Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Purple Sofia Hell

I'm not quite sure what I did to deserve this ...

There I was, perusing the shelves of a local chain fabric store with my soon to be 4 year old in tow ... when I hear the following words ...

Miss almost 4: "Sofia! Sofia!  Look Mummy, it's Princess Sofia!"

To my utter horror, she had found a whole bolt (because no-one else wants the stuff) of Princess. Sofia. PURPLE. fabric ... fabrics Gods have mercy on me!

Far out ... the kid had found her fabric utopia ...

Miss almost 4: "Can we get a Fat Quarter Mum?"

If it wasn't for that fact that I was so proud that she remembered what a Fat Quarter was, I would have had the faculties to say "No, not this time"

... but by now other customers were staring at me, no doubt suitably impressed by her quilting vocabulary, that I said "yes, sweetheart, of course we can" .... (palm to head).

{Audible groan} what to make with this stinking stuff?!

Well Miss 4 knew exactly what she wanted, and when I figure how to make the purple thing I'll let you know!


Friday, 7 August 2015

Sewing Travel Kit

I first stumbled across this tutorial whilst mindlessly trawling Pinterest ... I quickly pinned it to my Sewn Gift Ideas board and moved on to the next shiny thing ... or so I thought.  You see this little project has not left my mind.  I kept daydreaming about it and the only way I could get it off my mind was to make one!  That ever happen to you?

But how to "fit" the project in?  I decided to take the #sewtake20 route ala Night Quilter.  What a difference this blog post has made to my sewing life! Well actually, if I'm honest, my whole life, but this isn't a self-help blog, so I'll just leave that comment hanging.

The first 20 minutes saw me sewing a mini charm pack together.

The second and third (and possible fourth) lots of 20 mins saw me adding some rudimentary chunky hand quilting.

and I continued on much that way until the whole kit was finished!

I mostly followed the tutorial, but I did do a few things different to suit my supplies and mood.

1. I chose to make the thread holder out of ribbon - mostly because I don't like sewing small pieces of velrco, but also because I love a sweet bow.

2. Ribbon was also my 'material' of choice for the tie ... for the same sweet bow reason above.

3. Because I used a mini charm park to make the outer fabric (meaning I was using 2.5" squares when the dimensions only required 2" squares) it ended up being too big and I had to trim it down to the correct size.  I decided to use these trimmings to edge my pockets instead of another contrasting fabric as suggested.  I really like the look of the pieced edges BUT it was a pain to top stitch over the seam allowances.  I suggest using a walking foot if you go down that route, it will save you unpicking ugly stitches like me!

4. I pieced together some scraps from the outer fabric and grey fabric inner pockets to create the scissor pocket.  Again, because of the pieced seams, it was hard to iron under the seam allowance to top stitch.  So to get around this I sewed the scissor case to some scrap fabric (right-sides-together), left some room for turning through.  Then I ironed the opening closed and top stitched it to the inside of the case.

5. Finally, because I'm lazy ... and because it matched so well ... I used some left over binding from these quilts to bind the sewing kit.  I wouldn't do this again.  I cut my binding strips 2.5" wide, which I find great for quilts, but in this case I would stick to the tutorial which suggests 2 or 2 1/4" wide ... unless you are feeling lazy me.

As this sewing kit is a gift I filled it with some extra love ... 2 spools of Aurifil, some lovely little snips (I tied some of the spool ribbon on the end to make it easier to access the scissors from the pocket and also so that you can see that those scissors belong to that kit ... anyone else have specific scissors for each kit, or is it just me and my OCD?).

I also included the leftover mini charm squares from the pack along with some 1' hexie papers, some cute pins and a touch of Merchant Mills.

I think I've used up all of my "sweet" yearly quota making this little gift ... I'll go back to being a bogan now :)


Linking up with TGIFF and Finish It Up Friday and Sew Cute Tuesday

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


In light of this blog being originally created as a time capsule of my quilting and sewing adventures, I'll be doing the odd "Dear Future Grandchildren" post to book mark my highlights.  So here goes ...

