Finally, paper not fabric! GelliBird

Sorry WOYWWers! Didn’t realise the link was stored from another Mr. Linky. Click the banner to go to the most recent post, till Julia sorts it.
I was tidying up in my office this morning and I came across a few Gelli prints that didn’t make it into my Gelli book.  They were either mis-printed so the prints overlapped, or the ones on the back weren’t lined up carefully, or they had too much white at the edges.  I must have made a conscious decision not to use them but had the sense not to just toss them in the bin – very unlike me!

I also spied the book I love, One Piece of Card, and had a quick flip thru.  You may recall I grabbed that from Alibris, the used book seller, online for a few £s.  It continues to inspire me.  I found a bird I had not yet made and it fit the spare Gelli prints perfectly.  I was looking at the prints, and looking at the bird, and one of my fave books, The Wind-up Bird Chronicles, popped in to my head.  That was all I needed to spur me on to make my GelliBird.


He makes me smile, and will sit on my window sill, to remind me there is more to my creative life than stitching, much as I am enjoying it.

I dragged out some very old supplies, like the metal letter tiles that I swear I have not even LOOKED at for 5 years. It’s a bit of a visual … is pun the right word?  … that the eye is a C, as in SEE.


I also used a little image from The Graphics Fairy.  I actually cut a chunk of a Gelli print and ran it thru my printer. stuck to a plain piece of paper, to print the image right on it.  I did hit it with the heat gun just to se the ink, but I am not sure that was even required, as it didn’t seem to smear at all.


The Time 2 Play text used quite a few of the tiles – maybe one day I will use them all up – and the choices where not necesarily the ones I would have made had I a full set, so I am not mad keen on it, but needs must, as they say.


A little hidden something is a trio of 2p pieces used as counterbalances, to the right side of the base to make sure the bird edge you can just see here at the left stays raised off the desk. and behind the clock circle.

He makes me smile and I enjoyed playing with paper and stamps and ink as much as I have been enjoying my sewing.  My play mat is just nearly done, just the binding to hand-stitch, and should finish up quick now the clocks have changed and there is longer daylight.  My eyes are NOT what they used to be when it comes to focusing on tiny stitches.  Remember I said I found seven more squares?  Nope.  Four were the final row and I forgot that.  So with only 3 extras that takes it back to a 36×36 play mat size.  Oh well. To be honest, I will possibly have 4 or more quilts done in the next few weeks so I may see if Jo will accept them hand delivered to the WOYWW crop rather than mail them.  That way I can put off making the bags for a little longer…. LOL!

Now, I have more tidying to do, more stitching, and a massive roast to cook for Easter dinner.  Where does the time go?


WOYWW 199 – quilting again

I know I said I was going to be making bags for the already completed quilts but in the end I was just itching to get back to the one I showed a glimpse of a week or so ago, using the made-fabric idea.


I’m just at the stage where I am joining the blocks for the quilt-as-you-go method and am quite liking how it is turning out.  It’s not huge, but I think it’ll make a nice play-mat size item when it’s done.

Happy WOYWW!


Just to finally, years later, add a photo of the completed quilt!


Gelli book – learning a new skill

My absence from blogland is much to do with some non-crafty issues, but in part due to crafty frustration.  I am lucky to be able to see something crafty and work out much of the process just from a quick glimpse.  Like the 90-minute quilt thing from last week.  I know the video I linked didn’t have a lot of info in it, but it had enough for me.  The flip side of this is that if I do see something, and I can’t work out how to do it, I get frustrated – especially when something seems logical to me but turns out to be completely wrong.  So a month or so back, before I got all wrapped up in sewing, I was working on a series of Gelli prints.  I made a little coffee filter print book, but always planned on collecting my paper prints into a book as well, for some, as yet, undetermined purpose.  So I read a lot of book-binding PDFs, and watched a fair few videos on YouTube.  I thought I had the basic concept down.  Then I did what I do A LOT, I ALTERED the process before I even tried it the “right” way.  DOH!  I had the idea to make a little round Coptic bound book, with hard covers.  It all began well enough.

