Sewn bits and bobs

Quilted Tote Bag

I am struggling for daylight here! It is impossible to photograph things at this time of year. I have tried but I'm afraid the results are pretty hopeless.  This is a tote bag I have just finished, it's a gift for my mum's birthday (she has probably forgotten asking me to make her a new shopping bag as it was a LONG time ago- bad Sally!).


The colours look really odd here, especially the reds.  But I basically selected mainly darker prints (mostly Liberty and Denyse Schmidt) and made 12 4.5" (finished) blocks for each side.


I then quilted and interfaced the panels, joined them together rounding the corners and added these lovely handles.


I then added a lining and bound the top edge like a quilt.  I am really pleased with how it turned out... I might have to make one for myself too!

A couple of things I have been meaning to do for ages.

Both of which fall into the category of "household items" so not super-exciting but here goes:

Firstly a new peg bag for myself.  Following peg bag mania a while back (three years ago, really?) I had intended to make one for me, but by the time I had fulfilled all the requests generated by the prototype for mum I was ready to move on!

This revolting thing had been gracing my washing line on laundry days:


It was made by me probably at least 12-13 years ago, in a make-it-up-as-you-go-along kind of fashion using what I had to hand (left over fabric and dowelling from cutting down a roman blind, as it happens!) and as such it turned out a bit on the small side.

So here is the new improved, bigger, non-holey version:


I have had this Clarke and Clarke print (Bird Trail) stashed away since I made that last batch of peg bags. The lining is a mystery red cotton sateen which I have no recollection of buying, but which seemed to be just right for the job.  Amazingly I managed to find the pattern that I drew up 3 years ago and just made it in the same way, although I didn't bother with the rickrack trim this time.

The second project was to revamp the kitchen table.  I suppose we could do with replacing it but that would involve shopping (yuck!) and the hassle of getting rid of the old one (trip to the tip- double yuck!).  The table in question is just a simple laminated particle board job that we bought from Ikea when we first rented a flat together (1998).  It is now in its fourth home and although still sturdy, it is begining to show its age.  The main issue is that the thin wood veneer is starting to crack along the joins, which looks ugly and doesn't seem especially hygenic!  So this is my solution:


I love it! 1 metre of oilcloth (again Clarke and Clarke, but of unknown design) purchased this morning on a whim (it was on sale!) on my way to the dentist.  I just had to go in for a routine check-up, but it was chaos in there as all their computers were down, and they didn't appear to have any idea as to who was booked in when and with which dentist; I'm glad I thought to take my appointment card with me ;)


This is a better shot of the design.  I'm liking the way it ties in my blue chair cushions to the cream and terracotta of the kitchen too!  I wonder how many more years we can get out of the table?  16 and counting... probably quite good going for Ikea!


Quilter know thyself

Wow, it's been a while since I posted! Alex and Daisy have been in the wars a bit lately and there have been a variety of trips to vets and hospitals and doctors to contend with.



Daisy is all fixed up (minus a few patches of fur) and Alex is getting there (he was knocked off his bike on the way into work 2 weeks ago by some bonehead in a BMW).

So there has been a little bit of crafting, not much, but a bit.

Firstly I made the blandest, most un-me quilt ever.  Thank goodness I regained full control of my senses before proceeding to queen size as per the PLAN.

Want to see it?


Flat, lifeless, boring... yes... but at least it is done!


It doesn't seem to matter how old I get, I still seem to keep making these kind of errors of judgement.  It is fine to admire and appreciate other peoples work, but before leaping straight in and embarking on the same project myself I REALLY need to stop and think!

Would I buy this from a shop?

Will it fit our style and decor?

Will I enjoy making it?

Truthfully I could not answer yes to even one of these questions in relation to the city sampler quilt AND I had already made pretty much the same blinding error of judgement with the farmers wife quilt, so why was I so keen to get stuck in? Who knows?! What I do know is that I am going to try to take a more considered approach in the future, and to that end an aide memoir:


I used those pesky FW blocks and this easy tutorial to make a lovely bag/basket/bucket :)


I actually really like the blocks all smooshed together without any sashing, such a fun project, useful too (more on the contents in bottom left photo another day...)!

Little Liberty makes

I finally make myself a needle book. Much better than having a load of needles stabbed into a battered old pin cushion- who knows how many needles I lost inside that old thing!



That's the front... and this is the back:



The needle book is made from scraps of Liberty lawn, interlined with an offcut of curtain fabric (to add a bit of substance), and lined with polkadot poplin.


The "thing" underneath is a hankerchief made from Liberty print patchwork fabric, my first attempt at using the rolled hem foot on my machine. I will be making more, I need a bit more practice to get the corners neat!

Right turn bag

Yesterday afternoon I made myself a new bag.  I used this pattern from Anna Maria Horner.  I made the smaller size and found that it came together really easily.  I love it!

I used a remnant of cotton sateen curtain fabric as the foundation and I also added a layer to the strap to make it a bit thicker.  For the patchwork I went through my shot cotton scraps...

SAM_0165 many fabulous colours!

The only change I made to the pattern was to join the lining to the bag outer by sewing together the seam allowances prior to closing the opening in the lining.

Speaking of the lining, I used a tobacco coloured Kaffe Fassett print with hot pink wisteria blooms, a nice contrast to the more graphic exterior.

It was my first time adding a magnetic snap, so easy! and so useful!

I had fun making this, can you tell?

Camping gear (for bears and such)

Here we have some essential equipment made for a certain soft toy who will be accompanying his nine-year-old owner to their very first ever cub camp next weekend (exciting stuff!).


The pattern I used is by the lovely Florence...


...and is available here.  A very quick and satisfying make :)  I made the "mummy bear" size, and chose what I hope to be scouting-appropriate khaki polkadots.


My Liberty bear was more than happy to try it out for size!


Why are small things so pleasing when finished, but such a pain to make?

The above thought was prompted by this particular small thing:


A mobile phone case made at my mum's request, 4"x2"x1/2".  Sounds straightforward doesn't it?

And indeed that it how it started out, 12 little squares sewn together and quilted, neat little corners made... all in all I was feeling quite pleased.


Unfortunately it then took three attempts to get the lining right, I made it too big, and then too small and finally "good enough"!  I bound the top edge by folding the lining fabric over at the top by about 5-6mm and slipstiching it in place on the right side.

I think it turned out quite well, I just hope it fits!