Thursday 6 December 2012

One Stitch at a Time

I'm sorry I've been so quiet lately. The usual November gloom got me badly this year, and threatened to take December with it. But I am putting my foot down. Going to try to work a bit more time for me and the things that make me happy into my days. Like these little Candy Stripe Long Johns. I LOVE to knit them. I wouldn't be stopping either, but I have just run out of red yarn. The last batch of the year will be shipped to their new homes today, so I thought I would take a moment to share their picture. I am really proud of these little knits, made from my own pattern. And it makes me so happy to knit them for others who love them too.

What I want now is more time for sewing. I've missed my machine badly. Last Saturday I decorated my studio a bit, so there is a tiny winter wonderland in there, just waiting for me to come and play. And that is just what I intend to do. I'm currently working on In Colour Order's Colour Hex Quilt Pattern. It's coming together nicely so far. I'm using a selection of Center City prints and co-ordinates on Kona Coal. I intend to quilt it myself too, as I really really need more machine quilting practice. I'm starting to appreciate my own wonky quilting and trying to be less perfection obsessed. I really really love Jeni's pattern. It totally pulled me out of my sewing flump. I'm considering making a bed sized half-hexy quilt for me using the same construction.

I'll try to actually do something with the photos I can't stop taking. They never seem to make the leap from camera to computer these days. But I won't force them. For now it is time to sew.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Super Simple Skirt Tutorial

Hello November. It is very very cold here and Dan and I have been busy working on our house. We have had lots more plastering done and the kitchen has tiles at last! I've spent most of last week cleaning up dust and trying not to get in the way. On Wednesday I decided I needed a new skirt (it being Halloween and all) and decided to try to photograph the process. Please excuse the inconsistent photography. I had to switch between the bedroom and studio and there is no light anywhere right now. Anyway, anyone wanting to make a basic skirt might find this useful. 

Information that may be important... I'm 5'2" and my hips measure 36". I can make a skirt out of 1 width of 44" quilting cotton, but if your hips are more than 40" you would need to piece your fabric (or use something wider). I feel obliged to advise pre-washing your garment fabrics, because I always do, but it might work out fine without pre-washing. I'm just too scared to risk it. If you have pre-washed your exact cuts of fabric they will be a bit smaller, just trim them straight and carry on. Your skirt will be a bit shorter but nothing disastrous. I bought yard cuts of both prints and pre-washed before cutting. For a skirt exactly like mine you will need approx 1/2yrd main fabric, 1/4yrd hem band fabric and your waist measurement in 1" non-roll elastic. 

 Step 1: 
Cut your fabric! I'm using the Nightshade potion bottles as my main fabric and the storm clouds as my hem band. Main fabric measures 18" x wof (width of fabric) and hem band measures 8" x wof. 

Step 2: 
Fold your hem band in half along its length matching the edges as neatly as possible and press well.

 Step 3:
Partially unfold the hem band. With right sides facing, pin the front of the hem band to the bottom of the main skirt piece.

 Make sure that your hem band piece is facing the right way up!

Step 4: 
Sew this seam with a 1/2" seam allowance. (I like to use masking tape on my needle plate to keep my 1/2" seam straight.)

Step 5: 
Press seam allowance towards hem band.

Step 6: 
Fold skirt in half with right sides facing, matching up the selvedge edges. This will be the back seam. Match the hem bands carefully. Your selvedge might be a bit wonky in places but it will be fine. We will be taking the smallest seam allowance possible without any of the selvedge edge holes showing on the finished skirt. I drew a line about 1" from the edge, keeping the line straight and ignoring the selvedge wobbles. This will be our sewing line. (I actually drew two lines in the above photo, ignore the inner line please, the outer is our seam line.) Pin, sew along line and press seam open. You should have a tube!

Step 7: 
Make sure the hem band fold is still crisply pressed. Re-press if necessary. Fold back into place, matching back seam on main skirt and hem band.

Step 8: 
Pin and top stitch 1/4" from hem edge.

