Posts Tagged cartonnage

‘One Day I Will Get Organised’ Maybe – Probably Not and ‘No More Rescue Dogs’ Maybe – Probably Not

Occasionally I am inspired by my blogging friends who set themselves challenges and goals for the day, the week or even the whole year ahead.

But not for long.

This ‘to do’ list scrawled on a bit of torn out paper is about as organised as I get.

However, I have managed to work through some of those (although it is Thursday and I wrote it on Monday).  I’ve phoned my Mum and my friend Maureen although she isn’t crossed out yet.

I’ve booked a restaurant for lunch tomorrow with some friends.

The ‘Box’ entry is because the customer who ordered a little etui box like this ……..

…..liked it so much she wanted a sewing box in the same fabric.

I didn’t have enough blue bunnies so she settle on pink which I hope she will like.

I wanted to practise some freehand machine embroidery so I made her this card using a piece of the fabric from the interior of the sewing box.

The ‘crochet’ entry is because I’m running out of time to complete my two identical sections of Jane Crow’s ‘Sunshine and Showers’ crochet along before the next section is released.

So I’ve managed one and now have to do an identical one.

The lurid greenish colour in the background is a yoga mat.  Obviously!

I’m worried about wavy edges because there are so many different stitches and colour changes and I’m thinking I’m no expert yet so my tension may well wander so I’m blocking it as I go along – hence the yoga mat.

I  don’t think it’s too bad but I need to have a clean slate before next month’s section is released as some Ravelry users who did this last year say they almost gave up at that point.  Even the designer confesses it to being difficult but rewarding.  Ooer.  Stand by for a row of individual flowers on top of what I’ve already done.  Maybe.

I’ve crossed out ‘Collars’ but really I should leave them on there because, since tagging my Scottie Dog collars as Westies I have been inundated with orders from a French Westie fan club on Facebook.  I know they are a little square jawed for Westies but then most Scotties are black so I consider it to be a generic design.

Talking of dogs, mine are driving me to distraction at the moment.  As happened last year, they graze like cattle on the fallen plums and figs in the garden and, also like cattle, deposit the results in great pancakes.  Then they scent our evenings with their gaseous offerings.  I’ve tried clearing up the fruit as it falls but we have so many trees that it’s a virtually impossible task and the slightest breeze (or dog nudging at the lower branches) releases another load.

It’s just as well really because, knowing my love of German Shepherd type dogs my friend sent me this photo of a pup that has recently arrived at the dog rescue.

Then, when I foolishly investigated further, I saw this handsome fella

I’ve also heard, separately, of two young Pyreneen Mountain dogs who need a new home.  Mr. T says it must be a sign but he’s not here all the time so I’m just going to go out in the garden and shovel up some more fallen fruit – both undigested and digested – to remind me that three dogs is already plenty.

I haven’t forgotten the  ‘hatboxes’ entry and must do something with the hatbox quilt blocks before the end of the month as that is supposed to be a monthly ‘challenge’.  See, I do try.

The ‘Conservatory’ entry is sort of housework related so we won’t worry about that –  ‘after all, tomorrow is another day’

 

 

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35 Comments

Crochet Along and Crochet Alone

 

Remember I told you I was joining in with a CAL (crochet along), where a new section is added each month for twelve months?

 Or perhaps you have a life?

Nevertheless, I promised you puff stitch and here it is in the section for June which has been crocheted directly on top of  the section for May which is the way of these things I believe.

This is the ‘Sunshine and Showers’ CAL from Jane Crow –  first issued monthly in a magazine last year and now available for free on Jane’s blog.

I am still a beginner really so I thought this would teach me some new skills.

This month I learnt how to do flower stems, puff stitch,  crochet into front of loop, crochet into back of loop to name just a few thrills and spills.  Nobody can say I don’t know how to live.

See the turquoise row? Well that had me foxed because it comes out as a sort of separate strand on the wrong side of the work at first and I didn’t think that was right so I undid it all and tried it a different way which, of course, was wrong.  Eventually I found a photograph of the back of the work on somebody’s Ravelry project and realised I had done it correctly the first time.  So, it would have been useful to have been given a ‘rear view’ for this particular row in the otherwise very detailed tutorial.  Still, I got there in the end and am almost finished the second, identical piece ready to add on the next bit when it is issued next month.

