Sewing for a rainy day

It’s a beautiful wet day. Perfect weather to hunker down with some sewing.

I’m in slight danger of becoming obsessive about Worldwide Friends. Some might say it was already too late…. But rather than press on and on, and then get a bit fed up with it, I’m giving myself a slight break.

Screen shot 2014-05-07 at 3.33.42 PMOne of the things I haven’t done anything with (apart from get it out and stroke it occasionally) is the beautiful Amy Butler Lark fabric I bought with a gift voucher I received from Factotum of Arts last year. I need more light cotton tops – shirts with sleeves are fine when it’s hot and dry, to help keep the sun off my arms, but when it’s hot, overcast and wet, something sleeveless is more comfortable.

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All my favourite colours in one place

Using the same pattern as for my lawn nighties but shortened a fair bit, I’ve made a top out of one of these gorgeous fabrics. I don’t have quite enough of it to make the pattern in the suggested way, so it has seams up the centre front and back, but I can live with that, even if it does mean the diagonal fabric design doesn’t match up down the middle – the fabric is gorgeous enough to distract me from that. I hear horrified intakes of breath from the purists, but once again I say Finished is better than perfect… I don’t have enough of the other two fabrics to do the same thing, but I’m sure I’ll think of something equally lovely to make with them.

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I like adding small, hidden details to personalise a garment

This will be Project #1 of A Year of Finishing, Finally (YFF).

Amongst all the planned new quilts and ‘official’ sewing projects, let’s see how far I get down the list of UFOs, using up scraps, knitting, crochet and dressmaking before something new interposes itself!  I have plenty to be going on with. (And by the way, projects for AHQ don’t count, they’re Sewing for A Cause and can be introduced at any time).

Happiness is….a finished quilt!



Screen shot 2014-05-04 at 4.31.11 PMIt’s done, too late for a Friday Finish, but I’m glad I held it up, because now it’s right. You can see I finished in the late afternoon, with the westerly sun making an interesting fence shadow on the bottom half. I could have waited some more and photographed it tomorrow, but I didn’t want to!

Screen shot 2014-05-04 at 4.33.10 PMScreen shot 2014-05-04 at 4.33.55 PMThe hearts are great, but the linear hand quilting just wasn’t working for me at all. And I’m loving the buttons! The lack of quilting is making it softer and puffier than it would be if I’d done some form of all over design, such as my usual fallback, diagonal cross hatching. But since this is a sofa snuggler rather than a bed quilt, that suits me fine.

And now I’m free to pick up other projects. What is lying uneasy on my conscience is Broken Bottles for my sister-in-law. I promised it to her over 2 years ago. I’ve had the fabric all that time. Now I have to do something about it, especially as my brother now has his. Since it’s made from jelly roll strips, cutting it shouldn’t take long, so perhaps I’ll start that.

Time to clear my table, change the needle and de-fluff the sewing machine. Oh, and empty the bin!

The Loot

Amy Butler fabrics

Beautiful blues…

Here it is, three pieces of Amy Butler gorgeousness which the postie brought for me today. Left: Tapestry Rose in Sapphire from the Hapi collection. Centre: Josephine’s Bouquet in Ink from the Cameo collection; and Right: Heirloom in Blue Sky from the Lark Collection. As you can see, I love blue.

Remember I posted about 10 days ago in glee about My Lucky Day? The lovely Michelle at Factotum of Arts did a give-away to her top 5 commenters. Since I could comment for Australia, I scored in the giveaway, and these beauties are my loot. I have no purpose in mind for them, since they were unplanned, but I think I’ll just stroke them and look at them for a bit before I decide what to do with them…

I have just over a yard of each.  Any suggestions about what to do with them?

Happiness is …. a finished top!

Yup. Done it. And it’s still putting a smile on my face. 

Happy, happy! I love this quilt so much!

Happy, happy! I love this quilt so much!

Now I have to piece a back.  This is not going to be a work of art, but it should be nice and scrappy. The front is the star attraction; as far as I’m concerned, the back is to hold the batting in!

The wind's really picking up. It took ages to get two usable shots. Sun's still shining, though...

The wind’s really picking up. It took ages to get two usable shots.
Sun’s still shining, though…

The weather forecast is making more noises about a possible cyclone at the weekend. As we haven’t undone much of the preparation we did last time, getting ready should be fairly straightforward. 25 litres of drinking water, 80 litres of washing water, some dry goods, fresh fruit and we’re done.

