Frosty photos

(Nothing to do with crafting!)

Frosty morning today, as well as misty, so I got out about 9.30 and took some pictures. It was melting by the time I got back; sometimes standing still in the woods I was surrounded by crackling noises and dripping as it thawed. I was glad I got out when I did, yesterday I didn’t get out til 2.30 and the best was gone by then. It’s nicer outside than in, though, now I’m sitting in two tops and a jumper and still have cold hands I’ve cracked and put on the heating!

 

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Christmas Cushion Cover

Happy Christmas everyone!

I made this cushion cover for my brother for Christmas (he won’t have opened it yet, but doesn’t know about or read this blog, so I’m safe to show it!). imgp0039The core of the design, the central diamond and eight-pointed star surrounding it, came from a free Accuquilt pattern, though not in Christmas colours. But in that pattern there were pinwheels at each of the four corners and it felt a bit disjointed, like the separate elements didn’t quite connect, so I faffed about for ages (and ages, and ages…) coming up with a different design. I wanted it all to be half-square triangles, and was pleased with the cream eight-point star around the red star because with a very big stretch of the imagination it looks a bit snowflakey. But for the last bit of decision-making, the corners, I had to send my Mum an e-mail with mock-ups of three different designs, because of course I can never quite make up my mind!

I wanted the fabrics to be Christmassy but perhaps not too much so, so that it could be used through the winter as well as just the holiday period, though I suppose I ruined that with the sleigh fabric! That fabric actually deserves a much better showcase, and probably works better when you use larger sections of it so you can get the full picture with the deer pulling the sleighs, so next year I’m going to  see what I can do with it because I did buy quite a large piece with the idea it could be the background for a Dresden  plate design (something I’ve never yet tried). I first bought it so long ago I now can’t remember whose it is, but the others are all  Moda. The red fabric is Bonneheur des Dames, the dark green and the cream with holly are both Christmas Countdown, and the light green is Juniper Berries. Making something where all the fabrics are the same quality because by the same manufacturer is a first for me and I enjoyed that, because others I’ve done have ended up mixing thick and thin, and I find you do notice the difference.

The double border also came from the Accuquilt pattern. The mitred corners were new to me, and I tried to follow the instructions in a book but got a bit stuck at one point, but a nice lady at the craft group I go to helped me out, bless her.

This is it laid out to make a mitred corner, and the diagonal line being stitched. The first one wasn’t great and I did the ones in cream by folding them because I still despite being shown couldn’t quite get how to rule the lines once I’d got home, but I got the hang of it with the second border – whether I’ll remember whenever it is I next do one is another matter, but I was pleased for the time  being! It certainly looks better in this design than square edges would have done.

These two worked quite well…

 

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… this one less so, on the inside anyway. Hopefully won’t notice too much now it’s got the cushion pad inside.

 

imgp0041The back, which I made using the sewing machine.

It’s actually 19 / 19.5 inches so a 19 inch cushion pad would have been best, but they’re harder to find so it’s got a 20 inch cushion pad and you can see here it’s overstuffed, but I think will squash down in time.

A couple of other angles,

and the finished item beneath the tree at my parents’ house (looking bigger than it is, I reckon).

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Enjoying our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, including some homemade decorations that make it personal – snowman with the blue hat and the cross stitch bells by me, the crazy snowman with the tinsel hat by my Mum – don’t know what that tells you, but that’s the one that gets the admiring comments!!!

Happy Christmas! Best go to bed before Santa comes.

First ever lap quilt completed (at last!)

I’ve finished the machine-stitched lap quilt I’d been making for my aunt, and have handed it over, said goodbye to my labour of love! (These pictures are poor, the light was low, so it looks over-exposed). I experienced lots of difficulties getting to grips with using the sewing machine, particularly with using a walking foot, and the sheer bulk of material to feed through the machine, but it’s been a learning experience. I’m not sure I’d do it any better again, but am willing to give it a go when I get round to paying for a better quality quilting foot, but that’s not going to be for a while yet (no large-scale quilting to do yet anyway). It’s also true that all the errors which seem like a big deal at the time, and when looked at close-up, aren’t so important in the scheme of the finished product, and when it’s given as a gift and not designed for minute inspection by a quilter’s guild (perish the thought!). I’ve learned that the green squares make the pinks sing out more rather than just blending into an amorphus pink blob: a lesson I wish I’d learned earlier with regards to the autumn quilt I’ll be going back to in the New Year. Also, with this project I had my first shots at needle turn applique, which got better as I went on and which I’d like to try again. Most importantly, my aunt, to my relief, was really, really pleased with it, and appreciated the time that had gone into it, and was more interested in looking at the different patterns of the fabrics than spotting where my lines had gone wonky or the stitches were different lengths – bless her! What I need to do now is learn from that lesson, so enjoy it more and worry less when it isn’t perfect… well, I can try!

Not quite ‘out with the old, in with the new…’

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I’m doing a double-fold mitred binding on the pink quilt, and sewed on the front almost a fortnight ago, the weekend before last, but have still not finished stitching it down at the back. This is because I’ve another Christmas project, which I started in November, and is much smaller, and I’ve been focusing on that. I know it would be better to finish one thing before starting the next, but it occurred to me that as this last part of the binding is all done by hand and doesn’t require any equipment apart from thread, needle, pins and scissors, I can take it with me when I go to stay with my parents for a few days next week. I’m taking it with me anyway, as they’ll see my aunt before Christmas so will be kind enough to deliver it for me, and I think I should be able to finish it in the time I’m there – well, I’ll have to now!

I only had one error when I was sewing on the binding, when I only realised after the fact that a few inches of the front hadn’t actually gone under the needle (!) but I rectified that by hand. More difficult was dealing with the ends of the binding, which I’d forgotten I’d never quite sorted out in my previous attempts to do this binding. I’d seen one book which talks of cutting a straight edge, folding it over, and somehow inserting one end into the next, but the one time I tried that it looked really clumsy and messy. I then read about it in Linda Clements’ book, where she does a mitred join, and it looks much neater, but I simply couldn’t fathom it. In the end, getting desperate due to lack of time, I cut both ends on the bias (is that the right phrase? at a 45 degree angle anyway), slipped one inside the other, and sewed over both near the edge. I know that’s not right, but fortunately the ditsy pattern on the fabric makes it not too noticeable, though it’s bound to fray a bit.

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I will have to sit, when I’ve more leisure, and use scrap fabric to work out how to do that properly, because it’s one of those details that makes all the difference.

In the meantime, I’ve finished doing the patchwork of the cushion front of the ‘new’ project and have just started quilting it. This weekend, along with everything else I want to do before going away, I need to finish the whole cushion cover! However, more on that in the next post. (And I haven’t forgotten the autumn quilt which started this blog! It’s just another one that’s on hold, but normal service will resume after Christmas, which will I think be nice).