Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Okay that may be a slight exaggeration in being a necessity, I was at my desk making lists of all the projects I either had on the go or wanted to do. When I am planning to do lots of projects especially sewing, I tend to do a lot of cutting out and set them up like kits before I get to the sewing. My mind was buzzing with projects I had cut out and ones that I wanted to prepare.

Sometimes when my head is too full, I do bullet point lists for each project. For instance cut out x , get notions, sew. Lots of little notes broken down in to do lists. What I really needed was a notice board. I have one but it is buried some where. Head was still jumbled when I spotted some card packaging from a duvet cover and a light bulb went off. Right next to it was a pair of jeans that just don’t fit right now.

I found a fat quarter from Stash and bingo I had a plan. I measured the FQ around the card and it was a tight fit but it would fit. Out came the sewing machine and I sewed along one short edge and the long edge. The jeans were inserted in-between the card and the fabric pulled over the top. I didn’t sew the base up, just tucked it in like a pillow case and voila I have a mini noticeboard.

Lockdown

I have been isolating since 19th March and it has had it’s ups and downs. There was a week near the start when I was very snappish and an emotional rollercoaster and now for the most part I am settled in my routine. I am lucky, that through out my isolation I have been able to work from home. I still get up and at the same time and do some chores before I start work. I think this has helped, although the one thing to suffer is my sleep pattern. I go to bed at the same time and spend most of the night tossing and turning. I have tried all the usual tricks, reading, knitting, warm milk, deep breathing, nytol, nothing works.

One good thing about the isolation is that I have managed to get on and properly tidy and sort the rooms I’ve been procrastinating about for months. Normally I would start sorting, then think of a reason to leave the house and not finish it. Now of course, I haven’t been able to leave the house so it is finally done. I have also sorted out the old craft/junk shed and it has been sorted and filled with boxes ready for when the charity shops open . I donated two large bags of fabric to my local scrub hub which made me feel like I was helping the cause, as there was enough fabric for hundreds of scrub caps and a few scrub sets. if I wasn’t up to sewing them at least I could provide the materials.

Craft wise I am still knitting the Afternoon tea blanket which is coming along nicely. Five strips have been knitted and sewn together and am midway on the sixth. I have also been sewing, mainly masks for the family and extended family. When my daughter asked me for masks I obviously said yes and just got on and did it, I didn’t dislike it but it wasn’t a joyful process. When I chose a different style- the full faced masks- I found the process of sewing the masks very therapeutic and want to sew some more. I am lucky as I did not need to buy anything to sew any of the masks, everything came from stash, well apart from one fat quarter of Star Wars fabric my grandson requested for his masks. One WIP I did manage to sew was The Raglan Dress by The Avid Seamstress. I absolutely love this dress. The fabric makes me smile and the pattern is a dream to sew. The instructions are clear and raglan sleeves are for me the easiest to sew. There will be many more of these in my wardrobe. I think I may need to do a post on this at a later date.

Talking of WIPs, I am the worst for having a day where I will cut out a few projects ready to sew at a later date. Some of these projects have been untouched for a few years so I decided to be ruthless and have decided to bag up those that didn’t inspire me any more and donate as a kit – fabric, pattern, pins- to the charity shops when they reopen . This actually made me relieved, as if a pressure had been lifted as now I only have two projects cut out ready to sew.

I really need to start a simple knit project, something I can pick up and knit mindlessly when I need some mindless knitting. Just to be contrary and play devils advocate, I also want to knit something intricate and lacy. when sorting out I discovered the Year of Lace 2009 patterns, only one of which I got around to knitting . Now if I can just find the yarn these came with …….

GBSB Live part one

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Great British Sewing Bee Live at Excel. I had awonderful day and it was a much needed break from the madness of the last few months. This was my first time visiting the Excel Centre and I am impressed at how easy it was to get to. There were a lot of firsts on the day,,as well as my first time at Excel, I decided to try the Emirates Cable car, what n experience. The views over London were inspiring and I enjoyed it.. I did get a little startled now and then when I looked around and saw a FAB member decal on the window
I bought a show guide which is something I don’t normally do for these things, it was at first glance expensive at £8 , but it came with a free bag and lots of articles, so was more like a magazine. I flicked through and found out where all the freebies were. More of them in the next post. My first stop was the Liberty clothing display from the Fashion and Textile museum. I had seen this previously at the museum but it was good to see all those beautiful prints up close again..

