Awesome Deliveries And Sulking!

Okay, we'll get the sulking out of the way first - Blogger is refusing to let me post on some people's blogs.  Being the good little software tester that I am, I have figured out exactly what the combined set of circumstances are that causes this (comments, when clicking to add, open below the post, and have the captcha code visible after you press submit) but alas, not what causes it - grrr.  I have cleared cookies and heaven only knows what else.  I have tried going back to staying signed in (after discovering after Blogger's last SNAFU, that leaving myself signed in prevented me from leaving ANY comments), and it's steadfastly refusing to play.  So if I normally comment on your blog and haven't, it's not you, it's me.  Or rather it's Blogger hating me...  So now I'm sulking.

As for the deliveries, look what my neighbour handed me tonight (thus saving me the wait for the card, and subsequent trip to the sorting office)

This is the first package that I've received from the mug rug and goodie swap, all made just for me!  I had to laugh because it's come a whopping 10 miles to me, and Kat had considered hand delivering it, but thought that may creep me out... Honestly, I'd have been more impressed if she'd found my front door, it eludes most people, including many delivery drivers!

When I saw the sewing tidy, I had no clue it was for me (although I did think it was a fab idea) but I had an inkling the mug rug might have been.  Near the start of the swap someone had asked about our favourite drinks, and I'd fessed up to being a *gasp* tea and coffee hater!  I did say that I treated myself to a glass of coke at the weekends, and that's what I got.  Although that photo is terrible (sorry, will try again tomorrow!) I can tell you that she stitched on ice cubes, such a cool idea!  I also got some lovely corduroy fabric scraps (which may require me to pin Kat down to demand to know where it came from - serious love!)  and some Galaxy chocolate.  I have plans for this already (well, perhaps not the scraps in the short term) but for the rest of it, I can see it coming to Skye with me in just over a week, so that my fellow photographers/hollidayers don't end up impaling themselves on pins and scissors...

Now onto delivery #2.  Although I wasn't expecting this until the end of the week (and neither was the guy that I got it from, and as it comes direct from Brother, he has no control of that), please meet Big Brother, and NX-2000.  Here he is posing next to Little Brother, so you can get a sense of scale.  I think I heard the puppy in Little Brother's stitch guide whimper a little bit, and as for Big Brother's Little Brother (aka the overlocker) he's hiding behind Big Brother completely...  Please note that this is WITHOUT the extension table being attached!  Anyway, he's not been fired up yet, as I think I may need to sit down with the manual at the weekend, but I hope he's a quick study, as I have a quilt to finish!

Forgetting One's Head

I have memory issues, apparently connected to my dyslexia.  On a bad day it can mean getting up from the PC, walking into the kitchen and forgetting why I went (or like earlier tonight, walking over to the other side of the room to get some wee bags to put my back block pieces in for the Across The Sea QAL, and getting distracted by an e-mail before walking back to the cutting table bagless...)  Anywho, last week Jenna, over at Sew Happy Geek announced that she would be having surgery next month and was looking for guest bloggers.  Yes, dear friends, she was short enough of volunteers that she chose me ;o) 

And where exactly is this all leading?  Well, the observant amongst you have noticed a poll over there on the right asking what project I should do for the tutorial I plan for that guest post.  I meant to put it in the blog post on Sunday, and forgot.  Then I meant to put it in the post yesterday, and forgot.  So now, here are the options with a bit of explanation:

