Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A Fancy Fox - Soft Toy Sewing

My favourite form of sewing is patchwork and quilting, but I do like to sew other projects now and then too. This fabulous Francie the Fox pattern by Angel Lea Designs is one such project. Isn't he dapper?


I first came across him in a Homespun magazine I borrowed from my local library. My husband, Martin, saw him and requested I make him one. Gotta love a grown man who appreciates home-sewn soft toys. :) Some time later, I bought the PDF pattern and got to it.

Fabric selection for this fox was so much fun. I started by pulling out some of my favourite fabrics in bright colours, then I decided which colours I wanted to sit next to each other in the finished product and cut the appropriate pieces from there. I couldn't resist fussy-cutting the chest piece to give him a sort of white ruff. :)


Sewing soft toys is not always fun for me. I find the turning quite frustrating. This one wasn't so bad. The pieces were large enough that it was easy enough to turn - and to stuff. I also liked the way it was put together, with the limbs all sewn in rather than sewn on at the end.

Here he is from behind, just as colourful as the front:


I am really quite smitten with this fox. Martin chose to call him Dama, short for Akeldama, after a flamboyant and impeccably dressed character in Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series of books (which I highly recommend if you're at all into steampunk, vampires, werewolves and a bit of fun).

If you're after a softie to sew for yourself or a loved one, I would definitely recommend this one. The steps are clear, the pattern pieces are laid out so printing is easy, and choosing the fabrics is so much fun!

Bye for now,

Hope x






Friday, 31 March 2017

Christmas Hearts Mini Quilt – a Finish at Last

I have a number of quilt projects, small and large, that are in need of a relatively few steps to finish. It's something that doesn't normally bother me too much, but for some reason it now does. Maybe it's the knowledge that in a few short months I will have less time on my hands to complete them! With that in mind, I've been slowly finishing off the smaller projects. This is one such project, my Christmas Hearts mini quilt.


The pattern for this mini is included my Christmas Hearts quilt pattern (which I realise now I haven't mentioned yet on the blog!). Each heart finishes at 2 inches square, and I stuck to using fabrics from my scrap bin for each one.

The background is constructed of a variety of white-on-white fabrics from the Shades of Black fabric collection by Me and My Sister Designs for Moda Fabrics. I have a Jelly Roll of the collection and raided the whites for this quilt. I have a lot to say about my experience with these fabrics, but will leave that for another time. Let me just tell you for now that it was not enjoyable. Still, the overall effect is just what I was after. See all the different prints?


I kept quilting to simple stitch-in-the-ditch along each horizontal seam and around each heart. This choice was greatly influenced by the white-on-white background fabrics, which I did not want to quilt over.

The binding is a grunge fabric by Basic Grey for Moda. I had first considered using green, but on auditioning various choices I wasn't happy with any. Then I thought of this off-white fabric with its hints of green and white, and found I liked the subtle way it framed the quilt with just enough contrast to the white for my liking. I did the binding completely by machine in order to finish it up more quickly. Though I do enjoy it, I am very slow at hand-stitching binding!


It is wonderful to have this little project completed at last. It had been sitting on a shelf, basted and ready to quilt, for months. It took just a couple of evenings to get it quilted and bound, which makes me wonder why on earth I left it so long!

If you would like to make your own Christmas Hearts mini quilt, you can find the pattern in my online store or over at Craftsy.

Do you have any long-term works in progress that would take just a little time to complete? I recommend you get to it - it feels so good to get them done!

Bye for now

Hope x

Monday, 6 March 2017

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Steps to the Altar

A rather pretty block this week called Steps to the Altar. I tried something different this time - I didn't press any seams with my iron until the end, when the entire block was complete. For me, that is most unusual!


Instead of using my iron I finger-pressed each seam after sewing, concentrating most on the quarter inch at the edge of the fabric where it needed to nest or butt up to another seam.

It was definitely a quicker way of sewing than grabbing the iron each time, and it no doubt saved a little electricity. I'm not entirely sold on it though. It was a little fiddly, and I think it would be more difficult to get a good result with some blocks. In this case though, it worked out ok.

Do you iron your seams as you go, or do you wait till the end? Any particular reason?

Bye for now x

Monday, 27 February 2017

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Square Dance

Here is my latest Farmer's Wife Sampler block, number 85 in the book, called Square Dance.


This was a fun block to make - not too much cutting and some fairly simple piecing. I used my rotary cutter and rulers for all of it. Once again my trusty 45/90 degree triangle ruler from Creative Grids came in handy, for the white triangles and the black pieces. I just love getting lots of use out of my tools.

To keep things nice and flat I chose to press the seams open between the black and the white triangles. The rest of the seams are pressed to one side. When I mix up my pressing like that I am careful to adjust my seam allowance accordingly. (When pressing seams open I sew an exact quarter inch, whereas pressing to the side requires a scant quarter inch. I'll write more about that another time.)

It's great getting back into these blocks again. I do so love playing with the Rose Parade fabrics, they're just so pretty!

Bye for now x


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Peace and Plenty

I have another Farmer's Wife Sampler block completed, and don't have many to go! This one is called Peace and Plenty:


I changed the cutting and construction a little from the book, which used all half-square triangles to make up the block. My way uses less seams, makes less cutting, and worked quite nicely. Most blocks can be put together in a number of ways - one of the many fun aspects of patchwork. :)

If you're popping in regularly to see my Farmer's Wife blocks, you may have noticed this one is photographed on a different background. This is the fabric I'm considering for the sashing/background in the finished quilts. What do you think?

I've tried it with a few different blocks and it works well. I am yet to calculate whether or not I have enough of it though. A job for another day.

Bye for now x

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Farmer's Wife Sampler - Ozark Maple Leaf

Happy Valentine's Day! I've started back on the Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks with Block 63, Ozark Maple Leaf:



It took me a while to find the leaves in this block because all my brain would see were arrows! Then Martin pointed the leaf shapes out to me and now it's clear. Can you see the leaves? Had I seen them earlier, I probably would have made the leaves from the yellow print and the background from the black and white spot. I like it either way though. :)

This was a nice, simple block to make, all rotary cut and no unpicking necessary. I love it when that happens!

Bye for now

Hope x

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Baby on Board

Hello, and a Happy New Year to you! I hope you have had a lovely one so far - can you believe we're already into February? - and that the rest of the year brings you much fun and happiness.

This year will certainly be bringing me joy, all going well, in the form of a baby girl! I'm so happy to share that we are expecting our first baby, due early July. It's very exciting, and a little daunting, and I've been rather preoccupied with all things baby and pregnancy related since late last year. Understandable, right?

In quilty news, I am working on a new pattern that will suit baby girls, baby boys, or anyone else really. I'm thinking I'll call it Cloudy Skies. Here's a little peek at the mini quilt:


That adorable little cloud with the umbrella, as well as the raindrops, are images I stamped using Derwent Inktense pencils, with a stamp set from kikki.K. I had such fun stamping and colouring it, I will have to rummage through my stamp collection and see what else I can use in my quilts.

As well as working on this new pattern, I'm planning on starting on the Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks again. It will be wonderful to get that very long-term project finished, and I have a feeling that, come the middle of the year, I'll have somewhat less time for sewing! Best get a wriggle on now, right?

Bye for now,

Hope x