Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Alli's bag ll

Ally's bag ll, originally uploaded by soja.

My sister heavily hinted she wanted another bag for Christmas... she had spilt curry over the last one....

This hasn't reached her yet, I was running late, I was a little stumped, but came up with this design. I'm pleased with how it works with the fabric, and with the details. It was my first time making this type of strap. I now love my new sewing machine even more - I didn't have any problem at all sewing through all the multiple layers.

I quilted the outer fabric onto Quilter's dream green batting, then cut this to make the bag (I had drawn the outline of the bag onto the fabric first to place the birds where I wanted them).

I interfaced the lining and strap (fusible woven) and, following the advice at U-handbag, I interfaced and doubled interfaced parts of the zippered inner pocket (fusible non-woven) - it made a huge difference! I got a much better result than usual.

The plastic d-rings and buckles I bought ages ago from a great ebay seller, scapms75 - the first order went missing in the post and he immediately sent me a replacement free of charge as soon as I contaced him to follow up the order.

The fabric is from Ikea - mid-weight cotton lining and furnishing/decor weight outer fabric.

The bag is huge! I made it expandable by sewing poppers on the bottom corners. When the bag is unexpanded the lining folds up inside to make a central divider. It's still pretty big though... However, since I made the last bag, my sister has a new job in a new location, I know that she takes a packed lunch to work now, and she is opften between our parents' house and her boyfriend's flat, so wanted it big enough to carry a fair bit of stuff this time!

Hope she likes it!

Friday, 25 December 2009

Happy Christmas!

Lucky's new ball, originally uploaded by soja.

It's warmed up here and we are all snug and well fed. Hope everyone else is having a good Christmas and taking care in the bad weather.

Just a short clip to thank my friend for Lucky's Christmas present, he obviously loves it!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Amanda, Lucky and Jaffa x x x

Music: La Cocaleca by Bobby Capo.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Peacock Quilt dimensions

I was asked for the dimensions and amount of fabric used for this quilt... and I've been meaning to post for a week, life just needs a lot of attention sometimes. Roll on the Christmas holidays, work busy and busy with stuff I can't post about.

The finished quilt is approximately 36 x 39"/91 x 99 cm.
For the front I used 28x 5" charm squares from the Moda sorbet collection and under a metre/yard of beige cotton (55"/140cm wide from Ikea).

I had already used some of the cotton for a previous project, but you would need to cut three 5" wide strips to cut 28 x 5" squares, with fabric to spare. I used these squares and the charms squares to make the blocks. I paired a beige square with a print square, drew a diagonal line from one corner to the other, sewed two lines 1/4" from each side of the line, chain pieced and then cut each square pair along the diagonal line into two blocks. I pieced the blocks together, in pairs and then pairs again.

I then cut four strips to make the borders - about 8" wide and attached these and voila - one quilt! Hope this helps someone.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Mum's quilt out for a walk

Mum's quilt, showing back, originally uploaded by soja.

OK, I felt somewhat self-conscious spreading this quilt over a park bench, with cars whizzing by... this will be the last picture of this quilt. I think this is as big a picture as I can get.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Another quilt finished

I love the peacocks on this print! The fabric is a moda collection called Sorbet, designed for them by Sentimental Studios. The beige fabric is from Ikea. In the end I used two different stripes for the binding that I had got online from Barcelona.

Listed on Etsy - I've just sold the pinwheel quilt, I'm so happy that it is going to go to a home and be used. :-) I'm feeling quite soppy and sentimental over these quilts - in a good way. :-)

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Furry helper....

Mum's quilt finished!, originally uploaded by soja.

See last post...... :-)

Mum's quilt finished!

Mum's quilt finished!, originally uploaded by soja.

It's bright, but I think it all works together.

Can't find anywhere to spread it out to get a picture - without furry helpers.....

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Rib rib, rib rib!

Mini Purl Frog, originally uploaded by soja.

