Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Making winter gifts: things to do with a fat quarter part 3

January is on its last legs, thank goodness, and although the thought of February does not exactly fill me with untrammelled glee, I am beginning to be of the opinion that Emma and Mrs Thrifty are right, and Making Winter is the way to go.

What with the teeth falling out and the dodgy hand, not to mention the brown paper bag over my head to cover the only part of me visible above the endless layers of knitwear encompassing my rapidly inflating muffin top (or perhaps that should be muffin middle and bottom as well), I had begun to feel that the only Making that I was fit for this Winter was Making a Break for the Fireside.

A robin isn't just for Christmas (from Sew Sweet Violet)

However, I have been to see the nice lady with the computer program for retraining recalcitrant hands, and she encouraged me to try a little light needlework or knitting before I return to her cosy office and warm congratulations and patting on the back at my skill in playing computer games (sorry, Activities) that my children could have mastered before they were out of the cradle. (My left hand pinch grip might be pathetically weak, but oh I have such control of the movement - see, all that sitting by the fire and knitting and sewing might have overstrained things, but it has helped me to top marks in Control and a big happy gold star [I have always had Control Freak tendencies, so make that two stars].)

A winter gift

Having had severe needle withdrawal symptoms since overdosing on housework with consequent collateral damage to my pinch grip, I almost managed to skip back to the car (except that the hamster cheek kept bobbing up and down (mainly down) inside the large scarf and impeding my progress).

And so here is one I made earlier - a dinky, zippy bag known as a Ditty Bag (pattern from Keyka Lou), which I stitched up as a present for a very special person - and just the thing to make a small inroad into my embarrassingly large collection of fat quarters (which have been becoming even more embarrassingly guilt-inducing over the last few weeks as I pondered why I had a collection of fat quarters compendious enough to keep my family and friends in winter gifts for the next century when I couldn't sew a thing what with my dodgy hands and dodgy teeth to boot).

As ever, the lovely Keyka Lou pattern was easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy (very important when you are feeling small), and easily completed over the course of a quiet Sunday afternoon, listening to the radio, and getting distracted along the way. It comes in three sizes - I chose the large one as consuming the largest amount of fat quarter, but even so had enough left out of two fat quarters for little purses or wallets like the ones I made here and here.

The fabric was from the Annie's Farm Stand range (available from the Fat Quarter Shop), and I have a some handy little hints for you (as you know, I have a penchant for handy hints).

To speed up cutting-out time, if I have to cut multiples of a particular pattern piece I do a bit of folding and stacking - layer the two fat quarters together, and fold them over or concertina them if more than one piece of each colourway, and you can cut out all the pieces at once. (For these little bag and purse projects super-accuracy is not needed.) This also works well with interfacing.

It is well worth buying a teflon pressing sheet for interfacing - it saves glue on the iron and the ironing board, and tears at bedtime, and in my mind does justify the outlay.

And if you have so many fat quarters that you don't know what to do, weep not - you could make some pretty baskets like this (instructions here and no pattern required), or go into mass present production as I did here (and they were all a great success at Christmas time, I am pleased to tell you), or even another thrifty little present (those fat quarters are a historic cost, so you can feel very thrifty about using them up).

As to my hand, it is so cold here today that I am losing touch with my extremities - all is quite numb. I wonder if I could squeeze on another pair of gloves and some more socks. I have taken the paper bag off though, and am wearing just the one scarf . . .

PS My January has been singularly unproductive, but if you head over to Lily's Quilts, you can see what lovely things the busy bees over there have been making, as it is Fresh Sewing Day when everyone has to stand up and be counted. (She shifts uneasily on her seat and points to one solitary Ditty Bag).


ted and bunny said...

so you're turning into a muffin-all-over with your enforced rest?
Join the club- I've turned into a fat quarter!

Jooles said...

hello lovely lady...so nice to have you back x
I am so sorry, you are in the wars (as my nan would've said) what rotten luck...heres wishing that hand and teeth get better VERY soon x
I love your zippy bag, it is a gorgeous shape.
I see my little friends there, i hope they are looking after you well?! thank you for the very sweet mention x
sending healing wishes your way
love jooles x

Katy Cameron said...

