Friday 30 March 2012

Finish it up friday - again!

What a week I've had!  I spent more time with Mr Toyota (a.k.a sewing machine) than with poor Mr Crafty Shenanigans!  Sorry hun - xx.  I must say, Mr Crafty Shenanigans is super supportive and never comments, complains or criticizes about all the fabric and threads I leave EVERYWHERE.  We have a tiny bungalow/cottage so there really is no escaping the mess crafty shenanigans that I get up to!

I am so proud of mysef - I set myself a challenge to sew-sew-sew this week and I did!!  I also learned how to do a mosaic of photos so here are my creations since last Friday (photo not in chronological order - hey, I'm still learning!):

First up was the black and coral fold over flap button-closure bag*, then the shaggy denim potholders, then I made a mini plaid drawstring thing*, another wonky log cabin, and a 9-patch WiP test sample #6 block*, and last but not least (and my favourite FINISH of the week) my green-grey-teal-turquoise quilt top*. 
*Remind me to re-name these items!!!

So all in all, I am very pleased with my week and all of the finishes that were accomplished, plus all of the progress made on my WiP list too!  I still have a few loads of projects on the go (including Sew Into Solids, LMQG mini quilt April Challenge and pottery bits) plus several new projects quickly approaching --Zakka Style-sew-along, Bee Europa 2012/2013, Fat Quarterly Retreat and Etsy to name a few --so I plan to get some of the unfinished projects completed this week :)  Keep your fingers crossed for me!!

I'll be linking up with Finish it up Friday with crazy mom quilts as well as Amylouwho's sew & tell friday.

Have a great Friday.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Green-grey-teal-turquoise scrappy quilt top

Well - I put the 'pedal to the metal' tonight and got it done!  I ironed and sewed and ironed and sewed some more until everything was together.  I love it!  I can't stop looking at it!  I might make it a wall hanging :)  Will need to figure out how to do a hanging sleeve one day...  Anyways, I plan to quilt this one with straight lines, probably two through each solid vertically and then two lines again horizontally so they are somewhat oddly spaced.  Maybe... We'll see once I pin-baste it!  
I will take a better photo tomorrow in the daylight - these energy saving light bulbs do nothing
to showcase the awesome and subtle colours in this quilt top!  The top right hand block is a true
emerald-like green with a grey-white patterned fabric which doesn't show up too well, and the
sashing is Kona Ash - sorry for bad photo. 
[UPDATE:  new photo of top taken outside in sun]

I love the off-set blocks and the sashing in Kona Ash.  I almost went with Kona Coal for the sashing but decided to go with the lighter shade than the darker one.  I'm quite pleased with it anyways.  Can you see that I managed to use a piece of plaid?  Have I mentioned before that I love plaid?  [hahaha]  I also used a leftover bit of Moda Figgy Pudding from the table cloth I did when I first started quilting -- it was time to use it up!!  Some of the other scraps are from a pile of bits I bought ages ago so I have no idea which manufacturer or collection they are from.  I do have some Lotta Jansdotter and some Kate Spain fabrics in there, plus some Kona solids :)  I even think one of the scraps is a vintage bed sheet, but who knows!  I used some of the Kona green, ash and teal scraps from my Antique Tile block so I am quite pleased to use some of these scrap fabrics up.

So, I'll be entering this into the Stitched in Colour's Festival of Scrappiness.  Fingers crossed Mr Random Generator picks me because the prizes are out of this world!  There are already over 200 amazing entries so the competition is tough!  Do check it out - there are some fab quilts in there and so much inspiration!

I must say that  my sewing machine did me proud tonight - it didn't jam once or throw a wobbly or have a temper tantrum (and neither did I!) - it just kept sewing and sewing.  I don't think it's ever done such a long session before!  I do love my little Toyota (sewing machine, not car!).  It was a birthday gift from friends who got it from the dump (it was reconditioned) especially for me.  I've only ever had it serviced once because it seized from not being used when it was in storage from moving.  Eek - I hope it behaves at the FQ retreat!