He's too mini to ribbet!

I made a couple of Purl bee frogs (see link on the right) a year or so ago and one of my students became a little obsessed with them.

Unfortunately moths got to them over the summer and they had to go. :-(
My student gave me an origami frog, so in return I ran up this little mini version - he's less than 5" long and stuffed with linseed with seed bead eyes.

The fabric in the background is an Amy Butler print I am planning to use to bind Mum's quilt. It is a little redder and less brown than I thought it would be, but I think it will be okay.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Phew - cushion covers finished!

Phew - cushion covers finished!, originally uploaded by soja.

Um, tried to blur out the untidiness a little, unsuccessfully.... ;-)

I have loads of cushions, but nearly all of them are 14", I have one really stuffed 18" and one soft 17" so have used them.

I like the way these have turned out, but a bit worried I've taken a simple project and made it into a more complicated one, but I hope my partner likes them. I thought that someone who sews a lot might appreciate a little handsewing. I think the cathedral windows and pintucks add the 'texture' she mentioned, to me, linen is always a little 'earthy' and I think this print and the cathedral windows are electic? I've interfaced the linen as the patchwork panel was fairly heavy and I decided the linen needed the support.

The dimensions are taken from Bend The Rules Sewing by Amy Karol, as is the envelope finish. I usually have less of an overlap and use a button or tie, but thought I had better stick to the book for the swap.

Cathedral window blocks are hand sewn. Pintucks are 1/2" deep.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

WIP for BTRS Swap

WIP for BTRS Swap, originally uploaded by soja.

This is going to be a panel on a cushion cover for the Bend The Rules Sewing Swap. I really like it, I think it'll be hard to part with, and heavy to send - oops!

I sewed up the backing squares by machine, then the rest is hand sewn - these are 'cathedral window' blocks. The backing fabric is linen and the print is by Amy Butler.

My partners words were "earthy, eclectic and texture".

I think this fits that. The second cover will be the same fabric, but a different technique for the panel. I hope she likes it. I have been stalking her blog and flickr looking for hints as to what she likes.

I think maybe cushions are bigger in the states - an 18" square, the size we must make, is huge!!! The cushions on my sofa are more like 12". Bye bye favourite linen. :-)

Monday, 16 November 2009

Quilting done

Quilting done, originally uploaded by soja.

Meandering with a few hearts thrown in. Fairly hassle free after altering the tension.

Just waiting for the fabric to arrive for the binding - I hope it's a good combination when it gets here!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Making progress

Making progress, originally uploaded by soja.

About half way through the quilting, on my fourth bobbin... I think I could have quilted less densely, but like the way it's looking.

I'm just sort of meandering, rounded zig-zagging with a few random hearts thrown in.

I love the variegated thread! It's just perfect colourwise. I went with the candy floss, I'm using a plain beige (finer) cotton for the bobbin. I'm not having much problem with the thread breaking. I'm using a size 12/80 schmetz embroidery needle. At first this didn't completely stop the problem, I switched to a top stitch needle (what a huge eye!) but still, no, didn't completely stop the problem.

In the end I was brave and adjusted the bobbin tension, I only needed to loosen it my less than half a turn of the screw. I routinely adjusted this on my old machine, but was really hesitant to do on this one, as the tension has been absolutely perfect on everything else, including quilts when not using this thread. But anyway, it worked.

I'm hoping to have all the quilting done this weekend, I think the material I ordered for the binding will arrive next week, fingers crossed. So will have the quilt finished in time to be a Xmas/late birthday present. :-)

And for Genie, this is a little bit of the new machine. It is a Janome 6260 QC (quilter's companion). She's top loading and computerised, so much much quieter than my basic mechanical side loading machine. It's actually relaxing to sew again now. :-) It came with an extension table for quilting, which gives a few more inches to rest the quilt on. Unlike some machines just made for quilting, the base is still removeable for free arm sewing. I think it has a good balance of features for quilting and garment sewing - so pretty much perfect for me.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

You've got to roll with it...

