Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Strawberry Jam

It started when I saw a pattern for a felt strawberry and had to make one. Since then I've come across other strawberry designs, and had to make those as well, and before I knew it I had a theme going on. Some of them are pincushions, and one has a magnet glued to the back of it.
My favourite thing in the picture is the heart-shaped pincushion with the bird holding a strawberry. I remember I was making that around the time of my older daughter's graduation in the summer of 2005. I tea-dyed it to give it an old look.
Some of the strawberries are felt, some cotton and some wool. I like working with wool, and sometimes it's a pleasant change to work on a small project. I recently appliqued this pincushion top, now waiting to be finished:

This one's got a bee on it, another of my recurring "themes". The pattern is by Backyard Quilts.
In the past I've stuffed pincushions with ordinary polyester stuffing, except for one which I filled with wool roving and another I filled with sand. Some patterns these days suggest ground walnut shells as a filling, so I might try that with this one.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Quilts UK

I think I've mentioned before that where I live, fabric buying opportunities are few to say the least. There is no quilt shop in my area and I rely on online quilt shops or quilt shows to buy my fabric, books and everything else quilt-related. Well, I love going to quilt shows, so it was with a hop and a skip that I went on my annual visit to Quilts UK near Malvern on Saturday. This is one of my favourite quilt shows, in a beautiful setting.
The show was very well-attended, at least when I was there. In fact it was packed! I had a lovely day though and there were some really nice quilts on display, so there was plenty to look at.
I'd been saving up my pennies, and I didn't come back empty-handed! I bought all the stuff in the photos. And yes, I bought more rick rack! I couldn't resist that lovely denim blue colour.
I also got the new spring issue of this magazine, which is always a good read.

Was it all worth a 150-mile trip? Oh yes, I think so!

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Yo-yo Fun

They are easy and quick to make. You can sew them together to make a piece of any size. You can dress them up with beads and buttons. You can add leaves and make them into flowers. I have read that here in the UK they were traditionally known as Suffolk puffs, but now they seem universally known as yo-yos. To me they have a friendly, retro look.

And here is my finished quilt, complete with yo-yo flowers.
The photo is darker than the actual quilt, but we've had no sunshine! I rounded off the corners by drawing round the rim of a cup lined up with the edges. Because of the rounded corners the binding had to be cut on the bias, and I was a bit worried about stretching it, but it went on nice and smoothly.
Over-flowery? I think the yo-yos worked well on this because they are small. Any bigger and they would perhaps have been too much.
Usually at this time of year garden work starts to take over, but there has been so much rain over the past few days that by the time I can get outside, the weeds will be twice as many and twice as high! But on the plus side it means that I've had more sewing time:)

Friday, 11 May 2007


These are some squares I've been making for a blanket. I know granny squares are hot just now, but for this I wanted a more lacy looking square.
The design is from 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton, and the pattern is called Gothic Square. I think I've made just over half the number I need for a throw.

It's funny but when I was younger I was always a knitter. My mother knitted and she taught me to knit. Then I managed to pick up the basics of crochet from a how-to book I bought with my pocket money when I was about 11. Later in life I found that if I learned to hold the work properly I could go a lot faster, but I never really did much with it, apart from a pram blanket when my first daughter was a baby.
Until recently!

I still love the look of knitting, and would knit something if I liked the pattern, but at the moment I seem to be in a crochet phase. My daughter even asked me to teach her to crochet! So there you are, it's officially cool enough for an art student. That's a good enough endorsement for me! We spent an agreeable afternoon a couple of days ago going through the basic stitches.
Well, what would you choose as a nice safe, easy project for a beginner? Would you believe she is now crocheting a doily. Talk about running before you can walk:)

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Eye Candy

This jumbo rick-rack arrived the other day. Don't the colours look lovely all together? Light, but not bright.
Don't ask me what I'm going to do with it. For now I'm happy just looking at it.

This is what I've been working on the last couple of days. A quick project after my last big quilt. The pattern is by Little Quilts and is from an out-of-print book I got for the bargain price of £1.50.
This pattern has an old-fashioned simplicity that appeals to me. Maybe the simple blocks are the best! The fabrics are a real mixture and all from stash.
In the original the light fabric is all muslin, but I used various neutral prints instead. I've still to decide on the fabric for the outer border, but it will be light. The finished quilt will have some yo-yo flowers on it for decoration. Cute!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Garden Stuff

I thought some info about how I look after my auriculas might be useful. I don't really know a lot about them, but for anyone who is interested, I can tell you what works for me. If you're not a gardener, skip this post!

I only have the outdoor ones, and I have mine in clay pots or containers which I keep outside.
The key thing with them seems to be drainage. I pot mine in ordinary compost, mixed with a good handful of grit per pot. Then there is the position. They like a sheltered position and mine are in dappled shade from trees.
They don't need very much watering, and withstand hot dry spells very well. Some tend to do better than others, but some of mine have been perfectly happy in the same pots for 2 or 3 years.
To propagate them by division, I just cut vertically through the main root. I would do this after they have finished flowering. As long as each piece has some decent root on, it will probably survive. Pot them up in the same gritty mixture as before, water them, and there you go, you've got several new plants which should flower the following year!
Well, now I'm off to do some weeding.