Sunday, July 5, 2015

Stitching for a bride-to-be

In just a few weeks, the first of our 15 grandchildren will be married! Needless to say, it is all very exciting, and especially so as that grandchild will be the bride!

Yesterday was Chrissie's Bridal Shower and I wanted to make something special for her that she would treasure and that would also be practical and useful. 


It was made with lots of love!


A sewing folder! 


While Chrissie is not a stitcher, every bride needs to have on hand lots of bits and pieces for mending and the last-minute fix-ups - needle and thread, buttons and pins:


 I had so much fun making this project and thinking of all the sewing essentials I could put in it. 


I was so happy that grand-daughter loved it ... and I knew she wasn't going to get another gift the same as this one!  

The folder was based on my Vintage Dream sewing folder with a bit of variation to fit everything inside:


If you think it's a good gift idea for a new bride, then you can find the pattern here.

I couldn't let it go with just one gift, so I also made her a pretty apron:


and used a Spoonful of Sugar's design to make an oven mitt:


Now I need to turn my mind to what I am going to wear to the wedding!

Val

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fun with left-overs

Last year, the lovely Helen of Hugs and Kisses generously gave me fabric from her range, Basically Hugs, in advance of its release to the shops. The commission from Patchwork & Quilting magazine was to make a cot quilt from the range, and so I featured the fabrics around some Australian animals:


There was a little bit of fabric left over - not a lot, but enough to make me think it deserved another project. Dresdens are popular at the moment, so I gave them a bit of a twist, divided them into four, added a bit of embroidery and Fan Dance was born:

 

I love the effect of the colour shading:


It was easy to turn them into fans with just a little bit of embroidery:


You can find the pattern in Patchwork & Stitching, Vol 16 No 9.



The cushions now look really lovely sitting in our Family Room on my grey lounge suite.

When I buy a new fabric range (usually one or two a year), I like to have a layer cake and 2 or 3 yards of fabric. The thinking behind this is that with the 10 inch square layer cake, you receive small pieces of the whole range of fabric, then the yardage gives you what you need for borders and binding. I can usually make 5 or 6 projects from such a purchase. Here, for example, is what I made from the Double Chocolat range: 


Two wall hangings, a tablecloth, placemats, a table runner, a wall quilt and a peg-bag. That's a total of 7 projects. (I had to buy a bit more yardage to complete the extra project and I also bought two packets of 2½ inch squares which were on super special.) 

I love how each project has its own colour focus, depending on what fabric is used in the border. Then it's always fun working out how I will use the last little bits of fabric that are left over.

I've just completed a pretty bag using the Autumn Lily fabric. It's my third design from this range and I thought it would go really well using some French Braid and Jumbo Ric Rac:


and a sneak peak of the other two:



You would hardly know they came from the same range, would you? One thing for sure is that you have to  really love the fabric before you commit to making so many projects! I'm actually going to put the rest of this collection away for a while and come back fresh to it in a few month's time. There's another range burning a hole in my cupboard!

Happy stitching!
Val

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Pattern 6

Half the year has almost disappeared so it's time to give you Block 6 in the free Keys to Contentment wall quilt


It's easy to be thankful when everything is going well.


The key is always to have an attitude of thankfulness, no matter what the circumstances.



I hope you enjoy stitching this block. The pattern can be downloaded free from here in my Craftsy Store.

 Last year I taught Hardanger and Silk Ribbon embroidery at the Creative Craft Retreat and we made a pincushion and scissor-keep.  


I decided to make another set of accessories, this time using the beautiful Kacoonda silk ribbons and threads.


I added a tape measure cover to make it a threesome: 



I just love the range of colour variation in this gorgeous 054 silk ribbon:


Happily, the lovely editor of Embroidery & Cross Stitch magazine liked my design and it has now appeared in Vol 22 Issue 12:


I've had my skates on this week and I'm so happy to say I completed four projects, three of which are gifts. Now I'm onto some stitchery panels to accompany some French braid. I find it interesting that the most popular pattern in my store is a Christmas runner with French Braid centre - Ding Dong Merrily:


The fact that it is so popular really surprises me, but I guess there is something really lovely about French braid panels. They certainly are a great way to showcase a range of fabrics and use up lots of jelly roll strips!

