Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Little been done....

I'm quite sure all of you have heard about the tragedy in Norway; the car bomb blast in the centre of Oslo and the shooting of teenagers at the Labour Party's annual youth camp on an island just outside Oslo. I've been glued to the TV and reading newspapers since it happened Friday 22nd afternoon. It is difficult to take in the scale of what has happened and over the weekend I have felt kind of numb, unable to do much, thinking of the horror stories from some of those who survived. 76 people died and still people missing after the blast in Oslo as well as at the island...
Rose procession at the City Hall/Oslo - said to be 200 000 people in grief and solidarity.

Photo: Scanpix/Aftenposten

It's so touching to see the carpet of flowers outside Oslo Cathedral, Norwegians and people from other countries showing their solidarity and grieving together with us. I didn't know it was going to be that hard for me to be away from Norway, but I wish I could have been there to add flowers too... With 10000 km/6200 miles apart, that's not possible. 
My heart goes out to the Norwegian people; across the miles, you all are in my thoughts! 

Photo: Eirik Helland Urke/Dagbladet

Marked deep into my soul of what has happened, I haven't been able to do much over the weekend. Last week I decided to get a UFO - Easter wall hanging - out from the shelf... I was worried - lol - because it was the umpteenth time I got it out, trying to figure out a solution for the border around the center panel... Since this UFO has been sleeping on the shelf for at least 2 years - or perhaps 3 years - I can't remember exactly, I refused to put it back again! :)
Here's a sneak peak from from the wall hanging's center panel.

 While trying to figure out a border, I worked on a table topper, using the same fabrics. The latter was supposed to be a table runner, but wasn't satisfied after doing the center. Therefore I added fabric to the longest sides and worked it into a table topper. I have left to choose/find backing for both.

I've finished four more mug rugs. Indeed, making mug rugs is addictive! :)

Life goes into normal again and today I started working on something I have wanted to do for a very long time..... More about that in another post! :)


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Not only bags

I don't think I will be able to make bags only! It's fun! Lots of fun! I have realized I need some quilting projects too for alternation. I'm not working on any specific project right now, but over the last couple of days I have finished hand stitching the binding on several small projects that took up space on my sewing table. I have two shoulder bags to do, but both of them need some 'brain-work'... :)
For the finished projects, I have used the leftover fabrics from the bags I made. I've used all the fabrics, except part of the stripes and panel (single houses used on the mug rugs) are left.
A small tablecloth....

Close-up of the quilting... I even managed to do a small flower on the blue square! :)

A pair of table mats... I tried braiding for the very first time, that is fun!


The quilting... I'm not very steady when it comes to FMQ, but I think it didn't turn out that bad! :))

Another small tablecloth, or perhaps it is small enough to be called table mat...

Close-up. I have not quilted the 'houses'. I haven't done much FMQ, but what I have noticed is it doesn't fit everywhere. If I had done FMQ on the stripe with houses, the houses had 'disappeared' - sort of - unless if I had used transparent thread..  Any comments on that, please?

 ... and not to forget;
 the mug rugs..... :)) Here are six, and I have four more to finish. :)

I'm not sure what I'm going to do next.... There are the two shoulder bags I mentioned, and I have some UFO's... and stitchery....  etc... Guess I'll have to think it over.... :)

Btw... do you want to meet 'Henrietta the 2nd'? Click here... :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

More bags

I really love to make bags. I'm still a newbie and have lots to learn. Since I'm new to it, I find it so challenging. The biggest challenge though, is to get what I need in this country, which is not always easy! Take bag handles i.e., I have checked around and the only one I have found, is a pair of transparent plastic handles... Not exactly what I'm thinking of, when I know there are so many great looking handles 'out there'.....
Well, I should not whine over what I don't get here... I know I'm saying it too often, but that is because it makes me frustrated, especially when I need things for completing a bag or other projects... 

I finished MIL's bag this morning. It doesn't have any 'hardware', hench easy to make. :)
I've used the same pattern as for the other two I made, but as you can see, the colors are different. Inside there is one zipped pocket, two open pockets and a clasp for keys or mobile phone. The bag is trimmed with ric-rac and buttons too.

I've made a small shoulder bag too. It is very simple, with one open inside pocket.
I've already cut fabric for another one, which I'm going to improve a little bit - I hope! I think that's the fun with bag making - at least for a newbie as me - what I have done so far; make one 'original' from the pattern and then make another one, two or three and manipulate the pattern to the better, or should I say my likings?! :)

And.... I'm almost done with a big shopping/market bag! I've left to buy buttons, do the buttonholes and the bottom. Here's a sneak peak...
Gosh! The fabric is not that red!

I thought of a walk to town today, but - brrrr - it's such nasty weather! ....

Friday, July 8, 2011

I've been featured!

Back in May - I think it was - a journalist from the one and only local interior/architecture magazine 'La Case' emailed me for a possible interview and 'how to' make a quilt.
First I hesitated, because I had never heard of the magazine. Before I said 'yes' I wanted to see what kind of magazine it is. A book/magazine shop in town didn't have it, but after some hunting I finally got it at a bigger bookshop in Rose Hill.
'La Case' has stunning photos about interior/architecture as well as a few sections about arts & crafts.

After having a look at the previous issue of the magazine, I decided to go for the interview and to show the readers 'how to' make a simple baby quilt. I don't know what the journalist expected, but definite I was not able to make a small and simple baby quilt in 3 hours - as the interview and 'how-to' took! :) I did what was possible for the preparation, which I'm very glad I did! I wasn't able to finish it that day of course, so the photographer had to come back a few days later for the shots.
Here's the finished baby quilt...

