I managed to get some more time at sewing on Saturday afternoon (although not without another fight with dh, who showed up after just an hour wanting me to do something 'with the family' - apparently spending the whole morning putting away the family's christmas decorations, cleaning the family's house and making the family's lunch does not count as family time...). I made the Bucket Bag that has been popping up on so many blogs. I first heard about it from Swooze, and Dr. Beth made several as Christmas presents. It is really fun to make, what a great pattern for showcasing fabrics. I used some of my blue & white collection.
If you are thinking of trying this pattern for the first time, the instructions are excellent on Welsh Quilter's blog, but here are a few extra tips based on my first try at it.
Step One: Fabric Selection. You need seven fabrics, and the order 1-7 is the order of the horizontal bands of diamonds from the top to the bottom of the finished bag, so choose fabrics that contrast with each other when placed in the 1 to 7 order. Fabrics 7 and 1 will form the bottom of the bag, so you may want these to be darker fabrics to prevent soiling when the bag is set down. Fabrics with one vertical direction (like Toile) may not look so good as they will be slanted on the finished bag. The fabric placement in the finished panel (make 4) from top of bag to bottom, is:
I made my bag a little bit stiffer by adding a layer of medium interfacing underneath the wadding (batting).
Step 3: Final topstitching - Before turning through the finished bag, through the gap you left in the lining, clip into the 'V's of the seam allowance at the top, and trim away the wadding from the top edge of the bag. I also reduced the seam allowance to about 1/8th inch, on either side of the 'V' for an inch or so. This is all to reduce bulk when you turn through the bag and press this top seam, as I had trouble getting it to lie neatly flat particularly around the 'V' area.
A great pattern! I feel like making more of them in different colours. I've also seamed most of the Vintage string star quilt, I'm just waiting for a bit more light blue fabric to arrive for one more block.
On Thurday night, I caught the train up to London to attend the newbie evening for the London Stitch and Bitch knitting group, which was held in the cafe in the basement of Waterstones on Piccadilly. About 50 knitters showed up, which was amazing, and we practically took over the cafe. I was in a very friendly group of six knitters, and spent about 2 1/2 hours knitting on my second glove and chatting about knitting and helping a lady next to me who was even newer to knitting than me. I would go again, but usually I can't stay in London after work as I have to get home to meet ds from the school bus. Perhaps I will manage a meeting if he is on holiday or dh is working from home. I wish there was a knitting group closer to my home in north Surrey, but I haven't been able to find one yet.
One piece of great news - I won a prize in a competition in a dolls house magazine: £50 in vouchers to Hobbycraft (like a small Michaels or small Hobby World). I'd forgotten I'd entered, so this was a lovely surprise and I look forward to spending them.