Sunday, 19 July 2009

I've moved!

I started this blog using blogger but I’d been having a few niggles. I had a bit of a play with WP and it seemed to solve many of my issues. So as I don’t have any readers that I’m aware of, and I’m still in the early days of posting on the web, I thought it would be better to make the transfer now rather than later. So just in case there's anybody out there looking for my blog you'll find me here!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

This Little Monkey...

... loves to clown around!

I googled for an easy to make fabric flower to finish off this little feller, and I found the perfect tutorial on Pink Paper Peppermints

So far during my frantic weekend of sewing I've finished off this monkey; the rest of the monkeys (there are 12 altogether) are just needing buttons sewing on for their eyes, and also I finished the binding on the cot quilt and washed it.

Loads more to do - I'm still optimistic at this point that I'll get Brandon's monkey quilt finished in time for the birth of his sister (baby is definitely arriving on Monday as mum is booked in for a C-section).

Original monkey quilt designed by Patchwork Pottery

Thursday, 16 July 2009


I haven't managed to write any posts lately - mainly because I've been just way too busy/tired. I work as a data manager in a secondary school and this time of year (leading up to summer holidays) is absolute mayhem. Luckily we break up tomorrow - almost seven weeks of no school, hurray!

I wanted this blog to be mostly about my creative efforts, but when things get as busy as they have been it's hard to find the time and energy to do any crafting. Having said that, there's a major deadline rapidly approaching - the birth of our third grandchild due this Monday. I've almost finished her cot quilt; just a little bit more binding to sew up. I was also hoping to have the monkey quilt ready at the same time so that our three year old grandson doesn't feel left out. I've only managed to completely finish one new monkey, although I've got the others in various stages of completion.

So my plan this weekend is to do practically nothing except for sewing. I've no idea whether I'll get it all finished but that's my aim!

Friday, 12 June 2009

My Sewing Machine

Joining in with the sewing machine meme over at Sew,Mama,Sew which I've been following recently.

What brand and model do you have?
Elna 2600

How long have you had it?

About 6 months.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?


What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
So far I've made 3 cot quilts and I'm now in the middle of a slightly larger child's quilt which has some applique.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
Every chance I get, but as I have a full time job it's not nearly as much as I'd like to

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I really like my machine but no, I haven't gone so far as to give it a name (or even a gender!).

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

I've recently been using some of the decorative stiches, which is a revelation! My previous machine was a *really* old singer and could only do straight stiches.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

So far so good.

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!
My (then pregnant) daughter was with me when I went to buy it. I'd never ever mentioned quilting to her but she's always been a bit of a mind reader. As we were looking at the machines she suddenly said 'Ooh you could make a quilt for the baby!' (which of course was the very plan I had!).

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
I think so if they were looking for a fairly inexpensive and not too fancy machine. But my recommendation would come with a health warning because I really don't have enough experience to judge my machine against any others in a similar price bracket.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
Well I still feel like I have a lot to learn about what this one can and can't do, nevermind what other machines might be capable of. So basically I don't have enough experience to answer this.

Do you have a dream machine?
I've only recently discovered through this meme that some machines can be set to stop with the needle in the down position, and another feature I like the sound of is variable speed settings. Oh and I'd really like some nifty way to thread needles! But for now I think I might get a bit overwhelmed by a dream machine. Maybe I'll have hankerings in about 12 months!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

More Monkeys

Two more monkeys done. As you can see I’m straying from the buttons on shirt pattern and I think I’ve decided to give each monkey different attire. Why do I do this to myself?

I’ve included a Santa monkey because since last Christmas our little grandson has what can only be described as a minor obsession with him. Whenever he comes to visit we have to read Raymond Briggs’s ‘Father Christmas’. Several times! No great hardship as I love this book and I remember reading the very same copy to his father when he was the same age - 32 years ago!

Original monkey quilt designed by Patchwork Pottery

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

New Project

This monkey marks the beginning of my next quilt. I decided I wanted to give my three year old grandson Brandon a quilt at the same time as his new baby sister gets hers. Which means I have to get my skates on as the baby is due in about 3 weeks or so!

