In love with my machine

And I am! The new needleplate came superfast thanks to the lovely folks at http://www.uksewing.com/ who were just wonderful and coped admirably when I phoned up slightly hysterical – and it arrived the following day, hurrah! And it turns out, the whole episode was A Good Thing, as I now feel suitably chastised about not regularly cleaning out the machine now that it is supersmooth. And where is that ratatatatatat noise of it sewing? Gone. I had forgotten how quiet it is supposed to be! Ahem.

So I have been putting it to good use. First with the ill-fated quilt of my last post. It remained a bit ill-fated as I sewed a deep pucker into the back and couldn’t bring myself to unpick it after everything – I thought it would never get done! So I left it, beautifully scarred, but made with love. (and sanity). The back is completely plain, and with all our plain-backed quilts we never see or show the backs, so hopefully it won’t be too awful. The front looks good though, I think!

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This is the beautiful “Etchings” collection by 3 Sisters for Moda. I have used their fabrics a few times and am always struck by how unbelieveably soft they are – why aren’t all fabrics like that? More than any other Moda fabrics. And they are genuinely luminescent. With gorgeous classic designs.The biggest problem is they don’t show up as beautifully on photos as in real life.

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This is from a quilt I made with this same collection last year (https://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/7443697326/in/set-72157630302286578)  – just to show you that amongst all the muted classic colours and patterns there are street maps of Paris and blueprints of French buildings – quirky and sweet, but still grown up. I really like the collection 🙂

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We ran across the road to take this picture against the backdrop of the forest we live next to after I complained that the car isn’t very inspiring, snapped a couple of pictures and ran back as the baby monitor was out of range despite us being 10 metres in front of the house… So not a great picture of the quilt, despite the lovely setting sun, but those wildflowers make me happy! I can’t imagine what the neighbours thought we were doing. N said it felt like streaking. If only we were so adventurous!

Quilter’s dream cotton batting, pattern is the “double slice” free pattern by Missouri Quilt Co again (link to the tutorial/ pattern is in my previous blog post).

… And I made myself a bag for the holidays, a pretty one which still carries all that kid stuff! Hurray. I initially chose this wonderful home decor print by Valorie Wells called Finnelopy in Curry from her Novella collection:

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It’s so great and I was so sold on this as THE BAG for the holidays. Started making it. Was uncommonly pleased with how it was all going. Then, partway through, the husband wandered in, casually said he “wasn’t keen on the yellow” – “but it’s OK, it’s your bag, if you like it that’s what matters”. Hmpfff. 

So. Somehow I just lost 100% confidence in it, and changed my mind; chose instead a lovely print called songbird in powder blue by Little Yellow Bicycle for Blend fabrics and here’s my new bag for the holidays:

Sorry in advance about the rubbish photos, I was losing the light! This is the fabric as it actually is, the colour is almost accurate, so you might just have to use some imagination and “superimpose” this on my bag picture!

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It’s a pleated bag, measuring 15” at botton, 14” height and 4” depth, and I can confirm it’s the perfect toddler bag size! image

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The interfacing makes it soft but structured and will stand on its own. I actually really love it 🙂 So bring on the holidays!

I won’t be blogging for a couple of weeks as we will be enjoying the longawaited and most welcome sunshine with some time off, so meanwhile I’ll leave you with a picture of a finished lily stem – I did them with pipe cleaners and green florist tape. They look really lovely actually, and the flowers have been getting lots of compliments – another silver lining to the needleplate incident 😉 I will show you how I did them in another post as the internet was no help in making the stems for me (though lily tutorials are all over the place, which is great!)

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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/

Needleplates and paper flowers

So yesterday I mentioned a quilt I was making –  it’s for my brother and his wife for their new house. They’ve bought an amazing Victorian house near London and have been doing it up.

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(from blog: http://victorianrestoration.tumblr.com/)

This is a picture of their living room, which is on their blog. Isn’t it lovely? On the basis of that, I’ve chosen what I think is the perfect fabric collection for a vintage but modern, cool, quirky but elegant quilt. I’ve made the top. Very happy with it. I chose cotton batting and have basted it. I thought I was so in control. Then I started quilting it.

ARGHHHHHH!!! Total disaster! It felt like the fabric was snagging all the time, especially at the turns (stippling, so a LOT of turns), and on the back – looped stitches, puckering, birds’ nests, the lot. Very unhappy. Deep breaths.

Messed with tension. Changed needle – 3 times. Re-threaded bobbin. Cleaned out sewing machine. OMG I could have stuffed a cushion with the lint! For every sewist reading this – CLEAN OUT YOUR MACHINE RIGHT NOW! Thought I’d cracked it. Machine easier, quieter, but just as bad.

Finally I saw this as I was reassembling my machine –

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See that there? That tiny tiny little nick in the needle plate at the bottom of the hole where the needle should go through? THAT’S MY NEMESIS.

Eventually I ordered a new plate, and I’m machine-less for a few days till it’s here. Almost hyperventilated at the thought.

So I revived a very old love – origami, which I used to do as a kid, and decided to make myself flowers! Origami Lilies to be precise, very therapeutic! Here is the start of my bouquet:

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I used Hello Luscious By Basic Grey- the paper version of the “Hello Luscious” quilt I did for my niece Florence (below).

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I loved those colours, but with a boy-filled household (even including the dog!) I couldn’t justify making one for this house – so perhaps the flowers will be a compensation!

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I just have to do a few more and fit stems to them – will keep you posted. By the way they are so easy to do – if you fancy a bouquet which won’t die or give you hayfever, google origami lilies and have a go! It stopped my idle machine-less evening hands baking anyway… good news for waistline, bad news for husband and son who are active hungry boys who care not about waistlines!

Hope the sun is shining where you are,  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/