Sunday, 20 November 2011


Hallelujah, yesterday I finished my Modern Christmas table runner, and today I have finished the 2 christmas ornaments. I had to go into Leicester today to get a move on with the Christmas shopping and to buy some red ribbon to hang the ornaments.

Here's the runner on my kitchen table, and here are the ornaments.
I have 4 rejects - started but unfinished ornaments - I found the ornaments quite difficult.

I need to pack them up tonight and tomorrow I will take them into work to arrange for it to go via DHL.

Housework has taken a back seat whilst I've been doing the sewing this last week or two so I have a lot to catch up on. Think of me....

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Christmas Ornaments

I have had a bit of a "think", and a look through various magazines and supplies that I have and am going to try several things.
1. A check heart. I need to finish stuffing it and stitch it closed, which will be a challenge as I left the gap on one of the curves. I should have left the opening in a straighter section. I may then attach a button or two, or perhaps just a hanging ribbon / cord.
2. This is something I've been meaning to do for about 10 years! I bought some gold bugle beads as many years ago I saw a beaded star stitched on red velvet. I don't have velvet, I just have cotton or silk. I have small round beads and bugle beads. In a copy of "Quilts Japan" ( I used to have a subscription) there are several ideas for stars. I've located my embroidery hoop.
3. A red heart with small beads sewn all round the side seams.
4. A red reindeer. Felt antlers and red cotton body?.
5. Buy some large ( 3") metal rings, crochet a star in the middle of them using gold thread.
6. Shisha mirror - I've had these rather a long time too. Use it as a centre in a log cabin block - I have some gridded vilene which I could sew on to. I'd probably have to glue the Shisha on first.
7. I have some natural buttons - so natural it'll take a bit to pick out the best ones. They are probably horn but I'm not sure. They are ivory coloured, heart shaped. But they're not Christmassy on their own. I also have some small square single hole mother of pearl (?) buttons. I could sew them in a pattern.
8. Felt leaves and berries on a florists wire wreath - 3 inches across.

I have really enjoyed doing this swap, not that I've done yet, and I only have just under 2 weeks to go! I like the focus that it gives, it encourages you to try new things - patterns - techniques. And there is a deadline, and it's great looking at what everyone else is up to.
A non-sewer I know said it seemed like an awful lot of effort for someone you don't know. But that's the point isn't it?. We enjoy sewing and we willingly create these things for someone. We stalk their blog and see what they're up to, and hope that what we are making will be liked and used.
I have participated in 3 swaps before - 2 of my quilts are in the States, and one is in New Zealand. I enjoy tracking my parcel - wishing I could travel with it.
I in return have had one from France, one from Norway and one from Singapore. It's great getting a parcel, but if you receive before you've finished your own it piles on the pressure!
When this is over I will have to do a few things for Christmas then will try to finish my postage stamp quilt. If I see another 1 1/2" strip ....I'll explode!.
I've had to dig deep through my cupboard to find all those bits and bobs. Whilst it's annoying that some things took a bit of finding ( beads and Shisha mirrors in particular) I have actually enjoyed sorting though things. I have the opportunity to sort out and trim down. Oh the things in that cupboard - I'll post a picture later - most of it is sewing stuff but there are lots of other small bags of miscellaneous stuff -old pens, hand creams, bits of paper I wanted to keep, all my old note books. why do I keep all of this? I'm going to have a serious trim down, it is not good surrounding yourself by all this clutter. Our bin ( refuse) collection is fortnightly - alternate weeks for general rubbish and recyclable cardboard /paper. I always used to pride myself on not filling the bins but now it's my challenge to fill the appropriate bin each week and get rid. Of course charity shops do get anything that is good enough to sell on which isn't much by the time we have worn our clothes to death, or the boys have lost parts of games and jigsaws. I always take the rags to the local Leukaemia charity shop in for their rag money.
I have a huge box of the boys school exercise books, and tons of photos. These I'll leave for the time being. I have allowed myself one box of "nostalgia". It contains my old teddy bear, my Barbie ( the proper 1960s Barbie not the cheap modern ones ) and her clothes. She has a Rabbit skin jacket that my mum made from a Rabbit skin I bought once from a local department store. I'll have a look in the box in a day or 2 and show you a few things.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Good old Lego.

And whilst I was typing up the previous blog I had my 13 year old playing with Lego, making a big racket dropping bits on the Kitchen floor.