Rolled hem, originally uploaded by soja.

I'd never been able to get a decent rolled hem with my old machine, probably more to do with me than the machine. :-)

But I thought I'd give it a go with the new machine. I switched to fabric hankies over the summer, you know to stop filling up landfills with paper tissues, and because my dog always tried to eat the used tissues. nice.

So I got some fabric hankies, if I get a cold or flu I'll probably temporarily switch back to tissues. All was well, except my dog still managed to steal a couple and eat off a corner or two. So I needed to trim and re-hem them, ahem.

I sprayed and ironed the fabric with some starch which I think helped. And of course, my new machine can do no wrong. :-)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Another quilt top!

Another quilt top!, originally uploaded by soja.

Made with one jelly roll! I haven't used one before and was curious to see what you could do with just one, so I odered this from Emerald City on Ebay.

The fabric is Soiree from Moda, I'd love to have some bigger pieces of some of these prints - I really love the botanical ones.

I wanted to make a Rail Fence pattern, so did a little maths to work out some possible designs, I thought of making blocks with three strips, but decided, as there were forty strips in the roll, I'd go for blocks made up of four strips.

I sewed groups of four strips together, arranging prints of similar colours, so that I had 10 wide strips. I should have been able to cut these into five 8.5" blocks, but my seams had been a little wider, so ended up cutting five blocks of 8". Fifty blocks in total. I thought of making a square quilt, 7x7, using 49 blocks, but ended up using 48, making a rectangular quilt, 6x8 blocks.

I was going to sew these into strips, but looking at other photos on flickr, I realised that it was more common to sew 4 blocks together, making bigger blocks. I think this helps to match the points, I'm pleased with my corners on this quilt anyway - I haven't unpicked anything!

Georgia helped me work out how to get the best from the Janome 1/4" patchwork foot. I found I got nice even seams - but just under 5/8". I think this was partly to do with the zigzag edges of the strips. She told me that she had sewed on some graph paper and adjusted the needle position. I hadn't thought of this as I have never used a machine where this could be adjusted. I drew some lines, I only had to move the needle to 4, from 3.5, just a tiny difference, but it seems to have done the trick.

The quilt top is 45x52"/115x132cm so far. I have no wadding and no backing fabric, so this is as far as I can get for a while.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Gift for a new baby boy!

Gift for a new baby boy!, originally uploaded by soja.

I hope my friend and her new babe like it! Little Oscar has arrived a couple of weeks early.

I had already made the bibs, so this little onesie was quick to whip up. I just used a little bondaweb to attach the fabric hearts and then used the blanket stitch on my machine to slowly sew around the heart. I didn't need to use any other stabiliser or ball point needle.

I love my new machine. :-)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

I got a blister on my finger!

Triangles basted, originally uploaded by soja.

All the pins are on Mum's quilt, so it was back to needle basting this weekend to baste this quilt. With my two furry little helpers keen to give me their input.

The quilting is also finished now, I'll get a pic when I get some light, I finished sewing in the loose ends this lunchtime. I used my lovely new machine's fancy feather stitch for one lot of diagonal lines and to go around the inner border. Not one knot, loop or tension problem going over the seams - I think I'm in love with this machine!

I think I might have finished it too, but I haven't got anything to bind it with. Least nothing that seems to look right. I think it needs a pink or red, I had some green and blue I thought I would use, but I don't like it with the backing (the backing is beige with a little green floral type print).

This was made with a small charm pack (28 squares) - Moda's Sorbet collection designed by Sentimental Studios. I love the peacocks. :-) The beige cotton is from Ikea. I have used it before, and it washes up beautifully soft, so I was happy to use it again.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

WIP - Mum's quilt about to be basted

As of Friday night, all pin basted. The pin basting was definitely quicker and easier on the knees and fingers - no blisters! I like the overall look, I think the colours and patterns are quite balanced. The border (especially the one at the bottom of the photo) seem a bit wonky. :-( I think it maybe from where I've had it pegged up in my living room for the last fortnight. I should have re-ironed it again, but didn't notice until I was already at school.

