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Work In Progress Wednesday

So I still haven't got a new bathroom, but as of today, I also don't have an old one.  Well, apart from the toilet, he is plumbing that back in each night!  You'll be pleased to know that there's a shower in the office, so I won't be stinky...

Anywho, with the rest of my week off for the bathroom that wasn't, I got my friend's baby quilt done, just in time for its recipient to arrive on Monday!  I've also been writing up another pattern, and doing lots of grown up adminny things for the business.  I will admit to feeling slightly like this by Sunday:

Finishes This Week:

This is now a baby quilt, all will be revealed later this month:

In Progress This Week:

I've been writing up my Rainy Days And Monday's pattern and trying out some new interfacing - Bosal's In R Form single sided fusible.  I had picked up a sample at Market last May, but there wasn't enough to make something from, and at the time I struggled to find UK stockists.  I was able to track some down for a trial run, and I absolutely love the shape it give the bag - this is pretty heavy home dec weight fabric and leatherette, and this is it standing up with absolutely nothing inside stuffing it to keep its shape!

To Be Worked On This Week:

Bee blocks - I have February's Stitch Tease, and I might as well do March's as well to get them all out of the way!
Finish Rainy Days And Monday's pattern
Have a fun day on Saturday with my local peeps at the SECC

Linking up with Lee and the gang:

Quilt Making Basics Tutorial - Flocks Of Geese

Last month in Quilt Making Basics we tackled Half Square Triangles, so this month it seemed only right that we should move on to flying geese as they are somewhat related.

We're going to look at 3 different methods for geese, starting with the traditional method which involves sewing on the bias to create 4 goose units at once.
  1. First you need to cut your 'geese' and your 'sky'.  For the geese, you need a square which is the width of your finished goose + 1 1/4", which you then need to cut on both diagonal.  For the sky, you need 4 squares which are the height of your finished goose + 7/8"

  2. To sew them together, take one sky piece and one goose and align on the diagonal, right sides together.  Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance, then open out and press:

  3. Next, take another sky piece align on the remaining diagonal, right sides together.  Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance, then open out and press:

The next method, which allows you to make one goose unit at a time, uses rectangles and squares.  This method either wastes a little fabric, or gives you some bonus HSTs, you decide!  I'll show how to stitch to get the bonus HST.
  1. For this method you start with a goose rectangle which is the finished width + 1/2" by the finished height + 1/2".  You will also need 2 squares which are the finished height + 1/2".  On the back of each square, draw a line on one diagonal, plus another one that is parallel, but 1/2" to one side.

  2. Take your rectangle and place one square right sides together, aligning with one edge.  Stitch along the 2 lines you drew on the back, then cut apart with a 1/4" seam allowance, open out your goose and your HST and press:

  3. Next, take your remaining square and align at the other end.  Stitch along the 2 lines you drew on the back, then cut apart with a 1/4" seam allowance, open out your goose and your HST and press:

The final method is the no waste method, which creates 4 geese at once, but without you having to sew with bias edges:

  1. For this method you need to start with squares as per method 1.  For the geese, you need a square which is the width of your finished goose + 1 1/4", which you then need to cut on both diagonal.  For the sky, you need 4 squares which are the height of your finished goose + 7/8".  On the back of each sky square, draw a line on one diagonal.

  2. Place the squares as per the diagram below, and stitch 1/4" on either side of the drawn lines:

  3. Cut up the drawn line, and open the sky pieces out as per the diagram below for each half:

  4. Take a remaining sky square and one half of the first unit, then place as per the diagram below.  Stitch 1/4" on either side of the drawn line.  Repeat for the other half of the first unit:

  5. Cut up the drawn line and press the sky open on each of the geese:

I have to say that I prefer method 2 if I'm making scrappy geese, and method 3 for geese in bulk, but I've yet to work out what on earth to do with all the bonus HSTs from method 2!  I have a wee bag of them for when inspiration hits, however...

Because I know you all love it when I do the maths for you, here's some frequently used goose sizes, and the pieces you'll need to cut:

Finished Goose Unit Size Method 1 Method 2 Method 3
Goose Cut Square Size Sky Cut Square Size Goose Cut Rectangle Size Sky Cut Square Size Goose Cut Square Size Sky Cut Square Size
1” x 2” 3 ¼” 1 ⅞” 1 ½” x 2 ½” 1 ½” 3 ¼” 1 ⅞”
2” x 4” 5 ¼” 2 ⅞” 2 ½” x 4 ½” 2 ½” 5 ¼” 2 ⅞”
3” x 6” 7 ¼” 3 ⅞” 3 ½” x 6 ½” 3 ½” 7 ¼” 3 ⅞”
4” x 8” 9 ¼” 4 ⅞” 4 ½” x 8 ½” 4 ½” 9 ¼” 4 ⅞”
5” x 10” 11 ¼” 5 ⅞” 5 ½” x 10 ½” 5 ½” 11 ¼” 5 ⅞”

March Calendar

The wee dude fancied another month in the limelight, and who am I to argue with him?  Here's March's calendar:

He hopes you like his choice of flowers as spring approaches.
Would You Like To Be A Pattern Tester?

This year I'm trying to be a more organised an proficient pattern writer, so in honour of that, I thought I would try and pull together an organised and proficient list of testers.  The list is proficient BTW, I'm not ordering you to be ;o)

The plan is that I will add any volunteers to a mailing list, and then when I have a pattern ready I will e-mail the list.  I don't expect volunteers to test every pattern (unless of course you want to!) and if you volunteer and then change your mind at a later date I promise I won't hold it against you much at all.  Seriously though, you can get out any time, no problems.

