It seems you can teach an old dog new tricks after all

Blimey, it's been quiet around here lately. The kids are finally back at school and I have had to dive head first into the giant pile of actual work that got neglected in the holidays. I haven't touched my sewing machine for weeks - I'm in danger of forgetting how it works.One thing I have managed to find time for is a fantastic knitting class at The Village Haberdashery. It is a really relaxed workshop for all abilities, and you can sign up for as many classes as you like (in blocks of three). A couple of women in the group had never picked up a pair of knitting needles, and by the end of the first session they were well on their way to making a gorgeous scarf! The teacher, Monica, is [Read more...]

Thirteen

Dear RachelI'm not sure how this could have happened - it seems like just a couple of years since you were born. I remember being in hospital with my newborn daughter, insisting that my mother kiss you on the back of the neck. Absolutely insisting, in awe of the softness of your skin. Your golden blonde hair shining on the back of your head as you lay in the crib next to me. Bringing you home and being so afraid you would break, that I would fall while carrying you down the stairs, terrified to be left alone with you.Those days when it was as much as I could do to take a shower and get dressed - leaving the house was a step too far. Just holding you and staring at you in amazement. The [Read more...]

Numpty

Somehow I always manage to get things just a tiny bit wrong. In the Stingy Bee this month, Di asked for four scrappy sprout blocks (like these). Since she wanted a variety of colours, and nobody else seemed to have enough red, I opted to make all four blocks with red as the feature colour. So far, so good.Except that I sewed them together in pairs so she can't scatter them around the quilt top. And put them in the post before I realised I had made a mistake. Sigh.Oh well, it's only two seams that need unpicking, right?

Refraction block tutorial

April is my month in the FQR Kinky Bee, and I've chosen a simple (albeit rather huge block) that is pretty improvisational and hopefully a lot of fun to sew.The block gets its name from the way that the blue lines are shifted out of alignment by the addition of each section, just like the way a pencil looks broken when you put it in a glass of water. I really like that effect, which is convenient because trying to line the buggers up each time you add a new strip is a total pain.For one block (finished size about 22 x 14") you will need:22 x 13" background fabric (I used Kona medium grey)5 strips, each 1.5 x 22" (I used a selection of blues from a Kona FQ bundle)Using a ruler, cut the [Read more...]

Super Mario cushion

It was Daniel's best friend's birthday last week, and he's a little obsessed (to say the least) with Mario Brothers. He also happens to have parents who appreciate hand made things (woot!!!!) so I decided to make him a Super Mario cushion using Angela's fantastic pattern.My favourite thing about the iron-all-the-teeny-squares-to-interfacing-and-then-sew-them-together method (yes, that's a technical term) is the way the block looks all squished once you have sewn the horizontal seams. See how Mario looks all dumpy and adorable: He does regain his relatively svelte figure when the vertical seams are finished, however, which is probably for the best.I quilted all around each coloured [Read more...]

Project President

What do you do when your guild president is having her first baby? Make a secret quilt, of course!The lovely ladies of the LMQG contributed blocks using this pattern (once they had forgiven me for choosing curves), I did the quilting, and then Amy finished it off with the perfect scrappy binding. There was a fair amount of paranoia that we had been rumbled, especially since the vast majority of the supplies were bought from Annie herself (including the backing), but luckily the effects of pregnancy brain meant that we got away with it.The quilt was delivered at a mini baby shower last week. There was also a pretty nasty baby food taste test, but that's a whole different story.

Knitting, again

Contrary to what you might think (because of my massive obsession with all things fabricky), I also knit now and again. I tend to make small things, because I am too mean to spend a fortune on yarn and also because I am a pretty slow knitter. I have strong memories of my mother knitting the same sweater for about 12 years (I kid you not). It started off being for my eldest sister, then my middle sister, and finally me. It eventually got thrown away in disgust (still unfinished) when I was about ten sizes too big for it.So, yes, I knit hats and scarves and baby clothes and socks. And right now I am knitting a clapotis, which sounds like it should be some kind of venereal disease but is [Read more...]

Warning – gratuitous pie

I like to take a multicultural approach to life, especially when it adds extra opportunities for cramming dessert in my face. As it turns out, yesterday was Pi day (March 14, or 3.14 if you are American. Geddit?). It would have been rude not to mark this important date in some way - I would hate to accidentally insult any nationality, particularly one that I live with.Of course, this desire to make pie had nothing at all to do with this recipe that I happened to find the other day while looking for the perfect chocolate cake (that search is still ongoing, so any suggestions would be welcome). For the love of all that is good and holy - a chocolate pie. Pie. With chocolate. And pie. It is [Read more...]

Seven

Daniel, yesterday you turned seven years old. So much has changed in my life since you were born that I sometimes forget to notice the tiny individual steps you have taken that make you the fantastic person you are.  You are hilarious - really and truly intentionally hilarious. You make excellent use of sarcasm (that's my boy) and the bait-and-switch. You are loving and warm. One of my favourite things in the world is snuggling with you. Watching you snuggle your stepdad or the puppy come a close second.You are bright and inquiring and ask really good questions. You know which questions to ask me and which are "Johnny questions" (usually anything involving cars, planes or [Read more...]