Monday, 23 July 2012

Kitchen Windows Progress

The Kitchen Windows quilt for my niece's 1st birthday is making some progress! All the blocks have been cut and partially pieced, I just need some spray starch before I finish the piecing as I've noticed that the print fabric has been stretching as I sew :(

The first (mostly) completed block:

Six of the twelve partially done blocks, on the pink that I'm using as the border fabric:

Here's two of the fabrics that I've bought for the backing, Meet the Gang Names in Rose and 1001 Peeps Towers in Purple (both from the Pink Chalk Fabric sale - such a bargain that shipping was more expensive than the fabric!) I think I might add in some purple solids to bulk out the back, I want the back to be less girly than the front so that she can swap and change as she gets older.

 How cute is it that the blush-y colour on the top of the skinny minaret perfectly matches the background of the names?

Proof that it does look something like the pattern! I might have to call it my "Zoo Windows" quilt - look at that cute giraffe :)

And a quick question if you've got this far - anyone in the UK have a recommendation for a good online shop selling wadding and spray starch? I can't remember where I bought my last bits of wadding from, or even what brand it was! Ta very muchly :-)

PS - I promise I will press the pink before I cut into it! I'll also try and find another camera that can pick up the differences between the greys and pinks, unlike mine!

PPS - sorry if I don't reply to comments straight away, I'll be off on my jollies in Denmark :) I promise to reply asap.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Guess what I'm doing on holiday...

Off camping with my scouts for a week and a half, then some solo traveling home via a few European cities - this should keep my hands busy!

I have got a few posts scheduled but won't be able to comment. Have a fun few weeks!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The story of the seam ripper and the naughty quilt

 Well, this quilt has been a trial and a half for me!

It was actually the first quilt that I started, and began it's life looking like this:


I arranged the strips in a sort-of rainbow order - except that I got a few pieces wrong and had to spend time with my lovely seam ripper....

I got that sorted, then realised that the seam allowance was wonky - 1/2" at one end, and 1/4" at the other! Back to that seam ripper again...

Next problem - the ONE block that was in the wrong place! After much deliberation, I decided to leave it as it was - I had fallen out with my seam ripper by now.

  I finally got it all pieced up and was happy with it. Taadah!

But then - we had a coffee disaster :-( when the cleaner accidentally spilt coffee on it! It was extremely quickly (and quite badly!) quilted without waiting for the walking foot which was on order. The binding was thrown on, quicker than I thought I could, and it was thrown in the wash following the advice of lots of lovely ladies. Please take note of the use of the verb "thrown" - it was appropriate!

The washing mostly worked, so here's the finally finished quilt! It finished up at about 36 sq inches - not huge but big enough to snuggle on the sofa. It is going to be loved and used as much as possible - after all, it needs to be after the stress of making it!

Some straight-ish line quilting here! I mainly quilted in one direction, with a few perpendicular lines. I left the squares on each end clear. Please ignore the puckers, there are plenty, but my machine just couldn't handle the layers and I didn't want to wait for the walking foot in case the coffee stain set too much.

Backing with more fabric from the same line, and some Klona White.

Nice mitred corners - I was very pleased with myself! There's no purple in the quilt, so I thought it'd make a nice frame by using purple binding.

Joking aside, I have learnt a LOT about making quilts in the process and hopefully won't repeat any of these mistakes!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Thank Goodness!

Just a very quick post to say thanks so much for the help, I've washed the quilt and mercifully, the colour hasn't run and most of the coffee stain has come out.

It's hung up to dry now, I'll update with photos tomorrow if I can (weather and time permitting)

Now, back to that marking......

Saturday, 14 July 2012

How do you wash your quilts?

Ok, so we had another problem with the flipping rainbow Half Moon Modern quilt - a coffee stain this time (poor cleaner was distraught - and no, I don't live in a mansion, I just don't like cleaning the toilet!)

At this point, it was basted with one line of quilting, so I rebasted in (I think the glue came unstuck with the liquid of the coffee), trimming and squared it up, decided not to wait for the walking foot which is on order, and threw it through the machine to quilt it last night. Today I've added the binding (which arrived super quick from Frumbles) and it's now finished.

