Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Glass Creations

No quilting or sewing in this post, I'm afraid - a change to my usual output!

The almost obligatory 'back to school' photo of DD2 and DD1.

Only taken and displayed to cause them maximum embarrassment to them, of course!

The rest of this post is devoted to the results of the family glass day that we had in the summer.

If you live close enough to Richmond Upon Thames to try out the family course at RACC I can really recommend it!
 The first four pieces are made of float glass which was cut, tacked together with PVA and then kiln fired.

This first one is stood in my homemade stand and is DD2's apple and leaf.  Isn't it terrific?
Our 'group' piece - we are still deciding whether it's a beach hut or a temple!
 My penguin - I'm pleased with it!
 DD1's abstract piece.  Really interesting to see how the additional layers of glass worked in the kiln.
 These pieces are made from bulls eye glass and frit (tiny pieces of coloured glass).

DD1's zentangle and mixed colours.  Love how this turned out!
 My attempt at a bird - it looks better in the photo than in real life (!).

Another time I'd use less  frit.
 Copper tape cityscape by DD2 - it looks great!
DD2's landscape with tree.

I think that these are terrific for our first ever go at anything related to glass.  I'm proud of my girls for embracing the day and getting the most out of it!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Taking Stock.

 We've just reached the end of the school holidays for my DDs.

We've had a brilliant time!

Part of DD1's holiday 'tasks' (not quite homework!) was to compile a diary of what she got up to and to make some a collage to show some of it.  In fact, she decided to make an A4 sheet for each full week - and a great job she made of them too.

It made me reflect on what we've managed creatively over the holidays, conscious that I'd not done nearly as much stitching as usual.
 We went on a creative glass course as a family.

Above is the start point of a fused piece using bulls eye glass, enamel and frit.  We haven't got our pieces back as they are still being fired (or are cooling down - still in the kiln, anyway).  We're looking forward to seeing how they turned out!

 We also got to mask beakers - this by DD2 was masked with PVA glue.

The other skill was glass cutting - and then arranging the shapes to a pleasing form before they were fused.  Again, results not yet available!
 This beaker by DD1 was masked using masking tape.
 Mine was also masked using masking tape.

All three were sandblasted by me - something that I'd never tried before.
 Of course, nothing like the input we discovered that my step sister had had to this large (huge!) stained glass panel at Symphony Hall in Birmingham.

It was only by chance that we happened to go through it whilst on a day out and that she mentioned it.  I've been looking at it every year when we visit my brother in Birmingham, and we didn't have any idea that she'd been involved in it!
 Back to my and my DDs.

We made our own mosaic panels, inspired by some mosaics that we'd seen whilst on a treasure trail around Kingston upon Thames.
 We enjoyed making them so much that we made an initial panel for two of my nieces.
 Then there was the jewellery making,
 A little selection shown here, using lovely glass beads that I bought some time ago.
 Of course, I was taking some time to work on my scrapbooks too.  I've made dozens of pages!

We also made over a dozen handmade birthday cards using various papercrafting techniques, and my DDs have also spent time colouring and made Hama bead items.
Finally, on the LAST DAY of the holidays, my DDs decided that they wanted to sew!

Zippy pouches, of course.  The first DD to sew wanted a pocket on hers.  No problem.

Of course, then the second DD to sew wanted a pocket AND an embellishment.
They both proved themselves (once again - at some point I'll stop being surprised that even after a long gap between sewing sessions they don't lose their skills!) to be really quite good at wielding a sewing machine with competence!

I was still needed for technical instruction - simple zippy pouches are something that I make without written instructions to share - but they didn't need nearly as much help as I thought that they might.

Anyway, taking stock,  I sometimes want to berate my DDs for not doing much creative stuff and spending more time on screens and tech than perhaps I'd really like to see.  However, looking back at what they've actually done, I'm really rather proud of them.  They may or may not take on a crafting hobby when they are older, but at least I'll know that they've had the chance to try out a few things to see what they think of them!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Not much sewing, but WOW!

 I've been on holiday.  Of course, I usually pack my sewing machine, but as I was two and a half years behind on my scrapbooking I decided to change crafts and concentrate on that this year.

Before we went away I couldn't help but try out a new pouch style, though.  Unfortunately it didn't quite work out as I'd planned.  I think that I'll be able to re-jig it (and add the planned magnetic snap) but at the moment I'm just leaving it to languish!

 I still love the fabrics, so I'm keen to complete it properly once I'm over my post holiday brain fog!
 More importantly, don't these photos want to make you say 'Wow!"?

I'd heard (thank you Radio 4) that we would get to see a partial eclipse in the UK last Monday, with full eclipse honours going to a band across the USA.

It was handy that I'd shared that info with DH, who happened to be facing the window at tea time and realised what he was seeing
We were super lucky that we had sufficient cloud cover to be able to see what was happening without the cloud obscuring the sun completely.

I'm very proud of DD2 who took these amazing photos!  Big thanks to her for letting me share them!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Using it Up!

 Whilst I'm trying to reduce my scraps I'm trying to go for (almost!) zero scrap generation on my projects - so the obvious thing to do is to keep using the fabrics until there aren't any scraps big enough to do anything useful with.

These are the result of the last quilt.  An A4 book cover, a tissue pack, a zippy pouch.

Oh, and the two cushion covers, of course!

It's working out well!
 I quilting this cover with straight lines to contrast it with the first one that was a grand spiral.

I'm pleased with this one too.
 Here are the pair of 22" cushions together.
 I also thought that I'd share some of the little motifs that I quilted onto the quilt, along the loop-de-loop pattern.

