Thursday, 23 April 2015

Sunprints and Massdrop

I got this lovely fat quarter bundle in the post yesterday!
Alison glass fat quarter bundle Sunprints
It is Alison Glass's Sun Prints - 17 FQs all together in a 'cool' colourway. I got it for $42 including tax and shipping (which was free in this case) so less than $2.50/£1.70 a FQ. Bargain! A few months ago another quilter posted about Massdrop and I signed up for their emails so see what kind of things they had available. What with all the upheaval of recent months, this is the first time I've had a chance to participate in a 'drop'.

What happens is that someone (anyone) puts forward a suggestion for something they'd like to buy. This then becomes a 'poll' that anyone can vote on. Voting doesn't commit you to buying, but it helps the site owners work out what would be of interest to their customers. They then go off and contact the manufacturer and ask them if they'd like to offer a special deal. The manufacturer offers a deal so there is a start price if one person buys, then some percentage less if, say, 20 people buy, then another discount if, say, 50 people buy and so on. You can see current votes here and current drops here. Although there are a tonne  of quilting things you also get lots of audio equipment, shaving apparatus, high end pens, geek chic and pretty much anything else people might desire.

I am not affiliated with Massdrop, except as a customer, but they do have one of those "invite your friends" links so if you want to have a look and see what's what then click here to register and if five of you do, and then buy something, I get something. Not sure what so don't feel obliged! But I have been very happy with their service and will definitely be joining in future drops.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A Bonus Quilt

I went to lovely Scrap this morning. I was looking for plant pots, plant pot saucers and low volume fabric. I ended up being moderately successful, although quite a lot of high volume fabric came home as well. How much would you guess this lot cost?
Found at Scrap SF
There are about 30 bundles there varying from postcard sized to larger than a fat quarter and it includes Kaffe, Kaufman, Moda and half a dozen other recognisable names. $12 was my total - except that as well as a HUGE pile of fabric I also came away with a hand quilting hoop I could probably hula with (or at least my ickle niece could), a nice wooden picture frame, a load of plant pots, plant pot saucers and a finished quilt top. All for $12. I felt bad only topping it up to $20. The quilt top is pretty amazing.
Yellow star patchwork quilt
My photos are awful as it was very overcast today and we still don't have proper lighting sorted out.
Yellow star patchwork quilt
There seem to be about six different yellow fabrics in play. I assumed it must be machine pieced from the size (72"x84") but quickly saw it wasn't when I examined the back.
Yellow star patchwork quilt
Tiny stitches and quarter inch seams! I can't imagine putting all this effort in and then not taking it any further - but it will not go to waste. As soon as I saw it I realised I could finish it and include it with my own Hands2Help quilt for charity.

I thought I had scoured every inch of Scrap when my eye fell on two large filing cabinets as I was leaving...
Found at Scrap SF
Ermergerd. There were thousands. I have a few wish listed vintage patterns that I must look up the names of before my next visit. Scrap is a seriously amazing resource. Then my eye fell on one other thing. I'm not going to embed a picture of it here, but those not easily offended might like to know what I spotted inside a bag awaiting sorting. Made me laugh - goodness knows what kind of art project those were part of!

Quilts of my own making have also been on my mind. I laid out the final section of my Mum's EPP quilt last night.
EPP Laying Out the final section
This is why I was so pleased to have found the hula-quilt-hoop - I plan to hand quilt this sucker once it is all stitched together. I have been doing a lot on it recently as the new flat is still in great disorder leaving me unable to easily access my supplies or sewing machine. Tomorrow brings a table and chairs and a sofa (we've been sitting on the floor since Saturday). You can imagine that I am greatly looking forward to the arrival of both!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Hands2Help Update

Moving has sucked up all my time so I haven't much to blog about at the moment. However, having now got all my possessions in one place for the first time in 18 months I am reunited with all my fabric. This is what I will be using for my Hands2Help charity quilt.
Some fabrics for the hands2help quilt
At least, this is it minus two other matching cuts which got separated from these ones and are elsewhere and yet to be unpacked. I bought them from the Fat Quarter Shop at least 2 years ago - possibly 3 - and they seem perfect for this as they are all half yard cuts.

