Thursday, 23 July 2015

Win tickets to the WI Centennial Fair

WI Fair Ticket Giveaway

*** This competition has now ended - the winners are Harry's Mum and Crafts @ Home.  Congratulations to both the winners, hope you enjoy the show***

To celebrate 100 years of the Women’s Institute a centenary fair is being held in Yorkshire from the 3rd to 6th September.   

The show is open to both WI Members and non-members and will be full of craft and lifestyle stalls, demos and workshops. Carol Smillie will be ‘talking pants’, Lisa Comfort will demonstrate a vintage project from her new book and the Royal School of Needlework and tutors from the WI Craft School at Denman will show you embroidery and patchwork skills.   

There will also be lots of exhibitors from which you’ll be able to stock up on sewing, knitting and crafting supplies whilst there.   The show is being held at the Harrogate International Centre and tickets can be purchased online here.

We have 2 pairs of tickets to the show to giveaway. To be in with a chance of winning please answer the question below in the comments by 28th July 2015. Don’t forget to leave a way for us to contact you if you win (e-mail, Twitter name, web link etc).  Each winner will receive a pair of tickets, valid for one visit on any day.

Question:  If you were to attend the show which workshop would you want to take part in?

Also if you join their mailing list you get entered into a draw to win a Janome XL601 sewing machine. 

Terms & Conditions

2 winners will be chosen at random to receive a pair of entry tickets to the WI Centennial Fair.  One entry allowed per person, multiple entries will result in disqualification.  You must leave a way for us to contact you to notify you of your win and get your address.  Any prizes unclaimed after 2 weeks will be drawn again.  The prizes can be sent to an address in the UK or Ireland.  All entries must be received by 6pm on Tuesday the 28th of July 2015.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Quilt Progress

I've been a busy bee for the last 2 months working on my Tula Pink Sampler quilt from her City Sampler book.  I have to admit when I started I didn't realise what a time consuming project it would be, hours and hours on end of cutting, pressing and then sewing just to make a few blocks.   I normally cut in one session, and then sew in the next.  Here's a pic of several blocks ready to be sewn, I have to put the block number on the top or I forget which blocks I've cut!

I soon decided I wasn't going to make all 100 blocks in the book as some are very fiddly and involve lots of fabrics and pieces (and I hate cutting!) so I've been making the blocks in pairs.  Today I did a count up and layout on my bed to see if I was close to having enough to make a quilt...

I'm only 2 blocks away (represented with white pieces of paper for now).  I decided I'm going to go for a random layout so spent hours playing around with this giant jigsa puzzle trying to make sure I didn't have any similar blocks or colours too close together.

This is going to be my final layout, I just need to finish the last 2 blocks (which will be red and yellow) and then I can start joining them in rows. I managed to get some turquoise Sketch fabric for half price in the sale at Weaver Dee so I plan to use that for the borders and maybe the backing too if there's enough left.

Their sale is still on if you fancy a bargain, use code DIRECTORY10 for an extra 10% off :)  

Hopefully my next post will be showing the finished top.  I'd really like to have this finished by the end of the summer ready to use in the autumn.  Then I ought to finish my son's quilt which I started a year ago...  whoops!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Sewing Time!

Since Julie has joined The Sewing Directory as my partner I've had much more time to sew so I've been working through my projects list, plus dealing with a few special requests from my son!  I thought I'd share a few pictures of what I've been making lately.

My son has suddenly decided that pigs are his favourite animals after rearing them on Minecraft!  Unfortunetly this also means he will no longer eat them and in fact he's become pescatarian! Luckily Sew Magazine had a piggie pin cushion in their lastest issue so I adapted it slightly to make him a pig toy.  The pink one came first but then apparently he got lonely and wanted a golden pig as a friend so I had to make another. He now wants a whole rainbow of them but I think 2 is enough!

I've had these gorgeous organic prints from Birch Fabrics for ages and wanted to make something that would allow me to see them regularly, so I decided to make pillowcases with them.  Now I get to see them every single day and they have certainly brightened up my bed.  I didn't follow a tutorial for these I just used the measurements of the existing pillowcases and added a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

This large zippy pouch is big enough for me to fit my embroidery supplies, including hoops in.  I used some of my favourite fabric, the peacock print from Cloud 9's Alegria collection and I thought it would go quite nicely with denim.  Plus the denim gave it some structure without me having to use interfacing.  It's lined with a turquoise and gold print.   My mum had a big destash recently and I came away with a huge piece of denim so I suspect there will be more denim projects in my future....  I'm thinking it might be good for a handbag, I need a new one.

Lastly I started on something I've been wanting to make for years, the Tula Pink Sampler quilt.  I got her book when it first came out and have been stashing her fabrics for the last 2-3 years and now I've finally gotten around to starting it.  There's 100 blocks in the quilt, but some are a bit small and fiddly for me (I don't have the patience to faff around with tiny bits of fabric).

