F2F3 block swap #Miss August

It’s August.  It’s stifling hot.  And I’ve been sweating away in my sewing room, because I’m Miss August for the F2F swap, organised by Kate.

My colour inspiration is turquoise, black & grey on white.


And without further to do, here are photos of the blocks I made for myself.

Claire F2F 01

This one is called Crow’s Feet.

Claire F2F 02

Second one is called Balkan Puzzle.

Claire F2F 03

And third one is “Old Fan”.

I actually made a second “Old Fan” since I’m planning on making a 9 block souvenir quilt, using the same pattern  (Old Fan, because it’s a nice effective block) but with the different colours chosen by ladies each month.

Claire F2F 04

Now, I can sit and wait for the postman, who should be delivering lots of nice squidgies from all over the world with blocks from other swap members.  How exciting!


little things . . .

I’ve been listening to the eternal child within me and spending money (on ebay) on a new toy.  Lots of blurb and photos to follow.

Singer 20 01

Here’s is my new toy!  A tiny, hand-cranked Singer 20-10.  I couldn’t resist this model, which is literally complete (only thing missing is the original screwdriver) in its wooden case, with clamp, fabric guide, needles and the original manual.  You can read all about the history of Singer toy machines here singer sewing info.  And click on links to see other brands.  You can also find lots of fabulous information about vintage sewing machines if you visit Alex Askaroff on his website Sewalot

Basically, Singer started making toy machines which sewed a chain stitch, in 1910.  The machine needs only an upper thread, and there is a very simple mechanism underneath, with a rotating hook, that catches the loop to make a neat chain stitch on the reverse side of fabric.  Singer’s first toy machine  was a black version, the Singer 20-1, with an oval base. This underwent a few minor modifcations.  Then in 1950, Singer changed the shape of the base to a rectangle.  Other companies copied Singer, with companies like Grain, Essex, Vulcan and the Japanese too, with their model “Lead”.

These machines didn’t have serial numbers, so it’s impossible to date them precisely.  My little one was made in the Singer factory in Bonnières sur Seine, France – I know that for a fact because the clamp has the Simanco number with a B for Bonnières.  It was made anytime from the 1950s to 1970.  The Singer 20-10 came in black or tan, and a few other colours including blue, green, gold and red.  I’m pretty sure mine is a gold version as it’s most definitely not tan.

Anyway, my 20-10 arrived in its little wooden case,Singer 20 02

which has a compartment on one side for the machine, and a smaller compartment for clamp & accessories.  While I gave the machine a very quick clean and oil, my husband gave the case some TLC.  He noticed the wood looked very dark.  We couldn’t decide whether it was blackened by the Singer cabinet makers, or if someone had rubbed it with shoe polish sometime in the past.  We made an executive decision: to restore the case to its natural wood colour, which we could see underneath.   Might have decreased its vintage value by doing that, but I think it looks so much prettier, and more like the Bentwood cases which were made for the adult-sized Singers of its generation.

Singer 20 03

I, in the meantime, had been sewing.

Singer 20 04

This is the reverse side of the stitching – a very neat chain stitch.  And once I knew it sewed like a dream . . .

Singer 20 10

I went ahead and did a mini patchwork project!  Here you can see the neat (and very regular) top stitching.

Singer 20 13

Singer 20 11

The stitches are slightly visible on the front, because the chain actually results in 2 threads for each stitch, but I might be able to make them less visible by twiddling with tension a little.  I was just thrilled to bits that my little Singer 20-10 actually works, and makes such a regular stitch.  It makes a lovely noise too.

To give you an idea of the size . . . here it is, with my other machines.  First with my 1950 Elna Grasshopper, which is a very small (but heavy) portable machine

Singer 20 06

With my Silvercrest, a standard sized basic, modern machine.

Singer 20 07

And lastly, with my Juki, which is a beautiful, large beast.

Singer 20 08

Obviously, I won’t be doing any large sewing projects on my new toy, but I do think it’ll be fun to use it for some clothes making for my reborn dolls.  One last photo for today, to show the machine from the other side.  Such a pretty little thing!


And a big thank you to my lovely, ever patient, husband, who is always happy to see me happy, and allows me to roam, unsupervised, on ebay lol.

