Work-in-Progress Girl


Citrus Swap

So I was waiting until I heard back from my prize winners before announcing them here, but I haven’t heard back yet from the winner of my first prize, the $50 gift certificate which was provided by Pam at Mad About Patchwork. Hopefully she’ll get back to me soon – I want to be sure I had the right email address before sending her information along to Pam – no sense in emailing a gift certificate to a dead email address, right? (So Anne Simonot, if you’re seeing this, check your email!)


In any case, the winner of the second prize, the collection of Fat Eighths in greens, was Sabrina of Sabie Sews:


Belated birthday wishes to Sabrina too!

In other news, I recently finished up another Open Wide Zippered Pouch from the Noodlehead tutorial, this one with a citrus theme for an Instagram swap I participated in. I only just got it sent out yesterday (a day late, oops!), so it hasn’t arrived with its recipient just yet, but here’s what I made and sent:


The one thing I knew I wanted to do was to stitch the little Lime Slice Girl, who I’ve been calling Lulu Lemon-Lime (she started out as Liesl Lime Slice in my head, which I think is a better name, but I couldn’t remember how to spell Liesl – I had to look it up, but at the time I was posting on Instagram and didn’t want to leave the app to look up the spelling). This pattern by Cate Anevski was a free stitch-along pattern from August 2012 at Feeling Stitchy. I’ve had it saved for the last two years, just waiting for a reason to stitch it, and finally this swap came up with the perfect opportunity. The pattern leaves you with a lot of room for stitching interpretation and if you check out the August Stitch-along tag on Flickr, you’ll see some really cool variations, including a passionfruit version, from which I took inspiration for the laid stitches in the skirt.

I wish I’d taken more close-up photos of the stitching, but it was starting to rain when I was photographing this zipper pouch and I didn’t want to hold up my sending it off any longer than I had to.

Lulu Lemon-Lime

As always, I’m obsessed by doing the split stitch (my back stitch just never looks as nice!), so there’s a lot of that in there. I filled in the dark green layers of the skirt with three or four tightly packed rows of chain stitch, and then I loosened it up quite a bit and did the same thing to fill in the white pith on the skirt. Her mouth and nose is done with back stitch (and it doesn’t look very good) and then the eyes… well, I’m not sure what I’d call that stitch. It’s basically just three straight stitches worked in (almost) the same hole, with another straight stitch in yellow to represent the eyelashes. I was having issues doing proper eyelashes, so this was my solution because I was afraid of damaging the Essex fabric by stitching and picking out and stitching and picking out the eyelashes over and over again. The laid stitches in the skirt are pretty crappy looking – I kept changing my mind about how I wanted it to look, so I’d done it in all green to begin with, but then I added (and removed and added and removed) yellow in various different configurations. Eventually I picked out all the yellow I’d added and then just put an extra layer on top of the existing green laid stitches. If I’d planned it out a little better, I’d have stitched them both at the same time, with a strand or two of each colour in the same needle, so that the yellow wouldn’t float on top of the green quite so much. On the other hand, I really like my winging it version of a stitched braid in the hair. I did the yellow first, just taking criss-crossing stitches in varying lengths trying to create the shape of the braid. I stitched right on top of it with the orange, filling in the shape wherever it looked a bit empty; I think it turned out pretty well.


I didn’t want the whole front of the pouch just to be that oatmeal coloured Essex linen blend, so I added the grey on either side (it was an accidental find – I was going to just patchwork some lemon-lime panels with squares of various fabrics, but then I stumbled over the grey, which I thought would be great for the lining, until I realized it was too small a piece of fabric. It turned out great for either side of the stitched panel (except it made me wish I’d stitched on grey linen rather than oatmeal!) and then I added the green Anna Maria Horner print for something like grass under Lulu’s feet, with the ric-rack just for extra interest. The lining was the perfect print to go with the colour scheme.