I want to quilt this with the 30/2 wt variegated thread - I'm going with the candy floss colour, I ordered the tea colour too, it's lovely but a lot darker brown/yellow in real life. I have the thread, but am waiting for some bigger-eyed sewing machine needles before I start quilting, to avoid the thread snapping, hopefully.

I had originally planned to stipple/meander, then decided to use straight lines, but now. looking at how the blocks and borders line up, I'm not sure how even my piecing lines are - so think it'll be meandering after all!

And yes, the wadding is pale green - it's made from 13 recyled plastic bottles! The packaging assures me it is colourfast, it might not work with a white based quilt, but seems fine for this.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Zigzag front!

Zigzag front!, originally uploaded by soja.

Hmm, I've got to learn/have more patience using Gimp (the photo editing programme) but at least this is a full picture of the front! Taken inside at school so I could use the desks to lay it out on.

I also stayed late so I could use my classroom floor to pin baste Mum's quilt, as I haven't got a big enough space at home, without trying to move a sofa or a bed. I'm not sure if I'm going to get the quilting done this weekend.

I emailed Cotton Patch for advice using their thread, and it's likely I need to use an embroidery or topstitch needle, with a bigger eye. I can't find any locally, not even a jeans/denim needle that might work, so I think I'll wait for the ones I have ordered to arrive. Think it'll save a lot of stress and frustrating if I wait.... ;-)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

After the Fried Green Tomatoes

Chutney and Pickles, originally uploaded by soja.

Well, more like what to do with the rest of the green tomatoes after eating fried and grilled tomatoes for a few days after being given several kilos by a colleague!

I adapted two recipes from The Austrailan Women's Weekly 'The Book of Preserving', like usual. The main adaptations were using white sugar instead of brown and a mixture of vinegars (apple, sherry, white wine, balsamic) instead of brown.

The brown stuff is a double batch of Green Tomato Chutney, I added carrots, smoked sweet paprika, dried juniper berries and ground ginger to the recipe and left out the sultanas and cayenne pepper because I didn't have any, and used a mixture of all the vinegars above as that was everything I had in the kitchen to make it up to 2 litres.

The yellow is Curried Green Tomato Pickles, I added a jar of sliced pickled cucumber, instead of a fresh cucumber, whole dried cayenne chillies, instead of ground, and used apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar.

Oh, and that is a nosey dog behind the jars.

A bit more

zigzag binding, originally uploaded by soja.

I can't find a big enough and bright enough place to take a picture! I was going to try to take it to a park this morning (just to reinforce the idea I'm a crazy English woman to the local population...), but it was overcast. Now it's bright and sunny but I have to go to work. Ah well, here's a bit more of the binding.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Zig-zags zagged

Finished! Bit of a break as I was having trouble quilting this. I think it is partly to do with the thread - it's very thick cotton (30 from Cotton Patch) eventually I got it done with a size 16/100 needle and a new sewing machine (which should be a post all of its' own). I must remember to order some topstitch or quilting needles, perhaps the bigger eye would help with all the thread snapping.

The batteries on the camera are dead. I think I need new rechargeable batteries? How long do they usually last? I suppose mine are between three and two years old.

My favourite bit is the binding. More details and pictures to follow.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Look! Quilt festival!

Amy, of Park City Girl, is hosting another blogger's quilt festival - there are so many quilts to look at already! You can add your own too.

I've only completed three quilts, two just recently, so not sure I have anything to show myself, but I'm enjoying looking at everyone else's work. :-)

Getting there

Getting there, originally uploaded by soja.

