Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A Hazel Hedgehog Quilt for Siblings Together

So last week I finished my Siblings Together Bee quilt and started to think about a new project. But then I saw THIS PATTERN by Elizabeth Hartman for the cutest hedgehog quilt that I have ever seen! I tried to ignore it, after all, I had other plans, but an idea took hold and wouldn't let me ignore it. This pattern would make a wonderful quilt for Siblings Together. It could be made from scraps. A wide age range of children, both boys and girls would love a hedgehog quilt. Siblings Together are having a quilt drive to try and get 100 quilts before the summer camps start. I really ought to make this quilt for them!
So, the deed was done! Pattern purchased and my weekend spent with hedgehogs breeding like rabbits!
To be perfectly honest, when I made the first block, I wondered what I had got myself into. 

This was not a quick make. Just cutting out the pieces took quite some time. It was very good fun t make though.
To speed things up, I set up a production line. The pieces for 8 Hazels were cut out and each stage of sewing the block repeated 8 times.
It made things go much faster, and I thoroughly recommend this method to anyone considering making this quit. No planning went into the colour choices. I just grabbed pieces of solid fabric that looked to be big enough. I'm very pleased with the results though and love each and every one of these little Hazel Hedgehogs. I still have quite a way to go, but it's fun project for a good cause.

As you can see from the Quiltometer in my sidebar, we now have 13 finished quilts for Siblings Together, and I know a good few are in process of being made. If you want to help out in any way, or find out more about the charity, hop over to Maria's blog at Sew Love To Sew for more information.

Linking up this week with Let's Bee Social and Work in Progress Wednesday

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Siblings Together Quilt - A Finish!

Siblings Together is a charity which works to keep children  who have been separated by the care system in contact with their siblings by arranging, among other things, residential camps where the siblings can meet up and enjoy precious quality time together 

I belong to a quilting Bee which makes quilts that are handed to the children at the end of their camp as a reminder of their time spent with their sibling. January was my month and I chose these simple blocks to make a bright quilt that would suit either gender.
Over the past few weeks I've been sewing all the donated blocks together and quilting it.
Yesterday I finished it. Yay! I'm really pleased with the outcome.
I like to use Quilting Bees or charity quilts in general as a chance to try something new, so I chose a new (to me) quilting design. I quilted an offset diamond and then echoed around it at about 1" spacing using my walking foot. If I was doing this again I would use narrower spacing to make the diamond more prominent, but at least it was quick to do.
I have another quilt that I'm in the process of finishing, hopefully in time to be sent off along with this one.
The Siblings Together charity are hoping to be able to donate 100 quilts at this year's summer camps. I have a "Quiltometer" in the side bar of my blog, and as you can see, we still have a long way to go!
If anyone reading this would like to help, we would be enormously grateful.
You could help by:
  •  Donating a quilt
  • Donating one or two blocks to a group quilt
  • Offering to put together a group quilt 
  • Donating some unwanted fabric for someone else to make a quilt if you have fabric but not time
  • Offering to make a quilt with donated fabric
  • Donating fabric for backing or wadding.
  • Spreading the word on social media or to quilting friends or guilds.
  • Any other way you can think of.

If you think you might be interested, Maria who blogs at Sew Love To Sew has written a lovely blog post giving more details about the charity and how to get involved.
It would be lovely if we could meet this target and we would love for as many people as possible to get involved!

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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Cosying Up With Needle and Thread

I think I should have been a hedgehog, or a squirrel ! I almost hibernate in winter ! I slow right down  and I'm perfectly content with quiet pastimes. Even my sewing takes on a slower pace. I've been happily hand stitching my english paper pieced Passacaglia quilt. I'm working on the second rosette which is quite a lot larger than the first. When I've finished the orange section there are still two more layers to go.
I'm really enjoying playing with colour whilst working on this. I have to admit to making a few new purchases last week so as to have more variety to play with. It's funny that, no matter how much fabric we have, we still can never quite find "the one" in our stash.

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I'm also thinking that as this is such a long term project, I could do with a design wall. I normally lay blocks out on a white sheet on the floor and then roll it up when I'm not working on them. But, it would be nice to be able to look at these rosettes often during the day and be able to swap them around as I pass by a design wall. I have an old lightweight board lurking in the garage that was once the base for a train set when my kids were young. It would make a perfect design wall, so it may get dusted off and de-spidered in the next few days and brought inside to take on a new role. 
I'm also in dire need of  decent thimble! All this hand sewing has resulted in permanent perforations in my fore finger. I can't work with one if it's too bulky. I thought I had the answer when I bought a neat little leather one. But it stretched within a matter of days and now it's constantly slipping off my finger and I'm spending more time picking it up and replacing it than I am sewing! If you know of a good one, please let me know.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Passacaglia with Mr Penrose

Woah, where did the last couple of months go? In my defence, I have been having a wonderful time with family over from Canada for Christmas. That involved lots of culinary preparations etc and then we all had a little family holiday in Yorkshire and, and, well to be honest, my little blog just didn't take priority! But things are back to normal now. My sewing room has seen some activity at last, and among other things I've started a new project!
It is a hand sewn, English paper piecing project. Perfect for sewing whilst enjoying a quiet evening in front of the TV or for snatching a few moments to work on without having to set a block of time aside (or clear enough space in the currently very disorganised sewing room!)
It's a biggie though, and I've set myself the challenge of completing it this year...yes, by the end of 2015!
The project is the last and most complicated quilt in this wonderful book that I purchased before Christmas.

