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Seaside Postcards from McKenna Ryan

14 Apr

One of the perks of a wholesale account with McKenna Ryan is that I also get to make her quilts at an affordable price. Imagine the problems I had resisting the deal on laser cut kits on two of her designs – ‘From the Coast with Love’ and’ Snow Buds’

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snow Buds

It is sort of cheating but I just fancied a bit of applique that I could do in a hurry. I have started on the Coastal one as I thought it would make a good window display, my being by the seaside and such. Added to which, I already bought the pattern on its own and having it made up as an example never hurts to sell a pattern.

I also have two Kukaburra Cottage quilts cut out ready to applique so the next few weeks could be busy on the applique front. I just need the machine to behave now and I will have fun.

I have laid out some of the Coast but I will be doing it with satin stitch rather than the McKenna Ryan method. It is the way I like to work and even wall hangings need a wash occasionally and I would not be happy if they frayed. Having said that I see why she uses her straight stitch method as it means the lines stay clean on what are almost paintings done in fabric.

Here are the first three laid out.

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The fabric is interesting. It might be interesting to try it with other fabric too.

I will keep you posted on progress.

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Fossil Ferns and Fun in the Sun

19 Mar

Finally everything is sorted – well most things- and my shop is open in Polperro in Cornwall. I am glad to report that despite the fact there is practically nobody about, we are selling steadily. There have been several quilters actually staying in the village and that means they have to resist the shop for at least a week. Thankfully few do.

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The glass jewellery I make  with the occasional input of various members of the family is also going well. The secret seems to be to have things that are different and so not available elsewhere. Alas I was having a ‘day off’ – if you can count making jewellery as a ‘day off’ – and was not the one who made the first of our quilt sales but it is still a lovely feeling that someone now has an heirloom made by yours truly.

I have sorted out the sock monkey kits. They contain everything needed to make a monkey, including the stuffing of course. An added  bonus is that instead of a paper bag or box they are packed into a matching bag with an embroidered sock monkey. In other words when the monkey is finished the bag is usable in its own right. We waste nothing here.

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Anyway, if you are visiting the West Country call in and see us. I don’t think you will be disappointed. We have Fossil ferns in abundance. We have a great many of the Makower plains. We have Elizabeth’s Studio prints and Laurel Burch collections. We have a wide range of fun and funky fabrics. It is certainly a bright and cheerful place to be.

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If I get lonely I talk to the Dolls (no not really).

 

 

 

Socks and Monkey Business

8 Jan

Meet my friends the sock monkeys. Over Christmas week I moved from hating the blessed things to having great fun making them. I decided that I would like to carry kits for making sock monkeys in my new shop. After all there is many a rainy day on an English seaside holiday and there is nothing like a bit of creative needlework to fill the time. I read all the conventional information on making them and watched the odd youtube and then jumped in. The first one I hated and now I don’t know why. Meet Red.

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He is chilling in front of the computer and later on I caught him swinging from the beams.

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He also managed to teach his little friend Ginger bad habits, transforming him from a perfectly well behaved little chap into a bad mimic.

 

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At least he looks scared.

Henry got the hump because he couldn’t join in.

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However when he tried he nearly frightened himself to death.

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In case you hadn’t gathered I was experimenting with different types of eye. I liked the googly eyes best but they don’t work unless you are prepared to make buttonholes through which to insert them. In the end I decided the felt were the simplest and most effective. Red was the first and Henry the last but I actually made a few more before I was satisfied.

Meet the gang.

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I also found that the traditional way of doing some of the stages, particularly the arms was not the best for me so I developed a different approach. Hopefully the kits  will give lots of people hours of fun. First I have to jump a few hoops with Trading Standards and the European Directive on Toy Safety or some such.

Watch this space. I might even share my journey into the fascinating world of the sock monkey and the tips for making life easier.

Watch this space.

 

Sunbonnet Sue, Ex-UFO

19 Jun

The two sunbonnet quilts are now finished.

They didn’t turn out too badly.

One top finished.

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Here it is on the frame ready to quilt.

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Close up of quilting.

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Quilting round figures.

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The two quilts finished and bound.

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Just the labels now. I have a few without labels so I will have to have a labelathon.

