Monday, 5 January 2015

WIP - Crochet Rainbow Blanket

I like to have a crochet project on the go, something simple that I can pick up and put down easily - normally done when I'm stuck in the car for a while with a sleeping child in the back seat.

This is my current project - more rainbows

It's basically a giant granny square, with each row a different colour.  It's not a true rainbow - the indigo and violet are more like purple and pink, but it's bright and colourful and that'll do.  There is going to be a lot of sewing in of ends of threads when I've finished (not my favourite part!), but it'll be worth it.

The wool was leftover from a rainbow blanket I recently made for a friend who had a new baby.  I had a lot of wool left, so decided to just work it up into a second blanket, ready for whenever it is needed.  There's not too much left to do now - I think a couple more rows and a border and then it'll be time to block it :)

Linking up to WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year!


Hope you've been enjoying celebrating :)  While I am not a fan of making new years resolutions as such, I do find it a good time of year to take stock of where I am up to in my crafting world.

To start the new year off, I've written a list of all my WIPs, all the projects I have fabric for but haven't started, and a wish list.  Some of the ones currently in progress have been in progress for an embarrassing length of time, we are talking a decade in at least one case, but hopefully I will get there eventually!  The aim for the next few months is to try and shrink this list, and attempt not to add to it too much faster than I'm working through it... 

In progress, with how long it's been in progress for (I'll add links over time as I blog about each project):

Long knitted cardigan (about 7 years)
Big cross stitch picture (about 10 years)
Teddy bear (about 15 years...)
Star quilt (since Sept 2014)
Purple squares quilt (since July 2014)
A cushion made with leftover flea market fancy scraps from my HST quilt (since July 2013)
Rainbow crochet blanket (since June 2014)

Have fabric for

The fourth Wren and Friends cushion
Flea market fancy fabric in red/yellow/grey, I think this will be a quilt, maybe a churn dash quilt...
Some russian doll fabric I'd love to make a bag out of.
Fishy wall hanging for my sister
A cushion to go with my sister's wedding quilt
T shirts for myself, hubby and my son

Dreaming of

Another heirloom cut chenille blanket
A sew together bag for myself
A weekend bag and washbag for hubby
Some more dressmaking

I'm also hoping to make plenty more soap!

Wish me luck...

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas!

Hope you're having a lovely day, filled with all the blessings of Christ.

Love Katherine xxx

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Can I finish it? Lots of Hearts

I am trying to get this quilt finished by Christmas.  And it's Christmas Eve today, so we shall see!

This isn't actually a Christmas present, but a wedding present for my rather grown-up little sister who got married last May.  I fairly obviously missed their wedding as the deadline for completing it, but they are coming to stay with us for Christmas and I'd love to be able to give it to them then.

The pattern for the quilt is a slightly doctored version of Oh Frannson's Love Triangle Quilt.  My sister asked for a king size quilt, which should have been sixteen blocks arranged in a 4 x 4 pattern.  Each block involves 91 little triangles to be sewn together, so the full king size was going to be a huge job.  I did cut out all of the triangles, but about half way through the tenth block I just hit a wall, and couldn't face sewing any more of those little beasts together.  Instead, I joined my nine completed blocks into a 3 x 3 pattern, and added two six inch borders around the edge to make a king size quilt.  I may use some of the leftover triangles to make a cushion to go with the quilt - when I've recovered from making this that is.

I went really scrappy with the design, with almost 30 different fabrics, most of which had fairly bold patterns.  This means that the nine main blocks have turned out pretty loud, and the last minute borders around the outside have worked really well in the end to calm the quilt down a bit and give the eye somewhere to rest.

I'm doing a few different quilting patterns; it's the first time I've got my free motion foot out in a good long while as I'm not very comfortable with it, but that'll only come with practise so I figured that I had to brave it sometime!  I am mixing the free motion up with a bit of my conventional walking-foot-straight-line-quilting.  I am just doing this on a domestic sewing machine - it's the second king size quilt I've done on it, and while it can be a bit unwieldy when you're stitching in the middle of the quilt I've generally found it easily doable to quilt something of this size on a normal machine.

With a bit of luck and a fair wind, I'll be back soon to share the finished job!

Linking up to Let's Bee Social and WIP Wednesday.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Black and White Cushions Finished!

This is a very quick post today as pre-Christmas craziness is reaching new heights, just to say that my black and white charm square cushions are finished!  I'm so pleased with them, and they made their way to their new owner this week who is equally happy!  I finished the backs with zips, as described in this tutorial.  

