Monday, February 21, 2011

Craftivism and Crafting for Charity

Craftivism (or activism in the form of making crafts) is something that seems to be increasing in popularity in line with the resurgence in crafts over the past decade.  It's something that I've dabbled with over the years.  Baking and gifting them all to random people that I meet around London.  Baking to raise money for Haiti that was done in conjunction with I Knit London.  As you can see to date they've been baking related but I wanted to dabble in other crafts, particularly quilting since it is my recently discovered passion.  I've read about do. Good Stitches over at Rachel Hauser's blog (Stitched in Colour) where they have a virtual quilting circle that then makes a quilt to donate to a charity of the circle's choice.  I thought this was a wonderful idea but noticed they're mostly American based.  Once my PhD and other academic work settles down a bit, I'd love to help set up or be involved in a UK based version...  Any interest?

Anyways, the reason all of this is at the forefront of my mind tonight is that earlier this evening I attended the Shoreditch Sisters W.I.  meeting where they were stitching vulvas.  These are 7" square patches that will then be turned into a pieced top (perhaps a quilt?) that will raise awareness for the charity FORWARD (Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development).  FORWARD's aim is to protect the sexual rights of African girls and women, particularly against female genital mutilation (FGM). A spokesperson from the charity told us that 24,000 women are subjected to FGM each year in the UK (where it is illegal) and the figures are c.3 million across the world.  This is a subject that needs consideration and for the public profile to be raised, since it often lurks in the realm of the unmentionable. The finished pieced top will be displayed at Coco de Mer a women's luxury sex-shop filled with delights.  There will be a launch event with the Shoreditch Sisters, FORWARD and other charities that tackle FGM present.  The date is yet to be announced...

I'm afraid I don't have any photos of the patch that I made because I already donated it to the Shoreditch Sisters ready for the quilt.  Mine featured a touch of embroidery (stem stitch and chain stitch but neither brilliantly done) but was mainly some applique with fronds of lace. 

However should any of you loverly blog folk want to sew, embroider or knit or other wise craft a 7x7 inch patch featuring a vulva for the Shoreditch Sisters W.I. Embroideries Project, they can be posted to :

5a Gransden Avenue
E8 3QA
United Kingdom

For more information on the project please visit the Shoreditch Sisters blog and FORWARD.

Oh... in the process of writing this blog post, I was pootling around Facebook and have discovered the London-based Craftivist Collective, which clearly needs further investigation.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Delights

My academic work and general life has taken me away from my crafting a fair bit in the past week or so but all with great results.  I am in the midst of a knitting project that I won't post WIP photos of as it is a special present for my dear boyfriend, which unfortunately won't be finished today. I have been knitting it thinking of him whilst he's working, so there is love in the air at my house. Here are a few crafty activities that I've been up to in the past week.

I baked heart-shaped scones.  Here's a picture of them before they were in the oven, actually baked a week ago but only put some pics up now.  We were too excited by them to take photos, instead they devoured with jam and cream. Yum. Yum.

This weekend I took some time out to work on my animal quilt some more, which I'm working a bit too slowly on me thinks.  I need to get my act on, as I've at least 6 more blocks to make at a minimum.  I am considering off-setting the bright colours with lots of cream sashing then quilting on it with turquoise thread...

Fabrics are: moda essential dots, moda marbles and Eleanor Grosch blue whales

These are my log cabin blocks. One has ended up slightly wonky and the other I did on of the measurements a bit wrong, so we've two pieces of the darker turquoise the same.  I've decided I'm going to leave them as it is because they are my training wheels.  Perhaps I'll turn this quilt into a bit of a sampler too... Decisions decisions.  Maybe next time it would be simpler to follow a pattern than devise my own.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Work Eating up Craft Time

This past week has been great in terms of my career (first ever lecture given, seminars led, great supervision, PhD chapter progressing etc.) but it's been so busy that I've had no time to sit with fabric and play.  It can be summarised with the following picture:

My dear friend Kirsty (Fatty Unbound) bought me this mug at Sally Bourne Interiors last Friday (part of the Barboot that is organised in my corner of North London).  We fell in love with them, as they are so cute and made by the shop.  They also do mugs saying: 'I'd rather be sewing' and 'I'd rather be knitting'.  I bought her the sewing one, as she has recently fallen in love with making her own clothes and dressses.  The mug cheered me up and gave me a smile whilst I was doing work prep, thinking of friends and other fun stuff. Yay for friends, craft, work and happy times.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Silly Brain...

