It’s Sew Christmas!

I can never decide if being too busy sewing to blog is a good or bad thing. I’ve most certainly been too busy sewing to Flickr. Sewing… Ok, and holidays in Mallorca (wonderful), Shingles (not wonderful), only son turning 4 (pretty darn cool) and a piratey 4th Birthday party (too wonderful and joyous for words). And sewing and sewing and sewing…

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This is a first Christmas stocking for a sweet little baby boy called Matthew, who is the grandchild of a lovely neighbour of mine. It’s her first grandchild and she’s quite rightly smitten; and asked for a Christmas stocking after seeing my flickr stream. I really enjoy the embellishing of a Christmas stocking, once I get over the hump of “it’ll take ages” – and it never does take as long as you’d think! Mostly because it’s mainly handsewing, which is a lovely relaxing thing to do, and I do it in front of the TV or whilst listening to an audiobook (I’ve discovered the joys of Audible!)

The exterior and lining fabrics are 100% cotton, and it’s interlined with “Warm & Natural” cotton batting, which gives it some nice structure without being stiff. I drafted my own template mainly because I like quite a big stocking – nothing worse than those skinny little things. Actually, his parents might not thank me for that; there is equally nothing worse than a half-filled stocking πŸ˜‰

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I freehand cut felt into shapes after a quick back-of-an-envelope sketch of a design on paper first. I would find these things much harder to do if I had to use a lot of templates and be too fussy about it all. I’m much more of a go with the flow kind of girl. Keeping shapes simple is the key for me! And felt is very forgiving. I have done a stocking using a picture from Tilda’s “Crafting Christmas Gifts” and fabric – using wonderunder and then handsewing all the layers down. To be honest although I loved the results, I didn’t really enjoy the process – too restrained – using someone else’s ideas, and too much faffing around with an iron. It is lovely though!

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Anyway, stocking sewn, felt cut, I settled down in front of cosy crime on the iplayer and sewed them on with a whipstitch. I should probably use blanket stitch for stength, but a whipstitch seems to do the job from past projects and is quicker and more fun for me. I did blanket stitch the lettering, as that would be harder to repair in the future if needed.

My absolutely favourite bit was getting out the perle 8 cotton and doing some simple running stitch embroidery. I was deeply inspired by an amazingly creative and lovely girl I met who runs “Avery Homestore” in Edinburgh, and has the most inspiring blog (http://www.mybearpaw.com) who likes to hand quilt with perle 8s, and inspired me to buy some, a long time ago – finally I decided to give them a go, and I’m glad I did! I loved working with them – they give texture and an almost shimmery look to the stocking, which I hadn’t expected, and were surprisingly easy to work with.

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So there you have it, one Christmas stocking for Matthew. I really love it and one day will work out how to make photos look as nice as the real thing – the only thing I don’t like about it is that the name “Matthew” is firmly stitched on there and not the name of my own boy. I think he might notice if I suddenly called him something else too πŸ˜‰

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Well, more sewing to be done, including more Christmas stockings – expect many more blog posts in the future!

Hope you are all enjoying a lovely bright Autumn, and getting excited about Christmas too! I dread the end of summer every year, and yet the colours of Autumn and magic of Christmas is always so inspiring and exciting every year. Now January may see me turning to drink…!

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

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Marmalade quilty love, teeny cars and more pink tweed

The sun is still shining here in Scotland (Yay!!!) so I took the opportunity to photograph this little quilt made with Marmalade fabrics from Bonnie and Camille for Moda. It measures 31.5” x 36”, 100% cotton.

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I was really excited to see a collection in flannels, so bought them for this quilt, making it gorgeously cosy and soft. I think it is a beautiful quilt and exactly what I would choose if I had a girl – definitely my taste!

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I stipple quilted it, backing it in this Ikea cotton print called Rosalie based on a Cath Kidston design. The design is a little “pixelated”, but really it doesn’t seem to matter once it’s all sewed up, and makes a lovely quilt backing.Β 

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My only minor regret with this quilt is that I hadn’t realised only some of the designs were in flannel, and so I didn’t receive many of the beautiful prints I really like, like this one:

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So I did buy some of this print and make it into a washbag, which is very pretty, and may be on the “for sale” page soon! I keep wondering whether to go the whole hog and reinvest in the whole marmalade cotton collection just to satisfy my love for it, but I haven’t got a daughter – and even this quilt has not got a home to go to yet. I might put it for sale too.Β  And I still have enough of the flannel for a 45” x 45” toddler quilt (bigger if I use a border), so I can’t really justify it 😦 I think my affair with Marmalade may be over…

… particularly as I am falling in love with (and trying hard to resist) this latest collection again by Bonnie and Camille called Happy Go Lucky:

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… But I am seriously trying to resist because I have already spent many impatient months waiting for the release of this collection called “High Street” by Lily Ashbury for Moda:

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You can’t see much of the fabrics here, but trust me, the designs are too beautiful, with just a hint of ethnicity and yet such modern bright girlish colours! I have NO BUSINESS getting this, as I am not going to get a daughter, and all the babies coming are boys, but I so badly want to sew up this collection that I have promised myself I can get it. If I make some sewing money. And when it is released. Which is August in the U.S. and probably ages for the UK 😦

Instead I am busying myself with wee projects like this little washbag I made for baby Hamish – I know I made him bunting, but this print was too cute – check those teeny tiny cars! You’d think a child doesn’t need a washbag, until you think about cotton wool, wipes, cream, bath wash and later on toothbrush, their own toothpaste – they are more high maintenance than me!

