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!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Cosy printer

I treated myself to a sweet little printer to print photos from my phone this summer. A fun little gadget, but I soon decided that it needed a bit of protection from all the other stuff rattling around in my bag. So a little printer cosy was what I needed...
I grabbed some pieces from my scrap basket and stitched them together into a long strip. I used a piece of batting to measure how big I wanted the piece to be, stitched the fabric pieces on, added a piece of backing fabric, turned it inside out and quilted the finished strip before adding a piece of ribbon before I folded it over, creating a pocket big enough for the printer and stitched a seam along each side, much like I did with my iPad cover, some years ago.
Easy peasy and quite sweet, like a little present waiting to be untied.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


I hope I didn't scare you, but I have actually finished a quilt! In time for Halloween, actually, but I only just found time for a photo session. I realized that I had amassed quite a selection of Halloweeny fabric and decided to put them all together in a quilt. I put together blocks of squares in different sizes, from four-patches with big squares to 36-patch blocks with tiny squares. I feared that it would all become a great mess, and I suppose some would say that it is, but looking at it from a distance I quite like it. I let the tiny squares gather in the middle and used ever increasing sizes going out from the diagonal. A few lime green patches along the diagonal gives a bit of extra zest to the design.
 For the back I used the leftover fabric and just pieced everything together randomly until I had a big enough piece. I used a thing backing so it could be used as a tablecloth with a soft drape, or I could hang it on the wall if I like. It might become a bit predictable, but I went for black and white stripes for the binding this time as well, as that was the only thing that seemed to work.
I'm still getting to know my new sewing machine, so I have been a bit careful about quilting motifs, so I went for the standard swirly meander I tend to fall back on, using a shiny orange thread. I'll challenge myself to be more adventurous the next time...

Friday, October 14, 2016

What's going on?

I think it's time to take stock. It's not that I don't spend time sewing, but I seem to have very little to show for it. Well, lots of little things, but what about all the big quilts?
I have spent a lot of time reorganizing my sewing space this summer, so at least all the finished quilt tops are stored in one place, but it is about time to settle down and do some serious quilting now I think...

First of all there is this, my Wuthering Heights quilt:

I think I finished this top in August 2015 and had intended to have it finished by Christmas, but I don't know what happened...
Then I started this in January:
The top is actually finished, but I couldn't decide how to quilt it, and while I was working on it I fell in love with a new fabric line, and started another quilt right away:
And then it happened again, I got distracted by another project - I found a fabric bundle I couldn't resist and started planning yet another quilt:

And as if having four finished quilt tops wasn't enough... As I mentioned I have been reorganizing a bit lately - my ten little Moppe drawer units from Ikea, that I have had for years, became one large unit on wheels and in one of the drawers I came across yet another quilt top:
I remember making this  very early on in my quilting career - it must be at least 15 years old, maybe 20 - and I was so disappointed with it because I just didn't have the right rainbow of colours I wanted. I actually thought I had thrown it in the bin, but no, like the pack rat that I am, I had just hidden it away in a drawer and now, here it is again and it doesn't look all that bad. Maybe I can rescue it? Make it into placemats maybe? Well, it isn't my number one priority, because I also have a Halloween quilt in the works! Yes, I started another one!
This is the first block with the smallest pieces and it looks a mess - there are blocks with larger pieces that let the fabrics stand out more, though, and I hope it works as a whole. I will try to get started on the quilting this weekend and then we shall see...
And once I have started quilting I can just go on and do another, and another... Unless I get distracted by a new project along the way...
Short attention span, anyone? What? Where?

And in case you were wondering about those drawer units, here's a before-and-after shot of them:

They are given a wash of paint, glued together and mounted on a small wall cupboard that I have attached wheels to, so now I have one piece of furniture instead of a wobbly stack of drawer units that would shift about every time I opened a drawer. Yes, happy with this one.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Medieval courthouse steps

It seems like ages since a made a new quilt and finally I have made a bed quilt for myself! The starting point for this one was a Mulberry home dec fabric featuring embellished letters like the ones you see in medieval manuscripts. I cut the letters apart and added strips around in Court House Step fashion in jewel-like colours with a bit of bling to go with the theme of those beautiful old books, often featuring covers embellished with gold and gems.
The pattern is from an old Quilt Sampler Magazine, but with larger central squares and narrower strips to allow for the size of those letters. A double width bali print with swirls of colour on a black background serves as both backing fabric and binding.

