Sunday, 8 February 2015

Pink Christmas

At the end of last year, Brother Australia ran a Brother Goes Pink Christmas competition, where entrants were asked to make one of twelve free projects from the Brother website, make it predominantly pink and add their own creative touch. I entered and am happy to say I won a runner-up prize.

Here is my entry:

The project I chose was the Joy wall hanging by Angie Wilson (aka GnomeAngel). I added my own touches by adding a fabric bow instead of a pieced one, sewing on a ribbon for the bauble to 'hang' from, and reducing the size.

The squares in my quilt finish at half an inch, somewhat smaller than the two inch finished size of the original. Most of my pink was in the form of small scraps so if I wanted to make a scrappy bauble, which I did, I had to go smaller.

Doesn't the sewing together make a huge difference to the size? It halves it, in fact, since each square starts at one inch and has half an inch consumed by the seam allowances.

I loved the way the blue fabric set off the pink, so went with that for my background, and after trialling a lot of different fabrics, I couldn't go past the black and white spot for binding. I quilted it with lots of bubbles (or pebbles or stones) gradually increasing in size towards the top of the quilt. It was great fun to make. I think the hardest part of the process was photographing it. Pink is hard! At least it is for me.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my little quilt as I do love the pattern and was quite chuffed to win a prize.

Bye for now x

Thursday, 5 February 2015

New Tool Love - Rotary Blade Sharpener Review

If you're like me and hate throwing things away, you'll have built up a collection of used rotary cutter blades. I'm not sure what I was planning to do with mine - I mean, they're blunt, so what use are they?  - but then I found out about rotary blade sharpeners. Finally, I can use my old blades again!

After a bit of research online I decided on the TrueCut Linear Rotary Blade Sharpener. My main reason? I don't need to take the blade out to sharpen it. Also, you can sharpen different sized blades with it.

The sharpener cost me about $50 (Aussie dollars) plus postage. I feel that it's a sound investment for several reasons:
  1. New blades are expensive! Here in Australia they're normally about $10 each.
  2. Throwing blades away seems such a waste, and I'm all for being eco-friendly where I can. 
  3. I will get very regular use out of it - this is NOT a tool that will sit gathering dust.
  4. I will no longer try to eke out as much use from my dull blades as possible, worried about the cost of yet another new blade - and my cutting mat and wrist will thank me! 

I found the sharpener quite easy and safe to use - no need to put your hand anywhere near the blade because the sharpener grips the table surface. The sharpening stone is rotatable and replaceable - though I'm yet to find anywhere in Australia that sells the replacements. Anybody know somewhere?

It took a while at first to get the blade sharp, but it went from a blade that wouldn't cut, to a blade that will easily slice my fabric. Apparently it takes a bit longer to sharpen the blade the first time because you're matching the angle on the blade to that of the sharpening stone. The next time is quicker.

The blade doesn't seem as sharp as a brand new one, but it is close enough for me. New blades seem to dull from that super-sharpness pretty quickly anyway.

If you would like to see the sharpener in action, you can see a video from the makers of the product here.

A couple of places I've found the sharpener online in Australia:

And of course you can ask at your local patchwork & quilting shop.

I hope you find this useful. So far I've only sharpened a couple of blades with it, so I'll let you know some time in the future how it goes after lots of use. I'll try to remember how many uses I get out of it too.

Happy sewing (and cutting)!

Hope x

P.S. Just so you know, nobody gave me anything or paid me anything to write this and I have no link to the stores mentioned. :)

P.P.S Dec 2018: I did manage to break the sharpening stone when rotating it, which means I can only use half of it at a time. It's very annoying, but still usable if I'm careful. I still like the sharpener. :)