Now I'm on the search for just the right jumbo ric rac to go along the sides of the braid.

Happy stitching!
Val 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hooked on stitching accessories

It's no secret that I'm hooked on stitching accessories! You only have to look here or this page to see that I LOVE making beautiful pincushions, needlecases and anything else pretty that we can use in our stitching.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about "Sorting Out the Needles" where I admitted that it took a while for it to dawn on me that needles are tools that have specific tasks and therefore it is an advantage to have them sorted so that the right needle for the job can easily be found.

My solution was to design a six-pocket needlecase for packets of needles. I'm still in love with the concept so I decided to revisit the project and make one with this stitchery design on the front:


The fabric I've used has fond memories as our daughter bought it for my birthday when she was in New Zealand. I so admire a fabric designer that can draw roses like this:


People sometimes ask me if I come up with my own name for my designs. The answer is yes, and usually the publisher will keep the name I have chosen, which makes me happy. I called this pattern "Hanging by a Thread" and you can find it in Country Threads magazine Vol 16 No 6:


Earlier in the year I made a quilt in which I have used solid black fabric to show off a lovely fabric range. It was crying out to be named "Black Beauty" and it has just come back from the quilter looking gorgeous:


 Talking about names of projects, I realise that I am very fond of alliteration. Somehow the repetition of the same sounds at the beginning of words seems to really work for me. Guess what I've called this project with lots of fuchsias?


Fuchsia Frolics! As much as I love the fuchsias, it is hard to me to design something that doesn't have a rose or two as well!:


This week I have one more Christmas design to complete for a magazine and then I will be on to bags and purses. I just completed my first coin purse and totally love how it has turned out ... definitely more coming up!

Happy stitching!

Val

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Trying out something new

I enrolled in the wonderful 2015 free Craftsy Block of the Month quilt class this year and I am managing to keep up each month - just! I joined in the fun so that I could learn some new techniques, improve my piecing skills, and hopefully in the end to have made a beautiful quilt.



It's been challenging and the trusty unpicker has had a workout! My favourite thing to have tried out so far is foundation piecing. I've always been frightened to attempt it before, but went in head-first this time and I have discovered it is really easy and I just love the accuracy of the piecing!



This week I have arrived at the applique stage in the lessons. Over the years, I have tried many methods and mostly use the fusible webbing technique. However, I really like the appearance of needle-turn applique and have tried a number of different ways to get those curves smooth and those points sharp. folding the edge under as I go - a disaster, stitch basting, freezer paper, glue-stick, interfacing, all with various degrees of success.



A while back I bought some Wash-Away applique sheets, but hadn't got round to trying them out. They are printable, water-soluble, fusible and transparent:



Not having to do all that tracing was great - just printed straight onto the applique sheet:


I love the fact that they are fusible. It meant that the paper shape was well and truly stuck to the back of the fabric and so didn't move around when I was trying to shape the fabric over it. That was really helpful as the pieces in Jinny's pattern are very small:



 I like that I don't have to remove the paper as it will just wash out with warm water. The sheets are fairly expensive but I think it is a very useful method of preparation for needle-turn applique.


... and I'm happy to have tried out something different!

We seem to have had so many visitors lately and been out heaps more than usual, so I've been feeling I haven't had much time for sewing. I've picked up the silk ribbon again to work at night in front of the TV. It's a very rewarding craft as you get a lot done in a short time and it usually looks quite lovely.

My Handbag Heaven quilt has now been published in Handmade Vol 33 No 9 Bags issue:


The colours of the quilt are not my favourites, but it is Autumn here, so it was appropriate for this time of year. I keep picturing the quilt in soft pastels so I should get to and make a version in my favourite palette - only trouble is I intently dislike making the same thing twice!!! So oranges and browns it is for now:


Instead of dreaming about soft pastels, I should be applying myself to making some more Christmas projects that I have promised a magazine!

Val