Friday, 28 November 2014

Christmas is coming!

So my husband asked me a very silly question this morning..."What do you want for Christmas?"

Sewing things!

There is so much I don't have! For instance, I've been doing this quilting lark for nearly two years now and only ever used a six and a half inch square ruler!

So, seeing as he asked, lol, I've suggested a six by twenty four ruler, a twelve and a half inch square ruler and a jelly roll ruler. Oh and a EZ Flying Geese ruler.

I've wanted (needed) these rulers for ages, but never got them. Cutting long lengths of fabric has always been slightly haphazard with my lowly six and a half inch ruler, but I always, somehow, made it work. Squaring blocks has also been temperamental.

But the best thing about this hobby, is that there is always something you can buy a quilter. 

Craftsy were having a Black Friday Sale, so I also treated myself to a new class. Magical Jelly Roll Quilts with Kimberley Einmo.

I love a jelly roll! They're so pretty, but I'm always unsure of what to do with them, apart from a jelly roll race quilt. So if any of you guys have a favourite pattern to utilise a jelly roll then do let me know!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Needleturn and Smooth Curves

I've finished the first block of my Baltimore Album Quilt. Here it is:

I am happy with it, but I did run into a few problems that I need people's help with.

First I had to use needleturn applique, a technique I'd never used for. This happened because I forgot to trace reversed images, so my freezer paper pieces were on the wrong side of the fabric and I wasn't prepared to waste the fabric by having to recut! So I used white marker to trace around the freezer paper pieces and used needleturn, instead of pre-hand basting the pieces.

The stems were no problem. I cut them on the bias and turning them under with the needle worked well because the curves in them were so long and so gentle. But the other pieces, some of the leaves, the flower heads and the vase were all difficult, because no matter how often I turned under the fabric, I would get pointy bits on my curves that wouldn't flatten out.

The reverse applique was okay, though the yellow vase fabric showed through the green stems underneath, so I'll need to add some interfacing or something to stop that happening on other vases.

Does anyone know of any good YouTube videos or blogs that show how to do tight inner and curves with needleturn?

The only videos I can find use hearts to demo and I can do hearts by pre-basting. Lots of videos are machine sewing or pre-basted pieces, or lovely long, slow curves. I need a video or instructions on how to do inner and outer curves that are quite tight that use needleturn.

Can anyone help?

The other thing I don't like, is that my 'invisible thread' is dark grey, so the stitches show on the yellow fabric, but not the others and I'm now waiting for some 60 weight thread in matching colours to arrive.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Baltimore Album Hand Applique

So, I've been hard at work the last few days, working on the start of a brand new quilt, which, quite frankly, will probably take me ages, because it's all hand applique.

This was the book I was waiting for:

It has 25 baltimore album block patterns in and I'm doing them all to replicate the quilt. I love hand applique! And I blame Mimi Dietrich for having such a wonderful way of teaching applique on her Craftsy class, Hand Applique Made Easy, for getting me into this!

I bought my fabrics, two greens, two reds, a gold and a royal blue for all the applique pieces and I hunted everywhere to get 60 weight thread for the sewing in those colours, but I could only get the invisible thread, so I'm using that. 

To start, I drafter the outline of the pattern onto freezer paper and then ironed the pieces onto the wrong side of the fabric, only then realising once I'd cut them all out and ironed them on, that they were now a mirror image! Rookie mistake!

So I outlined the freezer paper with white marker instead, so I didn't lose all the pieces I'd cut out and used needle turn applique instead.

This is what I've done so far. 

I love nothing more than just sitting sewing, listening to my podcasts or music and shutting out the rest of the world.

Thanks to everyone who contacted me about the Sewing As Therapy post!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sewing as Therapy

I have a chronic illness (MAV), the details of which I won't bore you with, but you could always Google it, if you were interested. One side effect of having a chronic illness sometimes is depression. Depression occurs because all you can see are the long years ahead of you, suffering in the same manner, without a break and you think, "heck, can I do this?"

Today, is one of those days for me. MAV controls so much of what I do and as I won't ever escape it, I sometimes worry about the future. I have four children, the eldest 15, twins of 14 and a ten year old with ADHD, ODD and autistic traits similar to Aspergers.

That's a lot of hard work. My husband does a lot and without him, I'd be completely lost. Our home life would not be as great as it already is and I reallydo appreciate all that he does for us.

But sometimes, despite chronic illness, you have to find something you can yourself that will lift your mood. Something that will let you forget the pressures of the day and allow you to relax and think about something else.

Sewing does this for me. Sewing allows me to forget how ill I feel, or how crappy the day is and allows me to get creative. To feel the fabric in my hands, to admire the beauty of its pattern, or colour, or the way it will go with another fabric. I love to sew a seam and see a beautifully straight line, or the fact that the stitches are hidden completely. I love it when a project goes right and I create something so beautiful, or exquisite, I'm happy to just sit and admire it and think, "I made that".

Sewing is therapy for me. It's therapy for a lot of people. The art of taking a needle and thread and using it to piece together an item is soothing and relaxing and calming. (As long as we don't go wrong and need to use the old seam ripper!)

I can't imagine NOT sewing. I can't imagine someone saying to me that I could never do this again. That would kill me. Maybe not physically, but the devastation would be pretty bad.

Today is a bad day. So I will sit and handsew my applique and know that in an hour or two, I will feel better about everything. My mood will lift and I will probably be embarrassed that I have written all of this.

But I felt that this was important to share. This is what sewing means to me. It is not just a hobby. It is not just something for me to do. It is a passion. It is a need.

And it keeps me going.