Sunday, 19 November 2017

Now No.22 is finished - even if I did go a little off piste

I'm not only enjoying sewing. I'm enjoying blogging too. I've decided to only blog when I'm making or have made something. I think the pressure of trying to put my whole life on all parts of social media were just too much. It would be nice to document my getting back into creativity and it might spur me on to do a bit more blog reading than I have of late.

Anyway, I've gone and done another finish!

Item No22 on my Finish Along List was some Christmassy place mats. If I told you I bought this fabric (charm squares, some kona and a co-ordinating panel of fabric.) when it first came out, you'll have some idea of just how long this has been in my stash. No wonder it took me a while to re-find it. I'd even started cutting out parts of the panel and matching it to the fabric charms. I couldn't quite remember what I'd intended doing with it. Probably a feature panel with smaller squares around it.

The reason I probably didn't finish this sooner is I sort of fell out of love with some of the fabric. I liked all the colour-ways individually. But together I felt sort of meh about them.

Christmas place mats

Then Lily's Quilts was having a destash. (Yes, I've still not forgotten I intend to have one myself. Lets not think about getting rid of fabric when I was tempted to buy!) I haven't bought any fabric for ages. My fabric purchasing this year has gone right down. But this bundle of 20 10" layer cake squares spoke to me and I snapped it up.

Christmas Table Runner and Place Mats

From the moment it arrived I had a plan. I started cutting that very afternoon. I pulled out all the red and cream fabrics from the charm squares above and then cut all but two duplicated large squares in half and generated some more charm squares by cutting them in half again. 

It was at the cutting point I learned something about pre-cuts. Not all are cut equal. These were a bit shy of 10", which might have been something to do with the large zig zagged edges or just a different manufacturers ideas of what 10" is. I ploughed on because if I could remember to sew I surely could remember a bit of seam fudging. (There was plenty of that and a tonne of pins at some stages!)

I think the two fabric ranges mix in nicely, don't you?  The table runner is made of 5" squares. Some of the fabric has such a lovely bold design I didn't want to lose this by cutting out HST's or something. 

Christmas Table Runner and Place Mats

I cut out 2.5" squares for two place mats. There is only really Mum and I over Christmas and even though I'd originally cut fabric for four mats I thought I'd actually maybe like to do two totally different Christmas mats in the future, so I could mix and match and ring the changes. 

Christmas Table Runner and Place Mats

Christmas table mats and runners
Christmas table mats and runners

So here they are finally finished. Is it just me that's never happy with how binding joins on smaller projects? I always seem to end up with a lot of bulk that I end up wrangling. I tried to join these with two different methods and trimmed lots of excess fabric away but still wasn't happy. Thankfully nobody will be inspecting the backs! 

I tell you what though. I'm itching to get on with some more making! 


Sunday, 12 November 2017

No 7. Is finished - My first finish-a-long target is a tick!

I had really hoped that my 3 way wrap scarf would be finished first as I had high hopes of taking it to Scotland when I holidayed there for a week at the end of October. But life got in the way of all things creative. It's only now I'm back and recovered from the coach-lag (is that really a thing? No, Ok I just made that up.) that I'm back sewing.

Right before Scotland I bumped into the decorator who was going to organise some repairs and paint our kitchen before we went away.  I'd totally put that work to the back of my mind, so when he said he could come at the end of the next week, I said OK fine and then had to frantically clear the kitchen. Even a little kitchen has an awful lot of stuff in it. I found things in the backs of cupboards I'd forgotten I had. It was a good job done. Great to get it decorated, but it meant no time for sewing and no space. I normally sew on the dining room table. Everything was decanted onto the table and around the table and on the chairs. I couldn't get to the sewing machine, let alone use it!

My big motivator to get this project done is so I could send it off to a friend for her birthday.  A couple of birthday's ago she knitted me some lovely hand warmers which come on all my cooler weather trips in Gertie and were packed for Scotland too. I thought as she knits too she might like a knitting project bag. I find these so useful for storing projects safely when I'm not working on them. They'd also be great for storing larger sewing projects when you need to keep bigger bits all up together safely.

So I dug out the precut squares. Actually I'd managed to lose the first lot I photographed and in looking for them I found a second lot! Which did save a lot of work cutting out and meant I could get on with sewing at the weekend.


