Monday, November 29, 2010

Introducing the Dears

This week over at Amy's Creative Side Amy was having a One Week, One Project Challenge - to name (last Monday) and finish in a week (today) ONE Project, and I'm very happy to say that I met my challenge!

This is a pattern by "Melly and Me" which I fell in love with sometime ago and the fabric is "12 Days of Christmas" by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics (which I LOVE!).

Please meet Rudy - the star of the pattern and the family patriach (he's the big guy of the family)
Next up we have Ruby - Mum of the clan

and finally - Roby (pronounced Robbie)... he's the teeny tiny man of the house - and I'm sure he'll get up to all sorts of trouble!

and here they are in their first family portrait
At the beginning of the week I had a bundle of legs and bodies and antlers and ears - so this week I have stuffed all the limbs and bodies, hand stitched closed all the holes, attached the legs to the body, hand stitched the ears, antlers, bow, eyes and noses to the bodies. Phew! I think that would explain why I have a nice callous developing on my middle finger!
In that first photo you get a sneak preview of our Christmas tree - which we put up last week... and I will blog about later :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fa la la la FIXED!

Until recently "my" sewing machine was actually my Mum's. It was a 19 year old Husqvarna that had a great straight stitch and a good zig zag.... and... well.... that was about it! But Mum wasn't using it, so it was essentially "mine"..

When Mum retired she decided that she needed the sewing machine back, so I was faced with the prospect of not having a machine at all, which was just not going to be an acceptable solution! :)

I did a whole bunch of research and time and time again heard how good the Bernina 440 was, so I decided to make an investment and bought myself one! Ever since I got it home, I've had a thread tension problem with it. The front stitching would look great

But the thread tension on the back was all over the place. I could tell that it was clearly the tension on the top thread that was the problem, but no matter what I did I couldn't get it to stop looping. I read the instruction book (over and over) and I watched the DVD, but I still couldn't get it to stop!

I finally found time to go back to the shop I bought the machine from, and they were wonderful! It wasn't just the way that I was threading the machine! One of the tension plates was too tight and they fixed it right there on the spot.

The owner of the shop commented how happy he was that I'd brought it back so that they had a chance to ensure that I had a good experience. They gave me needles and bobbins to apologise for me having to bring the machine back in. I was very happy with the service and I went home and got right down to sewing :) Here is a sneak preview of a couple of little somethings that I will show you when I finish them!

The Fa la la la of this post comes from a great new book that just arrived in the mail! It's called "Fa La La La Felt" by Amanda Carestio. It's a really adorable book of Christmas decorations all made in felt.

I should probably mention at this point that I love Christmas as in I. REALLY. LOVE. CHRISTMAS!!! The book is fanatastic - lots of great ideas for decorations for the tree

In different sizes and shapes too

It's got some really lovely ideas for decorating too... I really like the look of this "no sew" wreath
I think that the best thing about the book is that you could just as easily do them by hand or by machine and you could definitely do lots of the projects in normal quilters cottons too. You should all go and have a look at it!
Finally - a big thank you to my big sister who gave me the voucher with which allowed Fa La La La Felt to come to my house!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Squishie Squashie Packages

I love squishie packages.. don't you??

With the Australian dollar doing so well against the US, it's been hard to resist doing a little bit of online shopping... I've been collecting fabrics for an aqua and red quilt - the colour scheme is all over the place at the moment and I just love it! Can't decide what I'm going to do with them, but it's never too early to collect!

These ones are all from one range - "Bliss" by Bonnie and Camille for Moda Fabrics - just perfect for the colour scheme.
These ones turned out to be a little more blue and red than aqua and red - but that's ok! I'm sure I will find a use for them!

Some time ago I got a great pair of Keds - I call them my "Tailfeathers" - they were designed by Tula Pink (who used to design for Moda - but whose new collection will be released by Free Spirit)... but I didn't have any of the fabric - UNTIL NOW! This is from Plume for Moda and is kinda hard to find these days... but it's just gorgeous! I also got a layer cake - I'm trying to decide what to make with them.
I couldn't finish this post without a shot of my assistant for these photos

Monday, November 1, 2010

Candied Hexagons continued....

Hi all,
As many of you know there is something of a groundswell in Australia at the moment for a quilt called "Candied Hexagons".

I've been working on mine for just under a year now, and I'm quite pleased to give you a progress report. So far I have sewn 74 hexagons out of a total of 104 (in case anyone is counting, there are only 73 in the pile, but I finished another hexagon after I took these photos).

I really love this photo - on the left is the hexagons that I've sewn, and on the right are the "cheat" hexagons - that is the ones that are made of a single fabric (the feature floral). All you really need to do is baste them, that's why I can't help but think of them as the "cheater" blocks!

This is my favourite block to sew, which I was very surprised about - but I love the way the pieces all fit together like a puzzle. The original quilt (by Kerry Dear) was actually sewn by machine, but I was looking for a hand sewing project. A number of the women at my quilting group were doing it by hand, so I decided to give it a go. I know in myself that I don't have the discipline to sew a whole quilt with only the sem allowances marked - so I'm paper piecing it.

I've never paper pieced (or hand pieced for that matter!) before, so I did a lot of reading online first (there are a couple of really great bloggers who had step-by-step photos!) and then sewed one block, and trapsed off to the quilting group the next month to check that I'd done it properly!!

Since then I've just been sewing away - matching colours as I went along. I also asked some loved ones to choose a block design and colours for me - so there will always be a block designed by my Mum, a block designed by my sister, a block designed by Sir Pinkying... it's kind of nice to feel like I'm sewing my "family" into the quilt!
Because I'm starting to get close to "the end" of making the blocks, I put aside randomness for a while to make up the "sets" of blocks that are featured in the original pattern. These are ones like the three blocks above where the positioning of the fabrics and the designs of the blocks create a secondary pattern. LOVE them!
I already know that I want to do another hand project when I've finished this one - but I will FINISH this first!!

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