Right, I've finally worked out your dental problems... you're trying to sew with your teeth! ;o) Well done for the gold stars, hope you can carry on plodding your way through those fat quarters!

Draffin Bears said...

I love your sweet little gifts you have been making, pretty fabric.
Sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your teeth and your hand.
Hope that you feel better and have a good week.


Jenny said...

Love your spotty bag, it's such a pretty colour and looks like it will be so useful! Also feeling the cold here, and looking forward to warmer days to come. Hope you are back fighting fit soon xxx

Callies Cottage said...

Warm Wishes,

silverpebble said...

You've been so busy despite the minor injuries! That little bag looks Very Useful Indeed. You've heartened me - I think I shall try sewing again and, dare I say it, using patterns.

Hugest thanks for joining in Pomona - Mrs TH and I have been thrilled at the response to the project..

Barbara said...

Such a pretty bag. Do hope your cheek clears soon.

Annie said...

You sew with your teeth?! No wonder you're having trouble ;D

Lovely little bags. Hope you're soon able to be busily sewing again x

Lucille said...

My sincere commiserations about the teeth and the wily dentist's ways. I gritted my teeth on your behalf when I read of your plight. Hope the swelling goes down soon. Arnica?

harmony and rosie said...

Pomona you sound in a right old state but I have had a little tiny laugh at your expense I'm afraid (I'm sure you don't mind). Thank you for your wise words, I think I'm going to have to nip any further tendon probs in the bud by reaching out for the ice pack and keeping the pooter work to the minimum.
Take care!
Kate x

Carol said...

Love the spotty bag. I'm making my first bunting, I've been using a fat quarter to make the lettering but it has only used a fraction of it.
Hope your hands and teeth problems are soon sorted.
Take care, Carol xx

greenrabbitdesigns said...

Gorgeous little bag and well done on completing it even with so many 'dodgy' bits! ;)
Vivienne x

Anonymous said...

So glad to see your posts again, although sorry to hear of your teeth and hand woes. I hope you are on the mend! Lovely makes in this post, I am off to look at Keyka Lou patterns now.

Mrs. Micawber said...

No one can sew with dodgy teeth - in fact I'm not sure anyone can sew with healthy teeth. :)

At least the parentheses are holding up well!

Stay as warm as you can, and keep a stiff upper lip. (Which is probably quite easy just now - the lip part, I mean.) And have fun making more beautiful ditty bags.

Janine said...

I think your ditty bag is great and I love your blog. I'll visit again soon:)

ScissorsandThread said...

Love the bag, i'm a sucker for spots!

selfsewn said...

Ah the sewing pains!
I'm glad you are able to do a little bit here and there.
One can never have too many fqs!!

taylorsoutback said...

I firmly believe that each of us goes through a spell in our lives where our bodies decide to act up all at once...soon you will be heading into a cycle where all is good and these days will fall behind you.

My January sewing room has been in upheaval all month with way too many projects in mid-flight and no final landings...hope February brings some of them down to earth! (But my major basement clean out has been very productive.)

Take care of yourself.

Cheryl said...

OK. So how long do you have to hang on to fat quarters or other craft supplies before any makes,using them, can be classified as thrifty? Looking at my stash, I'm loving the idea! Hope your back at the sewing machine soon. I agree with the others. Sewing with teeth....!

Catherine said...

Hello dear Pomona...yes I thought that may indeed have been the case, the hibernation that is, after your previous comments of winter loathing. I can firmly (not to firmly mind you) commiserate on the teeth front..been having such issues for some months now..most odd & unpleasant. Got any arnica to rub into said bruise? Those new bulbs thrusting through the chilly earth look a little hopeful. Much love from a slightly warmer place. Catherine x0x0x

Helen Philipps said...

Love your pretty bag, you make such lovely things. I'm sorry about the dental problems still going on and the poorly arm still in rehab. I hope both things will soon be much improved. And then the warmer weather will come, you will feel better, and with the increased activity in the garden and suchlike... the muffin-esque problems will also disappear.
Sending you warm and healing wishes.
Helen x


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