Friday, April 28, 2017

Batgirl gets her wings

Meet Batgirl! I don't really know where the inspiration foe this little doll came from, but gradually the idea of making a doll with bat-wings has been emerging from the depths of my imagination. Partly from the works of Tilda, whose dolls tend to have angel wings, I think. And partly from all the magical Halloweeny creatures created by Calamity Kim, (check out her new blog) although this little critter is a much simpler, less elaborate creation. Somehow things have melded together and she just had to be made.
I combined patterns for a cat doll and a mouse doll in one of the Tilda books and changed the profile of the head slightly to make it look more bat-like (I couldn't say batty, now, could I...). Bats have more of a snout than a car's triangular nose, so I just added french knots for the nostrils. That, and the little fangs - not quite grown out, she's just a little girl, you know - and she looks like a bat to me. The wings complete the picture, of course. I drafted them from a picture of a bat found online, added batting and pipe-cleaners inside to give a bit of structure, and there she is! I stitched together a little party dress for her, moths seemed appropriate - I bet little batgirls just love moths... (or 'moffs', as she would say...). The dress is short sleeved, but that's OK:
If she feels cold, she can use her wings as a cloak. Sweet little thing, isn't she?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spring runner

I bought some Jane Sassaman fabric a while before Easter. I have always loved her style - gorgeous quilts, and when she started designing fabric I was first in line and I have used them in several projects over the years. Some of them can be a challenge to use, though because the motifs are so large. I hadn't decided on a particular project when I got these home, but I went for a quick fix, using a large floral as the center of a table runner. I fussy cut the mid panel to show off those big flowers, added a narrow border in matching yellow/green Fossil Fern before adding a wider border in the blue triangle print. I used a thin batting and quilted it using some loosely meandering lines criss-crossing along the length of the runner. A quick and easy fix that got my quilting mojo back and ended with a bright and colourful Spring runner just in time for Easter.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Owl be ready

 This is the place to go for bad puns, it seems...
Meet Poe made from Heather Bailey's pattern "Edgar Owl and Poe" (much better pun). He was made for my youngest sister, who, as I might have mentioned earlier, has a thing for owls. The minute I saw this pattern I knew I had to get it and make one for her. Once it arrived I looked at it for a while and put it away, meaning to get back to it, as one does. Somehow I never did, until the day before her birthday...

What better time to get started than the day before your deadline! Choosing the right fabrics was what had stumped me earlier, but I had the scraps from the star quilt I'm working on lying on my work surface, and once I realized I could use those, the rest was easy. I found some pieces of wool felt in my stash in colours that worked well with the rest, and got going.
It wasn't all that difficult once I had cut out all the small pieces. Some of the felt pieces were supposed to be cut using pinking shears, but I searched high and low for mine and couldn't locate them. No doubt they'll suddenly appear now that I'm finished...

Anyway, the pattern was well written and it all came together quite well, I think, although my late start meant working into the early hours!

The best part was that my sister was overjoyed and found a prominent place for him to settle and survey his surroundings right away. He is supposed to be a pincushion, but I'm sure that with the look he gives you no one will dare stick a pin in him ever!

Perler mania

Sometimes you just get an idea and it wont lose its grip until you do something about it. I saw a placemat someone had made on IG and just had to give it a go. I am a bit to old to have been bitten by the perler bug as a child, and I had previously only seen small items made from perler or Hama beads. The concept of ironing to make them stick together was also new to me. The serendipity of coming across Hama beads at 40 % off in a local shop the day after made it clear to me that I had to give it a go. It turns out that there are mats that link together so you can get as large a surface as you want, and that you can by bags of perler all in one colour as well. A quick visit to this shop and I trotted home happily with six mats and bags full of read,white and blue beads.
Working with the beads turned out to be just as much of a mindfullness experience as those adult colouring books, and over the next few days I spent some calm hours beading along in between other tasks, making a mat for my kitchen counter in blue and white to go with my striped Cathrineholm bowl with a bow to those pretty lotus leaf bowls I have been searching for. I put a piece of parchment paper on top and used my iron to melt the beads together, and it worked just fine.
On the red and white one I was a bit too heavy handed, so there is an area that melted all the way through, but never mind, I'll just place a bowl or vase on that area when I use it.

Once these two mats were made I was done with the whole perler craze. For now anyway, so beads and mats are put away until the urge strikes again. Back to quilting.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A bit of knitting

I couldn't resist trying my hand at this rowan mitten pattern I found on Ravelry. I especially liked a version using a variegated yarn and bought a Scoppel-Wolle Zauberball in Little Fox colourway.
I had to cut the yarn and wind off a bit now and again to get the colour where I wanted it, but I ended up with two very different mittens, and a lot of left over small ballsof yarn, but I'm quite happy with the result anyway.
While we're on the subject of knitting, I also knitted some gloves as Christmas presents. I call these "Selfie gloves", because they are made with conductive thread in the fingertips (thumb and index finer) so that you can use a smart phone without removing the gloves, while taking selfies on the mountain tops you are bound to climb if you are active on social media and want to show the world how sporty and fit you are...
One pair is made with Noro Silk Garden and the other with Noro Kureyon and the pattern is Ken by Berocco Design Team. Details on Ravelry.