The Passacaglia quilt that I'm making is the one shown on the front cover. Isn't it wonderful? Passacaglia is apparently a musical term. (I had to look it up.....I've also got to learn to spell it without checking each time!) I can certainly see lots of music in this quilt. The eye waltzes around it following the circles. I just hope my version does justice to the name.
Here is a close up of the first rosette that I've completed so far.

The pieces are tiny, and as far as I can tell, they are not a standard size, so there are no pre-cut papers available to purchase in this country. (You can buy them from the US). I've traced the templates provided in the book, and then photocopied them. I'm also basting the templates rather than using fabric glue. That may change as time goes on!
Hopefully I'll have the second rosette to show soon.
I hope you have an exciting project for the New Year too!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Little Christmas Stockings

There is still more sewing knitting than sewing going on around here at the moment, and this week I've been making these. Lots of them! There is a local Christmas craft fair in aid of Leukaemia & Lymphona Research in a couple of week's time and although I already have a bag stuffed full of crafty goodies to donate, I'm trying to see how many of these little stockings I can make before the deadline (why am I always such a last minute Larry!)
Last year I made them into a wreath, which sat over the fireplace and received no end of lovely comments. 

This time round, I'm just making the stockings. I suspect the craft fair organiser might sell them ready filled with sweets. 
If you fancy having a go, then I have a free pattern for them HERE
They are a simple design, knit flat on 2 needles. Worked in double knit yarn they finish up at 14cm (5") tall

The decoration around the top is added afterwards using duplicate stitch. It's also known as swiss darning. Why, I don't know. It conjures up all sorts of images in my head of young goatherds wandering over the mountains with the most elaborately darned socks and jackets imaginable!!
There is a complete photo tutorial on how to work the stitches included in the pattern.
There are instructions for all the designs shown above, but I suspect once you get going you can dream up whole load more of your own.


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Halloween Pumpkin Knitting Pattern

There is no denying it, Autumn is most definitely here and we are very fast approaching Halloween, so I thought I'd re-share a post from last year about these cure little pumpkin ornaments that I created.

I love Halloween! Even though my own kids are grown up, I still get in a good store of treats, put out a lit pumpkin to encourage Trick or Treaters and always give the best goodies to those who have gone the extra mile when putting together their costume.
My kids and I used to have great fun making Halloween related art and crafts projects, and I look forward to when (maybe!) I can do the same with grandkids.
All these Halloween thoughts reminded me that this time last year I designed a little knitted pumpkin pattern and posted it on the blog. I then realised that no-one is going to find it way back in the archives, so I posted it as a free pattern on Ravelry and Craftsy.
This little pumpkin is just 3" diameter if knitted in double knit yarn (a bit bigger if knit in aran or worsted) and would be great addition to a costume. You could attach one to the brim of a witches hat, temporarily sew them to the back of some mittens or dress up a Trick or Treat bag with them
I think mine will be used as table decorations this year

They only take an evening to make and the free pattern is now also in the Knitting Patterns section on this blog or you can download it HERE
Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Itch To Stitch

You know that feeling you get sometimes.....You have loads of projects you could be getting on with. Should be getting on with! But you have an overwhelming desire to start something else, something new. Well for me, that something this weekend, was some embroidery.
I used to do loads of it. I have an enormous stash of threads! (not very tidily stored, I might add!)

I knew I needed to re-discover the joy of selecting the colours, of stranding the thread, and listening to the quiet whisper of my needle as it goes in and out, in and out, forming those tiny stitches.
 I was wondering what I could  embroider, when, as luck would have it, I came across some Instagram photos of a Stitch Along on  Lilipopo's blog.
She is such a talented lady. As well as the drawing the pattern of this adorable little girl and her lists, she has a detailed photo tutorial suggesting stitches for the embroidery and which colour threads to use.
Before I knew it, I was downloading the pattern and tracing it onto some quilting weight cotton. I used to use even weave linen, but I didn't quite have a big enough piece of the colour I wanted, so I used quilting weight cotton instead. I traced the pattern onto my fabric with a Frixion pen. It's easy to get a nice fine line with this pen. Some people say that you can sometimes still see the lines, when you iron over them to make them disappear, but I've never had a problem.

It was such a joy to sit quietly and just stitch, purely for the sake of it. I had no plan in mind for the finished piece, I was just enjoying the process.

I love the simplicity of the back stitched outlines, the texture in the hair, and the pompom on the hat.

I only have the legs, boots and lists left to do now. I shall be sad when I've finished.


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