"Dear Future Grandchildren,

I had a lovely surprise in the post the other day.  Oh I must explain that the 'post' is a rudimentary and physical way to send packages/mail to people.  You probably nanoo-nanoo it these days with the other 80% of your brain that we haven't figured out how to use yet.  Anyway, I opened the package to find a magazine ... oh a 'magazine' is ... this is going to take too long to explain all these things.  I suggest you 'Google' what you don't know ... that's if Google is still around ... um ... you'll figure it out!

So, where was I?  Oh yes, magazine!  It was a copy of Country Threads (Vol. 16, No. 8) and yours truly was featured as this issue's Designer!!

Yes, you're old Nan ... a Designer!! ... see, you should totally wear that plaid with the stripes, I know what I'm talking about!

Your Mums were a bit miffed that there wasn't a picture of them in the magazine (because everything is always about them lol) but your Granddad was happy that I remembered to mention him in the article.

And the article!  It's great and spreads over three pages, showing some of the quilts I've made recently (like 37 weeks ago according to a sneak peak on Instagram) but haven't been able to blog about because of this article and impending pattern releases.

So there you go ... I've bought a few extra copies for family and you'll probably find them in a dusty box in the attic ... right under your Granddad's old golf clubs or maybe to the left of my fabric stash, because I'm sure I would have accumulated one by the time you read this.

All my love,

Nan xxx"

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

WIP and Stash Additions

My sewing room has been very bright lately ... rainbow this, rainbow that, lots of colour on colour.

It's time to turn the volume down a little and have myself a disco nap.

My attention span is waning ... and I just don't have the will to sew the same block over and over again.

So I'm shifting gears for a little while ... taking the scenic route instead of the main highway.

My Ginger Crush BOM quilt from Treehouse Textiles will be the perfect company.  Lovely lashings of low volume and pastel shades ... with just enough pop of colour to make sure I don't fall asleep at the wheel.

This block of the month quilt has a lovely blend of machine and hand piecing

The Block of the Month instalments have been arriving on my doorstep for 12 months now and I haven't managed a stitch ... until now.

Block 5 "My Pinwheel Fantasy"

I'm enjoying this new pace and it really shows in my most recent fabric purchases.

Low volume goodness from Art Gallery Fabrics ... Maker anyone?

 ... and a bundle of soft greys and silver blues from a LQS.

Yes, I'm feeling calmer already ...


Monday, 13 July 2015

Anna Maria Horner Mini Quilt Swap

It's me again ... with another mini ... that I wish I was keeping ... but I'm not.

This time it was for the Anna Maria Horner Mini Quilt Swap on Instagram.

I was't sure at first of the direction I wanted to take with this one.  I knew I was moving house and my sewing machine would be going into storage, so I needed something that I could mostly hand piece.

So I started here ...

Then it slowly grew ...

Even though my partner preferred muted tones, I thought it needed more colour so I did this ...

Then I added some spiral quilting using a 12wt, variegated rainbow Aurifil thread #3817.

This is my first time spiral quilting

This has to be my favourite Aurfil thread ... apart from the one I named.

Before I knew it I ended up with a 12-sided object, resembling a do-decagon!

It's 24 inches 'round' and I think it would make a beautiful table topper, if not a mini on the wall.

Good thing really, as my partner is a florist and I bet she has the perfect crystal vase and a bunch of deep red roses that would accompany this mini beautifully.

Here's a little something extra I added in the parcel ...

I used Aurifil #6728 (50wt) in the bobbin for the spiral quilting on the back of the mini

It's a charm square fabric tray ... you can find the tutorial here ... be warned, they're addictive :)

So the mini and extras are on their way to their new home and I'm impatiently patiently awaiting the arrival of my mini.  I wonder what it will look like?


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Going Off-Piste

Sometimes, just sometimes, I have a flash of an idea.  Everything is glorious on Cloud 9 with my rose tinted glasses on.

Then logic kicks in and I realise that my quilting skill set doesn't quite match my imagination ... does that ever happen to you?

