Friday, 23 December 2011

Bit of sad news, and a Christmas gift for readers

One of our two cats hasn't been very well for a long time, and we had to say goodbye to him this morning (Friday 23 December).  We stayed with him and I petted him as he went to sleep.  All very sad even though it was for the best, as he was suffering. I came home and saw the cushion portrait I made of our two cats last year, I don't know whether to hide it away or hug it. He was the black cat, and was only around 14 years old but very unlucky with his health, poor thing.  I don't think our other cat, Lucy, realises that Colin is gone yet.

Today I am on leave, which was planned and I was looking forward to doing lots of sewing, but haven't done very much today except to sew binding on the log cabin quilt that I quilted on the frame a few months ago.

Earlier in the week, I have been working on:
  • a cross-stitch gift tag, using a kit from Cross Stitcher magazine, which I need to finish by the time we go to see the in-laws on Boxing Day.
  • my pink Thorpe hat.  I cut off the brim and ripped it back to the end of the increases on the top, and am re-knitting the sides on smaller needles to tighten it up.
  • an old machine knitted chunky jumper.  It came out well but I've rarely worn it because the high turtleneck itched my throat.  I unpicked the ribbing to about half-way, and cast off so now it has a fairly open crew neck and is much more wearable.
  • I've started a vanilla sock using Harry Potter variegated sock yarn.
  • I've started another sock from the Sock Innovation book by Cookie A, this one is called Glynis, and I am using Cherry Tree Hill semi-solid sock yarn that I recycled from the second pair of socks I ever knit, Widdershins, which had come out far too tight.
  • Last Sunday was our local knitting group, and it was only me and one other person (Hi Daisy!) so I managed to finish my first Debbie Bliss wrist warmer. I haven't darned the ends in yet, and I'm not proud of the fair isle tension, but it's done.  As well as changing this to being knitted in the round, I added ribbing at the top instead of a rolled edge, as both Daisy and I thought that a rolled edge would just be annoying.

Sort of a tutorial - Quilted Notepad Covers

The other thing I did last weekend was to make three quilted notepad covers, two of which are Christmas gifts for in-laws.  This isn't exactly a tutorial, as measurements will be down to what size pad you are slipcovering, but here are some general guidelines as my Christmas present to you.  Would love to hear if anyone else tries this.  I was inspired by an article on Quilted Journal covers by Jessie Croker which appeared in Quilter's Home Magazine in the May/June 2008 issue, but pretty much did my own thing otherwise.

I picked up three ruled notepads from the bargain store for .69p each. I looked for pads with a coil binding along the top edge, and particularly for ones that had a good stiff cover (this give stability once the gift is assembled).

The cover is basically a quilted rectangle edged in binding. A ribbon or tie is stitched on the outside to hold it closed, and a pocket is stitched on the inside right hand side, to hold the flap of the notepad.

Estimate measurements by placing your pad on a ruler. My pad was just under four inches wide, was about a half inch thick, and about 5 3/4 high. So I wanted my finished cover to be 9" x 6.5", to allow seam allowances for binding all the way around, and so that the coil binding was well inside the cover.

Add an inch to the cover measurements to give you some working room and cut out two pieces of fabric: one for the front cover and one for the inside cover. You can also piece the front cover, as I have done with the black & grey notepad cover. Sandwich the fabric around some polyester batting and quilt as desired. I meandered on the sewing theme cover, and used my walking foot to stitch straight lines on the other two, with a bit of a zig-zag pattern on the grey/black cover. When your quilting is finished, press the cover lightly then trim to your finished measurement.

Now add the ribbon tie. I sewed mine midway down the cover, starting from the centre of the front of the cover, and ending about a half-inch from the edge of the back cover. This will give you a tie that ties at the centre of the front. If you would rather have the tie at the edge, then sew to within a half inch of the front cover also.

Now add the pocket. I cut my pocket 4.5" wide and about 12" long, folded it in half lengthwise right sides together, and stitched down one long side. Trim the corner and turn right side out, press.

Tuck the pocket flap up behind the ruled pages of your notepad with the seam to the left, and place the notepad in the desired spot on your cover (with the inside cover facing towards you. Once you've got it where you want it, pin the pocket in place and remove the notepad. The pocket will be sticking out at the right and bottom of your cover, flip it over and trim off the excess pocket. Stitch down the two long sides of the pocket very near the edge,, stitching through your ribbon tie on the seamed pocket edge, but leaving the ribbon tie free when you stitch down the right hand side of the pocket. Make reinforcing stitches at the top edge of the pocket where it will have to be strong. The bottom of the pocket stays open for now as you will catch it when you sew on your binding.

Test your notepad flap into your pocket to make sure it fits, it should be a tight fit so the pad stays put, and the coil binding should be within the cover area, not sticking out.

The final step is to cut binding strips 1.25" wide, and sew them around the edge of the cover to hide the raw edge, making mitred corners in the usual way for continuous binding. I started the binding with a folded edge, so that when I came back around with the end of the strip, I could just stitch it down and the folded edge covers the raw edge once you turn the binding to the other side.  Fold the binding over to hide the raw edge, and catch it down with hand stitching.

Give the cover a final press and tuck your notepad in and tie a nice bow on the front!

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year


swooze said...

Sorry about the loss of Colin.

Daisy said...

Sorry to hear about Colin - I love the cushion cover.

Denise said...

So sorry about your furry friend. Hope you get through the holidays OK...

Tamra said...

I, too, am sorry about the loss of Colin. Love your pillow of your cats. Thanks for the notebook idea - very clever.

Maybeth said...

I can't believe a knitter in CT, USA found help with the Debbie Bliss Wristwarmers. Mine are curling and now, by adding ribbing, the ones I'm making for my daughter will not. I had forgotten the ribbing trick! Thanks. Great blog!

Miniature Collections

Miniature Net Ring

This site is owned by

Want to join a
Miniature Network Ring?

[Next] [Previous] [Random] [List Sites]