The general turnaround time for testing will be around 4 weeks, and all I ask is for you to provide feedback within that time on any areas where you had issues or think that things could be improved.  At the pattern launch I will include photos of your tester versions if you are happy for me to do so.

I have this pattern ready for testing now, so this will be the first one offered to the list:

I look forward to hearing from you, and don't forget, if you are a 'no-reply' blogger, please include your e-mail address in your comment in the form: name at host dot com
Work In Progress Wednesday

There's been some ups and downs this week - on the upside I'm feeling better, not 100% yet, but close, on the downside, the bathroom that I completely cleared out over the weekend and bought new bits and pieces for (like medicine cabinet, shelves etc) has not been replaced as expected this week, and I have a living room and hall full of bits.  The fitter turned up with the various bits and pieces on Monday with an apology that his last job overran, so my week off to supervise them is now just a week off!  Still, it's given me time to do a few adminny things behind the scenes, as well as some sewing.

Finishes This Week:


In Progress This Week:

A few weeks ago I bought the 'January Block' pattern from @ladyharvatine on IG with the intention of using it for my #ukigminiswap, and this weekend I got the 4 blocks sewn up (please excuse crappy IG pic, no co-ordination of light + camera this week)  I used some of my bundle of Paint, and I now have a plan on what to do with the rest of it, when I have a moment!

I've also turned this pile into a quilt top for an FQS hop next month.  I want to get it quilted and bound this week, as it's a baby quilt for a friend who just finished up for her maternity leave, so the little bugger must be imminent!

To Be Worked On This Week:

Finish the baby quilt
Write up the Rainy Days & Monday's pattern for testing
Get my admin all done!
Chain the fitters to my bathroom...

Linking up with Lee and the gang:

Camera Challenge: Challenge 2 The Triangle Of Light – Understanding Aperture

Littlest Thistle Camera Challenge 2015
Well done everyone with the last challenge, this month we’re going to have some fun playing with aperture.  Now you know those photos where there’s 1 thing in focus and everything else is a pleasing blur?  (The Japanese call it bokeh, and apparently the arty farties in the western world decided in recent years that that was a nicer word than blur…) That’s influenced by your aperture, and we’re going to see how that works.

Your challenge is this:

Find a group of small things which you can arrange in a line marching away from the camera in a nice, well lit area.  You will need to arrange them at a slight angle so that you can see the effect of how the change in aperture affects all the objects.  Examples of things which are good for this would be Lego minifigs, spools of thread, marbles, wonder clips – just raid your sewing room or toy collection!

Switch your camera into Aperture Priority mode – in this mode the camera will find the shutter speed best suited for your aperture to give you a well exposed image.  You should also be able to adjust the ISO in this setting.  Ideally you want your ISO number to be as low as possible, as the higher the number, the grainier the photo, so aim for a maximum of about 800 if you can, but preferably around 100-200.  A couple of desk lamps on either side of your subject may help if you have no natural light, or you happen to live somewhere commonly grey and rainy.

Check where your focus point is – you need a single focus point which you have trained on the nearest object in your group to you.  Most cameras come set to a matrix type focus as default, so if you half press the shutter button, you will see several wee lights show up on your photo, but you can switch from multi-focus to single focus points easily enough – your manual should be able to show you how.

Now starting at the lowest number you can for your aperture, take a photo.

Move up through your aperture numbers until you get to the highest possible number, taking photos as you go.  Note that you don’t need to do this with every single number, every 3-5 should suffice.

Now change your focus point so that it is about half way down your group, and repeat the exercise.

Here’s an example of the setup that I will use for this (note that the tripod is not essential, I just didn't have enough hands!):

Now, using a different subject for your photos, choose a point much further away to focus on without zooming in and move up through the aperture numbers in the same way as before.  If you’re feeling particularly keen, you can also see what happens when you zoom a long way in on something far off and try it.

Finally, have a play with your aperture in different light settings with your flash turned off.  You may need to use a tripod for this, or to be able to increase your ISO to around 1600 so that you can still hand hold it in darkened areas.

I look forward to seeing your results in a couple of weeks!
Pattern Launch - The Traveller Bag

Thanks to the hard work of my lovely pattern testers over the past few weeks, my Traveller Bag pattern is now available from both Payhip and Patterns To Print:

Designed to fit with most airline carry-on size restrictions, as the pattern cover suggests, there are a number of features that make this bag your ideal travelling companion:
  1. External inset zipped pocket, ideal for holding travel documents
  2. External bellows pocket with snap closure, perfect to store a book and snack for use on the journey
  3. Internal inset zipped pocket, well placed to hold small items you don’t want to misplace
  4. Internal divided pockets, excellent for holding a pair of shoes
  5. Detachable, adjustable strap, so you can choose how best to carry your bag
  6. Bag feet to protect your bag from muddy puddles

The use of both fabric and leather leaves a nice, professional finish for your bag, people will all want to travel handmade like you!

You may recall that I make the original bag for my mum for Christmas using a lovely heavyweight faux wool fabric, and here's what my fabulous testers created:

Chris went a little dotty with hers, along with beautiful pale leather accents:

Tamara went for a rugged, all fabric approach with hers, ideal for the snow and ice she was experiencing as she made it:

One of Anneliese's cheeky monkeys decided she needed to help show off her mum's new London themed bag, made specially for an upcoming trip to London, complete with an additional key fob:

And finally, Lynne got hers fully kitty approved, in fact every time she opened it, her two cats felt the urge to leap in...

Thank you ladies for all your hard work, and hope you get to go to loads of wonderful places with your new bags!