Here is a picture of the blocks being organised...and a [terrible] close-up of the finished top.
I used the bed to lay out the blocks and solids to decide my
layout - so much easier than working on the floor!!
Close-up shots of some of the fabrics used, along with the solids.

Not sure if Pottery class is on tonight as there may be a strike at the college.  So, I may have time work on test sample #6 :)  I think I am one project away from making my final decision... Then I can start sewing multiples! 

I'll be linking up with Freshly Pieced WiP Wednesday too.
Best get going - I need to enter my quilt! 

[NOTE: If you are looking for the Shoulder Burp Blanket, please click here and you will be redirected to the correct blog post.  I didn't link correctly on the Festival of Scrappiness - my apologies!]

[UPDATE: Linking up with Happy Quilting T.N.T. Thursday.  I TRIED so very hard to NOT buy more fabric today (Thursday) but failed!  I ordered more solids and a few of the Flea Market Fancy fat quarters...  Can't wait for it all to arrive!  I also tried a new thing - designing my own quilt.  The green-grey-turquoise-teal quilt is my very own design.  I am happy I tried an idea out but next time I will do it on grid paper with coloured crayons!  I can now appreciate all the work that goes into a pattern!]

Monday 26 March 2012

Covered journal and 'sew' much more


Mondays are the busiest day of the week for me, and especially after a busy Sunday (so much to blog about!!).  I managed to get quite a bit of fabric cutting done - so time consuming - for a couple of new projects and managed to get some sewing done too, though the word 'done' is not quite accurate as I seemed to make more WiP's than finish anything specific!  Tonight I worked on new quilt top using some large scraps (and some solids) in teal/turquoise/green.  More about that another time.  So, where shall I start?

Ok, I did another Wonky Log Cabin for the London Modern Quilt Group homework for the meeting this coming Sunday.  I made this one the right size!!  When I made the first one I got carried away and it ended up being 15.5 inches square so this one is 12.5 inches square.  I love anything wonky, as many of you know, so I can say that I love this block.  Yay for wonky!!  I managed to use a few more of the scraps from the scrap bag swap at the beginning of the month and included some recycled men's shirt material too. 

Both of my WONKY LOG CABIN blocks - 15.5 square and 12.5 square, unfinished size
Yesterday, I made test sample #3 for the sample swap that I am participating in at the Fat Quarterly retreat in London in June.  Not convinced I will make those to give - too small.  So tonight I will share with you test samples #4 and #5.  These are a bit cheeky really as I made the Journal Cover a little while back, and #5 is the Scrappy Fabric Basket I made for the February LMQG meeting.  Still valid contenders though - I can see myself making four of each of these projects. 
Journal cover made using fabrics from my very first quilt (up-cycled men's shirts)

So, test sample #4 is the Journal Cover.  These fabrics are from my very first quilt which was a recycled men's shirt quilt.  One day I will take a picture of my first quilt so you can see it (and how far I've come!). 

The second picture of the journal shows a photograph tucked in the side of the journal.  This is one of our family heirloom quilts.  As far as I know, it is a Jacob's Ladder pattern so please do let me know if I'm mistaken!  I'd love to know what it is if you know! 
I'm not sure if that quilt began its life as a red and white quilt, but it is now definitely pink and white!  FYI - this is my inspiration for Week 2 of the Sew Into Solids group/gang.  I'm a little behind with the solids group so I will do a separate post all about my plans and inspiration for the quilt I will make out of solids.  There is just so much going on :) 
Test sample #4 - Journal cover.  Here is the journal 'open'.   
Test sample #5 is the Scrappy Fabric Basket I made in February, which is one of my most favourite things I have ever made!  I have lots and lots of fabric scraps so I could easily make four of these, in a variety of colours, for the swap.
Test sample #5 - scrappy fabric basket.
And to round it all off, I started test sample #6 last night after I cut a whole load of 2.5 inch squares.  I found a pattern to use this block in so stay tuned for this one to be completed!  I love the colours together.  I need to order more solids though to make the next 'thing' as I used a load of my solids tonight in the quilt top I was working on...  Solids are just so yummy!!! 
Test sample #6 - work in progress!
A quick recap:
Test sample 1 - folded flap button-closure bag
Test sample 2 - shaggy denim potholders
Test sample 3 - mini drawstring thing/pouch
Test sample 4 - journal
Test sample 5 - scrappy fabric basket
Test sample 6 - work in progress

