Thursday, 17 July 2014

Quilted hottie cover finished and on its way

I got an email from Lisa of Big Little the other day reminding me that as soon as school's back in session next week (we're on school holidays at the moment), kids in Christchurch will be getting the hottie covers that were made as part of this year's Hottie Project.

For my contribution to the project, I used Adrianne's awesome quilted hottie cosy tutorial but must confess it didn't go as smoothly as it should have. When I first sewed it up, it was way too short to fit a hot water bottle inside. No doubt, I either used the wrong seam allowance (very possible), I didn't tape the pieces together properly (could be) or TDSH didn't print the pattern at the full size (highly likely). I thought I'd have to start all over again, but I took a stab at splicing in a new strip of fabric, batting and lining into the already quilted cover and it totally worked! Love it so much, I just might have to make another one for myself!

With school holidays on at the moment Abner and I have been galavanting around town and having a great old time. We've gone skating several times, hit the art gallery to play with 150 000 pieces of Lego, discovered an awesome new inflatables place in town, gone to a few plays and a few movies, enjoyed countless cups of coffee and even took a train ride with a bunch of friends. We've also tried our hand at cheese making and are quickly becoming expert loom band makers (managed the starburst pattern on my very first try! *fist pump*)

The weather has even been cooperating for the most part (a rarity in Dunedin). I managed to spend two whole days last week in our yard getting it all tidied and ready for spring. It's the middle of winter and I was gardening in a t-shirt! I even had to mow the lawn! Let me remind you that it's the equivalent of January back home. Can't say I've ever had to mow the lawn in January before.

Abner even lost her first tooth today so it's been a memorable holiday all around.

Whatever you're up to these days, I hope you're all having as much fun as we are!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Outtakes: Interweave Chambray Quilt

Finally getting around to sharing a few pics of my latest quilt here with you all. These are the outtakes from the photos I took to go with my latest post over on imagine gnats. You can read all about my love for this quilt and even a bit about how I do those hand stitched circles over there.

I've been much more productive of late than it would appear here on the blog. This quilt is only one of two that I finished in the last two weeks of June. I also have a hot water bottle cozy to share from earlier in June as well as a rug project that's well on its way to completion that I can't wait to show you. Finding time to sit and write a proper post is getting harder and harder these days. I do tend to post more regularly on Facebook and Instagram if you'd like to follow along there. I'm also a bit of a Pinterest addict as well if you're so inclined.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

DIY: Draft snake

Living in a 100+ year old house has its advantages. Drafts are not one of those advantages. Case in point: my studio door. Look at that gap...Look. At. That. Gap...did I mention it's an outside door and that's sunlight you're seeing?! I'm pretty sure a small child could shimmy their way under that door.

Well, maybe it's not that wide, but look, I can almost completely fit my hand underneath. Running the heater is pretty much futile if you have a gap this size under the door. Mostly I huddle by the warmth of my iron in a vain attempt to keep warm while I'm out there. Today, I could see my breath!

Making up a few draft snakes has been on the to-sew list since the day we moved into this house. It wasn't until the past week that I finally got the job done. Just in the nick of time - we've already had one snow day.

Already, we can feel the difference though, so it's totally worth it. You can heat your house all you want but if there's a draft, you're just wasting your time and money.

The fabric I went with is an organic cotton that's a bit heavier than standard quilting cotton. I've used rice to fill the draft snakes and was shocked at how much each one holds - 13 cups for the one in the studio! I've nearly gone through a 10kg bag of rice just making three snakes!

With this design, one end closes with Velcro so the snake can be emptied and washed if needed. The Dear Sweet Husband had the pleasure of accidentally stepping on one in the house and the Velcro busted open spilling rice EVERYWHERE. Might want to keep that in mind if you make your own. Here are the instructions if you want to take a stab at it:


  • Fabric cut to 11" by the width of your door plus 3"
  • 5-1/2" strip of Velcro (at least 1/2" wide)
  • Rice...oh, so much rice! You'll probably need 13-15 cups or so.


  1. Fold one of the short ends of your fabric over twice making a 3/4" hem. Press. Stitch the folded edge in place.
  2. Find the centre point of the hemmed short edge by folding your fabric in half length-wise. Mark the centre point on what will be the inside of the snake.
  3. Separate your Velcro strip and pin each half just to either side of your mark. Stitch in place.
  4. With right sides together, align and pin the edges of your fabric. Stitch along the short and long edge (obviously, not the hemmed short edge).
  5. Turn the snake right side out and fill with rice.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Umbrella Prints entry: The scatter pillow

The Umbrella Prints Trimmings Competition is happening, people! It's the fifth year running and this year I'm taking a stab at winning the fame and glory!

