Sunday, 21 November 2010

Pear Pincushion

Pear Pincushion, originally uploaded by soja.

It was good to do a little sewing again, and this was much easier than I thought it might be! I just based it on various cushions I had seen online, UK lass in the US has kindly supplied a template on her blog, and her pincushions look great (I was too lazy to print anything off!)

I stuffed it with fleece and wadding offcuts as I didn't have any stuffing, and wrapped up a pebble from the beach and added it to the bottom to weight it down. Three of the sides are made up of leftovers from the rail fence quilt, so were already patched together, making this much faster to sew, and adding a bit of interest.

It was made as a present for a friend of my parents - on the day it was due to be given - hence picture taken in v bad light just before it was gift-wrapped!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

October blocks - Honey Bees - Bee Europa

All caught up! So pretty and cheerful, especially as the days are getting shorter and shorter now. Though the autumn colours are beautiful, I haven't really experienced an autumn for the last few years, summer got cooler and then it was winter. The leaves seem especially vibrant and colourful this year!

I hadn't realised how bad the photo was until after wrapping up the blocks, oops. Not so much natural light, that's seasonal weather for you. They didn't look so wrinkled in real life!

September blocks - Honey Bees - Bee Europa

Um, still here. Blocks for Anita. Pretty fabric - the gingham is printed it isn't really gingham, lovely shade of green. Made following one of Amanda Jean's brilliant tutorials kindly worked out and provided for free on her blog Crazymomquilts.

Studying and family absorbing most of my time at the moment.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Honey Bee blocks for Isabel - July

Honey Bee blocks for Isabel - July, originally uploaded by soja.

I haven't vanished into a pit! Just a few packing boxes and a lot of studying! I've missed this space a bit, thank-you for the well-wishes. Me, dog and cat are all settled and happy in our new home. In fact, I think that my cat has never been happier, she has turned into a much friendlier, more playful and confident little feline, I'm so relived and happy for her.

These blocks are a little bit embarrassingly late. It took me a while to sort out anywhere to sew, and more importantly, cut out all the strips. Isabel sent us all much more fabric than in the blocks so that we could sew strips of different colours, we then sent all extra cut strips back to her. I think that they look very pretty, hope that she likes them too!

Friday, 9 July 2010


View from the mountain, originally uploaded by soja.

View from the mountain, a final farewell hike yesterday evening - it was so cool and fresh up the mountain, stifling down below in the city.

I leave tomorrow, returning to live in my hometown, really for the first real time since leaving school 17 years ago.... it's seven years or so since I left the UK. Gosh, all change...

New beginnings....

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Bee Europa Honey Bees June Blocks

Bee Europa Honey Bees June Blocks, originally uploaded by soja.

These are the blocks for Elena. Are they still blocks if they are hexagons? Hmm, not sure, but here they are.

The design is taken from a book by Kaffe Fassett, and at least some of the prints are his too, I think some is Amy Butler too. So bright and vibrant, and we have all been sent different selections, some are more blue, not seen many finished yet - the quilt is going to be amazing! I'm not sure how the hexagons will all be joined together?

Unfortunately, even after carefully lining up and checking the strips and adjusting and testing the special 1/4" foot, I sewed the two halves together to find that I couldn't get the points to match up. :-( I wasn't sure what to do, I thought the only way to adjust them would be to unpick all the segments and re-measuer them and sew them up again. I think that I might have been worried about cutting the template, so maybe cut them a little bigger?

Anyway, I asked Elena for advice, and she kindly told me that they would be alright as they were - I hope that she wasn't just being polite...

I miss my sewing machine, it is currently, hopefully somewhere between Spain and England, the removal company came last week. I've spent the days since looking around and noticing all the things that I forgot to pack, oh dear!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Not travelling lightly...

Haven't vanished off the face of the earth, just end of term, finishing up, saying goodbyes, organising moving and packing. My least favourite activity, but I know that it will be worth it when I arrive. Difficult to leave, but great to arrive.

Dog and cat have their passports, blood tests and transport booked. The removal company is booked. I have a flight and a house to move into when I arrive. I've been accepted onto the courses I need to do over the summer so that I can start another course in September. Offers accepted, contracts signed and most forms completed and in the system. Just got to get all the stuff into boxes....