  1. A reinforced base folding shopper - whilst I love the little soft folding bags that pack away to virtually nothing (like the one I won from Blackbird Bags back in August) sometimes you need to humph something a bit heftier, like a few tins of beans or bottles of coke, and a more solid bottom is required.  The plan is for a bag with a solid base that will fold in half, in some nice home decor weight fabric
  2. A coolbag for a lunchbox - is it just me, or are those wee bags that you get free in Marks and Spencers in the summer (having first spent a fortune in deli items) or the ones kids are meant to take their lunch in, not designed to take a sensible sized lunchbox?  I can only surmise that the designers only ever try to get a yoghurt and a wee bag or sarnies in there, because although my lunchbox will fit, it'll only go in sideways, rendering the handle useless (not being a sarnie fan, I take in salads, and those leaves take up space in boxes lol).  For this option I'm planning to make an insulated bag with an oilcloth lining, that will actually fit a lunchbox in flat and have a functioning handle
  3. A zippered pouch with a zipped inner pocket - well everyone and his wife has a zippered pouch tutorial, but as my dad often says, you can never have too many wee bags (or is that my mum talking about my dad's collection of bags... ;o) ).  For this option I'm planning a fussy cut outer, similar to the one I made recently for the goodie swap, with a little innner pocket, perfect for sewing projects, make up, chargers when travelling, or just to have and admire :oD
Off you go and vote, most popular selection by next Sunday will be the featured tutorial (and I may save the other 2 for another time)

Right, now you've put up with reading all that, here's the gratuitous photo of all my hard work for the evening, cutting the blocks and backing fabric for my Across The Sea QAL quilt (rivetingly exciting with all that white, no?).  I'm hoping to get it all pieced and back-shaped by the end of the week, so that I can baste it, quilt it and bind it this weekend - wish me luck!

Monday Mug Rug Madness

I finally managed to get the mug rug for partner #1 done after much stress, angst and swearing! 

It started off innocently enough - I got my inspiration from the Modern Dresden Plate in Block Party, by Kristen Lejnieks and Alissa Haight Carlton.  As it was a mug rug, I decided it needed far less sections, so I got out my trusty protractor and created my own circle and divisions, and made up a wee template to cut out the fabric.  Partner #1 had asked for white, orange and aqua, so I went for a white background, and emptied Mandors of any blue that had a vague association with aqua, and pretty much their entire range of orange...  I was so happy when it all matched up to make a perfect circle (I may even have had a wee squeal of joy) The centre fabric I already had on hand from my teardrop bag, and it went perfectly.   For the back, I did a wonky strip of each of the front fabrics (although the raindrop fabric ended up hidden under the binding - oops!)

All well and good until I got to the quilting.  Firstly I had to get new quilting thread, as the stuff I had (Gutterman's Sulky) wasn't very suitable, however I did get some King Tut's at the quilt fair last Friday after advice from Jenna over at Sew Happy Geek.  Next I forgot to take it to my gran's on Saturday, when I was planning to quilt it, and so it was left until yesterday. 

In the original block in the book, the centre of the circle was quilted in a spiral, and that seemed like a good idea, so I drew one on with a vanishing ink pen.  Now I thought this ought to be free motion quilted, so after a bit of practising, I gave it a go.  I was devastated to discover I had a few big loops on the back, that really couldn't be left as was, plus a few rather wonky bits.  Unpicker in hand, I got rid of the offending stitching, and tried again with just a regular old foot, and hey presto it worked!  Next it was onto the spirals at the corner, and again, those were fine with the regular foot.  I was beginning to wonder about the 'vanishing' ink at this point, as it seemed to be bucking its usual trend of vanishing before I even got to use it...

Anyway, onto the binding, which was getting rather foutery trying to get it all nicely lined up, and which on the last overlap I ended up 1/4" out (too much fabric) so had to unpick and do again.  That ink was still there after the front binding was attached, and also after the back binding was attached (I was really happy with my mitred corners on this at least!).  Not only was the ink still there, it seemed to be showing no signs of vanishing, and it was now 1am.  There was absolutely no way I could package this up to send in this state - what if it didn't vanish while it was in the post?  I checked again when I got up for work this morning, and still there, and yet again when I got home from the gym after work.  ARGH!  I had had an epiphany after walking from the station though, and a little bath later, it was all gone.  Of course I now had a dripping wet mug rug...

