Thursday, 31 January 2013

Sew Thinky Thursday

Emily, over at Momy's Nap Time is hosting a linky with a bit of a difference. Thoughtful blogging about quilting. Each week a different question. This first one is about your sewing history.... it's nice to look back so here goes.
design by Margaret Sherry

My Grandmother was a seamstress - she entered things in WI (Women's Institute) competitions and won prizes, she created collections of dolls, telling the history of British traditions which she toured round local WIs, she knitted, crocheted, made lace. And she did it all by hand. My Mum has a dressmaking background, but hasn't done any for many years. Lots of other bloggers talk about getting hooked on quilting when they were pregnant or new mums. I got hooked on sewing aged about 5! I was bought a long stitch tapestry kit, then another, and another and another.  By the age of eight I made my first ever cross stitch card. And for another 15 years I was a cross stitcher -
Design by Maria Diaz

I dabbled in free hand embroidery, I made a patchwork cushion, but really I was a cross stitcher. And I was definitely encouraged by my Mum. My Grandmother isn't the easiest of women, yet our shared love of all things made with the needle means that we have something in common, and are still able to have in depth conversations and forget some of the other problems.
Charlotte from Heritage Stitchcraft

Then I met Michael at university, and two weeks after we started dating, I was taken home to meet the family - baptism of fire or what? I met his sister, Steph, aged 13, who asked if she could be a bridesmaid (two weeks!). And I met his Mum, now my mother-in-law, Linda. And all of this is her fault! She took to me a local craft show and I saw a quilt made of seven hand embroidered panels.
Wilding Angels from Letters Tied with Blue

Then she took to me a Christmas class at the local quilt shop who sold the design. We did a little bit of embroidery and some hand stitching and I decided that I was going to do that quilt. So I did. We came back on my birthday for a class to make a memory book. But it used a sewing machine. And sewing machines scared me. I had a 1950s electric Singer and a 1980s Pfaff. But neither worked. So I bought a £100 machine from John Lewis and went to the class. And then I did another class.
Block made a class with Jennie Rayment

And another class.... and then I found the Vignette magazine at the shop, and then I discovered this wonderful online community and now I am 100% addicted. Fat quarters should come with a health warning!
Vignette in Stitches block 1

So thank you, Linda. And thank you Granny. And huge thank you, Mum.

Check out some other stories here

Ready for February

I didn't post yesterday for WIP Wednesday - but I had a good excuse - it was my birthday and we went out for dinner (I love Frankie and Benny's) and then the cinema to see Les Miserables (or as Michael calls it, Miserable Les). I managed not to cry, Michael managed not to fall asleep! So that means that I'm having my own little WIP Thursday! Doesn't have quite the same ring to it does it?

This Saturday coming is the first Saturday of February and I'll be sharing my second block of the month. This block gave me quite a headache. Or more accurately, my maths is rubbish! Did you know that 3 plus 3 plus 6 does not equal 10? Well, that was the main problem. So I had a bit of a redesign and the flying geese I showed you earlier in the week bit the dust! 

I also totally changed my fabric - it just wasn't doing it for me. I've gone, unconsciously, for a bit of a spotty theme! Makower, Flea Market Fancy, Tilda, a batik and then two prints from Architextures. In hindsight I think a solid background for my square-within-a-square blocks may have been better....

But overall I'm happy with the block - I hope you like it too! Come back on Saturday for the pattern!

Sunday, 27 January 2013


I said I was flitting between different projects this weekend!

I had a lovely dinner at Linda's this evening - celebrating my brother-in-law's birthday - and when I got back I fancied doing some hand sewing in front of the telly rather than machine sewing over the telly, so I couldn't hear it (which is normal). The hand embroidery for the next block in my BOM wasn't quite ready, so I went for my go to hand sewing project - my hexy table runner. And I think I may have finished adding hexies - what do you think?

This is laid out on the table it will eventually live on, on the backing fabric I have already selected.

I've tried to make it look random and wobbly, not regimented with 4 hexies in each row....

Now I need to applique it down, pick a backing fabric, pick a binding fabric, decide whether to go with cotton or polyester wadding, quilt it, and bind it - was I daft enough to put this on my 1st Quarter Finish Along? I may try and order some more of the Art Gallery I've used on the front to back it...


I've been working on bits and pieces again this weekend:

Steph's Quilt (Hot Cross Buns): I've been working on this for ages on and off. I have the backing and wadding and binding. I just need to get on with it - after yesterday's incy wincy Dear Jane block, these long straight lines were exactly what I needed!

