Tuesday 11 July 2023

A fruitful week .... patchwork apples

I remember first being introduced to making pincushions and needle cases at school in the 1970s. Each week we had a crafting session with Mrs Webster for a full afternoon. I always looked forward to it and the time seemed to whiz by so quickly! I remember making marionettes out of Suffolk Puffs - what we would now call Yo-Yos, as well as cross-stitching and making patchwork pincushions.

In an effort to reduce my enormous scrap pile I have been making some traditional patchwork shapes other than hexagons and have been reviving my love for quick and easy makes with practical uses. Last week it was the turn of the Patchwork Apple - which can be used as a pincushion or for decoration.

Here are some of my apples ... these are simply made from pentagon shapes and I chose to loosely colour coordinate each apple. They are stitched together by hand and completed with the addition of a felt stalk, a leaf and a button at the base to pull it into shape and make it sit nicely. 

I found some fun flower-shaped buttons for the bottom - which I have now learned is called a 'calyx'. 

It's a great project for using all the cherished scraps of your favourite fabrics, or as an on-the-go project as it's super portable and easy to pick up and put down wherever you are. 

I've created a downloadable pattern too so if you feel you need a little help all the instructions and the templates can easily be printed at home using this link: Patchwork Apples PDF or by visiting my Etsy Shop here: Patchwork Alley's Etsy Shop

I've also been making needle cases - but I'll save that for another post!


Wednesday 20 October 2021

Knitting fun ... Pumpkin Spice

I just finished knitting a sweater for my nephew ... I love the 'pumpkin spice' style of the colours and think it will suit his darker colouring. 

A knitted sweater in orange and yellow rainbow stripes. Long sleeves and a wrapped neck with a plain front

I knitted this in a self striping wool which was very similar to the recommended Sirdar Crofter - which is a Fair Isle patterned wool and is super soft. I used the Sirdar Crofter Pattern 2491 which is a really easy knit and has instructions from ages 2 up to 13 years.

The wrap over neck is one of my favourite collars - no buttons or baggy bands, and it knitted up quite quickly too. It's always sewing it up that takes me ages ...

I've started another jumper that's much smaller in the same wool but this time with an owl pattern on the front ... hopefully this will also be another quick knit!

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Thursday 8 October 2020

A Posey Supply Case sew-along

I've been a fan of Jennie (of Clover and Violet on Instagram) for quite some time.

She has a lovely feed full of pretty patchwork and Liberty fabrics and has written a variety of quilting and sewing patterns which get great reviews.

Just recently Jennie released a pattern for a 'Posey Supply Case' which looks like a perfect accessory for carrying my hand sewing patchwork pieces along with me or for keeping my other projects together in one place.

I've bought the pattern - you can find a link here: Posey Supply Case and I've signed up for the sew-along on Instagram. We're using the hashtag #poseysewalong if you want to follow the fun.

The case has a large zipped mesh pocket and smaller open pockets covered with a flap to stop things falling out. It also has a zipped pouch in the centre. This pink one above was made by Jennie.

Our schedule for the Posey Supply Case Sew-along is:

  • October 5-11 - Gather supplies and make the cover
  • October 12-18 - Make the inside and the pockets
  • October 19-26 - Assemble the case

I'm not sure if I'm going to make just the one or stretch myself and make two. I've been busy sewing some 'spare' hexagons together (see picture below) which came from another project using Cool Britannia fabric from Benartex. I'm not sure I have any fabric left over for the rest of the case, most of it was scraps I picked up from The Skep and they were used up making a blanket for Ehsan (which you can read about in my post here). I'll need to raid my FQ boxes and scrap bins to find anything left that matches, so the jury is out on that one.

I also love the idea of some colourful crayons done with foundation paper piecing (FPP). I could use a variety of fabrics I have to match the crayon colours and pick something plain for the main body of the case, like linen or denim. It would probably look similar to this pouch I made a while ago. 

I'm looking forward to seeing other people's makes too ... 

Monday 13 April 2020

Ferris Wheel Patchwork

I've recently been spending time doing some traditional hand sewn patchwork (known to the English as paper-piecing and to our friends across the pond as English Paper Piecing or EPP).

Along with a Tilda quilt for my daughter (which I have been piecing on holiday and haven't taken any pictures of yet), I have picked up some patchwork I started many moons ago.

The Ferris Wheel pattern is simple as it is made up of hexagons, squares and triangles. (I've seen lots of tutorials on blogs so I'm not going to go into details of how to sew it here). However, it's really effective and it is fun to put together while I'm watching TV or catching up with friends during the 'social distancing' currently in place.

