I love to be creative, not saying I am overly artistic but I take great pleasure in making presents for the grandchildren that money cannot buy. I have been into cross stitch, knitting and crocheting for a number of years and most of them have benefited from these skills. Fifi still has her Winnie the pooh cross stitch blanket I made her, and Bob has his with Humphreys corner on. A great way to mark their births as they contain their name, weight and date of birth as well as pictures and a rhyme.
When I made Bob's one nearly eleven years ago I bought a sewing machine to allow me to quilt and then back it to cover all the cross stitch threads that little fingers may have got caught in. The machine generally lives in the loft as it is rarely used. It comes out if there is a job to do and goes back in the box until next time there is a job to do.
It came out back in September to allow me to finish baby Ziggy's blanket and then again last month to stitch the twins cross stitch blanket's. So I decided that my new hobby was going to use the machine that has barely paid for itself since I bought it all those years ago. So I decided I was going to try patchwork and quilting.
I received money for Christmas and I am always determined that this money does not get spent on the house but is spent on me as the givers intended. So having put thought into my new year hobby I bought myself some of the basics.
Firstly I bought a cutting mat and a cutter. I decided I preferred this cutter to the rotary cutters ( think pizza cutter) as it looked easier to use. Also buying the rotary cutter you needed to buy shapes to use to cut round and I just preferred the simplicity of this item.
The first task before you can sew anything is to cut your material into the shapes you require, at the moment I am sticking with squares for the ease of practise.
I also invested in a 1/4 inch foot for my sewing machine as it is 1/4 inch hems you use on the shapes you are making. I have been looking in charity shops for a while and have picked up a lot of material in the form of curtains and quilt covers to use when I am practising, when I have picked up these items for a pound or two it seems silly to go and buy material by the meter to practise with.
An important part of the sewing process is pressing the seams you sew before you finish joining the pieces together, I had seen that you could buy a heat mat type idea that you can use on your work station, in my case the dining room table, and I liked this idea as I do not have room for the ironing board near my table. Have to say I did not like the price overly much and so I made my own.
So I got DH to get me a spare piece of loft flooring from out of the loft. I had a piece of wadding material which I trimmed to the same size as the flooring piece, I covered the wadding in material two inches bigger all round that the piece of flooring. I then covered the top of the flooring with tin foil, this was so that when I am using the steam iron to press the pieces of material the flooring is not absorbing the steam. I then stapled the wadding and material to the flooring and covered the staples with elephant tape so it would not scratch. Viola I have one home made heat pad for no cost at all. Looks great and is perfectly functional.
At the moment I have no set idea of what specifically I want to make, apart from items for the grandchildren. I started this week with what they call a nine patch - made from nine different squares of the same size. I was happy enough with the completed square and so have progressed onto to making four identical that I have sewn together to make a bigger square.
The joy of this is there is no right or wrong with it, I can make it up as I go along in a way that I like the look of. Materials and colours can me matched or totally random.
Today I have been making what they call a disappearing four patch in various shades of green. It started of as four of these
and ended up as one of these
Quite pleased with what I have done. I am currently only using four inch squares while I practise different methods,
There are many many patterns out there, some look harder than they really are and others are too complex for me as a beginner. I managed to find a few books on amazon designed for beginners. I did not buy new ones but second hand from an online shop in the USA. One book cost me 5p, yes 5p, I have to wonder why they are even bothering to sell that as there is no profit at that price. I am still waiting for the books but they did say three to five weeks for delivery. But I got the three of them including the postage for cheaper than I could get one of them in this country so I am quite happy to wait.