there for you and it all matches. All you have to do is cut the strips into the required length and then sew them together. Simples!

(If you don't know what a Jelly Roll is - it's the round thing on the cover of this book and consists of 40 strips of co-ordinating fabric).

I found this book in the local library. It's got loads of different quilt designs using just one jelly roll - which is easily enough for a single size quilt. You will need some extra material for the border, bindings and backing though. And the batting. But I still think it's a relatively cheap option for making a quilt. The jelly roll cost £26.99 and the fabrics are a very nice weight, 100% cotton and you get 40 different ones that all co-ordinate so you can put anything with anything. The pattern I chose uses 40 different squares, so each square will be different.

These are my border and binding fabrics, which I bought yesterday.

Meanwhile, the crochet squares are multiplying

but I seem to be running out of wool, so another trip to the wool shop is in order.

Now I really must put my mind to my monthly photo montage thingy. The last one I did was this one - February! In my defence, my print cartridge needed replacing ... ahem ... anyway, I'm on the case now ;)