3

Recently

I am a terribly unreliable blogger. I have many posts I mean to write but I forget to take the photographs or never quite get around to it. It’s always the thing on the To Do list that I don’t quite get to.

I’ve made another quilt.

It measures 55″x45″. I love the contrast between the mostly monochromatic fabrics with the one striking accent colour. It’s also the first time I’ve ever appliquéd anything. It took me a while to get the stitch set up right and there were many terse words exchanged with my machine but I got there.

I’m hoping to hang it at the top of our stairs if I can figure out how and can persuade the boyfriend to lend me his drill. He’s rather averse to putting holes in the wall but I’m sure I can talk him round.

I’ve been doing a bit more organising. I had so many boxes and random spools of thread lying around that I could never find the best match.  So I treated myself to an organiser.

I could stare at it for hours. It’s a thread rainbow! That’s a 120 spool organiser and it still doesn’t quite fit all the ones I own. Not sure how I managed to acquire quite that many :S  And yes, I do have a bright pink office!

I’m forever losing pins and bits of thread onto the floor along with my magical disappearing seam ripper. I must own about 6 of the things and yet when I need one (which is frequently) they’ve all vanished. Thus, this was born:

I used this pattern (link is to the pdf file). It has a removable bag for putting thread ends and other generic rubbish in, lots of little pouches for all my tools and a pincushion on the top. There’s a cup of rice in the bottom of the pincushion which weighs the whole thing down and stops it sliding off the corner of the work surface. So far it’s working well. I’m hoping it brings an end to painful feet-pin interactions!

26

FQ Retreat Linky Party

This time next week, if all goes according to plan, I shall be in London attending the Fat Quarterly Retreat. I can hardly wait! Being disorganised, I only actually booked a couple of weeks ago which is probably a good thing, as I think I would have exploded if I’d tried to contain the excitement for months!

Fat Quarterly
So, who am I? I’m Ana and I’m 26. I look like this:
That was me on Thursday night, cuddling a knitted dinosaur at the stitching club I go to. And yes, I do usually look slightly unhinged 😉 You’ll also recognise me for my habit of babbling too much and too loudly in an attempt to cover the fact I’m actually rather shy.
I live in the West Midlands with my boyfriend and our menagerie; 3 degus, 2 dwarf russian hamsters, 2 cats and a 1 year old lunatic of a border collie called Monty. I have a degree in geology, hence the love of dinosaurs although I’ve never used it for anything important. Until this year, I’d been unable to work for several years due to being more than a little bit mad. I am now on the slow and sometimes painful road to recovery and as part of this am trying to set up my own crafting business.
That’s my flower and is how I can be recognised throughout the internet. I’ve just set up selling on Etsy and can be found at www.etsy.com/shop/AnaCrafts.
I am a complete crafting addict; I quilt, make jewellery, make cards, cross stitch and I’ve just learnt to crochet. I am almost entirely self taught with the help of books and online tutorials. This means my technique can be a little strange but I usually get there in the end.
Now all I need to do if finish my swap items, sort out fabric for the classes and pack. I can’t wait to meet you all!
1

My first commission

This week I have completed my first ever commissioned project. A friend had seen this memo board at Next and wanted something similar but unique. This is what I came up with:

The cupcake fabric is by Clarke and Clarke and the coordinating ribbon is from Hobbycraft. I’m really pleased with how it came out and I know she is too.  Not only that, I managed to complete it for approximately the same price as the Next one so you get a unique designer piece for a similar price to something mass produced on the High Street.

 

0

Etsy

If I was ever under the illusion that being self employed was going to be easy, I’ve well and truly shattered it this week. I’ve been running around like an absolute loon trying to sort things out and keep on top of it all. I traded at a really poorly attended craft fair over the weekend which knocked my confidence. I so desperately want this to work! I was tempted to pretend it didn’t happen and not record it so that my accounts look better but that wouldn’t please HMRC now would it?

Other than that, I’ve had a bit of a home photo studio going so that I can get set up selling online. I would love to own one of those fancy home photo studios you see advertised but I think I’d better make some money before I spend it. Instead I made do with a photo cube, an old style 100w bulb, a piece of felt, a tripod and my trusty dSLR.

