I'm suffering with a touch of seasonal confusion at the moment as a result of working on a distinctly spring-themed commission whilst also eating mince pies and sorting out a few Christmas stockings. In my old job we would work on all of the Christmas designs in June/July and that never really seemed odd but somehow thinking of daffodils rather than holly right now does feel a little weird.
Bringing things definitely back into the Christmas zone, the Sizzix Christmas blog hop up to Day 5 over on Trudi's blog, check out all of the gift ideas so far:
Today is the first day of the Sizzix Christmas Blog Hop which is running for the next six days around the theme of Christmas gift ideas. I am (somewhat nervously) kicking it all off and it will hop on to these hugely talented quilty bloggers over the course of the week for them to share their festive ideas too:
PLUS there's also a Blog Hop Giveaway to accompany all of the festive inspiration, just click here for your chance to win a fantastic Sizzix Big Shot and 3 Bigz hexagon dies to go with it!
So my Big Shot and Bigz Clamshell, 4 1/2in Unfinished die have been put to good use over the past week cutting clamshells for a hot water bottle cover and the plan is to make a few more to give as gifts this year.
I like to sew a few Christmas presents every year and my starting point when coming up with an idea is usually either; 'what would I like to receive as a gift' or 'I really want to try this technique/project, will it make a good present''. This time it was a bit of both as I've been wanting to sew some clamshells for ages and a hot water bottle and cover always makes a welcome gift as my feet are permanently icy cold (officially so, my GP has actually prescribed "thick socks" in the past).
The clamshell curves are used on the back to decorate and disguise the open edge.
I've written up a tutorial here detailing how to make one - it's just a funny-shaped cushion cover really. My next one will be in red Scandi prints I think or maybe I'll try it with some kids prints.
Happy festive hopping (I resisted the urge to put ho-ho-hopping) and good luck with the giveaway!
For the last few years pretty much everything I've made has been made on my bottom-of-the-range, boggiest bog-standard sewing machine. All quilting was done using a generic walking foot (because there wasn't a dedicated walking foot made to fit that model) that would gradually work forward during sewing pushing the thread in front of the needle until the needle would catch and pierce it causing it to break. It became so hair-tearingly frustrating that after my Scrappy Trips quilt I decided that proper quilts were off the agenda and only small, cushion-sized projects would be practical until I got a new machine. And last week I did!
I opted for a Pfaff Ambition Essential in the end as I'm not interested in stacks of fancy stitches and after my previous walking foot experiences I wanted to try the IDF system which is an integrated dual feed feature meaning no walking foot is required. So far I love it and the soft whirring noise it makes during sewing compared to the pebbles-caught-in-a-lawn-mower of my old machine is a revelation.
The first, try-out project was a little drawstring bag to hold Uno cards (game/jigsaw boxes don't last 5 minutes in our house).
Next was assembling the Let It Snow cushion by Fiona Leontis from Issue 14 of Love Patchwork and Quilting, which I blogged about over on the Sizzix site here as all of the hexies were cut using my Big Shot.
Currently I'm testing out how well it quilts and so far there hasn't been any teeth-grinding, tears or wanting to hurl it at a wall. It's a revelation.
I spent the half term holiday last week away with my parents and the boys in Conwy. Mike joined us on the Thursday night after work which was also our 15th wedding anniversary and as a surprise my mum made us a cake and put the decoration (which she also made) from the top tier of our wedding cake on top. The candles were never lit on our wedding day so it was a good time to finally light them.
I took some hexagons away with me to sew that I cut using my Big Shot and posted about on the Sizzix blog here.
It's my first proper attempt at English paper piecing, I'd always been a bit too intimidated to try it in the past (it's for serious quilters) but found it pretty straightforward and really relaxing and enjoyable to do. So much so I now have a vague plan to start a long term EPP quilt project to dip in and out of whenever I'm having a lazy night in front of the tv and want to do some productive (and therefore guilt-free) lounging.