New Year…..New Design ideas!

It is a new year, the sales have encouraged you to buy more fabric and you are ready to start a new project. Do you now wonder what to do? Are you stuck for ideas? Would you like to design an art quilt? Well it isn’t too difficult. If you have an art program on your computer and you have some photos that you have taken which you find inspiring then why not spend an evening having fun and creating pictures that can be used as the basis for a piece of work.

I took this picture of apples and played around with it in Photoshop. But any art package will do similar stuff.

apples small

plastic wrap small

In the picture above I used a plastic wrap image which gave me some interesting textures without losing the shape of the apples. In the picture below I distorted the picture and changed the shape of it giving me an interesting background at the same time.

distort polar coordinates-smaller small

apple group liquify-smaller small

Here the apple picture was posturised and this not only distorted the picture but lost the apple shape while still retaining the individual apples merged together. This one was one of my favourite effects and I think one could do a lot with this picture.

However I ended up working this picture which combined a bit of all of the above pictures. I had a piece of hand-dyed cotton fabric which I used as a background to represent the table and then I cut out and placed apple shapes on top of the background. I then layered these with nets and machine stitched over the shapes to make the three dimensional effect that you see. Having machined in different coloured threads I then did some hand stitching in a bold wool to outline the apples and add interest and to accent the reflections of the apples in the polished table top.  This makes an interesting and lively wall hanging and wasn’t difficult to do once I had outlined the design I was going to follow.  Why don’t you do something similar. It is great fun!

finished piece small

 

Written by Val

Reasons to be quilty!

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Looking at all the lovely new fabrics from Moda in the shop I thought this Regent Street Lawn would make up into quilts very similar to the one I made below. This one was based on the Drunkard’d Path block and was very easy to do. I used hand-dyed fabrics in plain and multi colours with featured Liberty Lawn fabric but the lovely Regent Street lawns, which one could be forgiven for thinking  are Liberty Lawns,would be ideal for something along the same lines!

full view quilt small

The Drunkard’s Path block isn’t difficult and by altering the size of the patches one can have fun creating a stunning quilt which has an updated modern look about it!

large liberty fabric ball small

Using an attractive print like this gives the viewer the idea that the circle is complete with no joins but in actuality it is in four quarters thought the seams don’t stand out!

mid view small

By varying the size of the blocks and using plain squares between them helps the pattern of the quilt to stand out and stipple quilting on the plain squares makes a strong statement.  The circle idea has been continued on the drunkard’s path blocks with quilted petals in each patch.

Using the Regent Street lawns and toning plains and batiks one could make a stunning quilt with lots of character.  A new project for 2015 perhaps?

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Written by Val

No Sew Ribbon Roses!

satin ribbons 1

There is a really wide selection of ribbons at the Sewing Studio. Both satin and fancy and metallic ribbons are available as well as silk ribbons.

satin ribbons

Why not make some no sew ribbon Roses! They are really easy to do and so effective when finished.

two finished roses in vase

To make the roses follow the steps below. You will want a metre of wide ribbon for each rose plus a length of wire. I used 12″ of wire per rose but this will depend on how tightly you are able to twist it. Take a length of wire and push it through one end of the ribbon and then fold over as shown below.

picture 1

Holding the wire  in the right hand twist the ribbon six times and then bind the layers of ribbon with a second length of wire.

picture 2

Now hold the ribbon in your left hand and the wire in your right. Fold the ribbon over towards you to form a right angle and twist it around the stem. Continue twisting until the fold is covered and then bind the base of the ribbon again.

picture 3

Continue in this way until most of the ribbon is used up. Now instead of folding the ribbon over and forming a right angle fold it in a loop and bind to the stem wire. Do several until there is a single tail of ribbon which you will bind with the wire.

picture 4

picture 6

Now take a length of green ribbon and lay it up and down the stem as shown below. Bind wire around the green ribbon.  (in the picture the green ribbon is beige!)

picture 7

Now twist the green ribbon tightly around the stem until the whole of the wire stem is covered.  Fold the end of the wire up and twist using a pair of pliers if necessary to get a tight twist which will hold the green ribbon in place.  Your rose is now finished. Use and enjoy!

Red rose finishedchiffon rose

Chiffon ribbons make lovely roses too! And a thinner stem can be achieved by using very narrow ribbon. Put in a vase with some real greenery these look quite delightful! Or they would make lovely corsages with a spray of greenery behind them.

