Monday, 29 February 2016

Mending Monday 2016: #2 Visible Mending

It was Kids Clothes Week last week. I did my best to fit in some kids clothing related crafting each day. 

On Monday night I spent a lazy hour or may be less, darning the knee in a pair of toddler trousers. The trousers are old - handed down to us, and no doubt used by several children before they came to live with us. There are worn and cosy, in a useful muddy green needlecord, with a snuggly jersey lining. 

The first knee went into a hole a while back, and I used some embroidery thread to patch it up. Rather than attach a patch on top of the hole, I just stitched the two layers into a place in a messy jumble of stitches. The lining fabric didn't have a hole - just the outer layer. 

The second knee had the misfortune of developing a hole whilst at nursery, so there was plenty of time for small fingers to enlarge the opening - but, as before, the hole was only in the worn corduroy, and not the inner lining. By the time I got them off the toddler in question, the rip was quite large. I approached this hole in the same way - using embroidery thread to anchor the two layers together. 

Neither repairs are neat or tidy. But, they seem to be working. The first repair is holding up well, and we are ekeing out a little bit more wear from these well worn and well-loved trousers. I think they will do until the little bean grows out of them. 

Friday, 26 February 2016

Bag Lady (FO) Take #2

Yay! A finished project for February. I managed to polish off that fat quarter shopping bag I cut out before Christmas. You know, the one I cut out wrong...

Having made this pattern three times already meant I had a vague idea of what I was doing. It was still a bit fiddly sewing and pressing and turning and top-stitching - but the result was rather pleasing. IBecause I ended up with an extra (centre) seam owing to my cutting mishap, the facings were slightly out of whack. I just added a little pleat/fold to the facing when I pinned it in place. I am mistress of the lazy way. It worked pretty well, so, a worthwhile fudge, and I like the fact that each side of the bag shows two fabrics. 

Here are some awful phone pics. It was dark and late when I remembered to take a photo (note to self: neither of those things makes for good photos). It's gone off to live with my brother, along with the other green one I made earlier. 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

In the interests of transparency: quilt festival haul

Despite my feelings about spending lots of ££ on fabric, I did come home from the Quilt Festival with a few fat quarters in my bag. 

Most are destined for some Christmas projects, and were all reasonably priced at £1 per FQ. Dontcha just love those penguins?

Then there were a few fillers/neutrals (also £1 per FQ)

And finally, I splashed out on some half-metre cuts from Kaleidoscope Fabrics for a special project I am planning. These cost a bit more...

They go perfectly (as I hoped) with these jelly roll strips. The project will be for our bedroom. One day. 

Monday, 22 February 2016

Things I realised this week: about quilting

On Friday last week, my mother-in-law suggested that I spend the afternoon at the Spring Quilt Festival being held on the outskirts of Edinburgh. She went in the morning with the ladies from her sewing group, and came over afterwards to look after little bean while I skipped off for the afternoon. 

I had never been to a quilt show before. I've read a lot about QuiltCon and those mind-blowing American quilt shows with millions of breathtaking quilts and booths and yeah, and I've seen all the lovely pictures of the Quilt Show at Malvern and places. But, it was nothing like any of that, and it was not at all what I expected. 

There were lots of forbidding signs saying that you Must Not Take Photographs, and Dont Touch the Quilts. And then the exhibition itself was slightly underwhelming. There were some small pieces displayed downstairs, and some full-size quilts upstairs. Some of it was very lovely and impressive, but there just wasn't very much of it. 

Above all, the festival seemed to be about the stalls. Crammed with fat quarters and quilters gadgets and bolts of fabric in every colour under the sun. Fat quarters were this price on one table and that price on another, and there were Frozen fabrics and Star Wars fabrics and Japanese fabrics and batik and flannel and prints and solids and cottons and tweeds. There was some very lovely stuff. I'd show you some photographs, but all those forbidding signs put me off. 

I was rather overwhelmed. I looked at the quilts. There were lots I didn't really care for. There were some I admired (wow, you  collected 205 colours of silk, and appliqued them with invisible thread; you quilted that amazing design with a regular sewing machine: respect) but none that really made me want to study the colours and techniques and patterns and then rip it off the wall to take it home. 

As I wandered round and round looking at this and that, I had a few thoughts. 

1. It seems vaguely completely ridiculous to me to spend many many ££ on fabric to make a quilt, when I have oodles of fabric scraps and old clothes which could be repurposed into equally beautiful quilt tops. And, it seems completely ridiculous to spend many ££ on fabric to make quilts when there is so much textile waste in our society. 

2. I love the bright and modern and clean looks of modern quilts. I like quilts with space. I don't like the traditional flowery and busy designs involving lots of piecing. I also like improv quilting and quilts which are given meaning because of the fabrics included in them: uniforms from soldiers lost in conflict; clothes from people we love - the things children wore when they were small; a life time of scraps from a grandparents house. 

3. I have one quilt top in progress (and not finished yet), so what do I know?

Of course, I didn't let the opportunity pass me by, and came home with a few fat quarters in my bag. I managed to resist the sparkly Frozen fabrics, and the cool Star Wars prints, but bought a few Christmas sorts of things to make something festive. There's nothing like long-range project planning is there?

Monday, 15 February 2016

Making Stuff Happen: Feb update

It's bright and crispy outside, and I've been working hard on that 2016 to-do list. I thought I might do a little Feb update to record progress. 

1. Tame the stashes 
Progress: after halving the yarn stash, I have done a bit of fabric organising. It's in a new place. It's more accessible. I've also bought some more fabric for very specific projects. The fabric stash cull is yet to come, but sewing plans are being made.

2. Use the stash!
Progress: I'm doing really well with the yarn - and several new WIPs on the needles which all come from the stash: some new socks; a cowl and a tank top for the bean. 

3. Make some things to fill gaps in my wardrobe: 
After ordering a pattern, I have now ordered and received some blue jersey to make a navy skirt. The cowl I planned to make is all but finished, it just needs grafting.... 

4. Finish the UFOs
Progress: one pair of socks has been repaired, and the fourth (and final) fabric bag has been sewn. 

5. Continue to work on mending,  exploring different techniques and making mending a social thing too by doing it with friends.
Progress: the invitation to come and mend still stands, but we haven't managed to find an agreeable date! Meanwhile the mending pile keeps on growing...