Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Vintage bicycles!


We had our first craft night since starting the blog last night, and most productive it was - who knew we had it in us!

Firstly came the food tho, me and the boy were cooking some Mexican bits and pieces from my current favourite book* Mexican Food by Thomasina Myers. It's full of very tasty dishes, and all reasonably healthy too. Highly recommended, Laura is a fan too (and we were both a bit gutted to miss her when she came up our way a few weeks ago!). We are all busy working folk so our crafting always starts with food, and bitching. Anywho, we had lavender cupcakes and some really yummy Nutella meringue made by Laura derived from the wonder that is Pinterest. Score. 

Lavender cupcakes, sounds weird but they disappeared fairly quick. Thank you Hummingbird Bakery!

Amy's and Laura with a whole bevy of foodstuff. Nom.

Laura's Nutella meringues - love meringue. And saying it mer-in-guay. Fun times. I may or may not need to get out more.
Ok, now let's pretend to do some actual crafting! Although baking does count as craft so I suppose it counts? We spent most of the evening with Laura giving all the rest of us a very good tutorial on how the hell you use Blogger - not too difficult, just needs some 'splaining.

But the other major achievement was teaching our dear Fostins how to make a teeny tiny granny square - Amy has been avoiding craft night for a while after I made her make hexagons so I'm glad to have finally been there when she broke through the craft barrier.

Look at those fingers go!

Amy concentrating uber hard on those double crochet bastards.
We spent quite a lot of time discussing our favourite blogs, mainly what it is we don't like (we're a positive bunch...). Full decision was made to be as honest as possible when it comes to how we make things, and particularly what goes wrong and how frequently! However, I don't want to take words out of other people's mouths, and write about what it is I thought they found difficult, so the self criticism shall all be my own! All other co-bloggers should be as honest as they desire :) Also, we decided there shall be absolutely, completely no vintage bicycles.

Amy and her fairly difficult quilt pattern! I'm hoping when this bad boy is complete Amy will do her own post so won't say too much now. Safe to say it is a learning experience, and that metallic thread nearly caused a divorce in her house!

Laura merrily knitting away a lovely little surprise, so again I won't go in to too much detail.
My new teapot. Bought a house last year, but this is what is has made me feel most grown up ever!

And then it was time for tea. Long but very productive night, lots of skill sharing which is what these craft night's are all about. 

Stay tuned for next time when we shall be trooping up to Laura's, and fingers crossed we will have two tiny little additions to our crafting circle!

Love Ali


* Not my favourite book, just favourite cookery book!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

How To: Simple Patchwork Quilt

As part of my craft night blog I'm going to occasionally add in a few of my own projects - hopefully with a how to. Fingers crossed the rest of the crafterteers (like Musketeers! Gettit?) will join in the project sharing fun!

My most recent larger scale project was a basic patchwork quilt. I've made these before, but either not done the 'correct' way, or with strict supervision by my Canadian aunt! The first one I made all on my own was this bad boy (below!) - I absolutely loved making this, I love rainbows and I love having a boy that lets me have such colour in the house!

Picture quality isn't great as this was taken at night, the colours are lovely and bright!
Anywho, on to this quilt. For the past 18 months I have been working on a hexagon quilt, making about 3000 tiny wee hexagons for a double bed quilt - but have never ever done machine quilting before. I decided to make a new, quick patchwork quilt to experiment with the beast that is machine quilting!

I have a little fabric stash going so raided this - I didn't have any colours in mind, just saw what was available and tried to get a nice mix of different colours and styles.

Used some of this fabric - my current favourite Michael Millar I think, maybe Alexander Henry?
To start I did the most fun bit of any quilting journey - ironing! Then decided on my square size - I wanted something that wouldn't take to long to put together so chose 8" squares. I made the quilt six squares by eight to get it about the right size for a single bed (although it actually now lives on the sofa!).

I changed it quite a bit after this layout, too much light on the left and too much dark on the right!

Next stage is laying out and deciding what order everything goes in. I did this on the floor so I could get to everything easily, and see from above better to get an overall picture. Then we move on to sewing - carefully pile up your quilt in row order (shorter rows first), pairing each square wrong sides together. Then sew with a quarter inch seam along each of the pairs. Then iron out the seams on these pairs and sew them in their row  - easy!

Gratuitous close up of lovely fabric!
Next stage, iron again! You want nice flat seams, I don't usually bother to steam the seams open - especially on a quick quilt like this. Then you pair up rows, and sew along the edge again with a quarter inch seam. Do this 6 more times and you have your quilt front! Don't worry too much if the points don't match exactly - it all adds to the 'homemade' feel!

Once we have a quilt front - choose your backing fabric and lay it out flat as flat can be on the floor. Next, lay your wadding over, and finally your quilt front. Try and align as best you can, and leave a few inches on each side of wadding and backing fabric, to account for slippage! Then - pin, pin, pin that bad boy so nothing can move.

