Monday, 18 March 2019

Quick River Quilt Update

Hello readers and happy Monday!
I am especially chirpy this evening as I survived a very intense time at work last week with a two-day Ofsted inspection. Needless to say, I had a lot of late nights and early mornings and I am just about beginning to feel OK after also doing a Saturday session with my GSCE art class to get ready for their exam this Thursday and Friday! Phew..... onto some sewing news.

On the 8th March, the lovely Jenny Haynes ran her 'Finish that Quilt' workshop at the Village Haberdashery and I took along my River Quilt in Marimekko fabric to continue the quilting. I spent the first hour of the session drawing out the lines I wanted to quilt on the grey Essex linen. I tested the washable pen on a scrap piece of fabric and it luckily disappeared very quickly with a damp cloth.

You can see a before and after washing shot below. I have also included some examples of my hand-stitching and how the quilting lines look on the improvisation quilt at the back.

I aim to bind the quilt at the next 'Finish that Quilt' session in April and then take it slowly with the remainder of the hand-stitching and embroidery dispersed through the 'river' of the patchworked design.

How has your Monday been? I hope it was a good one!

Saturday, 16 March 2019

The Very Best of Shelves

This 'shelf' post is inspired by Florence who blogs about English Paper Piecing, quilts and more at Flossie Teacakes. A while go she casually mentioned having a shelf which showcased delightful treasures and precious things and she called it 'the very best of shelves'. I commented on her post that I would love to see said 'shelf' and Florence very kindly wrote a very detailed post about all of the wonderful objects adorning her 'very best of shelves'.

My collection of the 'very best of shelves'. The items displayed are over a few separate shelves unlike the 'original' one shelf of Florences. The shelves themselves I consider a work of art in their own right.  I spent many hours measuring, drilling, rawl-plugging, sanding and re-painting the wall and eventually hanging the Vitsoe shelves in my lounge. I am so happy with them that I often just stare at them and smile!

Onto the precious things.

Top shelf from left to right:
  • The number 3 is the original house number of my current home. When we moved in 6 years ago we gutted the property and renovated everything. I have plans to box-mount this zinc and enamel number 3 for prosperity
  • The yummy vanilla Diptyque candle was a present from my friend Mel
  • This awesome set of concrete and textile tiles I bought from a student at the Harrogate Knit and Stitch show in the late 2000s. I had them framed so I can appreciate them. The inspiration behind them was road markings (yellow lines, tarmac etc)
  • Yellow wooden heart. I made this during a work health and safety training day when I learnt how to use the scroll saw. It's a simple wooden shape cut out, carefully sanded then stained with yellow dye

Middle shelf left to right:
  • Paper flower I made on a workshop with A Petal Unfolds
  • The vase is made from wood which I bought at a lovely craft shop in Islington (which has sadly since closed down)
  • Framed print of Putney railway bridge that I got in my first summer living in London. I bought it at the annual Putney Artists Open House. The artist is a printmaker and photographer known as Gurley who had the most enviable home studio and amazing art!
  • Beautiful pebbles, two from Aberystwyth, Wales and the third from Hastings
  • Such a delightful book of hand-writing papers. It is a collection of all the Liberty prints ever published which my friend Mel brought me back from Tokyo
  • The final stripy stack of colours on the shelf may look rather random but they are a pile of rubber coasters which my boyfriend brought back from the Museum of Modern Art gift shop in New York (these are an absolute must when you decide to put wooden floors in every room of your house and drink lots of tea!) 

Bottom shelf left to right:
  • One of the few items I have of my mums is this amazing set of mini wooden drawers. I 'stole' them from my mum in my early teens and have been storing precious items inside them ever since. The four glass handles are all slightly different and I have lots of totally useless but amazingly meaningful items in here!
  • The cute London postcard is a thank you note from my French neighbours. It has a temporary residence here until I receive something else that catches my eye
  • More pebbles; this time from Rye in East Sussex. I love finding pebbles with holes in them!
  • There is also a 'wooden' pebble which I got from a trip to the Harrogate Fossil and Mineral fair with my dad and brother in the 1980's. My dad was a keen amateur geologist and loved semi-precious stones and fossils; he was incredulous that I had bought a 'wooden' pebble from a mineral fair! The cool thing about it is, the knot in the wood moves slightly from side to side and I have often found myself just sitting and playing with it many times over the years
  • Finally two collections of postcards for inspiration in the form of Marimekko prints and the Pantone colour swatches
I hope you enjoyed my 'very best of shelves' post and I will leave you with some close-up shots of my many and varied precious things.

