Monday, 30 April 2012

Handmade Monday 64

Hello everyone!!
I can't believe a whole week has gone by already!!
I'm afraid I'm going to cheat for Handmade Monday this week, as in, I don't have a personal make to show off, however, I do have an announcement...............................

The cushions are finished!!!!!!!!

At one point over the weekend I honestly thought I was going to lose the will to live and never get them finished!  I got down to the last batch of 40 and it felt like the pile just wasn't getting any smaller!
Now I always time my work using my stopwatch and looking on it I am surprised but very pleased with my completion time, as in it took nowhere near as much time as I thought, I actually feel on looking at it that I should have had more free time than I have actually had, but then there have been a few distractions and indeed other commitments that stopped the work flow!

So all in all it ended up being 317 cushions, which all in all took me......................................

??hrs and ??mins

Oohhhhh, A guessing game just popped into my head, or should I say a competition, hum, let me think about this......

Ok I've had a 10 minute think, and here it is:

Guess the time & win a prize:

So, the aim of the game is to guess how many hours and minutes it took me to complete 317 cushions, from start to finish, I'm going to give you a run down of how I produced the cushions, and them i'm going to give you some inside knowledge into my working pattern to help you make an educated guess at how long these cushions took me to complete, the person who is closest to the nearest hour and minute will win.
Now, the prize certainly isn't going to be a cushion, as you can imagine I am slightly sick of the things and need a little time out from making any more!!
So I have opted to give one of my quirky Animal Tea Cosy's to the winner, you'll even get to choose out of the animals that I make and the background fabric colour...............Good Huh? (Well I hope so anyway!)

So, here are the stages of production I went through:

I cut all the fabrics out into 64cm square
I over-locked 1 edge of each square
I paired the pieces up and stitched in 8cm from the sides along one edge
I basted the rest of this edge leaving a gap at each end between the previous stitching and the basting
I fitted the zip
I over-locked closed
I turned them through

And that's that, now for some hints to send you on your guessing way!!

I started work on the 12th april
I finished work on the 29th april
I have only worked one weekend day
Wednesdays are workshop day for me so I take this day off
I took 2 Thursday's off due to my cake decorating course and group rehearsals
I took last Friday off to look at a couple of litters of puppy's
I take an hour and a half's worth of breaks on a full working day

Because I use industrial machines I don't start sewing work until 10.30 and I finish at 5 so as not to drive the neighbours mad!!
I have an electric rotary cutter which allows me to cut up to 9 layers of fabric a time
I have production line experience so do sew with some speed!!

Right I think that is enough hints!!

All you need to do to enter is:

Follow my blog and leave a comment on this post with your guess.......................Simples!!

I shall announce the winner on Friday, that gives everyone time to have a guess!!

Now here are the choices of Tea Cosy's that the winner will be able to choose from...........
The winner will also be able to pick whether they have a cream finish or denim finish

Frog Tea Cosy
Cosy Frog

Cow Tea Cosy
Cosy Cow

Dog Tea Cosy
Cosy Dog

Owl Tea Cosy
Cosy Owl

Cat Tea Cosy
Cosy Cat

Monkey Tea Cosy
Cosy Monkey

Rabbit Tea Cosy
Cosy Rabbit

Pig Tea Cosy
Cosy Pig

I'm hoping there's enough choice there!!

Ok I think that's it for now, I'm heading over to Wendy's Handmade Monday feature to see what everyone else has been doing, why don't you venture over with me??



I KNOW WHAT I FORGOT!!! (Not really but saving the best for last is a must!!!!)

I am pleased to announce the arrival of.............................


He is such a sleepy head!!

Oh look, he's asleep!!

As you know I was off to look at some pup's last Friday, we ended up viewing an extra litter which is where we found this adorable little chap, His name is Dougie "Magic Denzel", Magic Denzel is his Kennel club name, his Grandad won Crufts a couple of years ago so I think we are going to end up with a handsome little chap, don't you??

Anyway that really is it for now, I am off to watch a Hair show tonight, my niece is in her first year of training and my second niece is her model, I did her make up earlier so I already know that she looks amazing but I can't wait to see her on the catwalk!!

I'm going to nose on Handmade Monday until it's time to go!!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Gone slightly off my rocker!!!!!

Hey everyone, so I have been completely neglectful of my baby blog of late, I have been a busy bee what with this cushion order.........................
Which I might add is reminding me of that good old film gremlins, I don't know what the trigger is yet but it appears that every time I meet a milestone the order seems to increase and multiply and take over my life that little bit more than it already had!

200 cushions has now become 320 cushions, the extra's being in different fabrics.
I have sewn in 124 zips today.........Oh the joy!

I will get there in the end!!

