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WoCaR 2023 – Week 3

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.

Here’s a reminder of my pledge

Now onto this week’s progress:


06 January

I’m slightly stymied in my plans to continue the quilt as I’m waiting on some thread. An order I’d placed was delayed due to an item missing. Still, I had enough to do a little “victory lap” line of stitching around my quilt top as the piecing wasn’t backstitched and this would keep it from coming apart while I wait for the thread to arrive.

In the meantime I did some sorting out.

I’d heard of an app called Stash Hub from various sewing-related people I follow on social media. It sounded like something that could help me get a handle on my fabric stash, which is feeling a bit overwhelming:

I’ve marked out what areas aren’t fabric on this shelving…so it takes up a little more than half?

The idea is you put in all your fabric, patterns, notions, etc and it’ll help you keep track of what you’ve got and projects you’re working on. My problem is I enjoy making plans, but following through with them usually takes a little longer as I get distracted by other things. I also like to pick up nice discounted or thrifted fabric I see when I’m out and about…so this will hopefully also encourage me to use what I have and maybe destash a few things.

For about 10p a day I thought it was worth giving it a go for a year. In order to get the most out of it, it’s best to put as much data in as possible, so I spent a good few hours logging one tub.

I’m probably not going to post the totals on instagram, but here I might as well be completely forthright.

I’m equal parts dreading and curious about my total across all the shelving, and as this is just one of the many bins, I’m probably going to have a rude awakening.

While sorting through bins I made a pile of things to wash (always good to not have that be a barrier when wanting to start a project), and put all my Christmas fabrics to the side, as I want to make some present bags for the end of the year. More on that when I start working on it.

Oh!

I also washed the clothes I mentioned in last week’s post. Ta-da (ish)!

The mustard top is now oil-spot free…and I’ll try to remember to wear an apron when I’m cooking. Some of the lighter stains came out on the dress, but most of them are still there. I’ll try another tactic tomorrow.


07 January

More logging interspersed with laundry! I’m getting a bit muddled at the work required to get everything up there, but on the plus side I rediscovered a few things I’d forgotten I had.

I logged two bins, and managed to reorganise another to put my scraps and garments to refashion in one place. I’m not entirely sure if/how I’ll log those. Many of them are tiny pieces that are probably only good for mending.

Here are my totals after today:

Lots of duvets and longer lengths of fabric (like Ankara fabric) in this batch.

Nearly all my Christmas fabric is washed (along with a few other things), so if I’m still stymied on quilting I can make some progress on that.

I was also thinking a little more about my quilt. I like all my tests but they lack a key feature my larger top has: a band of black. I’m planning on quilting the big one with white or light grey as most of my blocks are light, but the stitching will have to pass through a darker band where it’ll definitely show up.

Oh!

And I tried an oxygen bleach paste and soak on the dress. It might have removed one more of the stains, but I’m pretty sure the others are there to stay. I’ve popped it on my mending pile to work on another day.


08 January

A very minor amount of logging, the last bit of Christmas fabric washed, and another mini-quilt top achieved.

Most of my remaining fabric is knit, with the exception of one box that are project packs I assembled but never got around to doing when we were living in rented accommodation at the end of 2022. Yes they’ve been in bags in a tub for over a year. I can’t face that at the moment, especially since a good few of them are summery clothes I wouldn’t be able to wear for months.

I needed to give myself a break so I made that other mini-quilt and a scrappy back:

I was much less accurate in this piecing – I’m not sure how more accurately to make the 9-patch blocks, but I know some of mine were a little small. I didn’t end up trimming anything on this, so it’ll probably be wavy when I come to quilt, but all that is good practice.

Also it’s not perfect, I made a few mistakes deciding the location of fabrics, but I’m happy with it.


09 January

My husband had to go to Sheffield for work, and as I’d never been, he suggested I come along. I needed a little project I could bring with me. So I assembled another little mini-quilt sandwich:

I really struggled with stitching in the ditch this go round. I’m hoping to do some on my final quilt to anchor and highlight areas, but definitely need more practice. While I originally thought I’d let the wobbles be, when I put additional stitching on they were still very visible so I unpicked and restitched those sections.

You can see the improvement (after I also machine stitched on the front of the binding):

My quilt is really high-contrast so I’ll need to get it right. I’ve been reading up on tips and suggestions, and I’ve got a few ideas of how to proceed:

  • I could use transparent thread for the ditch stitching. While it would take the pressure off it would be synthetic which I’m trying to avoid.
  • I have a stitch in the ditch foot, but it’s not one that’s compatible with my current walking foot. Buying the one where I can switch it out would cost nearly £100 – and while tempting I’d rather save that money to go towards a new sewing machine at some point in the future.
  • I could just not stitch in the ditch, and do 1/8 of an inch or whatever next to the lines to highlight different areas of colour, or do diagonal stitching lines instead. I might try some a mini-quilt with these methods to see if I like the look.
  • More practice! I was thinking of a trial by fire, making a new mini-quilt that’s mostly light colours, and doing my stitching with dark coloured thread. I could wash it to see how much the scrunching up of the quilt hides things.
  • I could also switch colours in different areas. Another idea I might try on a mini-quilt.

10 January

We left in the afternoon, and as tempting as it was I didn’t want to work on the mini-quilt binding at the house. So after volunteering at the cycle hub, I decided to sort out my scraps and square up the big pieces.

As much as I admire some of the quilts people make where they’ve saved all their lovely scraps and fussy cut to feature loads of lovely things, I don’t have the storage space. So I’m hoping to use up as many of those scraps as possible on practice pieces.

