Sunday, 20 November 2011

Lost ankle/foot, cycling, thrift shops and a creative flair

For a long time now I have been wanting to make a wall hanging for the flat and yesterday afternoon was the day.

Earlier my D Mike and I had a wonderful morning out on our bikes.  First we cycled to the sewing machine shop where I purchased a spare ankle for my Husqvarna sewing machine.  I am shocked at how expensive this tiny spare part is.  Let me tell you how I lost it.  Last year I was fortunate enough to receive a fabulous Bernina sewing machine for Christmas, and the lady in the shop said that she would give me an adaptor so I can insert the Husqvarna ankle into the Bernina adaptor and use many of the feet that I purchased for the Husqvarna.

Of course I experimented to see that it worked etc etc.  During the summer, we moved into the flat and I transported my Husqvarna up to London to live there so if I wanted to sew I could.  Last Tuesday I had finished everything on my Roman blinds except for one velcro tape for the 6' bedroom window.  I got the machine out ready to sew, there was a needle but no ankle or foot.  I had to stitch the velcro on by hand but more important what the heck had I done with the foot and ankle.

Back home, I found all the Husqvarna feet in the my special box, but no Bernina adapter and no ankle for the Husqvarna.  So I bought two ankles (one for the Husqvarna and one for the Bernina adapter), a new Berniana adapter, and just for good measure a pack of needles total bill £34 .................................  You all know that now I have purchased these, I will of course find the lost items.

Back on our bikes we headed into a pretty little village on the river, predominately to get a spare bolt fixed on my bike (yes I know not have a good week am I) and to purchase some black cotton to make a wall hanging.

I parked the two bikes and my D Mike at a table outside a coffee shop and went into have browse, safe in the comfort that he was drinking a tea and relaxing while enjoying the beautiful sunshine we were experiencing.  I found my black fabric and some great fabric with bikes on which I am using as a key piece for the hanging.

I have wanted to make myself a pressing board for ages - seen lots of them on YouTube etc., but you ideally need a nice old wool blanket (something we don't have in my house any more).  There are a couple of thrift shops near the cafe, so I left mike for a few minutes longer to see if they had anything.  Sadly they didn't, but what I did find is some great pure silk ties which I will cut up for bias binding.

We left the cafe with all my purchases, cycled to the bike shop but on route passed a Farmer's Market.  So once the bike was fixed (took 1 minute) we back-tracked and mooched around the indoor market and left with a brace of pheasants and some goats cheese and milk.

We started to head back home, and just before we reached home, I saw another thrift shop, so pulled in and yippee they had a blanket - 100% wool for £2.50.  I purchased the blanket, which was huge and they stuffed it into a plastic bag for us which Mike thankfully hung off his handle bar because out front bags were full up.

When we got home I got out the staple gun we purchased to make the covered headboards (knew it would be handy), got two large boxes, measured enough of the blanket to cover the boxes with a double thickness, and then wrapped the whole lot in an old sheet and here is my pressing board.

Its not too heavy, but works really well.  I have enough of the blanket to cover my ironing board and the rest I put in the washing machine on as hot a wash as I could find, and then put it into the tumble dryer to create a sort of boiled wool.  But that is another project and another day.

So now on to the creative bit.  In October 2010 I went to the Houston quilt show and was very inspired and  purchased a template from Sue Pelland called leaves galore.  I wanted to try out the template, and make a wall hanging, and wasn't too sure what I wanted to do, so I guess what I am about to show you is a first attempt really of a mixture of patchwork, quilting, appliqué and machine embroidery.

The square bottom left has been made up using the petite leaf shape, the middle square has been used using the left-over bits of fabric after you cut out your leaves and the top right is just using the 4 leaf shapes.

The quilted embroidery design I actually purchased, however I found loads of links offering free downloads such as Bunnycup Embroidery where some really cute designs to make things for our darling grandchildren plus Sue Box Creations where I found some free items and purchased some great butterfly designs which I want to use on some organza.  I am amazed at how many free items you can find on the internet - Google is your friend ha ha.

As a first attempt I am quite pleased with the quilt/wall hanging - will I put it up -Hmmm I am not sure - really wanted more of a picture rather than a quilt - but I have backed this with a lovely soft cotton fleece so if Alana or Ella come to visit us and wants something to cuddle this will be nice and warm.

I was keen to try out some of the new embroidery designs and here are the first two I embroidered last nigh while I was sewing the patchwork (this is a benefit of having  a separate embroidery machine):

There are lots more to choose from, these two both took approximately 30 minutes each to embroidery.  The Mouse had 8 colours and the duck had 5 colours.  I have the Janome 350E embroidery machine which so far I have found great.

Last but not least, around midnight last night I cut out some 6" squares of black, white and my cycle print fabric and then cut them again to produce this set of squares below - I am sure there is a name - perhaps pin wheel - would need look it up.  Was sort of experimenting again, so will keep it and think about what I want to do with it. 

So all in all we had a fabulous day yesterday - my thrift shop purchases were a great find for me, but also more important, the money I spent went to a good charity, while finding a new life in some discarded items. The bike ride was really enjoyable, good for the environment because we didn't use our car, great for the hips, hopefully I burned a few extra calories and more important we had a really fun morning (I speak for Mike too.......................... well except for when he was try to balance the plastic bag with the blanket in on the way home ha ha)

Ok need to press on the day is young and I have lots more to do. More later.........................................


  1. Hi Pauline. My but you've been busy. I love the idea of a press board and I do have an old wool blanket! Your wall hanging is very pretty. I'm working on a Christmas quilt of all things. Hope to have it done for the big day. Happy sewing!

  2. Diana

    thanks for the comment (always welcome). I am not sure the wall hanging will make it to the wall - I really want to do more of a picture - I have just digitized a photo and am thinking of doing a combination of silk painting, machine and free-hand embroidery. Good luck with your quilt.