England here we come!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Skirt Refashion

Skirt Refashion, originally uploaded by soja.

Very simple! Still can't work out how to take a picture of me in things though. ;-)This used to be a very comfortable, old summer dress... I wore it to the vet's three years ago when Lucky got his first rabbies jab and, trying to escape into my arms, he caught his paw in the front of the dress and managed to shred it. It has been sitting in my recycle pile since then....

Part of the delay was that I thought it might be a bit short as a skirt, and it is cut on the bias so I wasn't keen on pressing over and making a casing for the elastic. Anyway, it has been very hot, and I remembered how cool and soft this material was, so thought I'd experiment. I found some grossgrain ribbon type stuff in my supplies and used this to make a casing for the elastic, so as not to lose too much in the length. I thought it might be a bit bulky, but it's fine.

I already had the crochet cotton from an abandoned project a year ago. At first I just sewed around the hem with a blanket stitch, much like another old favourite dress I have. But I have been wanting to try another crochet project, and searching around on the web, I came across 'You Go Girl's' blog and great tutorial for crochet edged pillow cases. Even better, the crochet was added to a blanket stitch foundation - so I followed her great instructions (after 'translating' them into British English crochet...). I had stitched my blanket stitch at 1 cm intervals, and I used a 3 mm crochet hook and crochet cotton so this on a different scale to hers, but it seems to have worked out well. Voila! A new skirt, all made from stuff I had on hand.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Pressing matters

A new toy! Since I have started sewing a little more regularly, I find that my irons last only about a year or two. I don't buy expensive irons, I do use special de-ionised/ironing water, I think perhaps having it switched on a lot when sewing, doesn't help. The one I have now is still going, but I don't think it will last much longer, and I don't want to buy another one before I move back to the UK in July.... but I think this little thing will be worth packing.

I hadn't seen a steam travel iron before, and thought that the narrow pointed plate would be ideal for pressing seams when I am piecing blocks. I saw it for €9 in the local hypermarket (Eroski, for anyone interested in Spain). It's ideal for keeping beside the sewing machine for pressing seams, and is a great size for block-making and baby clothes, it's more comfortable to use for fiddly little jobs and isn't so heavy or hot to be beside me when I am sewing. I still use my normal iron for ironing swathes of fabric and wide hems, but this is great for everything else.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Bee Europa - Honey bee - May blocks

Bee Europa - Honey bee - May blocks, originally uploaded by soja.

Humm, might try and take a better picture later... anyway, these are the Bee Europa blocks for May for Beatriz.

She sent us beautifully packed bundles of wide strips of the natural and white linen and thinner strips of the Japanese printed cotton. She asked us to make improvised blocks of different sizes, to be inspired by this picture.

I was looking forward to making these, and then sort of got a bit of a block and was worried about cutting into the fabric, but hopefully they are okay. I like the colours, I think that it is going to be a very mellow and textured quilt. The linen is lovely, though a little slippy and thick to sew, I wonder if this might be a bit tricky to quilt.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Halter neck camisole and french knickers

A birthday present for a friend. I think it'll be a bit delayed, I had planned to get this finished earlier. I had bought an old McCall's pattern (dated 1979, pattern number 6972) a while ago from an ebay seller, but when I checked the pattern more thoroughly, and went to sew, I found the camisole pattern was missing. So not such a quick project.

I was worried about getting the sizing right (this is me in the picture, my friend is a little curvier). I decided to try and draft out a halterneck design, cut on the bias and with an elasticated back and front elastic 'scrunch', as I thought that this would make the fit more flexible. I expect my friend is too polite to say anything, so I hope that it fits.

The material is a lovely soft cotton that I have used for baby quilts in the past. Sewing hems on the bias is not my favourite, but it wasn't too bad with a bit of starch, a lot of ironing and a special rolled-hem foot that came with my machine. I made matching bias tape, with the lace inserted, for the side bodice seams and straps. I also lined the top of the camisole to make it a little more opaque.

Hope she likes it! I thought perhaps, if not used as underwear, it might make make a pretty summer pyjama set?

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Crochet Sea Shells Scarf

Crochet Sea Shells Scarf, originally uploaded by soja.

My first crocheted anything! Except for the odd granny square and doll hair. I'm used to knitting, but was a little daunted about following a crochet pattern, but this free pattern, very generously available from "My Little City Girl" was easy to understand and fun to do.