That's it for sewing over the past 24 or so hours!  So much more to do in teh next 24 hours as wel!  I have great hopes to add my teal/turquoise/green scrappy quilt over on the Scrap Attack with Stitched in Colour if I can get it done in time!!  Keep your fingers crossed for me. 

Scrap Attack Quilt-Along

And I've saved the best for last:  I won a competition over on Patchworknplay a week or so ago and my parcel arrived today - all the way from Australia!  Yippee!  Susan was very kind to post it to me from 'down under and it is really appreciated.  I received some YUMMY things and can't wait to tuck in:

All wrapped up with a wee flag too! 
I won, I won!  Thank you Patchworknplay! 
Wow eh?  I won five different weight Aurifil threads, four fat 1/8ths of awesome fabric and the cutest, most unique and most secure needlecase I've ever seen.  This will come in handy at the FQ retreat!  Be sure to check her blog out - it's awesome!  Thank you for my amazing prize - and for sending it so quickly :)

I'm linking up with Canoe Ridge Creations for {sew} Modern Monday and Sew Many Ways' Sew Darn Crafty link party!   Check out the blogs there too!!

Good night - see you Tuesday!

[UPDATE:  Also linking up with the fabulous Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday]

Sunday 25 March 2012

Mini plaid drawstring thing

Testing, testing - one-two-THREE

For a Sunday morning I've been busy!  Despite losing an hour of sleep/crafting time because of daylight savings, I have managed to sew my third test sample [yay!!] for the sample swap I'm participating in at the Fat Quarterly retreat in London in June. 

I've made a 'thing'.  I'm not sure what to call it so perhaps it will be called a 'Mini drawstring pouch'.

Here it is all closed/scrunched up.  Finally - an item photographed in daylight!

Here it is opened up.  I could put something small inside and close it up and use as a gift bag.

Here it is opened up and turned upside down so you can see what it looks like before scrunching. 
I bought the rock with the dragonfly at the Country Living Spring Fair on Thursday - so awesome!

If I decide to make four of these little things, I will need to go buy loads of ribbon as I do not have enough long bits in the house, or the right colours to suit the fabric I would make these in.  I do have a couple more tests/ideas to sew up THEN I will make a decision which I will reproduce into four yummy things to give to total strangers.  You can see test sample #1 here (folded flap button-closure bag) and test sample #2 here (shaggy denim potholders).  I wonder what the other 30 people will be sewing?  Lucky we are in groups of 5 so we only have to swap 4 items, otherwise I'd really be in a tizzy!

So that is that.  Better go finish changing all the clocks otherwise I will be all confused at what time it REALLY is!  Happy SUNNY Sunday :)

Saturday 24 March 2012

Shaggy denim potholders

Well, I've busy doing some more London FQ retreat "sample swap" test sewing again.  For test sample #2, I made set of Shaggy Denim Potholders.  These have two layers of denim, two layers of fabric (one plaid and one plain) and one layer of wadding.  They feel nice and thick but can still move with a soft firmness so you can grip the pot easily but with confidence.  How's that for a description?!