F2F Season 3 # Miss July

Time to share with you the colour inspiration and blocks made for Miss July, in the F2F swap, organised by Kate.

Miss July is Sue and her colour inspiration is blues on white.


Here are the blocks I made, finding my inspiration for patterns, as always, thanks to Wendy Russell and her superb library of blocks Patchwork Square.  Wendy gives detailed instructions with pictures and precise measurements to make hundreds of traditional blocks.  Her site really is a treasure trove.

Anyway, my first block is Checkmate.

Sue 01

Second block is Jaw Hawks

Sue 02

and third block is Folded Corners.

Sue 03

Believe it or not, all fabrics for these blocks came from my stash, and some even from my scrap bags.  I didn’t realise I had so many blues!  And what I find fascinating with patchwork, is how colour layout, with lights & darks, plus simply turning a segment around the other way, can totally change a design.  The two blocks:  Jaw Hawks and Folding Squares are made with exactly the same pieces but sewn together differently!

Don’t forget, if you want to see the blocks other members made for Sue, then you only need to click on this link: F2F and it’ll take you to the gallery.

As with the blocks made in June, I made a fourth block in Sue’s colours, but for myself.  And as in June, I made an Old Fan.  (The plan being to make an Old Fan each month, in the colours of the month, to make myself a souvenir quilt at the end of the 9 months).

Old Fan July

So, lots of fun sewing with blue . . . next month it’ll be turquoise, grey and black on white . . . and I am Miss August!

Stained Glass D9P

Our second son, also known here as Daddy Viking, turned 28 on 21st June.  And what better excuse to start slicing and sewing, to make a quilt?  I realised that since I began patchworking, I have made quilts for eldest son, daughter (Lindashee), Mummy Viking, my sister, my eldest French niece and TWO for my youngest French niece . . . not to mention various quilts as gifts for babies, and a few to fling over the sofas here.  But for some reason, I had never got round to making one for my second son!

I did ask him a while back what colours he would choose, should I find the time.  And he came back with “orange, green, purple and black”.  A son after my own heart!

So . . . a quick delve into my fabric stash revealed a good choice of the above colours, since the first three are my all-time favourites.  And I set to work.

D9P 02

Cutting 5” squares and assembling to make D9P (disappearing nine patches).

D9P 03

Two afternoons of sewing later, and adding a 1” black band, to give me 1/2” width of sashing and I almost had a quilt top.

Followed by a further 2 afternoons during which I added an outer border before quilting.  And another 2 afternoons to sew on the binding (hand-sewing the final seams).

stained glass 9P 01

And voilà!  A lovely vibrant, cheerful quilt, to wish Daddy Viking many happy returns of the day.

stained glass 9P 03

I embroidered “June 2018” in black at one end, so we’ll remember, in years to come, when this quilt was made.

stained glass 9P 04

And “Stained Glass Nine Patch” on the other end – because the narrow black sashing makes blocks pop, and sets them off, rather like stained glass.

stained glass 9P 06

The backing fabric is a solid orange, which also appears in the blocks.  Quilting, in orange thread,  is simple.  I love the patchwork process, but I still find quilting rather daunting and prefer to keep things as simple as possible.

stained glass 9P 05

Finished quilt measures 46” x 59” so it’s a lap quilt, to be slung over the sofa.

F2F Season 3 # Miss June

And we’re off . . . ‘tis the month of June, so ladies in the F2F block swap (organised by Kate), myself included, have been busy making 12” blocks for Miss June in her colour choice.


The above being the very subtle range of colours chosen by Lynn.  Shades of grey, beiges, a faded rose pink and cream.

Blocks have been sent and received, so I can show you my interpretation.

Lynn 01

First block is called “Brave World”.

Lynn 02

Second block (which gave me no end of trouble trying to get things lined up) is “Crow’s Feet”.

And the third block

Lynn 03

is called “Folded Corners”.

I wasn’t too sure about Lynn’s colour choice before I began sewing, but as blocks came together, her colours started to grow on me.  That’s one of the great things about this swap:  learning to use colours we wouldn’t normally choose for ourselves.

