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August 2011

squishy

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If you are a seasoned visitor around these parts, you will be assured of the knowledge that every few weeks or so there will be a post about cushions.

I'm quite partial to a project which involves covering up something with fabric to make it look all brand new and shiny and pretty.  When that task also involves utilising quilt blocks or patterns I want to try but can't justify making another quilt (I think I have enough of those ((for the time being at least))) for me it's a win/win sitch.

Despite recent posts and this one, believe it or not there is still a way to go before I make enough cushion cover's to go round and so on the pre - assumption that your not bored already, here's another installment of 'cushion covers I have made lately'.

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CC no.1 - Dresden plate, I came excruciatingly close to starting up a new quilt with these but stopped myself just in time to realise that my daughters are home for the holidays and this could be a bad idea right now. I managed to quell the urge (just) and kept to making the cover.

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RE: dresdens - I have always made my own dresden templates from card or template plastic although I'm so addicted to this quilt block I think I will have to cave and go buy a proper ruler soon.

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CC no. 2 - Gigantic pineapple, this one was tough going to begin with but I loved making such a simple, repetitive block in only two fabrics and huge proportions.  My 'technique' did waste a ton of fabric though, so I would want to do more research before attempting this again.

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CC's no's 3 & 4 - Hexagons, these were started in time for my trip to Whitstable and allowed me to have a handy on the go project so that I was never far from my paper pieces and needles whatever we were up to.

I made these by starting with one hexagon and stitching six others to each side of it.  I then continued by adding more hexagons in the same way until I had a piece of hexagoned fabric big enough to make the top of my cover.

I cover making paper pieced hexagons in this tutorial if you are interested but don't know how.

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Four brand new cushion covers that are making me V. happy indeed today.

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As you can see, I am partial to a particular fabric to use for my binding, a definite creature of habit and pattern.

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red snowballs

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I started making this table runner on Friday with the idea to use shades of just one colour.  The colour decided on was red, which was quite a good choice because there isn't much variation within the spectrum of shades of this hue! (unless you are going from orange through to purple).  

For this piece though I wanted RED red and luckily it worked out pretty well.  I was able to find lots of prints with different textures - bold and graphic through to fine detail and the contrasts are what I notice the most when I look at the finished runner.

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I think this is the same way that redwork style embroidery works, red really is a colour that can stand alone.

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I must be in a rouge frame of mind right now because these asters I brought home from the shops on Saturday are perfect to stand up on the runner.

The only thing tricky about asters is that they have pretty weak stems considering the hugeness of their heads and thus are prone to drooping (my neck hurts just looking at the poor things) and snapping.

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I couldn't bear to throw away the poor little snapped off heads, they looked far too pretty to go live in the bin.  So I found this glass bowl which held the unusable remanants of a Christmas candle from last year, placed it in a plastic bowl of hot water for a few minutes and then managed to easily scrape out the residue wax.  After the bowl was filled with water, in popped the snapped off pretty heads to make a nifty little pond style/floaty flower table piece.

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Table runner made from 4" squares, pieced into four patches and then made into snowball blocks*.  I stitched together two rows of six blocks to make the runner and then added a narrow 2" border.

Finished size of table runner - 45" x 17" 

*Edited to add - For each snowball block, I cut two 2 1/2" squares then cut each square on the diagonal to give two triangles.  Sew one triangle onto each corner.

Fabrics used are from Sherbet pips and little apples as well as Picnics & Fairgrounds and Katie Jump Rope by Denyse Schmidt, Bliss by Bonnie & Camille and some Kei Honeycomb Dots.

Binding is Sweater Check in Lollipop from Little Apples. 

Hmmm I think a few red cushions may be in order??


pink bubble

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A while ago I finally convinced my husband that he needed to paint the girls' bedroom. 6 years of gentle persuasion is all it took.

The girls' picked their colour of choice - Sorbet, my husband got out his painting gear and I set about making them some new bedding (my idea of helping out).

