Daily Archives

24/07/2015

Finished Handmade Handmade for Pip Knitting Quilting Work in Progress

The foundations of a heart

24/07/2015

Do you ever wake up in the morning just itching to try something out? No, just me then.  I’ve been getting increasingly curious about foundation paper piecing for making quilt blocks, possibly because Pinterest keeps suggesting I might like it (you are wise all seeing Pinterest Cookie Monster, and just a little scary with your accuracy), and possibly because it’s cool.  the idea that you sew from the back, without having to cut precisely and still end up with very beautiful pointy points was both baffling and intriguing.  Which meant there was really only one thing to do; have a go.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

And so this week, I made a mini quilt.  Just because.

After many many happy moments pottering around Pinterest I found the free patterns for foundation piecing on Piecemeal Quilts including a gorgeous set of heart blocks, and my heart was sold.  They’re all lovely blocks and one day it would be so much fun to make a row quilt that has a row of hearts all with the same fabric but in different patterns.  But I’m getting ahead of myself, back to foundation piecing.

The other really great resource I found was You Tube.  I watched a few tutorials but the method and video I liked the best was this one from Connecting Threads:


I don’t have any velum as far as I know so I printed out the pattern and traced it onto greaseproof paper and that worked fine.  I don’t have an add a quarter ruler either so I just eyeballed it when trimming the seams down, though I can see why it would be so handy – I must remember to tell Father Christmas about them.

I did a little stash diving for some scraps and then I was off, and it turns out, foundation piecing is really really easy.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

It is a little big bizarre sewing from the back and there were a couple of times when I got my right and left muddled up and sewed the wrong piece first but greaseproof paper will hold up to some very gentle seam ripping and all was well in the end.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

And then with nice sharp pointy points in all directions, I gently pulled off the backing paper, and squared the block up to 6 inches.  It was at that point that I realised that if I wanted to add a border I probably should have done it when the paper was still attached to ensure that I didn’t loose any of the points, but you live and learn.  Next time I’ll remember.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

 

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

To turn it into a mini quilt I sandwiched a bit of left over wadding with a square pinched from the corner of a fat quarter and filled the heart in with some free motion quilted hearts for the practice.  Clearly I need a bit more practice but that’s just a good excuse to make more quilts.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

The binding is leftover from my very first quilt, I misread the instructions on how much to make and had metres and metres more than I needed so it’s nice to put it to good use after 7 years of sitting in the scraps pile.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

And I love the result.  I managed not to chop the points off the heart when putting the binding off which is nothing short of miraculous and for a few scraps and an afternoon’s work it’s not bad.  As might be suggested by the fact that every time I tried to put it down to take a photo, it kept mysteriously disappearing!

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

This week I’ve also been knitting in all sorts of odd moments and car journeys. Pip’s jumper is going to be Livingstone in a beautiful blue grey baby cashmerino appropriately called Mist and as I’ve already got nearly to the underarms and then had to pull it all back out because I’d got the pattern spacing slightly wrong, it’s probably a good job I’ve started now.  In truth the mistake I made was consistent and not very obvious so I could quite easily have left it, but the more I thought about it the more it niggled and I knew I’d always look at it and think, those seagulls should be further apart.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

I can’t help it, when it comes to knitting I have perfectionist tendencies.

The flock of seagulls is growing again though and we still have more than a month so I’m quite confident that I’ll be finished in time, and hopefully I’ll have a bit of time to get started on something for Kitty before September looms.

Space for the Butterflies - Hearts and Seagulls

Fingers crossed, and needles.

Family Sponsored Post

The realms of fantasy; my dream studio

24/07/2015

Over the last few weeks we’ve started to spend more and more of our time in the studio.  It’s partly the longer evenings and more than partly the fact that for the first time in a while we’ve got it tidy enough for both of us to use it at once.  It’s been tidy enough for one at a time since our big tidy up and reshuffle but there’s been a little pile of bags and boxes of odds and ends that have mysteriously shunted back and forth until we both sat down one day and found that at least half of the contents were small odd socks.  It’s not quite tidy enough for a full studio tour, there are still some bits and bobs that I want to organise, but everything is more or less in its place and it’s lovely to have all my fabric and most of my yarn downstairs so I don’t have to wait for Pip to wake up to go stash diving.

