Friday, 28 February 2014

Where I live - in pictures

This morning:

Sounds of birds (song thrush, blackbird, robin, rook, and pheasant, I think), gurgling water and 2 (!) cars in almost an hour...

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Bag - CHECK!

It's been a long time coming, but finally it really is completely done. It is the second ITEM for the City and Guilds course, and this time it is a bag:

It all began last year with a visit to the Barbara Hepworth museum in St Ives in Cornwall. I loved seeing her work, displayed both inside her home and studio, and in the sculpture garden. As well as taking loads of photographs in the garden, I picked up a few postcards with photographs of sculptures  that were displayed inside (where you were not allowed to take photographs). I loved a lot of the work, but my very favourite piece is called "Pelagos" and I just HAD to use it as my inspiration for one of my course items.

Pelagos is almost perfectly spherical, but I wanted my bag to be a travel bag, so the final shape became more oblong; a rectangle with very rounded corners, and a bit wider at the bottom than at the top for balance. Pelagos is a glowing brown wood on the outside, with white on the inside surfaces, so I had to use brown, and add some glow to the colouring, too. And the strings became stripes, both pieced into the brown, and in the straight line quilting of some of the panels.

I've been working on this for a good while, on and off, but you'll be relieved that I don't intend to bore you describing all the details. I'll let the pictures do the talking:

marking the shapes

pieced panel (x2)

straight line quilting

free motion quilting

inside pocket

handle tabs

I think I may have to plan a trip now...
Linking up with Lily's Quilts for Fresh Sewing Day and, because my little blog has not that many followers (though each one is much appreciated!), also with Small Blog Meet:
Lily's Quilts
Lily's Quilts
And also with Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts:
Sew Cute Tuesday

Friday, 21 February 2014


Ever felt like reaching out and stroking something?


At one of my recent course days we have been exploring different ways to create texture in fabrics.

sewing a grid with shirring elastic in the bobbin

then steaming to increase the effect

using a denser grid with the shirring elastic


ruffles: wide pleats with narrow zigzag on top

pleats stitched down in waves

 Then a complete revelation to me: how to use a twin needle! There was one that came with my machine, but I never used it before. I started off with a 2mm distance needle:
lines and grid
 The twin needle is used with two threads (of the same quality though not necessarily the same colour) in the top, the bottom thread zigzags between the two at the back. To my surprise the effect is quite raised because of the bottom thread pulling the fabric up between the two lines. It is good to use a presser foot with a raised centre to not flatten the fabric unnecessarily (with my machine it's called a monogramming foot, not that I ever sew monogrammes).

random lines

double grid

wavy stitch with twin needle

wavy grid

Then I got a 4mm twin needle, and the effect is much more pronounced:
grid with wider twin needle

stripe effect with different stitches

Of course even quilting would create texture... I'll be playing with that another time!

Happy sewing!
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