Monday, 11 February 2013

Candle making!

For Christmas 2012 - Jeff & I exchanged token gifts.  I bought him a scented candle making kit.  The kit included the basics.  He made candles using the ball mold, the taper mold.  They turned out great.  Then the boxes started to arrive...  from candle-making suppliers...!

The scents, colour dyes, wax, wicks, extra moulds.  All adding to a cacophony of colours and smells, shapes and textures.

Every sense is used in candle making - maybe with the exception of taste!  Unless of course, you use to much scent, sometimes the lower, more mellow notes such as vanilla can be tasted when too much gets up your nasal passages.
For Christmas - Jeff & I exchanged token gifts.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Convergence design - WARPED

Convergence design.  Workshop taught by Carole Wood at the Bramble Patch, with permission from Ricky Tims to teach this wonderful technique.

I had been caught in traffic and the weather was so hot that day in July.  Andrea was already well under way - I didn't tell her I was booked into the class as well.  I thought it would be a nice surprise to 'turn up'.  I did not anticipate the delay.   It was a rush on the day to get the FQs sewn up and cut into strips.  Narrowest strips towards the centre.  Then switch positions, resew, turn 90 degrees and slash again.  It's a great technique IF you can get the strips sewn as soon as you sew them.  Otherwise the strips would need to be labelled, before being put away to transport.  I called the finished lap quilt 'WARPED' after the heat wave weather that day, and the wobbly seams made it even more an apt title.

I arrived at the Bramble Patch three hours after Carole had started to teach everyone.  I had so much fabric to choose from with me that I my first big task was to pick four different fabrics - which also would converge into the middle of the design.

I did a lot of sewing that day, Carole helped me to catch up. At the end of the day, I left with almost the quilt top finished.  I was determined to finish it - so the day had not been wasted.  I add a small strip border, to frame it and bring out the orange in the batik design.  After this, I added a wider border, then bound it using the double fold technique.

I am very pleased to have finished it.  It has even been hand washed, still looks vivid.  I wasn't happy with the mauve fabric, so I tried to hide it with some hand sewing, using variegated thread, very therapeutic.

This was my second attempt at this design.  For the first one I used 'Free Spirit' fabric, designed by Ricky Tims himself.  It is still an UFO.

Log cabin design, using foundation piecing

This is a great blanket that seems to be ageless and I still have it on the back of the sofa.  Granddaughter and cats LOVE it.  Tiggy below did not want to pose on it for the photo though.  It's really cuddly and homely.  I have used it across my knees in the car AND at my desk at work.

Original I bought the soft flannel colourways to make robins, Brenda Walker style.  I took the stash to my Thursday Quilting group and a lady, sat at the furthest chair away said the colours and shades of the pile of FQs worked beautifully.  So I went home and cut the FQs into strips.

The actual design is Log cabin, worked using foundation piecing.  Each separate block took about an hour to sew up, on the Brother Innovis machine that I use.  I picked up a second hand Brother Galaxie when the Innovis went into Nutts for a service.  It has automatic thread cutter and a knee lifter.  The combination of the two 'new' features reduced by sewing time down to 30 mins per block.  Great time savers.

Foe the backing - I have used a whole piece of soft flannel.. It has washed lovely.

Woolley Jumper bag - designed by Brenda Walker

I went to a class at the Bramble Patch.
Brenda was an inspiration.  At the class, Brenda had an embellishment pack to add to the bag.  Brenda's design had really, cute fluffy sheep appliqued on the front.  The pack also had a small piece of knitting on cocktail sticks! to represent the sheep knitting.  There was a rustic wooden fence, too.

I wanted it to be a sewing bag.  I used a FQ that had rows of sewing notions, which I used for the side  straps and handles.  The side straps are 'detachable' so the bag can grow if required.  There are pockets on the outside and one inside.  The middle panel was Osnaburg fabric.  The green check/heart fabric is a woven  design.  Andrea came to see me while I was in class, she helped me to pick the buttons, which match the style of the bag perfectly.

I am still using the bag today, it is keeping my crochet blanket & wool together.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Nuno felt!

