Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Let me introduce you...

To Devon

You all know I'm a big kid right? Yeah I went and bought a dolly :D 
Ok so the poor thing has a wonky hair do straight out of the box and slightly wonky blusher. I was a makeup artist with Bobbi Brown cosmetic's for 9 years before my "new" job so I've promised her I'll fix that but the hair...there is a reason my photo's never make it onto the blog or Flickr and thats because I cut my own bangs!
So armed with some sewing patterns I'm off to add to doll clothes to my WIP list! Yup 26 days before Christmas I'm sewing up none gift items...Someone remind me of this post when I'm sewing at 11pm on Christmas eve!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Blythe Doll love has struck!

Hello again!
As I said earlier I've had a busy few days here, this action started on Thursday morning when I opened google reader to see this plea from Smith on Amy's blog unfortunately I wasn't quite fast enough but the plea reignited my love of these fabulously freaky little ladies.
So the weekend rolled round and I was still thinking about Miss Blythe and decided to bite the bullet and ask this little lady to come and live with me :D

From Junie Moons shop

I can't believe how much of a mini me she is! Right down to the hair colour :D

If any of you lovely ladies know of any sewing patterns for her could you please share where they are from as I can't wait to get sewing for her! 

If Little apples and Just wing it had a baby...

I would look like this

I got the quilt made up and thought "Well why not!"and made a cushion to go with it :D
I don't tend to stick to one line when I make anything and this was no exception. I pulled out my little apples charm squares and added some Just wing it charms and came up with this

I felt the need to jazz it up a bit so I used some fancy quilting stitches on The beast for the quilting and decided on a scrappy binding to offset the wide, for one of my quilts, border. 

I really like how it's turned out and how fast it was to make!

The japanese x and + block swap now has a flickr group :D ok so I'm a little proud of myself for figuring out that whole setting up a group thing! It's just Here so pop over and say hi. I'll add the link to my Flickr groups page too so its easier to find!

Hope you're getting plenty of time to sew up a storm this weekend!

Janome Horizon 7700 review

Hi ladies (still pretty sure there's no guys here!)

I've had a fairly eventful 2 days so thought I'd pop in and update you all, I think I'll do it over a few posts today though or you'll be sick of me!

First off "The Beast", which is my loving name for the monster of a sewing machine I now have, is rocking my world. She is a Jenome Horizon 7700 and she was made to kick quilt butt!
A little background is needed here.
When I was a dinky dot of a girl, I used to go to my Nana's house (mums mum for anyone not familiar with the term Nana) and watch her magically whip out pretty dresses, PJ's, dressing gowns in fact anything my little girl self could want, on her sewing machine. I have distinct memories of getting told off for skipping with her measuring tape! This outstanding lady had the patience of a saint and eventually taught me to sew on her magical machine. She never worried I'd sew my fingers together (unlike my mum who still panics when she see's me sewing :D) or flipped out when I broke a needle (wrong stitch and foot combination - still do that!) She just calmly pointed me in the right direction and sat next to me while I spent hours sewing up dolls clothes or little lavender love hearts...can you guys tell my Nana is one of my all time bestest people?
Anyway she ended up gifting me that machine about 18 months ago and it has been a little work horse. All of my quilts to date have been pieced and quilted on it and she loves seeing them, which you know gives me that warm fuzzy feeling :) So here is a pic of my much loved "New Home" machine

Yes if you send a business card or anything like that with bee blocks they go on my happy wall, I'm such a geek!

Now while I love this machine she is loud! Stick a walking foot on her and it will wake up the neighbours, hence the tea towel under her, she also doesn't have much throat space for quilting and lets face it she was getting quite cantankerous in her old age. The latest habit was changing stitch programs while I was sewing, I'd start a seam in straight stitch and finish it in a zigzag... interesting yes, helpful no. So it was time  to retire her and upgrade :D

Obviously this is a new toy for 'Bella
So some more pics :)  -

It comes with a rather large extension table, having not used one before I find it really helpful. It has a knee lift but I can't find a comfortable way of using it yet (think i'm smaller than most Janome users, it's miles away from my knee lol) 

A massive amount of stitches (yeah I know most of them won't get used lol) I now have the ability if not the inclination to do 18 types of buttonhole's 

The clear bobbin cover is something I really liked in my old machine so it was a bonus to have a clear cover on this machine. The built in thread cutter saves time and messing about too.

