Thursday 21 March 2013

A few of my favourite things ....

There are some things you really want and then when you get them you find they are not quite as good as you thought – a Teflon applique sheet fits into this category for me – it is just too darn slippery!  And then there are some things you are not really fussed about but when you get them you love them and use them everyday. 
One such gem in my workroom is a nifty little bobbin holder, called a BobbinSaver.
This useful little item found its way into my Christmas stocking last year (you’ve gotta love Santa!).   As you can see it isn’t full yet – I am awaiting a delivery of bobbins. Once these arrive I will spend an afternoon filling those bobbins so that I can concentrate on uninterrupted sewing.  It is such a simple idea and I wonder why nobody thought of it earlier.  It keeps up to 20 bobbins neat and tidy and the whole thing slips into my sewing desk drawer.
Another of my useful items is only a month old but is already invaluable - it is a daylight lamp.  This floor lamp has a white fluorescent tube which shows fabric and thread in their true colours - perfect on dull and dreary days like today or dark evenings.  
(Photo courtesy of Coopers - so no - that isn't the Patchsmith reading her fan mail!)
I am guessing you could get the same effect by fitting a white fluorescent bulb in any standard lamp which would make this a very economical addition to the workroom but for the money (£30+P&P) this lamp is worth every penny.  I got my lamp from Coopers in the UK and whilst they are currently out of stock you can purchase similar ones from Amazon.  The head is adjustable and can be twisted to almost any angle - perfect for getting the lighting right when photographing mug rugs. 
And that brings me on to another useful sewing room item – my jigsaw case. 
Yep, you heard me right – a jigsaw case in the sewing room.  It is the perfect surface for laying out patchwork squares prior to piecing them together.  And if you don’t get time to piece them together you can just zip up the case, put it away and the pieces will stay exactly where you put them. 
My jigsaw case came with two fully removable pads that easily hold a 12" block each.  I can take the pads direct to my worktable without the fabric flying all over the place.  The case is also a great help if taking your sewing to the local quilting bee.  True, my case is rather large – a smaller one would work equally well and be more transportable but this case also doubles as a ......... yep, you guessed it ..... a JIGSAW BOARD!!!
Talking of flying fabric, it wouldn’t be right to leave this little excursion without mentioning my blue bird pin cushion which I have now named Florentine (Flo to you and me).  If you are following the Across the Pond sew-along you will have met Flo already – she is my version of the January free pattern.  If you haven’t been following along and would like a little Flo all of your own then just click on the tab at the top of this page.  I padded her wings so not only is she a great pin cushion but her wings store my sewing needles.  Flo and I get together at every opportunity to create wonderful handmade items.  Maybe we’ll show you a couple of these next time we meet.  Sew until then .......      

Sunday 10 March 2013

Hedgehogs and Flowers

It has been a busy weekend.  Firstly I have submitted an article and pattern to an online quilting magazine – I will tell you more if it is accepted. Next my sister asked that I create a mug rug that she can have on her coffee table for the spring/summer. 

She currently has my Snowman mug rug on her table but she wanted something a little more indicative of spring being around the corner.  So I combined spring fabrics with a little fussy cutting (my sister loves owls) to create the Paddles Mug rug from my One Block Mug Rugs book:
Courthouse Sidebar meets the Paddle Block
(Both from my One Block Mug Rugs book)

I also made a country Butterfly Patch mug rug to remind ME that spring is around the corner:
Butterfly Patch Mug Rug pattern

And finally I have had a sketch in my design book for a couple of months and this weekend I finally got to play with it.  Hey presto – another pattern – the Hedgehog Mug Rug. 

I love this pattern – it is so quick and easy to put together yet looks so cute.  I made two – one in green and brown and another in red polka-dots.  It is one of the patterns included in my Animal & Pets pattern book available via Etsy or Amazon 

You can never have too many mug rugs - especially when they are cute and practical!

I have also been checking out Susie and Amy’s blogs – both are hosting a giveaway in the Quilting Gallery Blog Party.   Amy has a stunning mug rug and a snazzy pin cushion to give away.
Whilst Susie is giving away a charm pack of Tonga treats. 
Go and leave a comment for a chance to win - both end on 17th March (click on the link or the pictures).  I came up with a very unique (and typically Patchsmith) comment for Susie's giveaway - check it out.
And finally a little reminder for all of you participating in the Quilting Gallery swap that the posting deadline for international is 11th March and for domestic (own country) it is 18th March.  Drop into the Quilting Gallery Flickr group for pictures of the two mug rugs that have been made – they are awesome.  It has been a real pleasure to be part of this mug rug swap – everybody is so friendly and enthusiastic not to mention talented.  My little patterns never looked so good!
Now it's time to put my feet up with a nice cuppa and a Garibaldi biscuit.  Sew until next time .......

Friday 1 March 2013

Across the Pond Sew Along - March Project

Courtesy of Moda Bake Shop
I don’t know about you but I am fed up of being cold – so much so that I grabbed a charm pack of 5” squares and fired up my sewing machine to make myself a little something to keep me warm.  This month’s Across the Pond free pattern is the Charm Square Scarf designed by Trish Poolson from Notes of Sincerity for the Moda Bake Shop – and a great little make it is too.  Trish used a Patisserie charm park whilst I used a Birds and Berries charm pack that my sister gave me for Christmas – it adds that extra bit of colour which I crave at this time of the year. 
My sister, Lea, made the very same scarf but in autumnal hues which, I have to say, I like just as much (here she is trying to be David Bailey!) 
Lea mixed and matched several different charm packs which I have just recognised are from MY STASH!!!  I thought my Double Chocolat and Gypsy Rose squares had gone down a bit.  Does that make her scarf mine as well?  Is there a lawyer in the audience?

The pattern was really easy and is a great practise project for butting up seams.  But don't worry if you don't match seams very well - the scarf will still look good and it just might add to the scrappy look. 

If our scarves look creased it is because we wear them all the time.  Lea drapes hers over her coat in her airy-fairy-fabric-pinching way whilst I scrunch mine up inside my lapels in my hurry-gotta-go-quick-quick manner.   But I think you’ll agree that, just like the two sisters who made them, they are at their very best when side-by-side.
So whether you’re a beginner or more experienced sewist, why not join us this month for this quick and easy make.  You will need one charm pack (or thirty-four 5” squares) and some backing fabric.  You can find the pattern here or by clicking on the picture at the beginning of this blog.  If you haven’t checked out the Moda Bake Shop before I would suggest you grab a cuppa before clicking this link to their free patterns – there are so many great patterns you may be a while.

If you don't fancy this scarf but find another pattern then please share it via the Flickr thread.
And don’t forget to post your finished items to the Flickr group telling us which fabrics you used.  Amy, Susie and I will check into the thread throughout the month so if you have any questions or hints and tips then please stop by and share them.
Sew until next time .........