I did remember that the terms for American and British crochet were different, so 'translated' the pattern before I began. American single crochet is a British double crochet and the American double crochet is a British treble crochet. I looked up the stitches in my old Collins Complet Book of Needlecraft and got going.

The pattern says that is is easy and suitable for beginners, and I found this to be so. I'm not sure about my gauge and chain size.... I used a 4mm hook (the pattern says 3 3/4, but I was using different yarn anyway). Perhaps a smaller hook would have been better and made a firmer scarf? Thought maybe it would have been too stiff?

I had bought the yarn last year to make fingerless gloves, but found that it was too shiny and didn't work with the pattern. I wanted to use it to make a skinny lace scarf, but again was finding it was too shiny for a lot of the lace patterns, they just didn't show up, but I think it is a good match for this pattern. I started it on Friday and finished yesterday, so not too much time.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Got to make something for the most important member of the family!

New collar, originally uploaded by soja.

I've been wanting to make Lucky a collar ever since I saw the one in Amy Karol's "Bend the Rules Sewing" book. In the end I based this on the one he already had that was getting worn.

I bought the plastic fixings (made for parachutes so they should be strong) from an Ebay seller, but thought that the metal d-rings looked a little thin, so recycled one from his too small puppy collar. The fabrics are from Ikea, the outer print is canvas weight, and the orange cotton is a scrap that I had quilted when I was practising free motion shapes.

He's great to sew for - he gets really excited, perhaps surprisingly, and was very keen for me to put this on him. I made him a matching lead too - he has a flexi lead for his walks in the day, but last thing at night I use a normal lead.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Kimono-Style Baby Pyjamas

So cute. More 'wrap' than 'kimono', but that is what they are called in the pattern book. I bought Amy Butler's book "Little Stitches for Little Ones" just for this pattern. And I do like them. Not sure about the book, pretty photos, but the patterns are very wordy, when I suspect a few diagrams would be easier to follow. Not that the instructions were hard to understand.

I did make a few alterations. I don't like zig-zagged seam allowances. So I used flat felled seams to add the borders and French seams for everything else. I also cut the trousers in two pieces, not four, eliminating the side seams - as they were straight, not contributing to shape, I didn't see the point of them, and I felt that the fewer seams the better for a baby. I also used 3/4" wide elastic, rather than 1" for the waist, 1" seemed to be a bit bulky to me.

The orange print is from Amy Butler's Midwestern Modern range and the yellow is from a vintage pillowcase, given to me from a swap partner. I was originally planning to use a pink border, but the fabric I had didn't quite match, and I think that the yellow looks fresh and lovely.

I made the 3- 6 months size, as these will be winging their way off to a baby in Canada who is already two weeks old (yes - they are for you J). I waited until the baby was born, as I got the feeling that Mum would like a little bit of pink if the babe turned out to be a girl.

Alabama Stich book (based) skirt

Alabama Stich book (based) skirt, originally uploaded by soja.

Finished this a week (or so) ago, been wanting to blog, but couldn't get a good picture. This doesn't really show enough of the skirt. :-)

I love it, very comfortable. Not sure about the fit, might just be me. I can definitely imagine making another one though.

I made a few changes to the book method. I drew out my own design and used the gocco to print the fabric, as mentioned before. I used my machine and a triple stitch to sew the panels together - I made the almost fell-stitched seams, as described in the book and got some matching blue foe elastic for the waist. This is the medium size.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Skirt panel - one finished

Skirt panel, originally uploaded by soja.

There are four panels in the skirt. I stamped six to seven leaf prints on each panel with the gocco. I like the way it looks now - I'm almost tempted not to cut out the leaves to reveal the under layer - but I will!

(For more details see the previous post).

Sunday, 25 April 2010

A New Project - for me!

A New Project - for me!, originally uploaded by soja.

This is going to be a Reverse Applique Swing Skirt, based on the one in Natalie Chanin's 'Alabama Stitch Book'.

I changed the method a little bit. I chose to draw a similar design, a bit smaller, so that I could use my Gocco to print the fabric, rather than use a stencil - just because I had fabric ink for the Gocco, so it seemed like a good idea to use it. Instead of having solid shapes, I made them hollow so that I would also have a cutting line, and to use less ink!

