Storytime

IMG_4358Eric Carle what did you do? Well apart from inspiring generations of children to read and thousands of art projects in infant and nursery classes everywhere that is. I particularly enjoyed entertaining and teaching my classes and my own children with what is probably the most popular of his books ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ The deceptively simple illustrations are charming as well as educational and the book always contributed to mini-beast science projects.

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Here's the fabric panel that started it all!
Here’s the fabric panel that started it all!

Well this particular version of Eric Carle’s iconic illustration started me on a journey that is still in its very early stages. When the caterpillar and butterfly panels first caught my eye I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I saw a cushion with a pocket for a story book. The butterfly would be stitched with coloured thread that would raise areas and make it tactile as well as visual.

Inside the pocket
Inside the pocket
small caterpillar fabric
small caterpillar fabric

There was only one problem and it was quite a big one! I’d never done anything like it and I didn’t really know where to start. I really had no idea how over ambitious all this was! The next part is a bit of a blur really. I know I had visited Yarnia and I know that Trish had told me about their classes. I had a look at them on the web. I saw Kate’s ‘Free Motion Quilting’ workshop. I’d never heard of ‘free motion quilting’ so back onto the internet. WOW! This was just it!

It didn’t take me long to sign up for the course and although that first day was a total mystery (see here) to me I have persevered through many trials and tribulations; a new and rather splendid sewing machine; an online course (sadly I have moved too far away from Kate to continue under her tutelage) and lots of other sewing projects; classes with Mel since our move to Aberystwyth and finally I felt ready to have a go at my story cushion.

So I bought some extra small caterpillar fabric from Little Fabric Bazaar and this just-right multicoloured quilting thread from AberdasheryIMG_1224IMG_4361 I quilted the butterfly and the caterpillar and used the original polyester wadding since I’m an expert quite a bit better now. It does give  a bit more ‘oomph’ and should be used for baby items because it is more breathable.

I sliced the caterpillar side in half – eek – and added the fabric for the pocket.

Next I quilted the surrounding white fabric. I have to give some credit now to Lori Kennedy at the Inbox Jaunt whose amazingly generous blog has inspired me. Every single week she posts an FMQ tutorial. Her designs are fun, non-traditional in many ways and really appeal to me. I have watched and learned (and will continue to) and have finally felt confident enough to have a go at my own.

So quilted caterpillars for the caterpillar sideIMG_4365IMG_4366And in collaboration with my daughter, Bethan, butterflies for the butterfly sideIMG_4363IMG_4362This has been a long time as a WIP (work in progress) in my cupboard but it has been so much more. It has driven my progress for the past year, nagging at me quietly to keep on. The first class I did with Kate took me back to work with her on my first attempts at patchwork which in its turn grew my fabric obsession and reignited the interest I had in sewing in my younger years.

Stemming from all that has been this blog and so a wealth of things to do with the time I gained from retirement.

So thank you Eric Carle and thank you Hungry Caterpillar and thank you  all the people in-between. I’m enjoying every moment of it. I hope Dougie will enjoy many a story comfy with his cushion!

 

 

 

Nice Needles Part II

 

When I made my much needed new knitting needle roll (original post  here)

I did say I didn’t think it would be the only one I made. I didn’t have to be psychic to know that my daughter would be a very willing recipient of her own ‘nice needle’ roll but when my sister also put in a subtle request I thought it was time I got sewing. Well that was back at the beginning of February and my daughter has been waiting a while  so I thought I’d crack on before the weather (hopefully) warms up.

I went into Aberdashery with a particular range of fabrics in mind but, not unusually, something else caught my eye. These fabrics

from  Hantex  Art Gallery ‘Indian Summer’ range by Sarah Watson are beautiful and such great quality. I took a look at the whole range on the Hantex website (take a peek) and fabric love kicked in and sent my brain into overdrive thinking of all the possibilities.

Back to ‘Nice Needles’ I added a couple of pieces from my stash, including  a favourite Kaffe Fassett that echoes my sisters birthday quilt, and got stuck in. I hadn’t written any notes when I made the original so the process was down to measuring up, making it up and tweaking it up,  but this time I did make notes and have a tutorial here.

IMG_1200I thought my original was a bit too bulky so this time I chose cotton domette (recommended by Jane at Aberdashery) as a wadding and it is just the right weight. I’d choose it again for cushions, bags etc.

loveI quilted using the eggy loopy and the heart border stitches from my Pfaff machine quilting stitch menu for ease and speed and then  free stitched ‘love knitting’  along the       outer flap edge.

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I used almost the same pocket layout as for the first ‘Nice Needles’ with three levels of pockets. The top  layer has equal sized pockets for pairs of needles; the second has one wider pocket in the centre and the third and shortest row has mainly wider pockets to fit a variety of tools. The only difference is two slightly wider pockets in the top level to accommodate the really fat sized needles.

I debated lots of options for fastenings but my abiding love of buttons and my new-found love of making  buttonholes won out.

IMG_1208When we moved house I found a collection of earrings from Bethan’s teenage years so I decided to incorporate some in decorating her needle roll. I can only hope she had no plans to return to wearing them!

I stitched a length of the tape measure ribbon along the inside.

It’s in 10 IMG_4222centimetre repeats so that it can be a useful tape measure.

 

 

labelI remembered to add my label this time too.

 

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