To Quilt or Not to Quilt?

IMG_7903I’ve always thought quilting to be something that my Nan would do and up until the other day I had absolutely no interest in it what so ever. And lets face it you can only make so many quilts. We have four beds in our house, so to me that equates to four quilts. I know people who just sew quilt after quilt after quilt…. and end up giving the large majority of they hard earned work away. So to me it’s never really been of any great interest until I saw a lovely photo of a chevron patterned quilt and I thought “Perfect, just perfect” for my daughters new bedroom. We are planning to go for a white room with splashes of neon, or very bright colours.

So today I went to my favourite shop, The Remnant Warehouse and sourced these four colours which I plan to start this week. I’m going to make 80, 10 inch squares and then I have to admit I am going to pay someone to do the top stitching for me; I can’t think of anything more tedious than doing the final stitching part – it’s way too time consuming for me at this point in my life.

So the plan is to cut out the 80 squares this week and then get started on turning them into half square triangles…. ahhh I’m picking up on the quilting lingo already! Classic. Then next week I’ll work on finishing off the half square triangles and maybe even start to sew some lines together, time permitting.

Do you quilt?

Old School Techniques

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This week my good friend and I met again for our monthly get-together and did some sewing and a lot of talking. Her Mum was down from the country for the week so she joined us and I learnt a really good old school technique; but more about that later…

At the beginning of this crazy ‘learn to sew’ adventure I started a year ago I bought this gadget online from the USA called a Yo-Yo Maker because it makes cute little material flowers from scraps of left over material. (God only knows what I thought I was going to make with it!). So a year after purchasing it I actually opened the package this week and attempted to use it. A few things I discovered:

1.  One and a quarter inch yo-yos are way too small to do anything decent with (in my opinion that is!)

2. A Yo-Yo is the American term, a Suffolk Puff is the British term

3. You don’t need a Yo-Yo Maker to do it – in fact I think it’s just as easy to do it by hand. It’s so easy that I have created a tutorial here.

I decided to make some hair ties for my little girl and her cousins so I collected a few pieces of scrap material from the scrap box and cut out some circles and got to work hand stitching. You basically do a running tack stitch around the outside of the circle and then pull the thread to make it gather, tie it off and then sew the hole closed…. when I did my first one I thought “Gee that doesn’t look right at all!”. So my mums friend had a look and told me that the problem was that I had not folded over the edge. So simple but being a beginner I didn’t think of this. Once I folded over the edge it made the world of difference to the finished product.

Elizabeth is 63 years old; has sewn all her life and has passed her knowledge onto her daughter. She can sew anything – and I mean anything; regardless of the level of difficulty! She just takes one look at something and can copy it. She has a real talent. Elizabeth grabbed my failed Suffolk Puff and said “Look you just fold over the edge, crease it and then sew”. Most of us today would use an iron and carefully fold over the edge and then press it with an iron but Elizabeth just folds it over, creases it in-between her thumb and index finger and carries on around the circle. She told me her grandmother taught her to do it this way and that she had always found it to be very effective. So I tried it and it really does work! And to be perfectly honest you would never know that I haven’t used an iron. I like to keep things simple and this certainly is a lot more simple (quicker and easier) than using an iron. It’s certainly worth a try and it even means that I can now make them on the train on the way home because I don’t need the iron anymore!

Sweet don’t you think?

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Get-together

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At the end of last year my good friend and I decided that (1) we need more time to sew and (2) we need some time for us without the kids around so we came up with an idea…

We decided that once a month we would meet up for a days worth of sewing and a long, very long chat. So yesterday was day one of our get-togethers for 2014. We had such a nice day, (and very quiet without the kids I have to tell you!).
I picked up some lovely jersey material from Tessuti and made a modern version of the pillow case dress. It turned out so well! And it really was super easy to make, especially because I now have my overlocker to finish off all the edges nicely.
My girlfriend worked on some appliqué designs, oh and we also organised for our beautician to come over for some treatments just to top the day off.
So all in all it was a great day – can’t wait to do it again!

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Camping leads to more material

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Who would have thought that camping in the middle of no where would lead to me finding a very cute little sewing shop which then lead to a few little purchases! (I tried to hold myself back but I couldn’t help it).

On the first night of sleeping in the tent all five of us froze to death – it was 40 degrees during the day and then at night the temperature plummeted into single figures so that spurred me to go for a ‘quick’ trip into town in search of winter woollens which was a one and a half hour drive! A bit different to our two minute drive to the nearest shops in Sydney!

I found this cute little shop on a back street in the middle of Scone called Sew Scone. It has a lovely choice of fabrics, one in particular that I really liked was ‘Ring a Roses‘ by Gutermann. I also found a lovely textured floral print and bought a few meters of it to make a dress for my daughter (yes another dress…) and I thought I might attempt a top for myself… the same style that I would like to do in silk, so this can be the test run before I use expensive material just in case it’s a disaster!

I also came across this interesting thread which changes colour along the thread. I thought it was a bit of fun so I bought two of them in different colour ways and we’ll see what it looks like on my next little project.

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Fabrics… My Idea of Heaven!

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Happy New Year! I’ve been laying low of late, what with Christmas festivities followed straight after with Boxing Day and then the New Year it’s been pretty busy at our house and really no time to sew.

For Christmas my wonderful husband gave me my very first overlocker. I was so excited I wanted to get it out and give it a go on Christmas morning but he didn’t realise that he needed to buy thread so I can actually use it…bless. So whilst I was away on holidays I got on line and sourced some lovely fabrics from eQuilter along with some overlocking threads and today it arrived in the post! Such lovely fabrics… this really is my idea of heaven. I just can’t wait to get started on lots of cute clothing for my kids.

Then from my Dad I was given a gift voucher to The Bronte Sewing Room which was very thoughtful. My Mum told me he came up with the idea all on his own, he then searched the internet for a suitable sewing course that he thought I would really like and found this! Love you Dad xxx. So I thought I would book myself into their adults sewing class and take along with me my pattern to make Dad a night shirt…. he’ll love it I’m sure.

So what with the night shirt for Dad plus all the cute clothes I have planned to make for the kids I think I’m going to be very busy for the next few months. Then finally once all that is done I am going to try working with silk; a tie for my husband and a shirt for my sister and me. This might be a little ambitious but I figure ‘What the heck, lets just give it a go’.

Can’t wait to see what 2014 brings! Hopefully a lot of success and very few disasters!

Happy NY.001