I've also done some more of Daniela's Quilt: I have 72 half blocks. From now on there will be pinning involved, so progress may slow a bit!

And I've been working on February's block in my BOM of themonth - foloow the link at the top of the page for more information - you can join in any time, stitch the whole thing, or just a single month for someone special. February will be posted next Saturday! Here's a sneak peak
Hope you've had a productive weekend!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Friday Night Snow In [Dear Pink Jane]

More snow last night! Not quite as much as last week, but enough. It's already melting today.

Last night was also the first Friday Night Sew In of 2013 and I spent it with Jane.

Handmade by Heidi

I made two blocks: D6: Challenge - it was anything but a challenge - beautifully easy foundation piecing! I used an Art Gallery fabric with quite a large scale print for that huge area in the middle.

And C7: Megan's Mountain Laurel. Now, I like fiddly, but I may have found my limit - look how small one of the foundation pieced sections was - that's on the inch markings on my cutting mat!

Inevitably with pieces so small, my finished block isn't perfect, some of the lines are wobbly, some of the points don't meet etc. But I am thrilled with the results and I AM NOT redoing this block! The fabric is from Noteworthy by Sweetwater.

In the original quilt, the diamonds in the corners were appliqued - I decided to foundation piece those as well.

And why pink? Well, Angel over at So Scrappy is having a pink month, and she's been working on her pink Rainbow Jane blocks so I'm linking up with her Scrap Happy Saturday too!

If you are tackling a Dear Jane,why not join us on Flickr, or on the blog (just send us a message and let us know) - we'd love to see you there!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

WIP Wednesday [emerald and tangerine]

My block from yesterday is finished! I love it - all of the credit goes to Lynne, whose design this is.

This is the start of my entry for the Emerald Challenge

2013 Emerald Quilt Challenge

I can't decide if I want to make it into a cushion cover, or some kind of "thing" for storing blocks - I'm doing a lot of BOMs this year, and want someway of storing the blocks which is flat.

The fabrics are Kona Ash with some Basic Grey, Architextures, Summersville, Art Gallery, Marcus Fabrics, and some totally random fabrics from my stash.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday!
  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


2013 Pantone colour of the year is Emerald!
2013 Emerald Quilt Challenge

I'm working on a project with greens that I think are "emerald" but it turns out it's rather a hard colour to emerald is a bit less blue than some people's emerald...

I have two more sections to piece... watch this space
(the block pattern is from Lynne)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Circles: ready to quilt

I have my first finished quilt top of 2013 - Pac Mania

This was such an easy pattern, even with the curves and actually went together very quickly,even though I spread mine out over 6 months... The fabric is a jelly roll of Ruby from Bonnie and Camille and Kona Snow and the pattern is from Jelly Roll Dreams by Pam and Nicky Lintott.

It's now basted and ready to quilt - and not actually as wrinkly as it looks in these photos. I decided not to add the borders in the original pattern, but instead use the leftover jelly roll for a scrappy binding.  Unless anyone has a better suggestion, my plan is to stipple in all of the background, then I'll bind it, and see how it looks. If it needs it, I may to some echo quilting by hand in red perle cotton.

And I got my bee blocks for January Stash Bee done

Cecillia asked for greys and yellows with Kona Coal - it was buying some for this project that inspired me to use it for the Skill Builder BOM - thanks, Cecillia

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Skill Builder [block 2: Magnum]

Wow - this block went together quickly - I'm not sure I actually followed the instructions word for word, but...

...I have as 12" block complete with sashing!

The green is the same as on my first block (here) and Westminster Fibres, I'm not sure about the yellow - maybe Metro dots. The solid is more purple in reality and is a Kona - maybe lavendar, and the pink is Art Gallery.

This is block 2 in the Skill Builder BOM at Pile O'Fabric

snowing vs sewing

Yesterday it snowed. I know in the UK it takes like 1/2" to create chaos, but yesterday we must have got about 6" - that's a lot. I was stuck at work and watched as it kept snowing. The drive home was a bit hairy, but as I was so late there was no other traffic. I had a little moment trying to turn into our estate when the brakes just didn't work - the curb eventually did the job, with no damage and virtually no audience!

Today I was booked in for a class at my LQS - a bit of the snow had melted. The roads seemed clear on the traffic reports and I chose to ignore the weather forecast of heavy snow and headed out. Good choice - there was no snow all day and I had a ball!

It's always entertaining when Suzy and Sue come to a class - they are like naughty school girls - each trying to do better than the other and telling other they're doing it wrong.