 

Written by Val

Using Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs and Layer Cakes

These pre-cut fabrics are a boon to busy quilters. They come in beautiful ranges of colours and patterns and make up into colourful quilts, runners and throws.

jelly roll quilt1

The single bed quilt above was made from a Jelly Roll of  Avant Garden from Moda. This is a real mixed bag of fabrics as it ranges from large flowery prints to dots and checks. It lends itself to a very jolly and bright single bed quilt which would look good in a child’s bedroom!

charm packs and quilt charm pack quilt1

This throw was made from one Charm Pack of Moda’s batik fabrics. It is really attractive and was so easy to do!

layer cake quilt 1

This quilt was made from a Layer Cake of batik fabrics from Moda. It is such an effective way of quickly achieving a very sophisticated quilt. And the colours in this Layer Cake lend themselves to colour patterning in the quilt design.

DSCF6032 full xmas charm pack quilt

A Christmas themed Charm Pack could quickly be made up into a runner, cot quilt or throw and only takes a short while from start to finish.  This would make a wonderful gift for someone or even a Christmas present to yourself!

 

 

Written by Val

Warm and wonderful fleece!

Fleece is the name of a fabric which has a pile, often a deep pile and is used for making various items of apparel such as sports wear and jackets; home decor items such as throws and rugs; and quilted items. It is a joy to sew with as it doesn’t fray and because of it’s composition mistakes don’t show. Well not as much as they would on cotton!

Fleece is so lovely and cosy that it makes you want to snuggle up in it! There are so many lovely colours and patterns that one is spoilt for choice.  I like to use fleece for backings on quilts, especially cot quilts as  this makes them so tactile and warm for a baby or toddler.  Also a cot quilt could be made using the raggedy edge technique where the seams are on the outside of the work and are brushed to form a ragged edge.  flannels

Another use for fleece is to back table mats and table runners to stop them slipping on polished surfaces.  And with wadding between the fleece and the top fabric they give the article a solid feel which for table wear is good!

I have used fleece to make slippers and scarves and these are so quick to sew. Scarves can be turned out by the dozen they are so quick to make.  Cut the fleece the length you want the scarf to be by twice the width. Fold it in half lengthwise and seam the open edges together. Turn inside out and stitch across the ends sewing a fringe on if wished to add decoration.  So quick!  And patterns for simple slippers can be found on the internet for free. Just do a search for fleece slippers! Other good things to make with fleece are mittens to keep those fingers warm in the icy weather and hats.  There are so many free patterns on the internet that you will be spoilt for choice.

And with Christmas just around the corner use some of the Christmassy fleece to make stockings for the kids or Santa Sacks to hold all the presents!

Reindeer flannel

This is one of the Christmassy fleece fabrics and it is such fun!  I can see it made into a warm and cosy robe for a little one to wear on Christmas morning! And other mornings of course!  And this and the other fleeces in the shop would be ideal for making hot water bottle covers.  A quick way to make a cover is to take a piece of fleece and draw around the outside of your hot water bottle with chalk leaving an inch for seam allowance.  That will be the back. Now draw around again but when you have drawn half way up the sides from the bottom on both sides move the bottle up 4 inches and continue drawing the shape.  Now cut out both your shapes. One will be larger than the other. Cut the larger one across about 1/3 of the way down.  On these two cut edges make a hem and stitch with contrasting thread!  Now lay the first bottle shape out with the RS facing up.  Place the top of the second piece RS down onto this first piece and then lay the rest of the second piece down overlapping it with the top piece.  So you now have two pieces of fleece right sides together with an overlapped piece on one side.  Sew all the way around.  Turn inside out!  Now put the hot water bottle inside throught the lapped opening.  The lapped opening will fit over the bottle so that it is all enclosed. This is such a quick and easy method that you can make lots of them for Christmas presents.  And if you applique animal shapes or flowers onto the bottom of the front kids will love them. Another idea is to applique the initial of the person on the front and then everyone will know which is theirs!   And for the men in your life why not make them in tartan fleece. Tartan is all the rage at the moment so you can’t go wrong!

flannel tartan

And this tartan fleece would make lovely capes and body warmers too!  Or even a onesie!  If you haven’t used fleece before do try it as it is wonderful stuff.  Even a beginner to sewing can have fun with it!  By the time Christmas day arrives you can have a plethora of hand made goodies to give away! Or even to keep for yourself!