I got a little bit more done this morning - and the thread only snapped once! I must be getting better. Though there are a few bits that I know I'm going to back to, unpick and redo, but I wanted to see some progress, so decided to leave that until I'm mostly finished.

I was tempted to free motion the top and bottom thirds and then use the walking foot to quilt lines following the zigzags for the middle third - maybe next time.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


Zig-zags!, originally uploaded by soja.

Four day weekend finished, and another quilt top, I'm about a third of the way through the quilting now. Phew. ;-)

And another bad dark photo, the only space big enough to baste was my no-natural-light hall floor - then the trickiest bit was keeping Lucky and Jaffa off until I was finished. The fabric is the Red Letter Day range by Lizzy House and one fq from Amy Butler (the feathers). I had loved the fabric when I had seen it online, then liked it but felt it wasn't as bright I was expecting when it arrived, then loved it again when I put it against the white cotton.

I had wanted to try seminole quilting this weekend, and had been playing around and thinking of ideas, wondering how to work out how much fabric I'd need for a whole quilt.... when I remembered Amanda Jean had a tutorial for a no-triangle zig-zag quilt (see her blog: CrazyMomQuilts). Amanda doesn't call it seminole, but I think it's the same idea, her quilts are always wonderful, I knew I'd have no problems if I followed her measurements and instructions, so that's what I did.

I cut my blocks a fraction smaller, 5.25"(instead of 5.5"), just to make sure the quilt top wouldn't end up too big for the wadding I had, and just in case my sewing and cutting weren't as accurate as they should be. Hmm, the cutting was the most time consuming boring bit. This top has ended up about 38 x 58" I think. It is my biggest quilt so far (Mum's quilt is much bigger, but is only a quilt top at the moment).

I'm free motion quilting in a meandering design, with white cotton thread. More photos when I have some light, not sure when I will get to finish it....

Thanks for the comments on the threads for Mum's quilt. I think I might order the tea and candy floss colour-ways and see what they look like in 'real life', I need to order the batting from the same people anyway. Not sure how much thread I'll need - depends how much I unpick I suppose. ;-)

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Any opinions please?!!

I was thinking of machine quilting the top below with one of these variegated threads - but now I'm not sure? I was originally thinking of the candy floss thread, but now I wonder if it is too light. hmm.

I think that I will avoid the solid pink and beige blocks, and hand quilt them with words/designs. I have a beige fabric with a green fern-like pattern on it for the backing - I'm thinking maybe using a plain beige thread in the bobbin?

But, I'm not sure, maybe it would be better to use the same variegated thread in the bobbin so any possible showing through top thread isn't so obvious?

Any advice/opinions? I'd be very grateful for any input.

Finished quilt top

Finished quilt top - unironed, originally uploaded by soja.

Well, I've checked, nobody in my family reads this blog, so I can say that this is going to be a (slightly belated) 60th birthday present for my mum.

She likes bright colours, when I was growing up I remember her wearing a lot of shocking pink and electric blue in the eighties - including matching mascara(!) She has also recently repainted the pink walls of the living room, changing them to white, and bought a new dark brown sofa, so I had planned to either go for brown and autumnal colours or brown and pink, which is what I have chosen. I was looking at some lovely vibrant Kaffe Fossett prints in SusieCraft's Ebay shop, and then saw she had a bundle of Amy Butler fat quarters on sale, and thought the brown and pinks were sort of what I was thinking of.

My parents have a dog and cats that are all over everything, tidiness isn't their thing, so I wanted the quilt to be quite 'busy' so it wouldn't look too grubby too quickly. I think (hope) Mum will like it. I haven't got any fabric for the backing yet, or any wading, so this is as far as I can get with this for a bit. I'm planning to freemotion quilt with some pink/yellow varigated thread, I haven't used it before. The solids are there because I was thinking of using those spaces to maybe hand quilt names or shapes relevant to Mum, maybe family names, dates, or something?