I cut the fabric from new (washed) t-shirts, bought on sale locally. Underneath the navy blue top layer is a grey-green layer. I had one XXL, and one XL blue t-shirt, and could only get medium-sized grey-green shirts - but I managed to cut out the skirt panels - just.

The green thread is Gutermann's button thread. The book says to use it double, which I was a bit dubious about, as it is pretty thick thread and this seems a lot to pull through the fabric, but I think it must be for aesthetic reasons, and it does look good. I'm a bit worried about using knots to start and finish each leaf, I always cast on and off when I start sewing by hand, I never use knots unless I am quilting... but fingers crossed it'll all hold together!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Railfence Soiree block quilt

Railfence block quilt, originally uploaded by soja.

Another quilt top that was finished months ago, waiting to be quilted and bound and listed on Etsy. Another girly quilt. :-) This is also the biggest quilt I have made, I think.

I tried something new with the quilting, and am pleased with it! I used the same variegated (cream/pink) thread as before for the front, but used thread of an equal weight for the back in the bobbin.

I bought jelly roll of Moda's Soiree range, designed by Lila Tueller. Making it easy to put together. I hope I have wrote down the details - I remember that I did a bit of maths to work out the best size for the blocks and the number of strips to use to make the best of the fabric.

The backing is a soft white cotton with a light green, modern botanical type design, taken from a new 'eco' cotton duvet set, the wadding/batting is a light cotton. I quilted with a spiral type design, sort of following the lines of the blocks, but also overlapping the seams sometimes as i thought this may make it stronger?

This quilt is approximately 105.5cm by 146cm/ 41.5” by 57.5”.

Love hearts Pinwheel Prairie Point Baby Quilt

Finally got this listed in the shop! I finished the quilt a long time ago, but hadn't got around to making the matching bib and top. I guess this is definitely more a girl - lots of pink!

The beautiful pinwheel and prairie point pattern was designed by Jodi Nelson for Moda Bakeshop, I added some raw applique hearts to the inner corners. All of the quilted hearts were hand quilted with variegated thread, which goes from a light vanilla ice-cream colour to a candy floss pink. The borders are quilted with the same thread in a random meandering design and there is some straight line quilting to emphasise the borders and prairie points.

The fabric mostly a charm pack from Moda’s Love is in the Air range designed by Deb Strain and one or two pieces from their Clemetine and Nouveu ranges. The hand finished binding is made from fabric by Amy Butler fabric.

The sashing is a soft white cotton, the backing cotton from Ikea and the wadding/batting is a light soft cotton.

This quilt is approximately 41 cm by 104 cm/ 33” by 84”.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


WIP, originally uploaded by soja.

Ooff, quilt top made, um over the summer? Trying something new (for me) with the quilting. I like it. Nearly finished handsewing the binding.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Quarter Log Cabin Mini-quilt

Quarter Log Cabin Mini-quilt, originally uploaded by soja.

Inspired by Muriel's quarter blocks and Tacha's prints and black mix!

Fabric is from the Free Spirit Chocolate Lollipop Collection by Anna Maria Horner. Bought as a mini jelly roll (12 strips of 6 prints) from imaginefabric at Etsy. Solid black and orange fabric from Ikea. Backing is cut from a (new) duvet set, 'eco' cotton, bought locally. Quilted with green cotton thread, wadding bought from the UK, 100% cotton.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

April - Euro Bee blocks for Muriel

I loved making these! They are wonky quarter log cabins. We followed the very clear, friendly tutorial by Quilt Dad on his blog.

The fabric is a mixture, all a lovely weight and rich colours. Muriel bought the bird fabric locally in the Netherlands, and I recognise the Kaffe Fassett print (all the circles/splodges) as I have some in blue. I love it! She sent us strips, making it very easy for us to cut up.

I really enjoyed the mixture of being able to make it up as a went along, balanced with thinking ahead to make sure that I was balancing out the block and ending with a wide enough strip around the edge.

I felt so enthused to make more blocks that I used a mini roll that I had and made up another four blocks for myself to make a mini quilt - I'm quilting it now - photos to follow...

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Snip snip!

Scissor case, originally uploaded by soja.

Not exactly an easter chick. I saw these scissors in a shop the other day and thought they were attractive - I've seen lots of storks, but not a cockerel before.