This is how the display shows you whats going on, stitch type, length, foot, foot pressure and thread tension are all shown here.

This is the interface, if you've ever used an iPod you'll walk this! Turn the wheel and click the middle button to select, or use the fancy pants touch screen.

Free arm for sewing things I've not tried sewing yet :D

This beast comes with a shed load of feet and I admit having to look some of them up in the book because I'd never seen them before! The duel foot is good and a shock to my ears after experiencing my old walking foot-Its soooo quiet! Most importantly it works really well. I used it to sew up my little apples quilt and it was a dream the only thing I had to remember to do was change the foot pressure.
The only issue I have so far pops up with the 1/4" foot and going over seams. When I've been playing and had it going over 4 or more seams it kind of wobbles off course. Not too bad if you can anticipate it but a real pain if you don't watch what it's doing.
All in all I think if I left a loaf of bread and some tea bags next to The Beast I'd come back to tea and toast it is that good.
If anyone is thinking of getting this machine and wants me to try out a feature let me know and I'll blog it for you. For what I want it to do it is outstanding and I think it will allow me to take my sewing in new directions, so I'm a happy lady! 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Mission semi accomplished!

Out of focus proof I sewed something! 

But didn't finish anything!

Japanese block swap and a mission!

Hi gang and Happy Thanks giving to you guys in the US :D
Just a quick join in with the thankfulness here
1) I'm thankful Madam is growing up into such a thoughtful sweet mini person, she's a tween-too old for toys and too young for boys as they say, but the signs are there that she will be the person you want your teenage daughter to be friends with, she's calm but laughs a lot, she thinks of others but knows when someone is trying to take advantage of her, in short she is a good girl and that makes me happy.
2)I'm thankful for him in doors. This man will help me cut fabric for quilts, hide behind plastic rocks so I can get photos of them then help me get a super dooper beast of a sewing machine because he knows I love sewing. He laughs at my utterly crap jokes in the middle of the night and still hasn't killed me for jumping out at him screaming "Booo" as he comes out of the bathroom (I do this regularly then have to scrape him off the ceiling and assure him he's not having a heart attack!) He puts up with my awful didgeridoo playing and getting soaked in impromptu kitchen water fights. People this man is outstanding and I'm thankful he's in my life.
3) The furbaby Issabella, who runs the house with a paw of steel! (Who seems to have developed a crush on Mac from CSI....funny, I prefer Flack)

So anyhow on with my (now not so short post)

Japanese x and + block swap

After some questions about the block swap I thought I'd better post some answers here.
I was asked about fabric types, I think modern is the way to go as after a look see on peoples blogs over the last 9 month I think thats going to be easiest for us all. So I'm cautiously ruling out batiks and calico.

Are we sending blocks or fabric scraps? Blocks, we all know how fun it is getting them in the mail!

How many blocks? I'll put out a sign up sheet closer to the time and people can note down how many they are planning on making, I'm thinking multiples of 5 makes it easier. These blocks are really fun and once the cutting is done, fast to make. The more we have to swap the better results for everyone so tell anyone who'll listen to join in and we'll all have much more variety coming back to us :)

With that in mind how about a little competition for the most blocks sent in? I have just acquired A LOT of 61" wide tartan backing (Once people know you quilt you end up with all sorts!) of which I'll happily put up 5 meters (and have a dig through my stash) for the person that sends in the most blocks. Yes I will post a photo of the backing fabric once the sun bothers to wake up :)

Onto my mission for today.

I am aiming to get a lap quilt started and finished in one morning, really simple pattern just a charm square picnic quilt but after the fairytale forest quilt I need something simple and quick to get back into the grove!
So expect a post with pictures at some point today :D

Hope you all have a fab day and remember it's nearly the weekend!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Japanese x and + blocks

Hi gang!
I've been thinking and brewing ideas, this one has been percolating for a while now. Would you ladies be interested in a Japanese x and + block swap in January?
I was hunting through Flickr for inspiration a while back and came across this x and + block quilt along group and knew I wanted to make a load of these blocks - they are just so scrappy and fun. I hunted back through the discussions threads and found this tutorial by Amy of badskirt fame so I made up some for the 3x6 swap and had a blast with them!

