Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Take 5


Only 1 more block made on Maria's quilt. I could really do with speeding up a little here. This one is another 'Flap' block...

With a little caterpillar, fat and juicy, for the bird in the last block to flutter along to and gulp down!

2) After last week's post on the CD holder, there were a couple of questions about how I go about printing on fabric. Some time last Summer I did a bit of experimenting on this, with mixed success. After reading lots of advice/tutorials across the web, the standard way seemed to be to iron freezer paper on to your piece of fabric and then just print as you would for normal paper, making sure your fabric/freezer paper was inserted correctly so it printed on the fabric side rather than the freezer paper side obviously. I'm not sure if I was doing anything wrong, but the printer just seemed to know something was a bit funny and chewed up most of my attempts. Earlier this year I tried again, but instead of using freezer paper I used bondaweb, took lots of care with the preparation and have had consistent success - the printer seems to be completely hoodwinked. Although thinking back I have a feeling it was a different printer in the Summer, so maybe my change from freezer paper to bondaweb had nothing to do with it, and it's just a friendlier, more helpful printer these days!

Anyway, when we were visiting family in London recently, I read a lovely poem - Desiderata, it was framed and up on a wall. You might be able to read this version...

Or if not, you can find it here on Wikipedia. A couple of lines in particular caught my eye - particularly after I'd so recently posted about trying to adjust to reading glasses, and the fact that this felt like a depressing sign of aging.

Take kindly the counsel of years,
Gracefully surrendering the things of youth,

These lines seemed very appropriate to me at the time. And although they don't completely dissolve my dislike of aging, I do definitely feel that I'm wiser, more mature and confident in myself, a more balanced person than when I was a spring chicken, so perhaps the need for reading glasses (as well as numerous other physical signs!) is a reasonable trade off for my accumulated wisdom and experience!

And, of course, when words in a poem 'speak' to me like this, my thoughts immediately turn to including them in a mini quilt. (I have had another mini quilt around the aging issue in my head for a while but that one is still at the brewing stage, so it may not appear till I've aged a little more.) 

Since I don't particularly want to sew all those words, some more printing was called for, so back to the very start again - here's my careful preparation of the bondaweb.

I cut a piece that's just slightly larger than A4, and iron it on to the fabric I want to use, hard to see in a photo, since they're both pretty much white!

Remember to iron it to the wrong side of the fabric.
Then, using a piece of A4 paper (I've used black here, to try and make it clearer), I trim my larger bondawebbed piece to the exact A4 shape, with ruler and rotary cutter. I find initially going slightly larger, and then trimming with the bondaweb in place, gives a crisper edge, and any fraying or softer edges seemed to give the printer the most headaches in the past.

Just trimming off the edges to get to A4 size.
So here is my piece of fabric, beautifully adhered to the bondaweb, and all set to go into the printer...

Make sure you know which way to feed it into your printer!
And here it is, fresh out of the printer and ready to become another mini quilt, when I get the chance!

But, beware - your ink may be different, but mine is not colour fast so I'd only do this for things I'm not planning on washing.

3) Fishy progress...

Some scraps of very plain fabric - from the linens I've used recently.

I liked using the edge scraps with the rows of holes which so often create an elegant border on vintage napkins.

And a bit of experimenting with different stitches on my machine...

Then on to some 'patchwork' fish...

I just sewed some strips of fabric in 'bulk' on to a thin backing fabric, before cutting out the various fish shapes and then sewing them down simply.

4) Did you watch the Sewing Bee earlier this year? It seems like ages ago already. My favourite challenge is always the alteration challenge, although I do prefer it when it's a reasonably every day type alteration, rather than some of the crazier ones they had this year - like wet suits! I've also seen quite a few amazing shirt refashions recently (several are collecting on my Pinterest 'Clothes Sewing' Board if you're interested), so when one of my favourite, local thrift shops had a half price sale on all clothing a couple of weeks ago, it seemed a good opportunity to grab a couple of shirts to play around with.

My first one has just eased me in gently. All I did was change some slightly ugly, beige coloured buttons for bright red ones..

I do half wish I'd gone for lots of different coloured, bright buttons now.

And give it a bit more shape in the middle...

My second shirt is still in progress, and I've got a far greater admiration now of how they manage their alterations within 90 minutes!

I went more radical with this one...

So far I've just added some pin tucks at the top.

When I get round to it, I'm planning on reattaching sleeves of some kind, possibly a different collar and possibly changing the bottom. But as well as the time, it's definitely harder than it looks generally. Have you ever been inspired by the Sewing Bee to go for your own alteration challenge? 

5) Spring is here!

 It still feels slightly dangerous to say that, but I really think it properly is now.

And, I know it's easy to say when we're enjoying gorgeous sunshine rather than Spring showers, but we're loving it this year!

Do you remember this seed spreader that I turned into a planter? It was lovely to see the daffodils come up and bloom.
For a few years now I've been very conscious that I love Summer so much that I don't really give the other seasons much of a chance. And it does worry me that I sort of spend half the year either mourning the recent loss of Summer, or just looking forward to the following Summer. Not fully appreciating the seasons and time in between. If I carry on this way then that's a large proportion of the rest of my life which I'm not really making the most of. So I've been trying very hard to enjoy the other seasons a bit more. The start of Autumn was OK (basically just denial that Summer was over!) but the second half of Autumn and definitely Winter were more of a struggle! However, I really feel that I am starting to properly appreciate Spring in its own right this year.

It definitely helps that we live in an area which is incredibly beautiful in Spring. There are just masses of primroses and daffodils and so many other flowers growing wild all over the place.

Everywhere is green, and there are gorgeous, cute lambs frolicking around fields wherever you look.

 And it's just so lovely to reverse the indoor/outdoor ratio again.

Even when we are indoors, there are constant reminders brought inside of all that life which is bursting out all around us again.

So happy Spring to you all! Just have to find a way of loving Autumn and Winter next!


  1. So much fun sewing going on. I've also been working on a printable fabric project. I agree that fungible web is the way to go. I had good luck with it. As for colorfastness, I found an etsy seller that has pretreated yardage for a reasonable price. I'm looking forward to working with it.

  2. I struggle with loving Winter the most. I guess it helps me really appreciate my hot tea. :) I love the fat, juicy caterpillar! The inspirational quote is quite powerful and I am looking forward to seeing how you work with it.

  3. Oh Spring :-) Yay for your arrival and all the colour and beauty you've brought.
    I love your clothing re-fashions - they are great - a lace peter pan collar on that shirt you've done the pintucks in would look so classically beautiful!
    Your pictures make me miss Devon.

  4. Yay for spring, it has arrived here too. So much crafty goodness happening in your world. I have to say your alterations on the shirts...amazing! And love that poem, thank you for sharing it. I have to agree that with age comes a certain acceptance of who we are, and a more balanced perspective.

    Enjoy that spring weather!

  5. Happy Spring to you too. I find I like all of the seasons in the sunshine- it's the rain that gets me wherever we are in the year! And thank you for the top tip for printing onto fabric, I shall have to give that a whirl!

  6. You know I love the Upcycling! And all of the patchwork goodness too!!!


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