This was the first quilt I quilted on my new Bernina, so I chose the old easy standby, meandering in large loose loops to get the feel of quilting on a new machine. I think I'm ready for more intricate patterns now, but I'll choose a smaller quilt next time...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tiffany cushions

Years and years ago - yes, that's a quite specific time frame, isn't it? - I bought three cushion kits in London. I don't remember where. I stitched the first one (the Iris) right away and promptly forgot all about it.
Several years and moves later I found them in a basket while looking for something easy to work on while waiting for my mum having minor surgery. I wanted something that I didn't have to concentrate on too much, and this was ideal, since the outlines were printed on the fabric and all I had to do was to stitch those in black chainstitch and fill in with colours later.

The surgery went well, and my hours in the waiting room didn't feel too long, since I had something useful to do. I was amazed by how fast the work progressed, and kept at it after coming home.  A few weeks later the tulip was all done and I went straight on to the sunflower.
The finished panels were about 12" - slightly too small for sofa cushions (I couldn't find any inserts that small, anyway) so I added strips of blue home dec fabric around the edges and used the same fabric for the back.
Once they were finished I gave them to my mum for her birthday, and I'm glad I did, because she was overjoyed.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lorem Ipsum bag

 I made another Sewtogether bag. The first one is in daily use next to my sewing machine and holds all the tools and things I need while sewing. I have been meaning to get better at journaling, documenting my creative ideas, but I nneeded something to keep my pens and pencils in, so why not make another of these handy bags?
The Typography fabric line by Jessica Jones for Cloud9 Fabrics was ideal for this: text fabric and some of my favourite colours too, what's not to love! I added some orange binding and zips in honour of Jessica's blog How about Orange, an old favourite, though sadly no longer being updated.
Did I mention that I love this fabric line? I am in fact working on a quilt as well, but more about that later...

Wednesday, July 06, 2016


My sister had used the purse I made her a few years back so much that it was tattered and torn, so she requested a new one, using the same frame. And of course I obliged. I actually love it when people wear out the things I make - it shows that they are appreciated, doesn't it?
I used I nice floral (Pam Kitty Morning) combined with green this time.
Lined with a matching pink, it was a good choice for a keen gardener, I believe. Little did she know that I had already made her a new purse (I had noticed the state of the old one!) using an orange jelly clip frame from Lecien and a contrasting blue fabric - the colours of her favourite football team.
The pattern came with the frame, and this one was very easy to sew and glue in place. A few darts in the bottom gave it a fuller shape.
A Lecien fabric for the lining gives it a bit more interest - something to look at when all the money is gone ;-)
So with one finished purse and a request for another, what was I to do? Give her both, of course. Why not spoil her a little?
While I was in sewing mode I also made these fabric buckets for a friend's new bathroom. No pattern, I just winged it, drew a circle round an embroidery frame, calculated the width needed for the sidepiece (the diameter multiplied by 3,14 (pi)) and the height was decided by trial and error. I added some small snap-on curtain rings on opposite sides for hanging and as a decorative element. Yes, I'm quite pleased with these. The fabric is designed by Martha Negley from the Kaffe Fassett collective, I believe.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


I love the organic shape of these storage pods. I found the pattern via Pinterest which led me to Love from Beth on Craftsy. The pattern was easy to understand and they came together quickly, which is all one can ask for. No doubt I'll be making more of these.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Blue and white

I made another one! The Open Wide Pouch has become my standard go-to quick present project, it seems. And no wonder, it's such a versatile little thing with many uses - a small one is perfect for make-up or all the little things we carry about in our purses, A bigger one and it will hold a little sewing or knitting project and a large one is great to use as a sponge bag. I like them because they open so wide that you find things easily in them and of course because they are quick and easy to sew.
This is a medium sized one made for my boss on her retirement. She loves blue, so I went for a safe and sweet blue and white colour scheme, but I couldn't resist adding a bit of my cheekiness with an orange zipper and a lime green tab. Why play safe when you can have a bit of fun, right?