Washed and dried once.  They will get shaggier the more I wash them.  
Close-up of free motion appliqued hearts (is 'free motion applique' a term?).
I love shaggy edges!!
I used belt loops for the hanging tabs from a pair of up-cyled jeans that Mr Crafty Shenanigans wore once and then donated to my craft pile, plus part of one of his plaid shirts (you know I love plaid!!).  I love re-purposed items - they are a great way to recycle and to put the 'make do and mend' attitude into practice. 

Yesterday I used interfacing for the first time ever in my life when I created the little bag with the button closure and now I have another 'first' to add to my list!  I used Pellon fusible Wonder Under to attach the hearts before I sewed over them.  A few weeks ago I won a gift certificate to spend at Blooming Felt and the fusible adhesive is one of the items I ordered.  So glad I did as it was easy to use and quite useful too.  I think I will use Wonder Under again on other projects...maybe on another test sample!!?

So, to recap:
Test sample 1 - folded flap button-closure bag
Test sample 2 - shaggy denim potholders

Stay tuned for test sample 3!!  How many test samples will I make?  I'm not too sure - I suppose I'll just keep sewing until I get to a project that I want to make four of! 

Oh and don't forget that we have to put our clocks forward tonight... One less hour to sew! 

Friday 23 March 2012

Finish it up Friday - nearly finished!

Ahhh Friday...  TGIF!  Or should I say FIUP (Finish it up Friday)?  I'm linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish it up Friday.  Check out the neutral quilt top she's made - it is gorgeous!! 

All day at work I've been itching to get home to do some of the sewing that is crowding my brain.  So tonight when I got in from work, I went straight into my wee sewing space and I started on making a 'possible' Fat Quarterly Retreat swap item.  For the swap, I am to make four identical items to swap with four other people.  This means I will come home with four different items!  How exciting eh? 

My plan is to make a few test things first to see which will be clever, useful and original enough to give to four total strangers!  Not just any strangers mind you, but strangers who quilt - some of them professionally!  Do you feel the pressure too?!!  I have a load of ideas so I want to try them out first before I make the final four goodies.

Below is a picture of my first test item.  I used interfacing for the very first time in my life and it worked!  Wow for me.  I'm not sure if I like the loop for the button so I will look for some elastic and try that on the next tester.  But for a first attempt (even though not completely finished), I am quite happy.  If I go with this project as the swap item, I have some awesome fabric to use.
Black and coral bag with flap and button closure.  
You will notice I have a pin holding the loop in place - I still have to sew around the top to secure this in, and I need to sew the orange button on too!  Nearly there... then on to the next tester.
[UPDATE:  I finished it - here is an updated photo]

Finished - a small fold-over button closure bag.   Pattern from blog 'That Morris Family'
 Happy Friday.  Be sure to check out the other people linking up!

Thursday 22 March 2012

Tried a new 'thing'

Thursday means linking up with T.N.T Thursdays at Happy Quilting.  This week I can share with you that I tried a new way of ironing my blocks.  Sounds pretty unexciting but let me tell you it was a light bulb moment for me!  Pressing open instead of to one side is my new thing and I'll be sticking to it!  Let me share with you why

It all started with the sashing on my Mod Sampler quilt.  I didn't want the seams to show through the white so I decided to press my seems over to the darker fabric side instead of all one way (which would have been logical and easier when I ironed it all out!  Hindsight is a wonderful thing).  Once I had done my sewing, I realised that I then had seams going left, right, then right again etc. - it was a nightmare to iron!  All pressed one direction would have been better.  Or so I thought!  

So, when I created my Week 1 block for my Sew Into Solids quilt block, I thought I needed to do something different...better.  On my 'Antique Tile' block I pressed my seams open.  Open?  I had never done that before so I thought maybe I should try something new.  Like I said, I had never done that before but with my experience of pressing my seams higgledy-piggledy to one side playing on my mind from my Mod Sampler quilt, I gave the 'pressed open' a go.  BRILLIANT! 

