Goodies ready to be posted…..

This weekends target was to finish off all the items that I needed for the Goodie Swap. I had one of the two mug rugs I needed ready but I also needed to make the goodies to go with them.

I actually went a bit back to front as I made the goodie for my second partner before the mug rug! A little while ago I bought a shoulder bag pattern from Melly & Me and I adapted the pattern by not adding a strap to make a lovely little pouch. I am so pleased with how it came out….I feel lots of Christmas gifts coming up from this one.

The design is really simple but effective…I so enjoyed rooting around to find the right buttons to sew on the front. I was supposed to do needleturn applique for the squares on the front but instead I used fusible webbing and folded over the sides – this seemed to give a more durable finish as I was able to machine stitch it into place.

The ties were really easy to make from some of the leftover fabric scraps so it was quite an economical project. I used some coordinating interior fabric so that the inside is pretty too but you could use some plain fabric if you wanted to keep costs down. The back is plain with just the split fabrics rather than any extra embellishment.

I decided to make the mug rug to go with it from some coordinating fabrics – I used some of the offcuts plus extras from my stash of bluey/green fabrics. The design was very simple but I am really pleased with how it came out. I had some perfect green/blue striped fabric for the binding. My partner says she likes blues and greens so it should be good for her.

The last thing I had to make was an extra for partner 1 to go with her rainbow mug rug. As partner no 1 likes pinks, reds etc I thought I would make her another pouch in her colour scheme. This one was simpler than the blue one as I didn’t add the applique and buttons to the front as all the options I tried seemed too fussy.

I really hope that my partners like their packages…just need to get them all wrapped up ready to post off at the end of the week. Once the package is in the post it will be time to start waiting for mine to arrive – time for more postman stalking!

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A rainbow of colours…….

Working on my rainbow mug rugs is such great fun. I get to search through my stash of fabric for the right little pieces of fabric to cut out – there is always some pattern that catches my eye. After cutting out the fabrics I get to play around with the squares to find that perfect lay out. This time I spent a really long time laying them all out. I had such a dilemma as I liked the idea of a 7 striped rainbow but that meant I would have more of a place mat than a mug rug….once I had 7 colours in my head I found it hard to see anything with less colours although I did try them out. I have taken photos of the various layouts which I will share in another post as its really interesting how much difference a layout change can make.

Eventually I just went for my 7 colour lay out…

I really liked how the colours worked together in this lay out. All the bright hot colours on one side and all the cooler colours on the other. Sewing it all together was nice and quick …I just added some very simple straight line quilting so that the fabrics weren’t obscured (you will notice the obvious mistake where I sewed them together in the opposite order – it still has the same effect though).

The question of binding came up as usual. I always spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to decide on what binding to use and after some deliberation I went for black polka dots as a frame for the rainbow colours.

I do hope my partner likes their giant rainbow mug rug. If they don’t like it my daughter will have it as she loves it and to be honest I may have to tear it away from her. I actually like the back almost as much as I love the front as you can see the criss cross of the quilting.

So that’s one down and I still have one more to go aswell as the extras so this weekend will have to be one of my sewing frenzies!!!

Another rainbow rug mug coming up …….

It’s that time again…mug rug swapping! This time I have joined the Goodie Swap hosted by Cindy from Fluffy Sheep Quilting. For this swap I have been assigned two partners for whom I have to make a mug rug and a small extra goodie such as a pincushion or bag. As usual I have pulled together a mosaic of pictures to inspire my partners. I keep meaning to have a go at making some thread spools myself, maybe my partner will send me some so I have something to show me how to make them!

The finished items need to be sent in about 10 days so this weekend I need to get to some hard work on what I am making. Having done some partner stalking the first mug rug I am working on is another rainbow mug rug. Do you remember this one?

 

My intention is to make something very similar so I have been searching through my stash and cutting lot of 2.5 inch squares to play around with…

So far this is my potential combo……

Do you like the camel? I have to admit it will be hard to part with that square!!I’m off now to start sewing the squares together. Hopefully later today I will be able to share my finished mug rug top.