Andrea & I both had a play with this technique.  It wss Good Friday, we worked outside in the warm sunshine.

Monday, 18 April 2011

A new dimension! Homemade FELT

Andrea came with me to a Felt making class,held at Sheepy Memorial Hall, organised by Anji.

Sylvia showed us how to make a three dimensional flower.  In the afternoon we had time to make nother item.  We chose all to make a felt purse.

Everyone finished both items and we all went home with a sense of having done something different and having  made something special.

Sylvia makes 'monster bags' - from felt, using resist to help shape the features of the face.

Quilter's companion - My version started it 2008

Outside of wrap, folded together

I started this project, picking it up occasionally.  So it took ages to finish!!!!  I didn't make it as busy as Mandy Shaw's original design.  I do love working with felt though...  No frayed edges!

Inside side
Lots of hiding places for pins & needles  :)

Outside side

Whatever the weather - Eternal Spirit sewing wrap

Outside - when secured with ribbon

Andrea & I both fell into 'like-a-lot' with the pattern and the sample that they had made was yummy, but we both decided that the colours needed to be brighter.  I love the rainbow on the front panel  :)

It was from the The Button Company's stand.  Her daughter now has her own business called 'Eternal Spirit '.  Selling felt & fabrics  :)
Still not sure what to call the spool holder on the left inside.  It holds bobbins & reels of thread securely - so, a practical adaption!

Inside of wrap

The end of the scissor keeper secures onto the button for travelling/storage.  So if the scissors do escape they do not get very far :)  It's useful to have something dangling off your work scissors while you are using them.... easier to find.
Outside of wrap.

Andrea sewed her version, using all of the words on the pattern.  I only used words on the back, centre panel.  That's what makes homemade - unique  :)

Scissor keeper - Ann's fabric.

I made this scissor keeper using some fabric given to me by Ann. 

I used calico one side and Ann's fabric on the other side.  I made two, one for my large dressmaking shears and another one for my 'sprung' pinking shears  :)  (I could really do with a third for some 'sprung' shears... maybe another day....)

Ann was a lovely lady, sadly missed.  She passed away after battling with cancer.  She still came to the Patching group, even when she was an her course of chemo.  She borrowed my Ricky Timms book and successfully completed a convergence quilt, in-a-week  :)   She used safari fabric, it worked really well.  She taught me a lot about 'finishing what you start'. Although Ann had started quilts for her seven grandchildren, sadly she never got to finish them all.  The Patchers dedicated the first Tuesday off the month to Ann's projects and managed to get them all done before Christmas of the same year. Fiona and Val did a lot of handsewing to get them completed.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Suki bag - Festival of Quilts


I had the kit for quite a while, fortunately Andrea & I had a sewing day & I got it 95% done :)

 I bought a kit from the show.  I loved the textured woven fabrics that they used to design the bag.

Husif - Mandy Shaw 2006

I bought the pattern from Mandy Shaw, Dandelion designs.  Red fabric was bought at a stand at the FofQs.  The bias binding was pre-made from the French stand.  It took 6 months or more to complete.  I picked it up & worked on it in between other items, so it seemed to take forever to sew up.  All the inside elements where edged with bias binding.  The pencil case simply fitted together & works beautifully.  The zip was open-ended.  It was the fist zip that I had inserted since leaving school.

Mandy Shaw states at the beginning of the instructions that you do NOT need to read through them before you start!  I can see why now.  It gets more complex as the wrap develops, I am really pleased with the result.  I use it for classes when I need to carry pencils..:)  Nice size to carry all my bits in.

Garden Gate Bag - new version completed March 2011

Photo was so much better when Tezzie helped to hold the strap

I used this bag daily - so useful having the zip!  AND, of course, my most favouritist of fabrics was used on the reverse.....  why would you have a zip on both sides.  I added a pocket of my own too  :)

Because I used it daily - the original strap took a battering...  I removed it added Tyvek & reinforcing top stitches to strengthen it.  I added a belt buckle too, because I could!

