Week Off Work Week 2: Days 4 and 5

I’ve been making progress on the cross stitch that I bought these for:

xstitch_alphabet_sampler_thumb3

The pattern is the “Easy as abc” alphabet sampler from the February edition of Cross Stitcher magazine (and the P is meant to look that wonky!).

alphabetsampler

5 letters done, 21 to go…

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Monthly Make: January 2012

In December, my Mum and I went to a felt flower brooch making class. We had loads of fun and I came away with two brooches and the materials for a third. Unfortunately the brooch bits ended up languishing in my craft bag and every time I went for my crochet, I’d see them and feel guilty for not finishing it off.

The other night I was thinking about what to do for my Monthly Make. I went for my crochet and saw the brooch bits – and bingo – that became my monthly make.

brooch3

It really only took about half an hour to put it all together, so it doesn’t really feel like a “make”, but I’m just happy not to have the bits staring at me when I open my craft bag!

Note to self for next time – don’t sew in one spot when putting the layers together otherwise they can rotate. Sew in a circle (which is small enough to be covered by the button).

A little bit of making

Life’s been kinda quiet here. There’s been house tidying to do. Lots and lots of house tidying and then a trip round Scotland which was so totally and utterly awesome, that it needs a blog post of its very own!

Before I went off galivanting around the highlands, I finally got around to making some cushions for the sofa. I’d had the material sitting around ready to go for weeks and just needed a push to finally get on and make them.

So the day we left on holiday seemed like the right time! I left hubby tidying the house and I went to Sarah’s to make cushions. I’m not sure how I wangled that one but I wasn’t complaining! Here’s the first one (it’s the patterned one at the front) and the other’s the same.

And here’s the bit I’m uber proud of – the concealed zipper!

I used this tutorial and it was super easy. The first cushion took about an hour and the next was 30 mins and I think future ones would be even quicker. I really don’t know why I was putting it off!

Thread

I was reading this post about Sylko threads and their names, so I thought I’d have a root through the ones I inherited from my granny, to see if I had any amusing ones. See the one in the back row, second from the left…

… Frivolous Pink. Love it!

Never again (well not for several months!)

I took part in my first Friday Night Sew In last night. I’ve been wanting to join in for ages but never found the time but when the sign-ups came out this month, I decided I would make time. I’ve been counting down till Friday all week and even had an easy dinner planned so I could jump right in and get sewing!

I ended up making a taggie for friends who’ve just had their second son. I usually make them from one square of minky and one of velour, but as I was running low on velour, I bordered a square of that in some cute baby fabric.

For a change, I managed to get the ribbons all pretty straight. Normally there’s at least one at a completely wonky angle, necessitating unpicking, resewing and swearing (not necessarily in that order…). But to make up for the ribbon non-wonkyness, the velour was out to get me last night!

First off I forgot it’s not cotton so managed to melt it to my iron. Then it kept slip-sliding as I was sewing seams so nothing lined up correctly. The whole process was a great reminder of why I don’t make these things regularly! I leave enough time for the pain to be forgotten, then think “oh, I know, I’ll make a taggie!”, LOL. I’m sure I’ll make another one as they make great pressies. It’s just it won’t happen for another 6 months!

Stats:

  • 9″ finished
  • 3 ribbons down each side
  • Wide ribbons were cut to 4.5″, thin ones were 5″
  • Finished with 2 rows of top stitching

Pretty functional

Functional…

Pretty…

Pretty functional…

A new home for my embroidery thread

I’ve been looking for something to store my embroidery threads in for a while now and this week I found a tin on sale in my local supermarket.

Unfortunately it was full of shortbread, so I had to eat that first. But I persevered and now I’ve got a pretty home for my thread…

embroider-bee blocks

As most of my embroider-bee blocks have arrived at their destinations, I thought I’d share some pics. These were a lot of fun to put together, although I learnt (and this is really something I should know by now) that I’m truly terrible with long deadlines. I left these waaaay to late and ended up missing the deadline by a week.

Anyway, here they are. First up, a flowery block in red and aqua for Colette. Pattern from A Rainbow of Stitches.

Close up:

A woodland themed block in red and aqua for Briana. Pattern also from A Rainbow of Stitches.

Close up:

A district map of Paris for Susan complete with a little Eiffel Tower and numbered districts. Pattern from, wait for it… A Rainbow of Stitches!

Close up:

And finally a Christmas themed block for Jessica. Pattern from… here!

Close up:

The way embroider-bee works is that everyone gets the fabric colour choices and embroidery themes from the other people in the bee. You then make one block for each person, in fabric of their colour choice, including embroidery according to their theme.

I hadn’t thought that fabric would be tricky, but it was. There’s one LQS nearby and they tend to specialise in moda florals, which didn’t really fit the bill. There’s also another store but they have the entire range of Amy Butler’s Love and very little else. As a result, the fabric choices were basically done by picking the only fabric in the specified colour, with some of the blocks using the same fabric. This was kinda stressful as I really felt like I wasn’t picking fabrics for the person, just picking anything that would work.

But they’re done, and everyone who’s had theirs seems to like them, which is a big relief!!

I would totally recommend A Rainbow of Stitches for anyone looking for embroidery inspiration. It’s got loads of super cute embroidery patterns and is fun just to flick through!

Bee block blitz

Well that was a bit of an extended bloggy break! Ah well, sheer lack of time has put a stop to crafty endeavours recently!

I am now totally behind on my bee blocks. I have Bee Europa blocks from July and September to make, plus the October fabric will arrive soon. However, I did find time to finish up my embroider-bee blocks and I only missed the deadline by a week, which is pretty impressive right now. They’re now on the way to their owners, so here are some sneak-peek pics…

So now I just need to catch up with my Bee Europa blocks, make a baby quilt for my cousin’s new baby and make a pressie for a friend’s new baby. I’d better get to it…!

On the hunt for my 1/4″ seam allowance

One of the things I have managed to get done recently is sort out my 1/4″ seam allowance. I had it down on my Brother Innov-is 10a, but was proving elusive on my Horizon, which wasn’t really conducive to accurate piecing!

To get it sorted, I used a method described in Jelly Roll Inspirations where you cut 3 bits of fabric, sew two together and the third along the top. If the top piece is the same length as the width of the other two then you have the correct seam allowance…

Interestingly enough, I couldn’t get a 1/4″ seam with the Horizon’s standard 1/4″ (O) foot without adjusting the needle position, so I ended up using the freebie 1/4″ foot my dealer chucked in when I bought the 10a!

Brother 1/4" foot on left, Janome Horizon 1/4" O foot on right

This is kinda good because I wasn’t keen on the O foot a) because moving the needle meant I couldn’t use the automatic needle plate converter (APC) which is designed to help with precise straight stitching, and b) because it has a seam guide which I found made it difficult to see what was going on. My Brother foot doesn’t have a guide and I can use it with the APC so I’m happy 🙂

Interestingly enough, it seems that Janome are bringing out a replacement O foot, with a different shape, as a lot of people have reported problems sewing bulky seams (which would probably be an issue for my Baby Jane blocks). As I’m not using the O foot, it doesn’t really matter, but I think the new foot is going to be shipped to all current Horizon owners, so I might get to try it out.

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