Sunday, 31 March 2013

Stepping Stones [a baby quilt and tutorial]

I have always struggled to like blue and orange as a colour scheme, but when I found out how many people I know are having/have had baby boys, I just new I wanted to make a baby quilt using blues and oranges. So I raided my stash and came up with these.

I started with 20 different oranges and 20 different blues. I put together the design whilst in Budapest - I'm not claiming originality but it shows off the fabrics well!

It took about two hours to cut all the fabrics, but I pieced it in just three hours - that makes a very quick quilt top.

Hopefully I can get it quilted in the next few weeks but I have put together a quick tutorial - well more of a cutting guide. You can find it as a PDF here. I'd love to see anything you make!

Friday, 29 March 2013


We're visiting my parents for the Easter weekend. They have a large garden, so we managed to take some pictures of my two biggest quilts.

They have a large living room. Or at least I thought so, until we tried to baste the monster...

Here is the monster (116x116") in the garden
Strict instructions to crop my mother from the photograph!
This photo gives quite a good idea of the colour of the fabric.
And here's the baby monster (80x80") in the garden

And being basted - you get a better idea of the warm pinky look from the sashing in this picture.

We also basted my neon stained quilt.
and the back of Stained - a wonderful Ikea print which turns out to be 60" wide - no seam down the middle of my back!

We are now high on 505 fumes! Whoops...

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

WIP Wednesday [Ginormous]

Is that how you spell Ginormous? anyways...

I like fiddly, intricate, tiny...

But none of that for me this week. Instead I've been putting together some quilt tops that have been waiting a while. And that means long seams and lots of pins...

I posted the first two of the weekend - the quilt tops are finished and this weekend I hope to baste them on my Mum's living room floor! Above is Steph's quilt - it's about 80x80".

Below is a quilt that I'm not really sure what I will do with. It's about 38x48" (I think).

And tonight I have finished piecing the monster of all monsters.... it's so enormous I can't get a photo of it. I'm hoping Mum and Dad will pose with it at the weekend so I can post some proper pics.
This is me fighting it through the machine...
Each block has the creamy square in the middle and are about 17x17"
The fabrics are Durham fabrics by Lecien and they are very pretty - not my normal colours at all, but the quilt is so pretty - I really like it. This monster is 116 x 116" - quilting it could be interesting....
Michael is 6'2"!

Can I play with Jane now, please? Or foundation piecing?

I'm linking up with Work in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced - I'm looking forward to spending some quality time at the weekend checking out all the other links with a cup of tea! WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 24 March 2013


Progress has been made! Two finished flimsies! Wohoo!

Steph's quilt was stalled from word go. I just found it really boring - I much prefer fiddly, intricate sewing. But it was a good exercise, because it made me realise that! And int he future, I would pick different quilts to make when people ask for one/I offer to make one.
It's too big to photograph easily
Just before I went out to Budapest again I trimmed all of the blocks - I did it with company to make it less boring and make me finish it! Then yesterday I sashed it. All in one go. Done. It went amazingly quickly. I thought about adding another couple of borders, but it is already huge, so I think I will just finish it off with a scrappy binding!
This is only one quarter of the quilt top
Speaking of borders, my Three Peaks quilt top was nearly finished. Yesterday I added the three borders I had planned, and this is another quilt top ready for basting and quilting.

One extreme to the other - Steph's quilt is about 80" x 80". The Three Peaks quilt is only about 40" x 48".

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Friday Night Sew In [bits and pieces]

I worked on a few projects last night, but couldn't really settle.

First up was my Bee block for Stash Bee - the colour inspiration was Americana/4th July - it turns out that I don't have many true true blues in my stash, but eventually I found something I was happy with.

Although this isn't my favourite colour combination, I like the block and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Having said it isn't my favourite colour combination, the next thing I worked on was a baby quilt in the same colours. So many people we know are having babies at the moment. And they are all boys. So this is the first of quite a few baby quilts - so far I've cut all the circles, but got no further.

And then I pulled out the Rhubarb and Custard quilt - this got stuffed in a draw when I stitched something wrong and couldn't be bothered to unpick - never a good idea. I unpicked and re-stitched. then I carried on and made quite a bit of progress with the sashing - all four rows have the shorter sashing strips added, and the top two rows are joined together as well! Three rows are still in the drawer waiting....