So - here comes the scary bit - how should I wash it? It's made out of charm packs with bright white sashing, and obviously no prewashing, so I'm worried about the colour running. I've read some advice online, but it seems very US-orientated and not very clear. I've got a standard washing machine, no tumble drier, Persil, fabric softener and Vanish powder in the cupboard, and any advice would be incredibly gratefully received! Oh, and it's peed it down all day and probably will tomorrow too :-(

No photos today, hoping to salvage it first!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

I conquered a zippy pouch!

A zippy pouch went well - I'll tell you about that below. First, can I apologize for the total lack of comments this week? My phone tells me that I'm not logged into Google every time that i try :-( Please don't think I'm being rude! Secondly, my photos are now nice and large as suggested - any bigger and they won't fit on the page!

Ok, so the success story. The last zippy pouch I attempted didn't go very well, however, after a bit of encouragement from Susan and with help from the latest issue of Fat Quarterly, this attempt went much better!

Look at those neat corners! Look at the topstitching! (Couldn't do that last time, hadn't sewed the fabric on the right way round at the first step...)

This is a present for my lovely bridesmaid, she lives in Seoul now so her present needed to be small, light and easily transportable for when she heads back to South Korea following her latest flying visit. The fabric came in a scrap bag a long time ago, and was only a tiny scrap (18" by 11" approx), but I managed to get two little covered buttons from the final scraps to add in.

Hope she likes it!

PS - Rebecca from Sew Festive Handmade and Marti from 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks are today's Blog Hoppers - why not go and pay them a visit?

Plum and June

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Planning more cushions...

Thank you to everyone who visited on Thursday, it was lovely to get so many comments!
Cushions seem to be my go-to present this year, I think I've already made 6 for birthday, new baby and Christmas presents, and I've got two more ready to make.

Number one is for a friend's birthday. Her house is really brightly furnished with lots of lovely accessories, including some very funky cushions, so when I saw this fabric I thought it was very apt for her birthday.

I was thinking about using a zip closure rather than an envelope back, so as not to waste too much of this gorgeous fabric. Does anyone know of a good tutorial?

The second (and possibly third?) cushion is for my brother in law and his soon-to-be wife as a wedding present. My nearly s-i-l is from quite a creative family, and they made a quilt for her sister's wedding last year, but I can't see my brother in law wanting a whole quilt! I decided instead to make them a cushion, and THEN I saw this fabric:

I'm not sure entirely what to do, I'm thinking about making a pair of cushions, using these solids which match quite well:

 So, should I add borders? Keep the fronts plain and just use the solids on the back? I think I want to keep the pattern fairly visible. Questions, questions! Any thoughts or opinions would be gratefully received.

PS - wasn't supposed to be buying more fabric - oops!

PPS - don't forget to catch up with next week's Blog Hoppers:

July 10
    Jenelle from Echinops and Aster
    Julie from Bedsheet in the Kitchen

July 12
    Rebecca from Sew Festive Handmade
    Marti from 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks

Plum and June

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Blog Hop Bus Bag

It's my Blog Hop Day! Hello again to those of you who've been here before, and to those of you who are new - hope that you like it here!

If you're new here, my name is Sarah or Sarah-Lou, Sarah Louise if I'm in trouble, and Little Sarah quite often as there are lots of Sarahs around and I'm 5" nothing. My Dad calls me Weezy because I used to have trouble saying Louise - but he's the only one allowed to call me that. My friend's little girl calls me Auntie Sar-dah, which is just the cutest thing ever :)

I'm 26 and live in North London with the lovely Hubs, who doesn't quite understand why I *need* to take over more of the house with the growing fabric stash. I'm a teacher which means that I don't have lots of time for sewing during term time, but the holidays are more productive.

I've been sewing nearly a year now, I started when I found out that my lovely cousins were both pregnant, and my friend Charlie suggested making them cushion covers. I then started working on my first quilt just after Christmas, and Hubs bought my lovely Janome for my birthday - yay!

Beth suggested that we answer some questions to help us "get aquainted!" Here are my answers:

Favorite quilting tip(s)
I wish that I'd known the importance of keeping seams allowances consistent earlier - I'd read it somewhere but it hadn't got through my somewhat thick skull, so I've just spent ages unpicking my Half Moon Modern quilt as the sashing really didn't match up.

Favorite blogging tip(s)
The main thing that I've realised is that it's important to get involved - I haven't had time to join any swaps yet, but I love getting comments and then replies to comments.

Favorite fabric
Ooooh, there are so many! I love the Liberty prints, but my bank balance hasn't stretched to that yet! Of the fabrics that I actually own, I think my favourites are either my solids, or the Raindrops by Erin McMorris which I used to make my first ever handbag.