Monday, 5 October 2009

I said it was bright and colourful...

New project!, originally uploaded by soja.

A bit blurry, it's late here and I've got to get to bed (ok, took another pic this morning), but just wanted to record where I was by the end of the weekend. All the blocks (20) are done, and sewn into four strips of five. The border squares are cut out, but not pieced. Should have a finished quilt top by the end of the week....

Then there will be a bit of a pause as I haven't got a big enough piece of wadding, or the backing fabric, thread and binding fabric yet.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Where did the weekend go?!

Phew, school is in full swing again. Bit of a shock to the system. Lucky and Jaffa aren't very keen on me being out of the house most of day - they have both been waiting for me at the door when I get in.

I've started a new quilt - it's going to be very colourful, it's a bit of a late birthday gift for someone special, so I might have to be a little bit cryptic... I'm using lots of Amy Butler fabric for the first time, I got a bundle of 24 fqs on sale from SusieCraft on ebay, and am mixing in a little bit of solids and other fabric.

I also managed to get an almost full size picture of the pinwheel quilt, and make up a little matching onsie (pictured above), so that's listed on Etsy now. I think I'll have to try and improve some of the photos, they seem to come out a little darker/less saturated when I upload them to Etsy? Hmm, same happens when I use the fd's flickr toys mosaic maker. Hmm, better stick to the day job for now!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

More photos!

Pinwheel baby quilt mosaic, originally uploaded by soja.

Still stormy and overcast here, so not great pictures, but the quilt is all dry and wrinkled up.

I think this Nouveau fabric is really lovely, some of the prints remind me of Liberty or William Morris designs. This collection was designed by Sentimental Studios for Moda, I purchased a charm pack from the Emerald City people on Ebay, and a half yard bundle of six of the prints from Whipstitch at Etsy.

The quilt pattern was designed by Jodi Nelson (Pleasant Home blog) and is available as a free tutorial at Moda Bakeshop.

The white cotton backing/border fabric is bleached quilters muslin from The Cotton Patch. It is lovely and soft, though I thought it was a little thin and might be see through, but after washing it has wrinkled up and looks thicker. The wadding/batting is Quilters Dream Cotton 100% pure cotton batting, the select weighting, also from The Cotton Patch.

The thread is machine quilting thread, cotton, I think Coty 30, again from Cotton Patch. I managed to find a slightly cheaper 'Big Foot' free motion foot on Ebay, designed by Lynn Graves and I found it to work really well. There is great visibility and it is plastic and not as noisy as my metal foot, so I think I have the ol' presser foot problem solved.

I did have some trouble with the thread snapping, but I think there is something wrong with my machine (or me! eek!)

I'm really happy with this, I was worried while quilting that some of the stitches were too big and some too small. I did rip out a few bits here and there and redo them, but now it is all washed and finished I think that it looks pretty sweet.

I'm going to try and take some better pictures, make up a little appliqued matching baby top and pop this into the Etsy shop and see what happens...

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Pinwheel quilt - finished!

Pinwheel quilt - finished!, originally uploaded by soja.

Wow - having the rulers, mat and rotary cutter really made a difference! I didn't have to trim off much more than the extra backing to size up the quilt, and it has ended up perfectly square (or rectangular really...)

And being able to cut the binding strips with the cutter, rather than scissors was much quicker and easier. I'm really pleased with the binding, and the whole quilt. It is so pretty! I'll take more pictures when my camera batteries have recharged and when there is some light - it rained almost continuously through the weekend and Monday.

Edit: The sun came out, the quilt has been washed and it's out drying on the line, all wrinkled up... :-)

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

European Quilting Bee

I was invited to, and have joined, my first Quilting Bee! Tacha contacted me through flickr to see if I was interested. After checking it didn't matter that I was new to quilting - I was thrilled to accept.
To keep postage costs down, it is a European Quilting Bee. I think that there are eighteen of us and that we will be starting in January. Tacha has started a flickr group for us, it seems there are quite a few other beginners, not just me. I'm feeling quite excited already, just looking at everyone's flickr photos and blogs, inspired by what they have done, and wondering what types of blocks are going to be requested and what fabrics are going to be used.