I pressed the seams open which was easy and helped keep everything nice and neat.
Antique Tile block
The block turned out great in my eyes.  I'm just so pleased that my corners all matched up apart from one which was only 1 millimetre off.  Success in my eyes!  Important too, I think, in an all-solid block as there is no pattern or print to distract the eye away from poor sewing.   Yay for me for trying something new. 

And then by chance I happened to read a section from "The Modern Quilts Sourcebook" by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr that said to always iron your seams open.  There are a number of  reasons of why they recommend ironing seams open [page 93]. These include:
  • more even wearing - basically there will be two layers of fabric which will wear more evenly than three layers (of fabric and seams) created from pressing to one side
  • improved precision - especially in areas where many fabrics intersect
  • points are easier to match - using pins through the seams (diagram page 95)
  • more even quilting - there will be less bulk at intersections which means you can quilt through them, therefore adding durability to the quilt
So that confirmed it - I'm definitely convinced :)
And in other news, I went to the Country Living Spring Show today and was very impressed.  Lots of up-cycled homewares and garments, shabby chic items and garden things - a feast for my senses - so I came away excited and inspired.  The weather was perfect for a wee bimble up to Raystitch where I bought a yummy American Jane Pezzy print and Klona (yes, Klona - not Kona) bundle plus some lovely linen/cotton fabric.  I think I may need to go on a 'fabric diet' soon!  Maybe next week....
And there you have it - a great day and I tried something new.  Happy sewing :)

Wednesday 21 March 2012

WiP Wednesday - Antique Tile

Yay for Wednesday!  I have tomorrow off work to go galavanting around London and to the Country Living Spring Fair at the Business Design Centre and I may even pop in to Raystitch (since I'll be in the area...ish).

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedSo, it was a busy week for me!  I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced WiP Wednesday, so here is my Wednesday re-cap: 
I finally got the top done for my Oh, Fransson Mod Sampler quilt.  A big 'ahhhhh - it's done' for me!  Check it out here and I've added another picture just below.  I made the quilt slightly bigger than her 'recipe' (pattern) and still have some square-in-square blocks for the back, which is yet to be done.  I am nearly 100% in love with it, but the more I look at it the happier I am [big smile].  These aren't my usual colours - I'm a plaid girl remember - so I'm getting used to it!
I ironed it - honestly! 
Also this week, I finally set up my "amyinuk Etsy shop", which is currently empty - but please do check it out soon as I have plans to add some hand-made-home-made-yummy-goodness soon!  Plus I went to the Stitch & Craft Show on the weekend and got some fabric that I think I will use for my Fat Quarterly retreat swap goodies - so stay tuned for those!  They are another WiP.

Sew into SolidsAnd lastly, I have finally started my blocks for the Sew into Solids gang over on Flickr.  I've started with a Fresh Lemons Antique tile and I am happy with it :)

I'm 'sew' impressed with my accuracy at the points - they all matched up perfectly apart from one which was only about 1 millimetre out!  Yay for me!  I'll share how I got them that way soon. 
I chose Kona solids.  Picture taken with the sun shining through the curtains - ahhh spring!  
All in all I had a productive week. And with some time to myself tomorrow - who knows what else I can accomplish!?  Have a great Wednesday. 

P.S.  Here is something a co-worker brought back from Canada for me.... one of my FAVOURITES!!  Rainbow Bit/Confetti Cake - lucky me!! AND a box of Kraft Dinner Spirals.  Supper and dessert - sorted! 

Monday 19 March 2012

Monday Monday Monday

Monday, Monday, Monday.  Yup, it was one of those Mondays...  'Nuff said.

On a positive note,  I went to the Stitch & Craft Show yesterday and did a bit of retail therapy (bought two really cool canvas-type materials which may become a tote bag), looked at 500+ quilts for inspiration, and treated myself to a yummy lunch (with dessert)!  Ahhh Sundays!  Much better than Mondays.  Here are a couple of the quilts on display:
I thought this one was great - probably because of my love of plaid I think!! 
I quite liked this one too.  Squares are always good! 
This is the largest collection of lap quilts I've ever seen in one room!  Must get to the NEC one day.