Poor thing has tonight been bathed, wrung out, hair-dried, ironed and hair-dried again, and here it finally is:

And here are the final sets.  No the fabrics don't co-ordinate in any way shape or form, live with it ;o)  Partner #1:

Partner #2:

And wrapped up ready to go - isn't this paper fab?

In honour of it being Monday, I'm linking up to:

Sew Happy Geek {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations
Completed Projects

Well, what started out as a nice weekend weather-wise, has descended into torrential rain,oh well, at least I got some photos taken before it did!

My mum was up visiting, so we used my gran's back garden as a studio...

Firstly, mum in her dress (looking somewhat less startled)

And then me in the new skirt.  Forgive the photo, the top is actually much longer, but I hoiked it up to get a better shot of the skirt - alas, it all came out a bit bumfled and gave me another spare tyre round my middle!

So I had another go with Diana tonight (as really, the world is not ready to see me topless, no, not ever!)

This skirt was the bane of my life over the last week.  It's from Burda 7437, but the pattern wasn't exactly what I was after.  It was the closest I could get from browsing the pattern books in Mandors though, so i figured I could make alterations as I went.  Firstly the HUGE pockets on the pattern front went out the window, and I designed much smaller ones.  The only thing was, there's a kind of half dart thing on the front of the skirt which comes out under the pocket.  I managed to twist those flipping darts on both pockets before I got it right - argh!  There were also no pockets on the back, so I just threw them in.  To make it more like a denim skirt (which was the style I was after), I double topstitched all the seams and the pockets, which added to the timrframe somewhat! The pleat at the back also added quite a lot of extra fabric for no logical reason, but never mind...  I think now I've seen how to do the zip at the front, I'll have a go at drafting one from scratch for the burgundy cord I've got, although that can wait a few weeks until I'm feeling stronger lol 

I grabbed another shot of the Blossom bag before mum adopted it - so much nicer when it's not against yellow walls!

Finally, I got the border for my Across The Sea QAL done, and a photo taken.  This was a rather risky venture as it's my gran's birthday pressie and I was sewing it in her kitchen and took this photo on her washing line.  She was a tad grumpy that I was hiding things from her, so I may be paying for this for a while!  (Excuse the dark bit at the top, the line was a bit grubby, no matter how many times it was wiped, so we stuck her pressing pad under the 3 main pegs to protect the top)

Now I'm off to quilt my last mug rug, and cut out the blocks for the back of this quilt :o)

I'm linking this up to Stitched In Colour's Celebrate Colour both wearables and quilts :o)

Finally Friday

Or Saturday morning very early.  Or whatever...

Anywho, first up I've got a couple of lovely giveaways to tell you about.

1. First from Sue, of Teddybuys, is the very sweet, and seasonal, Pumpkin:

2. And secondly, from Annabella at Kech Quilts, is a FQ bundle of Moroccan Mirage in the Marrakech colourway (which just happens to be where Annabella lives).  Isn't it pretty?

Now onto other things I finally finished that flipping skirt (you'll notice my feelings towards it got rather more antagonistic as the week went on!) and I wore it today to the Scottish Quilt Championships, where I discovered a couple of things, first that the skirt needed a bar hook fastening on the waistband, and second that I'm at least 20 years younger than the great and the good of the Scottish Quilt Champs on a Friday ;o)

I attended one workshop on piecing, which I can't show you because of the teacher's paranoia that she will lose her copyright as soon as a photo hits the internet.  As I wasn't particularly attached to the project, or impressed with her, I will accordingly continue to not mention her or feature it...  I did well on my shopping list, mundane as it may have been with highlights of basting spray and batting, and I came away with a fair chunk of change from my budget given that there was very little fabric grabbing me.  Oh, and a new sewing machine.  So perhaps I didn't have change exactly...  I'd like to show you a photo, but it's so new, it's not actually officially released until 1st October, and only officially hit the trade fairs today, however the guy from the shop that I got it from persuaded them that he might get business on it at the show too if they let him have one early.  It's a bigger Brother, with a larger throat, all the better to digest bags and quilts, and he very kindly did me a very nice payment plan on it interest free.  I will show you it in all its just landed from Mars glory when it arrives next week...
Wonderful Wednesday

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote on the Sew Sweetness Amy Butler Sew Along, I was lucky enough to win a Dirty Bubble pouch stuffed with vintage wooden spools of pretty thread.  I shall, of course, share photos upon arrival.