My bedroom is mainly pink and grey and eventually this will be a runner for the foot end of the bed. I've been sewing this on and off for years as I gather left over fragments of grey fabric and then run out again!

This shows a completed section of the front of the patchwork:

This shows the back - it's the section with the paper removed:

For anyone interested in the pattern, there is a downloadable copy of the instruction file available here in a shared folder on my GoogleDrive: The Ferris Wheel Instructions has the overall information and calculations for the numbers of pieces to use. 
You can buy a copy of the Ferris Wheel Printable Template here which has both a colouring page to help with designing your layout and the shapes to cut out (sized at 1 inch).

This is a screenshot I took from @JennyRach on Instagram of the cushion I made for her in a swap back in 2015 using the same pattern. It looks very different in black/white and rainbow prints ...

This is a close up of the stitching, just a simple blanket stitch done on my sewing machine to match the colour around the wheels:

Let me know if you tried this out, or shout if you have any questions!

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap

A little while ago I signed up for a mini quilt swap. You can read the initial blog post here.

My partner is an English lady living in Europe and I stalked her blog and Instagram photos to find out a little more about her. She had been clear about what she doesn't like and it wasn't difficult to see where she was coming from!

I had a fantastic excuse to purchase some Kate Spain fabric as she lists that among her likes, along with colour references of blues, greens and greys.

As I have already posted this to her I thought I would add a photo of the finished article:
I'm glad she liked it, it was great fun making it!

Monday 10 August 2015

I'm a Mad Hatter ...

A little while ago I came across this pattern for a reversible bucket hat from Liesl at Oliver + S. I think it came from her book Little Things To Sew originally but is now available as a downloadable PDF.

At first I thought I would just make 2, for my friend Emma's two young boys, but I found I couldn't stop once I started! I've made loads now and I'm really pleased with how easily they come together!
I like them particularly because they only use about a fat quater for each side and they are equally fun in boys or girls fabrics! I've been told they are a great fit and that they stay on nicely with just enough cover from the brim to shade eyes from the sunshine ... when we get it.

I just love all the fresh colours that give these hats a modern twist ... gone are the days of white, cream or khaki!

I have seen some great fabric choices out there like this photo for the here-fishy-fishy-fishy version by Vanessa at Punkin Patterns. I've seen a couple of tutorials for the pattern too. 

My tips would be simple, sew a basting line around the base of the cap side panels (at a scant 1/2") and clip there (not the brim as suggested in step 5). Once it is sewn to the brim you can then clip it,  I find this provides a more graceful curve!

Have fun and let me know how you get on ... I'm including these in my OPAM challenge for August. I have completely forgotten about posting all the things I have finished over the last few months - I'm blaming life taking over!

Saturday 28 February 2015

One Project a Month (OPAM)

I came across this challenge through my quilting friend Celine. Amazingly we've both been doing similar things this month, including Elsa dresses.

Basically, you are trying to complete at least one project a month .... hence the title. No pressure but lots of fun and links to other crafty bods and blogs!

It's being hosted by Kris of Tag Along Teddies and Peg of Happy in Quilting who have been running the OPAM challenge for a few years, although I have only just come across it.

This month I have completed a few projects and made progress on some others. Here's a photo of the Elsa dress I made for my youngest niece. I am hoping I will have a better picture soon! 
At least this photo shows up the sparkly fabric but I haven't added the ice cloak! Unfortunately the very pretty silver lace started to detatch from its own edging within minutes of being tried on. I have now located something a little more robust but with a similar theme ... the job now will be to get the dress back!

It's been a busy month:

Nick's had surgery and is now recovering well. 
Kids had half term during which we went to a medieval 'Skill Share' event and caught up with some more 'distant' relatives which was lovely along with visiting grandparents and hosting copious numbers of teenage girls.
The bathroom is almost finished following a complete remodelling.
I have started a new job (working with the team I worked for before the Improvement Academy) which is going to be interesting. We're housed in a newly refurbished building, which has some very pretty architectural elements. 
I have helped my lovely SIL Jo with the beginning of a pinwheel baby quilt for her niece's baby due in late spring. She's using some of a charm pack called Sophie by Chez Moi which is a lovely choice of fabric. 
And Alex has had her first orthodontic appliance fitted on the start of what is going to be a 2 year journey! She can't currently bite a sandwich as her front teeth don't meet in the middle which makes her quite self conscious at times (it gives her a little bit of a lisp as a result) but her teeth are all perfect otherwise. Obviously the lisp has got much worse with the brace but she's coped with the first few days quite well and is positive, despite needing to keep topped up with painkillers.

Hopefully it will be a slightly quieter March!