One year on …

Today marks a year since I started this blog. Happy blogday/blogiversary/whatever you call it to me! I’m pleased I’ve stuck at it. And I thank you for reading. At the end of last year, when everyone was doing ‘end of year’ reviews, I said I’d save mine for when I’d been blogging a year. So, here goes.

I kicked off with two lots of bunting and refashioning an old pair of my husband’s jeans into a toolbelt. 
Meanwhile, I’d continued work on the giraffe cot quilt I’d begun in January 2013 and finally finished it in August. Plus I hosted the first Crafternoon of the year, where I made some baby booties.  
In September, I received my first commission: a boy’s memory quilt. A mishap with my rotary cutter cost me the tip of a finger. But, do not be alarmed, it did grow back!  

Finished the memory quilt and made a Waybuloo-themed birthday card for my son. It didn’t make it on to children’s TV 😦

Started my next commission, a girl’s memory quilt.  
Turned an old babygro into a Chrismas stocking and had our Christmas Crafternoon. 
Finished my second memory quilt and made a calorific salted caramel chocolate torte.  
Back on to birthday presents, this time for my niece’s 3rd birthday.  
March was a productive month (by my standards)!  
As was April …  
And, back to the present:

 

Not too bad for a mum of a toddler who doesn’t have much free time. This blog – and reading others’ – has certainly motivated me to try new things. Perhaps at the expense of not finishing some of my existing UFOs/WIPs …

Looking back, my favourite makes were the giraffe quilt – a labour of love – and the memory bear. I’m particularly proud of those two.

 Thank you for sharing in the past year with me!

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The three bears and their sleeping bags

I completed the Mummy Bear and Daddy Bear sleeping bags this week, so the set is now complete. All three sleeping bags went through the wash before being tested out by some willing participants.

The pattern, by Flossie Teacake, costs £5. I mostly used scraps, except for the Daddy Bear’s sleeping bag, for which I used a reversible duvet cover I picked up in a charity shop for £3.50. Obviously, I have plenty of leftover fabric from that to play with. Just as well, as I suspect I may be making a few more of these.

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Here’s Baby Bear’s sleeping bag, which I made last weekend.

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Mummy Bear’s

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And, last but not least, Daddy Bear’s.

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I think this one is my favourite.

The edges of the sleeping bags are a bit wobbly. I think, in part, due to me overstuffing the pillows. But, I like to have two pillows, so I was trying to ensure their comfort. And they do look cosy, don’t you think?

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All that remains is to wrap them up ready for the birthday girl next week. Meanwhile, I have another blog post to write. Very excitingly – for me – this week I’ve been nominated for the Liebster by Jana at meandmyveritas. I’ve now got to do my post and choose some blogs to pass it on to. I’m a bit late to this party, so I may struggle to find blogs that haven’t received this award. But I have a few in mind 😉

Where do tired teddies sleep?

In sleeping bags, of course! But more about that later.

New-project-itis struck again this week. Firstly, when I purchased a copy of The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon magazine on Thursday. As you know, I like a Crafternoon, so my Crafternoon buddies and I were very excited when we heard about this. Fortunately, Thursday isn’t a working day for me, so Little Man and I headed over to Sainsburys to get our copies (one for me, one for my Mum). Both of us are suffering with colds. So when LM went for his nap, I snuggled up in bed with my magazine. Perfect!

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I was feeling very inspired after flicking through. However, I have my usual problem: too many things I want to make and not enough time. I’m tempted to change my name to The Impatient Crafter. Anyway, we’ve set a Crafternoon date, so I’ll have to decide on what to make by the time that rolls round.

Meanwhile, one of my many nieces turns 3 a week tomorrow. Naturally, I thought I’d make her something. Not forgetting I still haven’t made what I was supposed to be making for her birthday last year. Unfinished project no.3. Anyway, I offered my sister-in-law two options: a teepee or dolls’ bedding. She opted for the latter, as it’ll take up less space.

Daisy, my niece, is at that age where she’s really into dolls and looking after them. I was really excited to make some dolls’ bedding for her to play with. Having drawn a bit of a blank on a Google search, I scoured Pinterest for ideas. Amongst many other lovely things, I stumbled across Flossie Teacake’s three bears’ sleeping bags.

Yesterday morning, I had a few hours to myself so – having purchased the pattern – I cut out the pattern pieces and then selected the fabrics to use. All leftovers from my giraffe cot quilt, apart from Daddy Bear’s quilt, which comes from a duvet cover I picked up for £3.50 in a charity shop. Also, whilst charity-shop-hunting, I couldn’t resist this.

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Perfect Mother’s Day present for my Mum, who loves poppies. If I get round to making it in time!

Back to the sleeping bags. After two hours, I had all the pieces cut out ready to begin. For each sleeping bag, there were three components – mattress, quilt cover and pillow.

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I decided to start with the smallest sleeping bag – Baby Bear’s – as a practice. The first step was to quilt the quilt cover.

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Next, I had to make some bias binding. More leftover fabric used up. The first bit of binding went on the quilt cover and then the quilt cover was sewn on to the mattress. The pillow had been sewn on at an earlier stage – leaving an opening for stuffing.

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Then I added binding round the edge of the mattress. By machine, then finishing by hand whilst catching up on this week’s Great British Sewing Bee.

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This is the finished sleeping bag.

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All it needed was a bear.

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Mummy Bear and Daddy Bear’s sleeping bags to go. I should be able to finish them for the weekend.

Speaking of bears, when putting Little Man to bed, I found another candidate for the teddy bear’s hospital.

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That’s the second animal to have its arm partly ripped off. We need to put a sign up: ‘Stuffed animals: enter at your peril’!

And so to bind

Finished quilting the stars, took a lot longer than I thought. Thread kept breaking on me. Anyway, here it is.

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A bit crumpled after being rammed under the sewing machine. I’m looking forward to washing the fabric marker off.

Off to bed now, leaving the scary bit (for me) – the binding – til tomorrow.

Quilting has begun

As time is of the essence I cheated/took a shortcut and instead of basting my quilt using the special pins which arrived last week, I opted for spraymount instead.

I did as instructed in The Quilter’s Bible and sprayed the wadding in two halves. First to attach it to the backing.

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And then the same again to attach the quilt top.

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Easy peasy, although a bit sticky.

After some deliberation, I decided to start quilting by outlining my squares using the ‘stitch in a ditch’ method. I’m still not sure if that’s what was done on the quilt I’m copying; the instructions don’t say and I change my mind each time I look at the picture of the finished quilt.

Anyway, stitch in a ditch. This is where the stitching is supposed to sit in the seam so you can’t see it, but still producing the quilted effect. Hmmm. I think I’ve mostly straddled the ditch, occasionally dipping in to it.

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Tonight, I’ve quilted the inside border, which I’d marked up with fabric marker, making the lines really easy to follow.

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Impatient as I am, I wanted to carry on and do all the stars too, but I’m flagging so decided to leave them til tomorrow. Couldn’t resist sneaking one in though.

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Although it looks like I’m working in the dark, I’m not. Perhaps the lighting in our conservatory isn’t strong enough though.

Pretty pleased with how far I’ve got today. Hoping to finish the quilting tomorrow, then it’s the dreaded binding. I have a horrible feeling I don’t have enough fabric leftover to make my scrappy binding. Then what to do?

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!

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?