Friday, 28 December 2012

Phone Cover Finished and Gifted!

Hey all! I have two finishes this week, but only one I can show you. Hopefully, I'll have three more finishes by the end of this weekend, all secret though, unfortunately. But next Friday they'll be gifted and I can show you!! Yay!

So, the phone cover. I decided to get Paul his first smartphone for Christmas. It's for his Irish number but because he can use lots of apps with wifi for free in America, which has lots of free wifi, it'll be so much easier for us to stay in touch! Then, I was like, well he'll need somewhere soft to keep the phone so it doesn't get scratched up in his bag or against his keys, etc, etc... And I still have some of the Pac-Man fabric and the lovely brushed cotton rainbow fabric, PERFECT!

Sorry for the picture quality, but I did this late one night when I just needed a FINISH of any sort.
The cover took hardly any time to do. I have exactly the same phone I bought Paul, so I just used that for sizing. It turned out a little more snug than I'd anticipated, but at least it won't fall out easily! First I cut the outer Pac-Man fabric to size, and cut a piece of batting the same size, but one inch shorter in height.

I cut the inner fabric the same size as the batting, but slightly shorter in length (as it has to fit on the inside). The picture above is me figuring out the sizing. Then I quilted the outer fabric and batting, just in straight lines, nothing fancy! And folded it over and joined up the edges to make a it into a little pocket.

Turning bias tape into the loop took the longest time!
I attached a loop for the closure to the brushed cotton interior, and then sewed it closed so as no seams would be on the interior to scratch the phone. Then I sat one into the other, and sewed it closed at the top by folding over the extra length on the Pac-Man fabric. I tried to do that with the machine, but it went horribly wrong, twice. So I gave up, unpicked it all and sewed it closed by hand. Much much faster!

And voila!

The yellow button just glows no matter where I take the picture...
I'm hoping that some time soon I can replace the yellow button with a Pac-Man badge (button), and keep those ghosts on their toes!

I'm linking up today to Link a Finish Friday #47 and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? - I've wanted to make a phone cover for ages without using a tutorial, but have been putting it off. Necessity for Christmas gifts at the last minute will get you over the fear!!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sew Solids Crew Monthly Stash Club

It arrived yesterday. Just after we'd locked ourselves out of the house! Made me so fricking happy. Loved the pink parcel and the blue tissue and then the PURPLES!!!! Amazeballs. Thanks Justine!
My plan is to make a Japanese x and + quilt like Badskirt Amy's. I'll be using texty prints for the background. They arrive from America tomorrow with Paul :D
Woohoo for Christmas, fabrics, and Paul!!!!
PS let me know if the links are off, first time posting from my phone!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Coffee Press Cosy

Today I'm linking up to Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya Quilts (check it out, a pic of my quilt from last week is on today's blog! happy dance), sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop (how cool!).

The coffee press in question is a fairly recent buy of Paul's, and it lives in our flat in D.C. and makes him feel all grown up and fancy. Since then he's even bought a coffee bean grinder to get even more sophisticated! So for his 30th birthday on Monday, I needed a present that would easily ship from Ireland to the States and I thought Coffee Press Cosy!! Ages ago I had bought this material to make something for him, but with no idea what to do... Perfect opportunity to use up my stash :)

Pac-Man!!!!!! It's also really soft.

I used the Pac-Man material as the front and back, with a layer of 100% cotton batting in between.

Et voila! You'll notice I didn't cut anything particularly straight or anything...

Then I quilted in straight lines with black thread, in between the circles (which didn't line up on the back, so Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde got somewhat sewn over... good news for Pac-Man!). I bound the cosy in red bias tape.

Bias tap pinned onto the back, slight fuzzy...

Unfortunately, I decided to put on the binding as I do with quilts. Then I realised that I didn't have quite enough bias tape and that it would make the corners super bulky. So the corners are quite bad, and will fray and fall apart at some point. Inevitable, as it will get spilled on and have to be washed.

I couldn't get the camera to focus, but you can just make out the white hole at the corner :(

But then I realised that I live with him, when it falls apart I can buy more bias tape and fix it. And next time I'll refer to this post and remember to DO IT BETTER! Velcro was the fastener of choice, as the cosy will have to be taken on and off so the coffee pot can be cleaned, and it needs to fit under the handle to get all close and cosy with the glass!