I managed to call the line 'Tufted Tweeds' instead of 'Tufted Tweets'.  I'm sorry loverly birds and fabric.  Please do forgive my lapse in attention.  I blame the absence of caffeine in my blood-stream at the time of writing the post.  A girl has to learn!

My 1st Attempt at Free Motion Quilting and I Won Something!

I decided that as the little dog mug rug was going to be a small experimental piece that I would use it to try a variety of new techniques.

Pin basting:

I think it might work better for bigger projects, as it saves having to hand sew with those curved needles for ages.  However perhaps I used too many pins?  I found it rather fiddly and difficult to make everything work properly.  How many pins should be used?  Also the solid fabric was Klona solids, which is a fair bit thicker than quilting weight fabric perhaps it's almost Home Dec?  Anyways, I found it tricksy but I survived it.

Here is a picture of my free motion quilting:

I must confess that I did do several practices first on scraps of old sheeting that I'd cut up.  I hadn't realised that my sewing machine (Pfaff Select 4.0) had a special free-motion setting that could enable all sorts of fun things to be done.  I'm looking forward to practicing this technique more.  My initial attempts resulted in ooddles of bobbling on the back of the fabric with surplus thread galore.  Woops.

The background in the picture is a pale grey fabric (Klona solid again - not sure of its name) that I'm going to use to make the binding for the fabric.  The class that I did with Sarah Harper at The Workshop was so helpful in this as she is quite hands on with ensuring that you know how it all fits together and works properly.  I'm fortunate to live in one of the few parts of London that has a quilting shop :)

I'm going to finish on another note that has left my morning with a sense of glee.  I won my first ever giveaway of 'Tufted Tweeds' [Edit: It's Tufted Tweets silly...] scraps from 'Little Island Quilting'.  Thank you so much for picking me.  I'll post a picture of my loot when it arrives with me.

Hope you're all plan on having a marvelous weekend filled with crafting.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Liberated Quiltmaking...

Last night I promised a picture of my 'mug rug' liberated quilt block.  Well here she is:

She's quite a quirky shape but it just seemed to be what she demanded when I made her the other night.  The dog is a small bit of Michael Miller's Tammis Keefe tribute dogs in red.  The purple and red spots is from Kaffe Fasset.  The red and white flowers is something that I scored at the weekend, as I fell in love with it at a strange little haberdashery shop up north in Macclesfield.  It had so many fabrics on the bolts, is down in a basement and has been there forever.  Plus the lady seemed to add at least an extra 2" onto each half yard of fabric I bought. Hurrah.  The solids are from the 'Hurricane Bundle' bought from BackStitch.

I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out, as it was my first time experimenting with different shapes and blocks. I know it isn't a square/ rectangle so in that sense it isn't really a liberated logcabin block. Or perhaps it is so liberated that it couldn't be constrained in that pattern. Hmm...  I'm between binding it with a rich green marble print by Moda or going for the pale grey solid that is next to the dog.  Any thoughts?

Now I'd better get back to teaching prep and Ph.D. chapter writing.  Off to buy some batting and then do the actual quilting on it later today.  I am loving having more craft projects on the go in-between my academic work.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I'd like to introduce you to...

Some charming little felted animals that have come into existence over the past few days.  Now my Mum was able to finish hers on Sunday morning, whilst I was being a sleepy head.  I've only just finished mine a few minutes ago before sharing the pictures here with you.  I waited a day or so because I wanted to showcase them together, as they were made in tandem, whilst watching 'The Illusionist'.

Please meet the Felties (patterns were from 'Felties' by Nelly Pailloux)

Sleepy Fox - sewed by me.

Vivid Squirrel - sewed by my Mum.  Look how neat her stitching is!! I'm impressed.
Cute little felted animals aside, last night I made my first 'liberated' quilt block after reading Liberated Quiltmaking II by Gwen Maston. Oh it's an incredible and inspirational book.  I just sat there perusing the pictures, dreaming up designs with fabric and wanting to start planning projects galore. However photos of my first 'liberated' quilt block will have to wait until tomorrow but I will just say that it includes reds, purples, grey and black. Bold colour choices, I know but what better to make a little 'mug rug' to have in my office.

Bed and book time now, as I'm a sleepy thing.  Happy crafting everyone!