Since then I've been doing this with my scraps

Cutting them up ready and popping them in zip-locks all ready to go when I want them :) (Hope they don't suffocate!)

So if your interested in joining in, and I really hope you are because if you're not I'm swapping on my own and thats really tragically sad, you're looking at saving scraps around 3.5" square and 2" strips.
They come together beautifully to create these

If there is enough interest I will merrily try to figure my way around starting a flickr group, but it's doubtful there will ever be a button for your blog as HTML scares the crap out of me and I always think I'll blow the internet up when adding someones button to my own blog.
Onto the details. This post is really just asking for a show of hands to see who is interested, feel free to let you friends, family, dogs and cats know too ( opposable thumbs are optional)
The start date I have in mind is the 7th of january, this should give us time to get Christmas done and dusted (or in my case get someone to wheel my over fed self to a sewing machine) also allowing us time to sort through our scrap bins, hunt down the stray jelly roll piece that somehow didn't make it into a quilt with it's brothers and sisters, find a stray charm square that you swore you had put. just. there.
Then 6 weeks later one the 18th of Feb we're done and post them out. I'm thinking if everyone posts to me I'm happy to do the jiggery pokery and make sure everyone gets the amount they sent me sent back out to them from other peoples blocks. If your in the UK like me just throw in a sae with your blocks, if your international you can either paypal the postage costs for the blocks to come home to you or throw an extra block in the pack whatever works for you.
So any thoughts, questions, comments? Feel free to shout them out in the comments. Hope you want to play :D

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Real photo's this time

The cabin fever finally kicked in after nearly 5 weeks of not leaving the house other than to do the school run, and as promised I took the quilts for a walk :)
So as I also promised some un-faffed with pictures

We had a jaunt to the park with the quilts and Madam leading the way

This is partly show's how fab "him in doors" really is, hiding behind a plastic rock (yup its plastic!?!) holding a quilt in place for photos :D 

The binding was done on Friday and I know the sashing doesn't line up but I love this quilt to bits. It has been named "Fairytale Forest" 

Thank you all for your advice on sewing machines it was much appreciated! I have a lovely machine all boxed up in the sewing room, that we picked up today, ready to play with tomorrow and I. CAN'T. WAIT!!!!

Expect a sewing machine review soon :)

Hope your weekends going well!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Baby quilts, Christmas quilts and a little bit of Kokka

Hi peeps
You know it turns out I don't, on the grand scheme of things, blog very often. I think 2 to 3 times a month for me works out well - on that time line I've got things to show and I don't feel like it's a chore, because lets face it if it becomes a chore it just won't happen in this house.

This is a fairly photo heavy post, I've got some finishes to show! 
All of the pics have been taken with my iPhone because once I got all motivated to take them I couldn't find my camera (Him in doors if you read this from work please text and tell me where I left it!) And they aren't even taken on a super duper 4s because my network are rubbish and have told me my upgrade will get here by the 26th (I'm hoping sods law kicks in here and now that I've whinged in public about it that the upgrade turns up tomorrow!) 

Anyhoo after spending what now feels like months sitting on my butt with eyes pointed at the MANY crime dramas that Universal channel supply on a daily basis (Yes even the repeated ones, you never know I might have missed something the 1st time round!) I dragged myself into the sewing room of doom.
Quilt tops that had languished un-quilted, piles upon piles of fabric ready to be sewn into blocks, half sewn blocks - the whole lot descended on me at once...I was scared...Very scared, in fact I had to go and have a bar of chocolate to calm my nerves.
Once I returned armed with chocolate and coffee (no wine as I'm still on antibiotics :( ) I started sewing up a storm, I may even have terrorised the poor quilts into submission.

You may remember a while back I discovered photo apps on my phone, well due to the rubbish light in the northern hemisphere and my unwillingness to leave the house to find better light they have come in quite useful :) I will at some point when the sun bothers to shine take myself, Him in doors and the quilts for a walk and get some none played with photos for you ladies to have a look at if you like.

This guy was the first to get finished. All Joel Dewberry fabrics that I meandered the crap out of, just to see if I remembered how to! The binding is a Pat Bravo fabric but I don't have a clue what its called as it wasn't on the selvedge and my memory is rubbish. The quilt is 35"x43" and I'm reasonably happy with how it turned out.