So, the cosy has been finished a while. I had to send it off to reach Paul in time for his birthday. It arrived early and he was very good and didn't peek at all! But I couldn't post the finish here cos he would have seen... But it's all good. The waiting means that now we have a photo of the finished product on the coffee pot it was intended for!

Perfect fit! Yay!!!!!


Friday, 14 December 2012

Working with Flannel - a super quick quilt.

This quilt was something of an experiment and an indulgence. I had wanted to try out sewing with flannel, particularly after reading this post from Katy at I'm A Ginger Monkey. And I'd wanted to use some of Thomas Knauer's fabrics, after following his blog without realising he was designing fabric for a few months (god love me, but I'm slow upon occasion). Then, luckily for me, friends of Paul's were having a baby due in November. The perfect reason to try out these things!

I bought a bundle of fat quarters of Savanna Bop in flannel from the Fat Quarter Shop, and added a half yard of the yellow elephants and green vines so I could make a flannel backing to the quilt as well.

Cheerful and interesting, nice.
I decided to go super simple, and just halved each fat quarter, took one of those halves and cut them in half again. Then built up the quilt with alternating long and short blocks. The two half yards and a couple of leftover blocks made the backing. I cut and sewed the whole lot together in a day - which is super, super speedy for me.

Instead of stitching in the ditch, my default when I want to be speedy and not take any chances, I decided to quilt on either side of each seam about 1/4" away. This would have been a brilliant idea if I'd not just cut each fat quarter in half and half again, but actually measured and squared up the blocks. Hence the lines get a bit skewy in places... but the baby won't mind, right!?

Here is is pre-wash, casually slung so as to disguise not-so-straight seams!
The flannels were super soft and lovely with which to sew. I spent a lot of time stroking them. And they frayed a lot less than I was expecting! I will definitely work with flannels again, just interested now to see how they hold up to repeated washing. It washed beautifully for me, once I'd bound the quilt in Kona lime.

Proof of loveliness, and a partially clear sky in Ireland in mid-December!
And so I have a finish to report this week :) And baby Georgina will have a Christmas present. And I have managed to make it ok for myself to experiment with flannel, Thomas Knauer, and add to my fabric stash!! Win all round really.

Plus I have little blocks of the flannel left over, and I will at some point (post-Christmas) have to make some of these burp cloths by Cloud 9 Fabrics! Bonus points!!

I'm linking up this week, for the first time, with Link A Finish Friday and TGIFF :)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Knitted Dinosaurs - an almost complete work in progress

This week, I've been mostly knitting as the most pressing pre-Christmas deadline is the last post from Ireland to England for parcels! My sister is spending her first Christmas away from home this year, down in Brighton. So it's very, very, important that these parcels arrive on time. For some reason, I left her dinosaur to last to knit... True, the pink stegosaurus was more pressing (having to travel to Australia via Washington D.C.), but the blue allosaurus won't be handed over until a couple of days before Christmas at the absolute earliest!!! Clearly, I have prioritising issues.

Just so you have an idea, here are the finished dinosaurs!

The fearsome Allosaurus - on the hunt for biscuits, near you!

A stegosaurus for a little girl.
And the state of the one to be posted Friday....

One dissected dinosaur!
I just finished knitting all his legs and horns and tail clubs today. Tomorrow it will be a frenzy of stitching and stuffing to get this guy ready!! Wish me luck.

My other works in progress this week have been the quilting on my bed runners. Two quilted, one to go, and then the binding to make and put on... Here's one I quilted earlier :)

There's another (secret) quilt waiting in the wings to be quilted and bound as well. So I've plenty to keep me busy along with all the regular Christmas shopping and prep.

This is my first time linking up to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday, can't wait to see what other people are making!

Monday, 10 December 2012

PJ Monsters!

These dudes are the from the talented mind of Jodi at Sew Fearless. I bought the pattern when I saw them, even though I have no children, because I wanted one! It's already been a great investment and I haven't even given any as presents yet. So far I've made three monsters, and everyone who has seen one has loved them.

These are my first two, made from the same fabrics. Unfortunately, all three have never met as the truly crazy lad (on the left) is going on a global adventure before Christmas!
The first two were made out of the end of a bolt of purple poly-cotton, with brushed cotton feet and mouths. So they're paws are lovely to stroke! The third guy was made in green quilting cotton and with the same brushed cotton feet and mouth.