... and here's the 'how to' page.

Here's the interview. If you click on the photo, it should be possible to read it - for those of you who know French - or you can go to Google Translate for translation to your language. Don't know if you can just 'copy & paste' the text into the translator, or you have to write it all..... Haven't tried it...

Since the official language is English, I had expected at least part of the magazine to be in English, but it is 100% French.

Since I don't speak French, I don't know how easy it is to follow the tutorial, but I trust the journalist has done an understandable translation.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bag making goes slow

As you can see from the heading, making bags go very slow. Not so strange; I am a 'bag-making-newbie'!
A couple of weeks ago I bought two craft magazines from one of the supermarkets; Homespun and Sabrina Patchwork; Sacs. We never get the latest issue of foreign magazines until approx 3 months after they are published. The 'latest' Homespun in the shelves here is #93/Vol 12.2, while the latest issue is #12.6! That doesn't really matter! What matters is what the pages hide! :)
Homespun has a wonderful bag to make by Carol McLeod. She uses cotton clothesline and strips of cotton fabric to make her bags. Very interesting, and this is something I'd like to try! Visit her website here.
A bit sidetracked here... I was going to tell you about another bag..... The other mag I bought - Sabrina Patchwork/Sacs - is all in French! I don't know French! DH speaks French and so does MIL. DH & I tried to understand the French pattern. It started out quite well, until it was time to do the first pocket. The pattern talks about 'interior' pocket - all the way, until it is time to add it to the bag, then it becomes an 'exterior' pocket! Poor DH wasn't able to understand the next step, so we headed up to MIL (next door). She has been into sewing since she was a little girl, now she's 73. When I mentioned the problem, she just looked at me and said; 'French patterns are hopeless'!!! After studying the pattern and the pieces I had cut, she was sorry she couldn't be to much help. She advised me to give it a trial by pinning and basting. I'll do so, but I think that bag has to rest some time in the drawer! I haven't given it up and I don't want the bag to win; I want to win! lol (Even if my first attempt went in the bin! :( I've heard from other sources too that French patterns are not always 100% accuracy! DH told me not to buy French craft magazines anymore! Perhaps he is right! :)
I got quite discouraged when I went shopping for interfacing etc. Here they have no clue when I ask for specific Vliselin, Pellon or Peltex! I'm surprised, in spite of being a 'textile country' (exporting lots of clothes) they know so little about what other countries use. Shop owners/importers are not willing to get what I ask for either, so when they don't have it - they don't have it - c'est toute! At times shopping here is a big challenge!  It almost took the courage away from me, but now a friend in Norway is going to buy and ship interfacing etc to me! :)

Even if this was a little 'downhill', I'm still working on two bags. I'm making one for MIL;
it's going to be the same as the two alike I posted here. MIL wanted 'old-people's colors' - as she stated it! I have some fabrics that look 'old' - reproduction, I think some of them are -  and got her to choose six different. She came up with three and asked me to choose the other three.  

I intended to finish it over the weekend, but that is not possible. The zipper as well as ric rac for the trim, is  not available here in town...............

The zipped interior pocket. I have used linen for the lining.

Open interior pocket with two rooms.

We've been twice to Port Louis (the capital) over the last 2 weeks. I had that shopping list and other errands to do, but we managed to do only half of what was on the list the first day. Port Louis is always crowded and shopping takes time, and still there are a few errands to do! 
Since I've got the 'bag-making-virus', I wanted to buy some yards of linen for bag linings. I remembered from last year I bought good quality linen at 'Magasin Baboo' in Corderie Street #35 - famous as 'textile street'! A very friendly little shop. The shop has a good variety of linen and I came home with 6-7 yards in different yummy colors. Another trip to 'Baboo' this week; I bought navy linen and I couldn' resist these fabrics;

Aren't they beautiful?! I regret I didn't buy the pink one too! I can see some colorful bags here.... :) The fabric has a little  'stretch', but adding  fusible interfacing should do the trick.  

For quite some time I have wanted to do some stitchery. The other day I started working on a friendship quilt. The quilt has 12 cute stitcheries, all about friendship. Here's the first one I'm working on....

I thought this was going to be a short post, but I have one more thing to share with you.
Again - about bags! :) I searched the net for books on bag making and ended up with these books;
Sew What! Bags - by Lexie Barnes
From the back of the book; 'Your bag, your way. Choose a project and make it your own. Designer L. Barnes shows you how to develop your own personal style and create customized bags using fabrics that you love, pockets where you need them, straps that feel good on your shoulder, and dimensions that work for whatever you want to carry'.
Personally I feel this is a book for a totally newbie, but of course I did find some hints and info I didn't know about how to make bags.

The other one I bought; The bag making bible - by Lisa Lam, foreword by Amy Butler. It has 160 pages jampacked with information on bag making as well as some free patterns. Definitely this book is going to be my favorite!
From the back of the book;
'An amazing sewing education coupled with beautiful bags that of course, you can customize' - Amy Butler.
'Expert tips, trade secrets and inspirational advice result in professional and beautiful results'.
Click here for the link to Lisa Lam's shop. 

I intended to do some gardening today, but I've gone lazy since I got up - lol!
I think I'll snuggle up with a hot chocolate and read about bag making! :)