Sew Happy Geek

Another positive thing today is that I'm linking up with Sew Happy Geek's Manic Monday Linky Party.  My Manic Monday 'share' is that I have finally set up my Etsy shop amyinuk.  Check out my new tab at the top of my blog.  My shop is currently empty but this is a huge step for me.  I hope to have some things in there soon, provided another Monday like today doesn't get in the way (it was definitely manic)! 

And I'm also linking up with Canoe Ridge Creations for {Sew} Modern Monday.  I am soooo very pleased to finally tell you that my Mod Sampler quilt top is FINALLY finished - YAY!  Here it is:
Ahhhhh... feels so good to finally be done!  Well - almost.  Still need to quilt it. 
Mondays are so much better when you link up!  So, one more link for you:  Sew Many Ways 'sew darn crafty' link party.  Enjoy.

And on that note, have a great Monday evening.  Happy sewing!

Sunday 18 March 2012

Liebster Blog Award!

I had the honour of being awarded the Liebster Blog Award by Sydney of Syd the Wyd last week.  Thank you very much Sydney - I am so touched that you like my blog of quilting, crafting and gardening!

So, what is the Liebster Blog Award you may ask?  I shall tell you! 

The Liebster award (German for favourite) is for bloggers with 200 followers or less.
As a recipient of the award, you have the chance to thank and link back to the
blogger who gave it to you as well as pass it along to five other deserving blogs.

I now have the privilege of selecting five blogs in return that I think deserve this award.  This is really tough because I follow some fantastic blogs - and so many of them are newbies like me!!  So, here are just five of my favourite blogs (who also have fewer than 200 followers) so I hope you stop by and check them out!  In no particular order:
You all rock!  Thank you for blogging about your crafty projects and providing me with inspiration to create my own things.  I started my blog because it was on my '2012 bucket list'.  To make one quilt in my life was what I had on my '2009 bucket list' and I am so pleased that I did (thank you to Karen - Highview Crafts).  I became hooked - the fabric, the patterns, the maths (arrggh) - the POSSIBILITIES!  I was quickly drawn into this magical world of quilting.  And as a super side-effect, I am now part of a blogging-quilting-community which I love. 

So there you are.  I can hear the music playing so it is time to wrap this speech up and leave the stage!  

Liebster Conventions:
1. Thank your award presenter on your blog and link back to him/her.
2. Copy and paste the award to your blog.
3. Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that you think deserve to be recognised.
4. Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. Have faith that your followers will spread the love too!

Friday 16 March 2012

The one with fabrics in...

Even the packaging was awesome!
Oh my days - what a fabric feast I am having!!  My package from The Village Haberdashery arrived this morning and I squealed with excitement - the poor postman made a hasty retreat!!  I couldn't resist opening it just to PEAK inside and can you believe it I actually waited until I got home for lunch to spread the contents out and drool!!  Such self constraint, yes?  Even the packaging it arrived in was yummy (can they make that into a fabric??!!). Here are some photos of the pure fantastic-ness that I now have in to play with all weekend.

A {few} Kona solids, some thread and some fun bird fabric.

Oh yes - some Ruby Star typewriters!

And here is the whole lot in a yummy-scrummy stack.  Lucky me!
Wellllll...which ones should I use first?  I might just keep re-arranging them over and over again and admiring them!  Once I've had enough of that I think I will work on my first solids block.

On Sunday I'll be checking out The Stitch & Craft Show in London.  There will be a display of some of the quilts that have been made for the Olympians who will be participating in the London games this summer.  I can't wait to see these and get some ideas and inspiration. 

So, I will catch you later - I'm off to admire my new fabrics [thanks again Annie]!
P.S. Tomorrow is National Quilt Day!!  How will you celebrate it?