Space for the Butterflies - The dream studio

But then the storm came.  We were sat in there one afternoon, Kitty still at nursery, Elma excitedly colouring in at H’s desk, Pip having a rare sleep upstairs in his cot and H working on a piece from his trip to Paris in the spring and me playing with fabric scraps to put together a mini quilt, and the sky grew dark and the raindrops began to fall.

They thudded on the roof, and streamed down the windows, and splatted on the patio.  And then we realised that the watery noises were just that bit closer to hand.  Rain was trickling and possibly gushing down the inside of the wall, puddling on the shelves where H keeps tubs of paint tubes and dripping onto his desk.

We mopped up the best we could, put buckets under the leaks and willed the storm to pass.  I’m really really hoping that the roofing company will be able to fix it because I love having a studio.  It’s so nice to have a little space where we can lay out all of the things that the children definitely shouldn’t touch, and it’s such a happy sunny room to be in.

Space for the Butterflies - The dream studio

Although disloyal as it sounds, it’s not quite my dream studio. I’s just not quite big enough, but I have a day dream of a studio of the future.  In the field behind our house there’s a little barn sort of building.  Our house, and the rest of the houses in our road are built on the site of what was the big house to our village. Our neighbours on one side remember the old house and the day it was knocked down and there are still traces of it in the rest of the village, the stable block and coach house have been converted into cottages but you can see the shape of the archway, and I wonder whether this little barn was also part of the house.  Not a very exciting part, but maybe a toolshed or a bicycle shed or even just a woodshed.

More recently I think it was used as someone’s garage but now it’s surrounded by brambles and scrub and starting to sag a little at the corners.  It’s so pretty though, made out of gorgeous red brick and it would be perfect as a studio.  It’s not quite tall enough to have two floors, when we look out of our bedroom windows we’re looking down on it and it’s uphill from us, so we’d open it up to the rafters, put skylight windows in the sloping roof to flood it with a steady light, and Itzala blinds for the really sunny days to stop it getting too hot, and maybe take out some of the wall on the side nearest the house and put plate glass in instead.  Then H would have room for all the enormous canvases he can dream of and his easel would never get near touching the roof.

Space for the Butterflies - The dream studio

The rest of the inside walls we’d paint a beautiful pearly white so that I could take indoor photos without having to put the ISO through the roof, and we’d have plenty of space to hang some of H’s favourite canvases and maybe even some of my embroideries could make it back onto the walls.

We’d have to lay it out with a mucky section for art, and then we can all come in and throw paint around with abandon, and I can get my long neglected screen printing set out again and give that a whirl, or do yarn dyeing even on rainy days.  We’d have to put plumbing in so that we could have a big sink for washing painty stuff and a big sink for washing us because the other half would be the clean section, set up for H to draw and with all of my fabric and yarn and books and needles and hooks and patterns and magazines and the sewing machine.

Space for the Butterflies - The dream studio

I’d have a comfy sofa for curling up on to knit or crochet or do a little hand sewing, a cutting table that’s right up at my height and a sewing machine table that’s big enough for both my sewing machine and one of the two overlockers which I have in the house, which I would also have learnt how to use by that point. And there’d be a spot for my spinning wheel with a chair at just the right height and all my fibre to hand, and is it starting to seem like I have too many hobbies?

Space for the Butterflies - The dream studio

And I’d still have my desk and my birthday lights and all the postcards and badges and other bits of knick-knackery that I have at the moment that feel happy and inspired.  Oh and an iron and ironing board would be out there too, or maybe an ironing table, and on the back wall I’d make a big design wall for my quilts in progress out of a big bit of foamcore covered in batting.

If we ever did try to buy it and make it our it would give us more garden at the back of the house and stop it being such a strange shape so the view from the windows would look out on a garden heaving with flowers and we’d always have enough for a little vase on the table.

What else do we need?  I think a cake tin goes without saying for me and I rather like H’s idea of a small fridge for beer/cider on a balmy night.  The way it’s all coming together I think we’d practically live out there.

I know I am entering into the realms of fantasy, but indulge me and come and play.  If you had a barn in your garden to turn into a studio, what would you put in it?

With thanks to VELUX for sponsoring this post. If you are interested in collaborating on a post, please take a look at my Work With Me page