Saturday, 31 October 2009

No Rest For The Wicked On Halloween!

We are almost all set for Halloween, The pumpkin quilt is out.........
Mummy's costume workshop is all sewn out, one happy bat and vampire await the witching hour, just got to finish the ghosty outfit for favourite bear who is coming trick or treating with us in case it gets a bit scary! Got to get on.....the sun is going down.......Happy Halloween!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Messing About By The River

Today we didn't do very much making at all as we went on a half term trip. We went to the river, watched seagulls and swans (very relaxing), bought school shoes (very stressful), and laid in Halloween supplies (very exciting!).

A day out at the River is a family favourite. It's a glorious drive down to the Thames from where we are up in the Chiltern Hills, I just love the timeless views

The kids loved this orange stripy field..........oh and the amazing playground when we got there!

We're off now to turn that little bundle of black and orange material into a bat suit for tomorrow......... no rest for the wicked!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Quilting + Knitting

Friends keep commenting that I started a blog to share my quilting projects, then promptly fell in love with knitting too! I suppose it's a kind of KnittyQuiltyBlog, but I don't think there is really a distinction as they are just such a complementary pair of crafts; colour and fibre and tactile and done by hand.

This is one of the many baby quilts I made for BabyButton when I was expecting her, I've since knitted a blanket ( moss stitch in Debbie Bliss soft pink) to go with it. All tucked into the buggy under these two layers she couldn't be snugglier.

My stripy blanket is well under way, I'm just embarking on the final 3 colours which make up the bluey/green end of the stripes. I've discovered cable knitting since I started it ( see my Ultimate Buggy Gloves) http:// and now I wish i had cabled it too, but might have been too much with the horizontal stripes too? I have a little burning thought of vertical cabled stripes, wouldn't that make a nice blanket? How many blankets and quilts can 3 children have?
My little Boy has been off playing muddy games with a friend so we have had a very girlie afternoon, the pencils have been sorted............

Then we started making birds from Joelle Hoversons book. Have you tried them? We've just made everything in this book, it's so lovely. Last year we did red and white xmas ones for the tree which were lovely, we thought we'd try robins this year after looking at this lovely post http://
As you can see we've cut out all the pieces, then had a brainwave and decided to create a quilted robin in homage to the Attic24 crocheted one (as I haven't learnt to Crochet yet!), he's turned out rather sweet looking?

Two Nice Things Happened

Today as I was unloading the dishwasher (important as a scene setter as, although I am generally of the cheerful personality type, loading the dishwasher is not the high spot of my day!) two nice things happened.

Ping went my phone, and the news that I HAD WON! Yippee yipee, isn't it lovely to win something? I am the featured blog in this weeks Quilt Home news letter! Now winning a surprise competition is reward enough in itself, but not satisfied with that they sent me $20 to spend at Quilt Home! Now I LOVE quilthome anyway, I could buy every piece of material they stock, and the joy that those fat flat rate envelopes bring as they make a satisfying thud on the doormat having winged their way across the Atlantic! Thankyou QuiltHome!

So I was all a flutter at the excitement of Amy Butlers new LOVE range that my $20 will be buying me, when Ping again went my phone. This time it was my oldest friend with the news that her little son has chicken pox and all that is making him happy is his Robot quilt that I made for him. Now, not to say that having Pox is a nice thing, but that text made me smile. Isn't that just what quilt making is all about? That's why I love making quilts for babies, theres nothing more comforting when a small person is under the weather. Poor little chap - get well soon. This is his quilt, it was the forerunner to SkyPark, called Little Robots.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Mini Make Time!

It's half term here, so this week the Mummy Making will be largely replaced by Mini Making as the Smalls have their crafty way all week.

Ahead of this week long celebration of all things Makey I have been rushing to finish my first sock. Alas it is destined to always be a lone sock as I know now that I knitted it on too big needles, and actually I'm not mad keen enough on the wool to start all over again. But nevertheless here is my first saggy, slightly misshapen, but unmistakeably socky sock....

I have also finally turned my Make Club heart into a lovely squashy cushion. I don't know how I have never actually made a quilted cushion cover before, but it's turned out very comfy so this may be the first of many.

