Thursday, 24 April 2014

FAL and ALYOF finish!

Yep, that's right, not only have I finished my April goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes, I've also finished my first goal for 2014 FAL (2014 Finish Along), you can see my original, goal-setting post here.  I was #98 in the ALYOF link up.

Finish Along 2014My Button

And what is this finish?  It's the chair cushions for my dining room that I started about 2 years ago.  I made one patchwork panel which I've since lost.  It was time to start again as I'm sick of eating my dinner with my hands above my head (slight exaggeration, but they table is too high for the chairs, all second-hand).  I wanted to take some in-situ shots, but due to the privacy film on the windows, I couldn't get a decent shot.  So out to the garden we went, me and my chair.

Ta-dah!  Filled with a 2" thick foam pad which is only slightly too big for the chair (ahem!), the cushions tie onto the back rungs to keep them in place.

If I'm feeling particularly short, I can pile them all up together, and maybe put a pea underneath.  Would I feel a pea with my fat arse? No chance, I probably wouldn't feel a vegetable garden, even without the cushions.

The photo shoot caused some curiosity...

"Tiff, Tiff, what's going on Tiff?  Mum seems to have a chair and she's taking pictures of it.  Does this mean we've got to go to the vet?"

"I don't know Harry, but I'm very, very suspicious.  No, I don't like this at all..."

This was the final panel to be pieced, started and finished at the EMMQG meeting earlier this month.  I used the random HSTs left over from the other cushions.  I put the border on to make it up to size, unfortunately it got cut off later.  Why unfortunately?  Because I mitred it!  Yep, Y-seams!  You know what, they're not hard at all!

Each panel was made to 18" x 18", layered on 2 layers of fusible fleece, then quilted with random blue threads I had bits left of.  Due to the broken darning foot, all are straight line quilted.

See?  I quilted 3 of them at the meeting, and it wasn't until I started to make them up into the cushions that I realised I'd made the panels too big!  Oh dear.

I'm sure no-one will notice the cut off blocks!

I think I showed you these flying geese before?  They were quilted with a continuous square spiral.

This one doesn't look so bad with the corners missing, but I wish I hadn't put all that brown in the middle.

My favourite was these friendship stars.  I want to make a quilt out of these blocks, I love them.  

I was at a bit of a loss on how to quilt them, Mary suggested orange peel/dogwood, which I didn't realise I could do with a walking foot.  I love this quilt design!  I will be using this again.

Alas, the friendship stars did not survive the cutting process.  I'm a bit mad about this one.

And last, but not least, we have the Plus blocks, another possibility for a future quilt.  I don't seem to have taken a quilting shot of this.  I echo quilted the centre cross all the way out to the edges.

I made the construction up as I went along.  It all happened on Good Friday.  Mr CA was ill in bed and I have just discovered 24 (yes, I have been hiding under a rock), it's on Netflix and I'm hooked.  I worked all day on these, stopping only to take Mr CA cups of tea.

Not the most polished construction ever... do I care?  Not a jot!

They are all backed with this print from Lily and Will.  It seems I bought about 253 metres of this print as I've still got loads left!  It's making me think place mats... I also have a good yard or so of a blue with brown spot, I think I intended to add piping to these, that is also untouched.

So, one goal from 5 of the FAL is done, 2 others are well on their way, it may just be a successful quarter!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Hello Mr. bunny!

Last month I failed to complete a cross stitch small for the Smalls SAL.  This month, I'm on my game!  I actually finished him at the beginning of April.


The pattern seems to be a free cover gift from Cross Stitch Crazy, but I got it in the Travelling Stash that I joined in with last year.  The pack contains charts, a couple of cards and some stickers, but no threads.  I stitched from stash so ignored the recommended threads.

All of the bunnies on the chart are honey brown, but I'm going to stitch one for each of my buns, this one is Colin.

Speaking of bunnies, I got the most wonderful, generous surprise from my lovely friend Susan.  The yellow is perfect as I have so few yellow bunny fabrics, and I love the lilac Posy.  Thanks Susan, it's very much appreciated.

Whilst making my chair cushions, I picked out two layer cake slices featuring bunnies from Lily and Will.  It's a shame I used the cream one without noticing, and who knows if there are others which I used in making the panel that is lost?  Ah well, at least I have these to add to the collection.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

burn that bunny

A couple of weeks ago saw me and my lovely mum attending another jewellery class at The Bead Shop Nottingham.  It was basic silver-smithing, focusing on soldering using wire.  We were given some copper wire and shown how to make links.  Then we were left to it... immediately an idea formed...

Oh what a surprise, I made a bunny!  I am over the moon with this necklace.  Usually in the technique classes I don't go home with a finished piece, but I knew exactly where I was going with this one.

First I made the circular links.  Form a link from 1mm copper wire, cut and file the edges, solder, pickle, rinse, sand, hammer flat, hammer to add texture.  I REALLY enjoyed this technique.

I made 4 links in total, then I tackled the bunny.  I formed the shape I wanted and then filed the points that were to be soldered.  It's the bit between his ears.  Of course, I formed the shape, it all fit perfectly, I then fiddled with the neck and the ears moved.  It took me ages to get them aligned again!

We also learnt how to make ball-end head pins.  These are bits of wire with a ball or a flat circle on the end so that you can thread on beads.  I made 6 and then went downstairs to raid the shop for crystals.  These were 15p each, but they are Swarovski and they are stunningly beautiful in the flesh.  Or in the crystal.  