Do you have a very best of shelves?

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Life Drawing at Liberty's of London

Liberty's of London has been hosting events this month as part of their 'Liberty Lounge' promotion on the fourth floor. A section of the store has been turned into a 'lounge' with sofas, plants, tables; a chilled out place to drink a coffee and read books.

I attended a life drawing class organised by Soho Life Drawing last week and enjoyed an hour and a half sketching a model who used props based on Valentine's theme. The poses ranged from 2-minutes to the longest pose at 25 minutes. I used a graphite pencil for the majority of drawings with the exception of my final sketch where I captured some fun colour and texture using oil pastels.
Also, check out the cute Liberty print paper sleeve on my cup of peppermint tea - I have kept it for collage/craft purposes!


Sunday, 10 February 2019

Eva Sweatshirt & LCC Craft Swish 2019

After making the Nina Lee Richmond Blazer I wanted a quick and fun make that wasn't too taxing on the brain. I came across a free pattern whilst sorting through my stash for the London Craft Club Big Craft Swish last Sunday at Cecil Sharp House in Camden.

I'll tell you about the Big Craft Swish first and give details about the sweatshirt later!

In preparation for the Swish, I reduced my stash by two bags of fabric and returned from the swish with a 2-metre piece of heart printed polyester and a half metre of lovely soft green stripe knit cotton.

There was a lovely bunch of people at the Swish. I bumped into my good friend Alex who had recently had a massive de-stash herself. She rather admirably left with NO swish items which was very impressive!

The walk through the park to get to Cecil Sharp house was beautiful. The calm before the thrill of the swish storm!

All the volunteers worked really hard and I had the good fortune of catching up with Geraldine who attends lots of London Craft Club events which was fab. A big thank you goes out to Sonia and Zoe from LCC for organising such a great event!

Onto my new sweatshirt. The free Eva Collection Sweatshirt pattern involved just a few pieces and I was drawn to the interesting chevron sleeve details. It is a great pattern for using up small sections of fabric. I had a few scraps of leftover black jersey from the Monroe Turtleneck and I bought a 0.8-metre piece of this cool 'junk-food' sweat-shirting in the Tilly and the Buttons flash sale last week.

I cut it out last Sunday afternoon and sewed it together at the Sewing Social at the Village Haberdashery on Thursday evening. In my head, this top was going to be the cutest but with an 'edge' style sweatshirt. In reality, it hasn't quite worked out that well.

The back neckline gapes terribly (and I used a walking foot too), the sleeves are too long after I added some impromptu cuffs (easy to rectify, I know!) and the overall fit is not what I imagined. It is also partly due to the lack of grey fabric that meant I had to add the extra black section on the lower sleeve which in hindsight breaks up the style lines too much!

On the plus side, it is very cosy, so maybe it will be relegated to an 'inside-only' garment.
Maybe I should chop off the sleeves at the 3/4 point, as I think the two different weights of fabric do not sit very well together?
What do you think?

Have you had any sewing disappointments lately?

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Nina Lee Richmond Blazer

Hey, I have been busy in the first month of 2019 pattern testing Nina Lee's new Richmond Blazer. She requested pattern testers in late December and I was lucky enough to be chosen to pattern test before the launch on Friday 25th January.
If you are a fan of clean lines and classic styling then you will love the Richmond Blazer. It has a notched collar, welt pockets with flaps and is fully lined.

I made mine up in a bottle green linen that I got free at a 'Swish' almost a year ago. Some long-time readers may recognise the lining as another bargain fabric in the form of a tablecloth I bought in the H&M home sale section in 2017 (I made my New Look 6446 jumpsuit with it last year).

It is an involved and enjoyable make. The written instructions and illustrations are excellent and beautifully presented in a handy guide. I made my very first welt pockets following Nina's instructions and didn't feel the need to google a youtube video or search for more advice online because her advice is so clear every step of the way!

I am really proud of this make and it came together in very intense after-work sessions starting on the 10th January and finishing on the 16th January. I can definitely see another Richmond Blazer in my wardrobe in a different fabric.

Here are some construction shots and the finished blazer.

I understitched the collar by hand
The lining worked out really well. I bought some olive green/grey bamboo from Ray Stitch for the sleeve lining
Marking out my first ever the welt pocket with hand-basting

Thank you to Alex (Selkie Patterns) at The Village Haberdashery for taking these photos!

I really enjoyed making this blazer and if you have never made a jacket before the Richmond Blazer would be an excellent pattern to start with. Nina Lee's really created a fantastic pattern here folks, a perfect wardrobe staple!