Step 9: 
Fold inside top edge of hem band so that it meets the original seam line. Press and pin as you go. Top stitch approx 1/8" from top of hem band.

Step 10: 
To make elastic casing at waistband, I first drew a line 1" from top. Then I drew a second line 3" from top.

The lower line is not right here! I'm easily confused, sorry! Fold the top raw edge to meet the first line and press (You have a 1/2" pressed hem). Then fold again so that the folded edge meets the second line and press (you hopefully have a 1 1/2" casing). 

Step 11: Top stitch 1/8" from the folded edge to secure the casing, leaving a 2" opening around the back seam to insert your elastic! Backstitch at the beginning and end. 

Step 12: Measure your "waist" (the area you would like the skirt to sit) and cut a piece of elastic to this measurement. Use a safety pin to thread elastic through the casing, being careful not to twist it. Pin elastic ends together and try on your skirt. Adjust elastic if necessary. I usually tighten mine up a bit. You should have approx 1" overlap at the ends of elastic. Zig-zag ends together securely (I like to sew a little square) and pop elastic back into casing. Stitch opening closed as neatly as possible.

Ta-da! A blurry skirt photo :) It was Halloween, and I was in a hurry to go see the new Silent Hill movie.

Hope this might be helpful to somebody wanting to wear their fabric stash but not sure where to start :) It should be easy to adjust length or adapt to different elastic widths. For my Mendocino Skirt I cut 4" pieces for the hem band and the elastic casing to make 1 1/2" finished hem band and waist casing. The contrast elastic casing was sewn in exactly the same way as hem band, remembering to leave an opening for elastic. Don't top stitch along the folded edge of waistband casing.

Friday 26 October 2012

A Mermaid Skirt for Me

 Things have been bus around here lately. I have been sewing, lots. With seemingly little to show for it. Not many finishes at the moment. It's all about process, slow and consistent, with lots of lesson learning long the way. I am currently working on two Holiday quilts, both of which I would love to have finished for upcoming C-day. (That day which I should not be referring to or even hinting at, no Sir.) I may or may not have a few handmade gifts in progress too.

But today I wanted a mermaid skirt. Yesterday I had a revelation. I am fairly small, therefore I can actually make a wearable skirt with only 1/2 yard of quilting cotton. I'd always assumed I would need two widths, but apparently not. So I worked out a plan for a stupidly simple skirt last night. I would love to make a tutorial, both to remind myself of the process and to help anyone else who wants a really easy pattern free skirt. Hopefully I will find decent light in the next few days and be able to photograph the process.

My skirt is made from a Spoonflower Heather Ross print on Kona Cotton. I'm not entirely sure that its the same as the version on the HR Prints CD, I printed mine a few months before the book came out. The kelp stripe is original Mendocino. I had a bit of trouble with the top-stitching on the hem and waistband. Not sure why but my Pfaff doesn't take well to top stitching. I'll try to figure out why for my next skirt.

Monday 8 October 2012

Two Little Quilts

I have spent much of last month making and quilting small quilts. At this point I am not sure I will ever be entirely comfortable with quilting big quilts myself, but I have enjoyed completing these smaller projects and have many more planned for the next few months. I'm still trying to scale myself up to the point where I can balance a lap sized quilt without problems. Not quite there yet.

My first baby sized quilt finish was this little patchwork blanket in Aneela Hoey's ' Cherry Christmas' line. I added a few co-ordinating fabrics, all in a cherry red, pistachio green, turquoise blue, grey and white palette. It is definitely Christmassy, but hopefully not too much so. I would happily have these fabrics in service all through the wintery months anyway. I still need to figure out how to finish off my own Cherry Christmas Quilt. I used all of the fabrics from my quilt in this mini version. The back is a print from 'Little Apples' on white, which I'l be using on my big quilt too. I quilted along the seam lines with a grey-ish blue thread and used Kona Caribbean to bind.