I lined up the folded edge of the prints (which, if you recall, I folded from A4 originally to get a standard size, that fit my 6 x 6 plate, and printed on all four faces) with one of the grid marks on my desktop cutting mat, then lined up my old CM circle cutter template and cut, leaving the fold intact.

circlegellibook circlegellibook2

By using the grid marks I knew I could get the pages all the same size. I made the cover from matboard, and covered them with the Deli paper prints as they were too thin to use as a page, unless I collaged bits onto heavier paper. I only punched/poked three holes, although 99% of the Coptic binding stuff I saw used 5 or 7 holes,  but I thought it would be logical to just do it on the series of three holes.  AND I picked some thick pearl cotton weight thread for the stitching. Yeah, I know.  It worked out in the end, more or less, but it was not easy.  Try Googling 3-hole Coptic Binding – maybe your Google gives you something useful but mine does not, and I get different things on my desktop v. my iPad.  In the end I just had a go.  I had also seen something in a book at some point where the stitches were wrapped so the binding stitches looked like smooth bars – no idea what that is even called but I knew I liked it.  So that makes, what? At least three significant changes from the basic process? All on my first go at it.  DOH! yet again.

Here it is:


The cover, with the deli paper print.


My quite amateur binding (let’s not dwell on that….)


A bit of a fanned effect of the pages, and my very messy desk


Just an inner page I happened to like quite a lot.


So, not 100% sure what will become of this in the end.  I guess it was more about the process than the finished item.

Now, I really, REALLY need to get on with making the bags – thanks to Fairy Thoughts Janet, who posted a nice easy tutorial,  I am feeling optimistic that I can manage it.


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Fast Quilt!

You gotta love the internet.  I saw this little video about making a quilt in 90 minutes.  Well who WOULDN’T be tempted t give it a go?  There is a book, which presumably has a lot more info in it, but I felt like there was enough info in the video to have a bash.

Basically you cut all the squares then sew them in columns.  Then you do a Quilt as You Go method, by sewing the middle column and one to the side down to your backing and batting sandwich then flip the outer one out.  You carry on sewing the columns, just like you would making a log cabin or strip block – the NEXT column holds the loose edge in place.  Does that make sense?  Watch the video and it will all be clear!


I use some polar fleece for the batting/backing rather than have three layers.  Even easier and very cuddly.  I seem to have a LOT of polar fleece, from back when DS and DD were younger.  There seemed to always be a reason to buy it, but often before I got around to satisfying their obsession, the obsession had passed.  I have a huge piece of cheetah print fleece that I have NO IDEA what I am going to do with!

Anyway, the video also shows a shot of the quilting map, so I did a little screen grab or two and used the printouts to mark the corner-to-corner lines.


I used a hot pink thread which totally disappears on the back (I mean, you can see the quilting lines but not the colour at all) and have some maroon-ish fabric to bind it with.


Humm.  The seams look more wonky in the photo than they do IRL.  And where I usually don’t pre-wash, I did this fabric and I was astonished at how PINK the water became.  Glad I did, and glad I DIDN’T put anything else in with it!

As this was a bit of a lark when I began, I used some spare fat quarters I had from a pack that had OTHER FQs that I actually wanted to use.  These were a bit country and twee for my taste.  I had the solid brown also from doll-making in the past (DD liked her dolls to reflect reality so not for her row upon row of pinky white faces) so really none of it cost me a dime.  There are two SLIGHTLY different colourways f the fabric, one more pink/maroon, one more brown-y beige.

I have no idea if it will become a LillyBo one or not – just the other day DDs escort asked about something for her soon-to-be-born great-grand daughter.  She said her GD was very traditional and didn’t like anything modern so this may just fit the bill for her.  We shall see.

Anyway, the point is there is a lot of info out there,  if you go looking for it.  While I doubt I would have ever seen this book on the shelf at a bookstore and though Gotta have that! I was interested enough in the PROCESS to see if I could make something JUST based on what I saw in the slide show.  I am 100% sure the book has loads of tips and tricks that the video doesn’t cover, and while it was NOT 90 minutes (probably down to me – I would say maybe 3 hours) it was blinkin’ quick to do.  So I would def. flip thru it and see if I need to add it to my collection.  For a quick charity quilt I would say even the most inexperienced seamstress could manage it. The ONLY “difficult” thing was manipulating the full quilt thru my home machine, and again that is down to my inexperience with machine quilting more than anything else! Oh, and as I did not have a backing fabric, I can’t do the “fold to the front” method to bind it, so may have to do a more traditional binding.  The fabric is merrily tumbling in the dryer as we speak so I will think on it, watch another video or two, and see what I find.