The rare pyjama-eating monsters, seen here basking in some of the notoriously elusive Irish winter sun.
As you can see from the picture, I put the green monster's legs on sidewards, accidentally... Oops! My favourite part about making these pyjama-eaters is that their mouths unzip and reveal their bellies (where you stuff the pyjamas in the morning, to keep them quiet and not tear up your bedroom in boredom while you're at school). This led me to think about what else would bold pyjama monsters eat if given half the chance!

 The purple guys are fond of snacking on random insects they find - helpful for preventing you swallowing a spider in your sleep, perhaps! The green monster prefers larger meals and will eat zoo animals if he finds them unattended.

The purple poly-cotton, brushed cotton rainbow and bugs fabrics I found in our local fabric shop here, The Crafty Fox. The green fabric is Bella Solids in lime and the eaten zoo animals are from Bungle Jungle by Tim and Beck for Moda, both bought in the Fat Quarter Shop.

Blogger has decided I'm not allowed write beside the last picture, so he shall be my sign off! I loved making these pyjama monsters, and shall be making many more! So much scope to be inventive and such an easy pattern to follow :)


Saturday, 1 December 2012

November Doings for Small Blog Meet

Today I'm linking up with the Small Blog Meet hosted by Lynne at Lily's Quilts!
Lily's Quilts
This month has seen a fair amount done but only one true finish. Everything I've been doing though I want to finish by Christmas and the New Year. The lack of finishes has left me feeling a bit stuck in a constant go-go-go but getting nowhere mood.

A. is one of three bed runners in Amy Butler's Cameo, B. is the front of a baby's flannel quilt made from Savanna Bop by Thomas Knauer, C. is my first (and partially stuffed attempt) Beauregard bear, D. is a secret quilt, but the top is fully put together now, and E. is another secret, so I'm only showing a corner but it's a coffee cosy!
My long list of small things to make (this post) has been putting me off moving the furniture and spending an afternoon basting the five quilts. However, seeing them again in pictures is spurring me on to finish them. They'll be so pretty when they're done.

I think I'll try and blitz all the small projects between now and Wednesday (ignoring the knits, because the always take me longer) and then hopefully be at my leisure to quilt and bind the other 5 before Christmas. Then I can happily not feel guilty when I go out to meet friends or spend a whole evening watching movies and eating chocolate instead of sewing :)

That's the plan, anyway!

Friday, 30 November 2012

There is a plan. A Flannel Savanna Bop Plan!

I have been meaning to write a post all week. Everyday it's seemed more important to be sewing or knitting than writing. But now, on Friday night, my mind is a-buzz with all sorts of half ideas and half plans that I know I need to get some of it out or I'll just go into meltdown (or go back to procrastinating).

Inspired by Katy's 'getting the ssshh done' post, I am going to recount what my mind has planned to do between now and Christmas/New Year. This way I might see that I'm being utterly mental with this list, and totally over-reaching, or more hopefully it will distill the entire thing into a clear and manageable project in headspace.

First off, I have this pile of quilts to baste, quilt, and bind.

Thomas Knauer's Savanna Bop and Amy Butler's Cameo (quilt backs at bottom of pile).
The top two are the front and back for a baby's quilt, made of Savanna Bop flannel. So soft, and easy to work with! The next are three footwarmers/bed-runners all made from Amy Butler's Cameo collection with the blue at the base being their backing. There is one more quilt (turning out around 60" square) which is a total secret (as it is a present for a blog reader). I can't WAIT to share this quilt - I love it, favourite one so far - but I can show you this:

Hopefully it will remind him of Fruit Salad sweets, among other things!
So, that's five quilt tops that need basting, quilting, and binding. So far, EVER, I've made 2 quilts, and a partial top which I gave up on (temporarily). eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

I have all of the materials in stock, and just need to pick up a few new thread colours which are easily gotten in our local town. Then, I decided that it would be so much fun to make most of my Christmas presents this year (thoughtful and frugal). However, I may be overstepping my sewing abilities...

