IN THE KNOW

Still try­ing to squeeze in some sewing around the hol­i­day rush? Suzy Wil­liams is here to help you sat­isfy your need to stitch and tick off your gift list at the same time

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No time to sew those last-minute Christ­mas gifts? Think again! Suzy Wil­liams shares her clever ideas for quick presents you can whip up now

With the change of sea­son and the chaos of the hol­i­days quickly ap­proach­ing, most of us are run­ning a lit­tle low – low on time, low on en­ergy and maybe even a bit low on joy­ous hol­i­day spirit. Even though I can’t mag­i­cally wrap all of your Christ­mas presents or find that per­fect, elu­sive gift for your friend who seems to al­ready have ev­ery­thing, what I can do is give you a few tips on squeez­ing in some sewing, even if the spirit isn’t flow­ing (the hol­i­day elf in me needed to rhyme right there).

Make some­thing, just make it small

When think­ing about writ­ing this ar­ti­cle, I kept go­ing back to that scene in Alice in Won­der­land when Alice is try­ing to fit through a teeny tiny door and the only so­lu­tion is to drink a shrink­ing po­tion la­belled “Drink Me”. It oc­curred to me that when I’m busy and have just a small win­dow of time, or shall we say, a small door of time, there’s no point in try­ing to cram my nor­mal-sized self through it! I’ve gotta drink first… the shrink­ing po­tion that is.

You still fol­low­ing? Read­ing this might feel a bit like you’re the one chas­ing a white rab­bit. Let me say it more clearly – if time, en­ergy or spirit is small, just make small things! Not only do small hand­made items make the sweet­est gifts, they can also serve as a won­der­ful cat­a­lyst to get you sit­ting at your sewing ma­chine without a huge com­mit­ment. And what kind of a hol­i­day elf would I be if I didn’t leave you with some fun and prac­ti­cal ideas?

A cush­ion

Re­mem­ber that friend who al­ready has a bunch of can­dles, a monthly sub­scrip­tion to the good mag­a­zines (uhum?) and a stand­ing weekly man­i­cure ap­point­ment at her lo­cal sa­lon? Well, you know what one thing she ab­so­lutely does not have? A hand­made cush­ion by you! What was that? You made her one last year? Not mak­ing this easy on me, I see. Then do read on!

A ta­ble run­ner

The amaz­ing thing about ta­ble run­ners is there re­ally is no “stan­dard size”. You can pretty much just sew un­til you run out of steam and then call it a ta­ble run­ner. They can be square-ish, rec­tan­gle-ish, long, short, wide, skinny – it’s up to you! You can scrap to­gether some im­prov piecing, or make a hand­ful of blocks from your favourite quilt pat­tern.

When mak­ing ta­ble run­ners, I ac­tu­ally like to take an added short­cut and avoid bind­ing by

If en­ergy or spirit is small, j ust make small things! Small hand­made items make the sweet­est gifts and serve as a cat­a­lyst to get you at your sewing ma­chine

sewing the three quilt lay­ers fac­ing each other and then flip­ping it right-side out like a pil­low. If those in­struc­tions con­fused you, look for a free ta­ble run­ner tu­to­rial I posted on the LP&Q blog last year. There are lots of pic­tures, so you don’t even have to read the in­struc­tions, hur­rah!

A rope bowl

I have seen tu­to­ri­als for these float­ing around so­cial me­dia for over a year and it still re­mains on my to-make list. Let this year be the year! From what I can rope to­gether (yes, pun very much in­tended), it looks like you only need a ba­sic cot­ton clothes­line from your hard­ware store and cot­ton thread for your ma­chine. All you do is slowly zigzag stitch the rope to it­self while coil­ing it around in a bowl shape. I will need to read a tu­to­rial on this since af­ter writ­ing that it seems to me you’d end up with a rug rather than a bowl. Maybe it’s a choose your own ad­ven­ture kind of thing! Rug or bowl, we may not know un­til it’s fin­ished!

If you feel the hol­i­day spirit seep­ing back in, you can even add scraps of your favourite fab­rics wrapped over parts of the rope. This gives the rope fun lit­tle pops of colour. And if you’re par­tic­u­larly in­vested in this gift, you could make a cou­ple of nest­ing bowls of dif­fer­ent sizes. That would cover a hol­i­day and a birth­day, easy.

A pouch

A uni­ver­sal, eas­ily in­ter­change­able pouch! De­pend­ing on who the gift is for, you can say that it’s a pen­cil pouch, a makeup bag, a go­ing out clutch, a coin purse, a dog­gie treat case, a pills pocket, a toi­letries bag, a Lego con­tainer or even a scented sa­chet. You could make five of the same bag and just call it dif­fer­ent things on the la­bel! Just make sure the re­cip­i­ents don’t know each other, oth­er­wise the per­son­alised (or non per­son­alised) ef­fort will be lost.

You can choose to make one with a zip­per, draw­string or even a sim­ple but­ton en­clo­sure. How­ever, if you’re opt­ing for the dog­gie treat case, just know that zip­pers can be tricky when one has no thumbs.

The amaz­ing thing about ta­ble run­ners is there's no "stan­dard size" You can sew un­til you run out of steam! SUZY QUILTS

Whip up a quick bind­ing-less ta­ble run­ner as a stylish hand­made gift!

Suzy sug­gests small projects like cush­ions to get your sewing fix

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