WOYWW 198 – not a lot

cleandeskI have not been able to spend time at my desk getting scrappy, sticky or inky.  So there is nothing to show.  But on my DESKTOP I have this video.  I am so in love with her process!  I have her book and find it hugely inspiring – the link is to the DVD preview but the download in under £8 so I’ll be watching that later.  I wish I had her fabric stash but my life is too full of paper to be able to afford to let my current (and surely temporary) fascination with fabric get the better of me!  I am intrigued by her other book on fabric printing, and considering an exploration of the Gelli plate use for that.

Happy WOYWW! Can’t believe how close week 200 is!!

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DOH! Scheduling malfunction (and landscape printables)

Not sure what happened to my scheduled post that SHOULD have appeared first thing this morning, but quite sure it was something I did wrong!  I made the Busy Life printables cause I’m, well,  SO BUSY.  But as promised yesterday I did make a landscape set and here they are for you.  Exactly the same colours and text, just re-jigged.

landscapeOh and I neglected to mention yesterday, the beehive is from The Graphics Fairy!  So cute.

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Folded quilt border detail

Back in 2001 I found a US Forestry Service pamphlet that described a way to fold a strip of paper to create photo corners.  I’ve used it often and did a little You Tube thingie describing the method. I wanted to add some more interest to my little improve quilt and thought I could make this work.  I played around with a handful of different ways to do it and in the end, as a way to ensure no raw edges, I settled on using a pre-done binding strip.

I will note the caveat right up front – I’m not sure I would do this again, at east not in exactly the same way, but I do think the idea bears further exploration.

I started with a bit of this soft iron on interfacing.


and the pre-made binding pack.


Using the folding method I folded the entire strip, adding the interfacing to the middle.  By offsetting the folds I could get a 1/2 inch gap in the middle.  The interfacing is sort of temporary as you need it to hole the triangles together but once they are sewn in under the bias binding for the quilt, it’s no longer needed and can be cut away!

This is more or less the folding method – it’s much easier to fold the fabric than the paper, as there is no need for super crisp folds.border2

You do need t be very careful with your iron so you are not ironing  onto the sticky stuff on the back f the interfacing!

border3 border4 border5

Once you have one or two done the back side exposes none of the interfacing sticky and you can press to set it according to the instructions.


Once the whole strip is folded and pressed I stitched along the bottom, just to hold it all more securely.  If you cut it apart without the interfacing all the triangles fall apart into separate units.


Cutting thru the middle gives you two full lengths of the border – I think my strip yielded about 30 inches.


I pinned it to the edge of the quilt so the bottom edge of the triangle lined up with the edge of the quilt.  You can adjust the pacing to fit your quilt by snipping between two triangles and spacing them.


The binding strip for the quilt goes over that, the edge lined up with the edges of the triangle.  Sew thru all layers then trip away the interfacing – again, the stitching of the binding strip now holds all the triangles in place so it doesn’t matter if they are actually single units.

Fold the binding to the back and hand stitch.


What I wanted was the look you get if you sew jumbo ric rak under the binding strip.  BUT I had a heck of a time finding the all cotton jumbo ric rak in the UK and when I did it was £2.50 per meter.  That would have added at least £10 to the cost of what was meant to be an economical charity quilt.

A couple of things.  Due to the folding, there is a LOT of excess material at the edge.  I thin border is NOT the way to go!  I cut this 2 inches because I didn’t like how than and flat the bigger biding looked on the first one.  2 1/2 inches would have been better – all the layers of the bias binding used to create the folded triangle strip would have totally filed in the fold over and it wouldn’t have been so flat. And OMG the corners on this thin a strip!  A couple of then look tolerable, but at least one of them is what can only be described as a “hot mess.” Again, I am pretty sure a thicker border would have been much better.

I had some success doing basically the same thing with fabric rather than the bias binding pre-made, and did much bigger triangles with that.  The thinner softer fabric solves some of the issues with all the thickness of tape.  I think this could work really well on a quilt with a much wider side border or even sewn around the outside, sticking out, a bit like the scalloped border effect but with pointy triangles rather than scallops.

I still have one short side of the binding to stitch down then I’ll have to try to take a better shot of it  – avoiding the corners! Honestly, as I approach each one I can feel my stress level rising.  This whole process is meant to be a learning experience but no matter how many videos I watch or tutorials I read, my corners NEVER look as good as I want them too!! I know I will eventually get better at it but in the interim it just peeves me to look at them.

Anyway, I know this is a bit of an odd thing, and as I said real quilters will look, and be likely to come up with 100 reasons why this is a bad idea, none of which I had the experience to anticipate.  But it was worth a go, and I do like the look.  I’ll carry on playing and then either I’ll give up and decide it’s just a dumb idea or I’ll devise a method, using the right materials to begin with, and ending with the right placement and application method that makes this worth adding to my bag of tricks.



