Saturday, December 31, 2011

That was 2011

There it is, most of the things I have sewn this year - I have been quite productive, I think!

Thank you for reading in 2011 and
I wish you all a Happy, Creative New Year!

Pencilcase and more

I was fascinated by this pencilcase when I spotted it in Stitch Magazine a while ago (last spring I think?), but I never got around to making it. But then my youngest nephew announced that he wanted a cool pencilcase for Christmas, and I dug the pattern out of hiding and had a go. It wasn't too difficult, but a bit fiddly, getting the bottom stitched on in particular.
 It has three zippers on the outside, but only one opens all the way down, which is good, I suppose, otherwise all your pencils would keep tumbling out. I struggled a bit with the three tips before I realized that I had to schrunch the zipperends together a bit to make the tips narrow enough to close the case completely, but I got there in the end and the gift was well received. It was not a disadvantage that it was filled with colouring pencils I suppose...
 The last of the homemade presents this year was a simple shopping bag made from some lovely Ruby Star Rising fabric and lined with a turquoise paisley. I used box corners to make a flatter bottom and some woven ribbon for  the handles. Nice and simple.
I might make more of these in 2012 - they are quite good for presents actually.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Summing up

Here I was thinking that I had bought hundreds of yards of fabric during 2011, but when I started looking through my photos, there isn't a terrifying amount of new fabric in my stash. There might be a few more purchases, but the truth is that since my local quilt shop moved away and my shopping went online, I don't buy as much fabric as I used to. Another change I see, is that instead of buying random fabric in colours that match, I now tend to buy groups of fabric from designer lines . That might influence how I plan new quilts as well: there has certainly been more quilts from single lines lately. I need to dip into my older stash and come up with new combinations to keep things exciting. Some of them might not be willing to play with others, though, but then there are always neutral solids. We'll see what 2012 brings...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Runner up

 Those silly captions - sorry, I just can't resist it... Oh, well, here is the last item to be finished before Christmas, a table runner I made for my cousin. The photo is a bit blurry, but as I have already given it away (of course, it being a xmas pressie and all...) I can't reshoot. Learning how to take better photos might probably be a good new year's resolution...
 Anyway, it's made with the disappearing nine-patch technique, but with rectangles instead of squares. I used a group of fabrics I bought to use together in a project, but had forgotten all about until I started going through my "plans" box - my fabric is basically sorted by colour, but there is this one box where I have put groups that go well together and that might be used in a special, unspecified, project one day. It turns out that it is high time I went through it and made some more spesific plans so they get to fulfill their potential - there were lots of lovelies there, and there are more coming in all the time, so I must really make sure I don't forget about those. Well, it's the end of year and time for inventories and new plans, I guess...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Another finish

 I suppose it is safe to show the pressies here by now - everybody being absorbed in last minute holiday preparations and all. These are placemats for my mother, and are based on that sew-along from sew-mama-sew, though I must admit that I didn't really pay attention to the details. I just looked at the pictures and winged it, I'm afraid. But they turned out quite well, I think.
I'm as ready for the holidays as I will ever be, the brownies and raisin foccacia have been baked, the tree is trimmed and all the decorations are in place. I was thinking this afternoon that I would never manage to finish it all today, but I did as much as need to make things Christmassy. So what of not every corner is tidy and dust free? The main areas are, and it is warm and cosy, and I have enough food to come up with  something nice to serve for unespected guests. Like when one of my friends  popped in unexpectedly earlier this evening. I was able to drop everything and enjoy a nice long chat. I'm sure it never occured to her to check for dust on the skirting boards and a great time was had by all. And that's the main point about Christmas, really, isn't it?
Oh, and did I mention that the placemats have a fun surprise on the back? IKEA's international Santas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Curio runner

It always happens, doesn't it? You think that christmas is ages away and there is plenty of time for making stuff and preparing for the holidays. Not so. All of a sudden it is upon us and there is a mad rush to get everything done. Almost there now, though, the fridge is groaning with the weight of all the food we have bought. After all the shops will be closed for two whole days, so we need to stock up, right?
The presents are all wrapped and ready, some have been sent off to their recipients or are ready to be distributed. This runner is in one of those parcels, and I can only hope that my friend likes it. I have used some fabrics from the lovely Curio line, some black and white and one that I just have to get more of next year: Kaffe Fassett's Aboriginal Dots in teal. You know that you must, when it almost hurts to cut into it...
There is still some preparations to do, but that can wait until tomorrow, now the candles are lit, the sofa is beckoning and it's time for a nice cuppa...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Boxy but good*

-like Volvos?*

 Before starting on the Christmas presents I took time out to make something for myself. I always seem to have several knitting and stitching projects on the go. Now I might have spent some time finishing them, but instead I decided it was more fun to sew some box bags to put them in ;-)

I used this tutorial as my starting point, but couldn't resist doing my own thing. First of all I quilted them instead of adding interfacing. My handle is shorter and narrower than in the original and I added binding strips to the seams on the inside, handstitching them closed to make a nice finish and make sure yarn or needles don't get tangled up in fraying raw edges.
Once I had finished the first two, and deciding that they were a bit smaller than I wanted, I had a bit of a rethink, and came up with the solution of adding square end pieces. It was a bit fiddly to sew, but I manged, and I ended up with bags that are just the right size for a couple of balls af yarn and a half finished shawl.

Once all my bags were finished and the UFOs tucked out of the way, I set to work on the Christmas pressies. I'm not overdoing it this year: some placemats and table runners, that's all. More about them during the weekend.

*Quote from the 1990-film Crazy People, starring Dudley Moore - somehow this phrase has just stuck in my mind since way back, kind of like the British "Naughty but nice"-commercial for cream back in the 80s... Now if only I could remember some important stuff ...

Friday, December 02, 2011

Good buys

One of the dangers of not having time to sew, is that I get more time to search the net and end up shopping instead. I have been waiting for Lotta Jansdotter's fabric collection since I saw the first glimpse on a blog ages ago, and I couldn't resist buying the full fat quarter selection.
I don't know what it is about this, the retro patterns or the slightly "off " colours - I'm not sure they go with anything in my stash - but I just love them. Now I just need to find a pattern to show them off.
Some lovely Kate Spain and Sandi Henderson fabrics also found ther way into my shopping basket, and I have been sneaking in some solids with every fabric order lately, Raisin and Nightfall from Kona this time.
These three are my favourites from the latest Amy Butler collection. I don't think they will be used together, but I can't wait to play with them - the scale is quite large, and I have great ideas about how to enhance the motives with quilting - such fun!