Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Au Revoir Blogtoberfest and All Hallows Eve

With the end of the month of October comes the end of Blogtoberfest, and I have to say I have rather enjoyed this month of blogging, and I don't think 24 blogs in 31 days is too shabby!  I have found some other terrific blogs out there, and "met" some lovely people, always a bonus.

Tomorrow I will be doing a roundup of all of my October makes, there seem to be quite a few, but until then, here's my latest make, all very spooky, and perfect for such a dark and mysterious night, a "horror" of zombies!

Zombies, aaaaaaargh!
Ange x

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Threadbias- Kickstarter

For those that don't know about Threadbias, it's a free online forum for the quilting and sewing community, to show their finished projects, ask for help and advice from their peers, and to sell patterns and tutorials.  It's kind of a Ravelry for the sewing machine addicts of the world (and hand stitchers of course).  

In addition to their free area, they are currently developing a Quilt Design Tool.

Quilt Design Tool

Now this part of the website won't be free, it will be available by subscription, at a low start cost of around $10 a month (about £6.00), although lifetime or annual subscriptions will apparently be available.  However, this is an expensive tool to develop, and they want it to be just perfect (i.e useable and intuitive for the computer clueless like me!) and to do that, they need some help. So they are running a Kickstarter drive to try and get the funding from the online community it will serve.  

Kickstarter is similar to Crowdfunder for those who are familiar with it, it's a funding option, where you pledge an amount of money in exchange for a "prize", e.g $10 for access to the prototype plus 1 month subscription to the tool once its up and running (expected to be Spring 2013). There are larger "prizes" in exchange for bigger pledges.  There is a full write up and explanation of their aims and goals for their campaign, definitely worth a read considering Electric Quilt is available at a cost of around £160, ouch, that's around 26 months of the Threadbias subs- it's definitely given me something to think about.  But not for too long, their Kickstarter deadline finishes in around 21 hours (about 6am in the UK on the 31st of October), they've already achieved $6000, of their $20,000 goal, and they do tend to go up significantly in the last 24 hours- if they don't reach their goal you don't pay a penny!

This could be your chance to give feedback and input to a brand new tool that could really help with your quilt design.  And by the way, I am in no way linked to these guys, or paid by them- it's just one of those things I think is worth a look, it isn't intended to be a sales pitch!

Ange x 

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Pink Pixies in Swithland Wood

Yesterday we had a lovely family walk in nearby Swithland Wood, an absolutely beautiful day with clear blue skies and we found a little Pink Pixie, who also got to try out her new scarf (as did I).  They were lovely and warm, and they don't fall off when said Pixie is running through the woods like a maniac, like a normal scarf would.

Dancing Pink Pixie
It was one of those days when I wished I'd brought out my "proper" camera, as the light was just perfect.  Sorry, but it's just mobile pictures this time.
My 2 favourite people
 Happy Days!

And Spencer Bear also got a scarf, he gets everything to match (last time it was a tutu)- lucky Bear.

A rather dapper Spencer Bear
Ange x

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Scrappy Swap Angel

A while back I was in the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap, where I made this cute Foxy pouch for my partner, Deena in Canada.  
Well it seems that some of the other ladies' parcels didn't arrive, lost in transit, and as Angels were needed to send them out a parcel, and I had this guy "going spare"

Poor lonely WIP Foxy
I decided to offer up my services.  I was asked to make something for Reene over at Nellies Niceties.  

This is the secret squirrel project listed over on the left (maybe it should have been secret fox), as I didn't want her to know that it was me making for her.  Well I couldn't ruin the surprise after she had waited so long for something, mine arrived over 6 weeks ago!  But now I can tell everyone as she received her parcel yesterday, and evidently she rather likes it. : )
All ready to package and post
New Foxy Pouch

It's always nice to do something positive for someone else, and this little guy was in danger of being left on the scraps pile for a while, I'm glad I could put him to good use.

Ange x

Friday, 26 October 2012

Best Dressed Tigger...

Tigger with C's new scarf

Er, no, this isn't my daughter, although she is as bouncy as Tigger on an average day. But as she is in bed (yay!) and I'm a little dubious about putting pictures of her online, Tigger was stolen from her room whilst she was sleeping agreed to step in and model her new scarf/cowl. I think Tigger likes it a little too much though, I caught him looking at himself in the mirror- it's new owner will not be pleased!!  

The blocking really worked, and both scarves are a lot floppier/softer now, which I rather like- all very surprising for a little steaming, I really can recommend it.  

And here I am in mine, although I HATE having my photo taken, I rather like my new scarf (although I am reminded once again I need to spend less time sewing, and some time at the gym- and my roots need work asap!!).

In my new scarf, with chunky button.
I managed to get some large wooden buttons online, from a nice man at outofthewood1, who makes them from coppiced wood from his woodland in Cornwall, the grain on them is quite beautiful.