I was looking for a little thank-you gift for a crafter, and I think small sharp scissors are always handy. So with a little bit of felt and some embroidery... one little gift. I added a little bit of polyfill to the bottom, kept in place by the embroidery, to stop the scissors poking out.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Pyjamas for Dad

Cheerful Pyjamas for Dad, originally uploaded by soja.

Because I can't do anything else. And Dad needs pyjamas, and grey and dull has never been his style.

And something that I have only learnt recently, and only from blogs and flickr and online; that if you can make something handmade as a sign of love, then do it. Why not? I didn't make things for people for fear that it wouldn't be wanted, Over thirty years of wanting to and not. And since I have, I have been so surprised that my friends and family have been happy to receive them.

My Dad, who used to complain that I spent too much time sewing and knitting and painting and drawing when I was a child. So much so that I abandoned ideas of Art College and did a degree in Science. Now I am thirty-four, he is so happy by anything that I make, he shows everyone, he is proud. And the last time he was here in Spain, he told me so. The past is the past, and I am rambling. I love him, and he is very sick, and he has cancer, and I am scared.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Doll making

Doll making, originally uploaded by soja.

I cut these out, hmm I think over the summer? Maybe even Easter last year, so thought that I had better get back to them. I'm trying out two slightly different designs - one with handsewn fingers and toes, and one without. I'm pleased with the size and proportions, though I think that they are still too time-consuming to make to sell? There are 16 or 18 separate pieces to each body. If I make crochet caps and individually hook on the hair it will take a while to finish them.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Dog-walking Bag

Dog-walking Bag, originally uploaded by soja.

Made this in February I think. Quite pleased with how it turned out, made up as I went along out of necessity as the zips on my old bag had broken.

I keep this by the door, fully stocked with plastic bags (that I can pull out through the hole on the right-side, keys, lip salve and phone in the outer front compartments, back zippered pocket for dog treats and inner pocket for coffee money and tissues.

The blue fabric was from Ikea, and I think that the print is Heather Bailey. I used the fixings from the old bag.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Honeybees March blocks

Honeybees March blocks for Tacha, originally uploaded by soja.

Nothing for over a month, and then two posts in five minutes. I wanted to get these blocks recorded now, while it is still (just) March.

These were Tacha's blocks, the person who put together the Bee Europa group. She said that her family didn't like her choice very much - I think that they look great and will make a really interesting fun quilt.

I sort of liked making them, except my machine didn't like the print fabric, it kept chewing it up, which was a little worrying, as again, no spare fabric to play with. I don't know what the problem is/was, the fabric is thinner than the other stuff I have been sewing with, but it shouldn't have been a problem with the new super-duper machine. :-( Am a bit sad, perhaps it was having a bad moment. Lots of joins and ironing. Tacha very reassuringly told as she wasn't worried about a bit of wonkiness and all the points being perfect. Still, these are a little wonkier than I had hoped they would be.

Next month, it's going to be wonky log cabin quarter blocks for Muriel - great! I'm wondering if precision isn't my strong point...

New lucky pencil case

Pencil case detail, originally uploaded by soja.

Made for an interview, for luck. Hmm, interview was mid-February, in England. Logistics, and, oh, six weeks ago... Which means Dad has been sick for six weeks. He saved the day by coming over to dog and cat sit so that I could go, and then had to put up with the coldest wettest ten days we had had for a long time. The whole thing was a bit long and involved a lot of waiting, but in the end I got what I wanted, so I guess that the pencil case was lucky. Anyway, partly why it has been quiet here, lots of preparation to do and things to work out.

No pattern, I made it up as I went along. I fused the beautiful outer material, sent by the kind and generous Melanie, to some interfacing I had around, and also used a decor weight fabric from Ikea as lining. I used the invisible zip as I had it and liked the colour and tab, but purposely made sure it wasn't invisible, I wanted the grey stripe.

It was good to have some homemade/handmade beside me for the whole process.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

February - Bee Europa blocks for Eva

Hope they are straight enough and not too wonky!

Interesting design, and was curious to see what kona solids were like in 'real life' - love the colours, the material not quite as nice as the other stuff I've been ordering from the US, so don't feel like I am missing out any more. :-)

Rough couple of weeks, but should be back to normal by next week.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Hidden Stars Quilt - bigger views

Hidden Stars Quilt

Hidden Stars Quilt, originally uploaded by soja.

