This post is brought to you by a surname

Jones, to be specific.Look at my new baby. My hand-cranked, 100-years-old, sews-like-a-dream baby. I learned to make clothes on a machine just like this, way back when I was nine. I had forgotten until now, when I was showing the children how it worked, the beauty of having such direct speed control. It more than makes up for the limitations of having to use only one hand to steer the fabric.This machine is so old school that the bobbin is a little teeny shuttle and there are no seam allowance markings. Nothing a piece of washi tape won't fix.The other Jones in this story is everyone's favourite monkey. When I saw her at the Festival of Quilts a couple of weeks ago she did an extremely [Read more...]

Woven, and insanity

Ages ago, I happened across this image on Pinterest. As well as being amazed that it was a painting (seriously, the talent!!) I knew that I wanted to make a quilty version. Hence this big old pile of assorted neutrals, which then became a similarly big old pile of strips:That were then foundation pieced onto white sheeting to make the woven effect:The insanity came with the quilting - very dense, with lines about 1 - 2 mm apart, with thread to match the fabric. The piecing itself took about 12 hours (bear in mind that this is a very small quilt - about 50 by 80 cm), but the quilting took days and days. I deliberately left some sections unquilted so that there would be some variation in [Read more...]

Squeeeeeeeeee!

At last I can finally show you the baby quilt I made a couple of months ago for issue 14 of Fat Quarterly magazine. I am really bad at keeping quilty secrets (not any other kind though - with those I am excellent), so this has been driving me CRAZY!This little quilt was another of those insomnia-inducing ideas. I wanted to make a not-too-babyish quilt for a new great nephew who will be arriving soon, and of course Oakshotts were the way to go. I love them so much it's like an illness. The final quilt is so soft and light - all thanks to the gorgeous fabric.I used the blues from a Water F8th bundle, and excitingly I will have another bundle to share with one of you next week, so make sure you [Read more...]

New and improved

The adorable Amy made some new cushions a couple of weeks ago using material from Terrys Fabrics. I had never heard of the company before (apparently I must have been living under a rock or something - they've been around forever!) so I popped over to the website. I've been wanting to replace the extremely shiny (causes reflecty chaos when TV watching) and dust-collecting nightmare of a living room lamp for ages, so after a good deal of rummaging I picked this fabric (but also wanted this and this and this, dammit)The lampshade kit was really easy to use and took about half an hour. Because it works on a sticky-backed-plastic basis you don't need a lot [Read more...]

Quick, before the sun goes in!

Even since I saw the first pictures from Quilt Market, I knew that I wanted to make a shirred sundress from the Nordika Whimsicol panel. I love this new line by Jeni Baker - the mix of graphic and floral prints is fab, and the colours are among my absolute favourites.So yesterday I hot-footed it down to Annie's shop, and picked up a metre and a half of fabric and a couple of spools of elastic thread. Two hours later, and thanks to this fantastic tutorial, I had a lovely summery dress. I took about 8 inches off the width of the fabric because of my, shall we say, diminutive size, which meant that I had matching fabric to use for straps. Win. And because I am lazy I didn't [Read more...]

Copycat, copycat, sitting on the doormat

You know what they say about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery? When I saw Pennie's completely adorable model aeroplane I had to have one of my very own. She's a clever girl, that Pennie. Taking her lead, I printed out the pattern pieces two to a page and went from there.Because the straps are made from quite heavy webbing I decided to attach them all the way to the bottom of the bag instead of between the panels like in the original pattern. I didn't want to insert something so bulky into that seam. Of course, that meant that I had to stitch through a gazillion layers on the bottom seam when assembling the bag. I clearly didn't think that through properly.It's so cute and [Read more...]

Love love love

I love teaching children to sew - they are always so pleased with what they have made and rightly proud of themselves. In the last couple of months I have taught hand sewing, machine made pillowcases and a birthday party tote bag class at The Village Haberdashery, as well as various bits of making with my daughter and her best friend. Look at all those smiling faces. I wish I could ditch the science and do this full time!

Summer is here!

And it's really hot. I realise that this might not be a huge deal to anyone outside the UK, but it is the first decent summer we've had for years. Since 2006. Yes, really. It's even been too hot to do much sewing, although not too hot for plotting.I've got another one of those keeping-me-awake-at-night ideas brewing. It will need a zillion shades of almost identical neutral solids and considerably more thinking time before I can get started. But that's just fine - the thought of being stuck under anything remotely fabricky at the moment is more than I can stand. I'm off to sit in the paddling pool with a gin and elderflower. A bit like this woman, but in a shiny blue swimsuit. Classy.

Three years

It was our third wedding anniversary on July 4th (not-so-much-independence day for my lovely American husband) and that means leather, apparently. I did briefly consider a pair of leather knickers, or possibly a full-on gimp suit (as a joke, honest) but thought better of it. For several reasons, not least of which was the sweatiness. And my tradition of making the gift myself.I have met lots of lovely people while out walking the pup, and one regular companion is my friend Gaulaleh ("G" for short) and her adorable whippet, Willow (who has his own twitter account). It turns out that G makes dogs' collars and other stuff out of leather, and she very generously let me have a play with her [Read more...]

What I’ve been up to

Indulging my inner 12-year-old, in collaboration with the queen of words.According to the ten-year-old, it's "so inappropriate!"I think I might hang it in the hallway when it's done, just to embarrass her.Hehehehehehehehehe.