Christmas tree raggy throws.

I find it hard to plan for the holiday season in August but once September arrives it seems a slippery slope to December. Making Christmas Tree raggy throws and wall hangings takes time and I always seem to take longer than I think!

This year my friend Jillian O’Dwyer persuaded me to open my own Etsy shop – Something Old, Something Blue by Bizzi Lizzi Creations. I was very skeptical and had to put it on hold while I was away in the summer but I reopened for business in August. I was thrilled to see people were looking at my shop but made no sales with the jewelry and bags I was putting up.

I made a Halloween raggy throw from my Halloween fabric stash and took it along to the August Mission Gables Art Show and there was some interest. So I thought nothing ventured nothing gained and posted it in my Etsy shop  – you can’t imagine my surprise and thrill when it sold! I ended up buying some more Halloween fabrics, made three more throws and sold two.

Inspired, I made two Christmas tree raggy throws. I call them throws because I don’t put batting in the centre of the squares. It takes longer to make them into quilts because there are 110 squares of batting to be cut, then each square becomes a sandwich which needs the batting held in place (otherwise it bunches up as a lump in the square) so they have to be “x” d and then sewn into rows and the rows sewn together.

The triangle squares at the tips of the tree branches create their own drama! To make a triangle you first need to cut a slightly larger square, then divide it to make a triangle. But you can’t just then sew the two triangles together, you have to take into account if the fabric is directional. Directional fabrics create considerable wastage because the “other” piece of the triangle is usually unusable. The pattern becomes upside down, horizontal or vertical and goes into the scrap pile! And this applies to all four pieces of fabric that make-up the completed square. If you are putting batting into triangle squares then each little triangle has its own small piece of batting and that needs x’ing once its pieced! And once the 80 triangles become 20 squares they need to be trimmed to size which I find satisfying because then they are ready to use!

Once the throw is finished I sew round the outside of the throw with a double stitch.

Finally there is the snipping! I’ve found the triangle squares are better snipped before I add them to the throw. But then there is the rest of the throw to snip and that usually takes 2 evenings!

But that isn’t the end of the journey. The throws need to be washed to start the ragging process. I put Retayn  (a dye fixative) into hot water and use a colour catcher because sometimes the dye in the flannel runs, especially the red which turns the white or creams a round the tree cream! After the hot wash I tumble dry it – it’s the friction in the washing and tumbling that starts the ragging process.

So about 8 yards of fussy cut fabric and 18 hours later there is a throw.

I’ve always made green trees with a cream or white surround with a red border but this year I’ve experimented and made blue trees, white surround with pale blue or turquoise borders…

Blue and white tree – cotton top, flannel back

navity throw front                                                 2014-11-09 14.22.50       

Blue & white with Mickey & Mini Mouse                                                 The back with Olaf from Frozen border

& Goofy on the white

 

Nativity theme tree – cotton top, flannel back

real nativity front                                       Nativity back

Some of my favourite fabrics are in this one                                  The back  snowflake tree and border

Now to turn my hand some some mini wall hangings…still the same number of squares but either 3 or 4 inch ones… more like an I-spy wall hanging but in the tree shape and no pine needles to sweep up afterwards. Feel free to check out my Etsy shop.

I love bags…..

I’ve never really been a shoe person, to me they are functional and I just want them to be comfortable to work and play in but bags can lead me astray. They don’t have to be named brands. Its more the shape, style, size, occasion and colours that attract me. As my son’s have got older, I’ve noticed the size of bag I prefer gets smaller – thankfully, I’m no longer carrying toys or Gameboys around with me.

My sisters introduced me to Cath Kidston and her amazing range of fabrics, home wares and bags. Every time I’ve been home I’ve been allowed to explore her cute, shops in Brighton, Chichester, the Portsmouth outlet store and we even peeped into the window of the shop in Lymington late one Sunday afternoon. I love her colours, the use of polka dots and fun prints from flowers to cowboys. I’ve even been able to buy some her her fabric and have eked it out into hip bags.

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This bag using her Monuments print (places in the UK) is one of my favourites.

This year I’ve been exploring new styles of bags upcycling clothing and linens into bags…

denim skirt 1

Denim – jeans and skirts, embellished with vintage lace, crochet flowers, pearls and rhinestones

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Tea towels – they present a challenge because of the linear patterns. Even so they make great tote bags and they are a way of using souvenirs.

 IMG_20140820_113027                        green spot bag secret pocket

Upcycled girls dresses – this was a flounced dress. I made a bag to go inside and covered the bottom of that on the outside with some of the left over fabric. I used left over fabric in the handles and with the last bit from the back I made a “secret button pocket”! I made a simple drop pocket and lined the front of it  with the last piece of back. In a similar bag there was just a little piece of fabric left which I was able to make into a coin purse.

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Vintage linen – lined hip bag, lace strap – I just love the incredible applique

When I was home in the summer I saw some Central London fabric and I’ve made this into 2 styles of bags.

london hip bag outside     2014-09-27 11.54.49  2014-08-23 19.23.32

Larger hip bag…. which I discovered was big enough for a friends IPad and the lining is more London fabric.

 

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My friend Jill suggested I thought about a different shape so I experimented with this “A line” shape.

And then I went home this summer and my sister showed me my niece’s Monica Boxley leather handbag. Soft Italian leather and a fabulous clip to open and shut it with a great “click” sound.

Marianne Bag Large   Marianne Bag Small Marianne Purse Bag

Large Marianne Bag, medium, small, the purse bag, and regular purses. She even makes jewelry. I must confess to treating myself to a lime green purse bag and at the same time I found a small Marianne bag on Ebay… Wow, I don’t know which one to use. Its fun to be spoilt for choice.

Oops, October is only a couple of days away!

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June already – time for a “to do list”!

June already – time for a “to do list”!

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So busy and so little time  – “Art in the Park” is ONE week away!

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Mother’s Day

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