Photo required - notion holder class at NEC

Andrea & I wanted to take something home from an NEC show.  Previously made the rotary cutter pouch.  Similar set up with the class.  Emphasis on the capabilities of the Bernina sewing machines. All pieces supplied & cut to size. :)

Miniature Landscapes - Amy?

Andra took a class at the NEC.  Not as good as the Rotary Cutter pouch or Sewing notion holde classes of previous years.  However, it taught us to be creative & go with the flow.  Build up a picture in layers. 

I put it away for a few months & then took it with me into the HBO sessions in the diving tank.  I stitched some more - not yet framed.....  Another on my 'roundtoit' list.

Need a photo Celtic stained glass wall hanging - with Carole Wood at BP

The first day class at the Bramble Patch, was also with Carole Wood. A Celtic stained glass. I made my version in metallic bias binding & used water soluble pastels to bring out the background. The wallhanging is still hanging on my wall, at the top of the stairs  :)  I was really pleased to learn some new techniques.

The date at the bottom of the hanging says 2005!  It is still colourfast even though it has been hanging up on the wall since then.

Textured wall hanging - with Carole Wood at the BP

I started a 6 weeks course, at the Bramble Patch, with Carole Wood. I created a textured wall hanging. I used creams & beige fabric.  Carole's version was pastel colours of the rainbow.

The finished wall hanging had 8 blocks.  Each one used a different technique. We prepared the first week, choosing colours & starting on two blocks. Second week we started blocks 3 & 4. Third week was blocks 5 & 6.  Fourth week blocks 7 & 8.  last week was putting it together & binding it.  I had NO idea how to do it!  My pieced project that I took into class on the last week 'horrified' Carolde.  It was then she realised, I was a rooky!  lol  She thought I knew what I was doing the previous weeks!  The edges should have been square!  We went for the rustic look!  Curved edges were deliberate!  (Honest!)

One was many layers of fabric, stitched in parallel lines.  Then slashed using a chenille cutter.  Pop in the washing machine AND tumble dry it to loosen the fibres & soften the edges. Beads were added to highlight the diagonal.

Altenate strips sewn into folds, over stitched in contrasting threads.  Press well.  Lie one wave to the left & the next - to the right  :)  Nice wavy effect.

Similar to the stiffer design, but multiple layers of fabric used.  Folded into squares, corners folded inwards. Centre blocks are half the size of the outer squares.   Wash and tumble dry to soften the edges up.  Add beads for sparkle.
Ties - turned to righ-side out.  Knot randomly & secure each end.

One used torn strips of fabric which were woven in & out like basket weaving.
One used a piece of pure wool felt, freestyle machine embroidery using vermicelli stitch.  Lots of wiggly stitches but NEVER over lap them.  Put the whole lot in the washing machine & then tumble dry it! You want the felt to shrink!  Start with a block 40% bigger than your finished size!  The top piece wrinkles up.  Add beads to make it sparkle.  Beads are hidden in the tucks.

Fifth block:  Orange Calypso drinking straws were covered in fabric.  & tied.
Sixth block:  Double-sided squares of fabric, edged & then folded inwards to form pockets.  The edges of the squares were joined together.  Lots of heavy bond-a-web was used.  I completed this block at Butlins - wrecked their iron!  lol  Finished result was quite stiff & very 3D.

The original wall hanging was sewn up 4 blocks by 2 rows. It was hung in the front room for few years, then it was re-jigged to hang behind the buffet unit in the dining room.  I used 6 blocks - in ONE row.  The two spare blocks are safely stored away.  Hence no photos for nos 5 & 6.

Japanese folded bag - my first bag!

This is the first bag that I made!  It was a day workshop taught by Rachel, Sew Happy.  Rachel was an inspiration, she taught me that there is always a quicker way to do something, but that way was not always the best way! Rachel made me promise that I would finish it.

The 'bag making evolution' began with a class that I went to in Sutton Coldfield. Rachel showed us how to sew a 'stained glass' piece of fabric approx 54" x 22". It was then quilted using wadding & a lining fabric. Finished piece was then folded & made it a bag. I used purple batik fabric & black for the edging of the panel.