Back to the cutting mat. I have a back to assemble.

Inching along…

Just a quick one.

Car Quilt blue borders: two sides done

Car Quilt blue borders: two sides done

Two edges of blue done on the Car Quilt. Two more to go, and I can start the next border.

Happiness: top half done except for outline sashing

Happiness: top half done except for outline sashing

Happiness: Strips for the bottom half - I just need to add the horizontal sashing and outline sash the whole lot

Happiness: Strips for the bottom half – I just need to add the
horizontal sashing and outline sash the whole lot

All the vertical sashing done on Happiness, and 4 more horizontal sashes to go. Then I have to do the outline sashing, and the top’s done. I’ve had a bit of a rummage in the Cupboard of All Colours, and there’s a complete absence of plan for the back. By which I mean, it’s going to be a hodge podge of scraps.

Once again, my sewing time got mostly eaten up. But I am inching forward!

Happiness is … almost halfway

I’ve had a few good hours at the sewing machine, and it’s coming together.

Bliss to be back in my creative groove. I’ve missed sewing while I was away – or at least, I’ve missed the speed at which one can assemble things on a sewing machine. I seem to have avoided the usual stuff-ups and the quilt is almost sliding togther. No cutting errors, no sewing errors, nothing the wrong way round. It can’t possibly last – can it?  I haven’t cut, pricked or burned myself today either. Almost like it was meant to happen!

Progress so far:

Top three lines are assembled. Next two need to have their horizontal sashing added.  The bottom 5 lines are still to be started.

Top three lines are assembled.
Next two need to have their horizontal sashing added.
The bottom 5 lines are still to be started.

I’m still totally in love with these two Amy Butler ranges (Lark and Cameo). They contain colours and patterns I wouldn’t normally consider, but which work together somehow. The white sashing is scrap left over from the Triple Trouble quilts. Hopefully I’ll have enough, but if not, I’ll just need a bit of extra.

Right, I have to go to the kitchen now and assemble some more gingerbread. I’m addicted to the stuff at the moment.  Tomorrow I’ll be making bread and peanut butter cookies, so there’ll be a little less sewing :-(. And I’ll be sewing dark blue hexies for the Car Quilt while I watch TV tonight. Unless I decide to do some more work on Thing. Or work on a paper-pieced design I’m trying to make work. I keep ending up with Y shaped seams…

You see the dilemmas you face when you have multiple WIPs?

A quick burst of Happiness

You know how some things make you smile just to look at them?

There’s a big smile on my face, and it’s all down to a quick interlude with my Amy Butler Lark and Cameo charm packs. I had taken down the design wall flannelette sheet to give it a quick clean and get rid of all the threads from the back of the ToL quilt. After a couple of hours of quilting, I decided I wanted a quick break. I put the sheet back up. I started fiddling with the squares.

An hour later, I had this:

Happiness: the layout

Happiness: the layout

Doesn’t that just make you smile? Imagine the squares separated by 2 inch white sashing all round to spread the joy and make the quilt bigger. And I’ll bind it with leftover turquoise from the ToL quilt. Haven’t thought about backing yet, maybe something totally random made from whatever I have big scraps of. It’s simple, cheerful and a welcome break from the complicated intensive stuff. I love it! There are 4 squares of non-AB fabrics; I’ve used pieces of Philip Jacobs floral prints, which seemed to work with the rest. No prizes for spotting the ringers, though!

Then I got back to work on the ToL. I’ve finished outlining the top of the tree, branches, leaves, flowers and fruit, and the three birds in the tree. Next is the two birds inside the circle above the tree, then the birds outside the circle. I’m ‘saving’ the roots, grass and fish for later this week when I have more time. Once all that’s done, I’ll draw bark-y type lines on the trunk and branches, ripples in the water and clouds in the sky, and the next lot of quilting will start. I’m really happy with the progress I’m making. It’s going nice and fast.

My fingers are less happy, and have just announced it’s time for me to stop for the day. I can’t wear a thimble on thumb and first two fingers if I want to be able to hold a needle, and they’re the ones getting hammered. Same thing happened before when I did lots of hand quilting. I built some truly impressive calluses on my fingers which saw me through to the end and took weeks to wear off. Perhaps I should consider keeping them by doing more hand quilting. It would certainly save the initial pain!

Next time I take a break, I’ll start cutting the sashing…