Knitting/project bag

I've decided that scraps are definitely my favourite way of working. I find working with scraps far more liberating than cutting into virgin fabric - particularly bundles. It takes me forever to decided on a plan for them (Hmm maybe that's why they end up in my stash for so long!) and then I worry about having made the wrong decision. I always feel much happier when I've generated some scraps to play with and of course other peoples scraps are always better.

So anyway, back to the project bag: 

Knitting/project bag

I lined it in *that* number print from Ikea. Apparently they no longer stock it! I love that print for linings and backings. The drawer string on the bag is actually a piece of ribbon that has tape measure markings on it. I thought that would be fun.

Knitting/project bag

So there it is. My first finish-a-long item completed. You can find my original list here.  I am already working on the second finish item. Although it has gone slightly off piste. I'll hopefully blog about that next time!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Finish A Long Q4 - The list of shame

So after an aborted attempt to do a list via Instagram I thought I'd go old school and do a blog post. This required a bit of time this afternoon digging through the WIP basket and around the WIP basket as it was over flowing a tad.  I discovered things I'd erased from my mind I'd forgotten all about. Things I'd quite like to get finished. Here goes:

1. Fancy Dr Who Scarf - no optimistic of a finish because I have to generate left overs to add to this!
Finish a long


2. Birdie panel made by the last bee I was in. Wanted to make this into a cushion but I'm not sure it's a suitable shape or whether one of the panels would hold up to being a cushion as it has some raw edge applique and it looks like it's applied with fabric glue?
Finish a long

3. X&+ quilt. Totally doable she says bravely. It's about half done top wise.
Finish a long

4. Highland Coo panel to turn into a cushion
Finish a long

5. Hexie flowers to turn into a knitting project bag.
Finish a long

6. Every day place mats - I started cutting at least
Finish a long

7. Squares knitting project bag
Finish a long

8. Panel that needs turning into a cushion
Finish a long

9. Four identical bags, interfacing and snaps in their own plastic bags. Destined to become a little shoulder bag.
Finish a long

10. HST's destined for a table runner!
Finish a long

11. plus blocks destined for a cushion
Finish a long

12. Orphan blocks destined to become a scrappy kitchen sink quilt
Finish a long

13. Never did plan a whole quilt of these. But I did plan a small quilt to use as a table centre piece
Finish a long

14. need to finish hand quilting and turn into a cushion
Finish a long

15. Bag pieces cut out for a fab Noodlehead tote
Finish a long

16.  Liberty Apple Core sewing organiser - (I'd have finished this at the weekend but I can't find my rotary cutter. The one in the picture is an old one and blunt!)
Finish a long

17. PJ Bottoms. I made these in class at the Fat Quarterly retreat. I think they only need length sorting and hemming - presuming they still fit because I think these were from 2013!
Finish a long

18. Scrappy Trip Quilt. I'd got some suitable strips left from making Chiefs quilt and had cut some more and started to sew them together. But then I ran out of steam!
Finish a long

19. My precious large star quilt. About 6 - 7 years ago these large star quilts were every where and I pulled some precious fabric started cutting and even got the back ground fabric in a zingy shade of Klona. But then I couldn't work out how to cut the blocks well given the size would be larger than my cutting mat!
Finish a long

20. Low Volume blocks - had visions of a vintage/modern heritage style quilt in low volume colours with the odd pop of colour.
Finish a long

21. Three Way Wrap knit.  Those last few inches are taking forever
Finish a long


22. Christmas place mats. I completely forgot to find these and photograph. But I'll add them on here I don't want to forget to get on with these before Christmas!

Christmas place mats
Ok, so my list has over doubled from the Instagram version! Yikes.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

If I blog will I want to sew?

I failed miserably with the destash. I pulled out a huge pile of things I no longer want and have left them in a pile that periodically gets shifted from one chair in the dining room to another. What stalled me was no sooner did I decide to destash, the world and her sewing stash seemed to be doing the same thing and I felt if I put my meagre offerings out there they'd underwhelm everyone else from the big bang destashes going on. I decided to wait until less destashing was going on. Then life got in the way and it's back on hold.