The original design of the monkey quilt is by the incredibly talented Laurraine Yuyama of Patchwork Pottery. Unfortunately I don't yet own a copy of the book "Quilts, BABY!" in which this quilt appears (it isn't published in the UK till July), so I'm bungling my way through it using guesswork and the pictures that Laurraine has posted. I know this isn't a patch (no pun intended!) on the original but all the same I've never done any applique before so I'm very pleased with how it's turned out. Only 11 more monkeys to go!!!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Version 2

I've completed the top for the quilt which is to replace the one I thought may be too boyish.

I used pretty much the same pattern as the quilt I made for Molly, along with most of the leftover fabric (with a few new fabrics thrown in). I believe Claire, my daughter-in-law, will prefer this version. Mainly because after three and a half years of dressing our grandson, Brandon, I think she'll be looking forward to having a bit of fun with more 'feminine' colours and fabrics. Hope that doesn't sound too sexist.

I'm thinking I'll get some more of the light green with pink parasols for the backing. And I'm even contemplating having a go at proper binding rather than self-binding with the backing fabric. Not too sure I'm up to it yet.

I made a big effort to improve the accuracy of the piecing; carefully cutting the pieces and using my new quarter inch foot for more uniform seams. In spite of this there are still some botched joins, although overall it's an improvement. I can only assume that with practice it will all fall into place.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Pizza delivery

These arrived in a pizza box - aren't they yummy? But just like pizza I think a little goes a long way (apart from the fact they cost a fortune!), and this is just enough to tile the windowsill in our kitchen.

I'd love to be able to capture the colours and the iridescence in a quilt.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Back in the land of the living

I haven't felt up to posting recently as I've been recuperating after an operation. But well on the mend now! One of the advantages of slacking on the sofa is that I got the opportunity to finish of my second quilt.

I made this using the pretty much the same techniques as the first one (diamond quilting and self-binding). It was intended for another grandchild I have on the way (expected in July) and from the start I was intending for it to be unisex. But I now have doubts and think that it's ended up looking pretty boyish. I think it wasn't too bad until I foolishly added a light blue pattern fabric as the backing (and the binding). What was I thinking?

Anyway as Sod's law will have it I've since found out that the future arrival is a girl. So I'm thinking I'll start over using more girly fabrics and put this one into storage until the next baby boy enters our lives. Anybody got any good tips for safely storing quilts?

Sunday, 3 May 2009

My First Quilt

Made for my brand new granddaughter Molly, I'm so pleased with the way this quilt has turned out. I know it's not perfect but it's so much better than I thought I'd be able to manage for my first one.

One of the main things I've learned is how essential accuracy is for the piecing. I was happy with the cutting out of my pieces but things kept going awry when it came to piecing them together on my machine. I'm not an experienced sewer so I'm hoping that this will improve with practice. I've also now bought a 1/4 inch foot so we'll see if that makes a difference next time.

When it came to quilting I finally opted for straight lines using a walking foot. This was after several practice runs at freestyle 'meandering' quilting (again more practice required!). I toyed with the idea of 'in the ditch' but decided it might be more interesting to do a diamond pattern.

Finally, I completely chickened out of making and attaching a separate binding and went for the self binding method - folding over the backing fabric.

Friday, 1 May 2009

New Arrival

Last night my daughter Jade gave birth to a little girl. Her name is Molly Ann and I couldn't be more thrilled. I haven't seen her yet but we are heading over for our first visit later this evening. I got to work on the finishing touches of her cot quilt; adding the label.

I followed the instructions for this part of the quilt from this excellent tutorial on Patchwork Pottery and I'm really pleased with the results.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Hello Blogosphere

The expected arrival of two grandchildren renewed my passion for crafting. Specifically I wanted to have a go at making cot quilts. Having never made a quilt before, I trawled the internet for techniques and advice, and in the process discovered many entertaining and helpful craft blogs, which I now read on a daily basis. I don't think I could have managed without being able to dip into these amazing resources. Now with one quilt finished (next post), I've decided to join in the fun by having a go at my own blog.

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