 

Written by Val

 

Still time to make for Christmas!

book

This booklet from Traplet publications is full of good ideas for making patchwork projects for Christmas.

book close up cover

There are twenty five projects which will provide something for all abilities. In fact they are so good that you will want to make them all. My favourites are in order; the Christmas cards, the Christmas Bunting, the Snow Angel and the Christmas Stars throw.  And with all the lovely Christmas fabric it will be hard to know which one to make first and what fabric to use.  I love the glitter fabrics as they make any project look good and used in conjunction with Christmas prints they are a sure winner.

book cards book bunting book angel book star quilt

These fabrics will make your mouths water!

colourful glitter fabric xmas layer cakes etcSanta Claus fabric etc

Have fun mixing and matching whether you are making Christmas sacks or stockings, table runners, card holders or tree skirts. And don’t forget all the trimmings that one can add such as beads, lace and ric rac!  There is still plenty of time to get them finished.  Have fun!

 

Written by Val

Books!

I love books; the more the merrier and I especially love books about quilting and patchwork.  They are so full of ideas and one doesn’t have to copy them exactly but use the basic idea to create one’s own beautiful quilt.

One of my favourtie books of all time is Patchwork, Quilting and Applique by Linda Seward. This is a magnificent book with all the basic techniques and full of ideas. A fantastic reference book!

Another book I find essential as a reference book is The Sewing Machine Accessory Bible by Wendy Gardiner. This is so useful when one comes across a machine foot or part and hasn’t a clue as to its usage!

The Sewing Studio has started to stock books and has some very interesting titles. Among them are Strip Therapy by Brenda Henning which is a book about using strips of fabric. Quilts for Baby by Ursula Reikes. A good book full of ideas for making gifts for babies and toddlers. Quilts, quilts, quilts by Diana McClun. This is a full guide to the art of quilt making and contains some very good quilt patterns. Scrap Quilting Strip by Strip by Kim Brackett. This is a good book to own as it is full of ideas for using up those scraps of fabric. There are several more and it is well worth having a look as there will be more coming in as well. I’m sorry not to have some pictures but this wretched program wouldn’t let me download them! Not good!  But they are all on view in the shop to tempt you to make even more quilts!

Written by Val

Your Sewing Machine – Part 2!

This week I will look at Janome and Brother sewing machines. Both well known names in the world of sewing and both producing good machines from top of the range models with embroidery attachments to budget machines which will cope with most basic sewing needs.

Janome XL601

The Janome Sewing Machine XL601 is a 30 stitch version of the popular DXL603 and has similar features and qualities offering reliable computerised sewing at an affordable price. It is selling for £329 and offers a lot for the money.

The Janome XL601 has 30 built in stitches including 3 styles of fully automatic buttonhole (square, round end and keyhole) and a reinforcing tack stitch. The LCD display makes it easy to see which stitch you’ve chosen as well as the stitch width and length, which are fully adjustable. A jam-proof, magnetic, top-loading, full rotary hook system eliminates the need for a removable bobbin case. The hook cover plate opens at the touch of a button, and the extra needle penetration power of the XL601 lets you sew across heavier fabrics & multiple layers. The extension table also detaches for free-arm sewing. This machine also features a seven piece feed mechanism, a drop feed facility, automatic needle threader, a slide speed control and comes complete with a dust cover.

Definitely a machine to look at closely. A very good machine for the quilter!

Janome MC5900

This machine is more expensive at £699 but offers a whole lot more! Check it out and save £100! Includes sewing table and quilting feet!

The Janome Memory Craft 5900QC ( Quilters Companion) is a machine made especially for quilters. It has over 500 stitches and a host of features that makes it the perfect machine for dressmaking and home furnishing as well as quilting!

It has an extra large, backlit LCD display with easy-to-follow icons. Previous Setting Recall, allows the MC5900QC to remember the last stitch that was sewn–even after the machine has been turned off.

The full rotary, horizontal, magnetic hook system provides whisper-quiet operation. And, automatic thread tension assures legendary Janome stitch quality.

Janome HorizonJanome 8200QC

I love this machine! It offers so much to make sewing easier and more fun! At £1199 there is a saving of £300 + Free Thread Kit Worth £199. Got to be good!  This machine is very easy to use and comes with an instruction book and an instruction DVD plus a very impressive array of accessories.

