‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the flat
Not a creature was stirring, not even a cat
‘It’s so disconcerting’, Lynne Pussycat said
‘They’re being so quiet it fills me with dread…’
‘You’re awfully suspicious!’ said RR to Cat
‘They’re being angelic, let’s leave it at that!’
And so off to bed went the whole family
And left out for Santa a large G&T
A carrot for Rudolph, a plate of mince pies
‘Cos from the North Pole it’s a long way to fly!
But then at some godawful hour in the morn
(Don’t know when exactly, but way before dawn…)
A tremendous commotion broke out in the flat
‘Oh, what the heck’s happened? And where are the cats?’
RR ventured forth, to have a look-see
And discovered the kitties had toppled the tree
Had trashed all the presents and munched the mince pies
And sent Santa’s G&T soaring sky-high
Till it fell to the floor in a broken-glass puddle
Those dastardly cats, what a horrible muddle!
They were charging around as if they were possessed
Leaving in their wake such a terrible mess…
And so Christmas morning, at quarter past three
Was spent re-erecting the darned Christmas tree
Re-wrapping the presents, and calming the cats
Restoring tranquility throughout the flat
And two hours later, both tucked up in bed
Lynne Pusscat and Richard lay down weary heads
And said as they snoozed off and turned out the light
‘Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!’
Well, there seems to have been a bit of radio silence chez LPC recently. And for a very good reason! Not only have I been travelling – visiting Mum, weekend in Bath, day trip to Lyon – I’ve also been sewing away like a crazy woman.
Mais pourquoi I hear you cry! Well, a local group I belong to – the International Women’s Club of Lausanne – is holding a Holiday Gift Fair in early December. And I’ve decided to take a table to try and sell my wares.
This is a bit of a departure for me, as, until now, I’ve never seriously considered selling what I create. Most of it is made for the sheer pleasure of creating something beautiful, and ends up as gifts for people close to me. What’s more, I’ve never actually been convinced that anything I make is good enough to sell. But a couple of things have recently helped changed my mind.
First off, I successfully completed my Fabric Fast earlier this year, during which I committed to not buying any new fabric for 6 whole months. And so, from January to June, everything I made came my stash. This not only made me feel Deeply Virtuous, it also made me really take stock of the yards and yards of beautiful fabric I already have and which I’ve been hoarding for Some Special Project Or Other. But I’ve come to realise that such a Special Project may never materialise. Or, if it does, I’m much more likely to buy something yummy and new. And this is because of another revelation from my Fabric Fast – over the years my tastes have evolved. Fabric that I bought, say, 5 years ago, whilst still very beautiful, just doesn’t inspire me like it used to. It’s just sitting forlornly in my cupboard, waiting to be used. And that makes me a little sad. Fabric should be enjoyed, not hidden away in a cupboard!
And so I resolved to use up some of these former favourites to make beautiful and useful items – not just quilts, but things like various-sized fabric baskets, tissue holders, bookmarks, bags – and whatever else I can think of! And seeing as I can only use so many of these, and only have so many friends that would appreciate them as a gift, the logical conclusion is that I should try to sell them, so that they can be used and enjoyed as the fabric gods intended.
Secondly, I recently attended Patchwork in the Peaks – a twice yearly quilt retreat, held by the lovely Ms E in the glorious French Alps. And when I was there, I made a new friend, Ms S. Now Ms S, like me, loves modern quilting fabric, and was, like me, hugely frustrated by the lack of said modern quilting fabric available in the local area. And so she opened an Etsy store to sell fabric that she loves (she currently has some beautiful Jeni Baker Art Gallery fabric for sale…) One of the evenings we got chatting about fabric in general, and fabrics we’ve grown out of in particular, and she suggested I look into selling off some of my stash on Etsy, which, she assured me, is nowhere near as complicated or expensive as I’d previously assumed. And so a seed was planted…
Finally, I heard about the Holiday Gift Fair, and it occurred to me that this would be the ideal opportunity to maybe try and sell some of my creations, and then, if it goes well, possibly open up a little Etsy store myself as well.
And so I’ve been creating… And here is a little snapshot of some of my Works in Progress.
Noodlehead Divided Baskets
Pocket Tissue Holders
Reversible Twisted Fabric Baskets
And last, but by no means least, Kitty Cat Tissue Box Holders, just like this little guy – but in waaaay cooler fabrics 🙂
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday...
This Christmas, RR decided he needed a new iPad. One of those new, shiny iPad Airs. To be fair, his old iPad was past its best. It was 4 years old and getting very creaky, creaky as in every time you turned it sideways it crashed. And it couldn’t run the latest version of the Apple software. And anyway, he just wanted one. So that was settled.
Of course we had to go to buy the iPad together, otherwise I would surely have bought the wrong thing – not enough GB or too many or the wrong colour or whatever. I also wanted to buy it before we went to New York so I didn’t have to stress about present-shopping once we got back. And so it came to pass that for a month before Christmas, a shiny new iPad was sitting in my cupboard, waiting to be unwrapped by my hunnybunny on the Big Day…
Now, I’ve been wanting to make a present for my lovely RR for ages, but he’s not really a quilt kind of chap. He appreciates their beauty and all the work that goes into them, he loves having them on the bed, and is wonderful at helping pick out the fabric and working on layouts. He just doesn’t like to snuggle up underneath them in front of the tv like I do. So what to make? Well, every time I opened my cupboard, I saw his iPad staring back at me. And, I figured, who could possibly resist a hand-made iPad cover to protect their shiny new toy? Especially if I made it Really Cool and Not At All Girly. And how more cool and ungirly could it get than a Darth Vader themed case??!