Anyway, back to the hand quilting on the Hexys, it could be a long job! : (.

Ange x  

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Airing My Washing.....

Well, not exactly! But there are a few finishes, and I can share this one with you:
Yarn Bag - Poppy Treffry Design
 It's the knitting bag I started last week with the Poppy Treffry book I reviewed- I rather like it, what do you think?  The instructions were a little barer than I would have liked, but as I've made several of this tote style bags so far, it wasn't a huge leap to figure them out.

I have made another small finish that I can't share at the moment, but I have popped it in the post and when it arrives with its recipient I will reveal all.  

And today I received fun post, 

Yummy Perle
and exactly what i had been waiting for (for what felt like forever), so it's time to start planning which colours to use for my hexy hand stitching, so many decisions.....

Ange x

Monday, 22 October 2012


I have been flexing my crochet muscles over the last few days, as I love winter woollies, and figured my little one and I needed some of the cute winter scarfs I've been seeing online, with the chunky buttons to make them cowl like.  
 We're aiming for something a bit like this:

Button scarf
Cute- love that button.

So, after a bit of work with this:

Patons, super duper chunky yarn (not it's official name)

I managed to make myself a funny oblong shape (using JennOzcans tutorial/directions, as it suggested it was a "softer" way to crochet).  This is currently being "blocked" to try and soften and square it out a bit.
All squared out and flattened
This is the first time I've tried this technique, and it involves pinning the crochet out to stop the edges curling in, and hovering a steaming iron over NOT ON the crocheting, until you've made it all a bit damp.  As it dries (thoroughly) it holds the flattened out position, and this is supposed to make it drape better.  It feels a bit softer as it's drying, so I'll see how it works out later.

I have also made a pink and gray


Soft gray

lightly striped version for my mini me.  She insisted on pink, so I made sure it was a softer pink, not vomit pink, to hurt my eyes, as so many little girls things tend to be.  I just have a couple of rows to finish it off, and then it needs blocking, once I see if how it works on the other one.

I'll update once these are finished, which will hopefully be in the next couple of days, although, I have a few projects on the go, as always.  I think I could do with some really large buttons to make them, but I'll have to see how my bigish ones work out!

Ange x 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Hexy Hand Quilting Style...

Now, this image isn't very exciting, I accept that, but this was my attempt last night to try and decide how to hand quilt the rather large Hexy quilt I've hand sewn together (over the last, nearly, 2 years).

Hexy Quilting Doodles
Now the colours aren't necessarily chosen yet, but I think I've decided to go with the chevrons vertically, alternating with a running stitch across the middle of the horizontals (see the right of the picture).  I think I'll do some testing with the Perle cottons I've ordered online, and see how it looks and if I like the effect- I don't want to lose the hexagon shape I've spent SO much time working on.  Hmmm, we'll see how it goes.  

The other question is colours, do I go variegated, solids or white perle??  I can see there is going to be lots of some procrastination on this one, and I really want it to get finished before the end of the year, just 10 weeks, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

How do you decide to machine/hand quilt?  Any great sources of inspiration?  Does anyone use a great computer package, Electric Quilt seems really expensive, is there a cheap, good alternative?  I dipped my toe in the world of Quilt Assistant, but it wasn't that user friendly, or am i just a technophobe!?!  I know there's Touchdraw, but I think that's just for Ipad (don't have) or Mac (don't have!), and they're not part of my budget plans!!

Ange x

Friday, 19 October 2012

Foody Friday.

Hmmm, it's the weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekend, and to celebrate we have been making a Gingerbread Man (Carrot) Cake, he's yummy, we've already eaten his buns (!).   

Happy Friday
Ange x

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Book Review. Freehand Machine Embroidery- Poppy Treffry.

For those that haven't heard of Poppy Treffry, she is the UK's foremost teacher/designer/maker of freehand embroidered accessories- supplying products to Fortnum and Mason and Anthropologie amongst othersPoppy is based in sunny Cornwall, where she has her own shop (you can buy online) and runs courses in the techniques required to master this fun art.  

So, onto the book, "Is it any good?" I hear you ask.  In my opinion, yes, it's "BRILLIANT!"  And now I've got that out in the open, let me tell you a bit more about the book and why it's so good.

Freehand Machine Embroidery is one of those books with a really great set of pictures, and fun style, that makes you want to just flick through the pages, take it all in, and then get right onto the sewing machine and give it a go.  It's inspirational.  And it will appeal to those who like being able to create fun and quirky items both for themselves, and the ones they love!

The book itself is divided into straightforward, not too wordy chapters.  It starts with a good section on the basic equipment needed, which is pretty small, great for the cost conscious crafter.