Anyway, while tidying up my sewing table, folding away leftover fabrics and scraps, I decided to make a fourth block, in these colours, but for myself.  In fact, I have decided I’m going to make a fourth block each month, so I have a souvenir of fabrics used for this block swap.

The pattern I followed for my own block was “Old Fan”.  I went a little overboard on the pink, but I think it turned out rather pretty.

old fan

Kate, the lovely lady organising this swap is keeping the gallery up to date on the F2F blog, so if you fancy seeing what other ladies made for Lynn in these colours, just click and hop over.

Scrap Happy # June – “crinkle toys”

I’m linking up with Kate and Gun today, for the once a month ScrapHappy post.  The idea being to try and make the most of our scraps which we seem to accumulate and never throw away.   I try to keep my fabric scraps fairly organised, in different plastic bags according to colour, but I also cut 2.5” squares from scraps from time to time, and store them in a little box because you never know when pre-cut squares will come in handy.

I had an idea to make a couple of baby toys and these little scrappy squares were exactly what I needed.   I could have chosen more harmonious colours, but I wanted to keep them as busy and random as possible.

scraphappy 02

scraphappy june 01

Two small blocks quickly sewn together.    The finishing wasn’t entirely “scrappy” but it was definitely very economical.  I had bought some micro fiber dusters not long ago (1.80€ for a pack of lovely bright colours).

crinkle toy 01

And I had also bought a few toy making accessories, namely mini rattles (1.5cm in diameter) and some teething shapes.  So . . . I proceeded to make mini quilts with my two blocks.  Still with ScrapHappy in mind, I pieced scraps of wadding until I had the right size to match the blocks.  And inside  I also slipped a piece of “crinkle paper”  except mine is cut from an empty packet of Senseo coffee bags.

crinkle toy 02

Then added the teething shape and binding.  This one, with spotty fabric from my F2F2 quilt and a bright yellow back will be for a niece’s baby, due in September.

crinkle toy 03

The binding for the second one, leftover from the “a little bird told me” baby quilt.  With a purple key and bright green back – this for Baby Viking.

crinkle toy 04

crinkle toy 05

So there they are!  Two home-made “crinkle” toys.  Each with a soft texture on the back; crinkle paper & tiny rattle sewn inside, and a key for teething.  Not counting the cost of cotton fabrics & wadding, which were scraps,  I estimate they cost less than 2€ apiece to make (with bought supplies of micro fiber, teething key and mini rattle).

2 crinkle toys 01

They measure approx 8” square.

Other ScrapHappy crafters, who don’t necessarily post each month, being:

Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Karen,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean

cloth baby books – warts and all.

Mummy & Daddy Viking are getting ready to welcome Baby Viking.  Still 2 months before due date, but there’s DIY going on in their home, involving plastering, painting, and laying parquet.

I’m keeping busy here and starting to prepare a few things.  My first crafting project being inspired by

vignettes 01


vignettes 02

Two different series of farmyard animal fabric squares.  Which I sliced and sashed



I won’t bore you with all the pages . . . you get the idea!  Then quilted and assembled to make a cloth book.

viking book 01

Assembly didn’t go quite as expected, but I honestly don’t think Baby Viking will be criticising grandma’s sewing (at least I hope not!).  A lovely bright green and some purple for the cover –  2 of grandma’s favourite colours.  And pig prints on front and back because Daddy Viking loves pigs.

viking book 03

The inside looks like this.

Viking book 02

There are a total of 16 pictures in this book, for Baby Viking, and a matching green silicon teething flower.

While on a roll . . . and because my English niece is expecting a baby boy in September.  The cover in orange (another of my favourite colours).

orange book 01

I changed my page assembly technique for the orange book.  And there are only 12 pictures in this one.

orange book 02

orange book 03

I bet you’re wondering what that little orange tag thing is for, aren’t you?  Well, that was something that didn’t go according to plan.  There’s always something, isn’t there?  The plan was to add a tag and popper so this book could be kept fastened shut.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account the thickness of the closed book (with all those wadded pages) . . . and my tag was too short.  I couldn’t remove it because that would have meant messing up my seams . . . so it’s just there, for no reason other than for people to wonder why it’s there.  I’m sure my future great nephew will find a use for it. Possibly something to chew on, or simply to fiddle with while turning the pages?