Tuesday, 15 December 2015

A Flurry of Confetti Dots

I've spent the last few days working on a quilt for a friend's new baby that I'll be meeting over Christmas. I took quite a long time looking through the latest fabrics lines aimed at children, which was really lovely as it's years since I've looked at children-specific fabrics, but eventually I decided that none of them felt just right. In part because before I started looking at child-centric fabric, I thought that Karen Lewis' soon-to-be-released line for Robert Kaufman would be ideal, being both modern and juicily-coloured, and once I'd had that idea nothing else was going to be right. I considered not making a quilt at all, but then one morning I woke up and remembered that I actually had the perfect fabrics, tucked away in some sort of 'to make' / 'abandoned projects' basket at the back of a cupboard.

Nearly two years ago, on my 36th birthday, after going out for lunch, my husband asked what I'd like to do for the rest of the day, and I told him that I'd like him to be my assistant colour arranger. We planned out a quilt using a charm pack of Confetti Dots that I'd been sent by Dear Stella, supplemented with some of Dashwood's Flurry range, which has a similar feel, with randomly placed dots (do you see what I did with the title for this post now!?). Later that evening, my father came over when he got home from work and carried on helping me with the arrangement. This is where we got to (pictured below). I think I can honestly say that was one of my favourite days ever - sitting around chatting and having my family plan out quilts with me was my idea of heaven. The only problem was that at that time I didn't have a sewing room and people needed to walk on my design floor, so the next day I packed the triangles away and they were never made into anything.

So, with the fabrics having such good memories attached to them, I've really enjoyed getting these out again and playing with them all over again, omitting the pinks and purples to give it a more boyish feel. There must be something family-magnetising about these dots, because my daughter came in and started helping me to arrange the central area of blues and greens for an hour or so...

...and later that day my husband helped me plan out the rest. This time the central square is set on point and concentric squares radiate from it, gradually changing colour.

Even a design wall has its limitations though: you can see that we're actually falling off the wall at the right hand side! However, it's an awesome thing to be able to stick fabric onto a wall with no pins and have it just stay there. I'm currently in the process of taking one pair of triangles down at a time and sewing them together before returning them to their place and taking the next pair - it's a laborious process, but feels safer than using numbered piles where I'd worry I might get them out of order or sew them together along the wrong seam.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may spot a new ironing board! Did you know that if on a Monday evening you need a new ironing board and order it at 5.30pm, Argos actually have the capability to be at your door with it just two hours later! I was stunned and anything that stops one having to go into the actual shop is very welcome in my eyes. It's this Brabantia one and I found a 20% discount code which brought the price down a lot. The legs are more orange than the red shown in the stock photo, but I still really like it and it's very stable and the ironing space is huge.

For my mechanical Pfaff I have a straight-stitch plate which stops fabric being pulled down into the feed dogs when piecing begins with just a tiny point (as it does when piecing together two triangles), however, for my newer fancy-pants Pfaff I don't own one and my local shop don't have any in stock. I eventually tracked one down at Cotton Patch, but until it arrives (tomorrow! Thank you, Cotton Patch!), I'm using tiny scraps of Vilene's wonderful Stitch n' Tear, which completely solves the problem of the fabric being gobbled up. You only need the tiniest bit placed just beneath your first stitches. It's more time consuming, but better than mangled fabric.

I hope you're having a happy week in the run up to Christmas - I felt really delighted to have a few days to sew something so brightly-coloured and fun before my children are home for the holidays, although I'm quite a long way from finishing this, so I'm hoping I can actually pull it together in time.

Florence x

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Almost Nearly There

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on the last post - when it became apparent that I wasn't going to find time to write here properly as soon as I'd intended, I went in and edited the original post to announce winners and all have now had their Three Bears Sleeping Bag patterns emailed to them now. Thanks again if you took part!

I'm just one daffodil trumpet away from finishing my yellow wallhanging, but that last bloom seems to be taking an inordinately long time to complete as I've just checked back and realised that I posted on Instagram that I was one bloom away over a week ago now. But either way, it will happen and I'm excited to see it finished. I reached an impasse with this project half way through when I lost interest for no apparent reason; I even took it away with me on two holidays and it didn't come out of my bag on either. After a few months had passed I forced myself to pick it up again and just a few stitches in I wondered why I'd ever dropped it, because I really enjoyed making the second half of it. It's funny how enthusiasm waxes and wanes (and then thankfully in this case, rewaxes!) like that.

Here are a few pieces mid-sew - they're all stitched together apart from the cream piece, top right, which is just resting there. I really love these curves.

I have a lovely new sponsor, Pelenna Patchworks, who sells freezer paper templates, which I'd never heard of before (see them here!), but which seem like a really good idea for keeping shapes in place while you're basting them (you just iron the freezer paper onto the fabric and then peel it away when you've finished, leaving no residue). They also sell the actual rolls of freezer paper so that you can make your own if you're using non-standard shapes like mine (although I didn't actually know about this when basting the curved pieces for this project).

Annie from The Village Haberdashery is expanding into beautiful new premises and is looking for investors, big and small (you can invest as little as £10 or as much as...well, one investor has put in £25,500!), to help her make it happen. She's produced a really lovely video to share her vision with others that you can see below. You can request a business plan to assess possible returns by clicking on the 'Business Plan' PDF at the left of this screen.

To give you some background, I've watched The Village Haberdashery grow since Annie first started sponsoring my blog in early 2012 and she's always come across as someone who works tirelessly, with enthusiasm and who is very much a part of the sewing community. I imagine that December is possibly the hardest month to crowd fund in and, because of what month it is, my own investment is necessarily small. It's also made on the basis of wanting to support a shop that I love, rather than any financial savvy. However,  I'm fine with that basis for giving as I think with any investment you may lose your money, so in some ways it seems safer to invest with good will than high hopes for riches, although it's a happy thing if it does end up paying off (that attitude possibly explains why I haven't gone into banking). If you're interested, crowdfunding closes in just 11 days and I know Annie would love your support. You can find all the information you need here -  they're currently 60% of the way to their target.

The Village Haberdashery - Seeking Investment Via Crowdcube from Big Hair Films on Vimeo.

I'm going to see a live (broadcast to screens around the country) National Theatre performance of Jane Eyre tonight, which I'm excited about as the novel was one of my A' level texts, which has left me with extra fondness for it, as it's a book that feels like an old friend, even though it's not actually my favourite classic. I'm sure many places probably still have tickets if you're interested.

I'm yet to start feeling Christmassy, which is most unlike me as that feeling normally strikes around the 1st October before the shops have started selling baubles and people can be heard saying, 'But it's not even November!' in outraged tones, but I saved this post today, which shares six classic Christmas films you might not have heard of and I'm looking forward to working my way through them if I can find them on Netflix and hopefully feeling more festive.

Florence x
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