Each year, Australian textile house Umbrella Prints challenges creative folk to grab one of their trimmings packs and create something original using their luscious fabrics. They then pin everyone's entries onto Pinterest and let the voting public decide on the popular winner. They also have a panel of lovely (I'm sure) and most talented (no doubt) industry judges that will ultimately decide the grand prize winner who will receive not just prestige and honour, but also $500 - and even better - FABRIC!

For my entry, I snagged one of the Umbrella Prints mixed trimmings packs and set out with absolutely no plan in mind. Seriously...I just sat there and stared at all the yummy fabric for AGES before finally cutting into any of it. In the end, I went with teeny, tiny half-square triangles which I tried to mix and match as randomly as possible to create a block that finished about 12" square. What I wound up creating is a random pattern that looks like an abstract representation of Texas (I can't be the only one that sees that, can I?)

Once my block was finished, I had no idea what to do with it...and then I spotted a long-forgotten pillow form tucked under my desk. And thus, my scatter pillow was born and I had my entry for the competition (plus a really comfy pillow, too!)

The competition is based on comments over on the Pinterest competition board, so please, please, pretty please, pop on over there and comment on (and re-pin) my pillow once voting starts on 1 June. I'd be ever so grateful!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a few pics as I worked on this project a few weeks ago. In case you didn't see them, here you go! I really love that one with all the HSTs piled up and neatly pressed.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Tutorial: Quilted tea cozy

I've got a quick and easy quilted tea cozy tutorial up on imagine gnats today (or, actually, I guess it was yesterday - I've been busy, okay?!) It even got picked up on as well! Woo hoo! The design was originally concocted for a recent charity auction and I loved it so much I wanted to make another one to keep and thought others might like to make one of their own.

Speaking of sewing for a good cause, have you seen that the Hottie Project 2014 has just kicked off on the Big Little blog? I've been following Lisa's blog since just after last year's project and I was so bummed to miss out the first time around. So excited to start making a few hottie cozies! I'm sure Lisa won't mind me sharing her own words about the project:
It started with a simple idea... and after an incredible response last year from kind and generous crafters around New Zealand (and the world!) we are excited to launch "The Hottie Project 2014"

With your help, we are hoping we can make winter a little cosier and warmer for a bunch of lovely children by creating a BIG stack of lovely warm hottie covers to keep Christchurch children cosy this winter. 
The cozies are due at the end of June so there's plenty of time to get sewing if you'd like to participate, just pop on over to the Big Little blog for all the details or click the button below. They even provide tutorials and templates if you don't know where to begin!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Around the house: Sewing studio (again)

I seem to move house a lot. That means I have occasion to share photographs of my sewing space quite often. Today, I bring you the most recent incarnation as photographed by my talented friend and colleague, Mel. She needed pics for a photography class she's doing and I hadn't taken any of my new studio just yet so it was a win-win.

Over the years my sewing spaces have varied: a walk-in closet, a mere bedside table, an entire bedroom, a small space masquerading as a bedroom and now, my very own sleep-out. For those of you not familiar with the term, a sleep-out is a detached room separate from the main house. They're fairly common around these parts and usually they house guests, are used for storage or may be rented out as a bedroom. Mine is just for sewing and I love every bit of it...except for the complete lack of insulation and the 1-inch gap under the door that lets in a wicked draft...that, I could do without.

Can we all appreciate for a moment that these next pics shows that I do indeed own and iron...I know how to use it even...yet I am wearing the wrinkliest shirt known to man. Sigh. My mother is cringing as she see these pics, I can assure you.

The last time I posted pictures of my sewing room, people on Pinterest were quick to say that there were probably piles of crap hidden away in other rooms for the photo shoot, or that there's no way my room can stay this neat all the time. Neither is true. The only thing I took out of this room before Mel showed up were a few empty beer bottles and all the cut pattern pieces leftover from Selfish Sewing Week. I have yet to find the perfect storage solution for that sort of thing so, for now, they do usually lay out on the floor. But, yes, most of the time, my space stays this neat and tidy. The pegboard helps, as does being just a little bit OCD. Ahem.

Let me just point out that wee little cross-stitch hanging on the wall in this last pic. It says, "Kim's Room" and I've had it since forever. It used to hang on my bedroom door as a little girl and now I put it up wherever I have my sewing space because it's a space just for me! Say it with me now, "awwww!"

Big thanks to Mel for taking such lovely photos and letting me put them up on the blog!
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