A little quilt love

A little quilt love

I finished this quilt for an old work colleague. The first quilt I ever made was for her and she’s ordered two more since.

I experimented with pinwheels for this one as I’d always fancied a pinwheel quilt. I stuck to a limited blue and red colour scheme as per the brief. Probably the quickest quilt I have ever made. Hurrah for the summer holidays and not being interrupted for the school run and swimming lessons etc!

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Here’s a quilt I made last year. It lives on my sofa and gets taken on outings a lot, picnics and camping etc. Today I got up to find my middle son had slept on the sofa, covered in this quilt. It’s not quite big enough to cover his lanky frame anymore πŸ˜‰

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All my quilts are available in my Etsy shop: Www.Etsy.Com/shop/handmadebycheeky

Sewing machine reviews pt 2, Elna Grasshopper

Sewing machine reviews pt 2, Elna Grasshopper

Last Christmas my dad turned up with this little beauty. She was made in 1947 and still purrs away today. I use her all the time as she makes a gorgeous straight stitch and has a tiny free arm. And looks so handsome too πŸ˜‰

She is operated with a fold out bar which you push with your knee, rather than a pedal. It takes a little getting used to but it’s pretty cool. At least it never wanders off like pedals do.

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It comes in an at green metal case, making it look like something used in WW2! The case folds open to provide a work table around the machine, which is very handy.

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To wind a bobbin you place the empty bobbin on the pin at the side and the machine “knows” you are winding a bobbin and automatically turns off the needle. That is something that wasn’t incorporated back into machines again until fairly recently and is very snazzy!

She’s a beautiful old lady and I would highly recommend getting one if you ever see one for sale. It still stitches as beautifully as the day it was made!

Cheekyhandmades Bloganniversary!

Cheekyhandmades Bloganniversary!

Ok ok I’m a month late but all the same, let’s celebrate.

Cheekyhandmades has been around for 4 years. In these four years it’s gone from a tiny spark of a dream to a grown up company. From trailing my makes around local craft fairs in the beginning to where I am now has been a long but interesting and fun journey.

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Cheekyhandmades now is much much more than I ever could have hoped for. I teach a lot of sewing classes, both in small groups and private classes. I make bespoke quilts for people (they are in my etsy.com/shop/handmadebycheeky shop). I service and repair a lot of sewing machines and make people smile when I put their trusty steed back on the road ;-). I even still sometimes to fairs. I am about to build a studio in the back garden as I’ve outgrown my current workspace.

It’s been a great four years. I’ve met hundreds of fantastic people and some of them have become great friends. I’ve taught a lot and learnt even more. I’ve loved every minute of it.

Here’s to many many more years!

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Happy quilting

Happy quilting

Mainly a picture post. I’m working hard trying to finish two quilts for a set of twins. Have just finished the first one and due to quilt and bind the second one tomorrow.

All done on my trusty Husqvarna 875q which is back from the repair shop again. Hurrah!

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My granny’s scissors…

My granny’s scissors…

I inherited these from my paternal grandmother. Now I don’t even remember her ever doing any embroidery of knitting, it was always crosswords… But they are obviously well used and sharpened many many times as you can see.

Glad to be using them still!

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Chinese tape measures – cause for much hilarity and wasted fabric

Chinese tape measures – cause for much hilarity and wasted fabric

So last week I was running a beginners sewing class… Two students, two tape measures, two cushions in progress… So far so normal…

Then I looked at one of the students cushion pieces and realised they were huge compared to the other’s. I had thought it odd when the cushion lad measured in at 25″ but I just made a mental note not to buy ikea pads again and filed this away.

Suddenly, looking at why this back piece was so big, and measuring it again with one of my many measuring tapes (and it coming up as 26″ which was perfect as it included the seam allowances) and then measuring the other student’s and seeing it come up as 20″ even though I had seen her measure it as 26″ before she cut it, I was fluxomed… Until one of the students astutely noticed that not both tape measures were the same. One had real inch markings on it, the other’s inch markings were randomly marked at around 3/4 of an actual inch. Totally random and weird (I mean why bother making a tape measure which is wrong when it’s not actually cheaper to make???)

See here for yourself
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And here is the end of said tape measure with it clearly showing that at 150cm, where normal tape measures come in at around 60″, this one came in at 74″!!

Needless to say it’s now in the bin. Along with the pins I bought on eBay which are not actually sharp. Cheap often really is crap!

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Dress a girl charity sewing

Dress a girl charity sewing

I have about 13 dresses to send off to the Dress and Girl around the World charity but as I was getting ready to send them my friend Petra turned up with a huge stack of beautiful fabric designed by her, to be used for dresses. Looks like I’ll be making some more before the parcel goes off! Thanks Petra you are a superstar!!

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Crowd funding Studio update

Crowd funding Studio update

My crowd funding campaign to help me realise the dream of building a new studio came to an end about 6 weeks ago. I’ve been extremely busy with work, studying and also in my personal life so I’ve not had much time to blog.

Even though I did not entirely reach my goal I did just about raise enough to go ahead with the build. I am using a lovely local chap who has vision and ideas and talent, and coupled with his extremely green ideas on up-cycling we are aiming to build a very unique space.

I had two enormous Eucalyptus trees at the end of my garden which had to come down before the build could even be considered. They were each over 70 feet tall and growing bigger daily. They were very beautiful and it was pretty heartbreaking to take them down but they are not indiginous to this country and they grow like weeds. Once I had been told they could reach 200 or more feet when adult I knew I could not keep them. So a couple of weeks ago 5 guys came down and spent the best part of two days taking them down. It was pretty spectacular!

IMG_5095Within an hour I had more light in my flat and now they are gone my garden seems twice the size and is one huge suntrap!
We are slowly clearing the shrubs and then taking down the old sheds, in readiness for the work to begin in earnest in a few weeks time. Andrew who will be building it for me is hoping to be done by the end of August which is brilliant timing, as a new school year can then be seen in in a new studio!

It will be a good 4m x 5.5m which is about 3 times the space I have now, and I won’t be sharing it with a sofa and tv (I currently teach in the living room!), it will all be dedicated sewing space. I will have a ironing and cutting station and a huge central table for students to work at. I will have lots of yummy storage. I will have a cute burner to keep us toasty in the winter. I can’t wait!!

Obviously the picture above is just a cool picture, it wouldn’t actually be a very practical studio for me to work in, but I do like how it reflects the upcycled and found element that we are certainly aiming for. So far we have reclaimed french doors, two huge windows, we are using rafters and wood from the existing shed as well as having been donated a ton of beautiful oak veneered MDF by a local furniture maker. If you have anything we could use (2×4″, insulation materials, good quality shiplarch for cladding, please get in touch!)

Dress a girl around the world

Dress a girl around the world

On Wednesday 11th June I am running my fifth Dress a Girl Around the World event. I love these charity sewing sessions. You will learn to make a very simple pillow case dress (so called because all you need is a pillow case worth of fabric), or a simple pair of shorts. You can decorate these to your heart’s content. When they are all done they get sent off to the charity’s UK head quarters (Sewscrumptious ) where they will be distributed all over the developing world. In all I believe about 20000 dresses have been given to girls who have likely never had their own new dress before. Can you imagine how special you would feel if you knew someone had made this specially for you? With love?

Here’s some photos of the last event I ran at the local WI.

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Come join us then at the next one. Please try to bring a 100% cotton pillow case or some cotton fabric. I will supply the rest. Please do book some know how many people to expect:
Http://bookwhen.com/cheekyhandmades

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cheeky handmades