My second small finish is the Battenburg Squares quilt. This time I tried quilting slightly wonky horizontal lines, with a few hand quilted lines here and there to add interest. I actually love the back of this quilt even more than the front. I didn't have enough of the Amy Butler wavy stripe fabric I had planned on using, so I use some leftover blocks from the font an improvised to fill the space. I really really enjoyed this part and love how it turned out! I used Moda Bella Solid Citrine for most of the front. Prints are a selection from my stash in pink and apricot tones and I used Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Raspberry Pink to bind.

Both quilts are listed in my etsy store now :)

Friday 28 September 2012

Stitching Today

As I may have mentioned here and there, I have recently acquired a much bigger and better sewing machine. I am now the proud owner of a Pfaff Expression 2.0 and so far we are getting on rather fantastically. The main improvement is that I now have the necessary resources to give machine quilting a proper chance. Last week I pieced and quilted a simple crib sized quilt. I'm still waiting for the perfect binding fabric to arrive, then I'll be getting that one finished. In the meantime, the logical thing to do was to piece another small quilt. I'm planning to gradually work my way up to quilting grown up sized quilts.

This little top is almost finished. Inspired by my rather excessive stash of pink and peachy toned fabrics, and a huge piece of Moda Bella Solids Citrine which seems to be ever-lasting. There are still at least 2 yards left! Which is fine as it is my very favourite solid. I'm just happy to be feeling confident enough to jump into a sewing project without over-planning ever detail.

Back to the machine for me. Really determined to get the top done today!

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Today is my birthday...

...and, as a convenient result, I have a new camera :) Thank you parents! Which means I can begin photographing the backlog of things that I have been making these last few weeks. I'm slowly getting to grips with the new camera. It's a wee bit more complicated than the old one, but I think we will be fine.

I have updated my etsy store just now with a few pairs of Blythe Long Johns. I intend to make them available to custom order in different stripe combinations soon too, I just need to round up and photograph all my suitable yarn colours. For now, the finished Long Johns can be found here. I really hope people will like them, because I am rather proud of them, and I love to make them. I only wish I had a Jane sized pair for myself, as it is getting chilly here.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Late Summer Check In

I've been neglecting the blog this month. I'm mostly busy sewing, and also spending as much time outdoors as possible. Enjoying the warm weather and nice long walks. I've been a lot healthier since I stopped eating gluten earlier this year and it feels fantastic to have the energy to exercise again. 

With all the sunshine and sewing, I've only been online briefly these past few weeks. Mostly to stock up on fabric. This years Autumn collections seem particularly packed with must have fabrics. I love Violet Craft's Madrona Road. I've just received my FQ stack of the whole collection and have 1 yard cuts of both text prints to come. I'm now waiting for Anna Maria Horner's Field Study. So far I've ordered the Patina colourway but I'll hopefully be able to get the other two bundles in the not too distant future. I really really want some Tula Pink The Birds and the Bees, as well as some of the Liberty Lifestyle cottons. 

I bought some of Heather Ross' FFA III collection this week too. I had been trying to resist, but I'm really glad I finally have some. Those long-johns on the washing line! The fabric is a lovely soft linen/cotton blend.

My sewing this week mostly involves this stack of fabrics with a Christmas theme. I started with a red, green and aqua stack, added all of Aneela Hoey's Cherry Christmas, aswell as some Little Apples. I hope to have a finished quilt top in the next week or so :) Then hopefully a finished quilt in time for Christmas.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Giant Star Quilt

I'm back :) With a quilt to share. I made this quilt top back in January using Jeni's fantasic giant star quilt tutorial. The best thing about this pattern is that it actually makes enough HST blocks for two star quilts, so this quilt has a twin. The twin top is still in the WIP pile and will probably be staying with me, but this Star is a present for my sister. She's currently living in a tiny mouldy flat in Rathmines, Dublin, so the quilt is still living with it's buddies in my quilt pile. But she finally got to meet the finished quilt this weekend. (She is the black booted pair of quilt legs in the pictures!)

I hand quilted my Giant Star using both perle cotton and Aurifil 12wt (which I prefer to the perle cotton, though they look very similar and can happily be combined in any hand stitched project). I marked lines echoing in from the edges of the star at half inch intervals and stitched them in rainbow colours. The background space was filled in with baptist fans in turquoise thread.