With all these different stitches, colour changes and my inexperience, I am worrying about the edges of the blanket becoming wavy – a problem some other people have mentioned on Ravelry.  I know this yarn is acrylic but I’m sort of blocking it as I finish each section – i.e. spraying it with some water and pinning it to size – hoping it will limit the waviness somewhat.

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I had put two crochet books on my list which my daughter obliged me with so look out for amigurumi monsters and faux taxidermy which might, or might not, be flying off my hook some time in the future – although it will probably not be the near future.  I am finding the zebra’s head a little intimidating so I might start with the mouse’s head as, with all the cats around here,  it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a life model should I need one – although there probably wouldn’t be much life left in it by the time I got to it 😦   Still, they haven’t dragged a zebra through the cat flap yet so I’ll have to make do.

 

You might remember that I started a ‘fusion’ blanket a while ago which is a sort of fabric/crochet hybrid.  Squares of fabric with wadding in between and each square surrounded by a border of crochet.  I thought it would be a good portable project to do with my sewing buddy on Wednesday afternoons.  I haven’t been doing any of it at home – apart from sewing the fabric ‘sandwiches’ together –  saving it for Wednesdays.  She however forged ahead without me which is why my work still looks more or less like this……

…..and hers looks like this

This is a proposed layout, just needs whip stitching together then an outer crochet border added.  Still, it’s so pretty that it has encouraged me to get on with mine and stop moaning about the splitty cotton yarn I’m using and the 2.5mm crochet hook which both come as a shock after using a 4mm hook and DK yarn on the two other blankets I’m working on.

As a bit of a diversion from all things crochet I had a commission for one of my étui cartonnage boxes but not a hexagonal one this time.  A previous client asked me for one of the small boxes I make which was quite a relief as I’ve lost my box making mojo at the moment – I’m sure you know the feeling 😉 .  Anyway, her brief was brief but rabbits were mentioned.

So, here be rabbits

with some floral goings on inside

 

Off to the hairdressers in a minute to ‘have my roots done’ and when you see the photos of me in my next post you will understand why.

 

 

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37 Comments

Seeing Hexagons

After much cutting, gluing, sewing, photography, scribbling and testing, I have finally produced my Hexagonal Sewing Box Tutorial.

My two trusty testers, Kate and Lucie,  have given me their feedback and have made lovely sewing boxes for themselves.  I’ve made (most) of the changes they suggested and now it’s ready.

I’ve been making these for years – I love them – but I know lots of crafty people would rather have a go at making their own so I took photos of of all the steps as I was making this one

HexagonBoxToadstools (3)

and wrote down notes with sticky fingers as I was making this one

WritingHexTutorial

When you’ve been making something for a long time you forget the steps that need more careful explanation which is why testers are so helpful because they can remind you that things that might seem obvious to you after umpteen years of doing them aren’t necessarily obvious to the first timer.  So, after some tester cursing and unsticking – I’ve now made it clearer that those sides have a short and a long edge and won’t work if you try to put them up the other way – sorry ladies 😉

newsprinthexbox (6)

Also, don’t use wadding that is too thick otherwise you will have a bit of trouble making things fit instead of just ending up having softly padded, lightly luxurious feeling lids and inners – sorry again!  My lovely testers made those mistakes so nobody else has to 😉

hexagon sewing box

Anyway, if you like assembling things, getting a bit gluey and sticky, can do a passable teeny whipstitch and fancy having a go at making your own sewing box, my tutorial is now ready in my Etsy shop here.

Cover Page Hex Tutorial

and, in case you decide to give it a try, put this code in for $2 off the price BOXCLEVER.  It’s an instant download so you can get started straight away.

If you do make one, please send photos and I’ll make a little gallery.

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Trying To Make Sense

Last time I made one of my hexagonal sewing boxes I took photographs at each stage so that, as requested, I could produce a tutorial.   I even asked for testers.  Then I sort of forgot about it for a bit but, when I started making another box I got out my notebook and began writing the instructions that will, quite soon hopefully, be married up with the photos to form a tutorial which will eventually be available in my Etsy shop.

WritingHexTutorial

Because I have been making these for such a long time, it’s difficult to think like a cartonnage ‘virgin’ so that’s why I needed people who don’t usually make them to give it a try before I release my instructions to a (hopefully) wider audience.

