Cometh the hour – cometh the cushions

I think I might be ever so slightly over cushions now. I’m up to four in three weeks – which is a fair amount for me and doesn’t include the couple of goes I’m too embarrassed to show. 

The first two were intended to use up some scraps and match the coin quilt I finished a year ago. The quilt is currently in residence as winter’s sofa snuggle throw, I had enough fabric left to make a couple of cushions to go with it. They had been on my to-do list for a while but finally here they are. 

Img_1716
Normally I’m against soft-furnishings being too matchy-matchy; but frankly, when you live in rented accommodation, having a corner of at least one room look as if you really meant it and aren’t just doing your best with what you were given because you’re not allowed to make changes becomes much more appealing. 
Img_1727
Next up is this little snowdrop cushion made from a pattern in Suzuko Koseki’s Playful Patchwork. This is a completely new approach to hand-piecing for me – it certainly made the usual English paper-piecing I do seem incredibly straightforward. It’s not perfect by any means but I’m fairly happy with it now. I can’t lie at times the most playful part of this patchwork involved trying to find it again after I’d hurled it across the room in frustration. However I did resolve to tackle some new skills this year and this is part of it. I wouldn’t be too daunted to do some more projects from this book, there are some really gorgeous things in there. Still as it stands this little 12″ cushion sums up January for me; shy little snowdrops peeping up against a bullet grey sky with a zing of marmalade orange (one batch made so far) and the occasional slice of icy blue sky to provide a bit of colour. Please note the hand-quilting, I’ve never quilted so densely before but I really enjoyed it – must get a thimble though, I’ve now got the calluses of a guitar player.
Img_1729
I’m glad there’s a bit more light in the evenings now – and I’m glad January’s nearly over in just about 4 weeks we can officially say Spring is nearly here!

Thanks for reading,
Helen
x

 

Advertisements

Resolved to Sew 2012

By now I hope any sewing/fabric fans who’re reading this have made it over to Ali’s blog, Very Berry Handmade and entered her Resolved to Sew mega-giveaway. My sewing resolutions have taken an unexpected turn this year. Here they are…

1) Last year’s fabric diet went surprisingly well. I really stuck with it and hardly spent anything on fabric. There have been a few little treats to myself in the sales but not that much really. The main thing I noticed last year – that despite the production of five quilt tops, various bags, cushions and heaven knows what else – there was still an amazing amount of fabric left, not only that, the scrap mountain that flowed out of all of my sewing last year is the thing I’m most proud of! I love scraps – really love them, I think I may in future go the route of buying scraps over the more usual fat quarters or half yards. You never know what you’ll get in a scrap bundle, Etsy is full of people de-stashing their scraps it’s a really affordable way to add to your fabric stash.

2) Scrap usage extends to wadding/batting too. Way back in the summer when we moved house I had some scraps of polyester wadding that I knew I wasn’t going to find a use for. (I find polyester loses its loft very quickly and given it’s reaction to heat they didn’t seem to be suitable for coasters/place mats/pot holders which are my usual ‘go to’ projects with small bits of wadding). To my horror I couldn’t recycle them – I tried various organisation who all informed that they’d only accept cotton/wool/silk/linen/natural fibres for recycling. To my sorrow had to chuck the scraps into the bin – ready for landfill. Never again, from now on I’m using only 100% cotton, cotton/alpaca mixes or bamboo for wadding. These are all great for using for small projects and the tiny bits left over can still be recycled.
Img_1688-1
These little coasters are made with scraps from Miss Marmoset’s Campari cushion of a couple of weeks ago, strangely I think I like these leftovers more than the original project!

3) I’m going to have a crack at some smaller projects. I love making quilts, but sometimes I do feel a bit bogged down with them. Time to stretch my sewing wings a bit I think.
Img_1699
4) Scrap sewing requires serious scrap storage – my Ocado plastic bag (I know all class right?) is clearly approaching a state of critical mass. Some of these lovely fabric storage baskets might be just the ticket.