The sheer length of the arm space is impressive at 11″ ( 280mm ) .. ideal for large quilts, bridal dresses and those bigger home furnishing projects. As with all Janome sewing machines stitch quality is a priority. With a built-in AcuFeed system for precise fabric handling and an easy change needle plate to enhance straight stitch performance .. rest assured this machine offers spectacular stitch quality. And we’ve increased the stitch width to 9mm !

Shadow free lighting is provided by 5 bright white lights whilst quick and easy stitch selection can be made on the large touch screen or keypad. Choose from over 200 stitches including alphabets and numbers, and 7 styles of automatic buttonholes. Memorise a combination of these and save them for future use ! Patterns can be elongated up to 5 times standard length.

Other special features include an automatic needle threader, a speed controller to set your maximum sewing speed and a stop / start button if you choose not to use the foot control. It also has a needle up / down button which programmes the needle to either finish in the up position or in the fabric … great for pivoting on corners !

It has a lock stitch button to ensure every stitch pattern is locked off at the end and even an automatic thread cutter to trim your threads.

Brother VQ2

Brother VQ2 Quilter’s Sewing Machine.  This machine is now retailing at £1999 but offers a lot for the discerning quilter.

Express your creativity with the Innov-is VQ2 long arm sewing and quilting machine. The 11 1/4″ long arm is perfect for larger projects like coats and quilts.

 

• 11 1/4″ (285mm) Long arm sewing and quilting machine

• Large colour LCD touch screen

• Up to 1,050 stitches per minute

• Extra wide stitches up to 40mm

• ICAPS – Continuous Automatic Pressure System

• Pivot function

• Multi-directional feed

• Automatic electronic needle threading

• Independent bobbin winder

• Knee lift

 

Brother Innovis V7

This is a top of the range sewing and embroidery machine which sells for £4999 but there is one ex-display model on sale for £3799 which is a real bargain!

The New Brother Innov-is V7 Long Arm Sewing and Embroidery Machine. Create beautiful embroidery, quilting and home décor with this new machine. The Brother Innov-is V7 sewing and embroidery machine has a wide choice of 531 stitches for all your sewing needs, Select the right design or stitch for you from the selection of applications including utility, quilting decorative, appliqué, heirloom designs, crazy quilting designs, vintage designs, ‘I Love You’ designs, multi-directional sewing stitches and lots of new designs from large intricate patterns to simple monogram fonts.

If you can’t quite find the exact stitch you’re looking for, simply use the stitch editing feature to adjust the height, width and density of many of the built-in stitches, which can then be saved for future use. The Innov-is V7 also allows you to be creative and combine stitches for decorative projects, letters for sentences or even name labels and memories for those special projects for the loved ones.

 

The Brother Innov-is V7 boasts an extra-long arm that measures an impressive 11¼” (285mm) this gives you more space than ever. The extra-long arm gives a wider expanse of space for those extra-large quilting fashion and home décor projects.

Try it out for yourself! It is a truly fun machine to use and you will get great results!

Brother £3799

Whatever sewing machine you choose do get in the habit of cleaning it regularly and having it serviced! Doing this will lengthen the life of your sewing machine! Christmas is coming and what better gift than one of a new sewing machine! Speak to Santa Claus! 🙂

Written by Val

 

A girl’s (or man’s) best friend….her sewing machine! Part 1!

If you are like me then your sewing machine is your best friend and as such it is important that you have chosen the one best suited to your needs. Here at the Sewing Studio in Redruth we have an enormous selection of sewing machines and there is sure to be just the one for you!  At the moment there are lots of offers on and your dream machine might be cheaper than you think!  There are several new models in which are well worth looking at; especially the Pfaffs and Husqvarna machines.

long view machines machines to window

The machine you choose should be suited to the sewing you do. A quilter will have different needs to a dressmaker and an embroiderer will require more than both dressmakers and quilters.  And you might be all of these so your machine will require quite a few features to make it useful to you. On the website the information on each sewing machine is fully documented so that you can see at a glance what features each machine has.  Make a list of the things you would like a machine to be able to do and then as you read the very informative pages you can tick off the machines that most match your list!

The most important thing for anyone who does a fair amount of sewing of any description is that the machine has the facility to change the stitch width and length manually and these arn’t programmed in.  This might be useful for someone who does little sewing or isn’t very confident but is totally frustrating for the average sewer.