I have an idea percolating in the back of my head I might try with some, and then I might just make a randomly pieced scrappy top with the rest.

Later that evening at the hotel I hand-stitched the corners of the binding so if I brought it out with me on my wander I wouldn’t have to be worried about pins stabbing me or getting caught on things.

11 January

I did one of the sides of the binding before heading out, and as the weather was iffy I didn’t bring my project with me on the walk. Sorry for the lack of photo today!

It was a lovely wander around Sheffield, though 4 hours wasn’t really enough time.

12 January

I had canal volunteering today, but managed to finish up the hand stitching on the binding.

This weekend will be a tough one as I’ve got Repair Cafe on Saturday and another day of canal on Sunday. At worst I’ll get a little more fabric logging done, but hopefully I’ll have time to make some progress on practice pieces. I’ve been giving myself a little break but need to get back to working on my business a bit more, too.

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WoCaR 2023 – Week 1

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.

Phew! First week over. It’s a trying hurdle to have the first week contain Christmas. But there’s part of me that thinks if I could do this week, I can complete the whole thing!

Here’s a reminder of my pledge

Hopefully straightforward and quite generous with options. Here’s how I got on:


23rd December

I’m already excited about this challenge as it’s finally got me starting a project more than 2 years after buying the materials: V3 of my wearable hot water bottle!

Here are V1 and V2 for reference:

If you’re interested in more information on these, I’ve written up a basic post about them here!

I went with ankara fabric because I love it. Wadding next to the hot water bottle is insulating to help trap the heat; the one against my skin is cotton/bamboo so it breathes a bit.

Keen to get started, I used the only cotton machine thread I had: white!

  • I finished attaching batting to all of the pieces (started on the 21st and 22nd).
  • I finishing cutting everything out (started on the 22nd).
  • I attached binding separately to the front and back in certain areas, so the D-rings could be sewn into the seams between the layers.
  • I attached the D-Rings to the back.
  • I stitched the front bottom section to the back, and attached the binding on the front side with the machine.
  • I even started hand finishing the binding on the back along one side.

Clearly I’m very keen, so I also had a go on a second project: adding a design to a jumper using duplicate stitch. However, this wasn’t as successful: my white thread is too thick. I’m also not sure this is the best approach as duplicate stitch is more labour intensive than I hoped and given the size of my design it’ll be time consuming to finish it off.


24th December

I’ve been having trouble with my hands if I do too much hand stitching and was feeling a bit sore from all the work yesterday, so I did some yoga instead.

Of course I caved later and hand stitched the rest of the binding on the bottom front, and even machine sewed the binding on part of the front top section, pinning it ready for hand finishing when I was feeling more up to it.


25th December

I hand finished about an inch of the binding I machine sewed on the day before (marked with the red arrows). It was Christmas after all!


26th December

I completed hand stitching the binding on the back of the front top piece, then went to sew that top section to the rest of the holder when my machine threw a fit and broke two needles on the bit that included the webbing for the D-ring.

So I took a little pause and decided to clean and oil my Brother sewing machine and Janome overlocker, and change the needles on my overlocker (not pictured).

Any more sewing was on pause until I picked up more needles. Thankfully I was headed to Shrewsbury the next day and could nip into Abakhan.


27th December

Needles (and a few other things) picked up at Abakhan, I finished my wearable hot water bottle cover! Maybe I’ll write a separate post about it, though I probably already covered all the steps of me making it on here.

Not pictured in the first two shots are the straps I use to tie it on like a baby carrier. They’re black so don’t show up especially well against my jumper but look closely for the D-rings.

This probably isn’t my final version, but before I make any more I need to wear this around and wash it a few times to see what happens!


28th December

At a bit of a loose end, I used it for planning. I’d wanted to start on some clothes for myself, but at the moment (and for the next week and a half or so) my dining table will be taken up by a board game my husband and I are playing. That table is my favourite for cutting out, much larger than the one I have upstairs, and it would be a faff to cut out anywhere else.

So in the meantime I thought I’d start another project: my first quilt!

I’d found two charm packs at a charity shop late February/early March 2023. Both Moda, one called White Christmas Metallic, the other Wild Nectar (link to a place that’s sold out but has a nice photo you can zoom right into). I figured using the black and white one would be easier in terms of finding additional fabric, and settled on this pattern by Moda, though under a guise as the charm pack challenge they did in January 2023. I can’t seem to find blog posts about it anymore, but there are some tags on Instagram and references to it on other sites.

I’d bought additional fabric and made a start of deciding how everything would be laid out back in March, but hadn’t cut anything. So today’s project work was playing around with Paint and tweaking the layout. I’d taken photo of the fabric and a screenshot of the quilt layout planner in the PDF, then just eye-droppered tones to get a rough idea. After printing out four or five versions I finally settled on a cutting list.


29th December

I cut out the additional blocks I needed (plus a few extra as I didn’t have the sheet next to me and got carried away!

Plus I played around with layouts, and after another 5 or 6 options I’m debating between one of three layouts.

If the pictures look odd it’s because all the fabric is just squares lightly folded. I laid out half the design on floor of the spare bedroom, faffed for ages, and took a bunch of photos of different options. I used the computer to create full images of all the options. They look better when smaller, and even better if you squint.


And that’s it so far! I’m already very pleased with having finished one thing I planned out ages ago, and can hopefully get a bunch of other things ticked off my making list during the course of this project.