So, Kate and Lucie, if you are still up for it, get your glue sticks and cardboard ready and choose your fabrics as the day draws closer when I will ask you to ‘get sticky with it’ and try out my instructions.  I am sure you will be able to give me lots of constructive criticism and I just hope I can remember which file I put all the photographs in and how to put a PDF together.

What do you think of the latest combination of fabrics by the way?  I like the Parisian theme going on – you can’t have too many Eiffel Towers, French typography and handbags can you?

This morning, I woke up really early – 5.30 – and couldn’t get back to sleep so I cut the fabric out for another box with a slightly different feel to it using this Michael Miller fabric as I thought it would make a change from the more ‘traditional’ fabrics and be fun maybe for a young sewing enthusiast.

-Michael-Miller-retro-comic-fabric

I’ll let you know how it turns out.

 

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Back With Some Boxes

In case you were wondering, I haven’t suffocated under a pile of dogs and cats but have been over to the U.K. for a workshop, some long overdue visits, some successful and not so successful fabric shopping and some fish and chips by the sea.  My Mum came back with me for a week so I have been spending some ‘quality’ time with her and have not back into my usual routine – such as it is.

Just to check in, I thought I’d show you those finished sewing boxes I was making even though you will see that I ignored all your advice about which fabric to match with which and stuck with my original plan but at least I asked!

Cuppa Sewing BoxSo, I matched the little teacups with the buttons

CuppaHexagonalBox (3)

and the birds and sheet music

Birds&MusicHexagonalBox (3)

with the teeny scissors

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Did I do wrong??

This lovely toadstool fabric will be the exterior of the my next sewing box as you can see by the progress pic below.

Toadstool Box WIP

I am photographing all the stages as I complete them because I am thinking of turning it into a photo tutorial along the lines of the tute I have already produced for the small boxes I make.

Small box tutorial

If I ever get it done, I will be looking for a couple of testers to make sure my instructions make sense.  Just let me know in the comments if you like messing with cardboard, glue,  fabric and can manage teensy stitches and would like to be considered.

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Weaning Myself Off Coco

I know I’m a bit addicted to making this dress but I have loads of stretch fabrics in my stash and it only takes a mo.  Also, this one is for my youngest, not me, and as she refuses to model and it doesn’t fit me I had a good excuse to use the mannequin.  I have decided that I’m not totally happy with the way the neck is just turned over on this pattern because it does seem to stretch out a bit as you work on it so, if I make any more in future, I think I’m going to make a neckband as in the Lady Skater dress.  This one does actually lay flatter on the neck when it is on a real life person but the mannequin is a little under-endowed in the bosom department so she’s not filling it out adequately.  Honest!

Tartan Coco Dress

I hope you are suitably impressed that I have tackled the tartan again.  I made absolutely no attempt to match it this time because I am a stingy, penny pincher who only wanted to buy one metre and was determined to get the dress out of it come what may and I had to do all sorts of tricksy layouts and cutting to achieve it.  So, all things considered, I don’t think it looks too out of whack.

Anyway, I must get back to more challenging things with zips and buttons – I feel a bit lazy and my overlocker and I have become inseparable (until it becomes unthreaded and then we have to have words – and they’re not polite ones).

By way of a change I thought I’d make another couple of sewing boxes as my last one was recently packaged up and sent  off to the States. Hexagon Sewing Box - French MercerieI’ve started to make two at once because some of the steps involved need a few hours drying time before I can continue and it seems to make sense.  Also, I only make them occasionally and when the mood takes me so at least I end up with two to tide me over until the next time I get sewing box withdrawal symptoms – an actual psychological condition I believe.

I have been cutting out the card shapes today.  When I bought the kit for this a squillion years ago, it came with pre-cut card shapes which was a luxury.  Now I have to cut my own and it is a bit of a pain.  At the moment I have some 3mm card for the exterior which makes for a very good, strong box but I feel I need some sort of power tool to get through it.  I used a Stanley knife in the end as my rotary cutter gave up the ghost and had to be passed over each line about ten times before even making an impression.

Hexagon Sewing Box Construction

These are the pieces for two boxes.  The same will have to be cut in fabrics and wadding but I shouldn’t need the Stanley knife for that.

I’ve chosen the fabric – unless I change my mind again before the cutting stage – and this one will be good for those who like a cup of tea with their sewing.  Hopefully I have enough left of the little buttons fabric for the interior as I used it for my last box so I might have to swap that one for something different.