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…and despite my dislike of making the same thing over and over,Β  I was persuaded to make another bag using those pink and aqua fabrics, but this time a bit smaller 10.5” wide x 3” deep x 8” tall in middle – and with the fabrics reversed – pink on top. I actually like it much better this way – like the size and love the pink tweed. It was given to me years ago as a present, so when it’s gone it’s gone – I should remember that and enjoy using it now! The felt flower is a brooch, so is removable. I probably would remove it if it was for myself, but a lot of folk seem to like it.

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And purse feet! Well, they are my new favourite thing πŸ™‚ I know, I need to get out more…

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So I should get going. I have heaps of stuff still to sew up instead of sitting procrastinating at my computer! Such as: A huge beanbag (pattern review to follow) almost finished for my friend’s husband. More travel chalkboards. A quilt for my goddaughter to be. Some Happy Birthday bunting for same precious girl (almost done!). A wholecloth quilt for a neighbour’s daughter. A christmas stocking for a neighbour’s new grandson. Some baby quilts for a few babies – including my new nephew who’s on his way in a few months, I can’t wait! Some washbag commissions. That’s a sneak preview of the next few blog page!! And at some stage I’ll be listing a few things on my new “For Sale” page… hopefully…

Hope you are enjoying the sun wherever you are,

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

ps you can email me at poppy@cuckooblue.co.uk

or visit my flickrstream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/

All manner of bits and bobs

I haven’t been working on anything too big since my friend’s two bags, which I gave her today – It’s so lovely to see her reaction, she was so thrilled! Particularly with her bag, she loved the size, pockets, shape, purse feet and particularly the fabric – and I gave her a few wee accesories to go with it, which was a nice surprise for her. She really is a darling, it’s hard not to give her more, she’s so appreciative!

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And the accessories – I actually stole the bigger flat zip bag on the left to keep all Kiddo’s wee toys and things for my bag…

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Drawstring bags by the way! They are the business, it’s the cord and toggle that did it for me. I love this one and was tempted to steal it too, but my superego won in the end and did the right thing. My friend was pleased with it, so I guess it was the right thing to do!

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Meanwhile I got some thick insulating batting from my local fabric shop at a good price – like a loon on ecstasy I couldn’t resist it, even though I had no idea what I’d do with it. It is thicker than insulbrite wadding which I’ve used for insulated lunch bags, but it would make rather bulky lunch bags. But tea cosies on the other hand… they are supposed to be thick and, well, cosy. And I had the perfect fabric:

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Then I realised that I never use a tea cosy, and hardly even this tea pot. So it is going to be a present to my friend Caroline, who has an amazing farmhouse cottage in the middle of gorgeous countryside with the most stunning views of the sea… and who insists on using a tea cosy every time – how aspirational is that?! And I seem to remember she has china mugs with exactly this pattern on it. I may become number one friend πŸ˜‰ She is making me Godmother to her beautiful daughter in August; she gives me a daughter and I give her a teacosy. Not an equal exchange but she will have warm tea.

Next up is a commission from a girl in our village, who bought a travel chalkboard for her little son at the craft fair and got in touch asking for one for a gift. This is for a litttle boy too, so I used some Thomas the Tank Engine fabric I had – it’s a fact that all little boys love Thomas!

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These are great and with ours I roll up some paper and sheets of stickers, and put chalks and coloured pencils in the pouch, so it’s a lightweight but sturdy complete art pack on the go.

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I used a zipper pouch rather than velcro spots as the child is still quite young, and I worried in case the spots came off despite the most superduper glue ever. I think it’s an improvement – and then the hubby said ” I don’t know why you don’t make the pouch as tall as the board, then it will fit full size pencils in too”. Doh! Of course. It is a bit more fabric, but I think it’ll be worth it – I’ll try it next time.

And finally…

My lovely neighbour has had a new grandson. She is a huge fan of handmade, and bought several things from me for him whilst he was still snuggled in his mummy’s tummy, including these two quilts (both detailed in my Flickr stream)

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So I thought I’d make the baby a wee present, this time of some bunting, for his room, maybe on the wall above his cot or above his door:

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Hamish! Isn’t it a sweet name? I can’t wait to meet him πŸ™‚

Well I think I should get some sleep now – we are having the best summer I have ever seen in Scotland – Kiddo and I even paddled through the sea yeasterday and the water was warm! Actually WARM! But all this summer makes you get out and do things all day, and frankly I’m pooped. I tell you, we wouldn’t be a naation of couch potatoes eating deep fried mars bars and goodnaturedly grumping at our lot if summers were like this more often – the country has been transformed! We have builders working in our garden just now who didn’t touch the chocolate biscuits I gave them with their coffee but ate all the fruit! What the??!

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Till next time,

Poppy xx

ps you can email me at poppy@cuckooblue.co.uk

or visit my flickrstream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/