I was also lucky enough to win this pattern in a giveaway over at All Things Quilty... And Sewy.  I haven't decided exaclty what to do with it yet, but I'm thinking either a summer dress for next year, or maybe, if I get invited to a posh party (ha, fat chance lol) an evening dress.  It would look fab in a silky material, wouldn't it?  I have to say, it's very unlikely to become a nightie (which I think is its original purpose!), I'm more a comfy jammies kind of girl!

The postie was busy, because he was also carting around 3 more parcels (although as I was at work, I had to hike up to the sorting office to get them this morning).

First up is this order from The Beekeeper's Daughter on Etsy.  I had gone looking for corduroy fabric, and this was just a bit different, 3 yards of vintage floral corduroy.  I haven't decided what to do with it yet - maybe a coat, maybe some bags, decisions, decisions!  Whilst I was there, I figured I might as well justify the shipping (as you do) and picked up these vintage buttons (one of which is a thistle) and this gorgeous art deco style belt buckle.  I shall have to make a fabulous belt to go with it.

Next, courtesy of Raystitch, is a bundle of Moda French General Rural Jardin (one of those occasions when you fall in love with a fabric long after it's gone out of fashion again and becomes somewhat hens' teeth like), as well as some self cover buttons, a snap purse frame and 3 lots of wide taffeta ribbon.  Maybe the ribbon and the belt buckle would work together... hmmmm...

And finally, from Hulu, some more precious Sherbet Pips - 1 jelly roll and 2 charm packs to make a nice big quilt.  I also grabbed a Moda Scrap Bag, which is filled with end cuts of all sorts of Moda fabric.  I haven't had time to rummage through it yet, but the top piece is tantalising!

I've been busy sewing up the skirt I mentioned last weekend.  Let me tell you, for a skirt with so few steps in the pattern, it's taking a flipping long time to make!  I'm nearly there though, just the waistband to go, and odds and ends of topstitch thread to finish off.  I fear the tunic top may not be possible by Friday, but we shall see.  It also doesn't have many pieces...
Grovelling Monday

In all the mad sewing recently, you may have seen a few Amy Butler projects.  Now I do the monthly sew along with Bree at My Crafty Crap, but recently Sara, at Sew Sweetness, has been running her own sew along, which is also a competition.  I entered my large teardrop bag, coin purse and blossom bag, and amazingly the teardrop bag and blossom bag made it into the final 10.

If you have a spare moment, pop over and vote for your favourite AB creations (and there are more than bags, I was just lacking in originality!)  Here's the original entries to help you - the vote numbers tie up to the linky list number (I'm at 13 and 18 in case you wondered, but no pressure ;o) )

And here's what I entered again:



Thank you :o)
Goodie #1 Finished

Yes, well, we'll not go there that I made goodie #2 first, it made sense to me, okay? ;o)

I have chuckled at how many of us have done sewing kits for the mug rug and goodie swap, because I got the idea just after the assignments came out a few weeks ago, it's just taken a while to make it into the fabric.  As soon as I saw a kit on another blog, I started designing my own, tweaking, tinkering and so on.  I cut the fabric when I cut the fabric for goodie #1, but didn't get to sewing until yesterday.

I toyed with having a closure on it, as it's trifold, but decided against it in the end as anything I could think of obscured the girl on the swing, and anyway, it held itself closed pretty well.

