HandmadebyClaireBear

confessions of a fabric obsessive

Monthly Archives: November 2011

WIPs on Wednesday

I thought you might like to know how I’ve been getting on with my bid to clear a lot of my WIPs. I got kinda tired of seeing the same things hanging around and I noticed that a few projects that I’ve blogged about were finished very quickly after blogging about them, so I now feature “WIPs on Wednesday” as a way of keeping up, keeping track, and getting them completed.

This means that I can choose a few of the worst offenders, blog them and I’ll probably have them completed by the following week.

It worked for this:

this:

and this:

So I’m hoping that this week and next I’ll be able to complete this (that I bought from Nadja Petremand on Spoonflower ages ago):

and turn it into these:

for my nephew whose baby sister is due any day now.

I want to turn this pile of fabric:

into a much larger version of the green cloak (above), but with a round “Scottish Widow” type hood instead of a pointed pixie hood.

I also want to finish this:

which is a personal upcycling project that I’ve had on the go for over a year (hangs head in shame).

This poncho was bought for me by my sister on a shopping trip meant for her. I was invited along on this shopping trip as she needed some more clothes for work and wanted a second opinion. While she was in the changing room, I kept being drawn to this poncho hanging on the rail nearby (I’m sure it was a selling tactic to hang beautiful one-size-fits-all things close to the changing rooms and sell them to patient friends). I couldn’t stay away from it, it was completely beyond my budget, but I had to keep going back to it, just to stroke it. It was gorgeous.

My sister spotted this obsession and urged me to try it on. It was still gorgeous, and it fit me!

She offered to buy it, and I took some convincing (I’m kinda independently minded when it comes to most things) but I agreed, and I took the object of beauty home with me. It’s definitely a spring/autumn thing, when I need an extra layer but a coat is too warm. I wore it as often as I could to start with, but it’s a bit itchy around the neck and as much as I love it, the itchiness won, so it’s been hanging in my room for a long time.

Last year when ponchos were “in” I decided to try it on (I’ve, ahem, grown a bit since I first had it, mostly sideways) and it was a bit short on me, so I decided to crochet a row or three onto the bottom so it would be longer, split the polo neck down the seam and add a knitted collar.

The hunt for the right yarn took a long time, the crocheting was over in a matter of a few weeks, but the knitted rectangle for the collar took months and months (I’m not a very good knitter and I lose patience with knitting in a way that doesn’t happen with sewing). It’s now been washed,blocked and pressed, and is ready to sew to the poncho to complete the upcycle and make it a favourite again. Yay! (photos of the entire thing when I’ve completed the upcycle, promise).

Other WIPs on Wednesday

My Daughter’s Quilt – update

This quilt is now wending its way south with my mother, so my daughter can collect it from Granny’s house over the next couple of days.

I also have a freshly painted kitchen, but decorating is just a mother/daughter thing that I do with my mum.

ClaireBear

see more about My Daughter’s Quilt here

My Daughter’s Quilt – pre-approved by our cat

Yes! Another quilt completed!

I possibly shouldn’t show you this until my daughter’s received it, but she may not get it for a while and she will be able to see it on here so I’ve decided to take you (and my daughter) through the development of this quilt and add in some photos as well.

There was quite an intense thought-and-planning process behind my daughter’s “going off to university” present. It’s a quilted patchwork bedspread/throw specially requested to cover up any mess when friends come to see her.

She didn’t want:

  • babyish
  • cutesy
  • thickly quilted

She did want:

  • something big enough to cover a lot of chaos,
  • that she would still be happy to use years after she graduates,
  • easy to wash,
  • and doesn’t bankrupt her Mother (that’s me) with expensive fabrics.

Large patchwork pieces were fine, perfect stitch in the ditch wasn’t necessary, my choice of fabrics would be great as long as it was colourful. She particularly liked this Rainbow Stack of Coins Quilt that I made, as she loved the rainbow effect and wanted a similarly broad spectrum of colour.

This was my plan and the fabric selection that I started with:

I ended up leaving out two fabrics altogether, and reducing the size of the rectangles to almost square in order to squeeze in as many different patterns and colours as possible. The deep red at the bottom of the photo is the backing fabric.

I designed this to be layers of fabric with no wadding/batting so that it is light enough to carry, small enough to fit in a normal domestic washing machine and light enough to maybe use in the summer with a sheet when a duvet is too warm.

my daughter's quilt - back

I intended to stipple quilt, or at least do wavy lines, but I sewed about half of it with random wavy lines and it didn’t look right, so I unpicked it all and started quilting again. I was determined not to stitch in the ditch this time, so I top-stitched along the rows instead, in one direction, and I am happy with the result (although the perfectionist in me wants to pull it all apart and restitch the entire lot).

my daughter's quilt - finished

The rectangles intentionally don’t match up at the corners and I think that the top-stitching in just one direction pulls it together.

Of course I had to sew her name into the quilt (I know that this is a different colour to the photo above, I had to mess with the colour balance so you could see the stitching in this one).

my daughter's quilt - back - other end

All of the fabrics in the quilt top and back were a polyester and cotton mix (poly-cotton sheeting is a lot cheaper than cotton quilting fabric, and I had a very strict budget) so I looked everywhere for poly-cotton bias tape (I’m not quite brave enough to make my own bias tape yet. Give me time).

The only poly cotton bias tape that I could source came in chocolate brown (all good as brown was the only colour apart from black and white not in the quilt so far) and in 10 mm width (very narrow for only my third experience of binding a quilt).

my daughter's quilt - folded showing binding

I didn’t want to spend weeks hand stitching the binding (this was meant to be a going to university present, and she’s been there for just over two months), so I chose one of the few embroidery stitches in my home sewing machine and zipped the binding on in one night, unpicking when bits that didn’t look right and hand-finishing all the stray ends.

Of course, after I’d sewn it all together and put it through the washing machine I remembered that I had wanted to add a quilt label that spelt out her name in colour (yellow, amber, scarlet, mauve/maroon, indigo, navy. The first letters of each colours spell Yasmin) as a little visual pun.

I still need to work out where to hand-stitch this.

All in all, a lot of thinking and a lot of planning.

I learnt that:

  • Chain piecing is really fast
  • I must remember to write down my ideas for quilt labels on my plan
  • I must sew the quilt label to the backing before I put the whole thing together
  • basting with safety pins is not an option for me

I can honestly say that I am happy with the way it turned out and I will be happy when my grandchildren turn to me and say; “Did you really make that Granny?”. (Note to daughter: no, I’m not jumping the gun mentioning grandchildren, I have two children who are now adults, I’m bound to have some grandchildren in the next 20 or 30 years 🙂 ).

I suppose I ought to think of a name for this quilt too.

ta-da - my daughter's quilt finished (why do I always seem to need to take photos when it's windy outside?)

Any ideas?

my daughter's quilt - pre-approved by our cat

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