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WoCaR 2023 – Week 4

This post in a series keeping track of my Winter of Care and Repair 2023 Project. If you want to see all the posts in the series click here


13 January

One of my favourite days of the month: the repair cafe! I’m not going to count the two bags I mended during the day (as I forgot to take pictures), but I will be writing more about my work on Colin’s more-hole-than-socks I took home with me.

During the session I used my latch hook from Ministry of Mending to mend all the ladders, then picked up all the loops onto some embroidery floss so they wouldn’t unravel again. While I picked up some mending cards from Ewe & Ply in town, I’m going to do Swiss Darning or Honeycomb Stitching over these holes and thinning areas using some sock yarn I already have. I’m really excited to practice this type of mend, my socks don’t tend to be chunky enough for me to do it.

For once I didn’t bring a specific project to work on during my down time between assignments, but I noticed some thinning areas on a canvas bag I brought with, so I reinforced the worst before it became a proper hole. You can see more that need doing towards the bottom of the picture below.

This bag is a little precious to me as I got it at the Etsy office in Brooklyn years ago, when they used to host events there. I didn’t make the design but did the printing, and managed to find an embroidery floss colour that matched the ink!

(You’ll have to take my word for it as I forgot to get a photo of the whole bag, sorry!)

Today I also worked on removing a stain from a duvet set I picked up at a charity shop. It was an expensive brand (Christy’s – can’t find these but the cheapest king size sets are nearly £100), and also very new. It looked immaculate, except for a few small blood stains on one of the pillow cases.

Would this put you off? From my (extensive) experience of charity shops, most white duvets you find are actually a bit yellowed from (for lack of a better phrase) body grease. This was pristinely white except for the little stains.

At best: hey, we’ve got a posh new duvet set! At worst: I can cut around the stain and use the fabric to line present bags I’m hoping to make.

After reading some suggestions online, step one was to soak the stain in cold water overnight.


14 January

Another lovely but knackering day at the canal. While on the phone to my parents afterwards I cut, pieced, and sewed some bits for bowl cosies. They’re gifts for friends, with the added benefit that if I use up this fat quarter set I won’t have to list it on my app! Every little helps me make some progress on that fabric stash.

I made four identical pieces like this, the other sides of the cosies will have a solid bit of one of these fabrics.

I also checked in on my stained pillow case – soaking hadn’t really shifted the stain. But hopefully it’s softened it for step 2. The website I’d read suggested using hydrogen peroxide. I didn’t have straight hydrogen peroxide, but I did have oxygen bleach. While I think that works best in warmer water, I was hoping with time it would do the job in cold (which is best for blood stains).

The pillow case was sat in a plastic washing up bowl, in cold water. I arranged the fabric so the stains were at the bottom of little dips that touched the water’s surface. I poured in a spoonful of oxygen bleach. I was hoping osmosis would do the work for me, and even if it dissolved incredibly slowly in the cold water, the highest concentration would flow through the stain. Fingers crossed!

Apologies for the lack of photos – do please comment or message me if that description doesn’t make sense.


15 January

I’d been neglecting one big thing these past few months – taxes! I told myself I’d tackle them after lunch…and gave myself a morning of attaching batting to the pieces I cut/pieced yesterday, as well as a couple more.

It turns out I’d sorted all my spreadsheets up to April (and beyond) months before, so it took me maybe an hour? Maybe less?

So I had a little more time to shape the pieces ready for assembly.

I used a light grey thread to sew on the batting, and while it was nowhere near perfectly in the ditch, it didn’t bother me nearly as much as the fabric is busier than what I’d been using for my mini-quilts.

And how did the pillow case turn out?

As an answer here’s both – my little trick worked, though one stain needed two rounds of it as it went too far below the water level and I don’t think the concentration was high enough. After putting the whole set through the washing machine, I couldn’t tell the difference between the two cases.

If you ever stay over at mine, you’ll probably get this duvet set. Much too posh for my husband and I!


16 January

I went into Shrewsbury to top up my refills, and before I left I pressed all the shaping seam allowances to one side to make it easier to feed through my machine.

I’d fully intended to do more, but got distracted when I came home, so that was it for today!

Fun fact: there were pressed to the wrong side (whoops!). I eventually corrected them after struggling getting one or two through the machine. I finished one today but didn’t get photos.


17 January

I worked a little more on the cosies, finishing another two. Just three more to go.

My husband and I are obsessed with The Traitors, and to stop me being on my phone in front of the telly I tackled the binding on a hand towel.

I’d cut out two sets of towel/hand towel/flannel to give to my husband for Christmas (he wanted massive towels and had threatened to buy microfibre ones), but only had time to finish the binding on one set before gifting them to him. I’ll work on the bath towel…sheet…tent? another day.


18 January

Bowl cosies all finished! I washed them to remove the remains of the blue chalk used to mark some of my stitching lines. Turns out I really was sick to death of them as I forgot to take pictures before I posted them off to our friends. I do hope they like them, the man behind the counter at the post office was bemused by my description of what they were.

To be honest, if I were making more of them, I think I’d adjust how they were constructed – either using one layer of batting or maybe forgoing the reversibility so the end result looked a little less rumpled on top.

I was so glad to have that all finished, and so I quilted and bound another mini-quilt.

This one I echoed the stitching lines but didn’t stitch in the ditch. Because the colours don’t join up there was a lot of starting and ending, more nesting than I’d like on the back of the quilt, and my machine didn’t handle turning corners very well in some cases. My tension must be off!

I also swapped the bobbin thread to match the top which looks a bit weird on the back. Next time I’ll try having different colours on the front and back.

I’ve done a few pinwheel type mini-quilts now and I’m curious to see how the different quilting methods look after a wash. I might try to eke a few square ones out of the remaining scraps to see how they work as well.


19 January

Another mini-quilt, quilted and bound.

I attempted one colour on top (a mid-grey), with white on the bottom…it looked terrible. I couldn’t get the tension on my machine to play ball. I ended up all the way at 9 and it looked ok, but halfway along the stitching line the bobbin thread started showing on top. Going back to 7 seemed to be better, but I didn’t like the look of the grey on the top.

So I picked it out and went with white on both, though looking at the image now I don’t think it was all that bad.

I went OTT with the quilting on this one maybe, but the squares were so small I felt wider wouldn’t make sense. And those lines aren’t straight, but somehow you don’t notice when the entire grid is there.

The binding was put on during The Traitors.

I’ll take a look at my scraps of this fabric and see if I can make more with larger squares as that would more closely replicate my quilt top. I’m hampered by the fact that I used 41 of the 42 charm squares in the quilt. I’m very happy about that (hooray less waste), but the other fabrics I bought don’t have all the grey/tan tones present in the big quilt that may impact what colour I choose.

I think I’ll go with light grey on front and back, but I’ll procrasti-test a bit more before I tackle that.

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