Friday, 10 August 2018

Floating Confetti Quilt Pattern

My first published quilt pattern! Free on Craftsy.

Floating Confetti Quilt Pattern

This is perfect for someone who wants to try something a bit different  to basic blocks. You assemble the fans or plates and then applique them onto the background. The finished quilt is approx 36"x44".

I used the V&Co Ombre Confetti Metallic range which I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. The confetti dots made me think of bubbles, champagne, lemonade, blowing on dandelion seeds and summer. The full range is discussed here. It can be bought from a variety of retailers. I purchased mine from SoJo Fabric (⅛ yd cuts) and The Heart & Home Co (backing), both on Etsy, but buy local and support your local stores where you can. For the petals I used Magenta, Plum, Aubergine, Indigo, Turquoise, Lagoon, Lime, Honey, Coral, and Persimmon. The centers were Sand and Mustard. The background is Popsicle Pink. My backing and binding is Kona Cotton in Honeydew. I was originally going to use the Honeydew as my background but it looked all wrong and I am very glad I changed it for the ombre pink!

Let me know what you think...

Thursday, 26 July 2018

SF Quilters Guild Show Challenge 2019

This has so far only been announced within the Guild, but the topic for the Challenge Quilts for the 2019 Show is to be "San Francisco". As soon as I heard this I had an idea.

When I was in Tokyo I used to love the manhole covers.

Fireman Drainhole Cover

I collected them in a little album on Flickr.


I only collected 15 but there are albums of many more than that. So when I came to SF I kept an eye out. There weren't many interesting ones but I started seeing this one in a few places.

sf manhole cover

When I heard of the challenge, and with Mel Beach's Magnificant Mandala Class so recent in my memory, you can understand my thinking. This is what I made in Mel's class.

Magnificent Mandala from a Mel beach class

My first thought was to make a mandala based on the manhole cover. But then I thought about how well it would lend itself to EPP (english paper piecing). Hexagons are my absolute favourite shape generally as well as in EPP. And I feel more comfortable madala'ing with curves rather than straight edges. But...the challenge quilt isn't due until at least February so I'll have to see what my mind tends towards in the meantime.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Quilt Like An Artist

Have you read the book Steal Like an Artist? (That image is an affiliate link to amazon.)

I've had it on my amazon wishlist forever but finally got a copy from the Library (SF Libraries are brilliant). I decided to buy a copy because I know I am going to want to refer back to it a lot.

I have been spending months contemplating the infinite and what to do with quilting. The question that kept going around in my head was "What is my style?" and the answer seemed to be "You do not have one." I have a bucket list of quilt styles I want to try. Actually this is it:

Quilt bucket list in wunderlist

I use an app called Wunderlist which lets you make multiple lists and add info and whatnot. As a list addict I've tried a ton of them and this is my favourite. But I digress. What I kept thinking was, if I keep fannying about and trying out different types of quilts, then that must mean I haven't found my personal style yet. Because if I had I'd be like Bonnie Hunter or Joe Cunningham and you'd see a quilt and say "I bet that is a Joe Cunningham quilt". But then actually if you click on their names (non affiliate link to a google images search) their work is pretty diverse. It took me months of solid thinking to get to that point. Then I got hold of Steal Like An Artist.

This is not a long book. Text is big and pages are small and there are lots of illustrations. Chapter 2, or possibly the second rule, is called "Don't wait until you know who you are to get started". Genius. He then goes on later to talk about how bad Jurassic Park 2 was. We're talking about the sequel to the one with Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough in, not the reboot. He loved the first one so much he wrote his own sequel and then when the actual sequel came out it was nowhere near as good. This leads to a suggestion that you make your hero's next piece of art. Write "The is America" part 2, paint another Pollock, sew the next Cuningham. Oh ho, I think, I did a class with Mr Cunningham in 1901 and still have the unfinished top in my drawers, so to speak.

Here it is. WWJCD? He'd add bias tape, obviously, so I auditioned mine (bottom of pic).


The winners were painstakingly wetted and ironed into circles using a high tech template (baking parchment with circles drawn on it). 


I went totally nuts and used my twin needle for the first time in my life and after having got one with each of the three sewing machines that preceded this one. It still seemed to be lacking something so I decided to embroider it. A small self portrait, bottom left, I thought, based on the photo Roc just took of me (in my previous post). More auditioning of thread. I decided on the clothesline, obvs, which is a bit too thick to embroider with SO... 


Possibly a pro wouldn't have used quite as much glue to get the fecking stuff to stay still but I am only pretending to be a pro so it's fine. And now for the quilting. I decided to KISS and went with straightish lines. Naturally I ran out of the first bobbin 2 rows before the end.


The finishedish quilt.


The small portrait, bottom left, grew somewhat. I am also slightly worried that it is TOO derivative, especially thinking of Joe's portrait of Luke Haines. But I figure the next one will be less so. Naturally I will trim and bind it soon. Soonish.