Next in the parade of finished quilts is my giant quarter log cabin quilt, I've always wanted to try and make one of these blown up block quilts and this is a block I really do enjoy making.

As you can see I used some of the pre quilted backing I've got in a grey lilac colour and wanted to keep my quilting quite simple, so I ran about 1/4 of an inch off each side of the seams then echoed it once. It stopped the back looking too busy and let the top speak for its self. (Yes I do think quilts speak!)

Then I dug into my Christmas fabrics. I went with whole cloth pretty much over piecing them.

I meandered along the sides and followed the pattern across the middle.

This one had me swearing like a trooper, if my thread snapped once it snapped 40 times! I have no idea why but it was seriously annoying.

So those are my finished 4, easy and quick to do :)
My WIP that I'm about to share is proof that linen diamonds are NOT a girls best friend. People the linen fairies came out when I wasn't looking and stretched them making it totally impossible to get them to line up Grrr! Never mind though as I'm in love with the fabrics! My mum who I totally take after in this respect is for all intents and purposes rubbish at keeping Christmas gifts till Christmas. I regularly have had an early Christmas in October growing up and honestly I don't know who has more fun with it me or her! Anyway she bought me a LOAD of Echino FQ's!!!! I am Super duper happy!!!! (Hence my addiction to the exclamation mark) and had to make something for myself straight away, being fair here they were a Christmas gift so logically I needed to have made myself something before Christmas. Now those prints are big and when teamed up with Heather Ross's FFA2 I needed BIG blocks So off to Kaffe Fassett's books for inspiration I went, best to mention here I am genetically unable to follow a pattern without "tweaking" it. So Simple shapes held the answer, the bright colourful diamonds quilt grabbed my imagination and off I went chopping and changing and ending up with something that looks bugger all like Kaffe intended. I decided it wasn't wide enough so added columns
Side note a fly has just landed in my coffee, be back in a moment.
So columns yes, then I didn't like the look of the double sashing around each diamond so I scrapped it and only did one, I did it my way (theres a song in there somewhere) so that made getting them to line up harder and I still hadn't quite got the trick for sewing diamonds so I will leave it to your imagination how it looked at this point and how much seam ripping I did. Once the top was as done as I can ever face doing I started the basting only to discover that yes Sarah if you change the size of the top the backing needs to grow too *D'oh!* insert more swearing at the quilt (I'd be bankrupted if I'd had a swear jar in the room while making this!) So pieced backing it was. After all of that all the poor thing needs is it's binding put on but I think that'll take some messing with too as I went for funky corners :D
After all of that I really really like this quilt, heres a sneak peek at the top. All of the fabrics in the diamonds are from Kokka designers :D

And one of the back

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Linking this one up with Freshly Pieced w.i.p. Wednesday for the first time...like ever!

Once it's all done I promise I'll take proper photos.

As of right now some long awaited bee blocks are on my sewing table, I'm soooo behind, Sorry again girlies!

We are sewing machine shopping at the weekend so I'll let you know how that goes, any tips for can't be without freebies I should be asking the guys about?

Hope you're having a fun week and getting time to sew!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Free motion quilting and Lily's small blog meet

Small Blog Meet

Hi there! 
If you have popped over from Lily's feel free to have a mooch around and stay a while. This is my little part of the web and I try to make it a pretty one with a few giggles thrown in because honestly a laugh and a whinge does us all good :D

Well I FINALLY got back to some sewing today and FMQ practice was on the cards. As I've not been able to get to the beach I figured why not go for pebbles (in a beach-esque theme!) I really like how these pebbles give loads of texture and if I hadn't just been using up white bobbin ends I think the thread play would've looked quite cool too! By the way, no pebbles aren't round on North East beaches so neither are they in my quilts :)

Yeah thats a lump of black fluff I hadn't noticed when I was taking the photo.

While I like this filler it takes an age to do so hats off to you ladies that use it all over quilts!

Tomorrow my master plan is to finish up the tops that I showed off last week and to baste up some of that scrummy Christmas fabric to make some whole cloth quilts with....So not much to do there lol (Notice how the house work is no where near my list)

If anyone has any thoughts about quilting patterns for printed whole cloth quilts please do share as I'm really clutching at straws here.

I hope I've got a lot to show and tell tomorrow evening for the day I have planned for myself :)

Have a great week!