A project with heart…

What do you think of these fabulous labels, produced by Katrina who runs our local ‘knit and natter’ group?

Hatherleigh Hooker

Made with Love by a Hatherleigh Hooker!

Quite special, aren’t they?  This little label was put to very heartfelt use this week.  My bestest friend, my lovely bridesmaid, has breast cancer. We have known one another since we got stuck in a cupboard together at the age of 7.  Our parents discovered us after a couple of hours, and we emerged unscathed, but friends for life.  I have no idea how to say how much I care, without sounding pathetic.  There’s no unpatronising way to say I want to wrap her up in love and make it better.

I can’t do that – but I did find a little project that might help, and I wanted to share it because I thought there might be some people out there who would find it useful and inspiring.

The heart pillow project was developed by a breast care nurse who wanted to make life post-mastectomy more comfortable for her patients.  It’s a specially designed pillow in the shape of a heart, which patients can place so that the ‘dip’ of the heart is under their arm.  This eases discomfort associated with post-operative swelling and makes life more comfortable in bed, in the car and so on.

Even for a total beginner for me, it wasn’t hard to make.  It takes just two fat quarters, and I used two different patterened fabrics in 100% cotton.

Pretty pretty fabric

Pretty pretty fabric

So here is my effort.  It’s not perfect, but it’s made with all the love in the world:

Heart Pillow!

Heart Pillow!

Have you spotted the deliberate mistake yet?  Yes, I sewed the label on upside-down (doh).

At least it's readable when the pillow is under your arm..

At least it’s readable when the pillow is under your arm..

Heart pillow projects are starting up in lots of places, with the aim of supplying as many breast cancer patients as possible with pillows made with love.  Organising networks of people to make pillows and donate fabric seems to be key to all of this.  I wonder – is this something that UK craft bloggers can help with?  I know there are lots of crafty people out there (much, much craftier than me).

I can’t do the breast cancer Race for Life – hell, I can’t even walk it!  But I can sew (badly) for life.  Could you sew a pillow every once in a while?  If you’d like to help me think about how we can work on this together, let me know.

I don’t think I’m ready for this Jelly: My first sewing project

My colour-addiction continues. Check out the beautiful contrasts in my very first sewing project!

Stripes!  I love stripes!

Stripes! I love stripes!

For Christmas, Irish gave me a sewing machine, and I’m sew (geddit) excited! Unfortunately for the poor sewing machine, I am a total novice. The last time I used a sewing machine, I made a bag for my mother. I was so proud – it had a picture of a bunny rabbit on the front, and a pom pom on the back (bunny rabbit tail, see?). I gave it to her for mother’s day when I was twelve years old. She opened the little package, took one look and said to me, uncertainly, ‘Oh darling! A pair of panties! How sweet of you’.

This time, it will be different. I will crack sewing. I will produce something that doesn’t look like a playboy bunny wears it in Hugh Hefner’s mansion. But. It took me four hours to wind the bobbin on Sunday. I swore more than Irish does when he’s watching the six nations rugby.

Luckily one of the ‘yarn Ho’s’ from my local knit and natter group came to the rescue, and recommended I get started by sewing ‘jelly roll’ strips together to make a quilt. And in so doing, I encountered a whole new world of sewing terminology – of jelly rolls, charm packs, fat quarters, and other mind-boggling and rather intimidating phrases.
Anyway, jelly rolls look like this:

Click on the photo to buy this one.

Click on the photo to buy this one.

They consist of 2.5 inch wide strips of fabric, bundled together so that they co-ordinate. And, as my friend points out, they’re a great way to get to know your sewing machine. It turns out that straight lines are the easiest thing to sew.

The other reason I love them is that the strips of fabric are all so well put-together. The colours co-ordinate beautifully and it looks like you’ve spent hours in a fabric shop working out what goes with what – but oh no, you’ve just bought a jelly roll for £30 from eBay or similar.

So pretty..

So pretty..

You can tell from the close-up that I didn’t pin these strips (tsk tsk) and I’m not that good at sewing in straight lines – yet. But hey, in two days I put together all 42 strips in my jelly roll, and they look so cute. Next step – working out how to add a middle layer and a back!

Oops – I appear to have made another blanket – or at least be on the way towards it. But hey, a girl can never have too many works in progress, right?

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