I also picked up a large white Swarovski opal for the bunny tale.  It's simply wired in place.  You can see the join where I soldered him in the photo below, but I don't mind that.  He's also hammered to add texture.

I also bought a trace chain and cut it up to form links between the components.  I made the jump rings too and was planning on making the clasp, but the trace chain came with one so I just used that.  Apart from the chain and clasp, it's entirely hand made.

What do you think?  I love it, it's one of the best things I've ever made.  There's only one problem with it...

Bunny tends to fall sideways when I'm wearing him... I wonder if I need to wire the chain to his ears tightly instead of having him on jump rings?

I'm joining in with Something Old, Something New, this will be my "new".  I'm also linking up with Fiona's Something New for 2014 as although I've soldered lead before, I've never soldered silver or such delicate items.

Celtic Thistle Stitches
Never too hot to Stitch!

Friday, 18 April 2014

splash mat

I've been sewing up the chair cushions for our dining room, so I needed a leader and ender project.  If you haven't come across this method before, it's a way of wasting less thread.  Instead of cutting the thread after each set of chain piecing, you have a little pile of squares or HSTs that you can sew and then leave on the machine, ready for the next set of piecing.  Did that make any sense??  

Basically, whilst sewing some of the blocks for the chair cushions, I didn't want to get confused so sewed two pieces together for each block, cut them apart, pressed them and got the next piece ready.  When I'd finished the first set, instead of cutting my thread, I sewed together 2 mini charm squares and left them on the machine.  When I was ready for my next set of pieces, I just carried on sewing - no big lengths of thread left dangling.  

Very quickly those mini charm squares became this.  A very simple pattern, I used a Happy Go Lucky mini charm pack and an FQ of one of the prints.  I arranged the minis in colour order and sewed them into columns, each was then sewn to a strip of the FQ and finally a border of the same print was put on.

I sewed it right sides together with an old towel, turned through and top stitched.  I then quilted it using lines 1/4" from each seam, using the colour of the minis in each row.

This was a progress shot - does anyone else have a cutting table that looks like this??

Because of the right sides together and turn method, no binding!  Hurray!

The pattern I chose meant I didn't have to match up loads of seams, especially difficult with precuts I find, but my rows were wonkier than I thought, see the way the quilting curves?

I couldn't get a decent shot of the different colours of quilting, especially as the towel I backed it with is blue.

I love the finished product, shown here on top of the bunnies' run as there isn't a great deal of light on the floor of my kitchen.

And it does it's job well.  The previous one used a lot of white fabric and gets dirty so quickly, this won't show the dirt so much and now I can always have a mat down when one is being washed.

See, told you there's not much light on the kitchen floor. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

chair cushions

One of the items on my FAL list for the first quarter and this quarter is chair cushions for my dining room.  It's also my ALYOF goal for the month.  Yep, I really want to get these done!  The chairs are quite low and being a short-arse, I need a cushion so I bought the cushion pads and the fabric about 2 years ago.  I pieced together one panel.  I can't find the damn thing!  So I had to work with what I had left, about half a layer cake of Lily and Will (so I used half on one panel?!?) and some yardage.

First up were these Plus blocks by Holly DeGroot in Love Patchwork and Quilting issue 1.  I love this design, I could make a quilt like this...

I've seen Friendship Stars around blogland recently and love the design, I found this Friendship Star in 501 Quilt Blocks.  I probably could have used a bit more brown in this one.

Next I made some flying geese, following the cutting instructions for Fast Geese in 200 Quilt blocks.  I then arranged them and rearranged them until I liked the design.  Having said that, I've just noticed in the photo that the bottom right block and the bottom middle block use the same fabrics... that looks a bit weird...

Look!  Look what I did!!  I accidentally used some bunny fabric!  If I'd spotted it, I would have saved it for my bunny quilt.  Damn!

The flying geeses were not without their errors.  I sewed 10 sets right side to wrong side.  Ooops. I unpicked and resewed, then when I was sewing the blocks together, I discovered I'd done the same thing earlier.  It's staying like that!

This little pile is the offcuts from the flying geese.  They are destined for the fourth and final chair cushion...  Then I just have to quilt them, cut them out to the pattern I've drafted and sew them into chair cushions around a piece of foam.  No trouble there then ?!?  Why do I do these things to myself?

Saturday, 12 April 2014

more project bags

Last month I made a project bag using this tutorial  by the lovely Vera of Negligent Style, you can see it here.  I made the first one to check I knew what I was doing, then I planned to make a whole rainbow of them.  I've since been contacted by Vera to say I made the bag wrong, which shows how bad I am at following instructions.

I wanted a whole mix of shapes and sizes and a rainbow is always nice!  I sorted through my zips, finding them in all the lengths and a rainbow of colours, I dug through my scraps, only having to dig into an FQ for the yellow bag.  These went so quickly.  I didn't do them production line style as each one used different coloured thread, even so, they take about 10 minutes.

The smallest is 4" x 4" and the biggest is 16" wide.  They should fit a wide range of projects.

Each has a ribbon loop, so I've hung some of them on a book ring and they're hanging off the curtain tie back knob, full of stitchy projects.

I'll fill some more with sewing projects upstairs, they'll help keep everything together in one place.

I'll use the smallest ones for jewellery projects started but not finished.

Wonder how long it'll be before I have more WIPs and have to make more bags?