Home to a parcel of sunshine…….

You may have noticed that I’ve been very quiet for the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately sewing is not my profession, I actually work in software development. For the last week I have been working 24/7 on the implementation of a project that I have been working on for the past 2 years. I had to go and stay near London which took me away from my own computer and sewing machine although to be honest every waking moment I had was spent working so maybe it was good to be completely away from all my creature comforts.

Anyway I finally came home on Wednesday evening. I was so exhausted that I slept for 12 hours straight….a record for me I think. I had to get up at 9am the next morning to see my son off to pick up his GCSE results which thankfully went really well  (hopefully he’ll be able to do all the A level courses that he wants to). Once all that excitement was over the postman arrived…..and there was a parcel labelled DQS11. Hallelujah my doll quilt had arrived.

What did I find inside….

I received a fabulous quilt and extras from PatriciaBStudios of Maine, USA. The quilt was so perfect for me as it was made from my favourite citrus colours and was based on a pattern from Red Pepper Quilts whose blog I am an avid follower of. For extras I received a gorgeous pin cushion made from off cuts plus some scraps of fabrics leftover from the quilt plus the pattern that was her inspiration so I could make a full bed sized quilt for myself.

The piecing of the quilt is just so fabulous. The pieces were just so tiny I have to admit to being a bit awestruck. I don’t think I would manage to manipulate them through the sewing machine and keep them straight.

After such a hectic week at work it was just lovely to have such an amazing gift all for me….now I just need to find it home in my house. Thank you Patricia!!!

Finished with only hours to spare….

Phew….I finally managed to get my doll quilt finished, bound, labelled and in the post…..on the last day of posting!!

I thought I was really organised at the start of this swap but my lack of decision on where to go with my quilt has meant I had to do all my finishing off at lightening speed.

Thank you to everyone who gave my feedback on which binding to go with. It was really funny as every option had someone who liked it so I had to spend a lot of time last night cutting strips of the different options and wrapping them around the quilt to try them out. In the end I wasn’t really feeling the love for any of them so I decided that maybe I should try out the suggestion of a black solid.

Unfortunately finding some solid black fabric was a challenge. I knew I had some somewhere but it isn’t really something I use very often so I didn’t have a clue where it was. As is normal I eventually found it at the back of the top shelf of my sewing cupboard and I have the bruises to show for it!

Anyway, I am really really pleased with how the finished quilt came out….

I really love the backing fabric….. even if I do say so myself.

I have added a little shopper bag as an extra made with fabulous Senor Burrito fabric and I may have slipped in some other little bits!! Its winging its way to its new owner right now…I really hope she likes it.

Look what I got….I’m so lucky!

After all the frantic effort of getting my swap items out in the post the job of waiting starts. You stalk the postman, leave the porch unlocked just in case he comes while you’re out and get grumpy when another day goes by with nothing for you. Then finally you look into the porch and there is a package for you……hallelujah its time to see what you got!!

This week I received two amazing packages …I have some amazing sewing to share with you. I’m just so lucky to be the new owner of the beautiful items.

1) Brit Quilt Swap. ( http://www.flickr.com/groups/britquiltswap/pool/ ). This was a swap for quilters living in Britain. My quilt came to me from Sarah. ( http://pingsneedles.blogspot.com/ ). I watched her sneak peeks during the swap avidly as like me she was trying out some new techniques. I absolutely love the quilt as it is right up my street. The extras are nice too! All the quilters named their quilts and this is called Harlot’s Web!

The quilting is amazing and its interesting from all angles – back and front.

2) Spicing up the kitchen swap. ( http://www.flickr.com/groups/sutk/ ). This was round 2 of a swap for kitchen items. My partner for this swap was a member of one of my quilting bees Locowodo ( http://meliketocraft.blogspot.com/ ). When I saw this posted on the group flickr site I instantly fell in love with it and ordered the book that some of the patterns came from – Cups & Saucers by Maaike Bakker. I really hoped it was for me and when the parcel arrived and I saw the sender I have to admit to squealing with delight. Take a look…its amazing!