We're not really ones for 'Things To Do At Half Term' type scheduling of the days, we like to mooch about and make a mess - all in the name of Making Fun. The Smalls have been hard at work, with spookiness the order of the week, today we have been making felty ghosts, and the template for bats has also been agreed after some negotiation between the two artists! Anyway, I'm needed for spider web/wool stickiness so better get on...........

Saturday, 24 October 2009

I've joined the folks on Folksy!

Just a little stop press - I've joined Folksy, a lovely quirky UK site dedicated to all those who Make Things! Have a browse, there's lots of lovely things to see, my quilt kits can now be purchased in £'s on Folksy rather than $'s on Etsy for those of you in the UK who like it nice and simple. Enjoy

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Ultimate Buggy Gloves

Today was a lovely Makey Day - look what I made; the ultimate buggy pusher gloves. They are both super warm and very stylish ( if I say so myself), but crucially they leave the mummy fingers free to carry out the many intricate manoeuvres that involve transporting primary schoolers home in one piece (attach bags to buggy, undo bike lock, re tie shoe laces, arrange pony tail under bike helmet, coat zip up, coat zip down, re tie shoe laces again etc etc).
I had obviously spent too long perusing the Toast catalogue (ooh I want that... £££ HOW MUCH?!) when looking at the socks, and subliminally the lovely slouchy fingerless gloves had also crept into the Make-Consciousness. So when faced with a lonely ball of the perfect aqua blue wool ( Mission Falls 1845 Wool - Cornflower) the ideas began to swirl.
After two very frustrating false starts ( too narrow, then the cable too small) I hit upon the perfect cable pattern ( it's my first try at cable knitting - such fun, i love it) and away I went. Excuse the rather wonky picture taken whilst rushing to school, it's surprisingly hard to photograph your own hand pushing a buggy without pushing the baby into a tree!
Then in an attempt to keep it fair between quilting and knitting I finished preparing all the applique shapes for my leaf quilt, so just two blocks left to hand applique then I need to think about the borders.
Then last but not least, the binding for my Ducks in a Row quilt is all ready to slip stitch. Now have that happy feeling of much achieved in a day.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Attacking the UFO's ( Unfinished Objects!)

It's been a very busy few days as my Make Do & Mend quilt kit website has gone totally live so there has been much behind the scenes busying with boxes and tissue paper and ribbons to get my kits all spruced and ready to fly the nest for their new homes!

I am always one for having too many projects on the go at once, but the end of last week saw rather a surge of 'Oohh New Project' excitements so this week I am determined to finish some things.

I blogged last week about my Lizzy House Fabric with the ducks? The perfect project for it had been tantalisingly out of reach, until a eureka moment with some Amy Butler grey fabric made it all make sense. I like this quilt design so much I'm going to start cutting kits as it is a nice simple construction and makes a very graphic modern baby quilt. I'm hand quilting it at the moment with big circles to counteract all the lines, I love it, I hope you do too. Will try and finish it off this week and give it a proper photo shoot!

My knitting is guiltily filling all the non quilty moments. Bored of how pink all my knitting had been after my sudden passion for Debbie Bliss Soft Pink wool ( 1 scarf, 1 blanket, 3 hats ( I had to knit three before I actually made a hat to fit the baby!)) I have embarked on a colourful blanket. It was such fun auditioning wool, it could have been the worlds longest stripy blanket, but I settled on 9 stripes and this is what I ended up with. Yum!

Anyway, better run, have to catch the post office before it closes to send one of my little Quilt Kits off to Australia! What fun!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Socks Rock

Now I may have mentioned this before, but my long held ambition when it comes to knitting is to knit a perfect Toast style pair of cashmere socks ( and of course then to toast my toes in front of an open fire somewhere heathery and windswept, a la Toast Catalogue!). This desire to knit socks has been met with mostly loving scepticism it must be said. You see as yet my knitting output has been limited to scarves and blankets and beany hats.

Anyway with this in mind I signed up to 'Knit Socks in a Morning' at Stash Yarns in Putney, London. Oh what fun it was. The ever patient Nic showed us the magical world of turning a heel, knitting a gusset (who knew that a sock had a gusset?)and the Kitchener Toe! (A reference to Lord Kitchener the British Secretary of State for War in the 1st World War 1914-1918, below in his iconic recruitment poster. I guess everyone was knitting socks for soldiers, so thus the Kitchener Toe?)