So what's been happening in the non cushion land of Nina? Blimmin' not much I can tell you!
I did start my cake decorating course on Thursday which was the complete highlight of my week so far for me, we worked on piping techniques and patterns, all good fun!  I can see now the little mistakes I made with the piping on the dartboard cake, so I have learnt for next time how to improve upon it.

I have only managed to make one new block for the patchwork quilt that I have been sharing with all of you which irks me slightly, but ho hum there's not much I can do about it whilst I have these cushions to get done!

So without further ado, here is my latest tutorial:

A block a day (I wish) keeps the boredom at bay:

Block 3:  The whirlwind Block:

whirlwind square patchwork block
The Whirlwind Block
What you will need to make the Whirlwind Square Block:

3 Different patterned/plain fabrics
Templates: Which you can download and print here (templates include a 5mm seam allowance)
Taylor's Chalk
Sewing machine - human or electrical!!

Now, For the sake of this tutorial I am going to label my fabrics A, B & C

whirlwind patchwork block

Here is the layout:

Whirlwind Square Layout
Whirlwind square layout
Now I have labelled the Whirlwind square template pieces as 1 & 2, and used this cutting guide:

Using template number 1:  Cut 2 in fabric A and 2 in fabric B
Using template number 2:  Cut 4 in fabric C

So to start with lay out your 4 template number 1 pieces:

whirlwind patchwork block

Then with right sides facing lay your template number 2 pieces into position, and using a 5mm seam allowance sew along where the dotted line shows:

whirlwind patchwork block

You'll end up with 4 pieces like so:

whirlwind patchwork block

Now taking one of each pattern lay them out like so and then place together, right sides facing as the arrows show:

whirlwind patchwork block

Using your 5mm seam allowance stitch along the edge where the dotted line shows:

whirlwind patchwork block

Lay your remaining two pieces in exactly the same way and repeat the above process, you'll end up with two triangles like so:

whirlwind patchwork block

Following the direction of the arrows put the pieces right sides together and stitch, again where the dotted line shows:

whirlwind patchwork block

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.......................Our whirlwind square patchwork block!!

whirlwind patchwork block
Whirlwind Square Patchwork Block

Now, being the busy bee that I am of late, I wrote half of the above blog yesterday but just didn't find the time to finish it, and I can say that since then something truly exciting has happened.......................................

We have confirmed with a lady in Somerset to go to her house on Friday to view some PUPPIES!!!!!!!!

I cannot tell you how excited I am, I lost my last dog when I separated from my ex boyfriend and I was devastated to say the least.  But onwards and upwards, it took me a while to get over it, and I still wonder how he is doing now but it will be nice to welcome a new member into the family!

So boy puppy names are now on my mind instead of cushions..........I can now sew and think of names, instead of "what number cushion is this" or "will I ever finish these cushions" or "oh look, another cushion!"

Anyhow, I think that is enough blab from me for now, I'm off to traverse around 3 stacks of cushions to get out of this room, hop, skip and jump over the one's on the landing and then move the four piles off the bed so I can get in it and catch up on some TV whilst perusing the lovely blog's that can be found over at Handmade Monday, hosted by Wendy of 1st Unique Gifts, I strongly recommend you do the same, without the cushion assault course of course!!!!!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Excuses, Excuses........................And Cake!

Hey everyone!

So I started my block a day patchwork project with you guys, published the first block tutorial whilst completely forgetting I had to make a Birthday cake for my friends birthday and then attend the party to eat it, so my block a day is currently running at a block every 3 days, however, I can assure you from now it will be a block a day!!

Here's a peek at the cake I made:

So I wasn't completely happy with it, mainly my piping was a bit pants, but the Birthday Boy was well happy so  I'm not going to beat myself up about it!
My cake decorating course starts Thursday which I am super excited about, and hopefully they will teach me better piping techniques!!!

I think this cake is a good excuse for not doing my squares, however I am back now and ready to write the tutorial for the next block, so here goes nothing!

A Block A Day Keeps The Boredom At Bay:

Anti Madness Block 2: The Diamond Square Block:

This Is The Block Template

What you will need to make the Diamond Square Block:

3 Different patterned/plain fabrics
Templates: Which you can download and print here (templates include a 5mm seam allowance)
Taylor's Chalk
Sewing machine - human or electrical!!

Now, For the sake of this tutorial I am going to label my fabrics A, B, C & D:

And this is the way I'm laying them out:

Now you will see on the template each pattern piece is numbered, this is how you need to cut your pieces:

Using template number 1, Cut 1 in fabric C
Using template number 2, Cut 4 in fabric A
Using template number 3, Cut 4 in fabric B

(I should have done it 1,2,3 - A,B,C but I didn't think about it at the time, slap on the wrist for me!)