Monday, April 25, 2016


Knitting little dolls means paying close attention to details and concentrating on the pattern. That's all very well, but sometimes a bit of mindless knitting is called for. I found the pattern for the Ada cowl in Mollie makes. The  pattern is also available through Ravelry.
The original was knit using Quince & Co Puffin, which is a bulkier yarn than the Malabrigo Rios that I went for. I just cast on more stitches than in the pattern, to make it the right width. The pattern is an easy double moss stitch, so as long as the number of stitches was divisible by two, that didn't matter. The result is a less chunky cowl, very soft and drapey, and I am very pleased with it.
Teddy doesn't seem to mind modelling it either...
Colours used: Malabrigo Rios in Teal Feather and Lettuce. Details on Ravelry.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Little people

I found a picture of a little knitted girl like this on Pinterest and managed to locate the pattern on Etsy here. After visiting a local yarn store and finding the perfect shiny black yarn in my stash I was ready to download the pattern and start knitting my own Little Red. Isn't she sweet?

The umbrella needed some kind of support and after a bit of searching in shelves and cupboards I ended up using the domed lid from a cherry tomato container. That meant that I had to make the umbrella a bit smaller than the pattern called for, but it doesn't rain all that much indoors, so I guess Little Red will be safe and dry, LOL. She seems quite comfortable anyway, sitting there on my red shelf, making me smile every time I walk past her.
While I was at it, I also knitted this little guy from a pattern I found in an old magazine.He was put in one of the Christmas decoration boxes, so I won't see him again for a while, but no doubt he will be a nice surprise when I get the boxes out in December!
Both were fast and easy knits and very satisfying - a few evenings of waving some needles and yarn about, resulting in two little friends - you can't beat that for results!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Improv forest

I had a small piece of fabric from Auntie Cookie for ever and couldn't bear to cut into it, but it was such a shame to just leave it unused, you know? So one day I sliced it on two horizontally, added some vertical strips to each piece and stitched them together again. A strip of fabric at the top and bottom, I quilted it in vertical lines in off white and just for fun added two lines of stitching in red thread and just like that I had a little wall quilt. Much better than a lonely little fabric piece in a drawer, right?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Waaaaay after the holidays

Better late than never, I suppose. I have some catching up to do, and it occurs to me that I never shared any of my Christmas makes. First of all this little tree of words. I found the pattern just before Christmas and stitched the whole thing in a matter of days. I also got a witchy pattern and one of a sewing machine, all from Imaginating. that I have yet to stitch up. Despite the colour variations the tree is in fact just stitched with two different skeins of hand dyed floss. The wonderful threads from Stef Francis are really lovely and I can never resist them when I come across them at The Festival of Quilts or The Knitting and Stitching Show. My biggest problem is actually using them, because then they will all be gone. But that's just an excuse to take another trip, isn't it?

Just before Christmas I fell in love with some Christmas ornaments in the shape of cars with trees on the roof, but by the time I got around to shopping they were all gone, so I made my own.
I bought some toy cars, covered the windows with masking tape and painted and decoupaged the hell out of them before I glued some miniature trees wrapped in baker's twine on the roofs. And there you are: my very own "Driving home for Christmas"-cars.
They turned out to be too heavy for the tree, but looked rather good on a shelf in my kitchen, if I may say so myself.

Friday, February 26, 2016

More stitches

Last autumn I happened to come across an episode of Pippi Longstocking, the one with the first snow, and fell in love with Annika's pink ski sweater.

I searched everywhere for a pattern, and might have found one that was close enough, but got distracted along the way. Before I knew it I had a folder full of pictures of ski jumpers from the 50s and 60s.

Now I know that there is no way I'm going to knit all those sweaters, but I didn't want to forget all the lovely patterns, so I charted some of them and ended up with a shortlist of twelve and decided that knitting samples was out - I'd have to buy lots of yarn and I'd end up with samples that couldn't be used for anything.
I do have lots of tapestry wool, though, and found a piece of canvas that could become a small cushion. So I ended up embroidering the patterns instead, leaving a few stitches between each block of pattern.

Now I could have embroidered sashing and a border, but by the time I got to that stage I just wanted to be done with the whole thing, so I blocked it and added some polka dot ribbon as sashing and some fabric borders to make the cushion bigger. I used the same fabric as backing for the cushion, added a zipper, and there you are: my tapestry knitting sampler. The size of the canvas I had dictated that the pattern blocks would have to be small, so you can't see the whole pattern on most of them, but they will serve as a reminder of the patterns I have stored, should the urge to knit another ski sweater ever arise...
I used a stitch that looks like knitting, by the way, so you get an idea what the patterns would look like if I ever were to knit them up.