At the end of it I had produced something of which I was inordinately proud. Now I am going to show you a picture and I want you not to laugh!

So this is my sock, kindly modelled by Bunny, who after a Cinderella style audition amongst the soft toys was found to be the only animal with a suitably strange shaped foot!

OK, so it's not the finest sock you may have ever seen, but as my sock teacher said, it has all the bits in place, it just needs it's proportions sorting out! So anyway, full of sock joie de vivre I have started a proper big sock, here it is, looks OK so far, no?

Monday, 12 October 2009

Getting my Ducks in a Line

This lovely little stack of fabrics by Lizzy House from has been burning a hole in my sewing desk for too long.

Usually I am a greedy kid when it comes to fabric and before I've even ripped off the wrapping the old rotary cutter is out and cutting and I'm away. But for some reason this little pile has survived because the perfect use for it remained tantalisingly out of mental reach. You see I love the prints, I don't want to chop them up. I love the colours, but couldn't find their neutral to tie them all in, white and cream were too harsh, pink too pink, orange is too orange etc!
But last week I had a eureka moment, threw in some perfect solids and started cutting. I'll give you a peak later when it starts to get some form. If it works out as nicely as I think it's going to I plan to kit this one up and so you'll be able to buy a kit for a baby quilt in these fabrics over on or It will make a lovely modern contemporary (a bit urban?) quilt, really straightforward for a beginner quiltmaker. I'll keep you posted as it develops, I'm excited about this one.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Reasons to be Cheerful

It's a glorious Autumn day today, in the garden my new little Cottinus plant is putting on a show and has repayed it's £4.99 price already by turning this colour since the weekend.
Thursday is market day, so we walked into town to get our veggies, fatally past our wonderful florists, with Cottinus still in my minds eye (and not wanting to butcher him for foliage quite yet) I couldn't resist some autumn colour to bring inside.
...try not to notice how much my windows need cleaning! It did rain a lot yesterday in defence!
Anyway, mindful of the fact that winter is a-coming, and heeding my small sons nesting needs I cracked on with the last side of the binding on his (self designated) TV Quilt!

Sitting in the autumn sun, sewing whilst Baby Button slept, that's three reasons to be cheerful if ever there were some.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Make and Cake and Mousey Boxes

Good Morning. I am a bit (as my mother would say) overtired this morning. MakeClub last night was such fun. We didn't actually get much making done, but there was much tea and caking, and lots of ideas for new projects hatching!

Most excitingly someone bought along a box of old fabrics they had inherited. Well my heart always beats a little faster at the thought of fabric treasure boxes, but it can often be a bit of a disappointment, because vintage isn't always good! But ohh my what a box of fabrics. With the warning that there was probably a mouse in the bottom we rummaged. EVERYTHING was fantastic! The kind of box of fabric that you always hope to find in your attic.

Look at those lovely paisley swirls and little floral stripes, ooh it was all I could do not to snatch it and barricade the doors! It's going to all be transformed into a modern quilt made from vintage fabrics in homage to Great Granny. Now that's what quilting is all about.

p.s there was no mouse, but oh what a fabulous nest it would have built!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

MakeClub Night

Today is MakeClub night, it's one of my favourite days in the month. Let me tell you all about MakeClub. You see I discovered quilting by accident (see post in May). But it was a lonely discovery because we don't have a friendly quilt shop nearby, I didn't know another single person who quilted, and blogland was an undiscovered place! So I quilted alone and bored all my friends and family with my quilty chat. But then come the recession suddenly it's Cool to Craft out in the wider world again and I found myself 'outing' myself as a quilter to all and sundry. As part of my 'outing' I discovered that many people had a dark crafty secret!

MakeClub began as a little thought that developed at Sports Day in June. My kids infant school is just lovely, but one thing that is agreed by all is that a non competitive under 7's sports day can be a long and frankly rather dry affair for the spectator. As we shuffled around clapping Beanbags in the Hoop game etc I started to chat about how I longed to learn to knit properly. A friend suggested the local Age Concern Group who meet at the Church Hall, but we felt that our bevvy of under 5's may not be too welcome an addition to ordered knitters! We need our own group we said...........