The quilt back is a red cotton Ikea sheet which shows off the rainbow quilting nicely. The individual colours don't show up very well here but the yellow bands look particularly well with the bright yellow binding.

I've been labelling all my new quilts with the Spoonflower labels my brother designed. Makes them feel properly finished. I also have smaller labels for pillows and other smaller things.

Monday 23 July 2012

A Little Update

I've been missing a lot lately. I haven't given up blogging though, I've actually been composing posts in my head all week. I've been a bit miserable the last few weeks, one of my latest reasons being that my recent fabric orders have been taking way too long, and I was convinced they were all lost. Then this morning the post man brought me 3 packages of fabric, which inspired me to take the camera out and do some blogging. Unfortunately, in the weeks since I've last used the camera I have managed to lose the cable which makes it talk to the computer! Gah!

But at least all my fabrics have arrived safely. My Spoonflower order, featuring Heather Ross' Underwater Sisters and my own custom quilt labels. And some Folksy Flannels and Aneela Hoey yardage from Pink Castle Fabrics. I've given up on quilting temporarily, just until I can afford the new machine. My current sewing agenda involves pillowcases. Lots of pillowcases. Which explains my current buying habit of 2 yard cuts of favourite prints. Enough for a pair of pillowcases plus a generous amount of scrap to be used for patchworking. My current sewing machine is happy enough sewing the pillowcases too.

The house has been distracting me again. On Saturday morning I decided to initiate a major furniture re-shuffle downstairs. The old kitchen dresser has been de-woodwormed and is now in the bedroom. The tallboy that was bought for the bathroom was kicked out of the bedroom and has finally settled in the bathroom. Dan's computer has been moved to the other end of the living room along with the dining table. Which means he is no longer using the giant tv as a monitor. Which means we are actually watching some tv! Result :) I'm sure there will be more rearranging in future, but I am a lot happier with this arrangement than the previous one.

I hope to be back again soon with actual photos of things.

Sunday 8 July 2012


Forever Girls by *teacupfaery*

I'm feeling overwhelmed by everything at the moment. After much thought, I have decided to downsize my dolly collection. This is really really hard, but ultimately I would prefer them to be out there being enjoyed, rather than gathering dust here. These 15 are my very most important Blythe dolls, and will be staying put for the forseeable future. But there are quite a few more which I will likely be making available shortly. My redhaired Kenner is currently not on the forever list, nor is she available. I'm entirely unsure about her. I plan to keep her, but have some work done on her when I can afford it. If there is any other dolly in my current Blythe doll flickr collection who is not on my keepers list, please feel free to contact me re. adoption at my email address or here.

I'm trying to have the same attitude towards my fabric stash. If I love it I should use it, not just hoard it. So this week I made some pillowcases with two favourite fabrics. I also started to actually use my stashed Far Far Away squares. I'm making a cushion cover.

To clarify, dollies available currently are:
Cinnamon Toast ~ Almost Stock Hello Harvest
Nettle ~ Teal nylon reroot Hello Harvest
Lavender Sky ~ Saran rerooted ADG
Leocadia Snapdragon ~ Stock Bubble Boom

Angela is technically Dan's so she'll most likely be staying. Heston Kitten-Biscuits might be spoken for at this point. I'll be updating as necessary. Please do get in touch, I'm in no real hurry for the adoptions so we may be able to find a deal that works for you!

Sunday 1 July 2012

Little Folks Constellation Cushion

July already! I finished this cushion cover last weekend and almost forgot to take a photo. It's a huge cushion cover, made for a 26" cushion pad I don't yet have. I still need to wash it, but I figure I'll wait until I actually have a cushion for it, so it can go straight into service.

I was inspired by Katy's Liberty Constellation and used my precious stash of Little Folks charm squares, as well as some Liberty tana lawn. The background is Quilter's Linen in Straw, with a strip of Moda Bella Solids Citrine. The back is mostly a solid pinky red, with scraps of the front fabrics. The binding is a Loulouthi zigzag which matched perfectly :) I quilted organic straight lines on both front and back. 

