Sunday, August 22, 2010

Baby Quilt Part II

It's finished! This weekend has been full of creative happenings in our house, mostly involving ripping of lath and plaster from the walls in Thomas's room, and then gibbing it, but somewhere in between all the dust and mess and mayhem I managed to finish Flossy's quilt (Flossy being the name we've given to this bubs while in utero). Ever since I've been walking around like someone who won the lottery and keeps checking their ticket just to be sure - I keep taking a quick look at the quilt to make sure it's as lovely as I remember. And it is. Ok, so my quilting lines aren't perfectly straight and my stitch lengths are a bit all over the place (teething problems with my new walking foot I think), but I don't care. It is handmade afterall, and by definition that means it has to have a few little imperfections.

When it came to quilting, I was always going to do the diagonal lines across the squares like I've done, but I was hoping to do something a little bit more elaborate round the edges. I had even gone to the trouble to search the internet for simple floral quilting designs and thought I'd found something that would work. That was, of course, until I realised that quilting is tricky, especially when you have that much bulk trying to get through the machine. So, in the end I decided not to risk mucking it up and haven't done any quilting around the edge at all. Simplicity has won out in this case, and I actually think the quilt is the better for it. But did you know that you can send your quilt top away to get professionally quilted, and that you can buy special quilting machines with long arms? I learnt that and all sorts of other stuff while trawling the internet for quilting designs. Brilliant!

And, of course You Tube was invaluable when it came to sewing on my binding. I had downloaded printed instructions from Heather Bailey's blog but after having read through them a few times I was still confused so decided to see what videos I could find instead. And voila, I found this one and it was perfect (although I did opt for 2.5" wide strips as per Healther's directions, rather than the 2" ones suggested in the video). Taught me everything I needed to know in less than 10 minutes. If only the hand stitching had been as quick!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Baby Quilt Part I

As promised, here is the first installment on the baby quilt I'm making for the much anticipated Martin Baby #2. As you can probably tell from the colours we've been told that the baby is going to be a girl, so I hope they're right! 

This is the top all pieced together and I'm really pleased with the result. I wanted to go for fresh, clean colours that weren't too baby-ish, and in terms of design the main principle was that it had to be simple since I'd never patchworked before, and not too contrived looking either. I got the design idea from etsy where there are literally hundreds of quilts for sale, and I just made it to fit the dimensions I wanted. Each of the large squares is 5 inches x 5 inches and the small yellow squares are 1 inch x 1 inch. The border is 4.5 inches wide I think. Anyway, all up the quilt is about 1m x 1.5m, so it'll be plenty big enough for a cot, and will still look good on a single bed.

I realised that cutting accurately was the key, so after watching several videos on You Tube on how to patchwork I went out and bought myself a patchwork ruler. What a brilliant invention! Bascially it's just a clear ruler with lots of different markings on it (I went for an imperial rather than metric one), but it allows you to cut lovely straight, square or angled lines. I already had the pizza-type cutter and the cutting board so I was all set then. Apart from the fabrics ...

I had the loveliest time going through my stash and picking out all those favourite fabrics that I've been collecting but waiting to use on that special project, and then I visited just about every patchwork shop in Christchurch looking for the right fabrics to coordinate with them. What fun! I was very restrained, but still managed to end up with lots of left-overs. I think this new baby will be wearing dresses that coordinate with her quilt for years until I've managed to use them all up! Anyway, for the backing fabric I decided on a Heather Bailey fabric called Church Flowers. The colours are beautiful and work perfectly with the top, plus because it's not plain hopefully it will mean any little imperfections when I come to the quilting will be hidden. For the binding I've decided on a stripe, also by Heather Bailey called Slim Dandy. Both fabrics are from her Nicey Jane collection.

I had thought all my decisions about this quilt were made, but that was until I went shopping for the inner. Who knew there were so many different options?! ... polyester (not recommended for babies under 12 months), cotton, cotton/bamboo, wool, the list goes on. I ended up going for cotton, simply because it's machine washable and I'm all for that! I'm going to use 2 layers though as I want a bit of weight in the quilt and since the batting it so wide I don't have to buy extra to allow for this. Now I just need to pin it all together (using the rather expensive but apparently invaluable quilters safety pins), quilt it, and sew on the binding. Time to do some more how-to videos watching on You Tube. Until next time ... 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Time for a SALE!