Even the extras were great…a family cookbook full of delicious looking recipes goes down well in my house.

Aren’t I a lucky girl??

Phew…everythings in the post!!

With all the recent swapping activity I seem to have been on a constant mission to get items finished and in the post. This week was no exception with the deadlines for Spicing Up the Kitchen and Brit Quilt Swaps.

Luckily my items were finished last weekend and all I had left to do was to pull together some extras, make a label and find something to pack them off in.

The first one was easy as I had picked out my extras a little while ago for the Spicing up the kitchen and the Brit Quilt Extras came from my stash of fabrics/ribbons/hexies.

The second one , which was to label my Brit Quilt, wasn’t a difficult task but involved me having an hour to just sit and sew…thank heavens for sunny evenings when the kids are down at the park! I did a simple sewn label with threads that matched the colours of the quilt. I fused the label to the back of the quilt but didn’t sew it on aswell as I was worried I would end up spoiling the front. I have quilts that I have received where the labels are just fused on and they have stayed on fine.

The last thing to was the hardest…packaging. How do you package your quilt so that it is protected but also so it can actually be sent in the post. I wish I had taken a photo of my Spicing up the kitchen parcel before I wrapped it as I ended up using an old cornflake box. It was such a perfect size to slide the table topper and extras into…and I suppose it goes with the kitchen theme….

My brit quilt was a little easier as I had a tube that I had received a poster in which seemed ideal. However it did mean folding my quilt in half and rolling it which I wasn’t happy about but figured it was that or I would have to spend ages traipsing around trying to find something else to send it in. With a bit of jiggery pokery I got the quilt into the tube and also managed to cram in some extras. Unfortunately I couldn’t fit in the card I had bought so I ended up sending it separately ……. unsigned, so my partner couldn’t guess the quilt if the two pieces got split up in the post.

Brit Quilt swap

So that’s it now no more swaps in progress. I have put my name down for the Doll Quilt Swap 11 but its in no way guaranteed that you’ll get in as its so over subscribed. Now I’ll have to concentrate on catching up with my quilting bees and helping Cupcake Princess with her projects….

 

Spicing up the kitchen……

It seems like I have a constant stream of sewing commitments that I need to finish off at the moment. I’m such a glutton signing up for all these quilting bees and swaps but I really do enjoy taking part in the groups, coming up with new ideas to make plus of course its fab when you receive a fabulous item from someone else.

This weekends challenge is to make my items for the Spicing up the kitchen swap. In this swap I need to make a sewn item for someone elses kitchen. I bought some fabric for the swap weeks ago but with everything else I have on I hadn’t really got very far with turning it into anything for my partner.

I’ve been studying my partners likes, dislikes etc and decided that I would make a fabric and linen table topper. I could see that my partner likes the scrappy patchwork look so I went for it! I cut up all the fabrics in my Just Wing It charm pack and pieced them together to make a simple patchwork middle and borders (removig some colours that my partner said she didn’t like).

I added some of the fab teal linen I bought from Seamstar a few weeks ago…..

Today I spent the morning straight line quilting the table topper…..

Before you know it I had a finished table topper.

The proportions aren’t perfect. I should probably have gone for something a bit thinner in width but at least with this size there is plenty of space for putting out the items in the middle of the table.

I used the same jade green plain fabric on the back and for the binding as it coordinated really well with the top.

 

I may make some other smaller bits to go with this but I really hope my partner likes this…if she doesn’t I’ll have it!!

Brit Quilt finished and a new skill learned

It’s been a busy weekend here at the Palace whilst I’ve been trying to finish off my Brit quilt. You may recall from last weekend that I had appliqued the top and added a scrappy border but I still needed to decide whether to do add another linen border and how to quilt it.

During the week I had feedback on here and flickr which led to my decision to indeed add another border of linen….I may have made the linen border a little larger than I should have but I think on reflection it was the right decision – so thank you everyone who made the suggestion.