Teacups Fabric

This one is a linen blend fabric which I actually bought to make a lampshade and then changed my mind.  The little scissor fabric will make a nice interior I think.

Hexagon Sewing Box Tialys

Actually, now that I’m looking at the photos, I think I might swap the interiors round and have the scissors with the teacups and the buttons with the birds and music.

What do you think?

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Back Into Boxes and Another New Girl

It must be that time of year

Hexagon Sewing Box - French Mercerie

I love making these but there are lots of bits and pieces and it really is a labour of love.  It’s just from time to time I am inexplicably drawn to making another one

Hexagon Sewing Box Paris Interior

– or in this case, two.

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The last big vide grenier of the year took place recently and this was on the first stand I came to so I wrestled Mr. T to the ground   persuaded Mr. T we needed yet another antique mannequin in the house and a deal was done.

Antique French Manneguin Size52 (1)The covering is more like silk than linen and surely shaped for a corset so probably late 19th century.

Antique French Mannequin 52 (2)She is what I call ‘headmistress shaped’ because my fearsome headmistress at school was engineered by vicious undergarments  to look rather like this – she used to remind me of a figurehead at the prow of an old ship.  So ‘Miss Viner’ has joined my other girls but I will never refer to her as ‘cheap and nasty’ as she used to do to us if we committed any misdemeanour, even one as small as talking in class (as I did – often)

I am doing quite well with my dog bandanas in aid of the local rescue.  There will be a stand at a big Christmas Fair this weekend and I am going to send some along for sale there.  Somebody told me about soaking them in an essential oil mixture which makes the dog smell nice and also repels fleas and other nasties so I am waiting for the recipe and might give it a try.  In the meantime, the patient Stan has posed for more photos.  Just wait until he sees what Mlle. Tialys the elder forced  persuaded me to buy for him when I was over in the U.K.  Even he might draw the line at it – watch this space!

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Speaking of my U.K. visit, as well as the obligatory fish and chips, Indian meal and high street shopping, I also indulged in a bit of culture.  I  bribed Mlle. T. the elder to accompany me to see ‘Mr. Turner’, the film about the genius painter which was very good and set me up for my visit to Tate Britain to see the Late Turner Exhibition the next day.

Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth exhibited 1842 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851Joseph Mallord William Turner

Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth

This is one of my favourite paintings which was on display at the exhibition.

I have to say Mr Turner  is not really her sort of film and I did have to keep glancing sideways at her to make sure she was still awake but, afterward, she pronounced it ‘interesting’ which is all a mother can hope for.  By way of compensation I took out a second mortgage and we went to see the West End show ‘Sunny Afternoon’ which is a sort of biopic about The Kinks  and it was excellent and here is a reminder of the songwriting skills of Ray Davies and the band’s very distinctive sound.

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Posh Frocks For Chickens

I am very disappointed with the weather up to now this year.  It is the middle of May and yet the sun seems reluctant to show its face and we keep having rain and the occasional hailstorm.  I haven’t even taken the winter tyres off my car yet.  The first few vide greniers (aka boot sale/yard sale) have been rained off or, because there has been the threat of rain, nobody has bothered to turn up.  Although I did manage to find this fetching Madamoiselle yesterday morning.  I must say, she gave the dog a nasty turn.

Plaster Bust

Thank goodness then, that I have got back into my dressmaking mode as it has whiled away a few wet and windy hours.  I was rather taken with the New Look 6873 skirt I made but obviously had to hand it over to Mlle Tialys the Younger as it is  a little on the short side  for a woman of my life experience, not to mention it is covered in grinning death’s heads.  Still, it’s an easy pattern and I like the style so I plundered my fabric stash to see what I could find.  I’m one of those people that has to do something IMMEDIATELY when I make my mind up and it was a sunday so I couldn’t go shopping (no, not in France!).  Anyway, I found some Kaffe Fasset fabric I had bought at one time but there wasn’t quite enough so I made the pocket linings and yoke facings with plain chocolate brown material and, because I didn’t have enough fabric to hem it at a decent length, I used bias ribbon to hem it.  Can you bear it?  I’ve only just got back into dressmaking and am already doing tricksy things like that .  Here it is hanging on a hanger as it was too cold today to model it with bare legs and it would look hideous with tights.

kaffe fasset skirt

My next project – which I have already cut out – is from a French magazine.  Impressed aren’t you?  Well, I will take it slowly and, if I get stuck, take it to my mini sewing bee on Thursday so my friend can help me translate the more complicated bits.

french dress

I like the panelled skirt and the neckline which is a little bit different.  Also, as soon as I saw it I could imagine it in the Liberty of London Carline design, some of which I just happen to have in purple.