Equipment needed

And then moves on to advice on creating texture- an interesting read, and great for anyone who has done a little basic FME but hasn't really worked much on depth and texture creation so far (i.e Me).

Techniques and creating depth

There are some cute little projects in 4 categories (Getting Crafty, New Arrivals, Party Time, and Happy Holidays), and fortunately they don't just stop at showing you how to do the embroidery, there are also instructions on how to make them into something useful, whether it be a sewing kit, baby room wall art, bunting, or a backpack to name but a few. 
Template pages are included, which is always helpful, many are at full size, though a few do still need to be enlarged at 200%, which can be a bit of a pain, but as the shapes are reasonably basic, for most of them, I would be comfortable drawing out my own version anyway (see below).

Some troubleshooting is also thrown in- which in my experience is vital when FME, but my best advice is to walk away and have a cuppa.  When you return to it, it's usually something straightforward like the bobbin hasn't wound evenly or the feed dogs haven't been dropped (yes, i have done that before, and it did make me very grumpy!). 

It all wraps up with some helpful reference websites and magazines for inspiration, and a supplier list for the UK, North America and Australasia.

So, all in all this is a terrific introductory book for embroidery with your sewing machine, it has good, sound advice and beautiful inspiration, with not too much on the text front- but enough to get you started on your own projects and working out any problems, so, as I said, brilliant!

And my favourite project, oooooooh................. its a hard choice, I'm not even sure I can choose between them, they're all so lovely.......oh go on then, you twisted my arm, its this one, and I er, already started it...
My own project- just perfect for my yarn collection (well, it will be when it's finished).
Ange x
This book can be purchased at RUCraft, happy embroidering!


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Whispering Wordless Wednesday.

Hexy Quilt all basted and ready to start hand quilting

Bleurgh, what a dirty sewing machine

Oooh, the hoover had it's annual outing

Fabric stroked

A crocheted Christmas Bell, (sort of)
Ange x

Monday, 15 October 2012

Craftsy Catchup.....(almost)

I finally managed to make some real progress on my Craftsy quiltalong backlog, and now these 4 are now finished, hurray!!!

I think the reason I got stuck was mostly that after making the first dresden plate all black, barring the one leaf, I was worried it didn't have any depth. Rather than make the other blocks, and come back to it, I stopped, and I ignored it thought about it, for 3 months And then at the weekend, I added the white stitching on the black leaves, and now I'm happy with it, and my creative block on this project is now unblocked (so to speak). I can move on to September and October, the final 2 months of the actual block construction, and then get my sofa quilt all basted and quilted and onto my sofa.  

I've learnt quite a lot from these blocks, especially about the importance of an accurate quarter inch seam, and cutting pieces accurately.  Some of the blocks have made me smile, and others have had me turning the air blue- but I honestly think it's a great way to learn new skills and techniques, and that is one of my favourite things.  So, just a little curved and paper piecing, 4 blocks, and then next month I can put them all together.  Easy peasy!

Ange x

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Be still my Lionheart (project)...

Lionheart Project
Look who I found at Twycross Zoo!    For those that haven't heard about the Lionheart Project, this is one of 3 massive Lions that were HAND CROCHETED for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad this year, by artist Shauna Richardson. These amazing lions were crocheted over 2 years, that is some amazing committment to your craft- these are massive pieces of art, go to the websites to check them out with better photos, and some details on how they were constructed.  For your chance to see them, they will be at Twycross until the 21st of December, it's the last stop on their East Midlands tour bus, very rock and roll!

As well as the lions outside, there were hundreds of terrific crocheted and knitted flags all over the food hall, alongside the mini lion pictured below, which really brightened it up.

Crochet Flags

Crochet flags

Mini Lion Project
 This was a lovely start to a fun zoo trip for my little girl, which also included seeing these:
Grumpy Primate

Meerkat Posse

Cute Otter, begging for food

Capybara and baby!

All in all, a very good day!
Ange x

Friday, 12 October 2012

We Wish You a Merry Christmas.......

As promised, a picture of my Christmas board, not great as the lighting is a bit poor in the corridor, and there's a wall opposite, so it's difficult to get far enough away for a picture!

Ange x

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Christmas all wrapped up.......

Phew, sorry about going AWOL for the last couple of days, they've been busy.  So, I hear you asking, what have I been up to, well, it was all sewing related as I had a Christmas deadline. WHAT????? I hear you ask, surely I haven't overslept and missed it?  Er no, more that as the start of December is only about 7 weeks away I had to get my Advent Calendar and Advent Bunting done, as time is running short.  So, all done (along with some stockings) and I have a display up at my little ones nursery.  Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures yet, so I have to sneak in tomorrow to try and get a picture of it all together, until then, here's a picture of some of the pretty fabrics I've been using for them.
Cherry Christmas Fabric, Aneela Hoey
And before anyone says anything, yes it is another Aneela Hoey set of fabrics, I love all of her lines, and no I'm not paid to say that!!