Having said that everyone is having baby boys recently, I became an Aunty again last week - my brand new NIECE (yes - it was a girl) was born last Friday as my plane touched down (she was a week late - waiting for her Aunty Jennie to come home) weighing 6lb13oz and born just 4 minutes after Mum and Dad arrived at hospital! So at least I can make one pink quilt :-)

I'm off to check out what other people have been up to
Handmade by Heidi
One other piece of info - I've signed up for Blog Lovin - we'll see how I like it :-) Here's a link if you want to follow me!
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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Guess where else I'm going!

A day long quilting retreat in Edinburgh this August - my favourite city!

Find more info here 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

WIP Progress Wednesday [mostly about fabric]

It's been fairly hectic since I got back from Budapest, but tonight I got a bit more sewing time and finished off block four in the Lucky Stars foundation piecing BOM. This is the Ninja Star

And here are all four far so good!

But mostly this weeks Work in Progress is my stash :) Look what arrived today (in addition to two parcels yesterday)...

And look what came out of those envelopes....

A fat quarter bundle of Comma, a few fat quarters of Kate Spain, a low volume fat quarter bundle from Pink Castle fabrics, Painters Canvas (in lipstick - yummy), Backyard Baby, some large pieces of Simply COlour chevrons for backing which was on sale, and lots of Kona fat quarters - and it was free fat quarter week at the Village Haberdashery and I got a wonderful surprise of some Summersville and a beautiful blue spot. And I finally got a Kona colour card - so many colours - it's so pretty.

It's like Christmas.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced
  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Just in Time [Emerald]

I think - because now it's finished I'm not really sure if it fits in any category because of it's size... but even if I'm disqualified on the grounds of being a funny size, I am thrilled with my finished entry for the Emerald Challenge.
2013 Emerald Quilt Challenge 
It was a bit hit and miss whether I would get it finished time as before I went away all I had was two blocks with a border,
 and by the time we had dinner I had my finished project.

I'm following a lot of BOMs this year and that results in a lot of block sitting round for a long time. So I've made myself a block keeper. The quilt-y part of this project is 36" x 17" but it will always be folded up as you can see in the above photo, so finished it is 18" x 17".

I made two blocks: ET Phone Home from Lynne at Lily's Quilts and Lone Starburst block by Anna at Six White Horses. I've been admiring these blocks for ages, just waiting for the opportunity to used them. I had a lot of fun quilting these blocks - some echo quilting, some quilting in the ditch, all with my walking foot.

I then constructed the finished item using Bosal to give it some structure, velvet lining to stop the blocks slipping too much and ribbon from Moda pre-cuts.

Now I have somewhere safe to store my blocks and a great piece of (reversible) wall at!

The fabrics are a mixture from my stash and include Backyard Baby, Summersville, Archhitextures, Basic Grey and some solids. The binding is Kona.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

WIP Wednesday [a final Budapest edition]

This is F-2: Kaleidoscope - maybe I'll just call it Francesco's Star - it seems more appropriate, given I pieced it whilst watching the pictures from Rome tonight.

It turns out that those tiny triangles - there are 16 of them - are not symetrical. It also turns out it's not easy to unpick EPP. But I did - 14 of them were unpicked and restitched!
The fabric is from Benartex and is called Space the New Frontier.

I've also made a start on quilting Jane. I decided I wanted to quilt by hand. I may regret this in the future, but so far I am enjoying putting a little bit more of me into each of the blocks. There is no way I would manage to hand quilt the finished monster, so I'm using a quilt as you go technique - this has the added advantage of not having to do all the sashing in one go - I love sashing....not. Here is progress so far.

I've been rather Jane-focussed the last couple of weeks, here is the evidence

but I've now run out of pre-prepared blocks to make up here in Budapest, so no more for the next few days, and once I get back I am really looking forward to catching up on some BOMs and some of my other (many) projects! Do don't expect to see Jane next week :)

Linking up with Work in Progress Wednesday.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 11 March 2013

Curvaceous Jane

I hope you're not too bored of Jane yet! I'm not. I have two blocks to share tonight and then only one more prepared while I'm here, so there will be a bit of a break after that. I promise. And when I get home I have a few other projects I want to play with.

I started yesterday by finishing off the block I used in my EPP tutorial. It just needed some diamonds appliqued. I struggled with these, and the points are not sharp. In the end I basted them to freezer paper and the appliqued them; next time I'll baste to something slightly more sturdy and try again... but it is finished and I'm ok with it! It is block F-1: Big Top and the fabric is from Grandmother's Flower Garden by Lecien.