Liberty of London Carline

I have now received my pattern for the Elisalex Dress, which alone is a little work of art, and I have been contemplating fabric.  It is supposed to be made in quite heavy weight fabric – even upholstery weight –  in order to hold the shape of the tulip skirt which, I am assured, is flattering to all but I am not totally convinced and may reserve the right to draft the beautfiul, fitted top onto a different shaped skirt.  Also, I don’t like exposed zips so I will have to adapt that.  Whoaa! There I am again going all tricksy.  Anyway, I haven’t quite gone ‘upholstery’ but I have gone ‘home décor’ and bought these fabrics with which to give the lovely Elisalex dress a go.

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I actually bought the white patterned one – which is called ‘Marie Antoinette’ – for another pattern I bought – Simplicity Project Runway 1803  – so I might make the spotted one up in the Elisalex in a short sleeved version and, if I like it, I’ll use the ‘Marie Antoinette’ to make a sleeveless version.  If I’m not keen I’ll go with the Project Runway dress.

projectrunwaydress

Where, I hear you ask, am I  going to wear all these pretty, feminine dresses and skirts when regular readers know that, not only do I live in a beautiful yet cultural backwater with very few opportunities to wear a posh frock, but I have the sort of lifestyle that mostly requires jeans in the winter and shorts in the summer.  Well, once I have a small but versatile stock I am hoping to start making more things for my Madamoiselles.  The Elder is very into fashion and would probably throw herself into choosing patterns and fabrics and might even have a go herself.  Unfortunately, she is in the U.K. at university most of the time so, when she comes back for the summer, I will tie her down, take her measurements, ban her from eating the usual student’s diet of crisps, chocolate bars and vodka so that she stays the same and then I can make clothes for her ‘in absentia’ .  Didn’t know I speak Latin too did you?  The Younger (as we have seen) is more into black, red, skulls, wolves, etc., hasn’t got much interest in fashion and certainly not frocks, so she might prove a bit more difficult.

I haven’t been completely idle on the craft front and here is another cartonnage box I completed recently.  No sewing involved – lots of glue and different thicknesses of card.  I was making this at my friend’s house and, as the glue was still drying, left it there weighted down with some of her antique flat irons.  Ooops!  When I returned the following week, she was all upset because some rust had transferred itself onto the fabric.  Ho hum. Another lesson learned.  I still like it though.

cartonnage

On the quilting front, I bought a Moda Layer Cake in ‘Little Black Dress’ design and I am having a go at this ‘handbag’ quilt from the book by Pam and Nicky Lintott.   I was drawn to it as it is a little bit different, fun to make and not too huge.  I think, when it is all joined together, I might quilt it again simply using cotton perlé maybe around the handles and outline of the bag.  What do you think about that idea and what sort of colour thread do you think?   I cannot get the hang of free motion quilting and, after all the hard work of piecing, I would rather do something by hand not least because it is much easier to unpick if it goes wrong.

Handbag Quilt

So that should keep me busy.  However, bowing to pressure, I agreed to add to our little flock of chickens today as the chicken man was at the market.  We only have 2 ageing hens left now (thanks for that Stan the dog) and a cockerel so I have had to start buying eggs again.  Whaaaat?  There is no comparison.  Even if you buy the most organic, free range, pampered eggs in the shop, they cannot compare to your own chickens’ eggs.  So we have another 3 now, some Light Sussex.   Here is Mlle T the Younger with Isis (don’t ask).  I wanted to call them Milly, Molly and Mandy but she had other ideas so I might just have to be content with Milly and Molly although it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Young LIght Sussex

So, chicken wrangling – and everybody knows you need plenty of posh frocks for that.