I decided to go up and down each row of stands so that I didn’t miss anything. At the show was a fashion show sponsored by Vogue patterns that showcased some of the dressmaking patterns available, both from their brands and the independents. I saw the 11:30 showing and was so pleased I did. There were some lovely clothes shown and it was here that I first saw my PERFECT pattern for me. It was love at first sight. The pattern is form independent pattern designer The Avid Seamstress. The pattern is an Aline/swing dress with pockets and best of all a raglan sleeve. the pattern is called the Raglan Dress and this will be another great stash buster. She also had a childs version of the pattern which I also purchased. Evalyn will be getting lots of these. For Evalyns I have traced off her size ready to use the pink stretch denim i bought years ago. a nice applique dinosaur should complete it. Despite destashing I did succumb to buying some fabric. more on that in the next post.

The show wasn’t as big as I expected but it did mean I could see everything at a leisurely pace. another plus point was all the independent stands. one of the stands I visited was Sew n Beads the website does not do it justice. There were lots ofnlovely items there , one thing I particularly liked was that she had lots of items made up you could buy but there was also the option to buy the same items in kit form. I bought two lovely kits there. Of course I plan on making more of the same with my stash and the pattern!

I bought some nice cards and an interesting pattern from the Leicestershire Craft Collective . The cards are for me to look at , not necessarily send but the pattern I am a little disappointed in. I specifically asked if this could be adapted for a younger child and they said full instructions to adjust for all sizes were in there. They weren’t. It does say how to adapt it but not the way she made it sound. It will still be a great stash buster but for adults  and downsizing I will need to do some more work.

More to follow at a later date 

Lists

It’s that time time of year when one has to start making lists. One almost has to write a list of the lists one has to write.
This year hasn’t quite got to that stage yet but so far we have the Christmas card list and the Christmas present list. It’s too early for the Christmas food list. I also have these sewing to do list and the knitting to do list, I had got to the stage where I only had one knitting project on the go but that has gone by the wayside. On my needles at the moment are:
1-Vibrant Sweater from Vogue Knitting, I am onto the body,
2-Hogwarts Express a small shawl in worsted weight yarn
3- Lille a cardigan in 4 ply for Evalyn
4- Mystery Blanket 2014 , this strictly speaking is in hibernation but I do need to start knitting it for Evalyn.
I have written another two hat patterns Harry and Nick so have been test knitting these. I am pleased with the results.
Now we come to the sewing projects. I am so very far behind with these as I just do not have any free time to sew at the minute. The knitting gets done because it’s portable and I can knit whilst travelling.
1-numerous project pouches which are the most important to get done.
2- 2 dresses for Evalyn
3- Advent calendar for Harry and Evalyn
4- stocking for Evalyn
5-tulip dress for me
6-vintage top for me
7-sew buttons on a coat
8-shorten sleeves on a top
9-2 pairs of PJs

All of these are cut out or part sewn and need to be finished. The pouches are the most important but I may need to finish the two dresses for Evalyn before she outgrows them

2013 Decorations

Here are some of the decorations I made for family and friends for christmas 2013. Every year I have some tags made with Christmas 2013 by Jennifer S. Obviously I change the year but I sew these on to presents I make for the holidays
I decided to add some crochet trim to the bell
The hearts are made with Liberty fabric , felt and trimmed with beads and vintage lace that was made in England.
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Day 19 it can be revealed

Some of you may have already worked it out. The present I was working on for my friend was Debbie Abrahams Mystery Blanket A Nordic Adventure. I am pleased to report she loved it and I will be making her a cushion to match. Here’s a picture

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Mystery blanket 2013

I also made her a repair kit so that if disaster stikes and it gets a hole she can fix it.
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I am so pleased she liked it, although to be  honest she didn’t like it she loved it. I like making things for Zoe as she always appreciates a hand crafted gift. As this was her Christmas and birthday present , we exchanged Christmas presents.  She opened hers first and then said I can’t give you yours now which  was a silly thing to say as she has made me the most beautiful hand patchwork quilted pouch. She is an amazing talented crafter and her embroidery and sewing skills are outstanding. Zoe is extremely good at the little details and always adds a little something that I wouldn’t think of.  The hexagons are all hand stitched as is the binding and the fabrics are Liberty prints. She added a gorgeous button and sewed tiny beads on top of it.  I can’t stop picking it up and  stroking it. Now I have to decide whether to use it as a handbag organiser or a notions pouch. At the moment it has my favourite pens and a pair of scissors in it.
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Thanks Zoe I really do appreciate it and love it.

