Friday 31 October 2014

Friday Fantasy Quilt

I have wanted to make a double bed quilt for years. I always sort of chicken out and nearly make one, then another, then another and in truth the time making all those 'nearly' quilts could have made a fantastic one. One turned into a patchwork duvet cover which now resides at the cabin...

one turned into a centre piece for a bed spread but not the entire top...another a wall hanging...Annnnyway....

I decided to start cutting another one. THE one. The journey of my fantasy quilt begins. My inspiration was from this beautiful quilt by Kristen at Cozy Things in October 2014

Cozy things blog photo
Ooh yes I thought. I want one a bit like that.

So I searched out my fabric stash which had been sorted out in the summer of 2014 in a colossal craft clear out. I have a red bag and a blue bag.

I made a template 11cm x 11cm. Why? I really don't know but I was thinking that some fudging, stretching and distortion room would be good. Also my fabric pieces were quite small in places and I wanted to use as much of it up as possible. I then found a good tutorial on cutting half square triangles(HST's)here. This is how I did it:

You cut your squares with a bit of spare around the edge.

Then pin two squares together, right sides facing and draw a diagonal line corner to corner.

Sew either side of the line using the foot as a guide along the pen line.

Cut the pen line.

Open each half out and press your wonky square.

Then square up with the original template back to 11 x 11cm. (or whatever you are using)Ensure your template corners match at the seam join corners to ensure the same triangle angle each time.

It works really well. I cut some this week, snatching an hour here and there while the children were off school on holidays and look what my little ones did...

They promptly set to work like little bin weevils scooping my off cuts from the floor. Snipping, colouring and sticking.

I am in awe of that kind of creativity in children.

 We were enjoying ourselves until bloke asked me what the squares were for and I said, 'a double bed quilt.' He promptly did the maths and said, 'you will need about 400 of those!' Bum I thought, this is what happened to me last time I tried to make a quilt... and the time before that. 

But you know some of us have children and it is really hard work but sometimes we have another one don't we? So I think I just need to put the hard work into this baby. See you for a six monthly check up on this quilt. You can see if she has put some weight on or if she is thriving - I might have cut it out by then.

Do cheer me on, I need it. Jo xxx

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Upcycled Blanket box

So that hat was a winner then? Thank you for all your lovely comments they really did make me smile.

Last week or was it the week before, my mum gave me this box.

The hinges had gone on it and someone had pasted on some childrens wallpaper images a long time ago but I saw some potential for cabin furniture.

So in between putting out crafty things for the children to play I added a few coats of paint.

Next I hunted out some decopatch paper(C569)and used these to cover the tongue and groove planks as these were the parts that had previously had paper on. Even after sanding they were not completely smooth so it did a good cover up job.

We are lucky enough to have an old fashioned ironmongers in our little town so I bought two long hinges on one of our bakery jaunts. All finished.

Ta dah! An ideal piece of multi-use furniture for the cabin. A seat, a table and a storage box. 

Being at the cabin is a bit more of an indoor affair at this time of year. Den building on the bottom bunk is key to the fun.

Thanks for stopping by.
More mild weather and a walk today I think.
 Jo x

Sunday 26 October 2014

Hooray! Crochet hat

After our hill walk last week where I battled with my hair in my eyes, the low autumn sun making me squint and cold ears, I decided I needed a hat.

I dived into my cotton yarn zippy bag under the sofa and chose some cotton yarns because wool hats make my head itch. I made this hat from the book Retro and Vintage Crochet before I had to give the book back to my neighbour. 

In my usual style, I finished the hat with centimetres of yarn to spare on all of the four different colors.

To keep warm this weekend we also went to the cabin and embarked on phase three of our cabin plans. Phase one was the build. Phase 2 was our solar panel and lights and phase three - a log burner.

My dad bought it for us and Bloke worked really hard on Sunday making the chimney fit through the roof. I have a new/gifted piece of furniture in there too which I have plans for.

We were toasty warm in the cabin and celebrated with soft, brown marshmallows.

On Saturday night we went to a friends outdoor party. He is a yurt maker so we cosied up in the yurt and it inspired us to get on with putting in our log burner after seeing his.

We are loving this mild Autumn, long walks and being outside. 

Are you enjoying Spring or Autumn?

Friday 24 October 2014

Hooray! swimming bag

My Minerva monthly make has a useful but pretty air about it this month. I have made a swimming tote bag from fat quarters. Actually, I made it in the summer holidays, I was so excited about the kit when it arrived.