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I Thought It Was Sunday

Vintage Image courtesy of the Graphics Fairy

Vintage Image courtesy of the Graphics Fairy

In France, unlike the U.K., they tend to have their public holidays on the day of the actual event that they are commemorating or celebrating.  Hence, the 1st of May is a ferié (or public holiday) on the actual 1st of May which, this year happens to be a Wednesday.  Of course, if this were the U.K., the 1st May would have become the 3rd May, which is a Friday this year, so that it could be tagged on to the weekend.  With me so far?

One cause for celebration is that on the 1st May in France, it is permitted to erect a stand (or indeed, just stand) by the side of the road and sell muguets (or lily of the valley) without having to pay tax on any proceeds.  This is the one and only day that this is ever allowed and you can’t stop at a bakery or pharmacy (everything else is closed, of course, this being rural France) without seeing somebody with little posies of lily of the valley for sale.

Apparently, this is all thanks to Charles IX of France who, on May 1, 1561, was given a lily of the valley as a lucky charm.  Thereafter, each year he offered a lily of the valley to the ladies of the court and it became a custom, at the beginning of the 20th century, to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a symbol of springtime, on May 1st.

I am confused because there was a vide grenier or flea market  today.  Usually they are on sundays (or occasionally saturdays) but today is wednesday and I went to one this morning and now I can’t get my head round the days of the week.  I will probably try to watch Antiques Roadshow tonight now after cooking a roast dinner.

Anyway, this doesn’t lead on at all nicely but I’m going to tell you anyway that I went on a guided tour of  Toulouse last week.  Well, a small part of it anyway.  Usually I just go to shop or to eat or to watch a film in VO (or version originale which translates, in my case, to ‘in English’) so I thought it might be interesting to hear about some of its long and interesting history.  I don’t usually like guided tours – I think the last one I went on was at school and we went to see Stonehenge which was so long ago I think it had only just been built.  Anyway, some friends were going on it and there was a promise of a good lunch afterwards so I signed up.  I won’t bore you with the details and history – and anyway I can’t remember most of it now which is another reason I don’t normally bother going on them – but I did take a couple of photos.

Les Minimes (4)

Love these gothic carvings which were originally inside this church but were one of the only features to survive some disaster or another (see, I told you I don’t retain) and were put on the outside of the church afterward.  Of course, being France, somebody has plonked an electricity box just to the top left of it (!) but never mind, I just love these little men.  And, to think Ikea is trying to get us to ‘say no to gnomes’.

Les Minimes (5)Inside the same medieval church, were some beautiful stained glass windows by a French artist Louis Gesta in the 19th century who had his atélier in Toulouse which was the “largest stained glass window-manufacturing firm in the world” at the time.   Despite this, and building a castle for himself in Toulouse, he ended his life in poverty having ‘overextedended’ himself according to my guide.

Les Minimes (13)The shameful sight of part of the castle that Gesta had built in Toulouse in the 19th century using reclaimed friezes, moldings and other decorations and materials from medieval buildings as well as the traditional Toulouse bricks.  At one time this was occupied by a language school and they wanted to buy it but the city of  Toulouse wouldn’t let them.  The city then proceeded to leave it to fall into ruin and eventually it was taken over by squatters who set fire to the inside and gutted it.  There were beautiful paintings and other artwork inside apparently.  It has now been boarded up and has a corrugated fence surrounding it and there is talk of knocking it down.  See, I do listen.

Les Minimes (2)Oops! Got distracted.

Les Minimes (10)Another gothic arch , another graffiti ‘artist’

Les Minimes (11)However, not everything makes it on to Ebay.

On the ‘making things’  front, I have received my dressmaking patterns, having been influenced and inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee and the fact that I ‘ran up’ a couple of skirts recently in super quick time, and now await the arrival of dressmaking fabric which somehow sounds much grander than craft fabric.  I love the term ‘ran up’.  Where did it come from?  Who first coined the phrase ‘I’m just off to run up a couple of skirts’ and were they misunderstood?  Sorry, just rambling there.  Anyway, I have decided that my love of Liberty tana lawn need not stop at the ears of bunnies and the linings of storage baskets or purses.  Indeed, I have a yen for a floaty, feminine summery blouse and so I have yet another excuse to indulge my Liberty obsession as my current stash doesn’t seem to have just the ‘right’ design for a blouse.

Meanwhile, I have been getting sticky again with some cartonnage and enlisted my friend Sandra for her embroidery skills as mine are non existent and it’s one of those crafts that don’t appeal to me – too fiddly – so I probably won’t bother to learn anything more complicated than a ‘tige’ which I believe translates as a stem stitch.

purpleheartbox (2)All sorts of fancy stitches going on there – I can’t be doing with it!