Hello everyone. Well, I haven't lived up to my promise of posting blogs more regularly than I have been lately, but nevermind. Here's a post that will hopefully make everyone's day ... Fabrication is have a super sale, with 10% - 35% off everything. That makes for some very nice pricing, especially when you realise those discounts are off already low everyday prices. So, get shopping because stock is very limited and once it's gone it's gone....

.... And, I want EVERYTHING gone because I've decided that I'm going to take a break from Fabrication for a while.Come the 27th of August my shop will be closing. At this stage I'm not sure whether it will be a temporary or permanent thing - I'm just playing that by ear. But, I would like to very genuinely thank everyone who has supported Fabrication, whether it be by reading this blog, buying from the online store, or buying at one of the market's we've been at. Your support has been very much appreciated and has made for some very happy times.

Unfortunately for me at the moment time is something which I don't have too much of, and with another baby on the way (due Dec 19) I suspect life is going to get even more hectic! I do hope to kept blogging though as I can't imagine I'll suddenly stop making things just because I'm not selling the fabrics anymore. In fact, my current project is a quilt for the new baby ... stay tuned for a post on that.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Another Baby Dress

Hello everyone. It's been absolutely ages since I last posted anything worthwhile here, so apologies. I have been feeling as if I have lost my sewing/creative mojo as it were over these past months. I'm not sure whether it's the dreadful weather (although you would think that need to be inside all the time would inspire rather than impede creativity), my inability to focus on one thing at the moment, or just a lack of motivation, but whatever it is/was it has left me feeling a little bereft. Luckily, new things are on the horizon, including a new baby daughter due any day to a very good friend of mine, and this seems to have been just the thing I needed to get back behind my sewing machine with some degree of enthusiam. 

I have had these prints in my stash for ages, but love them so much that I have been saving them for a very special project (and one that didn't take too much fabric, as my supply was very limited!), but finally I had just the use for them - a baby dress. The pattern is a bit of a mish-mash ... I used the do up at the front idea from this dress I made previously, and the rest I took from a pattern book on making a baby layette my aunty gave me. I think it dates back from the early 1970s which meant some of the sewing terminology was foreign to me, so I decided to ditch the instructions and just go for it myself. Dresses like this are pretty simple, so it wasn't hard to muddle my way through. I absolutely adore the result ... now little miss bubs just needs to come out with a complexion that suits red and we'll be sitting pretty.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Feeling blue? How about grey?

All this horrible rainy weather is the perfect excuse to stay indoors, dust off the sewing machine, and get creative. And, I have just the fabrics for you ... two new lovely designs from the Leanika collection by Dena Designs, both in bluey-grey hues which match this wintery weather perfectly. The fabric on the left is Jardin and the one on the right is Paisley and both of them are available from the Fabrication store. Happy shopping!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

More new fabrics - from Art Gallery Quilts this time ...

Four new fabrics from Art Gallery Quilts arrived this week. All four coordinate beautifully together and are from the Sugar collection. I've just loaded in my shop so if you love them get in quick because quantities are limited!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fridge magnets

I'm a bit of a hoarder. Not of everything mind you ... my house isn't full of piles of newspapers and miscellaneous stacks of crap, but I'm definitely a hoarder when it comes to fabric. I'll make something and keep every last little scrap of off-cut, thinking that maybe one day it'll come in handy. Well, for some of my scraps, that day arrived last weekend when my niece and I decided to get crafty by making some fridge magnets.

Veeky's at that great age (nearly 8) where she's into making stuff, has a good grip on how to use a pair of scissors, and can concentrate for long enough to get through a task. So, we made the most of it and made A LOT of magnets. These are really easy, you just need some fabric scraps, felt, magnets (we used self-adhesive magnetic strip that you can just cut up), a pair of pinking shears and your regular old sewing scissors. Oh, and a sewing machine of course.

I got the idea for making magnets from my friend Jo who gave Thomas some for Christmas. They were a big hit with him, so Veeky and I made him some more, plus lots for Veeky's sisters, Mum, Dad, aunty and grandparents. So why don't you give making some a go? They make a fabulous present and are a great way to get a little person you know involved in something crafty (because you can never start to young!). Plus, you can try out all those crazy stitches on your machine that you've never had a chance to use before.

p.s. sorry for the lack of posts lately ... things have been a bit hectic around here and my sewing time seems to be the first thing that goes out the window!