The fat quarters were a gift, I used two packs but still have some leftover. The tracing pattern cards are a fantastic idea.

The beautiful leather handles really make it look professional. Minerva have lots of good quality handles varying in price, the spotty leather ones are particularly lovely but these went really well with my fabric.

There is a story, there's always a story... I bought a Joules holdall with a gift voucher about five years ago, I used it as my maternity hospital bag and to take on holiday. Then I used it to go swimming with the girls but the inside got damp and it went mouldy, then the zip broke, then the little keyfob dog fell off! It had worked hard this bag, look at the poor thing, but I deconstructed it and took off all the useful parts.

This meant that my new bag could have feet.

The Clover tote template is brilliant and I will be using it again and again. It marks handle placement, feet placement, pocket cutting and a variety of bag shapes by poking your pencil through the holes in the plastic to mark out cutting lines on the fabric.

This is the South Beach Tote which is really roomy but I made it a bit bigger because I need to get two big towels in there with costumes and other stuff. Ironically, I used it on 'South Beach' (in Tenby, not the US) as a beach bag too.

Thanks Minerva.

Wednesday 22 October 2014


I have an urge to make my own jeans. I have seen some around in blogland. I really think that as I get the fit much better in my handmade clothes, I should give it a go. I have pre-washed my denim but am still a teeny bit frightened to cut it yet. I have never made a muslin (toile) of any garment but I reckon this is the one to buck the trend.

Hence I have been really getting to know my own bottom!

I used an Ottobre 'outdoor trousers' pattern to practise and learn some techniques and get a feel for my size. It turns out I have hips which tip into the next size up to my waist size...just like my mum!

These sit just below the waist. I practised my top stitching on the pockets and learnt how to do belt loops.

I had to use the maximum width for the widest part of my thighs so I need to be aware of that when I cut out my denim. 

This is not the pocket pattern I want on my jeans but it was good to practise machine control.

Flat felled seams went OK, a bit of puckering on the under crotch due to not clipping the curve close enough to the seam but if anyone is looking that closely there, I need to step away from them!

The fly shield and fly facing was tricky as Ottobre magazines assume you are some kind of knowledgable sewer so there are not any pictures but I got there in the end. My zip is too close to the edge of my fly sheild on the right of the picture meaning it peels open a touch when I am wearing them.

So I have learnt a great deal but still feeling uneasy. Maybe I will make it my New Years Resolution. For now though, I have a new pair of cabin/outdoor trousers which were good in the wind!

What are you finding out about at the moment?
Jo xxx

Monday 20 October 2014

Stashbusting quick makes

I have enjoyed making quite a few pairs of leggings for the girls. Little M is five but wears aged 3-4 years leggings because she has an impossibly small bottom but now the legs are getting too tight but the waist still fits so I made her some bespoke ones with a small waist but longer room for her legs.

The fabric is left from a party top here and there is still a little bit more to go.

You can't make one pair of leggings in this house, it has to be two.
These are comfortable and soft. The jersey is from my long sleeve drapes and flounces top and all this fabric has gone now. I sneaked a strip out of the left overs for the binding on my PJ top too.

I can knock up leggings on the overlocker in 30 mins so it is a great way to use up bits left over from other projects. 

Jo xxx

ps. We are on top of the Caradoc in South Shropshire feeling the wind holding us up and whipping our hair. That is the view from the cabin that we see but from the other direction. 

Friday 17 October 2014

Weekend WIPS

Thanks for all the lovely comments on the skirt, I have to say it is one of my most favourite things I have ever made.

There is a choice of works in progress for the weekend and next week, they are:

Knitting: Cast on for a new purple cardigan in Louisa Harding Jesse. My tension has returned with this top quality cotton yarn.

Sewing:Trying to choose which of my vintage patterns to use this gorgeous Guipure lace with while being a little bit precious about it.

Crochet:Started my fourth Elise shawl in fine lace weight yarn.

Papercraft: Catching up on some holiday scrapbooking.

Home: Clearing up after a homemade ginger beer catastrophe, luckily no one was hurt but Bloke had to release the tops on another 8 bottles and the beer rose higher than our kitchen roof extension. Scary and sad. The girls have been making it for 10 days and have been so excited, now it has all gone. Just glad no one was in the downstairs loo!

What are you up to? Jo xxx