Overall I’m delighted with the results.

The jewellery has turned out beautifully despite my other half complaining that the back wasn’t in focus. My protestations about depth of field did not receive an impressed response!

As for some of the cushions:

I’m more than a little surprised things turned out as well as they did, maybe I’m missing a career as a product photographer 😉

I’m in the process of uploading everything to Etsy. If anyone’s interested my shop can be found at www.etsy.com/shop/AnaCrafts . Hopefully it’ll start to take off but in the mean time I’ll stick to obsessively checking my shop stats!

5

Things not to do

I finally finished the quilt of basting doom. Hours of manipulating metres of fabric under the sewing machine were a success. It looked fabulous, I was ridiculously proud of myself. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of it in its pristine finished state before things went rather downhill. If I make mistakes they tend to be spectacularly bad as was the case here.

I had the genius idea that I’d wash it before unveiling it to the world. Shoved it in the machine on a hand wash cycle and waited to see what happened. I should mention at this point that I didn’t prewash any of the fabrics. This is partly because I’m a lazy bugger and partly because the majority of the quilt top came from a Layer Cake and I don’t believe(?) you’re supposed to wash precut fabrics before use. When I took it out the machine, some of the red colour had bled in a couple of places leaving red stains in the middle of two non-red squares.

No problem, thought I, I can fix this. So I washed it again but this time with a scoop of Vanish in the wash. The colour run faded but didn’t disappear. So off I went to the supermarket where I found a product called colour run remover.

I read the instructions, it claimed to remove colour runs while returning your clothing to its original colour. I soaked the affected areas of quilt in it.

After half an hour (far, far less than the several hours recommended), I went back to check. The colour run had been removed the only problem was it had taken all the colour with it. It had sodding bleached the whole centre of the quilt. Nowhere on the packet did it say that it would destroy EVERYTHING.

The top and bottom are beautiful and vibrant and as they should be while the middle is a washed out mess.

A bit more of a close up showing just how messed up it really is. I could kick myself. I was obviously naive to think colour run remover would be what it said and not BLEACH.

The only scant bit of comfort is that I’ve learnt never to do it again. The only option for the quilt is going to be to try and tone the bright colours down to match and pretend the whole thing was meant to look vintage.

*cries*

4

Eek!

I have always been very jealous of all the amazing sewing retreats and meet ups that seem to be going on in America all the time. I would love to be able to attend one, unfortunately the cost of a flight makes for a rather expensive weekends sewing. I was browsing t’interweb the other day, no doubt when I was meant to be working, when I came across mention of a retreat being hosted by the lovely people of Fat Quarterly being held in London. Squeeeeeeee!

I know I’m rather late to the party here, been as the retreat is at the beginning of June and people have been booked on and preparing for months. I spent a while weighing up whether I had the confidence (and the money) to attend but a post on the Flickr group inspired me and I bought my ticket last night 🙂 Now I can’t wait! I need to find myself a hotel and steal back my more portable sewing machine from my mum but I will be there nerves and all.

0

Some photos

The last weekend, I spent a couple of days at the Hobbycrafts show at the NEC. Purely for research purposes you understand 😉 Although a small amount of shopping may have somehow found its way into my possession. It must have fallen off a display or something!

I took a few pictures of things that impressed or disturbed me.

A cross stitched QR code which pleased my inner geek greatly. It even works!

You too can purchase naked plastic babies in a variety of sizes. I dread to think what you’d use them for :S

Finally, stuck for what to wear to that fancy dress party?

Now your whole family can be owls. I mean how could you resist, just look at the glasses.

Yesterday I was in the city to learn about tax on another course from HMRC. I know that if I want to do this business properly which I do, tax is very important. It still doesn’t make in remotely interesting though. I thought after two and a half hours of that I deserved a treat so…

New shoes are made of awesome. They are Liberty print fabric and from Clarks.

As for what I’ve been working on? The quilt of basting doom is currently on hold while I recover sufficient patience to continue with it. Instead, I’ve completed my first ever dressmaking project. I used a kit from Clothkits as I don’t have the confidence to try a paper pattern just yet. I’m delighted with the result. It’s the first time I’ve ever put a zip into anything and while it’s not entirely perfect, it is at least completely my own.