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Now I won't tell you that my husband has actually finished the paintwork (there are a few forgotten corners and other bits behind curtains and so on that he thinks I can't see), or that its perfect (there are a few air bubbles trapped in the wallpaper that he insisted on putting up first to get a really smooth finish) BUT it is as done as it will ever be and my girls are both happy (a rare occurence - agreement).

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Yesterday we hung up a few of the pieces they each selected to hang on 'their' walls.  A picked this Heather Ross mini quilt that long time readers of my blog may remember was actually made for a swap but miss A decided that it really should belong to her instead (no point in having a mum that sews if she gives away stuff all the time).

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This is miss C's side of the room, as you can see she has gone for the pips n apples look for her wall.

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The Little Apples doll here is the first version of the one I made for market, her head is extremely floppy because someone didn't make her neck thick enough to support it properly.

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I made matching patchwork pips duvet covers for the girls to go in their new room.  To make them more durable for all the washing and wear to come, I used 1/2" seams to piece the fabrics together and then topstitched them 1/4" from the seam line on the right side (seen above on the wrong side).  

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I think it's curtains next for the room, red ones maybe???


making fabric from pineapples

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A few months ago I became intrigued with pineapple quilt blocks.  It was the look of the blocks, the 'how the heck to you piece one of those?' look that was the cause of said intrigue.

So the other day, I set about pineappling my life a little - I picked out two fabrics that played nice together, did a bit of online research and began.  The outcome of this story is best explained in a little tutorial I have put together for you entitled....

The beginner's guide to how NOT to make pineapples from fabric

  1. Research how to make said quilt block online.
  2. Decide you would like to try the paper piecing method from one 'how to' but the block size (and pieces) are too small(and fiddly looking).
  3. Enlarge paper piecing template and cut strips to whatever size appeals in the hope that you can just 'wing it'
  4. Get increasing fluxommed because you can't see the lines you are meant to be stitching on as they are hidden under your oversized strips.
  5. Realise that you have now spent 5 hours doing all of the above and your so called pineapple actually resembles an aeroplane.
  6. Pull fabric off paper piecing template and attempt to wholly 'wing' the rest of the block.
  7. (The best bit) Act accutely surprised when life suddenly appears to spring from the ashes of your fabric aeroplane and it curiously begins to resemble a pineapple quilt block after all.
  8. Thank the fabric fairies that sit on your shoulders who must be the ones responsible for making said turnaround happen.

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Actually once you get the fiddly first few rounds done, the rest is not too difficult and I'm still in love with the end result of this block.

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Although eating a pineapple will never be the same again..

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I'm turning this one into a cushion and have begun by hand quilting some of the white triangles but I think I need to add a little machine quilting too to really 'anchor' the cushion top to the batting and backing.  Cushions are heavily used in our house (big time sloucher's here) and I think the machine quilting will stop this developing that attractive 'baggy' look too quickly.

Pineapples today, what will tomorrow bring????


Hexagonally

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Just in case you didn't see enough hexagons around here yesterday, here are the ones I've been busy with recently.  These have been to Whitstable and back with me, stitched on the train and on the beach (thankfully I didn't lose any needles in either of those places..).

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Do you know the bit in one of the Harry Potter films (part 2 I think?), Harry and the Weasley family transport themselves to Dyagon Alley to shop for the new school term by saying 'Dyagon Alley'?  Only Harry get's it wrong and says 'Diagonally', consquently ending up somewhere else instead?  Anyhow the word that keeps coming up in my head (and swimming around for a bit with no purpose particularly whatsoever) whenever I work on hex's is always 'hexagonally'.  Kind of like I am being transported to some kind of nice place called 'Hexagon Alley'.  I like this (fictional) place, it is perfectly my kind of alley..

Back to the sewing, I used prints from both pips and apples so it was fun to see how they all played together kind of sweetly.

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One thing I just wanted to point out for when making hexagons is the occurence of thread melt mishap.

Thread melt mishap happens when certain (usually cheap mulitpack) threads melt when ironed on high heat.  This is what happened this morning as I pressed my pieced hexagons, the green thread (the one I showed yesterday) melted and turned into thin hard plastic.  This can be picked off but sometimes melts and hardens right into the fabric.