I only have this one bad photo of the back (rain!), which is pretty plain. The stitching was just me trying to use up some of the leftover bits of cut thread from the stitching on the front (hence the different colours in the top and bottom rows). It’s very… rustic. The background fabric is more of the same Essex linen. I just machine stitched the hexies onto the linen (and did a slightly appalling job of it – I’m still getting used to the new Juki machine and don’t have great control over where things are lining up with the needle). I made the bag an inch taller than recommended because the stitch was a little tall and I wanted to be sure there’d be some visible “grass” under her feet, but you really notice in this photo how off the proportions are – I really should have widened it out by an inch to compensate.


We always fill up the pouches a bit with various different things. I was hoping to get something else made, but my plans fell apart, so instead I loaded it up with a little extra candy (originally I was only going to include the orange marzipan bar and some grapefruit TicTacs, which nobody in my house will admit to opening, but nevertheless were partially eaten… perhaps by the world’s most clever, invisible mouse?): some orange gummy candies, lemonade gummies, the aforementioned orange marzipan, and (because I’m ever so clever) Moda Candy.


Lemon, lime, orange…


And then the rest of the crafty goodies. Some fabric – I’ll post another photo of all the scraps in the bundle on the left – including a bunch of citrus-coloured dot and gingham charm squares, three rolls of citrus-coloured washi tape (the orange one is a different brand from the other two, hence the size difference), a roll of grapefruit coloured baker’s twine, and to appease my sister who is annoyed with me for buying more floss instead of just finding a way to use what we’ve got… I included all the remnants of the floss I used on the Lulu Lemon-Lime stitch.


This is the bundle of fabric scraps. Some of them are just off-cuts from the fabrics I used in the construction of the pouch. The others are all just scraps straight from my scrap bin that I thought were in appropriate colours. They’re not terribly visible, but Mari-Ann/RockIslander who hosted this swap sent me the little chicken fabric just so that I could turn around and send it to my swap partner. Sweetest person ever 😀 And finally, the yellow on top of the centre column of fabric is a print from Leah Duncan’s Maya line, which my partner once upon a time was looking for. That was a long time ago, so she’s probably found all she needs by now, but I included it specifically because I knew she liked it. My partner seemed to be pretty quiet in the various places I knew to find her online, so I’m really hoping that what I made for her will appeal.

In any case, in spite of my ability to find flaws in pretty much everything I do, I really do love how his pouch turned out.



30/30 Challenge – Week Two

So the sewing for 30(plus) minutes a day thing is going over pretty well! Unfortunately, I spent most of my time working on the same project, so it’s not a very exciting show and tell for the week:

More Radiant Orchid

It is done now, though, so it should be more interesting from here on out! But yes, this is my Pantone Quilt Challenge project… but I’m still keeping it under-wraps, a bit, because I want to stage my photos a little bit and I need to either do it at work (where I have access to some props, and thus I need to do it in the middle of the night while no one is there to wonder WTF I’m doing and why they’re paying me to do it) or I need to buy one prop in particular and bring it home and do it on a sunny morning. So.. all you get to see still is some rows of stitching and my four finished corners. I love when stitching binding and you round that last corner and there’s just a few more inches of binding to go. Best part of a project.

I also stitched up another two blocks for the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong:

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I LOVE this block. (I don’t love the wrinkling, though.)

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I had a slightly more frustrating time with this block – it just wanted to wrinkle all over the place and the corners wouldn’t line up and it drove me slightly made in general. But I’m trying to just let it go! It won’t be horrible in the finished quilt, it’ll just be another block.

I’m still two blocks behind and I was going to stitch them up on Monday, but I got distracted by the prospect of making a sample drawstring bag for the 4S Swap (Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap) on Flickr. I had some purple fabric in a heap near my sewing table (rejects from early in the Pantone Quilt Challenge process) and really, really wanted to use that Anna Maria Horner fabric from Dowry:

Drawstring Bag

It’s such an easy little project to make, and I think every single one I’ve seen has looked great. I added a little flange to mine to emphasize some of the blue in the print and to tie it all in to the lining fabric. It might have been a slightly brighter blue than it needed to be — the perils of choosing fabrics in a mostly dark/ill-lit room — but I love it anyway. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this bag, probably I’ll give it away eventually, but making it was all for my enjoyment, and I did.