Other projects to finish and/or start are:

A Cameo cushion...
A coffee pot cosy...
A scrappy Echino phone cover...
A third pajama monster...
A, hopefully, manly scarf...
My first SisBoom Beauregard bear...
And, mostly finally, a third knitted dinosaur (not as pictured!)!
I may add another cushion to that list. If I'm not pulling my hair out when I'm a little further on. But who wouldn't rather make a cushion instead of heading into the cold, wet, and Christmas shopper-filled streets!!  I can't wait till there are some finishes, and I can show them off properly here! Though some things will have to wait until after they're gifted.

In the meantime, I'll keep sewing and knitting. And when I feel the urge to share I'll show you some of the other crafty things that have kept me occupied over the last year!

This bloggy stuff is fun! And my head feels a bit de-buzzed now too :)

happy days.

Friday, 23 November 2012

A change of plans...

After everyone in my house telling me that the first thing they saw when they looked at my quilt plan was swastikas I got a bit worried. I said as much yesterday. So I posted the plan to Twitter to see if people agreed. One person (Sara at SewSweetness) didn't agree (yay - she was on my side!), but in the end I decided it's better to be safe than sorry with swastikas (especially as my planned quilting may have only highlighted their presence!).

The swastikas are in white - I still like the overall appearance of jumbled yet ordered colour in this design... Oh, quilt front on the left, and planned quilting for the back on the right.
So I re-designed. And I love it! So much it's a secret from the quilt-getter now, and this will be the last picture I post until after they have it.

Aren't the Moda Citrus Marbles just delicious!? (The Fat Quarter Shop has 25% off everything till next Thursday with the discount code 'jingle'!)
I do really love my new plan. But, I think I'm going to have to play with jumbled up colours and geometric shapes at some point, and the leftover cuts from making this quilt may turn out to be perfect... Maybe playing with something like Jeni B's (from In Color OrderArithmetic Quilt?

Something to ponder in the New Year! Now to get back to the 5 quilts I've to finish this year.

A x

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Paul's Rainbow Skittle Quilt - a work in progress

Today I'm working on these:

They're a Moda Marbles Jelly Roll (in citrus) fused with a Moda Bella Snow Jelly Roll.
The last few days has seen these big long strips cut into hundreds of little squares, way more than I need for the quilt I have planned. I think the extras may become another quilt, maybe a crib size...


But that's part of the problem - I've no idea how big the current quilt I'm working on will turn out. I don't trust my self-drawn out plans enough, yet. So, before I buy the batting, I need to make the quilt top and measure! Hopefully by tomorrow evening I'll know for sure how big this quilt is.

The quilt is a gift, though the plans have already been given the go ahead by the giftee (important, as I hadn't realised how much he liked order and straight lines and no quirkily placed 'wrong' squares). Maybe I'll go free rein on the leftovers :)

The second problem, and one we'll just have to wait and see what it looks like when pieced, is that while I've designed a series of St Brigid's Cross-like blocks, the white comes together in adjacent blocks to create swastikas.... eep! As I said the design has been given the go-ahead from on high, but once it's pieced I'll have to see how noticeable this is! It's not for show or for selling though, just personal use - maybe it won't matter...??

Stay tuned, we'll have another look tomorrow night!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Tea Cosy I Have No Use For... gives me a sad.

I thought maybe it was time to introduce a little of my knitting. It's always for a specific someone and invariably takes three times longer to do than I expect! This piece of knitting, however, I decided to do on a whim with leftover wool when I was off sick from work.

On Ravelry I found a pattern for a Checkerboard Scarf by Kimara from Wee Folk Art. I love the texture the finished product gets, and am using it to make a scarf for my sister's boyfriend this Christmas.

This picture doesn't do the texture full justice, but it's the best I've got...

I didn't need another scarf, plus by the end of February in DC the temperature is already holding steady in the height of Irish summer range! But I had leftover batting and backing from my first quilt, so I thought - why not make something that requires quilting... All of these things came together into a strong desire to make a tea cosy for a teapot.

The Irish are a nation of tea drinkers, shown clearly in many episodes of Father Ted, so I've grown up surrounded by tea cosies (old ones; sodden and brown from many years of spills and being placed too close to the hob to keep the tea warm). I've also listened to plenty of complaints when trying to find new cosies that keep the heat in the tea. So I knew quilting techniques would definitely come in handy.