Have a great evening

Ange x

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

My name is a Angela, and I am a .............. addict.

Fill the blanks!!  I think it is reasonably clear that I LOVE fabric, just ask my man- I think he's worried he'll return home one day to find me buried alive under a fabric mountain.  I have a lot of lovely fabric, and the reason, well, just because- and surely I'll use it 1 day!?!?!  Anyway, as well as a love of fabrics, I also love books.  And from the time I learned to read, I loved to own them, read them, re-read them, browse them and read them some more.  Now I don't get so much time to read so many books, I love craft books.  Something I can pick up, flick through, maybe make something from, or use for inspiration.  


So, with that in mind, I am really looking forward to doing some book reviews in the next few weeks- and here are the first few I'll be checking out:
Tildas Spring Ideas- Tone Finnanger
Stitch and Sew Home- Eline Pellinkhof
Freehand Machine Embroidery- Poppy Treffry
101 Ways to Stitch, Craft, Create- Multiple Contributors

I'll be doing my first review next week, but the next question is, which one should I review first? Oh, decisions, decisions!

Watch this space. : )

Ange x

Monday, 8 October 2012


Picture originated:

Well, I'm blogging today, even if it's a little one, as sewing progress has been non-existant this weekend, and I've been entertaining my little monster with messy play and building the most massive mega bloks towers today.  So, this is a quick post to say "Hello" to all of my new followers, many of whom I've discovered from Lily's Quilts Small Blog Meet/Fresh! Sewing Day- which links up to some terrific, fun blogs, well worth a look, and a great way to find some new inspiration.
Have a terrific week.
Ange x

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The important things.......

Old Hunstanton, 7th of October 2012.
....including spending time at the beach with 4 of my very favourite people!  Fortunately the sun came out, and it was lovely and warm in the dunes making sandcastles.

Ange x

Friday, 5 October 2012

What to do with Mr Robin?

Little Stitches, Little Mr Robin

I stitched this little Mr Robin last weekend from Aneela Hoey's Little Stitches book, to see how easy I found them to do. I have to say, the instructions are BRILLIANT, totally user friendly, and inspiring, easy to follow. I also did a brown version, similar but different, but he's disappeared for now- little fingers I'd guess, my daughter did say he was hers! The question is now, what do I do with him?  I've never entirely seen the point of Christmas Quilts- they're beautiful, but can only be used for a really small part of the year, so any suggestions anyone???

Ange x

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Dotty about Spots and Squares.

If you saw my post yesterday, I mentioned Sarah over at Duck Egg Threads had been working on her photos and getting light into them, and it inspired me to do something about mine, which are at best, average!  So I managed to find some mount board at my local Range in Leicester, and today I went about trying to get some better photos for upload.  I did try both the black and the white board, but I have to say the black produced better pictures (in my opinion), so I've gone with those ones.

So, what have I actually been up to sewing wise?  Well, on Tuesday night I did indeed make something for myself to help with the mojo, and it worked, as I was up until half 1 (Wednesday morning) finishing it off, ouch!  And that was a crochet roll for my hooks, with space for scissors and any other little bits I need to take with me.  Now don't expect professional photos from my efforts, but I have to say, they're lots better than they were, with the help of a reflector (a foil covered smaller cutting board, all very improv), as well as the board.  So here goes, *drumroll*
Inside of my new Crochet Roll

My cute new Crochet Roll, all tied up!
 What do you think?  

I decided to go all improv for the inside, and as I love polka dots and spotty fabric, I decided to raid my scraps drawers and pull out all of my dotty ones.  I then just randomly started sewing them together, then cutting them at odd angles, and then re-sewing them until I got this mix, and I rather like it.  The pocket is made from a Hot Pink Essex Linen (it has matching white stilettos too ; ), OK, rubbish joke I know) and the outside is a Grey Essex Linen, both purchased from Emma's Fabric Studio a couple of months ago, along with one of her terrific scraps packs (see the white fabric with different colour dots, on the inside of the crochet roll) and a couple of other fabrics.  She has a lovely range of fabrics, well worth a look, and the service is fantastic- and no I don't get paid to say that, its an independent opinion! : ).

I have also been chopping up some fabric to make these
Addicted to Text Charm Swap
 for my Addicted to Text UK Charm Swap. I'm being a good girl and posting them early (today) as they only have to be there at the start of November, and this way I know they've arrived and I don't let anyone down, which I hate doing! I couldn't get the light right in these, they're better than they were, but I have some other ideas on trying to improve them.

I have also been fussing around with the pockets for my advent calendar, but as with all of these things, I tend to take ages to get something I'm happy with the first time,which means it's a long, drawn out process, and so far, this is all I have to show for it!
Back to it.

Ange x