The one thing I always hear from quilters is that the way to develop is to work in a series. So it will come as no surprise to hear that I have already cut out and sewn the base of the next one! I did fairly amaze myself since in the past it has taken me years to cut out and sew a quilt. In this case it took about 5 hours. It just goes to show the power of motivation.

Teaching in San Francisco

Quilty byrne 400pix

Not only do I have a new 'teacher' photo...

...I also have new workshop outlines to put it on. I am the newest teacher to join the Sips N Sews crew which I am very happy about. I also have another workshop coming up at SCRAP which they tell me will go live this week. AND I am teaching for the SF Quilters Guild in a couple of weeks.

Here is the list of what I'm currently offering:

  • Quilt as You Go...Everything!
The project is a cushion cover but I've taught this using hand sewing only at SCRAP and we did pin cushions. Photos show samples.

  • Sew Together Bag
Making the whole thing from start to finish! Pattern included. 
Patchwork Sew Together Bag Patchwork Sew Together Bag

  • Rope Bowls and Dishes
I just made my first one with pompoms and ricrac. Hello silly bowls! But easy to make them classically lovely too. 
Fabric Wrapped Bowl and Coaster

  • Weaving with Fabric and Ribbon
We'll be starting with the 'usual' square weave then trying triaxial or 'mad' weaving. Rainbows are optional.

Rainbow Ribbon Metal Frame Purse

triaxial weaving rainbow

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Word for Feeling Like You Should Be Doing Something But Not Knowing What It Is You Should Be Doing

I made this very quickly on a whim a few months ago.
On the verge of something. Liberty scraps, raw edge appliqué.
I really did feel like I was on the verge of something. And then I had some flim flam with my work visa and I was going to have a few months off and have some time to develop some sort of side project. And now the time is here. And I'm stuck.
Organic Material
I should be doing something like this:
Bear in Shamonic transformation. Inuit Art. 
 And instead I'm sitting around like:
Saturday morning
I've got an idea, but there's something holding me back. Fear of failure? Fear of taking up my spare time? Fear of work?

I googled it and there is a german word - "torschlusspanik" - which means "Life is passing you by. The deadline’s approaching. The train’s a-comin’. Literally translated from German, torschlusspanik means “gate-closing panic,”." which is from this article, which is actually very interesting.

Craftcation a few weeks ago was really powerful in putting me alongside a bunch of women (mostly women) who had conquered their fears of going for it. Lela Barker gave the closing address and she quoted Elizabeth Gilbert. It was like this was aimed just at me.
"Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder."
It's from a book called Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, which I clearly need to read. But, maybe I need to actually do something that moves me forwards first.

And let's just gloss over the fact I haven't blogged for years.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Early Resolutions

I know 1st January is the conventional time to make resolutions but I think it makes more sense to resolve to do things in the moment you resolve to do them, rather than at some later date. Hence my resolve to blog at least weekly from now on, having neglected this poor thing for some time now.

I'm writing this from the airport as I get ready to return to San Francisco after staying with my sister. It was my Dad who pointed out my neglected blog when I saw him yesterday, and made me think about how, as well as neglecting other communication tools (I am terrible at not replying to emails), I've also let this one slip.

It is always rather nice to see things you have made in use at a later date and this started as soon as I got to my sister's house and sat down with my niece to watch the first of several viewings of The Gruffalo. What a lovely story and a great little film! As we sat there she insisted on removing her tights so I tucked her blanket around her little bare legs.
It's an i-spy blanket I made for her back in July. I ended up making a mini one for her toy rabbit and as I tucked her up in hers she handed me his and said "You can have this one." So thoughtful!

Later that night my sister and I took up the rainbow ripple blanket I crocheted back in 2011. Here is a photo of the two of us then...
...and now...
Maybe one or two extra grey hairs? Ahem. But we've not worn too badly!

I went to my Mum's for a few days in the middle of my stay and needed to use her sewing machine to finish something for Jasmine. The box next to it is my first applique dating from..maybe...1991?
I have offered to get Mum a new machine but she seems wedded to that Viking. It's a former teaching machine from a secondary school in the days when girls did sewing and boys did woodwork. Rather odd to use after the joys of an electrical one.

Back at Sian's the item I had needed to finish went up on the wall.
My fabric choice may not have made it the most distinct bunting ever but it does say 'jasmine' - plus Sian asked for one saying 'home' for the living room and being asked to make more of something is the kind of compliment every crafter will know makes the heart swell.

Saying goodbye this morning was heart breaking. My final view of Jasmine was her fast asleep last night on top of a Martha Stewart Living magazine which I had brought home for Sian to read and which Jasmine had adopted to 'read' to herself that night.
The bunting on her pillow (which I made back in 2012 for my own bed) is entirely coincidental and unstaged. She is such a wonderful little girl with an equally wonderful Mum. I'll be thinking of them (and making for them) constantly until I can visit England again.

