A slight obsession with books

Crafts, cats and books


Patchwork toy box

Sammie is already getting quite a collection of toys and they were getting underfoot. I decided that she needed her own toy box, and thought she’d like one made specially for her. I knew I’d seen instructions for making a box in Love Patchwork and Quilting and after looking through my back copies twice, I found it. Why I can never spot something the first time is a mystery to me.

I did struggle with the instructions a couple of times but I got there in the end and this is the result.


As you can see from a closer view, the stitching is not exactly straight, but it isn’t bad. There should be a bow on the front with a button on it, but I thought it might be best to leave that off. She’d just chew it.


It’s lined, which was a first for me so this was great practise at several different techniques. My hand stitching, where it was pulled the right way round, leaves something to be desired, but again, it’ll do.


It stands up nicely by itself and will hopefully cope with Sammie playing with it, and probably getting in it. Her toys are in it now and she’s already investigated it. I’m sure she’ll soon be helping herself to her Mousie.





First attempt at quilting #2

And it’s finished! I defeated the sewing machine gremlins and made some buttonholes for my cushion cover. This is the finished item.


My scrap piece of fabric, that was being used to try and do buttonholes is now looking a bit tatty. It took quite a few attempts to get it right.


The problem was that I wasn’t pulling the buttonhole lever down far enough. You have to pull it down and then push it gently back until it clicks into position. Mine would only click if you pulled it halfway down, so I assumed that it was in the right place. While I was fiddling with the machine, I realised that it had to be all the way down as it was when it touched the buttonhole foot, that the machine knew to start stitching back the other way. This would be why it was only sewing a straight line before, but most of the time it won’t click back if it’s in the right position so you have to gently hold it back. I got there in the end though and managed to do some fairly reasonable buttonholes.


They’re not perfect, and I did have a couple of issues with the two end ones, which is why I’m not showing them to you. I had to do quite a bit of tweaking to get them fairly even, adjusting stitch length and a screw at the back of the machine. I’m quite pleased with the result though.


It’s quite small as cushion covers go so I do need to get or make an insert for it. For the purposes of taking a photo though, I stuffed it with toy filling. It’s been a bit of a learning curve, with my first quilting and first buttonholes but I’ll feel more confident when I make the next one.

One more photo of the finished cushion.



I want to make another one now ­čÖé


My first attempt at quilting

I’ve been threatening to have a go at this for ages. I keep seeing all the lovely quilty things that Tree makes and puts on her blog, and each time I see them, I wonder if I could make anything like it. At the NEC show this year, I took the first step by buying some fabric but it’s been sitting in a drawer while I procrastinated. Sewing is scary when you haven’t really done any before, you know.

Yes, I know I’ve been sewing the frames for the cross stitched cottages, but it’s not really the same thing. Call that a warm up.

I’ve been looking at lots of patchwork cushion covers on Pinterest to get ideas and have been doodling different designs until finally, I came up with one that I liked. I thought a cushion cover would be an excellent thing to start with as we do actually need some, and they’re nice and small.

This is the stuff that I had to play with.


Firstly I worked out how big all the pieces would need to be and which ones I wanted to use where in my design. Then, I got cutting. I pressed each piece carefully, and then I got the sewing  machine out and started sewing. I kept going back to the iron and pressing the seams flat in between attaching pieces and this is how it came out.


I then fired up the laptop and checked a few websites to make sure I had some idea what I was doing next. Then, I took a deep breath, put the layers together and sewed.


I’m quite pleased with it. I can see that the fabric puckered in places. I’m not sure why. Maybe I need to adjust something on the sewing machine. Also, I wish I’d arranged the right column slightly differently as there’s a band going across as well as up/down. That was unintentional but I can live with it for a first attempt. I’d cut the batting and backing slightly larger than the front, as instructed, and have now trimmed it all off ready for putting the back on.

And there is where the problems have started. It was all going so well too. I’m planning to do the back in two overlapping pieces that fasten with buttons. Having cut the two pieces, I hemmed the edges that will overlap and then hemmed them again so no edges would be visible. Then I checked again to make sure the sizes were ok. They weren’t. The hemming had made them slightly too short so there wouldn’t be room for buttonholes. Sigh. Luckily I had some more of that fabric so was able to cut another of the smaller pieces.

I had the splendid idea of using the sewing machine to do the buttonholes. It does them automatically, according to the manual, so why not? I mean, how hard can it be? So, first I sorted out the buttonhole foot, and then read all the instructions several times until I felt confident. With foot attached, I set the stitch length, the stitch selector, and pulled down the little zip knob. I read the instructions again and made sure that I’d followed all the steps. Then I set about making a buttonhole – on a scrap of fabric. Not doing it straight onto the back proved to be an excellent idea as on the first go, it just stitched a lump. On the second it stitched a slightly longer lump. On the third, it ate my fabric and I had to dismantle the bobbin holder to get it out. On the fourth, after I’d ironed some interfacing to the back, it just stitched a long line that didn’t resemble a buttonhole in the slightest.

Then the phone rang, saving my machine from being sworn at and very possibly kicked. My car, which had gone to get its air con fixed, was ready for collection. Oh how lovely it was to drive home in a cool car, although I may have had the air con turned up a bit too high as I fear I may now have frostbite and therefore can not do any more sewing today. The sewing machine may be thankful for that.

I’ll try those buttonholes again tomorrow. After I’ve had a wee look on Google to see if I can figure out what’s wrong.