So to make this block you start with your centre square and 2 pieces of your number 3 template:

Following the directional arrows place your triangles onto your square, right sides together and sew using a 5mm seam allowance where I have shown the dotted line:

Iron your seams facing outwards towards the triangles and you end up with this:

Now take your remaining template 3 pieces and lay them out:

Again following the directional arrows place your triangles onto your block, right sides together, and sew your 5mm seams as the lines show:

Again iron the seams towards the triangles.  You now have a slightly bigger square:

Now my edges aren't perfect but I'm not going to panic as I can rectify that in the next stages.
All we need to do now is attach our template number 2 pieces, which is basically the same method we just used, so let's get to it and lay our first 2 pieces out:

So again following the directional arrows, I'm going to place my triangles onto my square right sides together and attach using my 5mm seam allowance on the lines shown:

Press your seams towards the triangles

Lay out your remaining 2 pieces, and sew Your 5mm to the line shown:

Press your remaining seams out towards the triangles, and there you have it, our Diamond Square Block
is complete!!

diamond square block

All done and dusted, ready for another one tomorrow!
As you all know this Block a Day thing is simply to keep me from going of the rails whilst I complete a rather large order for a rather boring cushion cover, I am surrounded by all the pieces I have cut out *sobs*
Tomorrow is going to be a long day, I'm going to head off now, make myself a last cuppa for this evening and mosey on over and have a nose on the Handmade Monday page and see what everyone's been up to, I would highly recommend that you do to!!

Until tomorrow!!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A Block A Day Keeps The Boredom At Bay!!!

So, if you've read my blog you'll know that I have been hired to make up 200 cushions for someone, they are plain and simple 60cm square zip closure cushions in cream...................................................BORING!

Sewing the same thing over and over again is rather dull, but then I would be rather silly to turn down a well paid job, so, I decided I needed to break my day up, only a little, but enough to keep my sanity in check!

This is where my aptly named blog title comes into play, here is my "how to not go crazy" plan:

A Block A Day Keeps The Boredom At Bay:

The ultimate goal is to create a patchwork quilt for a friends daughter for her birthday, as a nice surprise (hopefully)

Her birthday isn't until June, she will be turning "terrible 2" haha!

So I figure I have plenty of time to spread the making of this quilt over.........a block a day to be exact!

When formulating my "how to not go crazy" plan I thought it would be cool to record my daily "anti-crazy sewing session" and turn it into a tutorial, that way if you wish to, you can join the "Block A Day" crew!!

Now as the age old saying goes............There is no time like the present, so lets crack on!!

Anti Crazy Block 1: The Chequer Square Block

This is the block design
What you will need to make the Chequer Square Block:

4 Different patterned/plain fabrics
Templates: which you can download and print here (templates include a 5mm seam allowance)
Taylor's chalk
Sewing machine - human or electrical!!

Now, For the sake of this tutorial I am going to label my fabrics A, B, C & D:

And this is the way I am laying them out:

So once you have downloaded your template you should cut as follows:

Using the Square Template cut:
2 Squares from fabric A
2 squares from fabric B
4 squares from fabric D

Using the Rectangle Template cut:
4 Rectangles from fabric C

Ok so we start our chequer square by making the centre square, to do this:
Lay out your A & B squares as in the diagram above and below

Now following the direction of the arrows put the right sides together (from top to bottom in picture) place your A square on your B square and then your B square onto your A square, so you end up with them positioned as shown below.

Using your 5mm seam allowance, stitch where I have drawn a dotted line:

Once you have sewn the 2 squares you will end up with 2 rectangles as below, iron your seams towards the A squares, this way when you lay them together the seams will lay in opposite directions and you won't get a bulky middle point.

Now making sure your squares are opposite each other diagonally , place right sides together, again in the direction the arrows show:

Stitch using your 5mm seam allowance along the dotted line:

Ta Dah! Your middle square is done!...................Iron your seam to one side, it doesn't matter which

Now,  take 2 of your rectangles that you cut from your "C" fabric as shown below

Lay your right sides together and stitch along the dotted lines

Now you have a piece that looks like this:
Iron both seams facing outwards

Now going back to your other bits, Take your remaining pieces and lay them out to make strips like these:

Placing your 2 D squares onto the ends of your C rectangle right sides facing, stitch along the dotted lines
Repeat this process with your last 2 D squares and C rectangle

You'll end up with two strips like so:
Press your seams in towards the rectangle

Lay out all your pieces as shown below

Placing the top strips onto the main middle section right sides facing, sew where the dotted lines are shown:

Hey Presto, we made a Chequer Square patchwork block:
Iron your final 2 seams outwards

Chequer square patchwork block
Chequer Square Patchwork Block

Wasn't that easy?
Just that little break of making something pretty and colourful kept me as sane as I could ever hope to be!
I'm going to continue my daily blocks and I will continue to share, so why not bob along each day and join in!!

Until tomorrow folks!!