It was a while ago now, but remember when I told you about my little hand-sewing quilting bee? I haven’t blogged about it since because we left a few months between each ‘assignment’ to give us lots of time to finish them. Also, I waited to show you these first finished bee blocks until my turn was almost up too – a little blog-continuity and whatnot.
So these were my blocks for Karen, aren’t they the cutest?! So so so sweet. (There’s close-ups of each block on Flickr.) And I totally learned something about English Paper Piecing that I’d never realized – that you could just cut up a piece of paper into any shapes you like and, voila!, you have the templates for paper piecing right there. How did I never get this before? It seems so obvious now, I hate to even admit I didn’t get it – I just always thought of paper piecing in terms of those most-used shapes: hexagons, diamonds, etc. I was so excited by this and now I’ve even started a little just-for-fun mini-project of my own with the same process. (More on that soon.)
Karen had us each make three tiny blocks, all paper pieced stars, and initial the corner of each of our blocks. So itty-bitty! Of course when we got to the pub and gave our finished blocks to Karen, we couldn’t help but lay them all out together and see what it will look like finished:
Lookit how charming it’s going to be! Those blocks are all with Karen now to be turned into her mini-quilt. Of course I’ll share it when it’s finished – either with my own photo or pointing you to her blog when she posts it herself – but in the meantime, my hand-sewing friends have been working on blocks for me and I’ll show you more about that tomorrow!
Last August, myself and two friends went to the Festival of Quilts together, thinking we’d see the pretty things and buy the pretty fabric and just generally have a nice day together. Of course we did all that, but I think we all left much more inspired and encouraged than we’d expected to be – full of ideas and plans.
One of the things we actually talked about on that day was forming a little quilting bee group together. I’d watched some of the groups online turn the traditional bee idea into a new modern form of working together on one project, and the idea suited us three very well.
It took some time to start up, with Christmas and deadlines and of course other projects always in the way, but after the holiday crafting was finally finished, we got it started! All three of us are especially fond of hand-sewing, so we’ve ended up being a little group dedicated to making quilts by hand. And our bee goes like this: we each get to make a mini-quilt to hang on our wall, with each of us contributing a third of the blocks to each and two months each to do it in.
The lovely Karen from Henry’s Shed was first, and she’s picked some charming florals and a sampler of English Paper Pieced stars for us each to make. There are 9 different blocks in total; I’ve finished one of my three so far. (And I added thread and little embroidery scissors in to the photo for scale, you have to understand how tiny and adorable these blocks are!)
We have a few more weeks to make Karen’s and then it will be my turn to make up kits for each of them to contribute to my mini-quilt! It’ll still be months before it’s finished, but I’m still so excited! I’ve decided on a freezer paper applique design, and I love so much that we are all three confident enough in our hand-stitching skills to feel free to try techniques new to all of us – and know that they will all come out beautifully.
I do have other slow crafts in progress, but the ones I’ve talked about this week are what I’m currently engaged with. Because they are so slow, progress is also slow to see and I don’t post about them often. I will try to do so more frequently from now on so you can see them (slowly) grow. Thanks for sharing your slow crafts with me this week too, I’ve so enjoyed hearing about them!
Second redecorating project done! These throw pillow covers will replace the ones I have now – or not replace so much as be a second set so I can limit the damage to the pretty satin ones on my bed now that are starting to look a bit worn. These fabrics all came from the M is for Make sale section and happened to look lovely together and match my bedroom color scheme perfectly. Totally not planned, but nice timing. I raided my stash for the backs.
Sorry not to have better than Instagram photos to share (by the way, are you an Instagram user? Come find me over there as ‘gotthebutton’!) but I finished these at 2am last night and the weather today hasn’t been great for photos. I mean, lookit!
It doesn’t make for great photo lighting, but goodness, how I love the snow so much. Sigh. In the meantime, all the painting is now done, my new bed is together and in place (there’s more progress Instagram photos in my Flickr photostream if you’d like to see some peeks as I go), and I love how it’s coming together! Now it’s mostly about putting it all back in place, hanging things back on the wall, that sort of thing. But that’s enough for today – I am totally exhausted and ready for a quiet night watching the snow fall.