This is the quilt that I made for my sofa, to be shared with the cat and the dog! I love modern quilts with lots of white, but for this purpose it would not have been very practical, I decided to go for this fabric to make a sort of 'traditional' looking quilt. I wanted fabric that was mostly blue, green and beige with a little red. I saw this Moda range, Nostalgia by April Cornell on sale at Jo Jo's Gift Shoppe so decided to go for it. The dark green fabric, used for the stars and binding is Little Lulu Flowers/Green background by Maywood Studio for EE Schenck also bought online from the same shop. It is the first time that I have bought from them, and the service, shipping and price were all good.

At first, I wasn't sure about the green fabric for the stars, it didn't clash with the other greens, but when I was sewing the star points, I really wasn't that thrilled, I nearly stopped, unpicked and started looking for different fabric. But, when I made up the first row of stars, I loved it - phew! I didn't want to use a solid, I wanted the stars to be a bit more hidden, and I didn't want the quilting to show up too much.

The pattern, Hidden Stars, is from "Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts" by Pam and Nicky Lintott, a book I got for Christmas, along with the fabric for this quilt, (well the money to buy them anyway :-)) I really like this book, there are seventeen quilt designs, each made up and fully photographed in two very different colourways. It is helpful for me, as I am finding it easier to visualise the amount of fabric needed for different sized quilts. The patterns can easily be made bigger or smaller by making more blocks, of course. Out of the 17 designs, I am keen to make about 15 of them!

The finished size of this quilt is 49"x61"/125cm x 155cm, using one layer cake, plus 1m fabric for the stars and under 1/2m for the binding.

The backing fabric was cut from a new duvet set purchased locally in the sales, 100% soft 'eco' cotton, reduced from €20 to €7! Great! This used most of one side of the single duvet cover.

I liked the Green Dream wadding that I used for Mum's quilt, made from recycled plastic bottles, so decided to get more of the same for this quilt. Unfortunately, when I went to buy it from Cotton Patch, and after checking it wasn't a mistake, I fount that they had increased the postage to £37 for one packet of wadding!! The Cotton Patch rep said it was because it was bulky!! So, I searched the internet, and found a company in the UK selling the same wadding off the roll, at a cheaper price and only charging £5 to sent more than twice the amount -, the service was fast and polite - I'll definitely be back.

Don't tell, but as the quilt was for me, and because I got an awful lot of free, good quality polyester thread in a large range of colours when I bought my new sewing machine, I quilted it with polyester thread (I pieced with cotton thread). The colours for the front and back were such a good match, it looks great and it didn't break once! The quilting isn't always as even as I'd like, I was in a hurry to get it finished and in use, but I'm pleased with it overall.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

It's all coming up roses!

Felt rose hair clips, originally uploaded by soja.

It's my friend's daughters birthday soon, and after a few Christmases and birthdays, I'm running out of handmade ideas for presents.

I bought her a non-handmade gift, and was feeling a little sad that there was no crafty love. Then I saw the tutorial for these clips at the Purl Bee and thought they would be just the thing to add to a homemade card! I didn't follow the pattern exactly - I used mini-clips, and just drew my own shapes for the flowers, based on theirs, and I used acrylic felt.

I think they are pretty sweet.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Honey Bee European Quilting Bee Block 1 January 2010

I'm not running late on the first block! Poor Linzi was trapped inside by the snow and the post offices were closed in the UK, so I only received her lovely Heather Ross squares of fabric last week. She asked us to make maverick stars, following this tutorial with the mermaid and fish squares in the middle, the dots as the points and the sea horses as the background.

There weren't too many decisions to make, all the squares were pre-cut. It was really a very simple block, but I found it quite nerve-wracking making blocks for someone else, without any spare fabric if I made a mistake - I still think that I sew in a straight line badly!! And of course, I couldn't get one seam on the first block to line up and had to unpick it and re-sew it - after that it all went together easily. I decided to keep all the seahorses lined up in the same direction, and tried to include as many orange ones as possible. I think that perhaps the stars could have been a bit wonkier, but I think they look okay.

