Happy New Year!!!
Sorry I missed writing my diary in December, I finished teaching and then it was a mad scramble to make all the presents – PVC shopper bags as gift bags, quilted postcards both with Christmas theme and also for my Great Nieces and Nephews ones with their initials on. Add to this mix, making dresses for both Laura and myself to wear to my Nieces wedding – mine almost didn’t get finished in time!! And I completely ran out of time to get the diary written.
New Year and new projects, all in the design and half made stage … another animal (polar bear) made from 1” pieces of fabric, an embellished and quilted heart cushion and also a quilt using the same heart design but appliqued on.
In the classes I have decided to go ‘Back to Basics’, many in the classes are fairly new to patchwork or to my class and I feel that we need to start at the basics, starting with all the different forms of applique and then onto hand and machine quilting and then onto other techniques. I won’t forget the more advanced in the classes and we will be carrying on with both the floral and block quilt and also other projects.
January has been a busy month, got lots of needlework done. The Polar Bear made from 1” pieces was completed in time for all the snow!!! I am working on a giraffe in pastel shades… got a few other ideas in the pipe line for animals made from the 1” squares.
Still on soft toys, in class we are making a Rabbit – it is from an old commercial pattern, made smaller. But rather than being made in one colour we are making him as a patchwork one – all different fabrics for each piece.
One of my aims for this year is to ‘try’ and get one of my quilt tops, quilted each month. I decided to start with a simple lap quilt made up in the Shoo Fly pattern to look like flowers. So that is the one of the seventeen tops that are in my cupboard completed.
I might have finished one quilt but I added another quilt top to the pile, so still have seventeen to quilt – finished the heart quilt top and that is now waiting to be quilted!!
February has been a busy month. In class we carried on with the Floral quilt blocks and the Block squares. And we also made rabbits, I have a commercially designed pattern I have used for years that makes 15” tall rabbit, but for the class we have shrunk it to 10½” and 7½” tall. Then made them up in all different fabrics.
Still on toys finished Georgia the Giraffe, made from 1” squares, adds to the collection of dogs, snail, elephant and polar bear. They are great projects to tack in the evening while watching TV and also a brilliant way of using up scraps.
I have also been working on a lot of Quilted Postcards, a range to sell at the Fairkytes shop and then also Valentine’s day, family birthdays and Mother’s day. Then a couple more of ‘door’ ones for me. I am thinking about Easter ones as well!!!
Haven’t had a chance to quilt any more of my tops but have started making two single quilts for my twin niece and nephews 2nd birthday, for when they go in there big beds. Using a simple star design.
I finished both the pink and blue Star Quilts for my niece and nephew, wrapped them all up and took them up to Derbyshire and then remembered I hadn’t taken any photos of them!!! Sorry.
I have started another 1” animal, an Owl, just tacking all the fabric over the squares. I haven’t done much yet of the tacking but once I have finished knitting the Gnomes I am doing and embroidering a couple more postcards, both of which I do in the evenings then I will really start work on the owl. I will have to work out what animal to do next?
For Easter, as a quick make in the final class I did ‘Stuffed Puffs’ – Suffolk puffs that are stuffed and turned into things – before they have used them to make pumpkin decorations and Christmas puddings and for Easter chicks and bunnies.
April totally disappeared, I didn’t do anything for the two weeks of the Easter School holidays, we were away for part of it and then had some days out. It was then straight back to teaching and what was left of April was spent finishing off the squares for both the floral and block quilt that I have been teaching this year.
In the May edition of Poplar Patchwork they had a Dresden Plate design cushion and it made me think, one of the rulers that I have and find really useful is the Creative Grids Dresden Plate one. I had already decided to teach a couple of bits using specialist rulers and the Dresden Plate fitted in nicely with this…. So while teaching how to use the ruler I have made a Dresden Plate quilt!!! just another quilt to add to those that need quilting!!!!
While shopping in John Lewis for an Overlocker (Janome 9200D, brilliant, never used one before but it is making dressmaking soo much easier) I saw some Ted Baker bags. Laura told me all the girls are using them at school and this got me thinking….. I ended up rooting around for some PVC fabric I had left over and making a few bags and teaching, how to make them in class.
May was one of those months where things went well and I got a lot done.
I decided to work on the Block Squares first and I have quilted them all, wondering about doing something curving but when I laid out the squares I realised that I needed to quilt round the squares and triangles in keeping with the ‘floor’ tile feel of the designs and the fabric.
The quilt is ¾ quarters together, the last quarter I have left so I can demonstrate how it goes together in class.
I have also completed five postcards during May, doesn’t sound a lot but when the embroidery takes about 8 hours plus to do on them and I only do them in the evenings while watching TV (not that I really watch it, it’s just on!!! The rest of the family are watching it) then it’s fair number.
I have also started on a couple more postcards designs in the garden/planters series. The postcards are mostly gifts and I have designed a ‘shop’ box to give to a few family members to keep their postcards in. last year I gave my Aunt a ‘Post Office’ one and at the moment I am working on a ‘Florist’ themed one – works in with the planter/flower theme I am working on this year!!
The Fridays in May where dressmaking days and I completed two shirts for my daughter Laura and three for myself, got more clothes now than I have ever had!!! And still got a few more things I want to make!!!
Please come and visit Fairkytes on Saturday 15th June for their open day. I will have a display of my teaching work and will also be demonstrating.
The Open Day at Fairkytes went really well and was very busy at my stand and the Lacemakers one next to mine. Both of us had lots of interest and both my Tuesday classes are full for September. Still places left on the Wednesday afternoon.
Classes are over till September. I managed to get both of the quilts we had been working on this year finished for the last week. So, took both the Block Quilt and the Floral Quilt (pictures will be on Gallery as soon as we can) into class and also the Summer Challenge.