Just in case you aren't getting enough Lixie in your life you can often find me over on Instagram. I read daily even if I don't always post.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Selfish Swap Inspiration Mosaic

I laughed when I saw the first Selfish Swap and thought I'd never stick to it. When I saw details of the second one I felt differently and my mind went to the bag I've been supposed to be making myself for at least a year now. A selfish swap is when you make yourself something you've been meaning to, or another of something you made for someone else and reluctantly sent out into the world. So not really selfish at all.
Selfish Swap Inspiration Mosaic
All of these bags have been pinned on this Pinterest board and I have borrowed the images just for inspiration purposes. I have botched enough projects to know that I want to buy a pattern if one exists but a few of these are purely inspirational with no templates attached.

I almost feel I'd like three bags - one shoulder for day-to-day, one cross-body for more casual usage and one for carrying my sewing machine. I suppose I would have more luck making a decision about which to use if I decided on just one of these rather than trying to juggle all ideas simultaneously.

There. I knew writing it all down would help me make a decision.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Sew Simple Saturday #2

Linking up with the Sew and Sow Farm's Sew Simple Saturday.

When it comes to simple, fabric precuts like jelly rolls make it a no brainer. Last month I was wowed by a quilt on another blogger's site and knew I had to give it a go. A bit of googling and waiting for it to arrive and I had a Gradations jelly roll.
Gradations Jelly Roll
I was using the Prism pattern by Nancy Rink. I was fairly amazed to find this wasn't a download but an actual paper pattern - I feel she's missing a trick there - so another week [snore] later I was ready to go.

Without needing to trim the strips at all you just sew them together along their lengths.
Gradations Jelly Roll Strips

From there it was a matter of cutting some triangles and then sewing them together.
Gradations Jelly Roll Quilt

Sewing triangles together isn't quite as simple as sewing straight strips so I am still half way through this but it is going well. As it has progressed I've realised it's not really to my taste so I'll probably donate it to the Guild's outreach project, but I'm glad I tried it out!

So that must have been October

There was some of this. 
October 2015
Then at work I went full american-halloween-mode and this happened.
Halloween in the Office
Plus of course there were some kittens. 
Not enough. But still. 

So that's me caught up. 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Sew Simple Saturday!

I am joining up with the Sew and Sow Farm Sew Simple Saturday linky! Joining in has made me think about what is meant by "simple sewing". Jan is encouraging us to think about what seams simple to us but to others seems like something really complicated. The craft that, for me, definitely falls into that category is cross stitch. I started doing cross stitch when I was a little girl using those cardboard punch cards that showed you where to put every stitch using a needle the size of a pen. I went through various kits starting with those plastic canvas and scratchy wool ones...
...and then for, I think, my 14th birthday I got this one. 
Unfinished house cross stitch
As you can see I haven't got too far in the last 22 years but I've not given up yet! 

Since then I have sewn some weird and wonderful things, some of which are here:
Deb's cross stitch framed
cross stitch book cover
Home Sweet Home Tardis
Cross Stitch Finished
These are all quite big but ultimately cross stitch comes down to putting straight stitches into a grid with holes in it. It's that simple. One of the workshops I taught in Tokyo was for cross stitch and there are a few basic rules to get going:
  1. Don't try and sew with thread longer than your finger tips to elbow. It will just get tangled. 
  2. To start a new cross stitch find the centre of your pattern and decide on a colour or element to start sewing with. Then fold your cloth in half left to right then top to bottom to find the centre and finger press to show where it is when you unfold again. Now you've found the centre of the cloth and know where to start to make sure your design is centred.
  3. Go ahead and knot your thread to start and finish. Purists might talk about working without knots but it's really "knot" a problem. 
Here is a little one that anyone can make using a scrap of aida fabric. 
cross stitch scissor fob
It's a fob for my tiny embroidery and applique scissors. And here is what I am currently working on:
Cross stitch ABC of Faith in progress
This a simple kit by Lizzie Kate called "ABCs of Faith". I am an Atheist so this isn't to my taste but I know the person I'm giving this to for Xmas will be very happy with it. 

Give Cross Stitch a try!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Working Girl

When Worlds Collide....
1951 ... 'When Worlds Collide'
...or in my case:
One of the three sofas at work had been used for non-office purposes in the distant past plus was pretty mangy. I just could not sit on it. It being part of my remit to look after the office, I sorted out a new cushion. It's on odd size so online ones with covers were coming out at $800. Outrageous! So I ordered some foam and some fabric and got to work. The result is the zig zag seat.

Things at work proceed fair to middling. The actual work is fun but the hours are troubling. We're looking to get me an assistant (so weird - I am the assistant) but until then I am beavering away. There are plus points - such as conducting phone interviews from a hammock.
I love that hammock. I've always wanted one at home but have never lived in the right kind of property. Plus I also took a few minutes to create one of these.
We have some big ones hanging from the ceiling but I've missed having a plant near me while working so I decided to make my own. I am pretty pleased with it! I got both the orb and the plants from Etsy.

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