confessions of a fabric obsessive

Monthly Archives: March 2012

Mother’s Day and a Beautiful Blogger Award

This is a dual purpose post: Mother’s Day stuff at the beginning and a little award I got this week at the end.
Mother’s Day

Yesterday, I got a phone call from my Mum thanking me for her Mother’s Day present that I posted to her earlier in the week (for the benefit of my non-uk readers, today is Mother’s Day in the UK, I know some of you have Mother’s Day at a different time of year).

You may have guessed that I’m a sewing kinda gal, but Mum is more of a Mad Knitter, so I made her a knitting needle version of the crochet hook roll that I blogged about a little while ago, as well as a sewing needle book to keep all of her sewing and knitting needles in one place (ok, two places).

What you can’t see in this photo is a little pocket that I put in for circular needles and other stuff that won’t fit in knitting needle slots.

The exterior fabric for both is  a Designers’ Guild light-upholstery fabric called Peaweed that I already know that my Mum likes, because I made an apron out of it for her birthday present just before New Year.

The felt pages in the sewing needle book are a wool-blend, because wool is good for your sewing needles, and the buttons came from my stash and are just cute.

I made several sewing needle books at the same time as Mum’s.  I’ve been intending for ages to make some needlebooks to sell on Etsy, and as I was in a sewing mood…

If you follow my Facebook page, you’ll have seen them already:

One has been snapped up already, before I’ve even managed to list them in my Etsy shop and the other two will be listed there as soon as soon as I can.

Mum was very happy about her new needle organisers told me that she has no excuse now for not getting her needles organised.

Now for something completely different.

I had a comment left on my blog earlier this week:

Hi – I’ve just nominated you for ‘Beautiful Blogger Award’ – it’s posted on my blog. thank you for your lovely blog and your support and feedback. x

When I clicked through to Nice Things in my Life’s blog I found this nomination:

“HandmadebyClaireBear for her beautiful quilts and inspiration”

I was stunned (I still am).

Me? Inspiring? Who knew I could do that? (While we’re on the subject, I don’t know how I got 217 people to like my facebook page either.)

I want to say a big thank you to nicethingsinmylife for nominating me for this award. I didn’t expect my  blog to be popular: after a year of blogging I still feel like a newbie.


1. Thank the person who nominated you – see above!

2. Paste the award on your blog – see above!

3. Link the person who nominated you for the award nicethingsinmylife

4. Nominate 7 blogs or less! – see below

5. Post links to the blogs you nominate! – also below

I am nominating:

  1. Raspberry
  2. Grosgrain
  3. Em Ay Kay Ee(make)
  4. The Purl Bee
  5. The Long Thread
  6. Very Berry Handmade and
  7. Stumbles and Stitches

I’m nominating all of these blogs for their beautiful photos, inspirational writing,  helpful and friendly how-to’s, and practical tutorials.  I am guided by their professionalism and high blogging standards.

Still Stunned Claire Bear

I’ve been dyeing…

…but only a little bit.

Ages ago I rescued an old wooden clothes airer. I stripped off the disintegrating webbing “hinges” so that I could clean up the wooden frames, replace the webbing and have a new clothes airer. Simple job, you might think, but I wanted the new webbing hinges to be pink (I had to make it complicated!).

Can you buy pink cotton webbing? Not online, and not in the shops.

I already had white cotton webbing, so I thought, “Ah, I’ll get a pack of pink dye and dye some of the white webbing pink”. In theory it should have been easy, just follow the instructions and I’ll have some great colour webbing. While I’m at it, I could drop in a few other white cotton things and have them bright pink as well.

When I was a teenager I used to dye fabric  (mostly t- shirts and jeans) quite often. Mum wouldn’t let me dye them in the washing machine, so I got to be a dab hand at dyeing by hand.

Cotton absorbs dye really easily and takes the colour quite strongly: most synthetic fibres don’t.

This is the colour of the dye I bought, flamingo pink. (I don’t do things by halves. If I’m having pink, I’m having bright pink!)

According to the instructions, one pack would dye up to 250g of cotton to the full colour, so I worked through my stash, picking out cotton trimming and cotton fabric to make up to the 250g weight limit.

I followed the instructions, stirred and stirred for the first 15 minutes, and then every now and again for an hour.

This is what I got:

See that pale pink wide webbing at the back? I was sold that as 100% cotton. Needless to say, it isn’t. If it had been it would now be the same colour as the narrower stuff.

There’s another length of white tape (not in the photo) that is still white. I was sold that as 100% cotton too. It’s so white after the full time in the dye solution, it can’t possibly have any cotton in it at all. In fact it’s so incredibly day-glo white that I didn’t even put it in the photo.

Cross isn’t the word. Well actually cross is the word, along with very.

Having paid a premium for 100% cotton, I find out that it’s actually less than 50% (in the case of the wide) and  0% cotton (in the case of the un-photographed).

Then I panicked that the twill tape that I am selling on Ebay and Etsy at the moment might not be cotton after all, so I dropped some in the used dye solution just to check. It’s fine, it didn’t take up as much colour in the same time as the 100% cotton tape in the first batch, but it did colour up and I’m satisfied that what I’m selling as cotton is cotton. Phew!

I’m not going to go into dyeing as an extension of my sewing (with natural dyes or tie-dyeing), but it is nice to know that I can still do it fairly easily, and that if I really want a colour that I can’t buy anywhere dyeing it myself will be fairly simple (although I did google “hand-dyeing” for this post and found some really interesting blogs and started following Nancy Guchte’s hand-dyeing board on Pinterest and Wild Onion‘s blog).

Back to my clothes airer refurb. Almost finished but I need to hammer the tacks in and it’s too late (I’m writing this in the wee small hours of Thursday night, as usual for a Friday post) because my neighbours need their sleep.

I’m glad I took the time and effort to dye the webbing pink for the hinges. It looks exactly how I wanted it too. It will be displaying some of my quilts, eventually, as well as my laundry!

Happy Claire Bear

Surprise Pay it Forward

I found this idea on Danette’s blog Quilting Chemist

who found it on Teresa’s blog Quilting, Stitching and Sew On

This is how a surprise Pay it Forward works (I’ve borrowed Danette’s explanation, I couldn’t do any better):

I will send a surprise gift to the first 3 people to comment on this post.  This gift will be made by me and I will send it sometime within the next year.  Exactly when you will receive it will be a surprise ( it will probably be a surprise to me too).

Of course there are some rules in this game.  Here it goes:

1.  I will make a little something for the first 3 people who comment on this post.  It will be a surprise and may arrive at any time in the next 365 days (yes, a year).

2.  To sign up to receive a gift from me you must play along too.  Share the giving love on your blog by promising to send a handmade goodie to the first three people who comment on your blog post.

3.  You must have a blog.

4.  After commenting on my post, you have to post this (or similar) on your blog to spread the love.  If you haven’t posted in 48 hours then the next commenter will be chosen.

I don’t know if three people will even get around to commenting on this, but I will say that if you find this post 6 months from now and only 2 people have left a comment,  you can still be commenter #3 and get a random goodie from me!  When you comment I will email you and get your address and then you will get something from me sometime before next March 2013.  What do you think of this idea?  I’ve never done it before but I sure would love to try it.  Come and join the fun!


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