One last little bit of Christmas 2012 showing off, I couldn’t leave this stuff out! My awesomest-in-the-whole-world knitting group did a Secret Santa swap this year, exchanging gifts at our now annual Christmas dinner and it was so lovely, it just made me love our group even more. I know some of you are out there in internet-land, so pardon me for being squishy for a second, but every last gift was so lovely, so thoughtful that it really made my heart feel enormous. It was the proper true spirit of Christmas.
Ahem. (Little tear in my eye.)
Seriously, it was the best. I Secret Santa-ed the amazingly talented and adorable and so sweet Suzy, of Suzy Sewing. Suzy’s gradually working on developing her own line of patterns, which will be under the name Suzy Patterns. (They’re going to be amazing, just you wait and see.) So even though she’s not ready for a launch or anything yet, I wanted to make something for her sewing room, something special that made it really hers.
So I embroidered her logo! Embellished with a little sprig of vintage flowers, just because it was cute.
And I framed it in a hoop (no photo of that, sadly, because I had to pack it up the second the glue was dry!) and used my pal Carina’s excellent embroidery hoop framing tutorial to learn how. Highly recommended! I wasn’t convinced I could get that lettering as neat as a logo should be, so I also got her a coffee mug for her studio and made a little coaster to go with it:
My Santa was my very good friend Christa (who doesn’t have a blog but really should, doncha think?!) and she spoiled me rotten! Lookit!
My new tiny bunny friend is called Dorothy and was handmade by Christa from a vintage pattern with vintage fabric, with tiny Liberty fabric details. Isn’t she lovely?! And not just any Liberty fabric, but a print I’d admired in a quilt at the Festival of Quilts last summer, which Christa hunted down for me and then treated me to a piece of in my Secret Santa package …
… as well as a couple of others that I’d admired on a recent shopping trip. That one (at the back of the pile) will be used right away in project for the bedroom redecoration I’m working on and will blog about soon; the two fabrics at the front really need to be used together, don’t you think? But I can’t decide for what yet. It can’t just be any old thing. And excuse the bunny bum in this photo, you just had to see Dorothy’s adorable tail. (Also, it reminds me of how a guy-friend in high school used to call me ‘bunny bottoms’ as a term of endearment, which I still think is so sweet.)
And lastly, I did a Christmas swap with my penpal from the Netherlands, who I met on Ravelry during the 2012 Tour de Fleece. (Hi, Mirjam!) She sent me the most exciting TWO packages for Christmas, full to the brim of Dutch treats I missed – kruidnoten and a chocolate J and stroopwafels and hagelslag and everything I ever said I liked …
… as well as lovely baking kits and some beautiful spinning fiber and ornaments and … seriously, talk about being spoiled, it was insane! I grabbed that quick Instagram photo before I just dug right in.
I sent Mirjam a slightly less extravagant package, but I did make her a little handmade gift for the studio space she will soon have in her new home:
I already forgot a bit now, but I think those pieces are 1″ square – maybe 1.5″, but pretty small. I used Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson’s Quick-Piece Tiny Squares method which is, as advertised, amazing for precise piecing of tiny pieces. I’m not sure it made it faster so much, for me anyway, but definitely neater. I used the fabrics I’ve been hoarding from the big V&A museum Quilts exhibition a few years ago, because I know my penpal loves textile history.
As always, more photos over on Flickr, and that’s about all for Christmas 2012, folks! It was a little insane, as always, and I’ve already decided I’m taking a year off from handmade Christmas (or at least handmade by me – there will almost definitely be handmade shopping though) for a year, just for a break from Christmas stress and to allow me to come up with some new ideas. But this year was a pretty good success, I’d say!
A pie-themed patchwork trivet for my pie-making father, packaged with other pie-related items …
Liberty fabric pillowcases, with tiny crocheted edging, for my mother …
… and I will be making a pair of these for myself for my upcoming bedroom redecoration as well. I also made her a bobbin lace butterfly …
… and framed it. Those of you following my bobbin lace progress might have wondered where that disappeared to, but it’s only ’cause I was keeping it on the down-low. I’ve got a (huge) new piece of lace started now, but I’ll hold off on sharing new stuff until I’ve finished catching you up on a few more things!
There’s a few more photos of these projects over in my Flickr stream if you’d like more detail!