My 2015 makes

Here’s what I got up to in 2015 …

January saw me complete my 2nd commissioned memory quilt, for a friend’s little girl’s 3rd birthday. It was made up of her baby clothes.

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In February, I made my niece some teddy bear/doll’s sleeping bags for her 3rd birthday.

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In March, I finally completed my cross stitch of a West Highland terrier. I made some felt chicks and a mouse as part of the first ever Comic Relief Crafternoon; these were sold at my workplace along with other crafty contributions to make money for Comic Relief. March was a productive month, as I also made another niece a pirate doll for her 3rd birthday.

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In April, I had somewhat of a baking disaster. Attempting to make Waitrose’s ‘bunny scones’, mine ended up rather scary looking – very much like they were modelled on Donnie Darko! However, I did have a baking success too, a car-themed birthday cake for my nephew’s 2nd birthday. I also did an embroidery hoop for a friend’s birthday.

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In May, I finished my nephew’s memory bear, made from his baby clothes. This was also for his 2nd birthday (the one I made the car-themed cake for). I also made a ballerina doll for a friend’s little girl’s 2nd birthday. The memory bear was probably my favourite make of 2015, it came out really well.

May-1

June and July were fairly quiet months on the crafting front, no finished objects to show. But I did begin knitting a baby cardigan and I’d also begun the bunting for my friend’s wedding. In July, a summer crafternoon was had by myself and some colleagues.

August was the culmination of my months of work making things for my friend’s wedding, at which I was also a bridesmaid. I made about 90 metres of bunting, hay bale covers and heart-shaped decorations, all for the wedding reception. All the hard work was worth it on the big day when it all came together and fitted the colour scheme and festival theme perfectly.

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September was another quiet month, perhaps as a result of working myself so hard finishing all the wedding bits in August.

In October, my son turned 2. I made two birthday cakes, one for a joint party with his friends – a chocolate finger and Smarties decorated cake. For my son’s party, I recreated my nephew’s car-themed cake as my son is also car-mad. I also finally finished knitting the baby cardigan I started in June. A little crochet was even involved, to do the edging and buttonholes on the front.

Oct-1

In November, again with work colleagues, we had our annual Christmas crafternoon. I didn’t get any good photos of this, otherwise I would have done a blog post about it. I moved house at this point, so crafting very much took a back seat.

Onto December, and settled into our new house, I made a last-minute sheep costume for my son’s pre-school nativity play. I also did a wreath-making workshop with my Mum – a lovely Christmassy way to spend an afternoon. And, very recently, I finished my second baby cardigan. Unfortunately, like the first one I knitted, this one is also too small for the intended recipient. So, I’ve started a third one and have kept the second one for myself as I’m due to have a baby any day and I’m convinced it’s another boy!

Dec-1

So that’s my round-up of my 2015 makes. Lots of things made for children! This is obviously where my interest lies. This year, I’m hoping to get some sort of craft business going, in the hope that I may not have to return to work from maternity leave in Jan 2017, or at least it’s something I could run alongside work. That’s the dream, anyway! Whether it happens as a mum of two, I’m somewhat doubtful …

My ‘to do’ list for 2016 currently looks as follows:

  • two memory cushions – one to match each memory quilt I made
  • make the hay bale covers from my friend’s wedding into a quilt
  • a memory lion, commissioned
  • poppy tapestry for my mum
  • froggy cross stitch
  • baby cardigan no.3, 3rd time lucky, hopefully this one will fit my friend’s not-so-new-anymore baby

 

What makes do you have planned for the year ahead? I’d love to hear about them. Wishing you a happy and crafty new year!

Kate

 

 

 

 

A cake, a quilt and a yearning for yarn

Back in April, I made my nephew a memory bear and a car-themed birthday cake for his second birthday. Last week, my son turned two; with him also being car-mad, I felt obliged to recreate the car cake for his birthday party at the weekend.

I baked the two sponge cakes to make up the cake on Friday afternoon. However, when I cut into the first one, it was still raw inside. So, at 9pm the night before the party I had to start again, sending my husband out into the dark and cold for more butter. (A week of baking disasters, if you saw my last blog post.) This also left me in the slight predicament on Saturday morning of having a cake to ice whilst looking after a two-year old (my husband had to work). Fortunately, my Mum came to the rescue and took over childcare, leaving me free to ice the cake. Two hours later, it was done. It tasted pretty good, if I do say so myself.  

Now that I’ve finished the baby cardigan I spent aaaaaaaaages knitting, I needed to think about what’s next. My ‘to do’ list is as follows:

  • Knit a second baby cardigan, for a friend who is due next month. Despite having a whole hamper full of wool, I might just pay the haberdashery at John Lewis a visit tomorrow …  
  • Two memory cushions, to accompany the memory quilts I made last year.
  • A quilt from the hay bale covers I made for my friend’s wedding. (I’ve warned her she’s unlikely to see this before her first wedding anniversary!)
  • My hairdresser has commissioned a memory lion made from her baby’s clothes. 