So we got together, called ourselves MakeClub, we all got v excited, started telling people about our fun group, others started asking to join, and now we have a lovely group of knitters, quilters, cross stitchers, crocheters, flower arrangers and a cake decorator! We meet twice a month, we do a Show&Tell session a HelpMe!HelpMe! slot, and each month someone who has a skill shows the rest of us how to do it! Oh and we have a cake, and lots of tea and chat! We also meet one morning with babies in tow (picture it - it's kind of dog+baby+wool macrame!).
As a result of my MakeClub friends I have taken first faltering steps towards being a knitter, I have polished off a couple of scarves, and now a moss stitch blanket. As you can see Baby Button learnt to crawl in between the scarf being finished and the blanket, that may be the end of willing poses!

Never one to take baby steps I have decided to go straight from square knitted items....... to socks! I have had a go at the 4 needle cast on, it's looking OK so far, no? Oh cashmere socks here I come!

Looking back at these pics though I'm thinking the knitting is all a bit pink? Time for a stripey blanket? I'm off to soak up some colourful stripey inspiration at Lucy's Attic24 blog, ooh and to pick up my 'teach yourself crochet' book from the library! Another day another project!

Monday, 5 October 2009

A Little Bit of This...a Little Bit of That

It would be fair to say that I have a limited attention span. That's not to say that I struggle to concentrate at all - more that I want to concentrate on EVERYTHING, at the same time please!

This weekend I had set aside for Leaves Quilt. We had a lovely autumn morning sunlit walk up The Big High Hill on Saturday, BabyButton in the backpack, Badger found a good stick early in the journey (so important when you are a small boy of 4) and I returned full of the joys of autumn - it all boded well. I knuckled down for a morning of autumn leaves with the help of Miss Belle (who is only a weekend helper due to unfortunate school commitments!). We were very pleased with the oak leaves (it's very helpful having small 6 year old fingers for fiddly sticking around freezer paper). Here they are, in the porch sadly, as it's raining here today so can't recreate my under the trees shot I had planned to show just how many more leaves have fallen since Friday - it's proper Autumn at last.

Anyway, that's as far as we got as like-daughter-like-mother, Miss Belle decided what she really wanted to be doing was rummaging in the scrap bin to make a bed for her Waybuloo, De Li (OK anyone reading this who does not have small children, Waybuloo's are little (kind of Buddhist!) magical creatures on CBeebie's (children's TV)). The rest of you mummies may just sigh in mutual recognition of what 5 years of enforced preschool CBeebies will do to take over your world!

That's all fine, we usually end up in the scrap bin, it's where the most fabric fun can be found, no? Except Mummy started playing too.....and......... well I spent the rest of the weekend on a new idea. Oops.

You see the pink scraps were all laid out next to my MakeClub flyer, and they matched so nicely, and I have a penchant for fabric signage ( see my Make Do & Mend banner at the side), so now I am making a MakeClub welcome pendant to hang on my door on Club Nights! Except the next one is tommorrow night .....gulp.... my Sycamore leaf applique is looking accusingly at me ... better go and do some sewing!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Happy Quilting Anniversary!

I was looking through some old pics from last year trying to find a shot of my Halloween quilt to show you (turns out it didn't get photographed on it's one outing of the year!), when I realised that this month is my quilting anniversary! Three years ago this month I finished this quilt..

Isn't it a stunner? It's still one of my favourites. It came from a pattern in Better Homes and Gardens Quilt Sampler magazine (Spring/Summer 2007). My husband bought the magazine back from the states on a business trip and it took me about 3 months to match all the fabrics ( I was so nervous about fabric choice that I literally matched all the squares to the original pattern!).

I pieced it on the sewing machine and appliqued with fusible web which was my first and last time (I always freezer paper and hand applique now). I hand quilted the whole quilt with squares and cross hatching and echo quilting - it was a labour of love!

Sadly my second quilt was a shocker - again from the same magazine I thought I'd do a Pennsylvania Barn Door pattern - I knew nothing about tonality or contrast, or indeed about piecing with any accuracy! I had bought fabric I wasn't really that keen on but i thought it matched the pattern. I more or less gave up and made this poor rag unloved at the bottom of my unfinished pile forever I fear ( It's almost too sorry a specimen to show you!).
But it taught me two things - Always make what YOU love, and I love COLOUR, lots of it!