Opening it up, on the left there's a divided pocket at the top, and a single open pocket at the bottom, which contains 5 buttons of the different little girls on swings from the fabric (just sticking up above the pocket in the pic)  The 2 spools of thread are held in with fabric covered elastic, and the scissors sit in a special little keeper.  I had toyed with putting a flap over the top, and also with putting a pincushion on this page, but decided against in the end, as there was the needlebook anyway.  In the needlebook are 5 leaf topped pins (shrink plastic again, I was having fun ;o) ) and 4 needles of varying sizes:

Flipping the needlebook over, you can see the 2 wee pockets on the back, 1 with a needle threader, and the other with safety pins, as well as a seam ripper in another fabric covered elastic strip.  There's another hole for a pencil or marker pen or whatever the new owner would like :o)

Now I may just have made another one of these, which may find itself being offered up at some point, but I can neither confirm nor deny this ;o)
Finally Friday

Whew, what a week!  I had the Amy Butler Blossom bag to complete for this month's Amy Butler Sew Along, as well as for Sew Sweetness' AB Sew Along.  The Sew Sweetness deadline was Wednesday, and I cut it very tight, but let me tell you why...

This bag has the most incredible amount of pieces to cut.  No kidding, every time I thought I was done, I'd discover another list - argh!  AB's habit is to give you some pattern pieces, and then get you to measure and cut out anything square/rectangular and this bag had the following:

  • front/back x 2 (pattern)
  • sides x 2 (pattern)
  • flap x 2 (pattern)
  • handle bracket x 4 (pattern)
  • base (measure)
  • tab ends x 4 (measure)
  • handle x 2 (measure)

  • front/back x 2 (pattern)
  • sides x 2 (pattern)
  • dividers x 8 (pattern)
  • base (measure)

  • front/back x 2 (pattern)
  • sides x 2 (pattern)
  • flap (pattern)
  • handle bracket x 4 (pattern)
  • handles x 2 (measure) 
  • base (measure)
  • dividers x 4 (pattern)

  • front/back x 2 (pattern)
  • sides x 2 (pattern)
  • flap (pattern)
  • handles x 2 (measure)
  • base (measure)
  • dividers x 4 (pattern)
Did you get all that?  Yeah, I was glued to that cutting table for what felt like days!

Here's what I learned:
  1. Read the instructions ALL the way through.  I was over confident and merely glanced at them.  Had I read them I'd have seen that the interfacing holds the peltex in place.  I had previously found that interfacing a whole bag meant for very bulky seam joins, which I wasn't happy with, so I cut all my interfacing out 1/2" short all round for the seam allowance.  I then had to cut strips to hold the peltex in place - grr!  If I were to make another one, I would cut the interfacing full size, but cut the corners out, which would be the best of both worlds.
  2. There is a LOT of pressing, have the iron out the whole time.
  3. When adding the handles to the bag, it says measue 1 1/4" from the top of the bracket.  I flattened the bracket against the bag and measure, however I've found the flap to be jammed up against the point where the handles are joined to the bag.  Next time I'd measure it without flattening the bracket down, which would save me about 1/4" and make that bit neater.
  4. Adding the sides is a nightmare if you try and sew it all the way round.  I learned very quickly (ie having tried it with the first one and failing) to sew down either side and meet in the middle of the base.  It's awkward to get it to fit because the side pieces are curved, but the front/back/base are straight. 
  5. Clip the curves (that's more a learned bearmaking tip than what I learned here)  There's curves on the sides and the flap.  Don't skip the lining curves because it'll be effectively inside out, trust me, your seams will thank you!
  6. For the flap use a thicker magnetic snap.  I used a thin one, but I think with the bulk of the bag, a thicker one would be better.
  7. I used Bree's fabulous zip insertion technique for the zip divider section, I suggest you do the same.  Be aware though, that you need about a 13" or 14" zip, as I have a teeny gap at either end with the 12" zip mentioned in the pattern, and I think you would have either way you did it.
And all that being said, here it is (please excuse the awful yellow cast in this, my hall walls are yellow, and even though I white balanced the RAW, it's still looking awffy yellow!):

I took the photo of the inside on my cutting table, hence a more normal colour:

So what's on the horizon for this weekend and coming week?

