Saturday, 8 March 2014

Never again

Hello there

I've done it. I've battled on. I persevered. Whichever way you word it, I've actually finished the celtic knot block we did over two weeks ago at my patchwork class. What a bloomin' relief! The whole process is so long winded and fiddly; not my idea of fun at all. One of the ladies said that she'd drunk three glasses of Jack Daniels to keep her going but I've remained sober whenever I've done bits of it - how, is beyond me though. 

You can tell I didn't like it as the stitching isn't great and some of the lines are wonky but (in fear of repeating myself) I finished it! Hallelujah! It still needs a rinse to get the visible placement marks off the red fabric but other than putting it into whatever project it ends up in, that's it with that block. Never again! I'll machine embroider a design like that if I want in the future but I won't applique bias binding again.

Well that takes me nicely onto my next whinge. My embroidery machine has broken and gone to the lovely people at Hobkirk's in Blackburn. That's my nearest Husqvarna Viking service centre, which was recommended to me, after a bit of a battle. After doing the 'handmade' embroidery last weekend, it has displayed an error message and won't work at all; either to sew or embroider. That doesn't make me a happy girl but going into the shop for the first time did. It only took us 45 minutes to get there, there's free parking (although Chris did end up paying £1 in the other parking area by mistake) and the shop is full of allsorts of machines, fabric, crafty equipment, haberdashery and friendly staff. I'm hoping to go there again soon to collect my repaired machine and I won't take 'him indoors' or the dogs then, so I can spend more time browsing. We stopped off on the way home at Rivington reservoir, where we'd never been before either and had a lovely time walking the dogs in the gorgeous surroundings. I also had Tiffin cake for the first time at the cafe there, which was very nice! 

Another 'sad' thing is that the lady from 'A Place to Set' (me!) had to say no to the second floor office/studio space that Nancy had offered me last week. It's still a fab location, as the space on the first floor was, but the two flights of narrow stairs would not have been suitable for people coming to the studio with such things as sewing machines. I know that I desperately want this studio idea but there's no point in being silly about it and just taking anything. 

So moving on, I'm struggling motivation wise, it has to be said but must push on and do more projects for the craft fair I'm doing on March 22nd. 

Breathing in.

Take care out there and hold onto your dreams

Monday, 3 March 2014

A few bits

Hello there

The first thing you might notice is that there's a 'Love Patchwork and quilting' magazine banner on the top of my blog now. I've decided to join their affiliation programme, as I mention them quite a bit in my posts these days, so I might as well see if I can encourage some of my readers to subscribe to it too, as I do think it's a great magazine. More about that as time goes on.

As timing would have it, this month's issue arrived today too, along with the freebie labels for quilts. I've only managed a short read of it but hey, just look at the front cover with that fab quilt/wall hanging using the cathedral windows method. Yet another thing on my to-do list, which is now Huuuuuuuge!

I also want to show you the 'hand made' sign I've embroidered for any craft fairs I do and the studio I hope to set up this year as well. (more news on that in a minute). It was a freebie design from the fab folk at Urban Threads. It matches the 'come in, we're open' sign I did a month or so ago, as shown either side of this paragraph.

 Likey likey, likey alot :-) 

That's all for now as I'm shattered. 

Ooops, almost forgot to mention that I heard from Nancy who owns the building, where I missed out on the studio space she has available. News is, that her large attic room has become available! I've asked her how much that will be, so I will keep you informed as to goings on, when they go on! :-) I'm not sure that two flights of stairs is great but the location is still wonderful, so alot of fast thinking to be done.

Take care out there

Sunday, 2 March 2014

For this week

Hello there

For this week's foray into craftiness I've finished a placemat set which has been on the go for quite some time. I got the inspiration from Liz Betts from Quilty Pleasures, who wrote an article for issue 3 of the 'Love Patchwork and quilting' magazine.

I've added my own take on it, not only by choosing different fabric but also by less obvious changes. I had the circles fabric already in my stash and then got some cotton/linen mix fabric. I did buy some of the Summersville Spring fabric that she used in the article but that will make my next set of this design of placemats. I love the way that fabric choice has such a huge impact on a design. 
Only 26 hexies ready for paper removal and
sewing in place

I marked out the hexagon's placemat sections onto the first placemat and actually started hand sewing but it didn't take me long at all to realise that 'popping knots' isn't so easy and also that hand quilting these placemats would take far too long for them to be a financially viable proposition. I'm doing a local craft fair on March 22nd and I know that all they'll want is probably Mother's Day gifts but I can still sell these online, where I have a better chance of attracting people who are interested in hand made items. Paper piecing and hand sewing 30 1.5in hexagons was more than enough handsewing to contend with for the £40 I can charge reasonably. 

That was a few weeks ago and in that time I went to my patchwork and Wendy said that King Tut is what she uses for quilting. Oh boy! Superior Threads who make it, do it in variegated colours - just look at the colour I used for this quilt - lush! It wasn't cheap at £8 but so so worth it and it's really affected the way this project developed.

I got three more online since using this  as a) there's a deal on at Barnyarns, where you can buy three for £17.95 and b) I want to have them close to hand for any future projects I need to quilt.

I've put the hexagons in slightly different
places on each placemat
I do like the way the quilting looks on the back
of the placemats too. They're definitely reversible

The worst part of this set was the binding. I decided to do the double fold technique using 2 1/4 in strips of fabric. I don't like it, as it's far too bulky at the join and round the mitred corners. I was chuffed to only have a bit of the fabric stripping left when I'd finished though.

The coasters were the best part, as they're nice and quick and easy and make the most of the King Tut thread and the hexagon shape.

I'll be working with linen mixes again. Nice.

I also managed to machine embroider a birthday card for a friend on Friday afternoon and we'd had two days of sun, so despite being full of cold in the middle of the week, I've ended the week feeling quite bright. I forgot to take photos of the card but I'll see if the recipient wouldn't mind taking some photos for me and I'll share them another day. 

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you may well remember that in January I made two Superman cape outfits for two little lads in New Zealand. I know that you liked seeing me wearing it (!!!)  but I can guarantee that you'll much prefer seeing one of the boys wearing it. I was so chuffed that they liked them.

Take care out there
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