Linking up to crazymomquilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Modern Traditional Quilts.  I am also incredibly excited to say that my finish from last week, Emily's Quilt, is featured on Modern Traditional Quilts this week!

In lieu of more talking, here are many many photos :)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Around the House 6 - Chair

This chair lives in my son's bedroom.  It spent much of its early life as a nursing chair, but is now becoming increasingly used as a climbing frame or tent post.  It started life as this IKEA chair.  While cheap and amazingly comfy, the plain cream cover was just a bit dull.

A quick trip to the fabric section  at IKEA found this fun, stripy fabric for about £4 per metre.  I initially thought that to cover the chair I would have to make a whole new cushion cover, but on taking the binding off from round the edge of the existing cover I found I could just make new panels to go over the top of the existing cushion and rebind the edges afterwards.  It saved a lot of time and effort as I didn't have to spend ages measuring all the dimensions, inserting zips etc - I pretty much just drew around the cushion and started to cut.

I just put the original binding back on the cushion.  I didn't stretch it quite enough, hence the six inch strip of green binding on the right hand side (I was too impatient to get it finished to wait to go out to the shops to get matching) but actually I don't mind that little flaw at all.

It's such a fun and funky chair now, I love it :)

Monday, 15 December 2014

Tutorial - Zip Backs for Cushions

I always put zips in the backs of my cushions as I feel it finishes them off really neatly, and I don't get the gaping issue that sometimes happens with an envelope back.

I've got a really straightforward method for putting a zip into the backing fabric for your cushion so thought I would share it with you.  As with all things though, what's simple and fairly quick when I'm doing it, becomes a lot more confusing when I'm trying to explain it.  I've included lots of pictures which will hopefully help to make it clear, (although as I was making a white cushion back with white thread and a white zip it wasn't ideal) but if you have any queries then just ask.

What you need:

Your cushion front.
A piece of fabric for your cushion back, a bit bigger than your cushion front.
A long zip (I use about a 14" zip for a 16" square cushion).

1.  Measure your cushion front.  Add one inch to the measurement for one side, and three inches to the measurement for the other, and cut your backing fabric to that size, eg if you have a 16" x 16" cushion, cut your backing fabric to 17" x 19"; for an 18" x 18" cushion, cut 19" x 21" etc.

2.  Turn your fabric so that the "long" edge (ie the edge you added three inches to the measurement for) is vertical.  Fold approximately the top third of the fabric down, and iron in a crease.

3.  Take the flap you have just folded down, fold it back up about 1" from your first fold, and iron in a second crease, so it looks like the pictures below.  Fold the flap back down again, and your fabric should look like the photo above, but with a crease ironed in about 1" from the top.

4.  Sew about 2-3 inches (depending on your cushion and zip sizes) inwards from each edge along the crease you made in step 3.  The gap between the two lines of stitching should be a bit shorter than your zip.

5.  Cut all the way along the fold at the top of the fabric, just above your lines of stitching - this is along the crease you made in step 2.

6.  Iron the seams you have just sewn (and cut) open, but iron along the whole width of the fabric (including the part in the middle that wasn't sewn).  If you lay your fabric down the right way up, it should have  a slit running across, about a third of the way down from the top.

7.  Lay your zip, zip-pull side up, on the table.  Put your backing fabric right side up over the zip, so that the zip appears through the slit, and pin the zip in place (at least at one end).  Using the zip foot on your machine, you now need to sew a box around the slit, about 1/4"-1/8" away from the edge of the fabric, over the zip, locking it in place.  I tend to pin the zip at one end, and then just keep moving it into place (lining the centre of the zip up with the edge of the fabric) as I sew down one side of it.  When you come up against the zip-pull, you may need to stop and lift your sewing machine foot to slide the zip-pull out of the way.

Once I've gone down one side I turn, sew across the end of the zip, then turn and sew up the other side.  When going up the second side of the zip, I pull the fabric over the zip so that it overlaps with the fabric on the other side very slightly (as in the photo below) - this makes sure that the fabric on the two sides of the zip butts up against each other and makes the zip almost invisible.

And voila!  You have a backing for your cushion with a zip ready installed.  Open your zip at least halfway, pin the backing right sides together with your cushion top (it will be slightly too big) and sew round the edges of your cushion top.  Trim any excess backing fabric off, turn the cushion the right way round (through the zip) and insert your cushion pad.

The final step is, of course, to annoy everyone in your house by making large numbers of cushions, but I take no responsibility for that.

I hope you enjoy the tutorial, let me know if you have any issues!