Well it did to me on this occasion ... 
What do you mean I have to sew curves? Eep!
You see, I signed up for the Lizzy House Mini Quilt Swap on Instagram (If you've managed to resist this craze of mini making and swapping then my hat goes off to you!).  

My swap partner owns her own fabric store in the US ... no pressure, hey folks? ... but that's OK, we share a common love for the colour "rainbow" set against low volume backgrounds.  

Another fan of rainbows

I dutifully stalked her and saw that she is getting married soon so I thought that a double wedding ring block would be the perfect mini for her!

But, I'm not skilled up on curves just yet ... so I needed to find a way to create this block other than piecing the dreaded curves.

Sorting colour order on the Design Mattress

Then, along came Quiltsmart ...

They've come up with a clever way that still allows you (and scaredy cats like me) to piece the arcs but then appliqué them onto a whole background.  

I was sold, no curved piecing for this little quilter!  But then what's that old saying?  "If it looks too good to be true then it probably ....."

Yes, well.  I did get a bit stung by this method.  Mainly I got tripped up by the template they provided in the kit.  If you know Lizzy House, then you'll know that there are plenty of great fussy cutting opportunities to be had playing with her fabrics and that's just what I wanted to do making this double wedding ring mini.  I pulled out the template and got cutting ... ensuring that I had a good 1/4" seam allowance all the way around so I wouldn't lose any of my fussy cutting when piecing the arcs.

All was going rather smoothly until I had to sew the fabric arcs to the iron on interfacing.  The sew line was much more than 1/4" in from the edge of the template.

The sewing line is the solid line

In fact it was a good 3/4's of an inch!  

That blew my fussy cutting out of the water - especially the pieces that I had added selvedges to - humpf!

I couldn't change direction at this point, I had to keep going ... and keep going I did!  Somewhat off-piste ...  

I could no longer follow the directions for my cornerstones and had to make the sizes up myself with a little bit of thumb sucking and measuring on my cutting mat.

Using my cutting mat to work out the cornerstones

With a bit of trial and pee error I got there in the end ... 

Castle Pee?? Whoops!

... but geez, it felt like hard work.  This was supposed to be easy!  Why would they provide a template ... a see-through one at that ... that encourages fussy cutting and then make the resulting arc so narrow?  Especially as you have to trim to 1/8" seam allowance to allow for a smooth curve when turned anyway.   

Let's just say that this Quiltsmart pattern was not fit for purpose, especially if you want to fussy cut.  But if you're using fabric that you are happy to waste 1.5" per the length of each arc (3/4" at top of arc and 3/4" at the bottom of the arc) of fabric then this is the pattern for you!  Imagine if it was Liberty ... gasp!

So after all that fuss ... here's the finished mini!  

I finished it off with some hand stitching using a red perle cotton to set off the aqua/teal cornerstones.  

My partner has a red and aqua sewing room, so I thought I would add a little nod to that.  

I left the centre of the block empty so that she could embroider her wedding details in the middle as a lasting memory of the special day.

The back is all green and gold ... Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi! and I just had to add some more colour "rainbow" on the back with the leftover selvedges. 

I also sent a little pouch along as an extra ... 

... but I'll do a separate post on that later with a fun selvedge trick for the zip.

Serena xx
PS to find out more about the Lizzy House Mini Quilt Swap .. go to Instagram and search the hashtag #lizzyhouseminiquiltswap  You can find me over there too as @sewgiving

Friday, 22 May 2015

Twin Quilts

The twin quilts are finished - yay!

You can pop over here to see the work in progress, but basically the brief was full of ice-cream colours ... mainly yellow, pink and mint green in pastel shades) ...

Cute little animals ...

and a minimal design ...

I added some straight line quilting in matching variegated mint and yellow threads, creating 60 degree diamonds (channelling my inner waffle cone) and some stripy binding for extra yum!

They are sweet and simple at 40" x 60" and I can't wait to see them in their new home.  The little twins will be welcomed into our crazy world any time now ... Exciting!



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