Foraging bag

When I am out and about and I see a useful leaf, it is handy to just pop it into my bag, or a pocket. Then, of course, it gets damaged as it gets muddled with other things, or I forget all about it.

So I thought it would be a good idea to have a foraging bag to keep in the car. I don’t want to use a plastic bag, and from time to time I will find something that is a bit messy.

Then I remembered this bag. It had several holes in it, so it can’t be used for its original purpose. I have been keeping it to use the fabric for something else. Those ladybirds are rather nice. They definitely need using for something.

So I decided to have some fun patching up the bag. The plastic lining that originally gave it some strength has mostly come off, so it needed strengthening in a few strategic places, so the first job was to patch the holes and darn the weaker places.

Then I added a few extra patches and some embroidery, just for the fun of it. I was going to limit myself to recycled fabrics, but I couldn’t resist this cheap, sturdy lace in Dunelm. I’m not sure what it was intended for (they called it cutting lace), but it was far stiffer than any lace I’ve seen before. I’ve used it to make an outside pocket for an umbrella, and embroidered more of it to add to the effect.

The result is a foraging bag, with pockets inside for my snips and keys. I expect some more darning will be needed at some point, but I am not expecting to be carrying much weight, do it should last for a while!

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Two colour quilts at the Festival of Quilts 2019

I was planning to split this collection of pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, into two posts, one for red and white, and one for blue and white.

But when I went through the pictures, there were not as many red ones as I remembered.

It still shows how much variety you can make out of a very linited pallette.

And by the way, notice the quilt for the 50th anniversary of walking on the moon in this set:

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Seamless cast on

If you are knitting a hat starting from the top of the crown, or a sock starting from the toe, this might help.

The stitches for both sides are cast on at the same time, so there is no seam to do later.

If you are an Elizabeth Zimmerman fan, you might want to try knitting a top down jumper with this cast on at the shoulders.

Here is the link for Judy’s magic cast on.

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Shetland Knitters on Tonight in 1964

This fabulous clip from Tonight in 1964 needs no explanation.

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Miniature quilts at the Festival of Quilts 2019

Today’s selection of pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, is a collection of minature quilts.

To enter this class, quilts must be no more than 30cms on the longest side. In a photo where there is no indication of scale, it should look like a full sized quilt or wall hanging.

I haven’t cropped these pictutes much, so you get more idea of the size.

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Tips for sewing better collars


Collars are important. Not only are they one of the main features in garment design, setting the feel of the garment, but also people tend to focus on them, as they are so near your face.

You cannot afford to mess up your collar.

So this list of 10 top tips for sewing collars is a good thing to read.

Although it isn’t as comprehensive as the diagram on the left. That is a whole different story.

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Sampler quilts at the Festival of Quilts 2019

If you look on Pinterest, you will find all manner of designs for sampler quilts. A sampler gives you the chance to explore a range of blocks and sew them together into a finished quilt, or a cushion if you are less ambitious.

You can tie it all together with a colour scheme, or limit yourself to a theme lioke stars.

You can decide on one size for your block, or work it so that several sizes fit together.

As you can see here, you can even make it  into a book hanging, if you are clever enough to handle perspective at the same time.

One sampler deserves a group of pictures on its own, as the main “sampler” section is so small, as you can see from the picture of my hand:

This one is more like a series of panels:

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Review of Patterntrace Swedish Tracing Paper

I like the look of this stuff. Tracing paper on a roll, which stays flat when unrolled (which has to be a plus if it is true), and is strong enough to sew together to check the pattern works.

My bet is that it isn’t strong enough to allow you to unpick the stitching, so you would have to trace it again to use on your fabric.

But if you want to test the pattern, this would be a lot easier and cheaper than using any form of fabric for that first stage.

I will be giving it a try at some point. When I have a moment…

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Birds at the Festival of Quilts 2019

Today’s collection of pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, is about birds.

Those who follow this blog regularly will not be surprised to see several peacocks here. Well, I can’t help it if other people find them inspiring as well, can I?

And just look at the range of colours in the border of this one on the left. Isn’t that fab?

The dragon caught my eye for two reasons. Firstly, his “breath” is an unusual use of hexagons. And then, just look at how the body is made up. Random scraps to make up the body, with only a very general attempt to follow the shapes. Some carefully shaped black lines give shape to the tail, while the other plain black pieces give shape to the rest of it. Very clever

The pastel birds are very clever as well.

One other in this group needs singling out. I especially like this one. The same image is used with different combinations of the same colour palette, giving surprisingly different effects. But look at that quilting, with the colour of thread used for each feather’s thread being slightly different:

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Quilting taking centre stage at the Festival of Quilts 2019

An awful lot is written about patchwork, but sometimes the quilting is the most important part of the design.

These pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham show what a difference it can make.

The quilt on the left has a peacock that is almost entirely made of quilting.

Then there is the idea of having a multicoloured piece of fabric and quilting a variety of patterns over it:

The next example has some basic patchwork, but the quilting in different coloured threads pays little attention to the patterns made by the fabrics:

Then finally, here are some more that were dominated by their quilting. The cream one was awarded “Highly Commended” in its class. I overheard someone saying “If you have to put in that much work to get Highly Commended, what is the point?”

Which seems a little harsh…

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