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and 30/30 Sewing Challenge at Berry Barn Designs and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Berry Barn Designs Sew Fresh Quilts


Brown Paper Packages, Tied Up With Strings…

Sorry for putting that song in your head. The instant I opened the box this came in, that song sprung to mind and I haven’t been able to shake it since:

Brown Paper Packages...

I shopped at Warp and Weft for the first time ever a week or so ago. As quilt stores go, I found the website a touch sluggish, but their product a cut above. By which I mean they have a few of the standard big name lines that are out right now, but they also sell a number of very unusual but really wonderful lines that I’ve never really seen anywhere else. They have an embroidery section with some really lovely Sajou products that you don’t tend to stumble over in your average shop either. I really like finding a shop that veers off a little from the standard path because it really opens up other options you might never otherwise find. And a lot of what you’ll see inside the brown paper package are things that are unusual choices for me, colours and combinations that I tend not to gravitate towards, but which really appealed to me somehow.

Fabric Stash

Purples, blues, and browns, all stacked so neatly into place. And one rogue bit of linen that just stumbled (ahem) into my shopping cart.

Sajou linen in Sepia

It’s a much stiffer linen than I’m used to working with. It’s true I’ve mostly used Essex linen lately, which is a cotton/linen blend, but even the real linens I’ve used haven’t been as stiff as this. I’m not sure if it’s starched up with sizing or if that’s its natural feel, but I think it’s going to be really lovely to embroider on regardless. And LOVE that colour.


And then three kind of random half metres of fabric I picked up. The Anna Maria Horner one is such a strange print and I waver back and forth between liking it and hating it, so finally I bought it so I can stare at it for a while and decide what I really think. (Right now I’m falling in the “My god, it’s really kind of ugly” camp, but I’m still attracted to it, somehow, so who knows.) The other two really were quite random – they seemed to be very unusual fabrics and they’re colours I don’t often buy. They’re designed by Dan Bennett for his Ruby collection. The purple print is just so fascinating and sort of strange – you’ll look at it and think something looks like a peacock, but it’s just random fringe attached to random waves, there are bits that remind me of owl eyes, and other things that feel like underwater life-forms. I don’t know, there’s something very dream-like and fantastic (in the fantasy sense, not the ‘hey that’s awesome’ sense) about it. The lime one just attracted me by it’s colour and those little orangey-red specks.

A quilt kit for the Hexagon pattern up top

The largest part of my purchase was a quilt kit, using the Rosalie quilt Sewing Card by Valori Wells. The bottom row of fabrics are quarter yards (or metres, probably, I didn’t measure them) including Anna Maria Horner’s Sundials and Feathered prints, Plankton from Dan Bennett’s Ruby line, and the remaining three (the purple, brown, and teal floral) are from the Bromley collection by Victoria & Albert Museum for Rowan Fabric. The middle row of fabrics are half yards, including several of Dan Bennett’s Ruby fabrics – Tattoo (purple), Helix (lime), Coral (the off-white with multi-coloured bits), and Feathers (jade, far right) – and a couple more Anna Maria Horner prints – Cell Structure (light purple background) and Mind’s Eye (pink on navy). The background fabric is that kind of taupe brown on the left and the backing fabric is Divinity in Brown from the Bromely collection.

These aren’t really a combination I would normally gravitate toward, brown, blue, and purple with splashes of lime and pink, but I was drawn to it. I don’t generally buy quilt kits – I’ve never made a single one I’ve bought (and I’ve got three that I can think of off the top of my head!) so I’ve started staying away from them. But yeah, this one caught my eye. I’m excited to try out it. Here’s hoping this crazy mix will come together into something interesting!

Rando FQ

The last thing in the box was this Fat Quarter, also from the Bromley collection, which was a gift included with purchases made in September. (Was it their 1 year anniversary maybe? I don’t recall.) Anyway, it’s not something I’d have normally picked out, but maybe I’ll include a little of it when I finally make that hexagon quilt – it’d fit right in!