I've volunteered to be last, so my quilt might take a while before it is made, but I'm really looking forward to working on blocks for this group.

Here is Tacha's logo for the bee:

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Mini-tortoise Tutorial - jpeg

Hmm, can't seem to enlarge the gif images, so here it is as a jpeg....

Mini-Tortoise Tutorial

Dad went home on Wednesday, staff meeting on Tuesday, we've had mad thunder, lightning and hail storms, it's cool in the mornings... summer is over, sigh.

We had a great time pretending to be on holiday, going to the beach, drinking coffee on plazas, going for long walks with Lucky and eating out. I've got quite a few new projects started, or being planned, but first, here is the promised mini-tortoise tutorial.

I couldn't really get the sewing machine out while Dad was visiting to make more tortoises and take photos, so I drew some sketches to show the steps and then scanned them into the computer. Now, I don't know how to make a pdf document, and loading each sketch into blogger was slow, and I was having difficulty moving the images into the right order. So, I'm not sure if this is going to work, but I have set out the tutorial as a power point presentation and then saved each A4 'slide' (there are 3) as a gif document. Hopefully, if you click on each slide, you will get an enlarged image to print off or read - if it doesn't work let me know and I'll try another way of doing it. :-) Edited: Ok, when I clicked on these images nothing happened, so I have just converted them to jpegs and posted them - see blog post above!

If you make a mini-tortoise, I'd love to see it! Please leave a comment and link to a picture if you have one. This is my first tutorial, so if it isn't clear, let me know and I'll help/change it.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Think I've got it!

First purse, originally uploaded by soja.

No posts for a week and then two all at once. I guess that's what comes of having several projects on the go at once.

Anyway, I think I've worked out the purse pattern I've been playing with for a couple of weeks. This is the second (and first successful) fabric prototype, I've played about with a few paper versions.

I used the knowledge from Cotton and Cloud's kit, but couldn't use the pattern, as the kit was for a larger, curved frame purse, whereas this is a small rectangular framed purse. Fortunately, U-Handbag has a tutorial explaining how to make your own pattern from your frame.

I used some of the practice quilting sandwich I still had leftover after making the bibs. The polar fleece blanket I used in the quilt sandwich definitely had more body than the fusible fleece, so seems to have made a good substitution here. I bought 10 of these frames for $16 from Cotton Touch, an Etsy seller based in Thailand, they arrived prettily wrapped and in good time. The fabric (except lining) is from Ikea.

I managed to buy some strong glue and cotton string for the cording at the local hardware store . I used bondaweb, to prevent fraying really, and then appliqued the flower pieces onto the already quilted fabric before attaching the frame.

I think I've got a pattern that works now, this was pretty easy, if a bit fiddly because of the size. Gotta tidy up all this sewing stuff before Dad arrives on Wednesday....

Mini Tortoises

Mini Tortoises, originally uploaded by soja.

I made up a pattern for these little tortoises last night, they are about 3" long and already in the post to my Etsy customer. She had mentioned that she and her husband had just got married, so I included these as a little gift (she was buying a tortoise soft toy so I guessed that she liked tortoises).

I'm pleased with how they turned out, and as I have the paper templates and they are my own design, I think I might try and write a little tutorial for them.

Been a bit quiet blogwise. I've spent the week trying to get the new freemotion foot to work with my machine better. It does, but I still have to rip out a lot of stitches because of tension problems, which disappear when I switch to the old foot. I've also been working on my own design for a metal framed purse. Not quite there yet. Dad arrives on Wednesday for a two week visit so will probably not post much, then back to work. Eek.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Stripey Puzzle Ball

Stripey Puzzle Ball, originally uploaded by soja.