For the quilting I had in mind to do some pebble quilting after watching a demo on Handmade by Alissa. I was also pointed to some other blogs with demos/instructions which made me think that I could have a try. On Friday I took some scraps from the quilt and made a couple of little samples. It was actually easier than I thought it would be to get a reasonable looking pebble effect – I’m sure the experts out there would see plenty of flaws but I was happy enough with what I managed to do.

Needless to say using the technique on the actual quilt turned out to be more challenging as you have to manoeuvre the quilt in a circular motion…….however I did enjoy doing it even if it left me with some rather sore shoulders.

It did take me a couple of hours but I was really pleased with the final effect. The quilting made the applique pieces stand out and also added some rigidity to the quilt.

There were only two final pieces needed then – firstly some quilting for the border…….straight lining quilting seemed the most appropriate.

Secondly a scrappy binding. The binding itself was fine but I was extremely irritated as the corners just wouldn’t go right. I’m normally really good at the corners but these were a bit of a disaster…I think because I made the binding a bit wider than normal I didn’t leave enough room to turn the binding around the corner properly. It was passable and I left it on but didn’t meet with my own personal standards!! I did try to undo some of it but I realised I was going to make it worse and risk spoiling the quilt top.

So what do you think of the finished quilt?

I’m really pleased with how its come out and I just hope my partner loves it as much as I do. I have learnt a number of new techniques whilst working on this so I feel like I have pushed my quilting boundaries.

I may have to make another one of these for my own house as I have a feeling it would look perfect up above my mantlepiece – I will have to include an inquisitive little bird like this one as it reminds me of the cheeky little birds pecking in our vegetable patch!!

So what shall I do next….

It’s been a very rainy day here so I’ve had time to carry on working on my outstanding sewing projects. Yesterday I worked on the embroidery for my Brit Quilt so today I started on finishing off the quilt top so that I can move on to the quilting. I have until the 1st July to finish the quilt but I suspect the quilting may take some time. I want to try out pebble quilting. I found a tutorial on the Handmade by Alissa blog – it’s basically a video of her doing the pebble quilting – I’m sure it’s not as easy as it seems on the video so I may need to do a bit of practice!

I have a pile of green and turquoise fabrics that I have been pulling together ready to make a scrappy border to frame the main picture. I did some layout try outs and went for a thin border as a thicker  border seemed to detract from the picture. I really love how it accentuates the colours in the picture itself.

The problem is what to do next. Do I add another border of linen or just stay with this and just add some plain binding? What do you think? I really can’t decide.

I’ve also been trying to catch up on some overdue quilting bee blocks. Firstly my May block for the Sew Buzzy group. Innerpiece asked us all to make a house block of our own house with a white background.

I had to think for a while what to do. I live in a semi-detached house and I decided to just represent my half. I made the left hand side of the house straight so you could tell it was supposed to be attached to something else. It looks a bit wonky in the picture but it isn’t really…its just the way the linen distorts the fabrics when they’re laid out.

I needed to make the stained glass window that goes down the front of my house where the stairs are. This part of the house actually juts forward but making a 3-D effect was a step too far! I think the window has come out well and gives a feel of how the window is a graduation of rainbow colours. The real window goes from blue through to purple, red, orange and yellow. I didn’t have that colour range to select from but I did the best I could with what was in my pack. I hope Innerpiece likes it. Did you notice I even added a Patchwork Queen in the doorway!

The second block I worked on was my May block for the Calendar of Houses Bee. The block was for Lynnette who said that May reminded her of new plants, birds singing etc. I had some fab fabrics, from making my Patchwork Palace avatar and banner, which have a really springy feel with pink, yellow and spring green. I wanted to make the house look like a bit of an English Country cottage and I thought the yellow fabric looks a bit like a thatch.

I’ve still got lots of sewing to do. I have been trying to tidy some of my fabrics up this afternoon but no doubt by the end of the week I’ll have got them all out again.  I find that having all the fabrics stacked up together often gives me inspiration for a project as a particular fabric catches my eye. I dont want to be inspired for any new projects right now…I really must finish some more!