Yesterday, I read a few blogs. I have to say since I stopped blogging I've neglected blog reading and commenting big time. I found I actually missed blogging. I can't ever imagine blogging at the rate I did a few years ago. 200+ posts in one year! But I would like to drop by with the occasional post, because I miss it and I miss the old blog interaction. Don't get me wrong I'm a total Instagram addict. I can hardly keep from checking it every nano second. But it doesn't allow for the sort of interaction that blogging did. Blogging helped me keep my sewjo on track. Even though I had little blips.

This is the longest I've gone without creating. Do I miss it? Yes and no.  Things move on. I like the idea of creating. I like the actual creating bit, but at the moment I feel I'm stuck in a limbo between the two.

I've also been really distracted by travel. Travel is new to me as I've had issues relating to travel and until I went abroad in 2015 I hadn't been for maybe 20 years. Then I binged and managed 6 countries in less than 12 months! I spend a ridiculous amount of time now researching travel destinations and then if I go, sorting the thousands of pictures I take so I can make Blurb books of my travels. Day dreaming about travel has replaced the need to acquire and dream about fabric. (And given the amount of fabric I own, I couldn't be happier!)

I've also been distracted by my garden which got really neglected and has taken some work to start to pull back into shape.

I've got some busy times coming up on the home front and the chances are I'll have less time and inclination to sew over the summer.

But I want to try and start in some small ways.

I'll leave you with a few pics of what I have managed to make this year. Try not to be too underwhelmed!  It seems I put pictures on IG not flickr so I can't even show you bunting and lavender bags.

I know: Must try harder!

Seeing as I don't like to leave without a snap here is a picture I took in Gozo where we stopped off for lunch.

Dwejra, Gozo for lunch



Wednesday, 8 March 2017

On Why A Destash is Imminent.

Hello is there anybody there?

Well, it has been a long time since I put fingers to keyboard and did a blog post. But I have a long last decided to do a destash of fabric and craft materials. Long hoarded (and sadly) these days never used.

It's taken me a while to get my head around destashing. I think the two things that have stopped me are: The thought of getting organised. Spending my work life organising everybody else's life means the thought of coming home and doing more organising does not fill me with enthusiasm. Secondly, what if I let go of stuff only to find that I suddenly wished I hadn't. As I've been waiting for my sewing mojo to return and I absolutely love sewing from stash rather than having to buy and wait for fabric when I'm itching to get stitching.

However, I have a good incentive right now. Immediately after my birthday in January, Chiefs already troublesome back, gave out. He just managed to get home before it got really bad and he was hardly able to move around and off work for about a month. He injured his back many years ago (before I knew him) in a parachuting accident and has been in pain with it ever since. In fact for over 6 months after the accident he was paralysed from the waist down and told he'd not walk again. From time to time his back goes out. Chief said to me when he was bored and stuck at home off work that he wished this had happened when he was at my house because at least we'd be together.

The first thing that occurred to me was sh*t where would he sleep? He'd never manage our cottage stairs and the bathroom is downstairs. Being a problem solver I thought that's ok. We'd just have to take the spare single bed down stairs to the dining room. However, the only way to accommodate it would be move the drawers with the fabrics hoarded in and around. That's a lot of fabric to shift and rehome and I'd not be able to sew while he was in there even if I did feel so inclined.

Sorting my stash
This chest of drawers and beyond is rammed with fabrics! 

It made me realise that the people close to me are more important to the stash around me. That actually if it came to it I'd have to bundle it all into a black sack and transfer it to where the bed had been (no way the chest of drawers would go up our stairs.) But more importantly it occurred to me that actually I was hanging on to most of this because it was pretty and it cost money, so I couldn't afford to just dump it. I'm not actually sewing like I used to. After all how many quilts does one person need? I have limited options of making quilts for other people as gifts and anyway, the last quilt I made was a baby quilt in September. I had to canvas a relative to find out if it had been received, as a thank you wasn't forthcoming, about a month later I got a message on facebook saying: thanks we got you a thank you card but forgot to post it. The only plus side was I managed to make every thing from stash.

So now I'm letting go. I'll probably have to do it in stages. I'm hoping that all the other destashes going on won't put people off buying my stuff there seems to be more destashes going on at the moment than you can shake a stick at!

And who knows maybe when I've reduced my stash I'll find I do want to sew again - with what's left obviously - not buying more!

Anyway, if you're interesting in my destash and seeing what I decide to get rid of please follow my destash account on Instagram @isisjem_destash