I think it was a little quicker to cut and sew two balls at once. In Joelle Hoverson's book, this project is in the 4 to 8 hour section, and I'd say that's right, these took over eight hours to make together.

More Puzzle Balls

Moda Print Puzzle Ball, originally uploaded by soja.

Green print from Moda's Nouveau range. Attaching the segments is getting easier. :-)

Folded Star patchwork

Folded Star patchwork, originally uploaded by soja.

Trying something new (to me). I wanted something I could do away from the sewing machine. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be to get a good result, maybe because this cotton from Ikea is slightly thicker than quilting cotton, so a bit harder to press the points crisply.

They are small, the white blocks are 5" square, but took hours. I don't think I'd want a whole quilt of them, but I think a few would make a good feature on a quilt or bag. The red, yellow and blue one reminds be of a Primal Scream album cover.

Friday, 21 August 2009

All Quiet on the Western Front

Just checking in. It's got hot here again, 35ºC, if I get up early enough, it's bright and cool and I can get stuff done before the heat sets in, but during most of the day, it's stultifying.

I'm desperately keen to play with free-motion quilting, I've tried again with the plastic foot, and got it to work a little better, I'm bidding on another over at Ebay, I've bought the two books above, my favourite local haberdashery shop has started selling white cotton (yippee!)..... but I'm still waiting on the wadding I ordered from the UK to arrive. I do still have some polar fleece blanket, but the pale blue colour shows through the white cotton.

The Encyclopedia of Quilting and Patchwork Techniques arrived this morning, so perhaps I can get some ideas for piecing, and have a top finished by the time the wadding arrives. I'd like to have a go at making a bigger quilt, I'm really enjoying watching Genie's coming together over on her blog, but want to make a couple of smaller projects to get used to the free motion bit first.

I also found some replacement Olfa blades for sale on Ebay (US seller) for less than half the price I can get them from the UK, they arrived earlier this week. Wow! Much easier to cut with. Which sadly leads me to believe that I must have been sent a cutter with a duff blade by the shop I ordered the rotary cutter from :-( It looked like it had lint on it when it arrived (in new packaging) but I thought this might have been from the fabric I'd ordered at the same time, and it was the first time I'd seen a rotary cutter in real life, not a picture. Which is a bit naff, the fabric was also really badly cut, the curve of the cut was so bad I had to scrap 3" to straighten it up. Hopefully they were just having a bad day, it's only the second time I've ordered from them, the price of their wadding is good, and theoretically it should be quicker for things to arrive from the UK than the USA, Australia or Canada. It's just annoying because it's the sort of thing that you might query if you were in a shop, so it's like being taken advantage of because you are buying online.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Puzzling Patchwork

Fabric Puzzle Ball, originally uploaded by soja.

I made one of these last year for a friend's baby. The instructions are from Joelle Hoverson's attractive book 'Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. It is made up of twelve sections, like last time, there was one point when I wondered if they all would fit together and make a ball. And then when they do it seems like a little bit of magic might have been involved.

I added lazy daisy stitches to each ends of the segments. The print fabric is from Moda's Nouveau line. The ball is about 51/2" high.

The structure sort of makes them a little bit bouncy. Very clever.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Drum roll please, trumpets blaring....ish

I've done it. I've opened up a shop at Etsy. :-) Waded through all the Spanish international postage charges, worked out how to reduce all the megabytes and kilobytes on my photo files, taken pictures in the best light I could find in the flat, hummed and hahhed and ermed over prices, weighed different sizes of jiffy bags and tissue paper on the kitchen scales, made up a little banner on Gimp and there we are, got a few things listed, loading took a long time.

So there you go, wonder if I'll sell anything? If you are interested, you can find me here:

The same name and banner as the blog, it seemed to fit and meant that I could use the same one :-) And save a little space in my memory.