Finished It Friday- What I did in my summer holiday, part 1

I thought it was high time I start showing you guys things that I’ve actually finished, especially with 15 in 2015, and I thought I’d start as pretty much every school English class ever has started, with a little bit about what I did over my summer break. In this case because one of the things I did was start AND finish the Wild Olive Summer Stitching Club wall hanging.

My completed embroidered and quilted wall hanging

it could also be used as a table runner or a placemat, but I like it as a wall hanging better.

I used all stash quilting fabric- and I don’t know whether this is a good thing (because I used some up) or a bad thing (because, well, it didn’t even DENT the stash).

I loved doing the embroideries. Each one was reasonably quick and simple to do, and I’m really pleased with how they turned out. It also allowed me to master french knots. I mastered them once before but that was ages ago and I had totally forgotten how I was supposed to do them. But see all the little eyes on the smiley faces? French knots.

 

Of course, my inability to leave any pattern alone came into play, and that’s why it’s ended up with four rows of embroidered hexagons instead of three. The happy little pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas Tree), bottle of sunscreen (a must over here), the raincloud (also an inevitable part of the New Zealand summer), and the carved initials in the tree (yes, those are the Best Beloveds and my initials, and yes, I am a giant sap) are my additions.

The quilt construction is English Paper Piecing, which I had never tried before, but luckily the instructions in the pattern were very clear and easy to follow. If you happen to have a printer (I didn’t, and had to trace a bunch of hexagons on scrap paper to finish this), Mollie Johansen, the designer, has even produced a downloadable PDF of paper-piecing hexagons with little happy faces! Well hey, if you’re going to be doing THAT much hand-stitching, you might as well have fun with it, right? I found it very satisfying to make so much of this by hand, also I got to be a little fussy and make teeny little stitches to join the hexagons together.

I also enjoy needlefelting. I’m weird, OK?

If I made this project again (and this is a lesson I’ll be taking into the other quilt projects this year), I would’ve got some damn embroidery transfer paper, rather than using my usual technique of stitching the printed pattern straight to the fabric and then fiddling around for half an hour pulling little TINY BITS OF PAPER out of the stitches. It’s a good technique for embroidering on fabric where the pattern won’t show up as a transfer, but wasn’t ideal for embroideries this small and detailed.

The only bit of machine stitching I did on this was to attach the binding to the front of the quilt so I could handsew it in place onto the back (another thing I find oddly satisfying). Yes, I know it turned out a little wonky, but that just shows it was made by a person, not a machine. Except for that bit of machine stitching. That was made by a machine. But I digress.

I’m really happy with it, and looking forward to hanging it up so it can remind me of nice weather when it gets cold.

ABM_1420753771

Except the raincloud. But look how HAPPY the raincloud is! Of the patterns I came up with myself, that’s the one I’m most pleased with.

I’m also kind of glad I did that one direct on the fabric and not on paper, because getting the bits of paper out from under the raindrops would have been a TOTAL PAIN.

In conclusion- I had a lot of fun making this, I love the finished result, and I recommend you give Mollie Johansen’s blog and the Wild Olive Etsy shop a look if you’re after some stitching fun.

Time to rock the craft- presenting 15 in 2015

It’s the new year.

It’s probably crazy.

It’s definitely a lot of work.

But I’m not waiting around any longer to be a badass crafter. I’ve been spending a lot of time crafting in the break, and the more I do it, the more positive I feel. I want this to be a year when I achieve something really  spectacular. So it’s time to challenge myself- and if you want, you’re welcome to join me. I therefore present to you:

15 in 2015 logo

What’s that when it’s at home?

It’s simple. I am going to try to take on, and complete, 15 big craft projects in 2015. Some of them are ones that have been started, and are even a fair way along, but are sitting around unfinished. Well, it’s time to actually get them f***ing well DONE and being used and enjoyed. Some of them are for me, some are for other people. All of them require a significant amount of work- some of them because they are big pieces I’ll be using a machine for, some of them because they will need a lot of handstitching, and some include new techniques for me, or ones I want to master.

But the main constant is this: these aren’t things that can be whipped up in a couple of hours (though hopefully I’ll be able to fit a few of those in too. Like I said, probably crazy).

My 15 in 2015:

1) The First T-Shirt Quilt (which has been languishing unfinished for THREE YEARS)

2) The Ladygarden Quilt

3) The Second T-Shirt Quilt

4) The Second Ever Wedding Quilt

5) The Flamingo Dress (seriously, I’ve taken the fabric and pattern with me at least three times intending to start it, and it’s still not done. And I’ve had the fabric for over a year.)

6) A Parfait.

7) An Oolong (bias cut- in other words, asking for trouble…)

8) The Beekeepers Quilt (which I started FOUR YEARS AGO and still haven’t finished- I’ve made 266 hexipuffs out of the 365 I want to make)

9) Mystic Roses shawl (I’ve said this will be the year I master lace knitting. I meant it.)

10: 5 x Misheard Song Lyrics cross stitches (and creating and selling the patterns for them)

11: The Cryptozoology Quilt (incorporating these dot-to-dot embroidery pieces)

12: The Perfect Christmas Jumper (not necessarily for Christmas, but it’s in thin yarn and small needles)

13: The Wheel of the Year quilt (using these embroidery designs from Urban Threads)

14: The Travelling Blanket (languishing since my parents last came out to visit 2 years ago)

15: My first Zine (no I’m not telling you the topic…yet)

This is big, people. This is the most adventurous craft challenge I think I’ve ever set myself and I have no idea if I’ll do it. But I wanted to be accountable, so I’ll be updating you on how the projects are going each week.

How about you? Do you feel like joining me? It doesn’t have to be projects this big, it can be things that feel a little bit big to you. This project feels big to me, it’ll definitely stretch me and require me to be disciplined about making time to craft each and every day. And that has GOT to be a good thing for a punk rock crafter.

I dare you to give it a try with me. Let me know your 15 in the comments, and we can cheer each other on!