Pouches and purses

In the spirit of documenting all the things I make, I need to mention the things I made for Christmas - three 3-zipper pouches in masculine colourways for my cousin and his two sons and
these snap frame purses for his wife and their two daughters. I've made the same models several times earlier, so I kind of forgot about them, but I found the photos in my files, so here they are.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Advent calendar

In 2016 I decided to indulge my inner child and treat myself to an advent calendar. But not just any calendar, I went for a quilter's calendar with lots of surprises in it.
I received 24 numbered golden paper bags with fabric, thread, batting and instructions . all I needed to finish four different projects. Those who have followed me on Instagram know all about the excitement every day of discovering what that day's surprise was.

The first week I got a set of fabrics, template, zipper and batting to make a pillow:

Next out was all I needed to make a shopping bag that can be folded and tucked behind the pocket, making it a useful bag to keep in your purse until it is needed:
The third project was a set of christmassy pot holders complete with heat resistant batting:
The final project was a narrow table runner for New Year's Eve - perfect because that gave me a week to finish the last project:
All in all this was a great calendar, reviving those childish expectations running up to Christmas, and just enough work to do each day to be able to keep up with it all (although I must confess I did most of the sewing during the weekends...) - I had such fun with this that I'm really glad I went for it, and the best thing of all is that it seems to have given me back my sewing mojo, so much that I actually started the new year with cutting fabric for a new quilt!

Summing up

Another year is here and it is time to take stock. 2016 didn't seem to be such a productive year for me. Somehow I have become very good at relaxing without a piece of needlework in my hands. After indulging myself with a quilty advent calendar this December, however, I find the urge to create is returning. More about the advent calandar later, but here's what I have made in 2016:

Three finished quilts, various pouches and purses, some place mats and wall hangings, that sums it all up. But wait, there is more:
There are thre finished quilt tops, a lot of embroidery and a bit of knitting as well. And a bit of decoupage on those Driving home for Christmas cars. Maybe not to bad, just less quilting and more of the other stuff, that's all. But I predict more quilting in 2017. Have fabric, will quilt!
Happy new year!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Waxing lyrical

Sometimes a mad idea just grabs hold of you! I saw a picture of song lyrics done in cross-stitch and thought that was fun, but that it would also take too much time, so I dismissed it. Then one day I sat down to watch a new episode of The Big Bang Theory and trying for the umpteenth time to catch all the words in the theme song by Barenaked Ladies, the idea popped up: I would google the lyrics and stitch them, but I would do it in back-stitch, which would be less time consuming than cross-stitch. I charted the lyrics in my cross-stitch software, without spacing between words and breaking words when I came to the end of the line, thus mimicking the breathless, breakneck speed of the song. Keeping each word in one colour makes it readable. I must admit that it took a while longer than I had thought to stitch this, but I had fun doing it and now the song is forever stuck in my mind!

To unstick it, I started on another song right away and it just had to be one of the theme songs from my heyday: "We go together" from the movie Grease. While the first one was stitched in scraps from a celestial kit in tones of blue and gold, I chose pink and black for Sandy and Danny respectively with a hint of mint thrown in. Fun, but I'm done now. No more lyrics! And I've still got that Big Bang earbug...

Friday, November 18, 2016


Tada! Here's my newest quilt, Lorem Ipsum. I couldn't resist Jessica Jones's new fabric line Typography and bought a stack of fat quarters as soon as it became available. I didn't know what to do with those gorgeous fabrics at first, however and the stack just sat there on my work table for quite a while. When I decided that I needed another Sewtogether bag for my pens and pencils, my gaze fell upon that tempting stack and I started cutting into the fabrics. Once that first cut was done, inspiration struck and I started making blocks for this quilt. I added some grey and white solids and cut stacks of rectangles into wedges, changed the orders of the pieces and started stitching them together, ending up with strips of different widths - no measuring and no planning - quite a challenge for someone like me who actually like the maths involved in quilt making, but I managed to have fun with it.
I used this staple - the IKEA handwriting fabric for the backing. I'm so pleased with the fact that I actually bought a whole bolt of this fabric before it disappeared from the shelves. It has proved very useful!
It's not easy to see here perhaps, but I quilted it using a 3-step zig zag on the widest and longest setting and quilted parallel lines from top to bottom. I was a bit unsure about it to begin with as the fabric seemed to bunch up a bit, but by holding firmly onto the fabric as I was sewing I managed to avoid puckering and when I let go of the fabric I got quite a nice texture to it.
After asking for a bit of advice on Instagram, I ended up with a teal and green striped fabric from my stash for the binding, adding a few pieces of Typography fabric along the way.
I worried that the quilt might be to busy-looking, but once I took it outdoors for a photo session and saw it in the clear cold light of an autumn morning I decided that I loved it. This is a keeper!