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February 2014

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February 19, 2014

Browing Pinterest one day, I spotted this cute hexi pouch that had been made with a little flex frame:

Where the Orchids Grow: Flex frame pouch tutorial

Seeing this reminded me of a pouch I had when I was little and how much I loved the satisfying ‘snap!’ when you let the flex frame go to close the pouch.  Having nothing better to do at that moment, I sourced a pack of 3.5 inch flex frames on ebay and bought them.  I didn’t think about this again until several weeks later when I was looking for a little sewing project to give my hands a break from the knitting needles.

I was really pleased with my initial idea for a little pouch – I decided to use a really pretty fabric that I’d impulse bought a fat quarter of recently.  This is from the Bluebird Park collection by Kate and Birdie for Moda fabrics:

I planned to use this for the outer of the purse and my old favourite, Robert Kaufman Essex Linen, for the lining.  I decided this would be a job for my trusty (cue maniacal laughter) £99 John Lewis sewing machine and set to work.  Sadly, the sewing machine wasn’t over impressed with some of the thicknesses of fabric I asked it to sew together (what’s new?), so the first attempt did get a teeny bit chewed up…  I got to work on making a 2nd pouch with the same fabric plan, but I stupidly cut it out to the wrong measurements.  I turned off the light in the studio and called it a day!

Back at the drawing board a few days later and in the mood for a bit of hand sewing and embroidery, I remembered some sheets of 100% wool felt I had in the fabric drawers and decided to make a pouch with that.  Here’s my first attempt using a lovely rich blue shade of felt:

I found the outline image for this little fox on a Google image search and embroidered it onto the felt with perle cotton thread.  I’m really pleased with the embroidery and the making up, but I didn’t like the look of the inside of the pouch with the back of the embroidery showing, and didn’t feel that the channels at the top that the flex frame goes through, were exactly the right size.  The felt feels gorgeously luscious too – I get packs of 1mm sheets from Cloud Craft on Etsy in lovely rich colours.

Out for a walk in the woods at the weekend, my mind wandered off to the pouch design and I thought of a really simple way to line the pouches and, at the same time, incorporate some of my favourite fabrics.  I went back to the Kate and Birdie bunny fabric and used the motif as a basis for an embroidery on the front of a pouch.  I then bonded some of the fabric to the inside of the pouch so that you can see the ‘inspiration fabric’ inside and none of the slightly messiness of my embroidery work (I use knots on my threads – so shoot me):

I also adjusted the measurements slightly and was much happier with this attempt.  However, when a friend asked on facebook whether a credit card would fit in the pouch, I re-thought the dimensions yet again!  This has brought me to my latest pouch design, which uses Sarah Fielke’s fabric, ‘Ornate Lovebirds’ – another fat quarter impulse purchase…  I think this is my favourite so far and I got slightly carried away with the embroidery on this one…

I then couldn’t resist making another bunny version in another colourway and adding a couple of butterflies – love this purple:

Really enjoyed making these little pouches and think I will make more.  They are perfect as little coin purses but also great for keeping all the little things you have floating around in your bag in one place – like headache tablets, stain wipes and that annoying mini calculator looking thing you need to do your internet banking.  With the new, larger size, they’ll also be useful as purses that fit cards as well as coins and notes and maybe even as business card holders.  Yay for flexing! 🙂

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All together now…

February 4, 2014

Hurrah – my Indian Summer Stars quilt top is finished!  At 42 by 36 inches, it is a bit bigger than I had originally envisaged, but I think that it is a really useful size.

Call me fanciful if you like, but I see a kind of landscape in this pattern – the stars are the skies, the hexies, triangles and inner border are the ‘earthly’ component and the outer order is a kind of surrounding sea…

In previous posts about this quilt, I looked at various methods of squaring up the centre panel for the borders but, in the end, I made that bit up too.

After adding diamonds to the edges in the galvanised grey shot cotton fabric, I then made some half diamond shapes from the hexie template using the same fabric that I’d used for the triangles.  These were added to the sides and I also added more triangles to the top and bottom, to fill the gaps between the hexies:

This gave me the squared edge all around the panel that I needed to add the border to.  I think that the next step was the fiddliest – I then had to take out all the papers from the edging shapes  and carefully open and press out the shapes’ seams.  This then gave me the quarter inch seam allowance I needed to add the border to, although keeping the shapes open and flat during the sewing (which I did by machine), was painful!  Again, I think my lack of sewing expertise meant that I ended up expending more effort than necessary here – I bet I could have used a tear away stabiliser or something to make my life easier…

It was really surprising to me how the overall look of the quilt changed as I added the borders.  I used the same orangey print for the inner border, which I cut to 2.5 inches wide, and as soon as it went on, it looked like a very different piece:

I’ve really enjoyed making this one – and making it all up as I went along!  I still haven’t seen another diamond quilt design that uses hexagons and triangles, but I find it hard to believe I’m the first one to do it.  In any event, I think I will be making this quilt again – perhaps using liberty prints and a plain white lawn for the hexies?

Next comes the sandwiching and hand quilting and I have some ideas for an approach there.  I’ve bought some lovely pure wool wadding, which I’ve never used before.  It is supposed to be lovely to hand quilt with, so I’m looking forward to trying it.  Now the top is together, I feel like I want to take my time with the quilting 🙂

Previous posts about the progress of this quilt:

  1. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend
  2. Original?
  3. Diamond progress