Favorite craft book
I've said it before and I'll say it again - Elizabeth Hartman's Practical Guide to Patchwork

Favorite book
By far the hardest question here! I'm currently reading the latest Game of Thrones book and Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, and I've been trawling through Les Mis for over a year! I also love Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer's books, and Jane Eyre, and Terry Pratchett. Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey is fantastic, and I love love love Animal Farm, and........ There are just too many to name!

Favorite children's book
I read the Hobbit with my Dad aged eight and it lit my imagination up. I also love the Weirdstone of Brisingamen which was set in the area where I grew up. I have a real thing for early C20 girls' fiction, things like the Chalet School and Abbey books, and the classics like What Katy Did. Can you tell that I'm a bit of a bookworm?


Favorite quilting tool
No contest here - 1/4" foot all the way.

Favorite music to listen to while quilting
I rarely listen to music whilst sewing - usually it'll be whatever Hubs is listening to. To be honest, I don't have an MP3 player and only listen to Radio 2 in the car (old before my time or what!)

Favorite TV show while handstitching
Box set of The West Wing, or whatever's on E4 (UK channel showing things like Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother)

Binding - by hand or by machine?
Machine on the front, by hand on the back


For the Blog Hop, we were asked to choose a novelty fabric to work with. My friend's little boy is about to turn three, and is obsessed with buses and books, so I thought I'd make him a present that combines the two! I used the Child's Messenger Bag pattern from 101 Great Ways to Sew a Metre.

and made it using fabric with a London bus pattern from Fabric Rehab. I'm afraid this is more of a pattern review than a tutorial I'm afraid as it was from a published book and not a self-made pattern, but here we go!

Overall, I thought it was an excellent pattern - easy to follow with clear instructions, making good use of the fabric (I have a decent amount left over) and leading to a nice final product. More specific thoughts on certain parts of the bag are below.

The fabric was just quilting weight, and on reflection, it might have been a good idea to use some interfacing to strengthen it. The pattern does suggest using a heavier weight fabric. However, it can hold the weight of a decent sized cookbook, so hopefully it'll be ok for a trip to the library.

Nice boxy corners, made by folding a flap into the fabric and sewing in place. I was really pleased with this, even though I had to read this step quite a few times!

The velcro lined up quite well on the front, but I wish I'd ignored the instructions and left it off the front flap so that they could be lined up with the velcro on the body more closely.

Cute little pocket! Knowing the birthday boy, it'll probably end up with a toy car or digger in here.

The straps came up a little long on Little Miss Cheeky here, but the birthday boy is taller than she is so hopefully it'll look ok on him.
The persuasive power of chocolate buttons is amazing!

Thanks for visiting, I hope you liked what you saw. Don't forget to visit the other blog hoppers this week - Catherine from Knotted Cotton today, and  Di from Willowbeck DesignsJennifer from Knotted Thread who posted on Tuesday.

Sarah x

PS - I'm rearranging my layout at the minute, any feedback is gratefully appreciated!

Monday, 2 July 2012


Just a quick post to say that the winner of the charm pack was Yzo from Chez Roo

Yzo didn't mind which charm pack she got, so I decided to send her the...

Actually, I'll leave it as a surprise!

Thank you everyone who entered, it was lovely to get so many comments :-)

Sunday, 1 July 2012

June Roundup

Well, another month has flown by. Here's what I've been up to:

1. A new Kindle cover for me!
2. A sneak peek at my Blog Hop project - please come back Friday for more.
PS - linking up with Lily's Quilts again.
3. and 8. A new wristlet, again for me, using Summersville and a Keyka Lou pattern. This involved lots of resewing!
4. and 5. My Half Moon Modern quilt, which I've been deliberating over a lot this week - I decided to finish it regardless of fudg-y-ness.
6. A new photo of my Raindrops handbag which I took to a wedding in May. I re-shot this as I didn't have a decent picture, and improving the quality of my photos has been a personal challenge this month. Let me know if you think I've been successful.
7. My pillowcase for Danny.

And number 9 is not in the mosaic, but is my new header - I've also learnt a bit more about coding and photo software this month - do you like it?

Looking at this mosaic, this seems to be my most prolific month, but also the month with the most selfish-sewing - I wonder if that speaks to my personality at all?!?

PS - Linking up to Lily's Quilts again this month :-)