Details of pattern etc on my original blog.

 

If You Go Down In The Woods Today

14 Jun

I am back with further admiration for Sue Box Designs.

I refuse to go through the hassle of stitching badly digitised embroideries and so I tend to stay with the designers I know never come into this category and she never seems to sell a bad design.

I bought some of her Timeless Teddy designs when there was a not to be missed deal on some months ago.  When I was looking to make a baby quilt they were the obvious ones to use.

I had never made a triple Irish Chain design quilt so I thought I would have a go. Unfortunately my first attempt ended up with a rather long, thin quilt but I solved this problem by making it into two square quilts, eminently suitable for protecting both floor and baby. I think floor quilts for babies are a very sensible idea. We never wear shoes in our house yet the carpets still need cleaning from time to time and as for houses with dogs, well what can I say?

Obviously serendipity.

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The thing that always strikes me with her designs is that the original artwork is superb. However, the detail in the artwork must make for a lot of work in the digitising.

If you want to try out her designs there are lots of free ones on this link.   If  you want to try out a particular collection before buying each collection has a free sample.  The one for the teddies is the last one I posted above.

If you fancy making a triple irish chain google it. There are lots out there but this one is easy to understand.

 

 

Sunbonnet Sue Strikes Again.

7 Jun

For someone who purports not to like Sunbonnet Sue I am again showing signs of inadvertent addiction. I once made two bags using free Sue and Sam patterns from The Quiltery. Later I joined their pattern club when it was a very reasonable price and two of the downloads were the same Sue and Sam but more of them. (see this link).

So far I have appliqued ten blocks to make two quilts. They are fun and easy to do and I think they turned out well.

See what you think.

DSCN3136 DSCN3137 DSCN3138 DSCN3139 DSCN3140 DSCN3141 DSCN3142 DSCN3143 DSCN3144 DSCN3145Now I just need to work out what to do about their faces. The sideways ones are fine but I think too many blank stares could cause nightmares amongst the young.

Anyway I am working on the rest of the top in my dungeon so pop back another day if you would like to see the results. I’m on a roll so it shouldn’t take too long. After all housework is not good for the soul, only the conscience.

I used the fabric I dyed myself and put into a blog last year.   I find it much easier to get variations whilst tying colours together using a fabric with lots of shades and patterns in different densities.

 

They also do matching embroideries. (see this link.)

Here is one I did earlier.

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Crazy Christmas Fairies

25 May

Having taken delivery of the Loralie Very Fairy Christmas fabric I just had to make something from it. This is what I came up with.

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I started with a square of batting and a panel from the Loralie Very Fairy Christmas panel.

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Cut strips of matching fabrics and stitch in a crazy patch.

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That gives you this.

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This is what the back looks like.

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I could have stitched through a backing layer as well if I had wanted the quilting to show on the finished back. However, I cut squares to fit and pinned them on the back.

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To join the blocks together I used quilt as you go (QAYG). I cut 1.25″ strips of sashing for the front and also to match the back. I stitched the sashing strip right sides together on the front.

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At the same time I stitched the strip to match the backing to the back.

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I then attached the next block right sides together on the front only.

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The back looks like this.

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Pin the strip over the seam folding in the seam allowance.

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This can be hand sewn or stitched with a straight, zigzag or fancy stitch either from the back or the front.

DSCN3126I also followed  the same process to attach the borders forming the thin strip between main section and border.

Binding consists of a 2.5″ strip folded in two and stitched either from back or front. I did it from the front.

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This was folded over and hand stitched to the back. It could have been stitched to the back, folded to the front and machine stitched.

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This won’t get the baby a new bonnet.

I am supposed to be tracing pattern pieces on Adobe Illustrator but unfortunately the ability to do that sort of thing left me along with the ability to understand the instructions for flat pack furniture in about 1985. Luckily I don’t like flat pack furniture but I do have to trace the patterns so I guess that needs to be the next project. Perhaps I should get a sandwich board and try a quid pro quo. With my luck I’d get a house full of furniture and still be without the tracings.

Ramblings apart. If you want to do crazy patch this should give you some idea. There are some more detailed blocks in the Tips and Tricks section – Crazy For Butterflies.