Posts Tagged Postage stamp block

Only Eight More Sleeps ‘Til Christmas

I think it’s because my Mum and Mlle. Tialys the Elder arrive on Saturday for the duration of the festivities but I have suddenly realised Christmas is almost upon us.  It must be – I’ve even done some housework.  The spare bedroom was in use as a kitten nursery for a few weeks recently so I really had to get in there with the hoover, the steam mop and the cleaning products to give it a good going over.  Not that my Mum is one for running her finger through the dust but coming across a stray, forgotten kitten poo might be a bit much

Well, I’ve sort of kick started myself now and made a couple of extra gifts for Christmas.  Apart from a few gifts for the Secret Santa organised over at Sewchet, and the blanket I have knitted for my Mum, I hadn’t really got going with the handmade gifts this year.

I have got addicted to making postage stamp patchwork blocks and have made several for the block swap I’m participating in.   I have a sewing buddy and we meet up every week and I find it a little daunting to make things for other people who sew or knit because, obviously, they are more critical.  However, she doesn’t do patchwork so I thought I’d make her a little cushion out of a postage stamp block as it’s something she probably wouldn’t make for herself.Sandra's Cushion (1)

As I’m on a Fabric Fast (2 and a half months in and counting) I had to use fabric I already had but I wanted to make it a little bit ‘themed’.  When I go to her house for our weekly ‘sew-in’ (or sometimes we go crazy and have a ‘knit-in’ instead) she always makes a cake and, being half English, she loves tea.  I find it funny that, unusually in France, she adds milk to her tea – even the infusions – so the other day we had violet tea with milk.  Even I wouldn’t do that and I’m fully English.

So, I used some fabric which is all about tea, some with images of lovely cakes, some with sewing bits and pieces, some sent to me as part of the block swap and some that my friend had bought for me because she felt sorry for me not being able to buy any myself.

Sandra's Cushion (2)This is the back because I wanted her to see the ‘Afternoon Tea’ fabric in full.  Plus, my only purchase from a visit to the Christmas Market in Toulouse the other day.  There was a gorgeous stall selling all different teas and infusions.  The one in the photograph contains rose, apples and carrots and looks and smells like pot pourri.  I bet she adds milk to it though.

Mlle. Tialys the Younger was panicking because she couldn’t think of anything to get her Nan for Christmas.  My Mum is always cold when she’s here although our log burner did get the living room up to 27 degrees last Christmas and she did finally concede to taking the blanket from around her.  The rest of us were walking around in t-shirts.  However, we don’t have central heating and she’s used to it back in the U.K. – that and the fact she’s 83 and entitled to feel the cold I suppose.  Anyway, last time she was here she had a pain in her neck – and it wasn’t me that time – so I thought a useful thing to give her as a gift would be a neck and shoulder heat pad thingy.

I had this cotton canvas fabric leftover from a bag project and found a tutorial which was a little different from just a tube of fabric filled with rice or wheat.  This one is divided into sections and you fill each section separately so the resulting neck warmer is nice and flexible and drapes well around the back of your neck and shoulders.  I used rice and added some lavender essential oil so, it smells lovely too and that will intensify once it has been in the microwave for a minute or two.

Handmade Neck Warmer

Also, it folds up nicely and, tied with a bow, makes a neat looking stocking filler.

I’m going to see if I can make two or three more before I run out of time.

DIY heat pad

Once they arrive, I probably won’t have chance to blog much so, in case this is the last one before Christmas, have a very merry one!

By the way, you can find the tutorial I followed for the neck warmer here http://www.sewcanshe.com/blog/2014/12/16/diy-heating-pad-for-shoulders-and-neck

 

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Blocks From the Netherlands – F2F Block Swap

I received two packages last week – one from the U.S.A. and the other from the Esther in the Netherlands.  I said her blocks deserved a post of their own and here’s why –

Foundation Pieced Block ipatchandquiltHow stunning is that?

Foundation Pieced Blocks ipatchandquilt

I can’t imagine me executing something this perfect – sorry ladies!

Foundation Piecing ipatchandquiltPossibly my favourite – though very difficult to choose.

Esther from ipatchandquilt not only made these beautiful foundation pieced blocks but she also designed the patterns.  You can see some of them on her blog here as well as some stunning quilting designs.

I am humbled by all this gorgeousness dropping through my letterbox. I have done some foundation piecing in the past – perhaps it’s time to give it another go.

After all, having told Kate, one of the organisers of the swap, that I was never, in a million years, going to bother cutting piddling little scant 2 inch squares and faff about with interfacing, look what I did.

Postage Stamp Block

I liked the block Kate sent me using this method so much that I decided to give it a try after all.  I used very thin fusible interfacing – as it was what I had to hand in a large enough square, and although it was a pain to mark up, it makes for a block that is not at all stiff.  I think, if I am to continue in the postage stamp style, I will mark up a grid on some muslin and use it as a template underneath the interfacing as suggested in the tutorial.  Also, I might try cutting a plastic template for the scant 2 inch square you need to cut the fabric.

I’m hooked – my matching is never this good using any other method 😉

and in case you’re missing the kittens

Three Tabby Kittens

I’ve got somebody coming round to see – and maybe reserve – them later on.  I might hide the biggest one – he’s so gorgeous and bound to be the first to go.  No, No! I must be strong.

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F2F Block Swap Colour Perfection

Measure Twice Cut Once

The first ever block swap I’ve ever participated in, called F2F, is well underway and, as it is my turn this month, I have received my first package from Kate who is one of the organisers and also the farthest away – Australia!

I will receive 10 other packages – one from each of the other participants – which, together with three blocks I have made myself will give me 36 blocks in my chosen colours to join together to make a quilt.

I was going to wait until they all arrived until opening but, when Kate’s arrived on Thursday, I couldn’t possibly contain myself so I opened it.

I was chuffed to bits with the contents, three gorgeous blocks with some little extras thrown in like the little tin above which is a handy reminder and even goes with my colour scheme .

Kate's Blocks for Me F2F (3)

I am so impressed with the quality of Kate’s work.  Even the back is super neat.  I have taken photos of the backs too but I thought she might kill me if I published them for the eagle eyed to zoom in on  😉

Kate's Blocks for Me F2F (2)

It’s so exciting to receive such beautiful blocks and they make me want to up my game and be a bit more adventurous (and skilful!) with my own blocks.  I think I am good with colour but my points matching and general finishing tend to be a bit ‘under par’ so I apologise to everybody sending me their lovely work for the fact that the ones you receive from me will almost certainly not be as well executed as yours.

Kate's Blocks for Me F2F (1)

The above block is a postage stamp block and Kate has linked to a very good tutorial over on her blog.  I thought it looked a bit fiddly for my liking but now that I’ve seen how gorgeous it is I want to give it a try myself.  I know this one is a block she found hard to part with.

Kate's Blocks for Me F2F (4)

Some spare fabrics in my colours, a little zippy handmade purse and another cute one in the form of a postcard made opening this package a bit like Christmas.

The colours are perfect and I’ve hung the postage stamp block up next to one I’ve made just to show how well they go together.

Kate's Blocks for Me F2F (7)

Just to add even more ‘excitement’ and anticipation to the block swap, there has been a mix up with my post (zip) code and I am hoping that the French postal service will be clever enough to realise that – as they already have with the package from Kate – and deliver the other ten safely.  I’ll let everybody know once their blocks have arrived as I know those of you that sent them out before the 22nd will be concerned.

I love waiting for the postman!

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