As for pattern, I plan to make use of the excellent Craftsy course "Playing with Curves" to make a drunkards path type quilt such as the one below, by Karen Ackva.
Drunkards Path for Astrid
Circles ahoy!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival

I saw *so* much cherry blossom in Tokyo and loved every minute of it. I was looking forward to seeing some more in Japantown at this event but seem to have been optimistic - this was cherry blossom in spirit rather than in person. Not that that held back the festivities. Japanese festivals have a specific type of food known as "B food" and this was similar.
San Francisco cherry blossom festival
San Francisco cherry blossom festival
Pooch was very disturbed to find that the Takoyaki (octopus balls) were largely made of beef - although he did eventually manage to track down some genuine ones. Me? I went for the Moffle - a waffle made of Mochi (pounded rice paste). The cream was vegan and made with coconut milk.
San Francisco cherry blossom festival
I hardly need to mention how delicious it was. The picture tells the tale.

As well as dancing and drumming and other japanese activities, there were a lot of people in Cosplay outfits. This is when people dress up as anime cartoon characters. First up, Power Rangers.
San Francisco cherry blossom festival
Followed by...who knows?
San Francisco cherry blossom festival
San Francisco cherry blossom festival
San Francisco cherry blossom festival
San Francisco cherry blossom festival
And of course the SF Giants (baseball team) made an appearance.
San Francisco cherry blossom festival
Kind of.

It was absolutely boiling hot in the sunshine so we didn't stay too long but it continues next weekend so I might go back... for another Moffle!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Fussy Cut Squares

I joined Instagram purely in order to find swaps. I'm happy reading blogs and using facebook and Pinterest - I don't need another outlet. Having said that I have been posting occasionally and am @lixieyarnover if you'd like to link up. One of the swaps I found recently was the Fussy Cut Square one which has been going for a year already. I signed up for April and the theme was "Sewing". A few hours later and I had my twelve blocks.
Fussy cut squares sewing theme
The blocks don't have to be the same so you can use up scraps. You also get a template which you use for paper piecing. This was just as well as my accuracy left a lot to be desired and on several blocks I had to redo the outer triangles several times to get to the right finished shape (4.5").

This is what Flickr user Amanda Kattner has done with her blocks.
Fussy Square quilt front
Isn't it amazing!? It is this image that inspired me to join.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

A Lot of English Paper Piecing and a New Home!

I am back from the UK and have gone straight into the process of moving into our permanent rental. I'll share a few pictures but first, here is one of the projects I took with me to sew while I was away.
EPP in progress
It is in three pieces at the moment and it is the top right piece I am currently working on, working vertical strips and joining them to grow it from right to left. This is the quilt I am making for my Mum and she chose a lot of the fabrics, which were all fat eighths at most in size. The pieces have 3" sides and I made all the pieces while I was in Tokyo last year. This is my design...
Mum's Quilt Diagram I'm getting there gradually.

My EPP "Feels Like Spring" swap also got underway while I was away so I have made these since getting back using 1" hexagons.
EPP in progress
The pouch is going to be a very simple zip up one but I hope my Partner likes it!

Our new flat is only 20 minutes walk from our current one so we popped over there yesterday to put our 13 (!) signatures on the lease. That's 13 signatures each - there are only the two of us living there. We had each forgotten quite how spacious the place was but I know it will quickly fill up with furniture.
New flat
There is lots of light and sun comes in throughout the morning. The unusual L shape of the living area means that one bit will always be quite dark but I am planning lots of lamps for it. Pooch will have a desk and chair there so it will be his little hidey hole plus my shelving area.
New flat
We have a huge IKEA shipment and another from Amazon due on Wednesday next week so I will be doing an awful lot of flat pack assembly and arranging. But once it's all done I'll have a proper place for my craft stash - hooray!

Monday, 6 April 2015

SkipNorth 2015

For the 11th year running we were in Haworth, Yorkshire, for the annual spinning and knitting holiday. I had a wonderful time and met several new people as well as catching up with old friends. Here is a taste of what went on.
Measuring Party
Measuring Party
Duct Tape Tailors Dummy
Spools of Thread
Weaving Loom at WinghamsSkipton Canal and Boats
I found it really hard to resist Wingham's weaving looms and can see one joining me at home before another year is out. 