Almost there! Machine quilting is actually pretty easy - after getting a friend's boyfriend to help me put in the new foot! Practice on a spare bit of fabric if it's your first time - with wadding (otherwise it will feel very different to your quilt!). With my quilt I did very freeform loops, keeping a steady pace and working gradually. I found if I did this for more than half an hour I got incredibly dizzy, but even at this slow pace it only took a few hours to complete!

Last stage is the binding. Craft night buddies will know how much this terrifies me - bit of chickening out on the baby blankets on my part! - but I tried uber hard and taught myself using this very, very helpful blog Quilt binding tutorial. Go there to learn how to do this as I followed her exactly - definitely follow the instruction about not joining the fabric very near a corner as it does make it much more difficult!

And so there we have it, all done and I absolutely love it. I also can't believe how easy this was to do! And much, much quicker than those darn hexies!

Horatio approved!
Love Ali


Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Secret Baby Blanket Project: Part 2

So here for the actual blanket bit! Looking back on how long it took for us to make this, it's a miracle the babies weren't starting school before they got their newborn blankets! We started all the way back in February, plotting and planning secret - all organised through what we now know was a very effectively secret facebook group (many was the time we were worried Nats was able to see, and just keeping discretely quiet!).

We very subtly used Pinterest, and the facebook page, to gather lots of different ideas. Turns out it is quite difficult to organise between 4 people what would be a good idea, and us all being quilting novices, not really knowing what was insanely difficult and what just looked difficult. In the end we got together and chose a pattern from Cath Kidston's 'Sew'. It is a lovely pattern, quite simple but very sweet, and included skills we were all 'learning' (i.e. most of us haven't tried before!) including basic piecing and applique.

My sister has made this quilt twice for two other lucky babies, and they have always looked very cute. Once she adapted it to have elephants and giraffes too.

We had several days and evenings of getting together, going on fun trips to find the fabric. Colour choice left me confused and scared, but thankfully Laura knows her friend very well and managed to choose colours very similar to the nursery! Hurrah! They aren't finding out the sex of the babies until they are born, but none of us are very keen on the pink for girls/ blue for boys dynamic anyway, so that was good with us!

Now for some making photos!

Beginning the process, lots of tracing and cutting!

The boys that were lying around the house weren't in to helping with the quilting, but did have lots of fun with board games!

Working with four people, we got all the pieces cut and ready to pull together in one afternoon!

All sewn together, just cutting the backing and batting


Look at the concentration on that girl's face!

Ta da!

The best bit, this is Nats and Laura. Guess who is who!

All our goodies, photo from Nats.
And that was it! Fun times, looking forward to doing this all again ;) Hopefully there will be a future post with the babies all cuddled up :)

Ali xx

Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Secret Twin Blankets Project! Part 1

For the past few months four of the craft night crew have had a fun, secret project. One our lovely craft buddies Natalie told us the wonderful news her and her husband were pregnant - with twins no less - we decided to combine our crafting powers to make them some cot quilts. We then found we had loads of left over fabric, so I carefully divided it up and we all took away a pile and this is the result! Photos and details of our quilting journey to come in next blog post!

I made some wee booties based on a pattern from 'Meet Me at Mikes' craft book by Pip Lincolne ( I've had the book for a while and have been a bit jealous of all the cute baby projects I've never had need of, so was excited to try. They were pretty easy to make, although I think they might be a little big for a while yet!

Fiona made decorated hooded towels, with some beautiful little buttons very securely sewn on! We were pretty impressed, Fiona hadn't been that keen on being put in charge of cutting the fabric for the quilts!

Amy made a bird mobile based on the same book we had used as a pattern for the quilts - Cath Kidston's 'Sew'. She made them pretty quickly and adapted the pattern by using a small circle from the craft store instead of the batons, and with some lovely matching ribbon too!

Laura made some lovely little taggies, one each so no squabbling! Not based on any particular pattern, all Laura's own design, and marvellous they are too! For more of Laura's designs visit her blog here -

Fun times and was lovely to see a happy mum and dad accepting! Now we just need some little ones to make their debut! 

Ali xx

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Craft Night Blog Begins!

Above image is my nyancat blanket :) 

Hello all the ladies of Craft Night fame. I've decided to start a blog about our crafternoons, crafterevenings, craft nights and all collaborative craft related activities. I'm planning on taking photos of all of our projects, sharing them with the world (and if gifts, waiting until they have been gifted!) and linking back to patterns/ websites etc. Also maybe once in a while I'll add a pattern or 'how to' if one of us has done something new and exciting.

I want you all to join in, it is pretty much the same as our facebook group but more public and hopefully other people will get a kick out of looking at our projects, as much as I enjoy reading other crafting blogs hopefully!

And every so often there will be videos of nyancat, our unofficial anthem...

Love Ali xx
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