Ahh, Lego.

Unfortunately he was making a gun...

A working gun, but not that lethal, misfires too often and has a tendency to fall to bits.

The process pledge

I remember taking the process pledge, and I have the button on the right. But of course my followers are few and far between and all in the know, so what do I have to tell you all? Nothing you don't already know but here goes anyway.
Here is the pieced top. I was going to put a white border round it.

Then I decided not to do white, I can't really think why other than there's a lot of white here.
So then I thought I'd do a pieced border of 1" squares. Here's the strips of squares.

I have been cutting strips, sewing them together then cutting them into smaller sections. The problem with this method is that if you are not very careful the seams start to come undone. So I'd have to stitch a securing row of stitches 1/4" in before handling them much. Accuracy is a bit of a problem too, and I've measured my 12" blocks and they're not quite 12" (how rubbish is that!) , so 1" squares need a bit of tweaking. Grrr ..
I pieced the backing. I prewashed all the fabrics before starting this project, but have washed the front and the pieced backing. When I poured the hot water on I got a bit more bleeding, so I put the backing in the washing machine again for a longer wash, and did the front by hand. Double grrrr. Needless to say I would have to wash the delicate 1" squares strips before sewing them to the front, so would definitely have to do the rows of securing stitches before they get a wash.
So this is the stage I'm at.
Ohh, look at the front lying on top of the pieced backing - that would look good. Scrub 1" square border, I'll do an irregular pieced border, with both sides the same, and the two end borders whatever print is on the end of the long side.
I'm still fiddling with the backing - having cut 2 strips off the side some rearrangement is needed. Somehow I seem to be getting through a lot of fabric!

I got the boys back last night so have to fit this around work and boys. I have my sewing group on Tuesday night so if I'm lucky, or a bad mother I could get it pieced, sandwiched and machine quilted by the end of Monday evening. Then I can do a bit of hand quilting on Tuesday. It's now Saturday so that's a no-no.
Next week I need to get my skates on and finish the quilting, and perhaps get the binding on on the 13th. I need to think about a label - I would normally put a label on but If I don't at least it would be reversible.
So secret swap partner have you figured out that this is for you by now?

Do you remember the irregular regular 5 pointed star I did.
I don't particularly like having a central big triangle, and 3 small ones attached. I had to tweak it to get it more regular than it was turning out at this stage but having a large triangle in the middle draws your eye to the irregularities.
So I thought I'd do one with a central pentagon and 5 small triangles attached. I did this the other weekend.

First find yourself an accurate template. Trace off the pentagon and the triangles onto freezer paper. Cut out the shapes accurately. Iron onto the white fabric then cut out using a small ruler to add 1/4 inch. I'm a left handed! Measure how big you need the background fabric and cut a few strips. Cut to shape using the template as a guide. Pin a white triangle to a piece of the backing matching the points accurately. Once it's pinned top and bottom you can remove the paper.Do this with all 5 triangles, then you can start to sew to the central pentagon. The first one needs to be a partial seam.Here the second piece has been sewn on and I'm trimming the excess backing. Here is the last section being trimmed after being sewn on. Now you just need to finish the first partial seam. And here is the final star.

I have no plans for it, it was just an experiment as I wasn't pleased with the first one I did.

On the non-sewing side of life work has been very hectic. I've recently either gone in early, stayed late lots or logged back in once I've got home. It's only this week that I've been managing to catch up with the almighty backlog.
This week we have sat down to watch 2 episodes of a programme I've recorded - "Frozen Planet" by David Attenborough. All the programmes this man does are wonderful . Last year or earlier this year he did a series called "The Human Planet" It was different from his usual wildlife programmes as it was about how humans have adapted to live in various ( and sometimes inhospitable) locations.
I did a degree in Anthropology many years ago and it was always the Material Culture studies that I found the most interesting. I do absolutely nothing related to Anthropology now, I'm a bit of a numbers / database / spreadsheet person.
On Sunday we will be meeting up with my Mum and Step dad, and my late sisters partner for a meal. Jill died in 2009 aged 52, of secondary Breast Cancer. I miss her every day. Weather permitting, if sunny spells are forecasted, I'll drag the boys out for a walk somewhere. Every where is so beautiful with the trees turning. And as it's dark now in the evening you have to make the most of getting out and about when you can.