Linking up with Sunday Stash from Finding Fifth, hosted this week by Emily at Sew E.T.:
Finding Fifth


Two Owl Stuffies and a Receiving Blanket

Two Owl Stuffies   Flannel Receiving Blanket

Well, this entry is a very, very long time coming – I made these back in March, I think. I know I finished the owl in the foreground on March 9, but I don’t know how long it took to get the rest of it finished. Anyway, they were for a baby gift for Jennifer at Quiddity Quilts, for her son who was born earlier this year (April? I forget that too!) and her daughter.

Owl Stuffies

I don’t do a whole lot of sewing outside of the quilting arena and I always feel a little bit adrift when I try to follow patterns and make things, so I made the first owl (the one in front) as a practise piece, which would be given to Jenn’s daughter, if I thought it turned out. The pattern, available here, comes from Patty Sloniger of Beck and Lundy and is really simple to follow, fortunately. I made a couple tiny changes to the second owl, but on the whole I thought it turned out pretty well. (My changes were to sew the eyes on starting at the bottom of the eye, because they drifted north-ward on the first owl and I think they look better closer to the belly fabric, and to add a touch of stuffing to the wings and ears.)

I always tell myself that I’m not going to buy any fabric that isn’t quilting cotton (I never know what to do with the leftovers, and I always feel too guilty to throw them away – what a waste!), but I never manage to follow my own rules and I bought minkee for the belly/wings/ears, corduroy and velveteen for the backings, and wool felt for the eyes. (Probably I had the felt anyway – I like making ornaments! And I know for a fact that the grey beak felt was given to me by Ofenjen.) I still have enough of the corduroy, velveteen, and minkee to make another 3 or 5 owls!

Owl Stuffies - back

I used corduroy from Ann Kelle’s Remix line for the “boy” owl and velveteen from Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush line for the girl. I kind of love both lines, although I wish the print on the Innocent Crush fabric were a little smaller so I could have got more of the print in! (I fussy cut it so that a piece which sort of looked owlish to me was visible on the back.)

The other part of the gift was the receiving blanket. I’d planned to make two – they seemed so simple, just baste the voile and flannel together, round the corners if you wish, and bind – but hand-sewing voile binding to piece of voile is HARD. Sewing thin, slippery fabric to more thin, slippery fabric? Not easy. And then to NOT stitch through into the flannel? I’m sure it took me as long to bind that little bitty blanket as it took to do my last almost bed-sized quilt. (If I do it again – and I must because I’ve got spare voile and spare flannel in my sewing room! More non-quilting cottons! – I will stitch the binding to the flannel side and hope that it’ll be slightly easier to work with.) The idea for these blankets came from Anna Maria Horner, and her explanation is available here. (She doesn’t say too much more about methodology than I did though! It really is that simple. You’ll note her blankets have the bindings machine sewn, but I am not very good at that, so I never do it.)

When I sent it all off to Jen, I swaddled her son’s owl in the blanket, like so:

Swaddled Owl Stuffie

Isn’t it just the sweetest?

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Fabric Friday: Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush Velveteen Queen of Hearts in Plum

This is the first time I’ve bought velveteen before and it has such a nice feel. But I made a really foolish mistake that I ought to know better than to make at this point in my sewing life: check the scale of the print.

I bought this online (at, where it’s currently on sale) and their photo does have a ruler along the bottom for scale, but the picture was tiny and I wasn’t paying attention and I assumed the hearts were probably about 3-4 inches across/high. Well. Try seven. Yeah… oops.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to use this for what I intended. I might, maybe, be able to fussy cut the print into place so it doesn’t look too ridiculous, but I’ll almost certainly wind up losing most of the really beautiful plum/red colour. Well, I guess we’ll see.

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Two Voile Scarves

Two Voile Scarves by clumsy chord
Two Voile Scarves, a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

Well, this should be my last post for the year! I had hoped to get a Year in Review type post done as well, but I guess I’ll save that for 2012… Something else I’m saving for 2012? Twelve for Twenty-Twelve. But more on that another day.