Do you have any resolutions for 2012?

Thanks for reading,
Helen
x

 

Psst! Heads Up for Resolved to Sew!

6668065003_9d8dc8e8d8_o

Just dropping a little note to let you know that the lovely Ali over at Very Berry Handmade is having the most fantastic giveaway starting on the 16th. Just look at some of the gorgeousness up for grabs! Start thinking about your Sewing Resolutions now and let Ali know on Monday. Personally I have a few scrap-using-vaguely-eco notions I've been pondering recently, but that might be something I bore you with another day.

Good luck everyone – in a strictly elbows akimbo, get behind me sort of a way of course!

Thanks for reading,
Helen
x

Skillz and Selfish Sewing

Img_1677

One of my many New Year resolutions is to start sewing a bit more for myself. I've made a few things over the last last couple of years – but not many of them get to stay in the house. Not only that, but when I'm sewing for other people, I tend to play it very safe. I make things that I know will work and don't really challenge myself. This year that has to change I need to wiggle out of my ever-so-ever-so cosy stitching comfort zone and start tackling some essential skillz. 

So how am I planning on scaling this mountain of ambition? Why through the medium of cushion covers – naturally. 

Y'see as well as tackling new skills, (trickier piecing, curves and – dare I? – even free motion quilting), I need to go back to basics and start again, again – if you see what I mean. I'm not happy with binding, or fabric choices, or basting, or pressing, piecing and most other things. The cushion cover at least works like a mini-quilt, so I can practise the basics over and over as well try some more challenging blocks.

This week's cushion cover was the first attempt – mainly with trying to work with different colours than I normally head for. Purple, I've decided, is a bit like Campari for me. I can handle a little bit – but it needs to come with a generous quantity of mixers. Also, talk about the need to go back to the beginning, look who stitched the binding on backwards – gah! Overall I'm happier with this than my other attempt to make a purple cushion cover last week – it was hideous. Normally I'm all in favour of bloggers showing their disasters – but trust me – this was hanging. And I don't want to put you off your dinner.

In praise of selfish sewing, although Miss Marmoset has since snaffled this pillow, the next one will be mine, MINE, I tell you!

Happy New Year!

Is there anybody out there?! I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t. After a prolonged period of radio silence I’m back in the land of blogging. I think I needed to take a break and examine why I wanted to blog in the first place. I started this findahappyplace to keep a sporadic record of what I’m up to or making and to give family and friends who live far away a bit more of an idea of family life here. It spares them the painful Christmas round-robin letter at least. I’ve decided that trying to pressure myself into blogging once or twice a week just makes me dry up completely. So this year I can promise no regularity, no routine, no consistency but hopefully still some occasionally finished projects.

Speaking of which – most of autumn 2011 went on hand quilting one project – little Milly’s quilt. Milly is my niece born on Boxing Day of 2010, the intention was to give her the quilt as a first birthday present. Quite why I thought hand quilting and not starting until the beginning of October was the way to go I don’t know. It took some effort, and some heroically damaged thumbs, but we got there in the end. The quilt was really well received by Milly’s parents, the birthday girl herself was – quite rightly – much more interested in all of her new talking/squeaking/barking toys to take it in. I’m sure she will in time – it’s either that or Auntie Helen threatens to make her some clothes. Which as Miss Marmoset will be the first to say – nobody wants that to happen.

Img_1307-1
Img_1310-1
Img_1314-1

Naturally as it was intended as a present I couldn’t show you any progress until it was finished and given, so here are a few shots. Sadly after all that effort I took some really rubbish pictures in

 low winter light with some pretty unforgiving overhead spots, there’s been some playing in Picasa to try and right the colours but I might have to ask you to use your imagination. Assume that apart from the yellow border, it’s not all pale yellow okeydokey?

Thanks for reading,
Helen
x