Here is the quilted sandwich, just waiting for me to wrap around the backing to create the binding. I attempted mitred corners with some help from the internet - it did not quite work out. I think because of the height of my quilt sandwich, this was a very thick batting. However, it has stopped me from trying using the backing as binding again on a quilt!

And, the final product!!

I'm very proud.
Once, I'd proudly finished the tea cosy. I realised that we don't have a teapot in our flat. But then the boxes we'd shipped over arrived and I felt sure I packed my trusty red 2 cup teapot - but NO! I didn't... I do tend to just make myself enormous mugs of tea and just drink them, but teapots are lovely to have when there's someone visiting. So lovely to sit and sip and re-pour and chat away.

I couldn't leave my on-a-whim-with-leftovers cosy to be forgotten in a corner, so I brought it back to Ireland and gave it to my parents. Renowned for their minimum of 3 pots of tea on a weekday. I thought it would be used, loved, petted each day! But, no, they declared it too good to use and no amount of declaiming this on my part would change that fact. And so it sits, in a corner, in Ireland, only rarely petted by me when I'm home. A sad end, one I hope to change someday! I think the best part about making something is seeing it used regularly. That's where true love of an object and the reward for the effort I made exists, I think...

I still loved making it! I think I'll go give it a pet now.

A :)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Freya's Quilt

I found the Fit For A Princess! picnic quilt tutorial on Sew Mama Sew and completely fell in love with the idea of a picnic quilt. One to throw out in the back garden for baby to crawl around on or a little girl to throw tea parties on... For some reason it took me another four or so months to cotton on to guest blogs and that the tutorial-teacher-person has their own website for me to go stalk, meaning I missed out on I'm A Ginger Monkey for far too long in my first year of quilty discovery!

Freya had arrived to two of our good friends around the same time as our niece was born. Therefore, I cunningly planned a 6 month 'birthday' present quilt.... (It may have been her 8 month birthday before I really finished.) I fell in love with Apple of My Eye by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake. Totally in Love. Not too childish, not too girly, and really really happy. Perfect.

I ordered the fabric. Set to work laying it out, in the ridiculously baking heat of early summer in DC.

Yes, that's my naked foot - sorry. But look how YUMMY!

The quilt top came together beautifully. And looked delicious every step of the way, creating that lovely momentum where you can't wait to have the next little bit done 'cos you 'Just Have To See!'.

From loving how easily the little corner triangles went in....
To seeing the blocks come together even more beautifully than I imagined!
This quilt became my slight obsession. It wasn't enough to love how the rows looked, but I even loved the appearance of the ironed out seams!

Loved enough to take pictures!

However, once the quilt top was done I hit a total lull; we had lots of visitors, I finished up at my job, and then moved continent - leaving the quilt top to sit unloved for a little while... After a couple of months I basted it, only to leave it to one side for another month before quilting!

I gotta say though, even looking at these pictures again has me feeling happy - this quilt design and the fabrics really work for me together!

When I finally got around to the quilting stage, I broke out my favourite bright pink thread (it is a girl's quilt after all) and then did a criss-cross pattern, which ended up running through and framing different central diamonds beautifully! I found this slightly terrifying, as it relied on me managing to sew in fairly straight lines and not end up wrecking the quilt top I'd fallen in love with.

With the help of some ruled straight lines (in Clover pencil), I didn't feck up too badly anywhere (that I'll be pointing out)!
Look how nicely it worked out!!!!
To finish off, and because I'd been doing the Handstitched course with Rachel of Stitched In Color, I chose to go all out and embroider my own  label for the back.

Cleverly/Luckily the label was just the right size to place over a slight hiccup in quilting on the back. Yay!

Oh! the backing and binding! For the backing I used the end of the green Ikea flat sheet that I used on my first ever quilt - waste not, want not! And for the binding, I bought a jelly roll of Apple of My Eye and cut it up into ~5" strips (I didn't measure them) and then pieced them together randomly to form a multi-coloured binding.

Look at it, all washed and finished!
I fricking loved making this quilt. I'm sure there were curses at the time - but in retrospect I just remember it being utterly perfect! It was really hard to give away, but also brilliant to give away cos I'm just so proud of it. I hope Freya and her parents get lots of use out of it, especially for back-garden picnics!