First up a new outfit for next Friday.  A top from the Sew Serendipity book by Kay Whitt (Suzie, from Su Sews So So, I promise I'll use your pattern/fabric technique next week!)

A jeans type skirt from corduroy.  I'm not going to faithfully follow this pattern, I just needed a skirt with a waistband and placket like you'd find on a pair of jeans.  I'm intending to make smaller patch pockets front and back:

And last but not least, what might this be?  Another goodie perhaps?

So another busy weekend ahead then!  As it was raining torrentially earlier (to coincide nicely with me coming out of Tesco with a loaded trolley), I don't think I'll be missing much outside!
More Finishes, Models and Fab Deliveries

First up is my first 'goodie' finish for the Mug Rug And Goodie Swap.  This is for partner #2, hope she likes it.  Huge thanks to Bree at My Craft Crap for posting her tutorial for neat zipper ends at Sew Sweetness in her Sewing Back To School series.

I may have been having a little fun with the shrink plastic for the zipper pull...

Next up is my mum modelling her dress after the party on Saturday (I'm not sure why she looks so startled!):

Lastly, I've been drooling over the Campan jersey fabric all summer as it's popped up on many blogs (admittedly in children's clothing, but who cares ;o) )  Anyway, I had visited Dragonfly Fabrics from someone's blog recently (sorry, can't remember which one!) and saw they had it in their special offer section, so I had to order some.  It came today, and isn't this the most beautifully packaged parcel ever?

No, I have no idea what I'm going to do with it other than stroke it for a while lol.

Right, I have to finish cutting out the interfacing and peltex for my Blossom Bag, catch you later!

Oh, and I'm linking up to:

Sew Happy Geek {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations
Weekend Roundup

Well I managed to resurrect the bear as best I could.

Firstly there was some previous surgery that had to be undone:

That was just a bit of the surgery, and the further I went, the more I discovered, usually in black or green thread!

Next he had an evacuation of the most toxic foam ever.  I swear this is the stuff you find on banned lists everywhere these days, it was evil! (In front is just some of the surgery thread I removed)

And then he got turned inside out for a thorough examination, where it became apparent that most of his seams were, quite literally, hanging on by a thread.  His next introduction was to the sewing machine where I went round every single seam.

I just love how he looks like he's dancing here lol

And here he is, done.  His eyes are not perfectly straight, but with all the patching I had to do in that area, it was the best I could do.  His nose is also, unfortunately, not perfectly straight.  There were a lot of hard bits in the fur around the nose seams and also a lot of very loose backing areas, so it wasn't the same as working on new mohair or even new faux fur.  Still, I think he's definitely a little bear with character now!

After this I had to take the hoover to the sewing machine and completely change my clothes because that orange toxic foam had crumbled and got in the seams, which then got everywhere.  I had to completely dismantle the sewing machine to get rid of it, it was quite revolting!

Anyway, once that was done I was able to sew my second bee block:

And to finish the first mug rug for the mug rug and goodie swap:

This could actually be for either of my partners with the colours, and you could possibly stretch their likes so that it would suit both of them too, but it is for partner #2 alone.

I have spent what feels like all day cutting fabric for the 2 goodies, my Amy Butler bag, a giveaway item and the Across the Sea QAL.  Well, other than the part when I was in town grabbing the fabric/zip/thread that I forgot the other day, and the part where I was talking to mum and dad on the phone, and the part when I was having a bath catching up on some magazine reading, and the part where I was making dinner and tomorrow's breakfast and lunch.  Other than that it was ALL day ;o) Wonder what I will acomplish with all that fabric this evening...