Category Archives: sewing

Don’t think, just do it!

School holidays (which ended here in Victoria a week ago) coincided with me finishing a big editing job and gave me the opportunity to spend the time with Meg, just enjoying myself. I really wanted to make something big, and had a yen to do some sewing, so I started poring over blog posts and books looking for inspiration.

I have a tendency to over-think projects – sometimes to the point of paralysis – and didn’t want to be caught up in so much planning and preparing that I didn’t actually achieve anything, but ended up just wasting my time.

So, I decided I’d make a quilt. Inspired by a young friend who spent a couple of days sewing with us on the previous holidays, and who made a quilt pretty much from start to finish in that two week period (without any sewing experience), I resolved not to over-think it, just to do it.

The pictures here show the development of my quilt, which measures approximately 48″ square, and was made out of fat quarters from my stash. No shopping; minimal planning; quick cutting and tearing of the pieces, and the top came together really quickly. The colour-combination worked out even better than I had hoped, too.

Once all the blocks were assembled I laid them out on the dining table to work out the best arrangement…

And here is the finished (untrimmed and only partly pressed) top, waiting to be backed. It was based on the pattern shown, from a book called “Quick and Easy Projects for the Weekend Quilter”.

I’m off to assemble the quilt-sandwich and start basting, but before I go I wanted to show you two treats I received during the two week break.

The first treat was my first-ever harvest of lemons. After years of nursing my lemon tree along and maybe getting one small lemon if I was lucky, this year we have so many that I think I will have to freeze lemon juice for use later in the year – otherwise we are going to become enormous from eating too much Lemon Delicious pudding or Syrup cake (both of which I love more than I can tell you!).

My second treat (for taking Meg and supervising her and her friends for a two hour session of Laser Tag), was a tray of gingerbread with a message (above). Eating someone’s words has never tasted so good!

Have a good night!


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How to turn a scarf into a shopping bag in four easy steps

My friend Linda put me on to the coolest way to make a re-usable shopping bag the other day. Of course, Japanese people have been using this method for about five hundred years, so you might well know about it, but in case you don’t, watch the video below to see how to tie three different styles of bag from a square of fabric, or furoshiki.

I learnt about using furoshiki to wrap presents years ago when I fell in love with shibori dyeing, but had no idea that these apparently simple cloths were so versatile. I love the thought of having three or four scarves in my handbag, and quickly whipping them out when I do the shopping, and producing bags seemingly out of nowhere.

This tying chart has been produced by the Japaned Ministry of the Environment

This tying chart has been produced by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment

The Japanese Ministry of the Environment have created the above tying chart with lots of different patterns for wrapping everything from bottles of wine to watermelons. It is available here, as a downloadable pdf (416kb).

I’ve been practising all weekend with every square of fabric I could lay my hands on. I’m going to hem a few in different sizes, to use when wrapping presents.

If you’d like to do this as well, you might like to pop over to Mommy Cooks for her tutorial on producing a furoshiki with a beautifully mitred hem.

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First project for the day

Pencil case

Here is this morning’s project – a pencil case for one of Meg’s friends at school.

I love sewing in the morning – don’t know why I don’t do more of it…

The basic pattern for this little bag came from a tutorial I found through Craftster. It originated on a site called Drago[knit]fly and can be found here. It is really well written, with clear and succinct instructions.

I have added a clear vinyl outer layer to protect the fabric and make the whole thing more sturdy, but for the ‘pencil case’ version have omitted the fabric handle and instead inserted a small loop of webbing at the open end of the zip (so that you still have something to hang onto when you open or close it).

I must warn you, these are really addictive. I’ve made eight in this style already, and three more traditional-looking makeup bags. My next job is to make a larger one (longer and deeper) to store my crocheting in…


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