Another important feature in my book is the ability to drop the feed dogs. But then I am an avid free machinist and this might not be of importance to those who just want to sew a fine seam. However if you are starting out and wanting to learn and do as much as possible then bear this in mind because you might want this feature in the future.

Many machines are able to control the needle with an up or down needle feature. Especially useful for quilters and for doing applique. And also there is a thread cutting feature which is very useful especially when one wants both hands free.

My favourite brand of machine is Bernina. I love Bernina’s because they still retain the vertical bobbin which as far as I’m concerned  makes free machining so much easier.

Bernina QE750 Bernina QE550

These two machines are especially designed for quilters but would suit any form of sewing.

Bernina sewing machines have been one of the market leaders in the sewing machine world for many years. They are to the sewing machine world what Rolex is to the watch world or Rolls Royce is to the automotive world! Quality, classy, elegant, refined, sophisticated are the words that spring to mind. Bernina are offering a 7 year warranty on new machines bought before the end of 2014.

The Bernina QE550 is £1750 and it does all of this:

Automatic buttonhole

Manual buttonhole

Button sew-on program

Needle stop up/down

Reverse sewing

Mirror Image

Total number of stitches 187

22 Practical stitches

155 Decorative stitches (incl quilt stitches)

24 Quilting stiches

10 Buttonholes (inlc eyelet and button sew-on program)

4 Alphabets

Creative consultant

Character/stitch pattern combination view horizontal

Pattern repeat 1-9

And has a knee lift to leave your hands free for manipulating your fabric!

At the offer price of £2695 the Bernina 750QE has more options and is able to have an embroidery attachment added to it for an extra £900! Check it out!

Britannia machine

This little machine is at the other end of the price scale with an offer price of £449. It has a lot going for it for the money.  And an embroidery unit can be added for only £299.

It includes the following features:

One Step Button Hole

65 Different Stitches

Max Stitch Length 5.6mm Max Stitch Width 7mm

Handy Stop Start Button

LED Sewing Light

Drop Feed Mechanism For Free Motion Embroidery / Darning

Hard Cover

A very useful little sewing machine!

pfaff no number lotus fold up

As well there are new Pfaffs in stock and Elna Sewing Machines in store including the very popular Elna Lotus at the offer price of £649. This is Elna’s most popular machine!

This machine features the following:

COMPUTERISED WITH TWO TOUCH SCREENS

18 BUILT-IN STITCHES INCL AUTO 1-STEP BUTTONHOLES

JAM PROOF DROP IN BOBBIN

UNIQUE INTEGRATED POP-UP SPOOL SYSTEM

SOFT OPEN FLAPS WHICH FORM A CARRY CASE

FLAPS FORM EXTRA-LARGE SEWING AREA

MULTI STORAGE OPTIONS

CENTRALISED NEEDLE BAR FOR SEWING STABILITY

AUTO THREAD CUTTER

AUTO NEEDLE THREADER

NEEDLE UP/DOWN FACILITY

SPEED CONTROL

LOCK STITCH FEATURE

START / STOP BUTTON

CONVERTIBLE FREEARM

In my next write up for the blog I will have a look at Brother and Janome sewing machines plus some of the other delights in the sewing machine world including accessories.  With Christmas coming up put a new sewing machine on your present list. I’m sure Santa will oblige!  🙂

 

Written by Val

Now is the time to start knitting before the weather gets really cold!

Now is the time to get out those knitting needles and start knitting!  There are some lovely new wools at the Sewing Studio including  Alpaca Tweed and Super Chunky Stripey wool.  And some fantastic patterns to go with the wools.

more patterns for super chunky

I am not a great knitter but I think even I could knit up the cowl scarf in the Super Chunky wool shown here. What a useful item this would be for anyone’s wardrobe. And Super Chunky also comes in lovely stripey shades like those shown below.

Super chunky stripes on shelf

And these with wonderful patterns to go with them.

orange stripey patterns orange stripey2

There is even a free pattern on the otherside of the wrapper if you are stuck for ideas. I love the way the wool knits up into stripes without any counting or other effort and being chunky wool it knits up fantastically quickly!  And as well there are lots of patterns for all the wools stocked in the shop.

patterns in window shelves of wool

I’ve enjoyed making bobbles with this delicious Twinkle wool. This has a glitter thread woven into it and makes lovely crochet doileys and bobbles as well as more conventional knitted garments.  It is ideal for Christmas projects!

Twinkle with bobbles

Have a knitting good time! 🙂

Written by Val