So, after searching online, I found this amazing Darth Vader fabric at Spoonflower…
And I combined them with an iPad cover tutorial which I adapted from the latest PatCHquilt newsletter
To create this…
For the front I used lots of little scraps from my scrap bin in various shades of grey and black, and bordered it with a skinny piece of appropriately Sith-red fabric. The zipper had, of course, to be black 🙂 I added fusible fleece to both the outside and inside of the case to give the iPad more padding and protection.
To finish it off, I quilted Lord Vader in the ditch between all the twiddly little pieces, to give his mask definition, then I stitched some straight lines on the background, spaced about 1/2″ apart. The back and the inside of the case were quilted with wavy lines between the columns of Vader heads. I finished it off with a black Lego brick keychain on the zip, a little extra for my favourite Lego fan…
It was great fun to make, and what do you know? Although he loves the iPad, the case was actually his favourite present!
Success all round, methinks 🙂
For the past few years I’ve been promising to make a special Christmas quilt for our bed. And the past few Christmasses have rolled round with no special quilt to be seen. Every year I truly believe that this will be the year that I finally do it. And every year it doesn’t happen. I could never find the right fabric or the right pattern, and anyway, life always just seemed to get in the way. Well, until now, that is!
For this year, in the space of just one week (the week before Christmas, to be precise!), I pieced and quilted this beautiful festive quilt, which has, since Christmas Eve, been gracing our bed (shown here, being modelled by Chief Quilt Tester No. 1 – Mr. Boy, before it even made it to the bedroom…)
Impressed? I certainly am!
I’d been planning the quilt for a while. Back in the summer, I’d received ‘In from the Cold’ by Kate Spain as part of my monthly Jelly Roll club, and I immediately knew I wanted to use it to make my Christmas quilt! I loved the fresh colours and the cute prints, and decided that it would work perfectly with a pattern I’d had my eye on for a while – the Square in a Square quilt, from the Missouri Star Quilt Co. So I duly bought a matching charm pack, set aside some Moda Bella White from my stash, and put the lot in a drawer – after all, Christmas was ages away! Every so often I’d open the drawer, think about the quilt, and decide I still had plenty of time.
Fast forward to the weekend of 14th December. We’re back from NY. Cases are unpacked. All purchases have been put away. Washing machine and tumble drier on at full tilt. And thoughts start to turn to Christmas. And to the as-yet unstarted Christmas quilt. Ok, so a quilt for our king-size bed was looking to be a somewhat ambitious proposition, but I was sure a smaller quilt was feasible in the time available. So I decided to set to work.
By the Monday afternoon, when I rolled up to my quilt guild meeting, I had 42 partially completed blocks. The white 1 1/2″ sashing strips had been sewn around the charm squares and I busied myself with squaring up the blocks and cutting the strips required from my jelly roll whilst chatting away and catching up on all the news.
As usual, talk turned to what we were all working on, and when I said I was working on a Christmas quilt, a ripple of barely contained mirth spread through the room. The initial reaction was one of disbelief – nobody believed I could possibly finish the quilt before Christmas. A not entirely unfounded doubt, I have to admit! But being as stubborn as a donkey, I was determined to prove people wrong – and not only that, to make the quilt bed-sized if possible, just to prove to myself that I could do it.
So back home, work continued apace. To make it bed-sized, I would need to use a 7 x 6 block layout, with a 6 1/2″ border. I not only had no border fabric, but I also realised the inherent problem in using a jelly roll and a charm pack to create blocks is that there are 42 squares in a charm pack and 40 strips in a jelly roll. Which meant I was 2 strips short. Not to mention the border fabric I needed too…
A swift visit to the Fat Quarter Shop was very much in order! And 2 days later, after an enforced delay where no sewing was possible due to lack of fabric, a small package was handed over by my friendly UPS delivery man (God bless you, UPS!) – upon which sewing immediately recommenced!
So the weekend before Christmas was spent basting and marking the quilt top, before quilting the whole thing. Fortunately the 2 day sewing hiatus had been usefully spent deciding on a quilting design, which speeded the process up no end! I plumped for an idea from Angela Walters’ excellent book Free Motion Quilting. I stitched a poinsettia-like flower bang in the middle of the quilt top, and then quilted wavy lines radiating out from this, like sunrays. Simple, yet effective.
Close-up of poinsettia motif in centre of quilt
Radiating random wavy lines quilting seen on the back of the quilt
Quilting close-up on quilt top
I finished stitching the binding on Christmas Eve…
And so, without further ado, here is the finished quilt in all her splendour, and adorning our bed in time for Christmas (just!)
So, to summarise:
Quilt dimensions: 83 1/2″ x 92 1/2″ (213cm x 235cm)
Fabric – In from the Cold by Kate Spain, Moda Bella white.
Backing – Jubilee Grey Medallion Check by Bunny Hill for Moda – from my stash
Binding – some random mottled red fabric from my stash
Batting – Quilter’s Dream Cotton Select, bought from my lovely friend Elita at Busy Needle Quilting)
Thread – Aurifil 50 wt in 2280 (also courtesy of Elita)
I have to say I love the quilt, and I relished the challenge of making it in such a short time, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again in a hurry.
Some nice leisurely mindless piecing is in order now, I feel! Watch this space…