Shameful. And quilting (yes, AGAIN)

Well, by best intentions of yesterday to tidy up went sadly awry. Instead, I was consumed with sewing. I have the crumb blocks done and branched out to the Word Play.  I had to give it a go and see if I could follow the instructions in the book and actually make something.  I am determined to actually follow the Quilt as You Go concept for the whole thing so when I get done I only need to bind it.  I did a sample piecing of a couple of blocks and so far (knock wood) it’s going well.

Th thing that scares me is the machine quilting.  I cannot manage the lovely closely packed scribbles that I’ve seen, so I’ve opted for a simple cross, with stitch-in-the-ditch around, then a seconde square around.  I need to read up on dealing with the pulled-to-the-top bobbin threads, clearly.


I’ve picked quite a bright stripe for the sashing on the front, and plain black on the back, as the backing fabric is a B&W cow print. And the word ties in with the smiley sunflowers that are at the heart of the crumbs.


Now, off to Hobby Craft with some shreds of the floss colour to get a better match, and then I have an idea that I THINK will work to add a bit more colour and playfulness to that improv quilt.  Need to get one small thing (although maybe not) to make it work.  It is totally a not-a-quilter idea, and actually uses something I’ve used in my scrapbooks for YONKS.  If it works I’ll share, and then all the real quilters can blanch and gasp and say Why, that’s crazy talk! But I am convinced I can make it happen so I have to persevere.  It is my nature LOL!

Oh and GRRRRR.  Spam and Spammers.  Hating them at the moment. Hating them as mush as I am loving reading up on “liberated” quilting…..


WOYWW197 – oh dear!

Everywhere I look it’s chaos.  My desk…oh dear, my desk. It’s seen no attention for a week.  But I am determined to tidy up and start on my ATC…maybe ATCs, not sure yet, for the big WOYWW anniversary swap coming up.


I have been sewing rather than papercrafting but I am stuck.  I decided that the orange floss I bought is NOT a close enough match for what I have already used so it’s back to the store (stores?) to find a better one.  But first, I HAVE to bring some order to the chaos!

…and pop round to YOUR desk to see what you are up to!

Happy WOYWW!


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DOH! So busy…

It’s been a bit manic around here, so I missed out 2 entire days of blogging.  I hate that.  Anyway, what I SHOULD have posted is the X-tied quilt, but a series of things got in the way – I bought some floss at a small local fabric store, and never realized it WASN’T DMC!  I used the 2 skeins I had, and when I ran out, I stapled the band to my shopping list and trotted off to Hobby Craft to match it.  Imagine my surprise when I found the colour in the bin was a dark GREY and not a bright ORANGE.  I knew I had bought the last two skeins at the small store so I had to get something.  Knowing that true colour memory is non-existent, I picked what I thought was the right shade and brought it home.  There I found the problem – I had a single skein of a DMC orange that was a bit too dark.  The band had come off and was laying on my desk, and when I grabbed the band to staple it, I grabbed THAT one, and not the GOODWEAR brand (Huh?) that I had used.  So I ended up with a CLOSE match but not a perfect one.  DOH!

So I will hope to finish the last few ties on that today, and bind it, and then I need to sort out labels and a bag of some kind.  Then I can finally send it off to JoZarty.

In the meantime, here is a shot of how it’s progressing.  I think the X-ties bring just a bit more playfulness to it, as the fabric is less kiddie oriented than I would have picked.  To be honest, I AM (rightly or wrongly) looking at this whole charity quilt experience as a nice way to try out some things that I have seen well in the past (and look at every time I get sidetracked from my love of paper into a temporary fixation on fabric) and to use either scraps I have or inexpensive fat quarters.  I figure that ANYTHING is going to be welcome, as long as it doesn’t fall apart. so the fact this one is not made from overtly child-obvious material doesn’t mean it won’t still be cuddly and a comfort.


It needs a good wash and dry to get rid of the hoop-creases and I can see a few of the Xs don’t quite line up – or maybe it was the distortion of the hoop that made me mis-place it but that is actually easily fixable.


I am determined to finish this up today of I can! The weather is ARCTIC around here and with wind-chill it is well below freezing.  Brrrr.  And DH took my car cause his didn’t start so I am trapped in anyway.  Shame – and I SO wanted to run errands….