Stained glass technique: We started with 12" squares in four designs.  Stack up the layers, slash then mix n match  :)  add black bias strip & then slash again in the opposite direction.Then this was folded so the joins are diagonal.  no join on the base of the bag.  If you study the photo, you can make out the 12" squares.

The class was held at the Trinity Centre in Sutton Coldfield.  I finished the top of the quilted on the day, then added wadding & backing at home  :)  I did complete the bag as promised to Rachel.

The finished bag hung on a door handles for months before I used it. The colours looked so nice together & I didn't want to ruin it! by using it!!!   I was so proud about how it turned out.  But then once I stated using it - I did so daily  :)   I've had to replace the strap once, it needs attention again.

Currently, this bag is retired  :)

FIRST pattern - Woodland brambles - bought from White Cottage

This was the first bag pattern that I bought.  Andrea & I drove all the way to the White Cottage, Seisdon, using Multimap directions!  It took nearly three hours to get there!!!!!  & just an hour to get home  :)  Only one account of road rage...  Fortunately... my lucky shoulder got in the way of Andrea's hand.  We were in the left hand drive Smartie.

Barrel shape Bramble bag with drawstring top, there was an oval panel on the front with strawberries & ivy (?) with flying geese design.  I took the almost finished bag to the Festival of Quilts the following year.  I spoke to the designer who immediately denied it was her design!  Until she saw the drawstring insert & its barrel shape, then she commented on the flying geese..... 'they' were not on the original design!

Rotary cutter pouch - class taken at NEC

Andrea & I signed up for a sewing class at the show at the NEC.  Nice chance to rest our feet (mine, too!) AND take something finished home.  All materials provided - all pieces cut to size.  We soon learnt it's how they try to sell the Bernina sewing machines.  We could choose which stitches to use.  Allowed us to be creative.  Finished in an hour, it's still being used today.

Applique cat with a mitred border

Andrea & I both bought a kit from the Button Patch.  I got the green one, Andrea's was brown.    Our first Festival of Quilts show.

I loved how the border magically appeared.  But it happened so quickly it was difficult to grasp how it happened.  The designer made a bag pattern a few years later, which I bought.  I've been able to make some more mitre corners since the original cat wall hanging was made.

The Appliqued cat has been hanging on the wall ever since I finished it  :)  It holds my first felt poppy badge.

Early days

I started my crafting days sat on my grandmother's knee.... Probably aged about 4 or 5 years old. 'Nan' showed me how to crochet a chain of stitches. Then double stitch & triple stitch... how to make granny squares by turning a corner. Sew the squares together to make 'bigger' blankets. It started a hobby which evolved to where I am today..... making bags from fabric.

Join me in my journey, as I buy more & more fabric & patterns...  some to be completed & resewn.  Some are still on my 'roundtoit' list.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Battenburg lace Angel - Nov 2009

Free standing Lace design.  I bought a PES file of an internet site.  The design was stitched out in two pieces, then hand finished to form an angel.  Bells where then added and a wooden bead & a bead cap, with ribbon to hang them up on a Christmas tree.  Our angels did not have halos, but we attached a pretty pearl 'fascinator'.  They sold for £5 each.  Some were made to order.  People asking for white & red or white & gold colourways.

New bag patterns to be done still!!!!!

SOUTHERN BELLE   Southern Belle - Monkey Buttons pattern

Flip Flap Bag pattern

Twitter Bag pattern

Seahorses    Seahorse wall hanging

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Heather's PINK wonderland bag - Summer 2010 ---- NOT!!!

Wonderland bag - Summer 2010

Andrea bought the original Wonderland bag kit from the Bramble Patch.  The lining fabric was changed from their suggestion.  The bold design was printed onto a heavy twill.  We hadn't seen printed twill before.

Andrea's birthday trip to Alton Towers was postponed due to the wet weather forecast.  So she came to me & we went to Birmingham for the day  :)  We got the lovely yellow fabric from the Rag Market.
I made this version of the Wonderland bag & used it daily - really useful line of pockets inside, half way up the side of the bag  :)