This are my last finished items for the year, though they were finished quite a while ago. I can’t really remember when! I’d have to go back and watch my old TTMT videos to find when I talked about them, because I didn’t take any photos when I made them and they just sat in a heap on the futon in my sewing room for a couple months (or more?). I’d planned originally to give these away for Christmas gifts, one to my Grandma and one to my younger sister, but I changed my mind and gave them away in the last Sew Mama Sew give-away day.

Here’s how I came to make them: I’d found a pattern/tutorial somewhere online for making voile scarves, in which you used 9-inch by width of fabric pieces of two prints, sewed them right sides together (leaving a gap to turn it right-side out), and then top stitched to finish off. Possibly the simplest scarf pattern ever!

I went looking for pretty voiles and decided on these two pretty Anna Maria Horner prints. The one on the left is the Forest Hills print in Sea from the Little Folks line, and on the right is Pastry Lines… in what I think is Sea. I’d hoped they’d match, and they did, but I didn’t like how the prints showed through when I used them together, so I wound up making one scarf from each print, rather than two scarves from a combination of the prints.

In any case, they’re about 52 inches long and 8 inches across, which means they’re actually a little too short to use as scarves – the drape is too stiff (even with buttery soft voile) for the ends to hang neatly. I guess I should have weighted the ends somehow – some kind of dangly fringe? – or tapered the ends so that they’d hang more neatly. In any case, my general dislike of the draping issue kept me from giving them away to family, but I needed to do something with them, so I gave them away to strangers instead! If they like, they could trim off the seams and use the resulting pieces of fabric in other projects or they could open the ends and add some sort of weight or add an extension to either end with a coordinating print or… I’m sure there are lots of things they could do! (Or, as some of the entrants to the give-away claimed, they might be just the right length for someone short.)

In any case, when I was writing up the entry for the give-away, I suddenly realized that I had exactly no photos of these scarves. And it was late and it was dark, so I tied them around the bar at the end of the futon, tucked a piece of un-ironed bright orange fabric behind them, took two very poor shots, and called it good. This was the best of the very small, very poor lot of photos. I wish I had something nicer so they’d look prettier in my “back catalogue” of finished items, but I guess you can’t have everything, right?


Giveaway Day! Post the first: Handmade Scarves

EDITED TO ADD: The giveaway is now closed, any additional comments will NOT be included in the draw. I will draw a winner and contact him or her tomorrow or Sunday. Thanks for all your great responses!

It’s Giveaway Day again at Sew, Mama, Sew! And for once I’m actually ready for it! I’m doing three give-aways, separated into two posts. This post is for scarves, handmade from some very lovely Anna Maria Horner voiles. The other give-away, for fabric charm squares, can be found here.

Both these scarves are made with double layers of voile and are about 8-inches wide and 52-in long. I’ll be honest and say that I find them slightly too short, and thus they don’t drape as nicely as they would at a longer length. However, you could always add some sort of weighted embellishments at the ends or perhaps simply trim off the seams and use the material in any way you choose ;D These scarves were made by me in my non-smoking, no pet home. The material was NOT pre-washed, so it may shrink a little in the wash. Or it may soften up a little and drape a little more neatly.

There will be two winners from this post, and here is how to enter.

1. Leave a comment!
2. In your comment, tell me where you’re from and which of the two scarves you prefer (white or blue).

I will be writing names/locations on slips of paper and drawing the winners myself. There will be one international winner (international, for me, means outside of Canada) and one Canadian winner, so don’t forget to let me know where you’re from! The winner in the first draw (for the Canadian) will be given their choice of scarf. Hopefully whoever gets the second scarf will be happy with it whether it was his/her favourite or not!

You can enter your name (once only please) between now and December 16, and I will make the draw on Sunday, December 18. Best of luck, and enjoy all the new blogs you stumble across this week! I think that’s always my favourite part of Giveaway Day, finding so many interesting new people.