Every year at the last class I set, for those coming back a challenge, last years was to make a ‘building’ box. This year I gave them a design of a flower and leaf and said ‘do something with this!!’. To give them some inspiration I made up a cushion using the design.
Other than needlework I had a busy time making 72 decorated fairy cakes, 24 vanilla, 24 lemon and 24 chocolate and also a 7” decorated Victoria Sponge for my Step-Mum’s 70th birthday party. We had fun getting them up to Derbyshire in one piece!!! But we did and they went down well.
I haven’t ‘created’ much since the last diary entry. In fact, I had just over two weeks when I didn’t go near my sewing machine!!!!
We needed a new boiler and it meant a re-site from the chimney breast in the dining room to the airing cupboard in the workroom, both rooms I work in, so everything got packed away. Once the boiler was in, then it was the big clean up and sorting out the chimney area. While this was all going on I painted both the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms!!! Like to keep busy!!! In fact this month has been all about house maintenance.
Once all that was done then I made myself two shirts and finished off two quilt tops that I had started in class – another two to add to the pile of those that need quilting!!!! I also finished of the Owl made from 1” pieces.
And finally with a huge amount of work from Tony, my husband, the person that does all the formatting and editing of my class hand-outs and maintains this website, he has created a series of short videos (on this site under videos!!) on the quilt-as-you-go method that I teach. Hopefully, time permitting we will be creating some more inspirational/educational videos later this year. A huge thank you to Tony for all his support and help.
The summer holidays are over!!! And this August have been all about holidays for us.
Firstly we had four days in Paris, a city I hadn’t been to and Tony took some great photo’s. Back home for one day and then off to stay in Teweskbury for a few days and do some of the National Trust Proprieties in the area.
Again Tony took some fantastic photos – soo much inspiration for postcards and wallhangings – so look out for them later in the year.
Had a week at home to catch up and then stayed for a few days on Mersea Island – the sorbet coloured beach huts are lovely. Those few days were time of sitting, relaxing, reading and for me learning to crochet – finally managed to figure it out!!! Been making squares to create a trim on a skirt and I am going to make snowflakes for Christmas decorations.
Back home for Laura’s 14th birthday and the bank holiday, then off again – up to Derbyshire to help my sister, Jenny move. No time for any creating up there!!! Once we got back I made Laura’s new school bag – she has one every year, I think last year she had a new one every term! Not because they had worn out, just she had seen some different fabric and wanted a bag in it. This term she wanted a satchel, I used the pattern from Lisa Lam’s A Bag for All Seasons. She was very worried I wouldn’t get it made in time but I made it over the weekend, just in time for her to go back to school!!!
And finally – I have had my first piece published!!! The pattern for Sidney the Snail is in the September edition of Popular Patchwork.
September saw the start of a new term and the run up to Christmas!!!
The theme for this term is gifts, so we started the first week with making a strawberry that can be a pincushion or can be scented and used in drawers or wardrobes or inside smelly shoes. Not use sure of the husbands will want strawberry scented work boots!!!
A couple of scented strawberries put into a jam jar with a pretty fabric circle on the top and tied with a ribbon makes a lovely gift.
For the other couple of weeks we have been working with Pinwheel Magic template, great for making a quilt, bedrunner or tablerunner, a number of Christmas fabric table runners being made. To help with the Pinwheels we have done some videos, have a look at them in the video section!!!
Another great gift is the fabric bear that we have started and are slowly making.
Still to come over the term, is a bag, box, pincushion and Christmas decoration all using Cathedral Window. And pot holders and oven gloves, mug rug (basically a fancy bigger coaster!!!) and a mug hug. Great for yourself or as Christmas presents!!!!
Through October the class have been working on the fabric bears and I think everybody has finally managed to put theirs together!!!
We have also covered Cathedral Window, which is really more ironing than sewing. A number of bags are being made.
The final week before the half term was all about Mug rugs, bigger than a coaster but not as big as a table mat. They are designed to have space for your favourite mug and a biscuit or cupcake and look really pretty and special. They are meant to make your coffee or tea break special, a time to sit and enjoy!!!
I have made a number of them – of course one with a tortoise on for me and an owl one for Laura. I had a couple of Christmas themed log cabin squares and I have added to them to make a couple of Christmas mug rugs – space for your mug and a mince pie!!!!
Just finished half term week off and we had a few days out, one of which was Anglesey Abbey and Gardens. Tony took some lovely photos of the trees and gardens and I hope to create some lovely landscape postcards and possibly may do some a bit bigger to really get the feel of the place.
The last few weeks of the term where about more Christmas gift ideas, pot grabbers and oven gloves for the cooks and shoe and laundry bags for the travellers. We then went onto quilts made using T-shirts.
I used an old Christmas T-shirt of Laura’s, from when she was seven and the Makower Modern Christmas range of fabrics to make a quilt. From 1st December it has been on Laura’s bed, helping with the metres of tinsel, lights and baubles to make her room very Christmasy.
The final lesson was a quick hexagon table centre – I made it in both modern and more traditional fabric.
For the classes Christmas gift I had made forty little robin decorations, which Tony and Laura keep saying looked like ‘Angry Birds’!!! The time since the classes have finished have been all about making Christmas presents – all the major ones are finished, just a couple of little extras to do! All the Christmas quilted postcards have been made – this years theme was stars for the traditional ones and stag’s head for the modern, sixteen made in total. Laura got an owl, as she is going through an owl theme – on her scarf and gloves and one of her many school bags!!!
I have got Christmas more or less sorted, food – the desserts are all made and already in the freezer to come out as is the piece of beef, we have roast beef and Yorkshire pudding instead of a turkey as no one is keen on it!!!
So finally can I wish everybody a Merry Christmas and Happy and healthy 2014