If you are interested in coming along another time then simply join the SkipNorth Group on Ravelry.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Nice Niece

I have been back in England this week - for the SkipNorth knitting holiday and for some niece action. And we have been very active. She started off wearing one of the three 'My Aunt Rocks' top I got her (in 2Y, 3Y and 4Y sizes).
My Niece
Then she helped me brush my hair.
My Niece
This was quickly followed by her 'helping' her Mum brush her hair, and hitting her on the head with the flat wooden side of my hairbrush. (Fnah fnah). There has been lots of shuffling around in my shoes.
My Niece
This isn't something she'd done before but she was even more excited when a pair of silver ballet flats arrived yesterday and has been 'wearing' those a lot. All that activity tired her out, so she snuggled up with Mum.
My Niece and Sian
Then this morning she insisted we go out while Mummy was having a lie in, and we found a (non-muddy) puddle!
My Niece
That is a reference to her beloved Peppa Pig who jumps in muddy puddles. It is also who is on her top. While we were out a lady gave us three red balloons!
My Niece
I was amazed they survived being dragged around so much but she was loving it.

So lovely to spend time with her (and my sister of course).

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Making a Costume

I was invited to a "Leprekhaaaaan!" party and my first thought was "Yippeee! Star Trek!".
I am a real Trekkie. I love the films and the TV series up to and including Deep Space Nine. Voyager and Enterprise I am pretty "meh" about and although I love the reboots (hello Benedict) the true Khan for me is still Ricardo Montalban. With this in mind I decided to make myself a uniform that would look at home on DS9 or earlier. Where else to look for inspiration but Pinterest? This pin seemed to fit the bill.
Pinterest screen catch
I got two men's t-shirts from Thrift Town - a 2XL Black one and a XL red one. Next, making the pattern...
Making a pattern from a tshirt
I was able to keep the collar of the black t-shirt but the rest all needed recutting, including the sleeves. Some sewing, a bit of fitting and a back combed beehive later and...
Me in my Star Trek Costume
My badge was made out of felt.
Star Trek Costume Beehive
I am so happy with how it turned out! And the party, which took place last night, was a great success!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Hands to Help Quilt Challenge - Sign Ups Open

I have got hold of so much free/cheap fabric recently, I am keen to make something good with it but I have a real hang up about the things I make being useful. I hate the idea of making endless quilts with no idea of a recipient. Solution? Make one for a charity! There are three charities benefiting from this challenge and I am aiming for one helping chemotherapy patients. To read all about each of them see this post on Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Confessions Of A Fabric Addict

She is encouraging international participants and there are two options to deal with costly shipping. 
1. You post her just your front and back and she quilts it for you. 
2. You give to a local charity other than one of the three main ones - so a hospice or other charity close to you could benefit!

Reasons to take part? Apart from the general feeling of good will and the chance to show off your sewing skills, there will be lots of giveaways with great sponsors and discount codes for fabric shops. 

Click on the image above to read more and sign up!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Patchwork By Machine and Hand

The cover for my Japanese sewing machine ( a borrowed Janome) was quite pale and mellow.
Sewing Machine cover
I left that one with the machine so when my new Singer arrived I needed to whip up something new. I have been quite affected by the beige-y neutralness of the temporary flat so, with our boxes having arrived from the UK, I unearthed a pack of 20 Kaffe Fassett charm squares I'd had for a while.
The 20 squares were only enough for the top and front so for the sides I used "Dysfunctional Family" by Michael Miller.
Side - dysfunctional family fabric
For the back I used a similar black and white print, although it is about sewing!
There's a great thought bubble near the bottom:
"Look at the way she's dressed. She must be throwing Harry's money around."
Except of course it turns out she made her dress herself. Tsk!

My machine came with an embroidery foot so I decided to try a bit of machine embroidery again.
Detail of machone embroidered pebble pattern
Pebbles have always been my favourite pattern so a stream of them go across the top and down the front. I also tried some writing on the top.
Not great but a useful bit of practice.

While digging around in the storage unit I found the quilt I started aaaaaaaages ago for my Mum. All the pieces - hexagons and diamonds - are ready so now it is a case of laying them out and sewing them together. I've started at the bottom which is just hexagons, and this is the biggest bit so far.
Blue Hexagon Patchwork
The challenge is going to be deciding the layout of the rest. There must easily be 50 different fabrics involved with low value neutrals as well as blues so I'll need to go back to my original drawings and see if I can work out what should go where.

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