Anyway, it’s not Sunday, it’s Wednesday so I am off to do some more work and, just in case you are wondering whether I actually bought anything at the flea market this morning, I did.  This is one of my favourites –

DSC_0001or Puss in Boots.

DSC_0005This seems to be some sort of pop-up version of the Great British Sewing Bee.  Make a costume for a cat in less than one hour.  The tailor on the left seems to have lost part of his head so he won’t be back for another week!

DSC_0002Aaah, the nostalgia.  Not that I was a particularly gifted tot who could read French  but you know what I mean.

DSC_0004and, as in all the best fairy tales, it ends happily ever after – although I don’t know where the cat is at this point.  I hope he didn’t get run over by the coach.

Anyway, this seems to have been an, even more than usual, rambling and meandering post but, you know, I thought it was Sunday.

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A Foray Into Flannel

Yes, I have been foraging for flannel this past couple of weeks.  Well, I haven’t quite resorted to flannel nighties yet but I have started amassing flannel sheets and fabric for my favourite thing of the moment which is making rag quilts.  I found some vintage flannel on Ebay which came in some pretty little prints but, as it was in the U.S. the shipping cost more than the fabric so I’ll have to narrow my search to the U.K. and France in future.

flannelsheets

After scrounging some more pieces of flannel from my friend Sandra – including a beautiful soft bolster cover which I couldn’t actually bear to cut up! – I set about the fairly mammoth task of cutting it all into 20cm squares which I did photograph but, as the weather is so pants here at the moment, I couldn’t get a good enough picture.  However, I am sure you can imagine almost 300 20cm flannel squares cut by hand – a big thanks here to the inventor of the rotary cutter without whom it would not have been possible or at least not have been attempted.

I won’t bore you with the details of  ‘how to make a rag quilt’ here as I followed an excellent tutorial which, if you want to make one, will be all the information you need.  The only things I did differently was to use flannel for all three layers and use bigger squares.  Also, having had a go at a rag quilt some time ago and almost ended up with a claw for a hand, I invested (very wisely) in a pair of Fiskars rag quilt snips which spring back open after every cut, have blunt ends to avoid snipping your stitches and make the job so much easier they are worth every penny.   Also, I went a bit ‘maverick’ and each time I joined a row of squares I snipped the seams to about half an inch of the outside edges so that it wouldn’t seem such a daunting task once all the rows were joined.

ragquiltfinished (1)Here it is after one wash.  I told you the weather was grim!  The amount of lint that comes off these buggers is phenomenal so, not knowing where the local launderette is, or even if there is one, I put it in an old pillow case and sewed up the end and put it in my own washing machine.  You are supposed to tumble dry them too, to get the seams to go ‘fluffy’,  but I haven’t got one of those so, until I go and find a launderette and case the joint to see if there is a ‘guardian of the machines’ who might object to me putting such a lint-shedding object into one of her babies, I will just keep shaking it and, with a soft toothbrush, brushing those fraying seams up.

I do like the look of the soft cosy flannel and all those fluffed up seams – it looks all comfy and cuddly – but, as a bonus, the other side looks like a regular patchwork so you can always turn it over and ring the changes.

ragquiltfinished (2)

Nine days to go until my youngest’s 18th and her quilt top is ready and waiting to be sandwiched and quilted.  I waited 15 days for some cotton batting to arrive from the U.S. – it’s hard to get the good stuff here – but, when it got here yesterday, I realised that it could only be quilted up to 2 inches apart and I am going for a ‘minimalist’ approach so, after all that, I have had to order some Hobbs Polydown from the U.K. which will hopefully arrive soon so that I can handquilt 25 stars and then bind it ready for the big day.  It might be a teensy bit late.

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Just one block – there are 25 of these, just haven’t taken a photo of them all joined up yet.

Meanwhile I have made another soft and cosy, towelling backed throw with some gorgeous Tilda fabric  and have started piecing my Union Jack so I am not being idle.

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and not liking to let anything  go to waste – I used the remainder of the Tilda fabric to put a roof on one of my little cartonnage house boxes.

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Don’t miss my next post when I will be attempting to make my own knickers! Although not, I hasten to add, in flannel.

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