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...
In 2 weeks time, it’s Mum’s birthday. And I am making her a quilt. A long-awaited quilt, I might add. And it looks like this…
Now, Mum really wants a quilt. She started dropping subtle hints about 4 years ago, then over time the hints became increasingly pointed, until finally she got Mad Aunty Jean to call and casually mention Just How Much Mum Would Love A Quilt Made By Me.
But for one reason or another, I just kept on putting it off. I made her a lap quilt to use in her conservatory on chilly winter mornings, and she was over the moon with it. But I know that what she really, really wants is a bed quilt. And that project has been in the pipeline for quite some time…
Mum knows that a quilt will appear at some point. I think she’s secretly hoping it’ll be ready in time for Christmas (she thinks I’m making her a new knitting bag and knitting needle holder for her birthday). But as I shall be going back to the UK to see her for her birthday, I thought it would be a lovely surprise if I could finish it off and take it with me.
Nothing like piling the pressure on myself, eh?!
I kind of started work on it over the summer (well, I got as far as cutting the fabric out), but it wasn’t until quite recently that I actually started sewing. This involved piecing 42 blocks and 3 borders. Phew!
22 of these blocks in pink and red, and 6 in cream and red…
… and 14 blocks like this
Over the past few weeks I’ve been working flat out to try and get it finished, and – finally – I’m nearly there. The top is pieced, quilting designs have been marked, and it’s all ready to be basted and quilted. Now all I have to do is get my backside in gear and get started…
I think I’ll be right up to the wire with this one, so wish me luck!
Linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.
Last weekend RR and I were invited to celebrate the first birthday of a very special little lady. Miss S, who is known to all as Munchkin, is a lovely little thing, and I wanted to give her a very special present. Well, actually, being me, I wanted to make her something very special! Quite apart from being lots of fun to make, I think that handmade gifts are also a lovely way to give a very thoughtful and personal present.
But what to make? Munchkin is already the proud owner of at least 2 quilts, and her mum, Ms Nexttonicx, is a wonderfully talented dressmaker, crocheter and knitter (amongst her many other skills). I knew I wanted to sew something, so that was a good starting point, but what could I sew? That was the question…
Then, a few weeks ago, Ms Mudpiesandpins introduced (via Instagram) the enchanting Saoirse Bear, a precious little lady she had made from Liberty fabric using English Paper Piecing (yes, I am totally in awe!) This got me thinking about the soft toy patterns that I see each month in my Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine. I was pretty sure that I had seen a bear pattern at some point, so I flicked through all my old copies until I found it. It looked super-cute, and, what’s more, the pattern was billed as “simple-to-sew”. Total result!
And thus, dear reader, Tinky the Bear was born…
Tinky was my first attempt at the pattern, and I was pretty pleased with the end result, but simple-to-sew she was not. She’s actually quite a little bear, and I really don’t do well with small, fiddly things due to my crappy hands. Suffice to say, all those teeny tiny pieces had me all of a kerfuffle, and she came out looking more like some weird alien hybrid of Tigger and a monkey (hence Tinky) than she did a bear suitable for a first birthday present.
Okay then, the actual pattern was great, and I loved the resulting (slightly odd-looking) bear. The real problem lay in her small-ness. So why not just enlarge the pattern pieces?
So I did. And made it half as big again. Proper bear sized 🙂
Knowing Munchkin’s mummy loves all things Liberty, I picked out a fat quarter of beautiful Liberty lawn from my stash, which I had been saving for something special. The newly enlarged pattern used up all but a few tiny slivers of my fabric, so I crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t mess it up, and set to work.
All cut out and ready to sew…
… with a very economical use of one fat quarter 🙂
And thus Libby the Liberty Bear came into existence.
Libby, sunning herself on our balcony
Libby and Tinky take in the view
Chilling out in front of the tv
Having a nice cup of tea…
I have to confess here that hand embroidery is not my strong point. Bear faces are difficult to embroider! I’m still not entirely convinced that she looks “all there”. In fact, the words “deranged” and “slightly psychotic” may have been bandied around (thanks, RR…) Nonetheless, I think she looks friendly, so I wrote a little note, tied it around her neck with a ribbon, and wrapped her up for the birthday girl.
Deranged? Maybe. Friendly? Certainly!
I so enjoyed making Libby and Tinky, that I’m now on my way to making a third bear, and I’ve been thinking about making more soft toys in the future. I have a sneaking suspicion that this could become a little bit of an obsession if I’m not careful…
Well, now that Libby has gone to a new home, I wouldn’t want Tinky to get lonely, would I???
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.
Well, it’s finally September and I made it through another summer. Summer in Switzerland is usually very hot and humid, but this year everything seems to have been somewhat topsy-turvy. Instead of sticky, icky and muggy, it’s been grey, cold and rainy, much more England-like than Switzerland-like. As I don’t cope at all well with the heat, this has been wonderful, but it has to be admitted that my poor sun-worshipping friends have all been rather down in the dumps these past few months.
So what have I been up to over this unexpectedly English summer? Well, loads actually, including a visit from my beautiful niece Miss B, a long weekend in Berlin, a trip home to see Mum and to take in all four days of the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham, and a wonderful stay-cation with our friends Mr and Mrs S and their kids, who flew in from New York to spend their summer holidays en Suisse. Phew! Suffice to say, it’s been busy!
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been sewing. Oh no, indeedy! But what’s a girl to do when only snatched moments of sewing opportunity present themselves?
That’s right – grab each and every one of them! Especially when it’s cold and rainy outside 🙂
This summer I seem to have mainly been making a ton of blocks to try and get up to date with my Blocks of the Month. And I’ve found that when I’m time-limited, individual blocks to make up sampler-style quilts are a great thing to sew. It seems like it’s achievable to make just one block if you haven’t much time, and it’s also intensely gratifying to create something pretty so quickly. Even more so when it’s all done from your stash (get me!)
And here are my Blocks of the Month:
Sugar Block Club 2014 – Using the Taxi range by Alice Kennedy
Blocks of the Month from Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine – Using a FQ bundle of Bungalow by Joel Dewberry
Ok, so I didn’t make ALL of these blocks over the summer, but I did make most of them, and I have to say I’m loving the way they’re coming together.
So now September’s here, and there’s a distinct autumnal nip in the air of a morning. Things are finally quietening down, and hopefully I’ll be able to get back into my usual routine after this past few months of craziness. Which will definitely mean more sewing. Lots of it. And hopefully more time for blogging too…
So watch this space!
Linking up for the first time in ages with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.