To minimise thread melt mishap - Use cotton thread (the best you can afford).  If you don't know the content of your thread be careful when ironing at high heat (perhaps cover patchwork with a light cloth) and maybe think about using a thread colour that is close to the colours of the fabrics you are using (i.e. not clashy bright green as I did here).

Thankfully the damage was minimal and there was none in the centre of this whole thing which I have just spent days handstitching together (phew!)

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So it's back to the hexagon's I go.  I need to remove all the threads n' papers out of here and then stitch them up into a little something.

Hooray for hexagons!!!!


accoutrement's

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Earlier today I was getting out my tool bitty bobs, ready to tackle today's sewing must do's.  The tool bitty bobs basket needed tidying up, which it always seems in (gentle or urgent) need of but I needed a distracting hobby whilst I tackled the boring actual tidying part of the task.

So I decided to take some photo's and present to you my tool bitty bobs personal super guide (or accrotrement's special edition for ladies with a persuasion of sewing enthusiasm).

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All of my everyday tool b.b's live in two baskets which fit into my coffee table for when I'm sewing.  There's always pens and beads and stickers in there as well which seem to find their way in but never out but mainly it's these guys..

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Pincushion - (this one was made for me by Megan) and I think just having it there to stick my pins in whenever I have a loose pin in my hand makes my sewing life run so much more elegantly smoothly (thank you Megan).

Scissors - the large ones are for sewing and the small'uns for embroidery but great for snipping threads too.

Measuring tape - I once borrowed this out of my mum's sewing basket but forgot to put it back, I think that was 20 years ago.

Notebook - Hugely important because when inspiration strikes and you can't move for being surrounded by sewing accoutrement's you can just...

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sketch away for possible use in the future ;)

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Sewing threads - The white is the one I use for all my sewing and quilting, it's strong, long and works for me ( I use the Coats Craft brand in spools of 1000m).  The green one is a cheaper thread I got in a pack and it breaks very easily so I use it for basting stuff like hexagons.

Sewing needles - I don't know where all my needles end up, I go through packets of them...

Hexagon holder pouch - Made by me and used for storing hexagons (I've been making lots of them as you'll see).  There's a tutorial for making this pouch here.

Cute needlebook - Made for me by Tacha.  V. useful for keeping different needle types on different pages ( I use regular, embroidery and tapestry ones).

Seam ripper - I need a big one so it doesn't get mysteriously lost everytime I have a huge emergency.

Rotary cutter - If I need to explain what this is, you might have stumbled onto the wrong blog ;)  Used exclusively for the cutting of fabric and not the slicing of fingers.

Tracing wheel - I use this to trace patterns when dressmaking.  With the pattern placed on top of the fabric, run the wheel over the pattern lines to produce a dotted line right onto fabric.  Totally magic.

Just out of shot in this pic but visible in the top one are,

Hera marker - This is the curvy white stick, used for marking quilting lines (it marks by creasing so nothing remains to wash off later).

Seam guide - For quick checking of seam allowances.

Natural History Museum tin filled with little pins - I've had this for years, the pins are the teeny ones that are easily dropped and lost so I rarely actually use this but it likes hanging out in my basket so it still lives there.

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Needle clasp case with cute cat sticker on it but no actual needles in it (same use as tin above).

Mini tape measure - super useful and tidies away at a quick push of the centre (love that).

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These are some sewing pouches currently living in my baskets too.

This one contains lots o' hex's made for me by Cathy.

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This guy is one of the most adorable things I've ever seen, he needs to be made up into something and admired forever urgently.

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This bag was made for me by Megan - isn't it great how I get others to make my stuff for me? 

Actually all these made for me beauties were received in swaps, you can never have too many of those in my book (or blog).

The pouch contains mostly dresden petals which is today's sewing project.

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Lastly - My threads tin - which contains...

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Threads! (and more hexagons ((they're everywhere!))).

Gosh, such a long post, I hope you haven't fallen asleep or gone to make a cup of tea waiting for today's installment of stitchy life to end.

Believe or not there will have to be an acoutrement's part two (because it's not over yet ((obviously I have a tool bitty bobs problem))).