Oh, Christmas Tree!

Right now, in my head, that sounds like a euphemism for something ruder.  And it’s all my own fault, too.

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Really, I don’t know what I was thinking.  The general concept – applique a bunch of green prints in the shape of a Christmas tree – was simple enough, or it should have been.  But there’s nothing so simple that I can’t usually find a way to make life harder for myself!  Instead of using fusible web or freezer paper templates (like any sane person might), I decided to use paper templates to cut out my shapes and then attempted to glue-baste them.  Uhmm…. not so satisfactory.  I think I had vague ideas of being able to trim back the backing fabric afterwards to reduce bulk, and also avoid that slightly “crunchy” feel of fused fabric.  But… this is going to be a Advent calendar wall hanging!  It doesn’t need to be snuggly!  No one will care if some areas are bulkier!  WHAT WAS I THINKING?!  Ahem.  Still.  This is the stuff of which learning curves are made, I believe.  Also, I don’t actually own any freezer paper (it’s not such a common supermarket sight here in the UK), but this project has made me want to get some to try – I think it would have been better than what I did do.

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And then, to make things even better, I started to machine applique around my glued-on shapes with thread that was entirely the wrong shades of green and in completely the wrong style of satin stitch – too wide, too dense.  In fact, it looked so dreadful that I didn’t even pause to find the camera – that stuff got hit with the seam ripper so fast it didn’t even have time to blink.  If you want a mental image, picture a fat, stripy green worm with ugly kinks in it laid across some fabric, and you’re about there.  Luckily, I also have a goodly quantity of plain dark green thread that is doing a much better job of things, especially with a less dense zig-zag stitch to lighten things up as well.  Also, turns out that sewing green to other green with more green is hard work – who knew?!

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So all the green has now been safely appliqued, which at least means I can stop panicking about losing bits of fabric or the paper pattern.  It’s not Christmas for a while yet, but I’m persevering with this because I would like it done now, please.  And really, there isn’t much more to do – just baste and quilt it and attach the Advent pockets in a pleasing way.  And next time I try to do something like this, I will know better how to deal with it – or at least what not to do.

Linking up with Monday Making!

Project Linus – The Scrappening

After finishing the two Bear Adventures tops, I found I had quite a lot of squares and strips left over.  In the spirit of not wanting to waste anything from the charity’s supplies, I cut the strips into more squares, made a big pile of four-patches and then pieced them into four bigger squares in a fairly random way.butterflies_2The sashing and borders are from my own stash.  It reminds me a lot of a window, and the green and yellow looks like dappled forest light.  Although I like this a lot, it’s not really very kid-friendly (it looks like the world’s greenest wall hanging), so I rummaged in my scrap drawer for some colourful bits and threw some butterflies at it:Butterfly WindowMuch better!  😀

The butterflies were added with fusible web, but could do with a bit of zigzag or blanket stitch around them to make sure they stay put and give them a nice bit of definition.  Quilt Club is tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to handing my three Linus tops to Cath so she can add them to the cause.  🙂

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Creative Oozings #24 – Frus. Tra. Tion.

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 Creative Oozings #24 – Frus. Tra. Tion.

Creative Oozings #21 – Joining the Japan Fan Club

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.Japanese fans Continue reading Creative Oozings #21 – Joining the Japan Fan Club

Creative Oozings #17 – A Busy Couple of Months

Long time, no post.  Not because I haven’t been doing things, more because I’ve not stopped doing things.  August and September have seen several completed quilty bits, several shows of varying sizes, and a new member of the family, among other things.  It’s not been dull!

Below are some sneak peeks of things I’ve made over the last couple of months; I’ll add links to the specific posts as I write them.

Continue reading Creative Oozings #17 – A Busy Couple of Months

Creative Oozings #12 – I Accidentally a Messenger Bag

I’ve been wanting to make some more bags for a while, so when a pack of five sashiko-themed fat quarters from eBay somehow found its way into the house, I decided they’d be perfect to use in a quilted patchwork messenger bag.Blue Japanese fat quarters

Continue reading Creative Oozings #12 – I Accidentally a Messenger Bag

Creative Oozings #8 – Progress with Attic Windows

Yesterday was Quilt Club day, and the day that we were all due to start our Attic Windows projects.  I’d hoped to be able to have all my fans ready and fabric bought for the background squares, but January has been a busy month work-wise (yay) so I hadn’t had the time to spend playing with fabric (boo).  As it was, I didn’t even have time to cut all the strips I needed before the session, so while other members zoomed along doing gorgeous Attic Windows with glittery New York skylines or vibrant poppies, I plodded along with my rotary cutter and sewing machine and generated a pile of bi-coloured rectangles in sets of three, enough for 24 blocks.Bicoloured rectangles

Continue reading Creative Oozings #8 – Progress with Attic Windows

Creative Oozings #6 – Attic Windows, the Evolution of a Design

The thing I really like about Quilt Club (apart from the lovely people) is the relative informality of it.  Everyone works at their own pace and although there are group projects, no one is forced to do anything they don’t want to do.  This was great for me because when I joined I brought with me a host of already-started projects that I needed help continuing.  (And most of them *still* aren’t finished yet!)  Until now, the only group projects I’ve jumped in on were the pre-Christmas mini-projects, which were great fun but only took up one session.  The next group project, though, is one I’m going to grab with both hands because it’s Attic Windows.

Continue reading Creative Oozings #6 – Attic Windows, the Evolution of a Design

Creative Oozings #5 – Christmas Presents

Shortly before Christmas, Stefani proposed that we do a couple of smaller projects that could become Christmas presents.  One was a pin board, another was a Christmas-themed fabric wreath.  I ended up being a bit after the fact with the pin board and making it at home (because I’d got in a mix-up over which session we were doing it in), but managed to be in sync for the wreath (which was awkward because it was the week that pretty much all of us forgot to bring along cutting mats and rotary cutters!).  Digging through my stash, I realised that I had a surprising amount of Christmassy fat quarters, though I’d bought a few more just in case.  I like Christmas fabric a lot (it’s usually so sparkly!), but I also find it a real challenge in terms of design because it’s SO Christmassy.  Anyway.

Continue reading Creative Oozings #5 – Christmas Presents