Number 11

I have come to a decision.  It’s the same decision I arrive at every few years. Next year I am only giving presents I have made. I have a few ideas,  for the young ones in my new Sew magazines is a pattern for a snakes and ladder mat. This should use a fair bit of fabric.

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There is a new baby on the way and I am determined to make everything from my stash fabric. If its a girl it will be easy, not so much if it’s a boy. I am itching to get some sewing done  but am not up to it . A fairly new trend in craft magazines is that the patterns to make the projects shown have to be downloaded from a website. They are still free but I find it annoying.  If I pay for a magazine of patterns I do not expect to have to print them out myself. Ironically this is the last issue of my Sew subscription. I decided not to renew as there wasn’t much in the previous issues. This issue however had at least three projects I will be making and in  next month’s issue there looks like a couple of projects I will make. Signing off to see if I can download the patterns.

Busy , busy, busy

It’s been a busy few months. One might even use the word hectic.
I’ve done lots of crafting, been on a mini holiday, caught up with friends and family and lots of work.
There’s also been lots of time spent with my wonderful grandson who is becoming even more of a character.
Sewing seems to have the main craft over the last few months although I still got lots of knitting done.
Although I have made lots from my stash I have made a few bits for work which I used new fabric for. I made some project bags from the gorgeous Rowan laminate. My favourite is the blue one which is an Amy Butler Alchemy design,there is a matching cotton fabric so I used this to line my project bag. It’s not like standard oilcloth it is much softer and as it is designed for sewing it goes through the machine easily and is soft. I really enjoyed making them the only problem was that I ended up buying some to make presents with.

I also made a cover for my Filofax. As much as I am fairly tech savvy I still prefer a paper diary. I used all my odd bits of fabric to create a patchwork piece of fabric big enough to make the cover. It was a very random pieces of patchwork no two bits were the same. I them experiment with my machine and embroidered various stitches randomly over the fabric. Before I did the embroidery I appliqued a tulip from Amanda Addisona

I normally think too much about the placement of pieces so this free form patchwork was a nice change.

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Baby Shower

Today was the baby shower for Sarah and baby Jones. I was given my orders and everything had to be ready for it and even though she’d seen most of it she wanted it to be given to her at the shower. If I’m honest I’m not sure of the point of baby showers, other than to get lots of gifts. I’d rather do my gifting after the baby is born. none the less a good time was had by all. We had to blind taste some baby food and all agreed that the savoury ones were disgusting but I found the banana and apple one quite nice! Predictions were made for the labour length, time and date of birth. The ranged from April 12th – May 7th and labour times from 3 hours to 12. Lets hope it’s the lower end of the scale.

For the shower I had made a cot quilt, a cot bumper, some flannels which were edged in the same fabrics as the quilt, a swaddle and the blanket. I am really pleased with the results and my other daughter Jemma was rather shocked for some reason. She kept saying did you really make all those they’re really good. I wasn’t sure whether I should be insulted or complimented. I also made the baby a few comforters which some of the mums there were so impressed with they asked me to make them some.

My favourite item was the swaddle which will be my new must make present for new babies. It’s not long now and I am so excited. I am so looking forward to becoming Nanna Jen.

As soon as I can find the lead for my camera I will upload pictures

Back in the swing of it

My sewing table is clear so I finally got down to some serious sewing. I made two sample bags for a workshop next month in some Amy Butler fabric, altered one of my dresses and even managed to hem my nans trousers for her. I did a perfect blind hem only to discover I’d sewn it the wrong way around. I guess it’s true what they say practice makes perfect!
I also finally started this years mystery blanket from Debbie Abrahams. Still only on the first square but am enjoying using the different yarns. This last week I knitted a lovely work colleague a hat & mittens. Photos will be uploaded once I’ve given her them