(Also, admire the bomb site that is my craft table.) Continue reading
Last Monday, Mum and I were volunteered to come and help my auntie Sue’s Brownie pack make Christmas Crafts to sell and raise funds. Mum, with her talent for flower arranging, was put on oasis-and-greenery duty, while I armed myself with a small pile of cheap wooden embroidery hoops and a large pile of assorted strips of fabric and braced for impact. I hadn’t managed to write a tutorial for fabric wreaths for the Brownies, but I did manage to cut up a whole pile of strips of fleece from the off-cuts I got from Stef and make a “here’s one I made earlier” example wreath. In the event, I was glad I hadn’t wasted my time making a tutorial; the wreaths are very straightforward to make (tie strip around ring, repeat until full, decorate as desired) and the girls were far too excitable to read anything.They were fascinated by all the fabric strips and helped me sort out a few piles of different colours, then I managed to redirect them to the hoops and started them tying on the strips. It seemed to go down very well and there was lots of enthusiasm all round, and I was very grateful to the two Young Leaders who were assigned to help me with an ever-increasing number of excitable young girls. There was a lot of, “Look Crafty Owl! Look at this!” and I helped the girls tie on spray-painted pinecones and Christmas baubles to finish off their wreaths. Aside from occasionally needing to police the pile of shiny fabric (of which there was a somewhat limited supply), everything seemed to go very smoothly and a grand total of 11 wreaths were made – not bad for a first attempt.(That’s my arm in the red – I don’t like photos of myself! :p)
I’m supposed to be at the Quilt Club Christmas lunch, but I’m not. I’m sulking at home, feeling drained and exhausted and not really capable of anything except slumping here wearing lots of layers and drinking copious quantities of tea. I really hope Tuesday’s B12 jab starts kicking in soon; I hate having pernicious anaemia. In the meantime I shall be poking a manuscript in a desultory manner and if I feel really enthusiastic later then I may write a small tutorial on how to make fabric wreaths for my aunt’s Brownie pack. I did promise I would.
It seems that there’s a big debate in the quilting blog world over modern versus traditional styles, as though it were some black/white, either/or, “there can be only ONE!” situation instead of the spectrum that it clearly is. It’s a discussion that I can only view as an outsider because I’m not very (read: at all) connected to the quilting blogosphere and I’m comparatively new to quilting (less than two years at time of writing). How could I possibly define my style (or lack thereof) to the rest of the world when I’m still working to develop it? This is not to say that I’m not inspired by the work of others. Although I’m pretty anonymous in the grand scheme of things, a real face-in-the-crowd, I do read other blogs if I see things that appeal to me and they’re certainly not all quilting blogs (inspiration comes from the strangest places). Sometimes I comment. I try to credit ideas and inspiration wherever possible, and I’m drawn to many aspects and styles of quilting and patchwork, as well as several other crafts. So I’m not going to say a whole bunch about the application of labels to the general concept of quilting because other people already did that, probably better than I can right now. Instead, I’m going to take the challenge set by Pretty Bobbins at face value and talk about my quilting process, such as it is, and also some of the uncertainty I feel about quilting and calling myself a quilter (I can’t really talk about connecting with other quilters because I haven’t, really, except for the lovely ladies at Quilt Club). Continue reading
I’ve never done this before:
So that’s a Thing right there. I hope I did it right. Work’s been quiet recently so I’ve been doing quite a lot of sewing instead. How did I do that with an apparently broken sewing machine? Well, turned out that the problem wasn’t the machine, it was my walking foot. As long as I don’t want to quilt anything, I can sew to my heart’s content. And speaking of hearts, I’ve finally made a major leap forward with a major project, the project that kind of kicked all this off:
I’ve managed to get very little done recently. Partly because I’ve had nowhere to set up a sewing machine and partly because all my sewing machines seem to be in various stages of death. Mum’s Huskystar, which has been my principle machine for at least a year, got caught in a plumbing leak we had and was found sitting in a puddle of water. I took it to my trusty sewing machine repair man and he worked minor miracles to clean out the rust and get it working again (fortunately it’s a purely mechanical machine), but when I came to use it at Quilt Club I found that the tension seemed to be all over the place, it was not sounding completely right, and then a screw fell out while I was doing a bit of free-motion quilting on the border. Ack. And Toby’s quilt is now partially quilted but I think I’m going to have to rip it all out and start again because the back is a nightmare of loops. I’m going to take it back to Mr Knight to see if anything can be done to salvage it (again!). But that’s ok, I thought – I have my cheap-ass AEG machine that I bought in Germany! It’s been serviced and sorted after I accidentally nadgered it, let’s see how that works out. It won’t FMQ (can’t drop the feed dogs), but maybe I can make a start on piecing Jess’s quilt! Continue reading
As well as the quilts I made for Nia and Chloe, I also decided to make quilts as Christmas presents for another cousin’s little boy and girl (I have a lot of cousins…). Thanks to a bumper pack of charm squares from the Cotton Patch, I already have Toby’s quilt top pieced, it just needs quilting. Continue reading
Over on Craftster, craft swaps are a very popular pastime with strict rules as to sending deadlines and how many swaps may be joined and/or run, to avoid people becoming overwhelmed. For those who want to dodge the expense of postage, or have too many on-going swaps, or are just plain curious, there is the Fake Swap Craftalong thread. You add a post stating your intention to fake-join a current swap, aim to craft your items according to the guidelines and deadline for the real swap and post the results on the fake swap thread for all to admire. The “rules” for this thread are much more forgiving than the real swaps are! Because I’m still a fairly new member and haven’t joined any real swaps, I was ineligible to join the Quilt Block Swap, so I decided to fake-join it with my Star Baby and Birds and Bees quilts, which I completed in very good time. I also fake-joined the Frugal Living swap, which encourages participants to craft items only from their stash or other already-owned items, and with an eye to aiding frugal living for the recipient. With that in mind, and after considering my growing pile of scraps and off-cuts, I declared I would make some scrappy draught excluders for the house, since I have enough usable scraps to decorate the outside and enough unusable scraps (and thread nests and scraps of batting) to stuff at least one excluder!
Unfortunately, life and a new baby then happened and I’ve missed the original deadline by a country mile. However, we could really do with some draught excluders about the house so I am determined to make them anyway. My other motivation for making them is to test out the vintage electric Singer sewing machine we had serviced recently. It’s a solid, if elderly, machine with a nice smooth action and this could be the perfect project to try it on, since it doesn’t matter vastly if it makes a mess (though I hope it doesn’t). I’m also planning to try a quilt-as-you-go method to piece my scraps onto a backing of calico and wadding, and use some of the plastic sheet left over from the changing mat to make a water-resistant base. Or I might use the plastic to make an inner stuffed structure and use the quilted sections to make a removable, washable cover. I haven’t quite decided yet! But this is likely to be what I’ll do at Quilt Club on Friday, if I can get the basic structure and materials sorted out in time.
When I entered the Pembrokeshire Country Show, at pretty much the last possible minute, I had more ideas than actual finished articles. I knew I wanted to do the two baby quilts for the patchwork quilt class, and had high hopes of finishing off mum’s door curtain and making up a new bag to enter into the patchwork items class, so I paid for two entries for each class and set to. Continue reading
While I was travelling in 2012/13, I stayed with my cousin and his family in Australia for a month. They were very good to me and I had a lot of fun helping with their little daughter Chloe, who was about one year old at the time. As a way to say thank you, I decided that I would try and make a quilt for Chloe as a Christmas present (not that quilts are much needed in Australia at Christmas, but it could also be an excellent beach/picnic rug and might come in useful when they travel to the ‘States to see family there!). Again, I decided to impose the deadline of entry into the Pembrokeshire County Show to make me get on and finish the quilt. Continue reading