I know that Linzi gave everyone in the group the same fabric and instructions and is planning to make a big king-size (ocean-size!) quilt for her bed. I wonder if she will sew them together block to block or add a sashing? I'm looking forward to seeing what we will all have produced in a year or so's time.... I'm sending out the very last batch of fabric in January 2011!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Lucky me!

Well, If I hadn't come out of blog hibernation yesterday, I would have had to appeared today to say thank-you to Rosa Maria! I read her blog regularly, she is on my blog list on the right, "La Vida Compartida", she sews beautiful quilts and gifts, and has two handsome dogs, and a new member of the family, a little abandoned cat that has come to live with them. The colours and styles Rosa Maria puts together and perfect, I'm so glad that she blogs, it is a pleasure and inspiration to look at her work. :-)

A little while ago she had a blog give-away for a quilting magazine, she had photographed some of the pages, I loved the quilts, left a comment, just to admire the quilts, I didn't expect to be included in the give-away, Europe is a long way to ship to. But I won - I never win anything! And very kindly Rosa Maria sent me this brand new February 2010 American and Patchwork Quilting magazine all the way from Mexico! I love the designs, and what a treat to have a magazine in English (I live in Spain). Thank-you very much Rosa Maria!!

Now, I think, to share my luck a little, I should have a give-away too? I haven't before as I'm not really sure if there are many people reading? Well, I guess that just means that the odds of winning are good! But what to give-away? A Spanish crafty magazine? Something made by me? I will have to have a think...

Sunday, 31 January 2010


Hmm, didn't mean to disappear. Strange as I've been sewing and cooking and marmalade making, so not because of lack of things to record. I haven't even covered the Christmas presents.... still the shrug I knitted for my sister, the hat for her boyfriend and the t-shirts for my dad. I've meant to blog. I think I haven't partly because of a few rainy, grey days and no light to take photos, partly because the flat has been cold and I've been huddled up by the heater sewing or knitting, or stirring oranges and sugar in the kitchen, but felt too cold to sit and type.

I've finished two quilts, another pinwheel baby quilt, with some appliqued hearts, for the shop. And a lap quilt for me and the animals to cuddle under on the sofa, they were very keen on Mum's quilt, so I thought we needed one for us, and poor Linzi finally managed to dig through the snow and get to the post office and send off the fabrics for the first two blocks of the European Quilting Bee, they arrived on Wednesday and I have them finished and ready to send back tomorrow - phew! More nerve-wracking than I thought it would be, sewing blocks for someone else, especially to a specific design and with no spare fabrics to allow for mistakes, hope she likes them! Pictures and details to follow...soon.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Badger Pyjamas x 4

Badger Pyjamas!, originally uploaded by soja.

More holiday makes. My friend and her family, especially her husband, are all a little badger crazy, so I wanted to make them matching pyjamas and include badgers somehow.

Unfortunately I didn't find any badger brushed cotton - not very surprisingly! After thinking about embroidery and applique, I decided to draw a badger and use my gocco to print onto fabric. I ordered some special fabric ink from Japan, via Etsy seller..... and printed onto some whit ecotton knit, so that if it didn't work I wouldn't have messed up the pyjama top. It seemed a bit of a waste to use scarce gocco resources for just four prints, but I was running out of time, so just got on with it. It worked pretty well, the prints are actually dark purple to match the bottoms.

The tops were premade white thermal long-sleeved shirts bought locally. I made the bottoms from some lovely soft thick brushed cotton (flannel) cut from a duvet cover, as I couldn't find any fabric by the yard locally. It worked out well - one side of the duvet cover was striped, I used this for the husband and son, the other side was sort of floral, which I used for my friend and her daughter.

For the bottoms, I used the patterns in Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. I made a pair for myself - they are a great shape and really well-fitting and comfortable. The only negative bit was that the sizes don't indicate the age of the child. I understand that children of the same age can be very different sizes, but a choice of "small/medium child" or "medium/large child" was too vague for me. I eventually found more information on the back of some simplicity patterns on the internet and used these measurements and shortened/adjusted the patterns, and crossed my fingers - after all, my friend is a "medium" size and so is her husband - but she is a bout 5'3 and he is probably about 5'10.... a bit different...

Anyway, I was pleased with how they turned out - especially the bottoms. I also used french seams, I think this is a much nicer finish, especially for nightwear, and sewed in a little tab at the back of the bottoms so they would be put on the right way round.