This week I'll hopefully be finishing the hand quilting on my sister's quilt. I'm also hoping to sew up a few soft toys, starting with Sammy Squid. I'm planning on using some of my vintage sheet stash.

Thursday 28 June 2012


June is drawing to a close, and things have been very productive around here. I'm busily hand quilting my Giant Star Quilt at the moment. Hoping to finish it as soon as possible. I'm echoing the giant pieced star in rainbow coloured perle cottons, and I'm really happy with how it's turning out. The backing is a plain red cotton sheet so the rainbow colours show up nicely on the back too. No idea what I'll bind it with yet. Binding is my favourite part at the moment, so I'm looking forward to choosing the right fabric.

I have also been knitting a lot this week. I updated the shop again this morning. This will be the last update until I catch up with my quilting. I wanted to share a few of my pretties here...

Monday 25 June 2012

Quilt Label Artwork

Teacupfaery Label Artwork by *teacupfaery*

A sneak peak! Painted and produced by my very talented brother William. I have just received the files for the final labels (to be used on my quilts and other sewn goods) and will be printing them via Spoonflower very soon. Much excitement!

Thursday 21 June 2012

Patchwork Prism

Yesterday I finished my Patchwork Prism Quilt. I've been waiting impatiently for the rain to stop so I could photograph it. Technically the rain never did stop, but Dan braved the light drizzle (and the chair that sunk slightly into the boggy grass!) to get some action photos. 

I used Anna Maria Horner's Patchwork Prism pattern, currently available here with no modifications to the pattern. I made plastic templates which I drew around to cut my pieces. I had been waiting for the pattern to be published for several weeks before it went live. I loved Anna's original quilt so much that I just had to make one for myself. When the pattern was released and the quilt-along announced I jumped in straight away. I used a lot favourite fabrics for my Prism, many treasured AMH scraps as well as some Tula Pink and Denyse Schmidt. I used quite a few voile pieces along with the regular cotton prints, which I think makes this quilt extra special. This quilt will be with me forever and I'm so glad I could include so many beloved prints.

My quilt is backed mostly with an Ikea cotton sheet, with a few pieced strips to match the colourful front. I had my quilt longarm quilted by the very talented Chris . I love the look of the quilting on the white background, though the backing did get a tiny bit dirty during it's photo shoot in the muddy yard. I still need to wash my Prism so hopefully it will come out fine. I may rethink using a white backing in future though.

 Lovely swirly floral quilting!

 Patchwork Prism in action on my bed.

 Quilting detail.

My favourite little detail. Aneela Hoey tortoises on the binding :)

Linking up with Sweet Diesel Designs Patchwork Prism Quilt-along. Thank you so much for organising the quilt-along. I had so much fun with my Prism and I love my quilt so so much!

Monday 18 June 2012

Stitching This Week

It's been a bit quiet around here lately. I've mostly been knitting tiny Blythe doll things. I can't seen to stop knitting when I get going. But I do have a few patchwork projects in progress too. Thought I'd share a few photos here.

Making a Constellation pillow cover. One half of the back has been quilted at this stage.

My Patchwork Prism quilt arrived home from Chris today. I am completely in love with her quilting. I decided to use my favourite of Aneela Hoey's Little Apple prints for the binding. I'm on the hand-stitching stage at the moment. Hopefully I will have some finished photos to share soon :)

Friday 8 June 2012

Lemon Drizzle

I wrote a bit about this little quilt here. I've been waiting to take better photos, but this week has been entirely miserable weather-wise. No happy rainbow stitchy drizzle. Just proper old wet rain. So today I worked with what I had.

I have listed this quilt in my etsy store here. I'm planning to work a lot more quilty goodness into my etsy in the near future. I'm considering opening a separate store for my quilts, but I'm not sure yet. This little one is my start.

Off to Dublin tomorrow. Hoping it won't rain all day, but I won't mind too much if it does. I intend to stock up on yarn, beads and buttons and have a fantastic lunch somewhere cosy.