There are flowers....
 ....of various shapes and sizes.

And shells.....
 .... and leaves.....
.....and stars.....
 .....and bolder flowers.....
.....and leaves!

It was a whole bundle of fun to quilt!

Time to give these to my niece and move on to other projects now, but it's been lovely to play with these over the start of the summer holidays!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

It's all about the Quilting!

 Quilted, binding on - just a label away from REALLY being able to call this finished!

I love how the 3D effect works on this!
 I bought more of one of the darker purple fabrics (with tiny spots on it - it's lovely!) for the binding.
 And ignoring the 'tear drop' fabric, it's backed with this lovely tiny star on turquoise fabric.

I'm so pleased with it!
Hard to see, but there was a last minute addition.  A strip of the low volume fabrics added and a quote machine sewn on to it.

It says "Let your smile change the world but don't let the world change your smile".

Quilted with a loopy line and some simple motifs.

Happy summer sewing!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Economy Scrap Quilting

 Remember last week when I said that I'd made too many light diamonds for the quilt pattern?

I knew that I wanted to make a couple of cushion covers to go with the quilt, so the diamonds provided the perfect jumping off point!

They needed to be added to with other scraps, of course, but all these pieces were cut quilt easily from what was left over.

This one is complete - with spiral quilting.
This one still needs to be quilted.  I'm planning diagonal lines a similar width apart to the spiral lines.

Funny story about the fabric that acts as a border and backing for these cushions.

I bought it online,  Was delighted by the colour match of the aqua and purple in in to the quilt top.  Stood back and wasn't sure that I could make a whole quilt back that looked like rain - it doesn't feel very huggable, somehow.  I showed the fabric to my DH, explaining my dilemma.  When he said "Rain?  I thought you were going to say tears" I knew that I couldn't use it for a quilt backing!

I'm still happy with it for small areas - or things that won't be wrapped around someone - but the quilt now has a deep aqua print instead! 

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Let the Quilting Begin!

 The quilt top is complete!

This is always a lovely moment, isn't it?  Quilt top completed.  Although the photo here shows it sideways (DH didn't want to trail it on the damp lawn!) you can see the 3D effect on it.

It was a 'proper' patchwork in the final section when I discovered that I had more light diamonds than I wanted, and not as many darks.  Creative use of the scraps was required to make up the missing shapes that I needed.
 Now backed and basted (aching limbs testify to this - crawling around the floor with fabric, masking tape and spray baste isn't always my favourite thing to do) I'm ready to start quilting!

Feed dogs will be lowered later today and a free motion whirlwind will last until it's complete!
 I also finished a small hand sewing project.  Inspired by the redwork portraits of Tisha Dolton I thought that I'd try a self portrait.

Does it look like me?  I don't know - but you can decide by comparing the stitched image to the photo I used below.

I think that the biggest lesson I learned was to choose a photo where my lips were closed rather than open - that blank space in the mouth looked even worse when I tried to add teeth in!
It's made me reflect on how little I know about what I look like.  I don't wear make up or spend a lot of time on 'image', so as a consequence I don't spend much time in front of a mirror or even considering how I look.  Perhaps a bit longer might be a good thing? 

Anyhow, I'm thinking that I'd like to try and make portraits of my DH and two DDs.  They might look good shown as a set of four.  I wonder if I'll let each family member choose their own thread colour?  Mine, if you can't tell, is purple.

All good fun - and nicely portable for summer holiday projects!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Good Progress on my WIP

 It did take a while to make and trim all the HST blocks.  Then to make them into diamonds - remembering to make 'left hand' and 'right hand' diamonds for the pattern to work.

Now I'm starting to lay them out and sew sections of the quilt together.
 The larger blocks look like this
 Put together with the small diamonds they look like this.  This is one third of the quilt top.  I'm pleased with it!  Hope that my lovely niece will be pleased too with how her chosen fabrics are looking!
Enough spare time to make this postcard for a birthday swap.  Fun to use some scraps and add quilting to it.


Now time to go back to my diamonds and sew up a storm until my DD's break up from school on Friday!

Happy summer sewing!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The Excitement of a Project Start!

 Oh the thrill of a completely new project with completely new fabrics!  The anticipation!  The possibility that this may be the quilt when all the seams are perfect, when all the corners meet! 

Aren't these fabrics fabulous?  Chosen by my SiL and niece for a specific quilt pattern that my niece has chosen for her 'Uni Quilt'.
 Added to these low volume prints that they also chose, all I had to do was to start cutting and sewing!   I spent some time procrastinating.  I want the quilt to be perfect, but I know that I'm only prepared to put in the time and effort to make it as perfect as it turns out, with just an ordinary amount of effort!
 All the coloured fabrics cut into the squares that are needed.
 All the fabrics cut and diagonals marked on the squares that needed them.

It hardly seems enough fabric to make a complete quilt top, does it?
 The first blocks finished.  Twenty four down, 336 to go!
 Here's the start of those HSTs.  They are going to take me a while to make, press and trim.  I'm sure that I'll have more to show you next week!

The pattern, by Karen Lewis of Blue Berry Park, was published in Love Patchwork and Quilting in October 2014.  I've been wanting to make it since I first saw it!  I'm excited that I'm finally doing so.
Rather more instant gratification gained by making these bead and knot necklaces along with some of my gal pals.  Perfect summer colours for me, although I confess to not being much of a necklace wearer!

Happy sewing and crafting, everyone!