Plenty to be getting on with then 😬

I’ve often wondered what had become of the giraffe quilt I made for my niece. Tonight, I was delighted to receive a photo of my niece with said quilt. It’s helping her keep warm at night. That’s made my day, if not my week! 

  

Seeing stars. And diamonds.

I’ve finally come up with a star shape I’m happy with – it took many attempts.

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I traced it onto a piece of cardboard to use as my stencil. I’ve now marked on all the stars I need to quilt. I’ve then marked on the crosshatching/diamonds on the inner stripy border.

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Next up is cutting my backing and wadding to size, then assembling the quilt sandwich. Any tips for doing this? I’ve got some spray mount. What do you use?

Being a total novice I consulted one of my many quilting books and it mentioned quilting in the ditch as being a good beginner technique. From looking at photos of the quilt I’m copying, I’m not sure if this technique was used or not. I think it was …

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Am I right? Should I use quilting in the ditch to outline the squares and borders? Rather than just doing the stars and cross hatching? Advice appreciated!

Something is better than nothing

I find my mantra as a new mother is ‘something is better than nothing’. A few stitches on my cross stitch – better than nothing. Quick run or short gym workout because I’m too tired/busy to do more – better than nothing. The same with my quilt. Yesterday, I added the two vertical stripey borders in nap time. Today, I’ve added the two horizontal stripey borders. Neither took very long, but it’s all I’ve been able to squeeze in. Better than nothing!

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I also paid a return visit to a lovely little fabric shop housed in an old kiln workshop yesterday. It’s where I purchased some of the fabric for the quilt way back when last summer. Yesterday, I went to get the wadding and backing. I’ve ended up with double the amount of wadding. Just in case I ever decide to make another of these quilts. Perhaps a blue, green and yellow one for my little boy …..? No, no more new projects. Apart from some bunting I’ve offered to do for a friend’s little girl’s 1st birthday. Oops. But I’m thinking I can use up the leftover fabric from this quilt to make it. Anyway, here’s the wadding and backing.

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This is where the instructions get a little vague …

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I’m waiting for my new fabric marking pens to arrive. I’m going to mark on where I want to quilt, so that I don’t mess it up. So I’m a bit stuck until they arrive.

I also need to work out how to attach and use the walking foot I bought for my very basic machine.

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In the meantime, I’m going to curl up and read up on techniques in the books I got given for Christmas 2012, when I first started quilting. I say started, all I’ve made so far is a notepad cover in classes I did with some friends with a local lady. And that was over a year ago. Have no recollection of the binding bit!

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How to find craft time with a baby?

Was supposed to be in bed half an hour ago to try and get some sleep in before the wee hours which have become somewhat disrupted of late, thanks to my little man. So will keep it brief.

After a couple of nights off/feeling sorry for my tired myself, I’ve got back on the quilting horse tonight. Have attached the white border to my quilt.

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Eagle-eyed readers will note that the white differs to the centrepiece. That’s because I messed up when I was cutting the centrepiece out and then ran out of fabric 😦

Anyway, I don’t think it’s the end of the world. I gave it a quick iron and this is how it looks now.

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Stripey border to do next.

Building blocks – the progression of my first quilt

Brief hiatus on the quilt front due to a few days at the seaside (Sheringham, Norfolk). This is the fourth year that my family has decamped there. And this time the sun shone! Despite the lack of quilt progress, I did manage to get some cross stitching in in the evenings.

Anyway, back to the quilt. Despite feeling a bit ‘can’t be bothered’ due to a 5am start with little man, followed by a day at work (keeping in touch day as I’m on maternity leave), I decided to get stuck into my cot quilt and I’m so glad I did, it’s come together nicely.

I started by laying out all the blocks which I’d sewn way back when – last July! They needed a bit of ironing after being crumpled in a bag for a year.

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Then I pinned and sewed them together. Love my pretty quilting pins, but I did come a cropper later by being lazy and not taking them out as they neared the needle.

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Ending up with rows like this:

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Then I sewed the left row to the centrepiece, followed by the right row. Unfortunately, at this point, my needle broke when it caught one of my lovely pins.

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Onwards and upwards, with a new needle in, I attached the top and bottom rows and it currently looks like this.

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Not perfect in terms of matching seams. But pretty pleased with the progress I’ve made this evening. This blog is certainly motivating. I’m making lots if quilting errors on my way, if you saw the back, you’d be appalled. But it’s a start. How did you all learn to quilt? Am I mad going it alone?

Ears, nose and mouth!

Evening in as a golf widow. No gym for me. The upside being I got to do the handstitching on my giraffe. He now has his ears, nose and mouth.

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Filling in the nostrils was a little tricky. Not as neat as I’d like it to be. Made it up as I was going along really. But it’ll do!

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Feel a bit nervous about the next step: sewing my colour blocks together. Think I’m going to have difficulties getting it all to fit together nicely. Watch this space!