Today's class was a "get to know your sewing machine" day and we made a needle case using the alphabets built into the machine and programming. I had a ball - Suzy and Sue not so much - it was hilarious!

I've just home home and spent 20 minutes finishing off my needle-case. (If you are interested in making your own, the pattern is available from my LQS)

I can now spend the rest of the evening sewing - first challenge - deciding which project to work on!

Friday, 18 January 2013

"I'm sure toys use to have a lot less pieces when I was young"

My engineer husband's comments whilst building his nephew's pirate ship! Argh!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Skill Builder [Block 1]

Today was the first day of the Skill Builder BOM hosted by Alyssa at Pile O' Fabric. I've had my fabrics picked out since New Years Eve and today I got to play with them.

Here is block 1: Sound Wave

The fabrics are not from a single range - I really wanted to mix and match from my stash for this quilt: Art Gallery, Moda, Westminster Fibres, Happy Mochi Yum Yum, Flea Market Fancy, and Noteworthy, plus a couple of fabrics without selvage... the background is Kona Coal.

Fancy joining in?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

WIP Wednesday - the uninspired edition

If I'm honest, I'm feeling a little uninspired this week. I'm sure some of it is due to an appalling week at work. But I think some of it is also due to a large number of WIPs and no deadlines.... so I'm going to try and use this week's WIP Wednesday to show you some of my WIPs and maybe, just maybe, think about some reasons for sewing them and some deadlines. If any of you have a boot that they would like to kick me up the arse with, then all comments gratefully accepted!

Pac Mania: I started this as a class because I wanted to practice my curves, I liked the pattern and I had a Jelly Roll. That's why I started. I have sewn a seam here and there and finished the curves Monday night. A very good friend of my Mother-in-law's lost her husband on Sunday after a long battle with cancer. I know her a bit. I think she may need a quilt over the next few months. So I should get this quilt finished for her. And as my quilting budget for the month has gone, maybe the wadding for my Neon Stained will be big enough, and I can push that back again (another quilt without purpose). But - how should I quilt all of that negative space?

Rhubarb and Custard: I started this as a class because I like a stripey fabric and the other fabrics match it. However, as I have got better at colours, I've realised my original plan would have just given everyone a headache.

Having discovered a new way of sashing the blocks I have picked this up again, but in the process decided that the stripey fabric won't be included at all.... it will be a wallhanging to go above our stairs. But again.... no rush.

Pembrokeshire quilt: I started this for the Travellin' Stitch Pic Blog Hop. I got a fair way through it and linked up. I finished the embroidery over Christmas. Now I need a border, and to quilt it (by hand I think) and give it to my Mum for her birthday in February (she knows about it). But I'm stumped on the border.

Daniela's quilt

and Steph's quilt:

these are two quilts that I am making for a good friend and my sister-in-law. Daniela's is one of those quilts that seems to take forever, but will suddenly come together really quickly. And Stephs' is leaving me totally uninspired. Really I just need to get these finished and open up some space for new projects.

So, that's me today. I am looking forward to the first two blocks in the Skill Builder BOM - so tomorrow I'll be able to ignore all of these WIPs and start something else new! Bad me.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday! WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Bits and Pieces

I haven't really concentrated on one project this weekend, and because of that I haven't got masses to show you. Here's what I have done:

I've worked on Daniela's Quilt: 144 seams chain pieced and pressed. This is one of those quilt that seems to be progressing really slowly, but I think I'm not far off of that point where it suddenly comes together very quickly. But I have a lot ore LONG seams to go.

I have worked on Pac Mania: I have stitched a lot of curved seams and now have enough to start laying it out to see what it will look like. There are more blocks to go, and there will be a lot of squaring up before I can start to join them, but it's nice to see the progress. There's going to be a lot of  negative space so I shall have to think long and hard about the quilting - any suggestions?

I have worked on Rhubarb and Custard: all of the blocks are now trimmed to a uniform 6"x6" and I started joining the first row. I'm using this video tutorial from Leah Day and it works beautifully.

I decided not to use the red flowers fabric on the back, instead I'm using the brown. And I'm seriously tempted to use it for the binding too.

And I've worked on Dear Jane: I've completed block A-13 Starlight Starbright. I love this block and to avoid nasty applique (not all applique is nasty, but this was) I decided to do this using English Paper Piecing, and it worked beautifully - the block is the right size, the seams are neat and I will definitely be doing more blocks using EPP.

Such as A-4 Courtney's Stethoscope, which I have prepared, but not yet started.

If you are working on a Dear Jane quilt this year, then we have a Flickr group and a blog - you are more than welcome to join us for mutual encouragement and support.