So I've decided to pic my favourite blocks from the book and make 2 of each, sometimes more but in different colour ways.  I've made 24 blocks so far so still have a long way to go, but I'm hoping to get another 10-20 done this week.  I have to admit I hate cutting out which is what makes me slow with things like this, I just want to get on with the sewing and not spend hours cutting.  But I'm sure I'll get there in the end.

Speaking of sewing projects we have some brilliant new free sewing projects over on The Sewing Directory, including this fab man's wallet which would be ideal for Father's Day.  If you haven't perused our projects section for a while do pop over and take a look.

I also think the bear Kindle case below would make a great project for the man who loves his e-books, or you could adapt it to use for a tablet.

So what have you been sewing lately?

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Sew Together Bag

If you use Instagram you will probably have spotted many pics of the Sew Together Bag (pattern from Sew Demented).  I don't think a day has gone by where I hadn't seen another version of it, just take a look at all the pics with the #sewtogethertag.  

The first few times I spotted it I thought it looked cool but not something I wanted to to make.  But the more I saw the more I wanted it so eventually I gave in to Instagram peer pressure and bought the pattern!   I'm not so keen on pdfs so I bought the paper version from Sew Hot and spent a while looking for the perfect fabrics.  I decided on the beautiful Winter's Lane collection pictured below.

I'm not a fan of project prep I have to admit, I'm impatient and just want to get on with the sewing so I was a bit frustrated at the time this took to get everything cut and interfaced and find zips the right size and colour.  I decided to do the prep on one day and sew on another, I was pretty excited about making it and seeing the finished results.

Firstly I have to warn you if you are thinking of following this pattern unless you are very experienced you are likely to find the instructions lacking.  I was a bit concerned when I first read the instructions as a lot didn't make sense and there are very few photos , it's very text based.  I have heard from a few people that it's a bit of a tricky pattern, and there are plenty of blog posts out there with people sharing their tips and experiences.

Luckily a quick search on Google and I found the brilliant Quilt Barn Sewalong which has photographs of every single step, plus much more detailed instructions.  I highly recommend you have this next to you as you sew.  I couldn't have managed without it.

I had expected the zips to be the tricky bit but they were simple, the whole first part of the project was easy, constructing the lining and making the zipped pockets.  I was feeling pretty confident by the time I got to the end of that - and then things got much more difficult!

I have to admit I didn't have any light interfacing to hand so I used medium, but this made it harder when it came to joining layers. The sides were my first little struggle but I got through it and it was all looking pretty good at this stage (although I wish I'd tucked my zip ends in a bit better on the blue and grey zips).

When it came to joining the lining to the outer layer things got more difficult when sewing along the edges where the side bit (in red) was.  My machine did struggle in a few places and I had to drag the fabric through. I also somehow ended up with a fold of excess fabric on one side so had to unpick that side and restitch it.

But the binding was a nightmare.  Firstly my machine struggled sewing through so many layers in places (1 layer interfacing, 2 layers fabric, 1 layer zip and 4 layers binding fabric!), and with the size and weight of the bag and trying to manuouvre it under the machine made it very difficult to keep the stitching straight.  You are also stitching the zip into place whilst sewing the binding so everything needs to be really well pinned.  My binding ended up with folds or creases in a few places. 

Sewing the second side of the outer zip (and binding) is even harder because with the first side attached you have much less maneuvering space.  I was totally gutted to finally get to the end of sewing the second side of the zip only to find when I tried to close the bag that the zips weren't aligned and it twisted the bag.  The zip must have gotten pulled out of alignment when I was trying to force it under the presser foot :(  Make sure that both sides are lined up perfectly before you stitch because it took a long time to unpick and restitch the zip and the binding.  I was pretty sick of it by then and almost gave up!

I did persist and finally got the bag finished but I have to admit I'm not overly happy with it.  The binding doesn't look good in a few places (the unpicking damaged it slightly and there were a couple of folds/creases in it).  I feel like it wasn't worth all the hard work to make it and I can't bring myself to use it at the moment.

I'm sure when I feel less frustrated with it I'll probably realise it's totally fine and useable, but I won't be rushing to make another one any time soon.   For now I'm just going to put it away and come back to it in a few weeks when I'm less annoyed!   Then hopefully I'll find a good use for it as it's be a shame not to use after all the blood sweat and tears!

I did buy a pattern for another Instagram favourite at the same time as this one - Hazel Hedgehog - by Elizabeth Hartman (see pics here) so hopefully I'll have more luck with that one when I give it a go!

Have you tried the Sew Together Bag?  How did you get on?  Are you tempted it give it a go?

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