Finished Playmat

Well Dougie finally has his finished playmat and Bethan has a matching carry bag for when she needs it on the go.

I’m pleased with the overall look of the mat and it has a range of textures. The satin spiral feels lovely even though the spiral is far from perfect and the wavy sea is satisfyingly bumpy (I hope the journey across the Bay of Biscay tomorrow is a lot less so but I have a feeling that I’m out of luck there). The sheep are nice and wooly and it was lovely seeing Dougie reaching for them.

Having seen Dougie pulling up the leaf flap on the lizard block I think maybe I should have done a bit more on the interactive side.

All panic about the lizard block vanished once I began the block. It was actually fun drawing the shapes; deciding which fabric suited which lizard and even repeatedly zig-zagging around the cheese plant-like leaf. We had found the giant flower buttons while we were fabric hunting and they added a bit more colour too.

I forgot to put the squeaker in the car block and had to put a slit in the back and insert it, luckily I remembered before I put the backing on the matt. I also remembered the loops and they are useful for attaching toys – or books like in the picture.

The ripstop fabric is a perfect backing fabric for the mat. Makes it so much more versatile. It was hard to find suitable ripstop, we had seen some in Aberdashery but we weren’t in Aber. We searched the internet and found this great animal print in the Little Fabric Bazaar  . It’s a great place for fabrics and Stephanie is so efficient and helpful; just a couple of messages; a quick visit to Paypal and the fabric was with me in two days. Right now she has a fabulous selection of ripstops, I particularly like the birds and the plantation fabrics.

But the animals were perfect for this project. I used my handy micro-stitch to tack the backing to the top and used a bright green bias binding around the edge.

Inspiration for the carry bag came, as usual, lying in bed musing. We had pondered a system of carrying handles for a folded mat but everything just seemed so over-complicated. I had lots of fabric leftover and the idea of a bag popped into my head and it seemed the simplest solution.

An hour of sewing one morning had the bag sorted.

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The whole thing took me longer than I had anticipated (but then the bag is probably the only thing I ever made that didn’t) but it was a very satisfying project and I’ve learned loads and I do have a long list of do’s and dont’s!

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Playmat

Since my last post we made the decision to postpone the start of our holiday in the hope that the move may happen before we go away but it still doesn’t look as if it will. I could write a book on why but suffice to say it will probably be July before we make it to the new house and we will enjoy our reduced time in Spain in spite of everything.

The playmat is coming along but crafting is slower now that the weather is improving ever-so gradually. More garden, more golf means less sewing, but it’s great to get outside more and I am determined that my golf will improve this summer.

I’m using a whole range of techniques and very much making it up as I go along, which is fun. It has the capacity to get very complex but I’m trying not to let it. I’m trying out a ‘quilt as you go’ approach to putting the blocks together but that has some difficulties around how close the the edge I can go with quilting etc. I know that by the end I will have learned a lot and will definitely have  a whole list of things  I would do differently if I had the opportunity.

All of the 15inch squares of fabric, batting and backing are cut; most of the squares are sandwiched together and some blocks are quilted and some are appliquéd. One has a crinkle layer made from cereal packaging (I’m quite pleased with the crunch it provides) and the ‘squeaker’ block is ready to be sandwiched together. I have joined two sets of two blocks just to try out the method and it works just fine. I’ve been hand sewing more than usual and quite enjoyed doing that in the evenings, especially as I have no knitting on the go with my plans having been disrupted by the change in our holiday timetable. My knitting bag is already packed and ready to go so I daren’t begin what’s in it!

The only block yet to be started is the lizard block. It’s all a bit random really but when  Bethan and me were planning we decided against a theme and for as much variety as possible. We chose a wide range of fabrics; some for their patterns; some as backgrounds for appliqué and some for texture.

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I love the feel of the two minky fabrics; one smooth and one dimpled.

I mustn’t forget to make some loops that can be used to attach some toys from the jungle gym.

 

 

 

Here’s a slideshow of the blocks so far.

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Well so far so good. I’ll add more as the mat progresses. Hope to have it all peiced together this week.