Thursday, 6 October 2016

Liberty Leftovers

Due to a calculation error on my part when making my Liberty Baby Bionic Gear Bag, a couple of largish pieces had to be trimmed off from the outer piece. As I struggle to throw away any Liberty fabric, there was no way these were going to end up in the bin. They were already padded with fusible fleece and so all it took was a zip and a few seams for these leftovers to become a case for my sewing glasses.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

A bargain and a bag

Sewing-related bargains have been a bit thin on the ground lately, but a recent trip to Derbyshire put an end to that. These scissors were found in an antiques shop and were just £1. I tried them surreptitiously in the shop and they managed to cut the string on a price tag, but there was no suitable fabric to try, so at that price I thought it worthwhile taking a risk. I’m pleased to report that they coped well with a double layer of quilting cotton, cutting right to the tips with a reassuring “snipping” noise. They are a good weight, not too big (~8") and sit well in my hand. Unfortunately there is no maker’s mark or any other indication of their origin.

In other news, I have finally used some of my Liberty stash! I bought the Baby Bionic Gear Bag pattern a while ago and thought it would make an ideal make up bag for when I’m away. I decided to use upholstery weight Ianthe for the outer, Tana lawn in Arden for the lining (safely protected by the vinyl), and a double layer of Tana lawn in Carolyn Jane for the binding.

The Baby Bionic Gear Bag is supposed to be ~6” wide, but I made mine an inch or so wider to use the full length of the lace zip. As on my previous Bionic Gear Bags, I hand stitched the side bindings, but this time I machine stitched the zip binding.

With only a single pocket, this was quick to make and would be ideal if you wanted a gentle introduction to the BGB pattern. Using vinyl for the pockets and a lace zip also makes it a quick project and I am already thinking of making another but with a sewing theme for EPP bits and pieces.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Festival Finishes

At this year’s Festival of Quilts, I took two of the hour workshops which are designed as a “taster” to a technique. As expected given the time allocated, I did not finish the blocks in the workshops, but I was determined that these blocks should not be put away with all the unfinished block/projects from previous Festival of Quilts workshops.

After a couple of hours of sewing on a Sunday morning, I now have coaster for my mug at work and a slightly larger mug rug (or micro quilt) which has yet to find its home.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Festival of "Quilts"?

Last week I headed down to Birmingham for a two-day visit to Festival of Quilts. I had come away from last year’s Festival of Quilts feeling unenthused and was considering giving it a miss this year. When my first choice workshops were sold out prior to general release, I was all set not to go, but then I won a couple of tickets in a giveaway from Vive Books. So, I looked again at the workshops and there was still availability on a couple of the one hour workshops that were of interest and soon I had my trip planned.

My first workshop was at 10.30 which meant joining the back of a long (and growing) queue to wait for the doors to open at 10. Once the doors were open, the queue moved quickly and I was in the halls with 15 minutes to spare and just time to buy a few pieces of Liberty.
The workshop was for a Mini Mosaic Wedding Rose 7” block and I was a bit surprised to see no sewing machines in the room when the description mentioned machine piecing and it turned out that there was no sewing involved at all. The tutor had put in a lot of work preparing pre-sewn kits for us, but the only practical element to the class was cutting squares and fusing freezer paper and interfacing.

It was an interesting technique to learn and I bought some supplies from the tutor so I can try it at home, but I do wonder if this could just as easily have been taught as a demo and not workshop.

After the workshop, I made my way to the Kaffe Fassett gallery where some of his antique quilts were on display. The Festival of Quilts website had advertised that Kaffe Fassett would be presenting short tours of his quilts, but when I (and others) turned up at the advertised times, there was no sign of any tours going ahead (not surprising, given that we could see him doing book signings on a nearby stand).

The rest of my first day was spent wandering around the stands trying to stick to my fairly short shopping list. I had hoped to get some Aurifil 80wt thread as I had seen this was available in America, but there was none to be found and unfortunately it is not due in Europe until later this year. I did manage to get the other items on my shopping list: in addition to my earlier Liberty purchases, I bought some paper pieces for the Ballet quilt from the second Millefiori book, a few Kaffe Fassett scrap rolls, a dozen lace zips and some linen-look FQs (all at just £1 each) for a baby Bionic Gear Bag, and some FQs to fussy cut for a pieced hexagonweekly sew-along (though this is more a catch-up-along as I am several weeks behind).

My workshop on the second day wasn’t until lunchtime which meant I had time to meet up with @gillcrafty and to look at some quilts whilst trying to avoid any impulse purchases. I wasn’t entirely successful at this, though my purchases were limited to just some Tulip needles and a bit more Kaffe Fassett fabric. The Tulip needles were recommended to me by Gill and we were both delighted to discover that her needle of choice for EPP was now available in a large eye option.

Sewing looked more likely in my second workshop as there were sewing machines on the tables. This workshop was for foundation piecing, but without paper – instead a pre-printed fabric foundation was used. 

Again the tutor had put together comprehensive kits for us and there were Husqvarna helpers on hand for those not familiar with the machines. I didn’t quite have time to finish my block in the workshop, but I made good progress and only have the four final triangles to add.

Although I hadn’t intended it, both workshops were for ways of producing accurately pieced small blocks. However, when I saw some of the miniature quilts in the show, my workshop blocks were gigantic in comparison. This is the only quilt I took photos of and I was stunned by such sharp points on such a small scale.

For a post about a quilt show, I seem to have omitted to mention the quilts. As ever, there were many quilts on display which had been pieced and quilted using a variety of techniques, but as before I found many of the quilts to challenge my idea of what is a “quilt” and to be so beyond my skill set that I could not be motivated by them. However, this year there was a new category of “Modern Quilts” and it was in this section that I found the quilts that gave me most inspiration. Perhaps the reason this was that according to rules, it is for “quilts that are functional ...”.

Having to specify “functional” in the rules does make me wonder "When is a quilt not a quilt?" and perhaps I would be less niggled by the show if it were called “Festival of Quilted Wall Hangings and Shopping Opportunities”.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

A little Liberty project

After last month’s stash busting which saw 10 m of fabrics leave in the form of incubator covers, this month’s fabric clearance was on a much smaller scale and was more about scrap busting.

This was a quick and easy project for a collapsible thread catcher using some Liberty scraps that I had stitched together a few months ago and was wondering what to do with them. I used the tutorial from Fabric Therapy but adapted the sizes to fit my piece of scrap fabric. As the only Pringle tube in the house was still full of Pringles, I cut rings from a 2 L plastic bottle, shortened them by about an inch and taped two together to create the inner frame.

More stash busting is planned, this time for some pieced hexagons. Barbara Brackman has been running the Morris Hexathon for a few months so I’ve got a bit of catching up to do. I’ll be using EPP for these hexagons and with 4" sides they will make a change from my usual tiny hexies.

I started pulling fabrics from stash but the neighbour's cat had other ideas as to what these could be used for.

(This is not the usual cat who helps me with my sewing – this is his little mate who is learning bad habits!)

I might need a few extra FQs for fussy cutting, but I have a trip to Festival of Quilts next month so I am sure I will be able to find some there.