Sunday, 1 November 2020

Making Waves

 It is reveal day for this quarter's Endeavourers Challenge, this time the theme for the Challenge was "The Sea".


I have called my piece "Making Waves", it is made with strips of upcycled denim for the waves with quilting cotton scraps for the island in the distance. 


Various denim scraps

 Over the years I have amassed a store of cast-off denim jeans that my sons either grew out of or decided were no longer their style, so I was delighted to have the perfect excuse to dig them out and start cutting into them. 


Flock of seagulls rising from the shoreline

 This is the view from my sewing room window, so I didn't have to look very far for inspiration for this piece.I wanted to depict the sea on a windy, stormy day though, which is a fairer reflection of the usual conditions here on the West Coast of Scotland! 

Wave breaking over the railings on seafront
This is the view today! 

Denim strips pinned to depict waves

I pinned the strips of denim and cotton to a cotton backing before stitching them down. 

Voile and lace inserts to depict waves

Then placed the stitched piece on wadding and backing and machine quilted waves adding strips of lace and pieces of voile fabric between the strips of denim in places to represent the crest of the waves.

On the day that I started putting this piece together I noticed some movement out in the water, and when I went out to investigate I saw this little chap frolicking amidst the waves.

Seal swimming in sea

So, naturally I had to include him in my piece too!

Hand embroidered seal head with beads

I embroidered a stumpwork slip of a seal head, adding a bead for the eye and then attached the head to the denim background before stitching some beads for bubbles behind him. 

Satin stitched outlines of hills

The hills on the island were defined with satin stitch and I added some French knots for sheep too.

Tucked away skimming the waves, almost out of sight, there is a windsurfer too, and can you believe that today, when even the ferry was not running, someone was daft/brave enough to be out windsurfing in that very spot! 

Hands holding a seascape art quilt

Of course, it wouldn't be right to make a seascape quilt without taking a photograph of it in front of that very seascape, so in between waves crashing over the seafront here is my brave assistant (OH) desperately holding on to my quilt! 


As ever with the Endeavourers Challenges the piece that I finally submit is very different to the piece that I originally envisaged making! I really enjoy these challenges even when, as with this one, I leave it all to the last minute :)

Find out my fellow Endeavourers projects for this quarter's challenge here


Saturday, 1 August 2020

Buttoned up

Time for another Endeavourers reveal. This quarter rather than all of us working to the same theme Janine and Catherine switched things up a bit. Each of us had to send something to inspire this quarter's piece to a partner, whose name was drawn from the proverbial hat.

My fellow Endeavourer, Gwen, who blogs at Textile Ranger, sent me this glorious array of buttons! What a great jumping off point for several flights of fancy :)

Penny Rugs, Suffolk puffs, Medallion quilts were all considered and discarded.

This is what I eventually created. I am calling it a "Memory Keeper" as every single element of it invokes a memory for me of a place, person or time, just in the same way rifling through my mother's and grandmother's collections of buttons recalled the outfits they were from or the uses they were intended for.

The base fabric for my Memory Keeper is pale yellow linen purchased on our last trip to the linen factory in Lithuania before we moved back to the UK. The pocket fabric is from an early Imperial Collection line by Robert Kaufman and it was the first quilting cotton that I ever purchased! As you can see it formed the centrepiece for the cushion, made at an evening class, that was my first ever patchwork project too.

This clay button was the subject of a very early blog post and, I think, the first ever link party that I linked up to!

This modern Dorset button harks back to an earlier age when buttons were handmade and beautiful in their own right. If my memory serves me well (always debatable!) this particular Dorset button was made whilst we were sailing from Tallinn to St Petersburg on the ferry!(I checked and it was and I blogged about it here)

These buttons were purchased in markets in Riga, France, Tynemouth and Yorkshire respectively and instantly evoke happy memories of lovely days out and enjoyable rummaging at craft stalls and Flea Markets.

These yellow and red buttons, however, evoke a person rather than a place as they were in a box of buttons inherited from my mum when she passed away last year. The box was marked "buttons for baby cardigans" as my mum was a great knitter up until the day she went into hospital, and her speed at producing jumpers and cardigans for her great-grandchildren was an amazement to me. So, these particular buttons have a special resonance.

As I am sure most of you do, spare buttons for clothes purchases are added to my button tin and kept even when the original garment has long since been discarded. This button, from a jacket long since given away, is from that pile of buttons that will surely come in useful one day :) One button is rarely needed though, but this one has finally found a use!

Of course it would hardly be right to ignore those lovely buttons that arrived in the post in the middle of the craziest time the world has seen for a long time. These sweet buttons will remind me of the inspiration for my Memory Keeper and my fellow Endeavourer who took the time to put the button sheet together and send it off across the world to me. Thanks Gwen!

Head on over to The Endeavourers blog to see the amazing pieces that the rest of the Endeavourers have produced for this challenge.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

More makes for boys

The recent delivery of my first copy of the Ottobre magazine has ramped up the boys clothes making obsession :)

First up a pair of denim twill shorts with patch pockets and a mock fly for the bigger gorgeous grandson. The mock fly had me thoroughly confused and, at one stage, was stitched up completely inside out but I got there in the end! I should have carried the topstitching right up to the top of the waistband but only realised that when it was all done :( Next time I will get it right!

Fingers crossed we get the weather for this outfit.

Of course it wouldn't be right to make for one gorgeous grandson and not the other so this t-shirt was the next Ottobre project I tried. I didn't have enough of the grey/turquoise fabric for a whole t-shirt (even one this small!) so the back, which you can just see, is a grey/white stripe left over from previous makes.

I did, however, have more than enough of this little jeeps fabric to make a second t-shirt from that pattern. I changed the way that I attached the neckline and armhole binding for this second version. I used the instructions from this video by Lauren Guthrie, a previous Great British Sewing Bee finalist, to insert the neckline and armhole binding and I think they turned out better than with the original method.

To go with the t-shirts another pair of Sunny Day Shorts complete with tartan ribbon tag :)

I found this great racing car fabric on sale at Stoff & Stil and couldn't resist buying a couple of metres, because little boys love racing cars, don't they? Again I used Lauren Guthrie's YouTube video for inserting the neckband and I am pleased with how it turned out.

You can see above how much flatter the neckline lies on the racing car t-shirt compared to the neckline on the police car t-shirt. I used the twin needle to finish off both of them too, but increased the stitch length slightly on the racing car neckline, which probably helped reduce the waviness too.

The next edition of  Ottobre is just out so it should be arriving here soon, and there are some great patterns in it that I am really looking forward to attempting :) You can check out the issue here and until August 15th avail yourself of the free P & P if you are tempted!

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