Fabric Friday: Anna Maria Horner’s Flower Go Round

It’s been half an age since I last did a Fabric Friday post, so finally here is one again. This fabric was a remnant in a scrap pack I bought from Hawthorne Threads (they’d had a sale) and, well, I don’t really like it.

I’m so very hit and miss with Anna Maria Horner’s prints. I bet the next time I go looking around the quilting groups on Flickr, I’ll find a half dozen quilts with this very print involved, and I’ll think it’s fabulous. Somehow it just doesn’t speak to me on its own, though.

Which is why I’m offering this up to someone who wants it! Leave a comment here, and next Monday I’ll do a draw to see who gets it. (And if nobody wants it, I’ll just add it to my bag of Fabrics To Get Rid Of, which maybe someday I’ll actually get rid of…)

Anyway, it is flannel, which feels utterly delicious, and it’s about 12″ by width of fabric. I’m not at all sure what to do with a strip like that of flannel, but maybe someone reading will collect the stuff?

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Fabric Friday: Innocent Crush

Anna Maria Horner is a very well loved fabric designer, and when I look at her prints I often wonder what on earth I’m missing. Because I don’t like her fabric. I look at this collection and I see garish on the left and bland on the far right. And the only print I really unabashedly love is the blue one second from the right on the top row, and I like the one just to its left and the purple versions just below. The rest? Meh.

And yet.

And yet, I own these fabrics. In fat quarters only, I didn’t buy more, but I still own them, because when I see them in use… god are they fantastic. I think of, say, this quilt from Film in the Fridge. Or this diamonds quilt from from the blue chair, which uses both palettes from the Innocent Crush line. Or this disappearing nine-patch from A Little Red Ribbon. Or deconstructed down to a postage stamp quilt.

I love all those quilts (and several others besides, which I wish I would have marked as favourites on Flickr back when I’d seen them) even though none of the fabrics really speak to me on their own. I think AMH has a great sense for colours, even when I don’t like the way she’s put them together, because once they’re in use, they somehow turn into something better than they are on their own.

Another designer like that (for me, obviously) is Jay McCarroll, in particular his recent line Habitat. If you look at the swatches here, I’d be hard pressed to say I really like any of them. The green leaf print is fine, and the dots are fine. But put into use? Wow, is it ever a fun line. Look at this postage stamp/pixel quilt (which is helped of course by that gorgeous green and the pink binding) or this garden fence beginning or Oh, Fransson‘s Mod Sampler take on it. I’m doing my best not to buy fabric I don’t need right now, but the new quilts I’m seeing using this line makes me want to buy it for someday, just in case.

(I wish I knew how to make those mosaic things people often do for blogs, so I could have put the pictures in small at least directly on here, but I got bored trying to figure it out the one time I went looking for info. First world problems. Maybe someday.)

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Fabric Friday: Mish-Mash

Fabric Friday: Mish-Mash by clumsy chord
Fabric Friday: Mish-Mash, a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

A mish-mash of fabrics for Fabric Friday. This was a sight-unseen grab-bag of “fresh” coloured fabrics I bought from Hawthorne Threads, which is one of my favourite places online to buy fabric. I’ve always liked the majority of what I’ve gotten in the scrap bundles (which are made of scrap pieces and bolt ends and random fat quarters and so on), but there’s not a print in this group that I actually care to use.

Most of it I don’t recognize, but the pink print on the far left is an Anna Maria Horner voile from the Little Folks line. The sunglasses are an Echino print, on a linen/cotton blend, which I don’t like working with. The one print I really like is the bird print next to the Echino, which is Starling from Alexander Henry (but I still can’t see myself using it). I like the colours in the Robert Kaufman print from Vera’s Garden (which is to the right of the Starling fabric), but again I can’t see myself using it. And the novelty camper vans are neat, but again not something I’m likely to use.

I’ve had this sitting around while I thought about what to do with it. I think I’m going to split this into two bundles and then when I hit my 50th Talk to Me Tuesday video (I just did #45, so 5 to 10 weeks away), I will do a give-away with two winners.