Yesterday's second challenge was curved English paper piecing. It is possible - look at this tutorial. So, to avoid applique, I decided to tackle it. I didn't make it easy on myself - nice small pieces, and I didn't cut enough of the white background fabric, so I was squeezing two pieces onto a piece cut for one - I'm generous when I cut, so it was just about possible, but basting would have been considerably easier with more seam allowance.

But I did it, and it worked and I am thrilled with my finished blocks! The fabric is Floral Elements from Art Gallery (I do own other fabrics, not just Art Gallery - I know it doesn't seem that way sometimes!) and the block is D-4 Crystal Star

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A very English Jane [a tutorial]

Whilst I'm away from home I've been working on some Dear Jane blocks. I've tried regular piecing by hand in the past with somewhat dubious results, so to piece by hand I use the English Paper Piecing technique. This is a great way to do inset seams, which is something I'm not great at on the machine (having started my double wedding ring, I will be getting a lot of practice of this). On my last post I shared a very bad photo of block D-2: Mouse in the Mirror. So here it is again, with better lighting:

I've also completed B-9 Tinker Toy

The fabric is Oval Elements from Art Gallery
Wendy then asked me how I do my blocks with EPP, so I thought I'd share a little tutorial. This isn't the only way to do it, and it most likely isn't the best way, but this is my way.... the block is F-1: Big top and the fabric is from Lecien.

I start by tracing the block design from the book onto freezer paper. I just lay it over and mark the corners on the dull side of the freezer paper, then remove it from the book and use a ruler to join the points I've marked. I then take some card - I'm using up birthday cards and Christmas card for this - they are almost too stiff, so what you really need are cheap Christmas cards/birthday cards! Cereal packets would be fine too. You get the idea.

Iron the freezer paper, shiny side down, to the card - don't use steam and don't linger with the iron or you will scorch the card and the iron. If you are using card with a different design on each side, this is better (especially for blocks where the pieces are not symmetrical). If your card is plain on both sides, get a pen and scribble all over the back - it helps later, honestly!

Now cut up the card using the freezer paper as a guide, on every line. Be careful - because you didn't spend long ironing the freezer paper, it will come off quite easily - you need it to stay until you have at least cut every line. I find it helpful to lay out the pieces in the correct position as I cut them up. This will also help you when you baste your fabric! By this time the freezer paper will have fallen off...

I cut my fabric using a rotary cutter into squares and rectangles (and HSTs) big enough to cover the shape and leave a generous seam allowance. Before I baste, I postition the paper onto the fabric and trim to shape, still leaving a very generous and not particularly accurate seam allowance! This results in some wastage, but nearly every scrap is big enough for a 1/4" hexie.... but that's another project I have in mind :)

Baste your fabric to the paper in your preferred manner - I use thread (not glue) in a contrasting colour. If the pieces in your block are symmetrical, like in the turquoise block above (the one in oval elements), it doesn't matter which side you baste the fabric too, but if the pieces aren't, like in the other blocks, always baste to the same side (this is where your scribbles will help you recognise one side from the other). I start by basting the shortest side, then work round from the back in an anti clockwise direction. Make sure that any side that will be along the edges of your block, has more than a 1/4" seam allowance, so you can trim it down at the end. Again, I put the pieces back in the correct place, especially if this is a block with lots of pieces.

Once basted I stitch my pieces together using whipstitch and quilting thread for extra strength - if you get your stitches small enough, you can't see them!

Once finished I remove all of my papers (even from the edges). I'm lucky enough to have an ironing board in my hotel room - press your block, making sure that the seam allowances on the outside of your block are pressed out. This can be a bit fiddly.... you can also trim some of your more generous seam allowances in the rest of the block at this point.

I need to a bit of applique before I can call this block finished.

The final step it to take your rotary cutter and ruler and trim the block to size, leaving just a quarter inch seam allowance, so that when you come to piecing it by machine, you can do so in exactly the same way as for all other techniques.

I hope this is clear, but should you have any questions, just let me know!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Saturday in Budapest

I haven't stayed in my hotel room all day - I've been for a wander.... and here are some photos to prove it!
The Chain Bridge from the Pest side of the Danube (my hotel is behind me and to my left)

Another view across the river - I have no idea what the building
is because I forgot my guide book again

The Chain Bridge from the Buda side of the river - cropped so you
can't see that an eyesore my hotel is!


Why a picture of a car park, I hear you ask. I first came to Budapest almost exactly 7 years ago (OMG I feel old) at the end of March and the Danube was in flood: everything in the photo above from the riverbank to the railings (including the tram line that you can't realy see in the photo) was under water!

From memory of that trip 7 years ago, I think this is St Stephan's Basilica